A Publication of Churches Under Christ Ministry
Miss one part of the puzzle that is being put together in these studies and you will never see and understand the whole picture.
B. Bible Doctrine of Church
2. Definitions of “Separation of Church and State,” “Established Church,” and “Religious Freedom or Soul Liberty”
Click here to go to all lessons on the Bible doctrine on the relationship of Church and State.
Click here to go to links to all written lessons.
Click here to go to the 3 1/2 to 6 minute video lectures.
Copyright © January 20, 2018
As these studies have already shown, God, the Supreme Ruler, ordained civil government and the church at different times, for different purposes, and for peoples with different natures. God ordained the state, the civil government, to deal with earthly matters, and the church to deal with spiritual matters. When church and state combine, the earthly combines with the spiritual and trouble lies ahead, as history proves.
God desires that both civil governments and churches choose to be under Him, to operate according to His principles. At the same time, God desires separation of church and state—that is, He desires that neither the church nor the Gentile state work with or be under the other. A church who does not understand this proper relationship will be easily influenced to take earthly benefits from the state in return for forsaking her purely spiritual status and calling under Christ. Most American churches have corporate 501(c)(3) legal status; both combine church and state for earthly temporal legal reasons. Such churches are established churches, legal creatures of the state.[i]
It is the responsibility of every church, not the state—regardless of all persecutions by the state, by the church-state alliance, and/or by the world in general—to be a light and stand for and proclaim truth. This is so because a church is the only institution made up of people privy to God’s spiritual insights, and is “the pillar and ground of the truth.”[ii] Generally speaking, those who run civil government cannot know spiritual and ultimate truth since most leaders in civil government are unregenerate (or, in rare instances, Christians who are usually spiritual babies).
Catholicism was the original church to be united with the state through the law of civil government in the early fourth century. Catholicism, most notably Augustine and much later Aquinas, developed the theology which unifies church and state through the laws of a nation. This theology justifies the persecution, torture, and murder of heretics. Established Protestant churches continued to practice this heretical theology. Church state establishments have always viciously persecuted and murdered those whom the established church has labeled to be heretical.[iii]
Established churches in the American colonies—notably, the Puritans and Anglicans—continued to persecute heretics, although due to constraints by England, not as severely as in the Old World. As always, faithful Bible stood spiritually, not physically, against the establishments. Due to the circumstances in the colonies, those heroes of the faith ultimately prevailed when the First Amendment was ratified and added to the United States Constitution.[iii]
The Covenant Theology of the Puritans, a modified form of Calvinism, which is a modification of Catholic theology, spiritualizes and allegorizes much of the Bible. Calvinism teaches union of church and state and requires the persecution of heretics.
The main opponents of Covenant Theology, union of church and state, and persecution of “heretics” in the colonies were the Baptists. The writings and history, for the most part have survived. Unlike the Old World where Protestantism and Catholicism before that successfully destroyed the books, writings, and teachings of “heretics” new forces came together in the colonies which allowed the brilliant history and writings of men such as Roger Williams, Dr. John Clarke, Isaac Backus, and other to be preserved. Sadly, Christian Revisionism, not to mention secular revisionism, has tried to blot out or pervert and hide that history and those writings.
This section will examine:
- Covenant Theology versus the theology of the dissenting Baptists in the colonies;
- some distinct differences between the church and the state which render them mutually exclusive;
- Christ’s statement concerning Caesar and God and the false interpretation of Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2.13 and some other verses which are often cited out of context to support unlimited submission to the state in all earthly matters, and in all spiritual matters, with the possible exception of preaching salvation;
- the Bible doctrine concerning the relationship of church and state.
Click here to go to a more thorough and advanced Introduction.
[i] See What is an established church?
[ii] 1 Ti. 3.15. Many earthly relationships and behaviors involve the application of spiritual insights. For example, God teaches, in His Word, the responsibilities of husbands to wives, wives to husbands, parents to children, children to parents, civil government to marriages and the men and women joined in marriage, civil government to children, and so forth. Although these are spiritual teachings, they are to be applied in earthly relationships to which there is a spiritual parameter. In other words, God is involved in all relationships and has outlined the ultimate consequences for behaviors, and therefore, everything is spiritual even though it may have an earthly dimension. The trouble comes when man tries to exclude God and His principles, an impossible task.
Also, every sphere of ordained government has its own God-given jurisdiction. God desires the state to stay out of family affairs unless criminal acts are involved. He wants civil government to stay out of church affairs, and the church, as an institution to stay out of state affairs. At the same time, he wants Christians to be in authority since only Christians can apply His principles in the realm of government (of course this has almost never happened). Likewise, a church has no God-given jurisdiction over a family.
[iii] Some resources which cover history of the union of church and state under Catholic and Protestant legal establishments (established church/states) are: The History of the First Amendment, The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus, and Introduction to the biblical doctrine of “Separation of Church and State (Covers persecution from the crucifixion of Christ by Jews, Rome (the Catholic/Roman establishment), to the Reformation, to the American colonies).