Romans 13:1-7 — Should we resist ruthless regimes?

Still in today’s world, we have ruthless totalitarian/authoritarian dictatorships and regimes who are bent on killing innocent people and committing genocide (e.g., Assad of Syria, and Kim Jong-Il (through indirect starvation)).  There are also  governments that might not be as bad but are yet marginally ruthless. The bible has been used by some Christians, like Mennonites, to justify passive obedience, even in cases of ruthless dictatorships and regimes.  In Romans 13:1-7, Paul says this:

Romans 13: 1 Let every person  be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? (ESV)

In what case should Christians refuse to submit to such governing authorities?

Should we as Christians never, in any case, rebel against the governing authorities?

Or would we be within ethical boundaries to physically and even violently resist abusive governments?

Covenant Theology vs New Covenant Theology

I grew up with dispensational theology but it seems that the more I study theology, I have come around to a general type of covenant theology.  The challenge I’m left with now is, “Do I believe in covenant theology (CT) or new covenant theology (NCT)?”  What are all the specific differences?  I’m not sure about these yet.

  • CT would believe that God made a covenant of grace with Christ and God’s people, along with Adam.
  • NCT prefers to stay away from using the term “covenant of grace”.

    Is it just the use of terminology or is there a better reason for NCTs to not use it?

  • Dispensationalism believes the O.T. law is no longer in effect unless repeated in the N.T.
  • CT would believe that all the laws are still in effect unless they’ve been done away with in the N.T.
  • NCT: (same as dispensationalists)

    The problem with CT is that we have to differentiate between laws that are ceremonial, civil, and moral. How do we divide these and get rid of parts of the laws like ceremonial and civil but keep the moral laws?