image My post yesterday reminded me of the tension that exists between conflicting worldviews and the institutions of Church and State.  Chuck Colson in his book God & Government reminds us about the clear and distinct roles that each play.

In God’s provision the state is not to seize authority over ecclesiastical or spiritual matters, nor is the church to seek authority over political matters.  Yet the constant temptation of each is to encroach upon the other.

Governments, with rare exceptions, seek to expand their power beyond the mandate to restrain evil, preserve order, and promote justice.  Most often they do this by venturing into religious or moral areas.  The reason is two-fold: the state needs religious legitimization for its policies and an independent church is the one structure that rivals the state’s claim for ultimate allegiance, (pg. 127-128)…

…On the other side of the coin, the church, whose principle function is to proclaim the Good News and witness the values of the Kingdom of God, must resist the tempting illusion that it can usher in that Kingdom through political means, (pg. 131).

State overreached when the Iowa Supreme Court tried to expand its power into the realm of defining marriage in Iowa.  Another example would be with the state of Massachusetts ordering Catholic Charities to make adoptions to homosexual couples.  Instead of complying they stopped arranging adoptions.

Where you can see the Church’s overreach?  I believe in the case of the gay marriage ruling.  There was a slide in that direction for quite some time.  It is a problem when we engage a group of people (GLBT community), as evangelicals have been perceived as doing, on only the political front we’ve missed the mark.  I would submit that we are here largely because the Church has lost its saltiness.  If there was a vote on a marriage amendment and if (a big if) the measure lost instead of just fighting this battle politically – we need to recognize that the ultimate problem is that we are not winning hearts and minds.

We haven’t been effective in swaying people to our worldview.  That isn’t done via the ballot box, but through the Gospel.  I’m not saying evangelicals should not be engaged politically, but if that is what we rely on we’ve missed the mark.

5 comments
  1. Wow, good point about the Church overreaching! I totally agree with you there. Also, about the government overreaching in their realm, sure, governments do that all the time. The Roman government overreached when they fed the Christian martyrs to the lions. The government is *always* going to be encroaching where they don’t belong, that’s the nature of government. And when they do so, it’s the duty of Christians to turn the other cheek. To the eternal shame of Catholic Charities, they refused to do so, the obstinately fought back against the government encroachment. Whether or not the government is right to mandate the right of homosexual couples to adopt isn’t the issue. Catholic Charities has failed by its petulant refusal to fulfill its God given duty. As Christians, we should be fighting any battles politically, we should only fight spiritually. I’ve never heard of a Christian martyr who tried to fight back against the Romans… Looks like we really have missed the mark.
    .-= Guy Incognito´s last blog ..Bonac the Magnificent =-.

    1. Now you overreached in your comment, Colson nor I would agree with you re. Catholic Charities. Christians can and should be involved in politics, I mean really? Leave it entirely up to non-believers? That doesn’t make sense.

      But it isn’t the Church as an institution’s duty to do so.

      1. Hi Shane:
        I’m not sure “overreached” is the word I would choose regarding the church, although I couldn’t agree with you more on your point. I have a similar view on abortion. There’s always a litmus test about supporting a constitutional amendment banning abortion, and while I may support one, that’s not where the battle should take place in my view. With these matters, it’s not an either/or (political or spiritual). It’s a both/and.

        Brian
        .-= Brian Myers´s last blog ..The Welfare State, the Western World, and Impending Economic Disaster =-.

  2. The Founding Fathers original intent in the seperation on church and state was not what we have now. If you read their words they only wanted the seperation to be as far as no state sponsored religion. The colonies were mainly following a certain denominations,ie: Congregational church, Christian faith, Protestant,Quakers,Episcopalians. They did however want the Bible taught in schools in a universal way so as to teach morality, the responsibility of each person to all mankind, that there does exists a Creator who made all things and that man should worship in a way that they see fit. The Supreme Court has seen fit to undo what was done by legislating from the bench. It is no wonder that the state of our current nation is the way it is. The Progressives have attacked the fabric of our laws since Woodrow Wilson and if left unchecked Obama and his administration will take in farther and faster into a godless nation than it already is. He has stated we are NOT a Judeo-Christian nation even tho 85% of the people believe in God and in the teachings of the Gospels. Only if we elect pro-religeon people can we stall or change the direction of the slide.

    May He bless us all.

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