Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. et al
Dr. MLK Jr. wasn't just another John Q and/or Jane Doe pew warmer. He was an ordained Christian minister whose rules of conduct, and whose duties and responsibilities, are spelled out in what are commonly known as the pastoral epistles: Titus, 1&2Timothy, and to some extent 1Peter.
Christian ministers are first and foremost shepherds whose responsibility is the care of Christ's sheep-- not the world's sheep nor the world's problems. In other words: it is Christ's wishes that his ministers be congregational leaders rather than social leaders.
● 2Tim 2:4 . . As Christ's soldier, do not let yourself become tied up in the affairs of this life, for then you cannot satisfy the one who has enlisted you in his army.
● 1Pet 5:1-4 . .To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ's sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed:
. . . Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers-- not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.
In addition; a Christian minister's preaching is not for the benefit of the world, rather, for the benefit of a congregation.
● Eph 4:11-12 . . He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.
● 1Tim 4:13 . . Focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them.
● 2Tim 4:1-5 . . In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage-- with great patience and careful instruction.
. . . For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
. . . But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
While the world admires Dr. MLK Jr. as a civil rights hero and a crusader against social injustice, the Bible depicts him as a subordinate who shamefully neglected the duties of his ministry as per the apostles' charge.
People are easily fooled into believing that King was a successful minister because they're inadequately catechized; i.e. they're unaware that the Bible contain specific instructions for ordained Christian ministers; and that failure to comply with those instructions leads to unsatisfactory performance ratings.
● 2Tim 2:5 . . If anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor's crown unless he competes according to the rules.
King circumvented the rules; consequently, King's works in this world will go up in smoke as wood, hay, and stubble as per 1Cor 3:9-15.
The apostles spoke for Christ.
● 1Cor 14:37 . . If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of The Lord.
● 1Thess 4:1-2 . .We beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by The Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. For ye know what commandments we gave you by The Lord Jesus.
Therefore Christian ministers that fail to comply with the apostles' instructions, are failing to comply with Christ's. It's a domino effect all the way to the top.
● Luke 10:16 . .Whoever listens to you; listens to me. Whoever rejects you; rejects me. And whoever rejects me; rejects the one who sent me.
Social injustice is a worthy cause; but it's not the cause to which Christ calls his ministers. If perchance someone reading this is considering preparing for "the ministry" be forewarned that in order to serve Christ faithfully and effectively; you'll have to accept a status as Christ's subordinate; i.e. you cannot be his minister as a free agent. Should you choose to go off on your own agenda like King did, you'll be charged with dereliction of duty and branded a deserter. (cf. John 15:4-11)
Civil disobedience is essentially criminal; it's the active, professed refusal of a citizen to obey certain laws of the state, and/or demands, orders, and commands of a government, or of an occupying international power; i.e. non compliance with constituted law and order.
Henry David Thoreau insisted that individuals should not permit governments to overrule or atrophy their consciences, and that they have a duty to avoid allowing such acquiescence to enable the government to make them the agents of injustice.
At first glance, Thoreau's ideas make good sense. However; it's important to take into account that Thoreau was a secular humanist indifferent to the dictates of a supreme being whose commandments, laws, rules, statutes, and edicts take priority over all other forms of government.
Thoreau's concept of civil disobedience foments anarchy which, according to Rom 13:1-5 and 1Pet 2:13-15, is strictly forbidden for Christ's followers.
Here's a biblical example of civil disobedience that takes into account God's supremacy.
● Ex 1:15-17 . . The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, "When you help the Hebrew women in childbirth and observe them on the delivery stool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live." The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live.
From a strictly legal perspective, the midwives' conduct was criminal due to their wanton refusal to comply with constituted authority. But God approved the midwives conduct; and the reason He did so is because the women defied Pharaoh due to their loyalty to a constituted authority superior to his. (Ex 1:20)
Though it would've been perfectly legal to exterminate the Hebrews' baby boys, it would have been grossly impious to do so; the primary reason being that according to Gen 9:5-6, Pharaoh's superior does not approve the taking of innocent human life. Had the midwives complied with Pharaoh's edit, they would've been murderers.
Take for another example the dilemma wherein Christian ministers find themselves in Muslim countries where it's illegal to preach Christ and/or teach the Bible.
According to Matt 28:18-20, and the pastoral epistles of 1&2 Timothy, Titus, and to some degree 1Peter, Christian ministers are required by God to do just exactly what the laws of those countries forbid them to do.
Christian ministers in those countries are in a Catch-22. No matter which direction they take, it'll lead to trouble. If they comply with God's requirements, they risk arrest on Earth for breaking the law. If they comply with the State's requirements, they'll be shamed in Heaven for insubordination and dereliction of duty. In those kinds of situations, Christian ministers faithful to Christ are pretty much forced into breaking the law.
● Acts 5:29 . . Peter and the apostles answered and said: We must obey God rather than men. (cf. Luke 10:27)
Dr. MLK Jr's civil disobedience wasn't scriptural; it was secular, i.e. patterned after Thoreau's philosophy with just enough religion thrown in to give the impression that King was on a mission from God.
I've heard it said that nobody is a complete failure when they can serve as a bad example. Well; that's certainly true of King. Were I a seminary professor; I'd very definitely use King not as role model; but as an excellent example of the kind of minister that every man ordained to serve Jesus Christ should not be.