Can a Christian Criticize the Government?

I recently watched a video in which the Bible teacher (who is really great, by the way) basically said that whoever is in authority in a government is the one God either wants in that position or allowed to take that position. His conclusion: it is an act of rebellion on a Christian’s part to criticize that authority.

Well, I must respectfully take exception to that viewpoint. Romans 13 does tell us that all authority comes from God, and that we have an obligation to obey authority. But I take that to mean that the concept of authority comes from God, not that every person in authority is His person.

Keep in mind that later in the same passage, the Apostle Paul provides the purpose of government: it is to punish evildoers and protect those who do right. Now, if the government is not fulfilling that God-given purpose, if it is instead protecting evildoers and punishing those who do right, are we to accept this without comment? If we go along with such authorities, we are aiding in the overthrow of a Biblical worldview and policies grounded in it. One example:

President Obama’s latest decision lifting the ban on federal funding of embryonic stem cells is a violation of the inalienable right to life given by God. It is granting permission to individuals to create embryos for the sole purpose of harvesting stem cells. These persons will never be given the right to live their lives. Real Christians must oppose policies such as this.

One more thing: if we say we can never criticize or oppose the government, aren’t we making government into God? Government officials are not the ultimate authority; they also must answer to the one true God. When we oppose unbiblical policies, we are obeying the one authority who established all other authorities.