How far can we Scripturally go?

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by rlvaughn, Aug 27, 2003.

  1. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
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    The threads on Judge Moore and the Ten Commandments have furnished much food for thought, especially on the issues of the Constitution and Separation of Church & State. Here are a few more thoughts I have:

    1. Often on political issues I can become a "triple-minded" man, because my personal opinions, opinions on what the Constitution says/allows, etc., and my scriptural beliefs, do not always agree with one another.

    2. I wonder if sometimes we Americans sometimes prize more highly the ideal of RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS than we do the ideal of GLORIFYING GOD.

    3. I wonder how far each of us can Scripturally go in defending our views of Freedom of Religion/Church-State Separation. Most all of us would probably agree that people should be free to worship God after the dictates of their own heart, based on teachings such as that we must worship God in spirit and in truth, etc. But beyond that, how far can we go? How much "church-state separation" or "freedom of religion" is necessary to meet Biblical requirements? Must the individual who is perfectly free to worship any God, many gods, or no god, also be free from being offended concerning which of these he or she chooses? by the government? by the school system? by their employer? by their neighbour? Someone said that the distinctive of separation of church & state is mandatory for Baptists? How much do you believe you are able to Scripturally (not Constitutionally) defend?
     
  2. Pete Richert

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    Honestly, I couldn't even begin to defend seperation of church and state with the Bible. I only try to defend, "all for the gospel!", whatever is best at that time. My own personal opionion about the ten commandments in the alabama building is this (and I could be wrong), it isn't going to bring anybody to a saving trust in Jesus Christ. So while I wish it to stay because I would like to see such religous symbols everyone on the streets everywhere in the world, I don't really care if they take it away.

    My response to the guy who said, "get your hands off my God", even if he did mean in respect to them trying to remove God from our socity is, WHO CARES. God is NOT represented in our society by a huge stone monument with the ten commandments. That couldn't even save Israel for whom it was intended. No, God is represented by his people in the world, who trust in Him. His kindgom will come, his Will Will be done, and it is being done by the proclamation of the gospel.

    How come all these pre-trib pre-mill pessimistics in the future all of a sudden became flaming post-milleniels, as if the church is going to overtake society and make it a Christian world? What did we expect from the pagan world?
     
  3. Pete Richert

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    I'm sorry, that really wasn't on topic.
     
  4. Jim1999

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    Those of us who live outside the USA, where the Constitution is the be all of the nation, look differently at freedom of religion. We appreciate that we have the freedom to worship and assemble as we please in Canada.

    On the other hand, the government is of all people, including atheists and other religions. They too have rights, and the government represents them too.

    I never took part in teaching religion in public schools on the basis that this left the door open for any and all equal rights to teach religion.

    If the majority object to having a religious presentation on public buildings, I suppose they have that right too. This does not mean we can't try to get our message out by any means.

    The only constitution we have in Canada is in effect the Bill of Rights......and it has caused more legal action than ever in Canadian history.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  5. Gunther

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    Pete, as you know, I am a pretrib guy. I am extremely disappointed at the theological immaturity of those who claim to be dispies and still push their attempts to bring in Christ's kingdom through governmental means. They do not truly understand what they say they stand for.
     
  6. rlvaughn

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    Before we get too deep into the thread, let me say that there are plenty of threads discussing Judge Moore, the Ten Commandments and the Constitution. I hope that we can investigate the scriptural foundation of beliefs concerning separation of church & state/freedom of religion. Why do you believe what you believe? What scriptures and scriptural teachings inform your view of separation of church & state/freedom of religion?
     
  7. Baptist Believer

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    I can go a long, long way, but time is very short for me right now. Instead of doing half a job, I’ll point you to some people who have done an excellent job presenting the material in concise form.

    Here’s a sermon by George Truett, the legendary pastor of First Baptist, Dallas, from the steps of the capitol in 1920. He did an excellent job explaining the fundamentals of the Baptist view of church and state separation:

    http://www.bjcpa.org/Pages/Resources/Pubs/truett.html

    Here’s a journal article written by Dr. James Spivey (who is also a General in the U.S. Army), a professor of church history at Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth:

    http://www.bjcpa.org/Pages/Resources/Pubs/spivey.html


    Since a person cannot come to Christ unless they are called of the Father (John 6:44) through the work of the Holy Spirit, there should be no manipulation or compulsion of the individual conscience by governmental authority to become a disciple of Jesus Christ. As history as aptly demonstrated, when the church is “aided” by the state, the church suffers. Furthermore, when an individual is a religious minority (as Baptists are in many parts of the United States and the world), they tend to get treated “less equally” – or even persecuted – by the religious majority.

    Actually, it has very little to do with “offending” people (although that’s what the rabid anti-separationist crowd would like you to think) and much more to do with government entanglement in religious affairs. Do you really want the court that struck down sodomy laws meddling with the content of the “Ten Commandments” if they decide to keep them as “laws”. Would you like a display of the “Seven Commandments” of God because three of the commandments were overturned in previous court rulings?

    I think I could defend it very well. A number of years ago I wrote quite a bit on the subject. But one of the best sources from a Baptist perspective is the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs site:

    http://www.bjcpa.org/Pages/Resources/Pubs/publicationsindex.html
     
  8. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
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    BB, I haven't really had time to look over your links, though I did scan quickly over Truett's sermon. So at the present I can't really comment knowledgeably upon them.

    I must say that I am surprised at the lack of people jumping in to give their Biblical foundations for religious freedom/separation of church & state, considering the amount of posts that have been made concerning Judge Moore and the Ten Commandments.
     
  9. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    I hope to have time (and connection) to add to the thoughts of this link, but for now, here's some to chew on:

    http://www.anabaptists.org/ras/31e30.html

    I will add a few for now:

    In Matthew 4:9, satan indicates that the kingdoms of the world are his to give.

    When Israel demands a king from Samuel, the Lord counsels his prophet in 1Samuel 8:7:

    Acts 5:29 also applies to this doctrine.
     
  10. Gina B

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    I have no scriptural documentation for separation of church and state, or non-separation for that matter. Jesus did make a distinction between the two, but if anything it seemed more for the purpose of peace with gov. than disagreeing.

    Separation of church and state was our idea. I don't think the government should attempt to take over religion or interfere with it, but I do believe that we should do all we can to get Christians into positions of power in the government (and major businesses). People tend to be led most willingly by example rather than law, as Jesus perfectly demonstrated in his lifetime here on earth. Good or bad, people follow the examples of those in power.

    I hope there's NEVER a true separation of church and state. I want religion hopelessly and totally involved in all government decisions. [​IMG]

    Gina
     
  11. Clint Kritzer

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    Suppose a day comes when the Muslims have the majority in this country? Or the Budhist? Or the LDS? What even of the Catholics as they hold the "majority" position in numbers over Protestants? Some here will claim that the Catholics are not Christian. Who will determine that? The government? What of those Catholics who claim that WE are not Christian? Would you be satisfied if they were in power and shut down our churches (an actual impossibility if we believe Matthew 16:18)? Would you like to see a statue of Buddha on the White House lawn?

    Exactly whose religion do you want hopelessly and totally involved in our governmental decisions?
     
  12. Gina B

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    I would not want anyone other than Christians to have the majority. The religion I want hopelessly and totally involved in our goverment decisions is Christianity.
    Regardless of what ANYONE wants, a leaders decisions will be based on his morals. Most often those morals come from some type of religiously influenced upbringing or belief system, whether it's Catholic or Christian or LDS or Buddhist or Muslim.
    If we do our jobs evangelizing and electing the right people we most likely would not have to fear for other religious groups having the majority in either government or society. I'll even go so far as to say we have a responsibility to encourage our children who show potential for this type of work to strive for such positions so we can be assured of the availability of Christian candidates in the future.
    Comments like this usually "suprise" people at first, but think about what I said for a few minutes before you type what you're thinking after reading that. [​IMG]
    Gina
     
  13. Clint Kritzer

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    Perhaps Christians like Gene Robinson (the NH Episcopalian)? ;)

    Maybe the Right Reverend Jesse Jackson should have his finger on the button? [​IMG] [​IMG]

    David Koresch may have been a fine Mayor of Waco? :(

    Yes, I am all for a Christian running for office, but this term of "Christian", as we all know, is pretty wide. Hey, Bill Clinton claimed to be a Baptist!

    Theoretically, in a democratic republic like the US, the candidate who reflects the majority DOES get power. If Christians are the majority, then it follows that Christians control the ballots.

    If, however, Christians do NOT hold the majority, seperation protects us from interference. That was the vision of the Founding Fathers.

    Please check the link I posted two posts ago and see that there is also plenty of Scriptural support for this concept as well. This doctrine wasn't just "dreamed up" by someone. We are told to seperate from the world. Luckily, we live in a nation that has allowed the world to seperate from us.

    It concerns me that so many people, so many BAPTISTS, are willing to throw this out before the state was. We are greasing the skids on the rocket sled to oppression!

    We as Christians already ARE in control of our own government of which Christ is the Head!

    1 Peter 2

    9But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
     
  14. Gina B

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    No Clint, Christians who believe in true biblical Christianity.
    By the way, I DO believe in separation to the point of the government not being able to interfere with churches or cause laws to interfere with a person's right to worship as they choose, but that's as far as I take it.
    Thanks for pointing out that link! I read through it, but must say that it takes scriptures and jumps to illogical conclusions with them. Further, if one were to swallow this as meaning what it says, the conclusion would be that it is WRONG for a Christian to be involved in government at all!
    There are so many flaws in this article I'm not sure where to start, but I'll give it a shot.

    1. The first thing that really caught my eye was his mention of Israel and his statement that it was a nation separated by God in order to wield judgment upon it's enemies. That statement is false, which renders the statements he made in regards to that reasoning also false.
    The new covenant is speaking to the heart rather than to the flesh. It is individual and personal, and has nothing to do with the reign of Christ in physical nations verses sinful man reigning over nations. That he basically said that's what it meant would be laughable if he wasn't misleading people by promoting it as truth!

    2. Keener uses this verse: "My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence" (John 18:36) to say that we should be separate from government because God's kingdom is heavenly, not earthly. He then attempts to support this idea by quoting "Now then we are ambassadors for Christ" from II Cor. 5:20 and goes on to say that this means we should only represent the heavenly kingdom, not the earthly one. That idea is just about as plausible as saying that because we are sons of God now, we should no longer have earthly fathers. LOL!

    3. Unfortunately, this article doesn't start improving as you read as I was hoping it might. He goes on to state some basic truths from the scriptures as far as obeying government, paying taxes, praying for the leaders. There's nothing wrong with any of this, but in light of his previous statements we should be completely separate from these evil earthly rulers! So...we should first separate from those that have earthly authority over us, let them continue in making their laws to promote killing babies and the disabled, in letting sexually immoral people rule, in letting them make laws that are a detriment to our children, society, and the safety of our country, then after we let them have their rule as such we should obey them.
    I don't think so. God created us with brains. Keener sounds like he believes that the minute we become Christians we should stop using them. We might not be of earth, but we are on earth and I find it a very looooonnnggg stretch to believe that God wants us to have nothing to do with the making/enforcing of laws on the land he gives us to live in.

    4. He closes his "speech" with another list of verses that supposably support his position. What he doesn't seem to get is that being a Christian does not take you out of this world, it equips you to survive within this world. The separation spoken of is a separation of our hearts and thoughts, not physical separation, and most assuredly not physical separation to the point of becoming cowering recluses saying "Yes sir, no ma'am" to the Godless leadership that will take over completely if we all listen to and believe the author of this article.
     
  15. Clint Kritzer

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    To keep this thread from slipping away (and to try to encourage others to add to it), I will post another verse this evening in response to one of Gina's arguments. [​IMG]

    Matthew 23
    9 And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.


    Philippians 3
    17Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 18For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 20But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
     
  16. Gina B

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    That verse on not calling anyone on earth Father isn't referring to calling your dad your father. An example of using the word wrongly in today's world would be the Catholic use of it. Back then it would have been the Jews calling the Rabbis "Father". In these cases people are/were using it to mean one who had authority over their spiritual selves, not physical, so in that sense it was wrong. I think you knew that though. [​IMG] Hey, might make an interesting discussion on the other religions section of the board!

    The KJV uses the word conversation and not citizenship. Whatever the case, I agree with both. What point were you trying to make though? The chapter is talking about those who seek to live and walk worthy of satisfying God rather than to impress those on this earth. :confused:
    Or was it in relation to something else, just to keep the thread going?

    Gina
     
  17. Clint Kritzer

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    I forgot to put the smiley after the verse from Matthew. Nonetheless, are you sure of your interpretation? Matthew 10:37 calls for us to love Christ more than our own family and Luke 14:26 takes it a step further. Again, we are seeing the imperative that what is of the flesh is inferior to what is above. It's another call to seperation and proper prioritization.

    As for Phillipians 3:20, the word in question is politeuma, Strong's # 4175.
    Albert Barnes made this commentary on the text:

    It is likely that Paul makes the statement in Philippians 3:20 because of the fiercely loyal attitude to Rome in Philippi. It was a prosperous Roman colony in which the citizens had dual (earthly) citizenship to Philippi and to Rome. You can get a taste of this in Acts 16:21.

    [​IMG] &lt;~~~~Please insert this emiticon where necessary. ;)

    Ephesians 2
    19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
    20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; (KJV)
     
  18. Gina B

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    Ok, so what is your belief Clint? Should we not consider ourselves citizens of the U.S. or whatever country we live in, quit taking part in elections (why vote for a Christian if it's unchristian of him to be running in the first place), and simply let the government have all of the control they want while we grow farther and farther out of touch with anything to do with living here on earth? :confused:
    Gina
     
  19. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    I fall somewhere between secularism and national confessionalism. I believe that the state and the church (whatever that organization may be) should be seperate from each other. There should be no religious tests for governmental leaders. There should be no oaths made to God for two reasons: 1) it has no impact on a non-believer; 2) we as Christians are commanded not to (Matthew 5:34-37). Likewise, I do not think that the clergy has any business involving itself in lobbying efforts.

    I believe that it is the duty of individual citizens of a nation to protest, petition, and vote. I believe that is the duty of Christians to affect cultural morality, but not at a political level. I believe that we, as Christians, should never give society any reason to despise the Gospel because of our actions.

    I believe that since Christ never attempted an insurrection over the Roman government and did not even attempt to change policy with a direct audience with Pilate, we should learn from that example. Since the Herodians found no fault with Christ, we should also learn from that. I believe that if Christ wanted us to take over governmental control, He would have told us to do so right there with preaching the Gospel and baptizing in His name.

    I believe that if we as Christians can affect morality then there will be no need for abortion laws, drug laws, or any other such legislation. I believe it is the duty of the church to teach morality, it is not the duty of the state. I believe that it is the duty of the state to punish the wicked of the world, it is not the duty of the church. I believe in the fervor of events such as the Great Awakening that flourished under the principles of religious liberty with no aid from the state.

    I do not believe in mandatory school prayer nor mandatory Bible education because I don't want a non-believer teaching my children to pray or giving them a skewed view of the Scriptures. I do not believe that prison chaplains should be paid by the state, nor, for that matter, military chaplains. It opens the door for the state to dictate theology.

    I do, however, believe that no one should be able to prevent a child from praying in school nor a group of students from praying if that is their desire. I believe that Bibles should be in public libraries. By the same token, I do not object to the Book of Confucious being there either.

    I believe in the Sovereignty of God and that He can use pagans to instrument His Purpose just as he did with Cyrus, Xerxes, and Darius. I think that to doubt that He can shows fear, panic and a lack of faith. I believe that even though God judges nations, the salvation of my soul is between Him and me alone. I believe that if the city of Sodom had had 10 righteous men, it would have escaped destruction.

    I believe that a person can only come to God if he is called by Him and that no amount of influence or persuasion here on earth will hinder or force that call.

    I believe that I would rather live in a time of religious tolerance like Christ did under Augustus and Tiberius than under persecution like Paul did under Nero.

    I believe that I trust in God whether it's written on a penny or not. I believe that God institutes nations and heads of state whether I pledge that to a flag or not.

    I believe that when the state and church mix, it always results in apostacy and persecution. It didn't work for the Jewish kings, it didn't work for Darius and Daniel, it didn't work for the Vatican, it didn't work for the Church of England, it didn't work for the Puritans, and I am quite certain it would not work for us either.

    I believe that the founders of this nation began a bold experiment in allowing the state to operate seperately from the church and vice versa and that we are blessed to live in such a time. I believe that the seperation of church and state is the single greatest contribution of the Baptists to civilization as a whole.

    1Peter 2:17
    Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.


    [ September 02, 2003, 11:48 PM: Message edited by: Clint Kritzer ]
     
  20. PastorSBC1303

    PastorSBC1303
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    Clint, you gave us a lot to chew on there. Thanks and excellent points!! [​IMG]
     

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