Are Morally Corrupt Leaders Instituted by God?


For there is no authority except from God,  and those that exist have been instituted by God.

Whatever your opinions may be on the two leading presidential candidates, whatever decision you choose to make on Election Day, it is fair to state that the moral character of both leading presidential candidates arouses great concern for the Christian citizen.

If our next president is morally bankrupt, how ought we to understand Paul’s statement in Romans that “those [authorities] that exist have been instituted by God”? Paul makes no exceptions or qualifications to this statement.

You may (understandably) ask, Would Paul really make the same statement if he knew the choices we have for our next president???hope

Consider for a moment the context in which Paul was writing this:

Paul makes this statement as a Roman citizen, living (most likely) under the rule of the Roman emperor Nero. “Nero was an absolutely despicable, wretched, vile human being.” i

Paul is also a student of history—he knows about Pharaoh, about Nebuchadnezzar (described by some as a combination of Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong, and Saddam Hussein), and about Pontius Pilate. And yet he still claims that whatever governing authority is in power has been instituted by God.

Pastor Jay Childs wisely observed the following

It’s easy to believe God is in authority when our candidate is in the White House…But somehow when our candidate doesn’t end up getting elected…we somehow feel like God went on vacation and took His hands off the steering wheel. Not so.

…if He allows someone that’s ungodly to occupy the seat of authority, then He must have sovereign reasons for doing so. It may be punishment, it may be discipline, it may be blessing in disguise—who knows? But Paul doesn’t offer any qualifications except to say all government is done by the hand of God.ii

So…what is the Christian citizen to do in the days leading up to and following the upcoming election?

  1. Recognize that God is sovereign over the affairs of men. Although we have the privilege of engaging in the process of electing our leaders, it is HE who raises leaders up to power and He who brings them down (John 19:11; Daniel 2:21).
  2. Submit to the government—whichever candidate or political party is in power (Romans 13:1; 1 Peter 2:13-17).
  3. Pray for our civil leaders. Every day. With your family. With your students. Not just once; not just during an election year. Really pray for our leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
  4. Teach our children and students to do the same. What better way to pass on these principles to your students than to take them on an Education Program with American Christian Tours.

On an ACTS Education Program your students will:

  • be challenged daily from Scripture and the example of our forefathers, learning to recognize God’s hand of providence in all things and become catalysts for change in our nation
  • learn first-hand about the seat of our nation’s government
  • have opportunities to pray for our leaders on-site

Want more information?

Contact one of our friendly ACTS representatives at 1-800-222-2001 or visit our website

i Childs, Jay. (2016, August 7). The Christian and the Government [Video File]. Retrieved from
ii ibid.

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