There is no such thing as a Christian State, either in fact or in the Bible. Nor should there be! The New Testament, especially the statement of Jesus Christ:

Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's (Matt. 22:21; Luke 20:25)

is the generic statement concerning church and state. It is fundamental and authoritative. Clearly, there are two spheres of human existence — "Caesar" (the state) and "God" (the church). Man owes allegiance to both but as is pointed out in chapter ten ("Civil Disobedience"), there is a definite limit to man's allegiance to the state. Ultimate allegiance must be to God — it is his by right of creation and redemption. God has ordained the state for a definitive ministry (punish evil doers and reward right doers, Rom. 13:1-7 et al.). Its function is physical and transient. Its method is coercion. Inasmuch as the function of the state is declared to be a "ministry" by God, we must admit that when it is carrying out its mission in accordance with the will of God it is assisting the church to carry out its mission (see I Tim. 2:1-4, etc.). The function of the church is primarily spiritual. Its method is love and persuasion. The church is also charged with doing as much as it can to minister to people's physical needs (except for administering civil justice). When the church is redeeming people by the Spirit of Christ and ministering to the physical needs of people, it may be assisting the state to carry out its mission.

The state is not redemptive. It cannot forgive sins, relieve guilt, reconcile man to God, impute perfect righteousness, or promise eternal blessedness. The state can only maintain social order and protect human life and property. Insofar as it does this it fulfills its divinely ordained ministry. When it attempts to produce spiritual redemption it has overstepped its sphere.

Ideally, God would have the state and the church cooperating (not consolidated or combined) each acting within its own ordained sphere according to the will of God which he has revealed in conscience, reason and the Bible. C.C. Crawford writes:

Church and State. (Cf. the words of Jesus, Matt. 22:21, "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's.") (1) Personal religion, if at all vital, necessarily affects personal attitudes and shapes personal conduct: one naturally translates his religious convictions into all activities of life, including those of his duties as a citizen. Hence any complete "separation" of personal religious conviction and personal political decisions is impossible. It must be remembered also that practically all members of the church (or any other religious institution) are also citizens of the state. (2) The norms explicitly set down in the Constitution regarding the separation of state and church are those of (a) non-establishment and (b) non-interference (Amendment I: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"), and (c) non-qualification (Article VI: "No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.") It should be noted that the Constitution thus explicitly bans any institutional union of state and church (or any other religious institution). (Institutional union tends to secularize the church and thus to vitiate its mission and influence.)

(3) However, since it obviously was never the intention of the Founding Fathers to put the state in a position of hostility to any form of religion, the policy of the United States has always been that of what is called "a union of minimum essentials." That is to say, the church is recognized by the state as a complementary and therefore privileged society; the state acknowledges the good that is done by the church (or synagogue) and gives the latter recognition and encouragement. This recognition takes several forms, as follows: (a) the church is granted competence in marriage and in the education of the young; (b) church property is exempt from taxation; (c) the church is granted various other immunities; (d) the government manifests the state's interest in religion by providing chapels and chaplains for the armed forces; (e) all citizens are guaranteed the right to worship according to their private convictions and are protected in the exercise of such rights. This is the type of relationship between state and church that prevails in the United States.

(4) The most recent decision of the United States Supreme Court invalidating an officially formulated and prescribed prayer for use in the public schools of New York state has caused a great deal of confusion in the public mind. This decision disallowed "official prayers." It is not prayer in itself, but officialism, which is the nub of this particular decision: a fact which has been all too generally overlooked. Moreover, a prayer of the kind involved in this Court decision is bound to be so innocuous as to bring discredit on religion in general. However, it must be admitted that a precedent has been set here which could have serious consequences in the future, especially at the hand of a Court made up largely of legal positivists. One wonders how the Court would rule if any agency of government should order the periodic singing of the national anthem in the classroom ("Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, And this be our motto, "In God is our trust"), or the periodic recitation of the first two paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence (with the phrase, "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God"), or the periodic singing of "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" (the last verse of which is a prayer, "Our Father's God, to

Thee, Author of liberty, To Thee we sing," etc.). Is it not true that we may be catering too much to insignificant minorities of "fastidious atheists and agnostics" and allowing these groups to become the tail that wags the dog? .... These apparently insignificant trends in our democratic system could have disastrous consequences, especially, I repeat, if our juridical system falls into the hands of legal positivists. Is minority "bigotry" any less bigoted than majority "bigotry"? Eternal vigilance is always the price of liberty.

Commonsense Ethics,
by C.C. Crawford,
pub. Brown pp. 365-367

In the Old Testament the separate spheres of ministry for church and state are not incisively delineated. However, the division is there, by implication if not by commandment. The era of the patriarchs (Noah through Jacob) shows that the "fathers" did not expect the functions of civil government to fulfill the functions of religion. Abraham's civil action to rescue his nephew Lot (and others) from the kings of the east (Gen. 14) is a case in point. Abraham used coercion (force) to carry out the civil function of protecting physical life and property. But when it came to spiritual matters Abraham turned from coercion to worship and prayer (Gen. 14:17-24). He would not use force to try to redeem Lot from Sodom (Gen. 18:22-33). In ancient times as well as in the New Testament church and state are clearly and permanently separated, because one's relationship to God must be strictly a matter of free choice and privacy. Religion, because it comes from the inner-man must not, and ultimately cannot, be dictated, distorted or repressed by a civil state of any kind. This is the approach taken by godly patriarchs in the Old Testament.

In the pagan cultures of Bible times (both Old and New Testaments), church and state were usually consolidated. The king or emperor was not only the head of the civil government; he was also the high priest of the national religion. There was little ideological or practical distinction between the two. Ordinarily in such cultures, the survival of the state was thought to depend on the enforcement of the national religion (almost always polytheistic and iconic). To refuse to worship according to the dictates of the government was considered seditious and treasonable. Often, the head of the civil government was deified and worshipped as the chief god of the nation. This was true of the ancient cultures of Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, Persia, Greece and Rome. It is significant, however, that the Jews who so often lived under the civil suzerainty of these cultures were usually allowed to worship according to their own consciences and customs. In the Bible, all attempts by pagan civil governments (e.g. Daniel) to force the Jews to abandon their own religion and worship according to that of the heathen state (polytheism) ended eventually in the providential deliverance of the Jews.

When Israel became a nation, she became a theocracy. Still, it was not a society where the religion and civil government functioned entirely as one unit. Israel practiced neither complete separation nor complete consolidation of church and state. Sometimes priests acted as judges in civil matters (Moses and Aaron) and sometimes judges acted as priests in religious matters (Samuel). But the concept of separation of church and state, each with its limited sphere, has its basis in the Old Testament as well as in the New. Priests came only from the tribe of Levi. Judges and kings (except for Moses and Samuel) came from other tribes. And even in the case of Moses and Samuel, the offices were clearly separated. And in the theocracy, while {some) legislation and punishment was directed toward religious matters (e.g. idolatry, blasphemy, ritual uncleanness), no Israelite was driven by sword or spear to the Tabernacle to worship. It is true, Israelites were forbidden, on the threat of death, to worship gods other than Jehovah; at the same time, they were not forced to worship Jehovah. The word theocracy does not mean the church rules society; it literally means "God rules" society. There is a difference! In a theocracy where God's word is law, there is necessarily a closer cooperation between church and state. A theocracy is possible only in a theologically-monolithic culture.

Theocracy is impossible in an ideologically-plural society. In the world of the twentieth century the nearest any cultures come to being theocratic are the Islamic ones. Not even modern Israel is theocratic. The separation of church and state, each assigned a definite sphere in which to minister, with limited powers granted to both, is uniquely a biblical (Judaeo-Christian) concept. History makes it transparently clear that separation of church and state never originated in atheism, polytheism or idolatry of any kind. History further shows that any culture or nation slipping from a Bible-believing ideology toward an atheistic or humanistic ideology drifts inevitably from limited government to totalitarianism and the consolidation of church with state.

The Old Testament monarchical system differentiated even more distinctly between church and state. Kings came from the tribe of Judah; priests came from the tribe of Levi. Kings could not be priests, and priests were not to be kings. At least two kings tried to perform the functions of the priest (Saul in I Sam. 13:1ff; Uzziah in II Chron. 26:16-21) and God punished both of them. The message in both cases is that civil government is not to presumptuously invade the sphere delegated to the church! In the ninth century B.C. (ca. 841 B.C.) Athaliah tried to murder all her grandchildren in order to get the throne for herself (II Kings 11:1ff; II Chron. 22:10ff). But the infant Joash was saved by one of his sisters. She and a priest named Jehoiada kept the boy safe for six years until the people could be aroused against the wicked queen-mother to slay her. Then Joash, a mere boy of seven years, was anointed king of Judah (II Chron. 23:1ff; II Kings ll:4ff). This is further proof that the Israelites understood a clear separation of church and state. Jehoiada might have attempted to take the throne, at least until Joash had grown to young manhood, but the priest refused the opportunity to unite church and state under himself and anointed a seven-year-old boy as civil ruler. In the exile, Daniel, Shadrach, Meschach, Abednego, Esther, Mordecai (and many other Jews in pagan government positions) had no difficulty keeping church and state separated although they were all employees of the state!

When the Jews returned from their exile to reconstruct their national identity under Ezra, Nehemiah, and Zerubbabel, church and state, priesthood and civil leadership, were essentially separated. However, close cooperation between religion and civil government continued as a practice among the Jews until the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. In the era of the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles, Jewish synagogues and Jewish rabbis exerted strong influence in political affairs of state and had more than a little impact upon the conduct of specific rulers at various times. However, the Herods and the Romans made it perfectly clear that in civil affairs, the government was the ultimate authority. At the same time both the Herods and the Roman procurators meddled in religious affairs at great risk to their own careers and with disastrous results the few times they did so.

As has been pointed out, the categorical statement concerning separation of church and state is that of Jesus (Matt. 22:21; Luke 20:25). The apostle Paul confirmed it as Christian doctrine and practice when he said:

... I am standing before Caesar's tribunal, where I ought to be tried; to the Jews I have done no wrong, as you know very well. If then I am a wrongdoer, and have committed anything for which I deserve to die, I do not seek to escape death; but if there is nothing in their charges against me, no one can give me up to them. I appeal to Caesar (Acts 25:10, 11).

The Jews had charged Paul with civil "agitation" (Acts 24:5) and with being a member of a revolutionary group. These were not church matters. The Jewish priests and elders were trespassing civil authority by attempting to execute him (Acts 23:12ff). But he also challenged any attempt by a civil ruler to limit his spiritual ministry (Acts 16:19-39). Paul makes a significant contribution to the principle that believers have not only a right, but an obligation, to use the powers of persuasion and love to influence civil rulers in favor of Christ and the Scriptures. He did so in the presence of many rulers and civil authorities (see Acts 13:4-12; 16:19-39; 19:23-41; 24:10ff; 25:1-12; 26:1ff; 27:21ff).

Finally, the book of Revelation warned the churches of Asia Minor in the first century that the Roman empire was soon to amalgamate civil authority and pagan religion as one powerful, seemingly invincible dictatorship (Rev. 13:Iff). This wicked and mighty force would demand that all its civil subjects worship its civil ruler as god. Those who did not do so would suffer death, imprisonment and persecution. But the book of Revelation stands adamantly against such an idolatrous amalgamation and bids its believers resist even unto death.

Manifestly, it is the Bible, God's Word, that stands for separation of church and state. All secular governments, without strong biblical influence from their constituents, inexorably move toward uniting religion and the state. Nazi Germany and Communist Russia are classic examples where biblical religion had lost its impact in the lives of individuals which, in turn, made room for power-hungry atheists and humanists to take over the government and turn civic ideology into a state religion. History keeps repeating itself in this matter. It is for this reason Christians in the United State must elect Christian civil authorities. They alone truly stand for separation of church and state. Secularists, by the very nature of their ideology, inevitably turn the state into the religion.

Sectarian doctrines cannot be taught in our state-supported schools, to be sure; this, I believe, is as it should be. However, it happens that the courts of the United States have established fairly well-defined procedures to govern various aspects of this problem of church-state-relationship. They have ruled uniformly against the teaching of religious doctrines, and especially of sectarian dogmas, on public school property. On the other hand, they have validated the following procedures: (1) the reading of the Bible as literature; (2) the teaching of the role of religion in life, and (3) The teaching of religious thought as history. Moreover, in a decision handed down in 1951, the United States Supreme Court validated the "released time" program of religious education. According to this procedure, public school pupils may be released from classes, at their own request, to receive religious instruction away from school property. Justice W.O. Douglas, in delivering the majority opinion in this case, held that the Constitutional provision (the ban against any "establishment" of religion) does not mean that "in every and all aspects there shall be a separation of church and state." If it did, Justice Douglas went on to say, "the state and religion would be aliens to each other — hostile, suspicious and even unfriendly" — to such an extent that prayers in legislative halls, and even police protection for worshipping assemblies, would be forbidden.

. . . After all is said and done, the fact remains that the restraints upon the teaching of religion do not confer upon any instructor the license to propagate irreligion.

Commonsense Ethics,
by C.C. Crawford, p. xii

The Bible does not present the church and the state, ideally, as hostile to one another. If the state carries out its ministry (Rom. 13:1-7; I Pet. 2:13-17) it will protect the church's right to be left alone in spiritual matters and allowed to teach its doctrines, evangelize the world, and produce a redeemed society. That redeemed society will, in turn, leave the civil government alone to legislate, adjudicate, and enforce order. The redeemed people will lend the government its spiritual influence by infiltrating the ranks of civil authorities with Christian people and by acting as the conscience of government through preaching and living the doctrines of the Bible. This was the light by which the Founding Fathers of the United States of America saw the issue.

Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of The Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise; and in this sense and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian .... This is a religious people. This is historically true. From the discovery of this continent to the present hour, there is a single voice making this affirmation ... we find everywhere a clear recognition of the same truth .... These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation.

Supreme Court Decision, 1892,
Church of the Holy Trinity vs. United States

Thomas Jefferson once said, "Can the liberties of a nation be secure, when we have removed the conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?" George Washington said: "No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the people of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency .... We ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of heaven cannot be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which heaven itself has ordained." And Noah Webster wrote: "The moral principles and precepts contained in the Scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws. All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible."

The principles of God's Word guided the decisions on which this nation built its foundation. This was the discovery of Alex DeTocqueville, the noted French political philosopher of the nineteenth century. He visited America in her infancy to find the secret of her greatness. As he traveled from town to town, he talked with people and asked questions. He examined our young national government, our schools and centers of business, but could not find in them the reason for our strength. Not until he visited the churches of America and witnessed the pulpits of this land "aflame with righteousness" did he find the secret of our greatness. Returning to France, he summarized his findings: "America is great because America is good; and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great." Abraham Lincoln said: "It is the duty of nations, as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God and to recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord." Calvin Coolidge wrote: "The foundation of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country." The following story illustrates how closely connected our Founding fathers saw the Bible and civil government:

The American Revolution was in full swing. The Bible, through more than one hundred fifty years of early settlement in America, remained the base of her people's religious devotion, her education, her colonial government. These Bibles had been shipped in from England.

Now, suddenly the American Revolution cut off this supply, and the stock dwindled.

Here was America in its greatest crisis yet — and without Bibles! Patrick Allison, Chaplain of congress, placed before that body in 1777 a petition praying for immediate relief. It was assigned to a special committee which weighed the matter with great care, and reported: "... that the use of the Bible is so universal and its importance so great that your committee refer the above to the consideration of Congress, and if Congress shall not think it expedient to order the importation of types and paper, the Committee recommended that Congress will order the Committee of Congress to import 20,000 Bibles from Holland, Scotland, or elsewhere, into the different parts of the States of the Union.

Whereupon it was resolved accordingly to direct said Committee to import 20,000 copies of the Bible. During the session on the fall of 1780 the need arose once more.

Robert Aitken, who had set up in Philadelphia as a bookseller and publisher of The Pennsylvania Magazine, saw the need and set about quietly to do something about it.

In early 1781 he petitioned Congress and received from them a green light to print the Bibles needed. The Book came off the press late next year, and Congress approved it.

So originated the "Bible of the Revolution," now one of the world's rarest books — the first American printing.

The Rebirth of America,
pub. by the Arthur S. DeMoss Foundation, p. 39

While the Bible stands for separation of church and state, it also stands for civil government acknowledging its subservience to Almighty God and for civil government to carry out its divinely ordained mission in adherence to the guidelines of divine revelation ("Natural" and Biblical). The phrase so often quoted, and thought by many uninformed Americans to be part of the U.S. Constitution, "a wall of separation" between church and state, is not in the Constitution at all. It is a statement from a speech by Thomas Jefferson (who was not one of the drafters of the Constitution) to the Danbury Baptists in 1802, thirteen years after the passage of the First Amendment. In no way should this phrase of Jefferson be considered the definitive interpretation of the First Amendment.

It was Thomas Jefferson who used this phrase in a letter written to a group of Baptist pastors in Danbury, Connecticut in 1802. The purpose of the letter was to assure those Baptist pastors that Jefferson's somewhat unorthodox view of Christianity would not be pressed on the church in the United States during his presidency.

President Jefferson assured them that there was a wall of separation that supposedly protects the Church from any undue meddling by the State. The irony is that the phrase never implied that the State needed to be protected from the Church; Jefferson was guaranteeing the church the benefit of the wall.

The contemporary anti-Christian religious establishment has turned the issue completely on its head by redefining the phrase. This trick is called "historical revisionism" Historical revisionism twists history and interprets it for one's own purposes.

The Forerunner,
"Separation of Church and State, Clearing Up the Misconceptions",
by Dennis Peacocke, April 1988, p. 13

Indeed, it is not the United States government that needs to be protected from religion, for the U.S. Constitution institutes a government that is functionally secular. Religion cannot, by the very nature of the Constitution, pose any danger to the government. The government has protected itself by its Constitution. It was the church that needed protection from the government that gave impetus to the First Amendment.

The unique American doctrine of separation of church and state is not a by-product of the First Amendment's religious clauses. Those clauses were intended to guarantee the religious liberty already implicit in the Constitution's provision for a wholly secular government. The historian, Charles A. Beard, wrote that the Constitution "does not confer upon the Federal Government any power whatever to deal with religion in any form or manner" (The Republic). James Madison called it "a bill of powers" which "are enumerated, and it follows that all that are not granted by the Constitution are retained" by the people (Annals of Congress of the United States).

Phi Kappa Phi Journal, Winter 1988, "Education in
Religious Schools, The Conflict over Funding,"
by John M. Swomley, p. 12

While government must be protected against domination by the church, it must be constant in acknowledging its need of a moral influence from the Bible and Bible-believing constituents. Rulers of this world's governments are vulnerable to moral darkness and apt to commit the most heinous crimes against God and man without the wisdom of divine revelation:

Yet among the mature we (apostles) impart wisdom, although it is not wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glorification. None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory (I Cor. 2:6-8).

Even humanists have acknowledged that the state cannot fulfill its mission to protect inalienable human rights without God. Will Durant wrote in the Humanist magazine of February 1977: "Moreover, we shall find it no easy task to mold a natural ethic strong enough to maintain moral restraint and social order without the support of supernatural consolations, hopes and fears." Mr. Durant, in his book, The Lessons of History, quoted the famous agnostic Renan: "If Rationalism wishes to govern the world without regard to the religious needs of the soul, the experience of the French Revolution is there to teach us the consequences of such a blunder." And Durant, himself, says in the same book, "There is no significant example in history, before our time, of a society successfully maintaining moral life without the aid of religion."

The Bible stands for separation of ministries of church and state. The two have distinctly different functions and dominions in this world. But the Bible clearly indicates that God and his Son, Jesus Christ, are sovereign over both and that both should embrace that sovereignty by fulfilling their ministries according to God's revealed will:

Why do the nations conspire, and the people plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and his anointed, saying, Let us burst their bonds asunder, and cast their cords from us. He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord has them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, I have set my king on Zion, my holy hill. I will tell of the decree of the Lord: He said to me, You are my son, today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, with trembling kiss his feet, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way; for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him (Psa. 2:1-12).

A brief comparison of church and state in their biblically mandated dominions shows the necessity for separation:

The Church (and/or Bible)

1. Is a universal, spiritual "kingdom" (Matt. 28:18-20, Rev., 7:9-12).

2. Majors in ministering the Bread of Life (the Word of God) (John 6:25-26; Acts 20:32, etc.).

3. Is redemptive, not retributive (I Cor. 5:3-5; Matt. 5:38-48; Eph. 6:10ff).

4. Has a mandate to control thoughts and motives (II Cor. 5:14-21; II Cor. 10:3-5).

5. Proceeds from a philosophical base of absolutism:

a. sovereignty of God, (Psa. 2).

b. infallibility of the Word of God (Psa. 119:89, 90).

The State

1. Is a cultural, provincial "kingdom" (and transient) (I Cor. 15:24-28).

2. Ministers strictly the physical through protecting inalienable human rights (Rom. 13:1-7, etc.).

3. Renders retributive justice in this life (Rom. 13:1-7; I Pet. 2:13-17; I Tim. 1:8, 9).

4. Forbidden to control thoughts (Acts 4:19, 20; 5:29).

5. Proceeds from a philosophical base of relativism and pragmatism:

a. "natural law" (Rom. l:18ff).

b. reason and conscience
(Rom. 2:14ff).

John Eidsmoe, in his book, God & Caesar, Christian Faith & Political Action, pages 12-16, points to at least four different historical perspectives of the church-state relationship. Mr. Eidsmoe calls them, "The 'Two Kingdoms' Concept in Church History." The first concept he lists is the Roman Catholic view:

Catholic theologians have generally recognized the two kingdoms and the distinct role played by each. But they have usually considered the church to be the greater kingdom and the state to be the lesser, because the church is eternal while the state is only temporary (Augustine's explanation), and because the church must answer to God for the conduct of the state (the explanation of Pope Gelasius I). Some have argued that the power of the keys given to Peter in Matthew 16:19 gave the church the authority to control the state. Many medieval theologians saw the church's authority in the two swords of Luke 22:38. One of these swords is the sword of the church to be wielded by the church, and the other is the sword of the state, to be given by the church to the state. As Pope Boniface VIII decreed in his papal bull, Unam Sanctum, in 1302 ....

This view would be conceptualized by the following diagram:









The next concept is that of the Anabaptists led by Menno Simons (ca. 1536 A.D.), from whom modern Mennonites get their name:

Many . . . believed that the state was part of the evil world-system from which believers were to separate themselves. If Satan were not actually the founder of the state, he had at least taken control of it. Consequently believers were to separate themselves from the state as much as possible; they were not to vote, hold public office, serve in the armed forces, or involve themselves with government in any other way. They were to obey the state generally, but the state had no real authority over believers, nor did the church have any authority over unbelievers....

This view would be conceptualized by the following diagram:



The next view is the "Calvinist view." John Calvin was a Frenchman who was trained for the profession of law. He published his "Institutes" in 1536 A.D. at Basel, Switzerland. His training in law made it quite natural for him to connect religion with the law. His attempts to form a sort of "theocracy" in Geneva, Switzerland, aroused opposition and he was driven into exile. Shortly later he was asked to return to Geneva and did fulfill his ambition to set up a church-controlled civil society. While he verbally advocated religious liberty, he consented to the execution of "heretics." Calvin argued that the church has the right and calling to exercise discipline not simply moral but also physical. He said the civil administration exists only for the defense of the church, and it is the duty of the state to carry out the regulations of the church. He insisted that the state has no right to enact laws concerning religion nor to interfere in matters purely ecclesiastical. Calvin virtually made every sin a crime, and so did not hesitate to make use of the civil power for the execution of church discipline. Calvin believed the mission of the church is to redeem the world, including civil governments, in harmony with Christian doctrine, and the state is God's instrument to assist the church in converting the world to Christ. Calvin's view would be conceptualized by the following diagram:




Eidsmoe cites Martin Luther's view of church-state relationship as his last presentation:

Like Calvin, he (Luther) recognized that the church and state are each ordained by God. Like Calvin, he recognized that believers belong to both kingdoms, the church and the state, and have responsibilities to each. Unlike Calvin, he hesitated to impose Christian precepts upon an unbelieving world. Luther ... believed that Christians relate to the first kingdom (the church) primarily by means of faith in divine revelation, and to the second kingdom (the state) primarily by means of reason.... Luther even went so far as to say that if he were faced with the choice between a ruler who was prudent and bad and another who was good but imprudent, he would choose the prudent and bad, because the good by his imprudence would throw everything into disorder, whereas the prudent, however bad, would have enough sense to restrain evil. This does not mean Luther wanted immoral rulers. He would have preferred a ruler who was both prudent and good.... Luther's primary difference with Calvin . . . would be that he did not believe Christians had the right to use the state to promote Christianity and to Christianize the world. Christians in government could invoke Christian principles in the affairs of state, only to the extent that those Christian principles could be defended and justified by natural reason.

Luther’s view would be conceptualized by the following diagram:




We believe a fifth view of the church-state relationship, as conceptualized in the final diagram, is a more biblical view. Church and state are clearly both under the sovereignty of God. Church and state are both assigned distinctive "ministries" to fulfill for God in this present world. Church and state are clearly to be separated so that each has its God-ordained dominion protected from the other. Christians are under biblical commandment to render allegiance to both — with allegiance to God and his word first, when there is a clear conflict between the two. Finally, as documented from the patriarchs to the apostles, the Bible strongly advocates that individual believers be involved in and exert an influence over the civil government to the fullest extent possible so long as the revealed word of God is not compromised. Civil government is ordained by God to execute his justice on earth, maintain civil order, and protect inalienable human rights. This "ministry" has its origin and revealed guidance from God. Human rulers would be ignorant of that without the constant proclamation of God's word by believers and other forms of Christian influence on civil government. As Francis Schaeffer writes:

Most fundamentally, our culture, society, government, and law are in the condition they are in, not because of a conspiracy, but because the church has forsaken its duty to be the salt of the culture. It is the church's duty (as well as its privilege) to do now what it should have been doing all the time — to use the freedom we do have to be that salt of the culture. If the slide toward authoritarianism is to be reversed we need a committed Christian church that is dedicated to what John W. Whitehead calls "total revolution in the reformative sense."

A Christian Manifesto,
by Francis A. Schaeffer,
pub. Crossway, p. 56

Dr. Schaeffer continues in this context pointing out that whether Christians agree with everything that certain fundamentalist political crusaders have done or not, many of them have "certainly done one thing right: they have used the freedom we still have in the political arena to stand against the other total entity (humanism). They have carried the fact that law is king, that law is above the lawmakers, and God is above the law into this area of life where it always should have been. And this is true spirituality." Unless every Christian is in some way exerting a biblical influence upon civil government, he is not showing the Lordship of Christ in the totality of life. So, we believe the church, through its individual members, should exert an active, biblically contained, impact upon the civil state. The following diagram is our view of what the Bible says about church and state:





Christians should not expect or condone the state to exert its powers to the advancement of any religion — neither Christianity nor Humanism (and Humanism is a religion!). The church should accept neither finances nor political advocacy from civil authority. Should the church depend on government for either, she will find herself inevitably state-controlled. The church does have the right to expect civil government not to be hostile to it, but to protect its rights to exist, to evangelize, and to worship freely according to its conscience so long as it does not infringe upon anyone's civil rights or advocate disorder or subversion of civil authority. Christians have a right to expect civil government to act justly, fairly, decently, and orderly. They have the right to expect treatment under law equal to that granted any other citizen or religious person. What the government does for one religion it should do for all religions willing to exist and function within the laws of reason and for the common good. For the civil government to allow one metaphysical view (Humanism or Evolutionism) to be taught in taxpayer-supported institutions (public schools) and not another (Creationism) is unreasonable, unconscionable, and unconstitutional in the United States of America. America's foundation is on equal rights and civil responsibility to the Divine Sovereign:

June 25, 1960. The Supreme Court had just declared prayer in the schools unconstitutional. Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia, a Bible teacher and respected member of the U.S. Legislature, was so moved by the disastrous decision that two days later he delivered an address to his colleagues in Congress reminding them of the Christian symbolism throughout their own city.

"In no other place in the United States are there so many, and such varied official evidences of deep and abiding faith in God on the part of Governments as there are in Washington."

He verbally escorted them to the Library of Congress, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, the Supreme Court, and other landmarks. Then he concluded: "Inasmuch as our greatest leaders have shown no doubt about God's proper place in the American birthright, can we in our day, dare do less?"

The Capitol

Every session of the House and the Senate begins with prayer. Each house has its own chaplain.

The Eighty-third Congress set aside a small room in the Capitol, just off the rotunda, for the private prayer and meditation of members of Congress. The room is always open when Congress is in session, but it is not open to the public. The room's focal point is a stained glass window showing George Washington kneeling in prayer. Behind him is etched these words from Psalm 16:1: "Preserve me, O God, for in Thee do I put my trust."

Inside the rotunda is a picture of the Pilgrims about to embark from Holland on the sister ship of the Mayflower, the Speedwell. The ship's revered chaplain, Brewster, who later joined the Mayflower, has open on his lap the Bible. Very clear are the words, "the New Testament according to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ." On the sail is the motto of the Pilgrims, "In God We Trust, God With Us."

The phrase, "In God We Trust," appears opposite the President of the Senate, who is the Vice President of the United States. The same phrase, in large words inscribed in the marble, backdrops the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The Supreme Court

Above the head of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court are the Ten Commandments, with the great American eagle protecting them. Moses is included among the great lawgivers in Herman A. MacNeil's marble sculpture group on the east front. The crier who opens each session closes with the words, "God save the United States and the Honorable Court."

The Washington Monument

Engraved on the metal cap on the top of the Washington Monument are the words: "Praise be to God." Lining the walls of the stairwell are such biblical phrases as "Search the Scriptures," "Holiness to the Lord," "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it."

The Library of Congress

Numerous quotations from Scripture can be found within its walls. One reminds each American of his responsibility to his Maker: "What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly and love mercy and walk humbly with thy God" (Micah 6:8).

Another in the lawmaker's library preserves the Psalmist's acknowledgment that all nature reflects the order and beauty of the Creator. "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth His handiwork" (Psalm 19:1).

And still another reference: "The light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not" (John 1:5).

Lincoln Memorial

Millions have stood in the Lincoln Memorial and gazed up at the statue of the great Abraham Lincoln. The sculptor who chiseled the features of Lincoln in granite all but seems to make Lincoln speak his own words inscribed into the walls. "... That this Nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

At the opposite end, on the north wall, his Second Inaugural address alludes to "God," the "Bible," "providence," "the Almighty," and "divine attributes,"

It then continues: "As was said 3000 years ago, so it still must be said, The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."

Jefferson Memorial

On the south banks of Washington's Tidal Basin, Thomas Jefferson still speaks:

"God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever."

Senator Byrd cites these words of Jefferson as "a forceful and explicit warning that to remove God from this country will destroy it."

The Rebirth of America,
by The Arthur S. DeMoss Foundation,
pp. 66-69

Copyright © 1990, Paul T. Butler