What is the Government's Responsibility to the Church?
The Untied States holds a unique place in the nations of the world today as the only major government which has held to the Scriptural principle of separation of church and state since its beginning. However, a concentrated move has been underway in these past years to destroy this important freedom. Editor E.S. James of Texas states that the chief enemies of these rights are communism, Catholicism and public apathy. Catholicism wants to control the state, communism wants to destroy the state and public apathy covers its eyes and ears to what’s going on.
Separation of church and state means the state guarantees religious freedom for all and any groups. No group is to be favored or restricted (except when common morality or private property and person is violated). However, it dos not mean the state is against religion which unfortunately some have held. Our Constitution does not forbid any religious element within public areas, but forbids any favoritism to any group. This country was founded on the principle of “in God we trust.” Prayer and Bible reading in public schools are not a violation of religious freedom.
In Matthew 22:19-22 the Pharisees were attempting to trap the Lord Jesus into making traitorous statements. Instead, the Lord turned the tables and revealed the basic principle the individual should have toward both the church and the state. Each has its own demands and requirements, both deserve faithfulness.
Baptists still hold this truth and even have died for it. In fact, it was the Baptists who influenced George Washington and the leaders of the infant country to adopt this freedom. It was a major difference from the tradition of the European countries (nearly all of which had state churches). Born-again Christians ought to praise God for this country with its privileges, opportunities and freedoms. (From Biblical Basis for Baptists, p. 43 by Dr. L. Duane Brown, Regular Baptist Press 1986.
This concludes our study of Separation of Church and State, a biblical approach. We have covered the following topics,
I. What Is Separation of Church and State?
II. What Does the Bible Say about Separation of Church and State?
III. What about the First Amendment and Separation of Church and State?
IV. How Can Government Control the Churches?
V. What is the Christian's Responsibility to Government?
VI. What is the Government's Responsibility to the Church?
My hope is that it has been an edifying and thought provoking topic for all not just Baptists. Though we are at the end of our acrostic "BAPTISTS" there is yet more to come on the Biblical Distinctives of Baptists. “What more could there be?” you ask. Find out on my next post.