The Holy Spirit, through Paul, Explained the Temporal Earthly and the Eternal Spiritual


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 Distinct Differences Between Church and State Render Them Mutually Exclusive.
Click here to go to the written lessons.
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Jerald Finney
Copyright © February 11, 2018


Civil government does not meet the qualifications needed to rule over a church and those matters assigned the church by God. Civil government does not have the authority given it from God to oversee or rule a church. Since civil government is usually led by the unregenerate, it does not have the nature or wisdom to handle spiritual matters. As we have seen, when church and state combine, church, state, individuals, and families are corrupted.

Christians have spiritual nature and wisdom, as proclaimed by Paul: “Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath proposed in himself” (Ep. 1.9).

Paul was a very well-educated man. He was a Pharisee of Pharisees. Before his conversion, he studied in Tarsus under Gamaliel (Ac. 22.3).[i]

Despite his worldly education, which he obtained before his conversion, Paul declared:

“And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power. Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them to us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.  For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Co. 2.1-16). [Bold emphasis mine].

Thus, Paul first made clear that, as a spiritual man, he discarded his worldly education gained as a lost carnal man. After he got saved he relied only upon his knowledge of God; and he made clear that only the born-again believer, led by the Spirit, was qualified to handle spiritual matters. Paul also asserted that rulers, “the princes of this world,” do not possess spiritual wisdom, indicating that most leaders are not Christians (undoubtedly, almost all leaders, and almost all leaders of civil government when he wrote the above words, are not and were not Christians) and are blind to spiritual matters.

  • “InScripture theology, wisdom is true religion; godliness; piety; the knowledge and fear of God, and sincere and uniform obedience to his commands. This is the wisdom which is from above. Ps. xc. Job xxviii”….
  • The wisdom of this world, mere human erudition; or the carnal policy of men, their craft and artifices in promoting their temporal interests; called alsofleshly wisdom. 1 Cor. ii., 2 Cor. i.”[ii]

Few believers and churches have any understanding of these matters. Thus, religious forces descended from the false Catholic and Protestant theologies of the past are working, with some degree of success, to in the United States desperately trying to reunite church and state, to politicize God’s churches. Church incorporation, 501(c)(3) or 508 status, or legal entity status of any kind combines church and state and places God’s churches, for many matters, under the authority of civil government.


Endnotes

[i] “Tarsus was actually the center of Greek learning to that day. The finest Greek university in Paul’s day was in Tarsus, not in Athens or Corinth which had passed their zenith. Tarsus was a thriving Greek city and an educational center. Undoubtedly Paul had been brought up in that university in Tarsus and had a Greek background, but he had also been in Jerusalem where he had studied under Gamaliel. He had worked on his doctorate in Jerusalem under the outstanding scholar of that day, Gamaliel.” J. Vernon McGee, Acts, Volume II (Pasadena, California: Thru the Bible Books, 1984), p. 258.

[ii] AMERICAN DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, NOAH WEBSTER (1828), definition of “WISDOM.”

Introduction: Distinct Differences between Church and State Render Them Mutually Exclusive


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 Distinct Differences Between Church and State Render Them Mutually Exclusive.
Click here to go to the written lessons.
Click here to go to the 3 1/2 to 6 minute video lectures.


Jerald Finney
Copyright © February
11, 2018


This series of lessons will examine Bible teaching which makes clear that state (civil government) and church are so distinct that they are mutually exclusive—that God ordained each for particular purposes and that He desires that both operate under Him but that neither work with, over, or under the other. The Old Testament develops the doctrine of civil government. There we learn that God ordained civil government to directly control evil since the restraint of conscience was insufficient to control the sinful man. God added the restraint of civil government as a further direct, worldly control over man. The Old Testament deals with Gentile civil government and the theocracy and Israel, their purposes and authorities under God, their history, and prophecies concerning, among other things, concerning their fate. The New Testament announces something new, the church, a spiritual organism made up of spiritual beings.

Combining church and state has had dire consequences, as history shows.[i] Catholic and Protestant theology historically justified (and continue to justify) the union of church and state by examining Scripture not literally, but allegorically or spiritually, when and where convenient to support a desired conclusion (such as union of church and state). Those religious organizations interpret Scripture in such a way as to apply the principles for Israel and Judaism to Gentile nations. Just as religion and state were combined in the Jewish theocracy, this spiritualized and allegorized theology, when implemented, unites church and state in Gentile nations.

JamesMadisonOnC&SMany of America’s founding fathers—most especially James Madison and Thomas Jefferson (see [ii], a copy of Virginia Bill for Religious Liberty drafted by Thomas Jefferson)—and other leaders understood that church and state should be separate. From a worldly common sense point of view Madison and Jefferson and others arrived at their understanding by studying the consequences of such unions both historically and also contemporaneously. From a Bible or spiritual perspective, Roger Williams, Isaac Backus, John Leland and other Baptists understood both the problems created by combining church and state and the true reasons for those problems. Backus wrote:

  • “Christians must be careful not to apply God’s principles for the Jewish religion and the nation Israel to church and state. The principles for the two are so distinct that they are mutually exclusive. The government of the Church of Christ is as distinct from all worldly governments, as heaven is from earth.”[iii]

Indeed, union of church and state is contrary to biblical principles; and, therefore, the consequences of church-state union have always been dire and will be so until the return of Christ and the establishment of the Kingdom.

God gave both church and state certain powers. God gave the state earthly and temporal power within jurisdictional boundaries which He set out. The power given a church was meant to provide a spiritual and eternal good.

The purpose of the Gentile civil government is fleshly or earthly.[iv] Gentile civil government, according to God, was ordained by God to deal with those temporal earthly matters assigned it by God. God gave man certain authority over man. He gave man the responsibility to rule over man under His rules. Gentile civil government has authority to punish those who commit certain crimes against their fellow man and to reward those who do good. The purpose of the Gentile civil government is to control evil men thereby maintaining some degree of peace in this present world. A civil government, as defined by God, is made up of men under God ruling over man in earthly matters.

Much of God’s spiritual word deals with actions of individuals, families, churches, and nations here upon the earth. Civil governments are not given jurisdiction over many areas of life which are governed by the Word of God. A civil government which ignores God and His Word is setting itself up for judgment.

God ordained a church under God, not a business under civil government, an entity that is to work hand in hand with or perhaps over the state to bring in the kingdom of God, or an entity that is to work under state rules. Admittedly, the ultimate God-given purpose of both a church and a civil government is to glorify God, each acting under God, but neither acting with or under the other. However, the underlying purposes of a church and the state are significantly different: the underlying purpose of a church is heavenly or spiritual; the underlying purpose of a civil government is earthly. God gave neither a church nor the state authority to rule over or with the other. Civil government does not have the authority or the ability (the knowledge, understanding and wisdom) to rule over God’s churches. For reasons already looked at in these lessons, a church is not to join with the civil government in any way.

Christians are told to obey civil government as regards certain earthly matters and civil government has authority over all citizens as to some temporal earthly matters. Individuals, families, and churches are not to be under the civil government with regard to spiritual matters, which include many activities and actions as shown in the Bible.


Endnotes

[i] See the historical section of this study of this abridged course for more on this. See, for a more advanced study, (1) Section 4 of God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application which is available free in both PDF and online form or may be ordered in softback and Kindle by going to “Order information for books by Jerald Finney which also has links to the free PDF and Online Form of the book; (2) the section on the history of the First Amendment; and/or (3) An Abridged History of the First Amendment.).

[ii] Virginia Bill for Religious Freedom drafted by Thomas Jefferson:Virginia Bill for Religious Liberty drafted by Thomas Jefferson in 1779 and enacted in 1786.

[iii]  Isaac Backus, A History of New England With Particular Reference to the Denomination of Christians called Baptists, Volume 2 (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock Publishers, Previously published by Backus Historical Society, 1871), p. 561.

[iv] See Section I.A., The Biblical Doctrine of Government of this short course for more on government. For a more advanced analysis, “The biblical doctrine of government” for more on the jurisdiction and purposes of the various God-ordained governments including civil government.

Distinct Differences Between Church and State Render Them Mutually Exclusive

(1) Introduction: Distinct Differences Between Church and State Render Them Mutually Exclusive
(2) The Holy Spirit, through Paul, Explained the Temporal Earthly and the Eternal Spiritual
(3) Persecuted Christians and Churches Have Always Stood for Separation of Church and State
(4) Nine Distinct Differences Between Church and State Which Render Them Mutually Exclusive

Click here to go to the written lessons.
Click here to go to the 3 1/2 to 6 minute video lectures.
Click here to go to all lessons on the Bible doctrine on the relationship of Church and State.
Click here to go to a much more detailed study (for the advanced student).