If you miss one part of the puzzle that is being put together in these studies, you will never see and understand the whole picture.
A publication of Churches Under Christ Ministry
Click here to go to Dispensation Theology versus Covenant Theology and Their Importance to the Issue of Church and State Relationship in America.
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Copyright © January 29, 2018
In order to understand religious liberty and the history of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution (freedom of speech, press, association, religion (or religious liberty); conscience; soul liberty; separation of church and state; and the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances), one must understand Dispensational Theology and Covenant Theology. This is because proponents of these two theologies fought a spiritual warfare in the colonies which led to the adoption of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
The Puritans were Covenant Theologians. Historic Baptists were Dispensationalists in belief, although the term Dispensational Theology was not coined until sometime in the last few hundred years. These two theologies clashed in the English colonies of America, the Baptist view prevailing at the federal level with the adoption of the First Amendment.
Christian and Secular Revisionists, as always, continue to deceive the general population in America with a revised history of the First Amendment. The contrived version of “Christian” revisionist history predominates the American Christian landscape.[i] The historical section of these studies will summarize the true history, which true scholarship has recorded from the colonial period until this very day.[ii] Contemporary Christian Revisionists use the same techniques as did their Calvinist forefathers. As Isaac Backus noted, concerning the revisionism and lies of the leaders of the established churches in the colonies:
- “[I] appeal to the conscience of every reader, whether he can find three worse things on earth, in the management of controversy, than, first, to secretly take the point disputed for truth without any proof; then, secondly, blending that error with known truths, to make artful addresses to the affections and passions of the audience, to prejudice their minds, before they hear a word that the respondent has to say; and thirdly, if the respondent refuses to yield to such management, then to call in the secular arm to complete the argument?”[iii]
See Isaac Backus Quoted in God Betrayed to get a little understanding of the importance of his efforts and writings in the colonies for the cause of separation of church and state and religious liberty. The first major threat to the colonial establishments was instituted by Roger Williams in New England. His activities and writings forcefully revealed fallacies of certain Puritan (Calvinist) theology and Puritan persecution of “heretics” and led the founding of the first civil government in history with any lasing influence with religious liberty. See Roger Williams: Quotes and Other Information from God Betrayed.
Baptists in the colonies fought the Puritan and Anglican establishments. Isaac Backus came out of the Congregational (Puritan) Church, became a Baptist, and fought against establishment of churches, infant baptism, etc. He obviously disregarded the Calvinist allegorized interpretations of Scripture. He still called himself a Calvinist, but rejected much of classic Calvinism. Through his extensive writing and activities, he fought for separation of church and state, baptismal regeneration, and other issues in the colonies. These studies, especially the advanced studies, extensively quote Isaac Backus, and others such as Roger Williams—another hero of the faith who arrived in Massachusetts from England in the 1630s. It is obvious from their writings that these men took a literal view of Scripture and rejected the allegorized interpretation of Catholicism and Protestantism. Their writings totally dismantled the teachings of Puritans such as John Cotton. At the same time, Cotton and other Puritans, true to form and according to their theology, lied and misrepresented truth as always. They justify lying based upon false interpretations of Scriptures such as those dealing with Rahab the harlot and the midwives in Egypt.
The warfare between various biblical theologies continues and will continue until the kingdom of heaven is established by our Lord. Most “Baptists,” not to mention members of denominations and religions, have unknowingly succumbed to false religious beliefs and philosophies as end-time prophesy unfolds as foretold in Scripture.
This and the next few teachings will, in a nutshell, explain Dispensational Theology and Covenant Theology, distinguish them, and will be invaluable in one’s quest for understanding of the biblical principle of separation of church and state and the American application thereof. To fully understand these matters will not be the goal; only the most important matters will be covered, and those in summary form. see the citations and references for more in depth analysis and study.
Covenant theology allegorizes and spiritualizes Scripture and teaches union of church and state. Covenant theology applies selected principles regarding the theocracy of Israel to Gentile civil government and the church. Dispensational theology is based upon a literal belief in Scripture which accordingly teaches separation of church and state. Although many biblical principles run from Genesis to Revelation, the rules for church and state and for the Jewish religion-state are not the same. Under Judaism (the Jewish religion as ordained by God), religion and state operated hand-in-hand under God; that is, the religion and state were unified by God, both religion and state instructed by God to work together directly under God for the same goals.
Keep in mind that there are many variations of Covenant Theology. Likewise, Dispensationalist systems of theology deviate, some alarmingly, from accurate and literal understanding and teaching on Scripture. God will not call every believer to totally understand these systems. The best thing a believer can do with God’s Word is to study it, believing what it says. When one does that, he will by definition be a dispensationalist. The important thing is that the believer read his own Bible and verify any Bible teaching. It is a serious mistake to blindly follow anyone, especially traditional Calvinist, Reformed, Catholic, Charismatic, JW, Mormon, or similar cultic teachings and teachers.
[i] See the History of the First Amendment or The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus which also explains why those revisionists lie about history and seek to intentionally deceive Christians.
[ii] See, List of Scholarly Resources which Explain and Comprehensively Document the True History of Religious Freedom in America
[iii] Backus, A History of New England…, Volume 1, p. 150. This comment followed and preceded illustrations of how those in favor of church/state marriage, infant baptism, etc. advance their cause. On pp. 151-152, Mr. Backus illustrated how those in favor of infant baptism argued their position, pointing out the fallacies of their arguments. Their tactics have not changed, although in America, due to the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, they no longer can call upon civil government to enforce their beliefs. Click here for Quotes of Isaac Backus in God Betrayed.