OF CHURCH AND STATE
An Evangelical Hypocrisy
Evangelicals by the boat load insist that there is no such thing as a separation between church and state. Their main point is that the church should be allowed to speak into and influence what happens in the secular government. Of course some even go so far as to claim the American government was founded as a Christian government which is preposterous. But the main argument is that the church, specifically the Christian church, should be a spiritual guidance for the government.
But if that is true, then in a broader sense what is suggested is that religion should play a defining role in the secular government. And if that is accurate, then their should be no separation between mosque and state or synagogue and state. But most Christians would loudly protest that kind of pluralism practiced in a pluralistic government. It is of course duplicitous and is at odds with that “sacred” document called the Constitution.
The secular republic known as America is designed to represent all people regardless of faith or those who have no faith. And they and their rights must be championed equally under the equal protection clause found in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. Atheists, Christians, Muslims, Jews, and Satan worshipers must be treated equally under the law, and no laws shall be passed which seem to favor any individual or group. And so many who ignorantly trumpet the United States as some bastion of the Christian faith refuse to acknowledge the overt pluralistic nature contained and outlined in the original documents.
There is only one way to speak into and influence the laws that govern America, the interpretation of those laws, and the precise implementation of those laws, and that is through the democratic process. And usually the majority has the upper hand although the Supreme Court is supposed to be the impartial arbiter, even though they have been appointed by the President who came to power through a majority vote. It is very difficult to minimize the effect that the majority has in a republic.
The largest group affiliated with a distinct denomination is by far Roman Catholics. They comprise almost half of the group generally labeled as “Christian”. And although the group labeled as “christian” compromises the vast majority of religious groups in Americas, it would be safe to say a very large percentage is Christian in name only and not actually born again followers of Jesus Christ. And within that group are many and varied political perspectives. But be aware that if their were only one Muslim person in the Untied States his rights would be just as important as the rights of all the Christians under the Constitution.
So the suggestion that any religion should have some inward path to influence the government is absurd, and even though you can pull out quotes from Jefferson or Lincoln or others suggesting that influence, the country was and still is pluralistic and secular. The prayers before sessions of congress, or the Bible under the hand of the newly sworn in President, are merely window dressing and have no real meaning. Tradition and pomp are its substance and not any genuine acknowledgement of the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Of course many people embrace pomp and tradition rather than truth.
But having outlined that myth, I want to reverse the situation. The church insists almost more strenuously that the state should have no influence within the church. Many suggest that the wall between church and state is to protect the church fromm the state so the state should keep its nose out of church business. Just this year there was a brouhaha over insurance companies with religious affiliations required to offer birth control pills and devices. I believe as do millions that the state should not be allowed to dictate to religions things against their doctrines and conscience.
But here is where the hypocrisy is widespread although cleverly hidden. The church has willingly invited the state into its domain, and has placed the desires and operations of the state above the teachings of the Word of God. And this election year has uncovered ample and incriminating evidence of just such a scandal. And when the Word of God is made to take a back seat to the dictates of the secular, then the journey to apostasy flourishes. There is an old Arab parable which illustrates this principle.
One cold night, as an Arab sat in his tent, a camel gently thrust his nose under the flap and looked in. "Master," he said, "let me put my nose in your tent. It's cold and stormy out here." "By all means," said the Arab, "and welcome" as he turned over and went to sleep.
A little later the Arab awoke to find that the camel had not only put his nose in the tent but his head and neck also. The camel, who had been turning his head from side to side, said, "I will take but little more room if I place my forelegs within the tent. It is difficult standing out here." "Yes, you may put your forelegs within," said the Arab, moving a little to make room, for the tent was small.
Finally, the camel said, "May I not stand wholly inside? I keep the tent open by standing as I do." "Yes, yes," said the Arab. "Come wholly inside. Perhaps it will be better for both of us." So the camel crowded in. The Arab with difficulty in the crowded quarters again went to sleep. When he woke up the next time, he was outside in the cold and the camel had the tent to himself.
When the Word of God teaches us to avoid those who teach doctrines directly opposed to Biblical teaching, and not even to bid them “Godspeed”, then God does not suspend that command in an election year. But millions of professing believers and evangelical preachers will march right into a voting booth and cast their support for a Mormon priest who denies the divinity of Jesus Christ. They have elevated the practices of the state above the teachings of Scripture.
But many say that they are not electing a pastor, just a president. So now the Word of God is confined to the church building? The teachings of Scripture are not meant to be obeyed in all circumstances? That is situational ethics and not the eternal Word of the Living God. Listen, we all fall short of a complete obedience to God’s Word without purposely ignoring its teachings when we deem the circumstances demand it. The state says you should vote, and the state provides its candidates, and the church bows before it? And we have allowed and even invited the spirit of this world to roam freely within the church and influence the church to the point where she practices things against God’s Word and rejoices in it!
You see, instead of doing sentry duty and watching for any secular incursions, we have embraced those incursions and even made them part of a disciple’s life. How diabolical! How utterly opposed to Christ!
King Hezekiah brought unbelievers into the Temple and showed them the sacred and valuable things. The Prophet Isaiah rebuked him and informed him that those same unbelievers, the Babylonians, would one day ransack that holy place. Eventually they did. The church has invited politicians of all stripes into their churches. It has joined forces with unbelievers from around the country. Our preachers have sat on platforms with blasphemers and infidels. Preachers have exalted the founding fathers from the pulpit. And the residual effects of this unholy alliance is that instead of the church affecting the secular, the secular has influenced and even intoxicated the church.
There is no wall of separation between the church and the state. But the flow of influence is overwhelmingly from the state to the church. But still the church hardens its heart and still the church contends that with enough votes and political influence we can turn an entire nation toward Christ. Worse yet and probably more accurate, the church desires to increase their finances through elections. We cannot even turn the church toward Christ much less a nation. How pitiful it is to see what should be the manifestation of the Risen Christ in all His glory bowing before the swine of fallen systems. What should be salt and light is nothing more than a voting block. And during this election year thousands of churches will pass out pamphlets to reveal where the candidates stand on the issues. And millions of church members who did not read the Scriptures that week will read these pamphlets as if they were heavenly communications.
What the American church fails to realize is that she now lives in the wilderness because the camel of nationalism has taken over the tent. And what began as an amalgam of the sacred and the profane has now evolved into a profane manifestation of a western religion that uses and abuses the name of Jesus. A little leaven leaveneth the whole loaf. All of us are imperfect, but when we embrace foundation principles that are antithetical to God’s Word it spreads like a cancer. Like a parasite it eventually sucks the life out of its host until the life of the parasite is the life of the host.
Oh how the mighty have fallen! What used to be a glorious expression of the Person of Jesus Christ has become a powerless religious shell. What used to endure persecution and even martyrdom now is honored and respected by the heathen. What used to pray fervently now is fervent in activity. What used to deny self to exalt Christ now exalts self and denies Christ. It is a sad spectacle. What used to keep the camel’s nose from under the tent, now invites the camel to speak within the tent.
Is.50:1 Thus saith the Lord, Where is the bill of your mother's divorcement, whom I have put away? or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves, and for your transgressions is your mother put away.
Is.55: Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
2 Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.
3 Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live
Is.64: Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence,
2 As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence!
3 When thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at thy presence.
4 For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.
5 Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember thee in thy ways: behold, thou art wroth; for we have sinned: in those is continuance, and we shall be saved.