Can a Christian Really Say Taxation Is Theft?

Cody Libolt
For the New Christian Intellectual
3 min readApr 4, 2019


Romans‬ ‭13:6–7‬ :

“For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.”


The surrounding context points out the government’s proper role. It says “For because of this…” Because of what? The government bears the sword to punish wrong-doers.

Read Romans 13:6–7 in light of Romans 13:1–5:

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.

Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.

For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval,

for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.

Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.

The Bible seems to leave room for various forms of government, but the purpose of government is clear.

From 1 Samuel, we can gather that there are some dangers that come with having a monarchy, and that it would be better if political power were in the hands of those chosen by the people as representatives and judges.

I do believe “taxation is theft” — in the sense that most taxation today is theft. I wouldn’t say all forms of taxation are theft. I advocate for voluntary taxation as being superior to coercive taxation.

Either way, Romans 13:6–7 points to the validity of government as such and of taxation as such, not to the validity of one specific model of taxation or another.

From Romans 13 it certainly does not follow that the government is entitled to spend tax revenue on anything the rulers want — or anything that mentally deficient tyrants demand.


Reader Question:

Which modern taxes would you call most, and least, larcenous, and what causes most appropriate for tax funding?

My Answer:

Government should be funded by voluntary means only. That means there could be a voluntary tax or other forms of collecting revenue. For instance, check out the idea of contract insurance or other means here:

The role of the government is to punish the wrongdoer. That means when someone initiates force against one of the nation’s citizens, the government’s role is to identify what crime has been committed and to punish that person (or defeat an invading army). In order to make this possible, a government needs a legal system, police, and a military. That is about all it needs. When a government does more than this, it violates the rights of the citizens. This is true, no matter where the funding is coming from.

The modern taxes that are most harmful seem to be the progressive income tax and any kind of income tax, the inheritance tax, capital gains taxes, and property taxes. These directly penalize people for owning or creating wealth. Taxes are a complicated topic. I would be interested to hear if there are other kinds of taxes that should be added to this list of top offenders.