Church And State 1
I recently received an email intended to help me make the decision on who to support in the election this year. Among the helpful tips for making that decision was an article from the National Council of Churches. I have been studying their article Christian principles in an Election Year and will comment in this Bible study on one of their positions. They have come up with a few sound and helpful ideas and some others that I consider unsound. You may not agree with me, but at least you will know what I believe and why and you might better understand what you disagree with.
First of all, many people who claim to be Christians are not. Those who are genuinely Christians are not perfect and do not follow all of God*s principles. When people get far enough away from God*s principles, I have my doubts that they are Christians, but of course He is the final judge. It will be obvious that I believe the controlling majority of the World Council of Churches are in the group far from God*s principles. I believe it is the responsibility of any believer to give God*s principles out of the Bible to those who are erring. I believe we are to place the Bible and its authority above self or church or even groups of churches. I believe the Bible ought to determine our opinions and actions. I have one friend who says about things we disagree on that is your interpretation. Of course he is right, it is my interpretation. Once I have shown him what the Bible says, which is my responsibility, whether he believes it or not is his right and his responsibility. He will give an account to God. And I am always interested in being corrected by things others show me from the Bible.
In the article Rev. Dr. Robert W. Edgar says:
We believe in the separation of church and state, but not in the separation of people of faith from institutions of government. We believe people of faith need to be involved in the political process, be registered, and vote with a sense of empowerment and conscience.It seems to me he is trying to make a distinction between the church as a corporate body and the people who are part of the church. Churches are corporate bodies but the church is primarily people, God*s people. The state is also primarily people. I*m sure you*ve heard that our government is supposed to be of the people, by the people and for the people. You can*t separate the church from the state without separating the people of the church from the people of the state.
At any rate, let*s permit the one who is building the church and owns it to define it.
Jesus words in Matthew 16:18b: . . . I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
The church is called Christ*s body in Ephesians 1:22-23: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
I Corinthians chapter 12 speaks at length about believers being members of the body of Christ. We*ll only use one verse here.
I Corinthians 12:18: But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
Thomas Jefferson coined the phrase separation of church and state. Many people today base their political belief on that phrase rather than what the first amendment to the constitution actually says. Let me quote it:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for redress of a grievance.
What this is saying is Congress keep your hands off religion. It is not saying Religion keep your hands off government.
I want government to make right decisions, not wrong decisions. The church is hopefully the place where people are taught right from wrong from the Bible. Excluding the people who have been taught right from wrong is just plain foolish. That is what most people want to do who advocate separation of church and state. And most of them do so because they are advocates of wrong (immoral and unbiblical) things.
God is the source of all that is highest and best and noblest. He is always right! If government is to govern rightly it can only govern in that way according to His principles. God communicates and works through His word and His church. (His people) Government needs Him and His Word and it needs them.
Solomon was very wise. He sought direction from God to govern the people of Israel. Here is part of his prayer in II Chronicles 1:10: Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people: for who can judge this thy people, that is so great?
If we separate the church from the state, are we also separating God*s wise counsel from the government?
Clearly, I do not believe separation of church and state is constitutional or wise. Nor will it accomplish God*s will for America.
I should mention here that I do not advocate the state supporting religion financially or otherwise.
Most of our paper money has the phrase in God we trust. The most vocal advocates of separation of church and state cannot be trusting God if they want government to be separate from Him or His institutions or His people or His principles. I believe the phrase in the pledge of allegiance is good and correct: one nation under God. Proponents of the separation of church and state obviously don*t want the government to be under God.
In the Bible one of the ways that people rejected God was to reject His people. When men reject God*s people, they are in reality rejecting God. When the people of Israel wanted a King, they were rejecting the prophet Samuel, whom God had set over them.
Read what God said to Samuel in I Samuel 8:7: And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.
Psalms 33:12a: Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; . . .
The United States started off as a Christian nation. I long for it to be that again.
Proverbs 29:2: When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked bear rule the people mourn.
The unhappy side of that is expressed in a part of a prayer in Psalms 79:6: Pour out thy wrath upon the heathen that have not known thee, and upon the kingdoms that have not called upon thy name.
Separation of church and state for many of its proponents really does mean separation of God and state. It is part of their rebellion against Him.
Ultimately, God sets up and destroys all governments for His purposes.
Daniel 2:21a: And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: . . .
God has placed Jesus above all the powers on earth.
Read about His power in Ephesians 1:21: Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come.
I Corinthians 6:4-7: If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? No, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers. Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? Why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?
If Paul says it is better to be judged by the least of Christians than by unbelievers, does it not follow that we should desire believers to be a part of government, not separated from it?
It is very foolish to advocate separating God or His institutions or His people from the governments that he sets up.
And God judges the nations that rebel against Him and His purposes. The United States will be blessed by willingly keeping itself under God. And it will come to an inglorious end if it does not.
If God is the Lord of my heart and life, I will want my government under His control also.
The National Council of Churches has not stated why they believe in separation of church and state. There were no specific Biblical reasons given. Will the National Council of Churches practice what they preach and keep themselves separate from government? I think not. I hope not.
The reality is that people of diverse opinions will always want their own opinions to prevail. And they will want the opposition to their opinions to fail. Some will go to great lengths to limit the expression and influence of opposing views. Some of them will even misinterpret the constitution in order to prevent the opposing opinions from having an influence on the government. I believe the separation of any group of citizens from government is wrong!!
Separation of church and state is one facet of the persecution of God*s people that is happening in The United States today!
If religious books are not circulated among the masses, and the people do not turn to God, I do not know what is to become of us as a nation. If truth be not diffused, error will be. If God and His word are not received, the Devil and his works will gain the ascendancy. If the evangelical volume does not reach every family, the pages of a corrupt and licentious literature will. If the power of the gospel is not felt through the length and breadth of the land, anarchy, misrule, degradation, misery, corruption and darkness will reign without mitigation or end.
J. Vernon McGee: And now we live in a day when we cannot read our Bibles in school, but we must have our pornography, because we must be free to do what we want to do. Why can*t some of us read our Bible in our schools?
Dr. Hymen, University of Michigan: The United States of America in the past 50 years has been dominated to a large extent by persons who do not understand the spiritual heritage bequeathed by their own ancestors. Unless a marked change takes place in the United States of America, it*s doomed, just as sure as was ancient Babylon.
When our great nation was founded during the period from 1775 to 1887 the following statement was made by Benjamin Franklin: The longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of the truth that God governs in the affairs of men.
Dr. Machen: America is coasting downhill on a Godly ancestry, and now we*ve reached the bottom of the hill.May God have His good and perfect way in and through our lives and our government!!