This struck Cranmer’s Curate forcibly in the course of his daily Bible reading, currently journeying through Isaiah in the Old Testament and Romans in the New. Paul’s words in Romans 13 brought home the indispensability of his apostolic authority to the Church in every cultural climate in the last days:
Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarrelling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires (Romans 13v11-14 – ESV).
Because the author of these words is an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ writing Holy Spirit-inspired Scripture, they should be obeyed without disputation by any professing Christian. Unless a deliberate decision to obey them is taken in dependence upon God's Holy Spirit, any fallen human being is capable of taking part in the 'nots in' Paul specifically mentions in v13.
So what is likely to happen when a professing Christian makes a deliberate decision to dismiss Paul’s commands as purely culturally conditioned and not authoritative for the Church in every century? The Protestant Churches in the West have already done that in relation to Paul’s teaching on male headship and are increasingly doing so on sexual ethics.
When a professing Christian deliberately sidelines Paul to the 1st century he or she becomes vulnerable to the very activities Paul warns against in Romans 13v13 and the list does not make pretty reading. That vulnerability is exacerbated when these activities become commonplace in a particular culture.
It surely will not be long before a prominent church leader in one of the liberal denominations finds compromising photographs of him or herself in a tabloid newspaper. Furthermore, churches in which Paul is being sidelined are likely to be places where there are serious abuses of power because the human tendency to quarrelling and jealousy is not being resisted in the power of the Holy Spirit.
There are lurid and shameful consequences of refusing to listen to Paul.