Archive for the ‘church and state’ Category

.In Islam, God is Caesar; in China and Japan, Caesar is God; in Orthodoxy, God is Caesar’s junior partner

May 10, 2013

Throughout Western history, first the Church and then many churches existed separate from the state. God and Caesar, church and state, spiritual authority and temporal authority had been a prevailing dualism in Western culture…In Islam, God is Caesar; in China and Japan, Caesar is God; in Orthodoxy, God is Caesar’s junior partner.

The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. Samuel P. Huntington. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996, p.70

the all-powerful and all-benevolent state should weigh heavy in each person’s life

September 5, 2011

(Gordon Brown’s) real goal was to increase public expenditure…; he believed that the all-powerful and all-benevolent state should weigh heavy in each person’s life, and should be a presence in it as God was supposed to be in the Presyterianism of his upbringing.

Theodore Dalrymple, Not With a Bang But a Whimper

The state becomes a surrogate God once the real God has been ditched. The government becomes an idol as it was for the 20th C. absolute monarchies of the atheistic republicans. The state becomes the object of faith, a kind of benevolent Eternal Father who feeds, teaches and loves all indiscriminately.

Can it be lawful to make an occupation of the sword, when the Lord proclaims that ‘he who uses the sword shall perish by the sword’?

November 15, 2009

Can it be lawful to make an occupation of the sword, when the Lord proclaims that ‘he who uses the sword shall perish by the sword’? And shall the son of peace take part in battle, when it does not become him even to sue at law? Shall he apply the chain, the prison, the torture, and the punishment, when he is not [even] the avenger of his own wrongs?”

Tertullian, The Crown , chap. 11

It pains me to criticise the great Tertullian, but surely a Christian occupies two kingdoms? The sword is not an instrument of the Church but it is of the earthly State. To advance the Kingdom of God, the sword must never be used. But as a citizen of a given State, a Christian may lawfully bear and use arms in his civil duty.

Note well the context of the two Scripture passages Tertullian quotes and alludes to. They are used a) in the potential use of the sword in the defence of the person of Christ Mt.26.52, and by extension, the Church and b) in inter-Church disputes. Neither case respects earthly duties, as Christians all have, to obey the powers that be (Rom.13.1f and 1 Peter 2.13).

So whilst it is apposite to quote Justin Martyr who said,

We, who formerly murdered one another, not only refuse to make war against our enemies, but in order not to lie nor deceive our judges, meet death willingly, confessing Christ. (Apology I, 39)

We note that this pertains in the kingdom of God and not of man. The lawful, earthly sovereign may command his subjects, including Christians, to take up arms to defend his kingdom.

Thus, any ‘Holy War’, which has man brandishing a sword, is de facto Satanic. But if I defend my house by force against an intruder who would harm my family, I do so as a citizen of that country. After I have subdued him I may preach the gospel to him – if he will listen!

Can the sword of steel or arm of flesh make men faithful or loyal to God ? Or careth God for the outward loyalty or faithfulness, when the inward man is false and treacherous ?

November 3, 2009

Can the sword of steel or arm of flesh make men faithful or loyal to God ? Or careth God for the outward loyalty or faithfulness, when the inward man is false and treacherous ? Or is there not more danger from a hypocrite, a dissembler, a turncoat in his religion (from the fear or favor of men) than from a resolved Jew, Turk, or papist, who holds firm unto his principles ? ” A carnal weapon or sword of steel may produce a carnal repentance. ” Faith is that gift which proceeds alone from the Father of lights, and till he please to make his light arise and open the eyes of blind sinners, their souls shall lie fast asleep and the faster, in that a sword of steel compels them to a worship in hypocrisy.” Even more serious is the effect that compulsion to religion ” carries men to be of no religion all their days, worse than the very Indians.”

Roger Williams, quoted by Roland Bainton

 

He that complies against his will is of his own opinion still.

Samuel Butler.

The Church… is not the master or servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state

October 29, 2009

The Church… is not the master or servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state and never its tool.

Martin Luther King Jr.