A. "But God said to obey the authorities in Romans 13"
1. Romans 13 is specifically referring to situations where the government is enforcing just and moral laws – for the Scripture says, "They are God's servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong." By obeying the laws of the land, we keep a clear conscience. Only those who do what is wrong should fear the government.
2. But what happens when doing what is right is prohibited by a governing authority? What are we to do when the government itself becomes corrupt or puts laws in place that are anti-Biblical?
There are actually several examples in Scripture of civil disobedience.
Example 1: The Hebrew midwives disobeyed Pharaoh's order to murder baby boys. They disobeyed the law of the land. (Exodus 1:17)
Example 2: Obadiah hid the prophets of God from Jezebel – in doing so, he disobeyed the governing authority. (1 Kings 18:4)
Example 3: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego disobeyed the laws of the land that commanded them to bow to and worship a statue of the king. (Daniel 3)
Example 4: The early church disobeyed the laws of the land by proclaiming the gospel.
B. "The government is not stopping me from worshipping God."
My answer: Countries where Christians are being persecuted like China, Russia, Venezuela, and Vietnam are also allowed to believe as long as they don't assemble and they don't preach the Gospel.
C. "You're setting a bad example."
My answer: But shouldn't our example be to obey God?
D. "You're going to cause us to lose what freedoms we have."
My answer: But if the exercise of freedom can cause me to lose it, is it really freedom? What then would be the point of having that freedom if I'm not free to carry it out without losing it?
E. "Love your neighbor."
My answer: Is standing for truth not loving? Disobedience toward the Word of God – whether done in the name of love, convenience, or even safety – is ultimately still disobedience.
"And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands." (2 John 1:6)
It's simple: if ever there is a conflict between what we are commanded to do in Scripture and what we are commanded to do by a government, we are to obey the Word of God. Always. No exceptions. Let us not trade obedience in the name of safety and peace. Let us not act in fear and call it wisdom.