A quick follow-up to my post on Darryl Hart. Among other things, he said:
If I break the civil law, I should be punished. God gave us authorities to uphold the law and maintain order and peace.
Problem with Hart's justification is that Paul doesn't use that rationale in Rom 13. Paul doesn't frame the issue in terms of law, order, and domestic tranquilly. He doesn't appeal to legal categories, but moral categories. Paul talks about the duties of a magistrate in reference to those who do right and those who do wrong, including the magistrate's duty to facilitate the ability of constituents do right, and punish those who do wrong.
So Hart is using an argument that Paul doesn't use. Hart is oblivious to what he's interjecting into the text from outside the text. He's transplanted an extraneous justification into the text.
Moreover, while there's a sense in which I'm sure that Paul believed in law, order, and domestic tranquility, that doesn't mean Paul is operating with Hart's legal positivism and totalitarian concept of the state. Paul doesn't absolutize legality or social control. Rather, it's about incentivizing good and disincentivizing evil. Hart, by contrast, turns Paul's priorities on their head.