Separation of Church and State

Listener Question

On Friday’s Warcast, Aaron and I discuss how Christians should think about politics. As it turns out, potentially connected to the fact that he and I recently joined local chapters of the Christian Taliban, we agree that a government is only proper in so far as it is Christian. Aloha snack bar. Only vaguely related to the topic, a listener kindly submitted the following question: “What is the separation of church and state? Shouldn’t Christians defend it?”

What is the Separation of Church and State?

Separation of church and state is the principle that the state is not the church and the church is not the state; so, the state must not assume the responsibilities and privileges granted by God to the church, and the church must not assume the responsibilities and privileges granted by God to the state. This fits within a Kuyperian framework of sphere sovereignty. God has created the family, church, and state, given to each duties, and each is responsible to carry out those duties, not usurping the duties of another sphere. Sphere sovereignty flows from a belief in the regulative principle, which holds that, because this is God’s world, and all individuals and institutions exist in God’s world at God’s pleasure, individuals and institutions are bound to do only that which God has given express warrant for them to do.

God has given the church the duty to preach the whole counsel of God and administer the ordinances, selecting its officers and members and disciplining both. God has given the state the duty to administer retributive justice to those convicted as criminals by means of due process, to defend her citizens from outside threat according to the constraints of just war theory, and to praise and honor those who do good.

This is the principle of the separation of church and state, a principle not given to us by our wise founding fathers, but given to us by our God through his Word. And, so, yes, Christians must defend this principle. It is our principle.

Separation of State and Religion, the Secular Lie

This draws our attention to an important correction. Too many think that the separation of church and state means the separation of state and religion. But that is an impossibility, an impossibility we have been indoctrinated to believe by government schools in order to give space for the secular state to swallow the Christian family and Christian church.

Note, the principle of separation of church and state is a religious principle, and so necessarily eliminates any thought of the separation of state and religion. It is a religious assertion to say that the church and the state owe their existence to Jehovah and are limited in their creatureliness. It isn’t a principle that man is born knowing and loving, evidenced by how many folks outside the secular West disagree with it. The principle exists in the West because the God of Scripture made us and revealed it to us in Scripture. And it stands against assault upon the same reason. Secular, arbitrary oughtness can’t defend a moist fly from the overreach of Islam and communism, let alone institutional integrity within society. But the Word of the Lord endures forever, and is a rock to withstand any storm.

Additionally, there is no state that is irreligious, further making separation of state and religion a Lennon fantasy. Every state is religious. Every state serves a god. The only question is: Does this state serve the one, true and living God in spirit and truth, or does this state serve a false god falsely. Every state acts according to a system of truth and morality in service to a highest being. Today, the federal government of these united States of America conforms to the religion of secular humanism in service to Man…er, Humanity (androgyny is a must). The city government of Dearborne, Michigan enforces sharia in service to Allah. The government of Plymouth, Massachusetts served Jehovah according to His Word.

Every government is inescapably theonomic. Not every government is good.

Conclusive

The state makes a terrible church, as does Rome. The church makes a terrible state, as does California. Separation of church and state is Christian, as every state and church should be.

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