1Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.

Romans 13:1-5

Isn’t it pesky how just when we rationalize the use of “rule bending” behavior in the pursuit of evangelism or service, you find that God has addressed it, and the answer isn’t the easy or fast way you’ve rationalized. We’ve known all along that there is a righteous way of doing things–a preferred way that God wants us to use for our benefit. Sure there is grace; but to quote the apostle Paul, “Should we continue to sin that grace may abound? MAY IT NEVER BE.” Copyright is one of those cases.

If a church willfully violates copyright law, remember that “he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” Violating the law brings a risk that God never promises to protect against. Err on the side of caution. Be above reproach, our witness demands it. Can God use our errors? Yes. Does He ask us to violate what He says in His word? No.

Paul

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