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Owen
Apr 3rd 2008, 10:28 AM
Here is a question I want to toss up for you to consider. Its not necessarily anything new but I want to get the brain juices flowing on this one.

How should the church see itself in relation to the government? Should they ideally be contiguous or should they be separate? Should there be any relationship between the two (perhaps one way, church influences the state but not the other way are or vice versa)?

And here is the question that is really of the utmost importance. Why do you believe as you do?

2Witnesses
Apr 3rd 2008, 05:18 PM
Here is a question I want to toss up for you to consider. Its not necessarily anything new but I want to get the brain juices flowing on this one.

How should the church see itself in relation to the government? Should they ideally be contiguous or should they be separate? Should there be any relationship between the two (perhaps one way, church influences the state but not the other way are or vice versa)?

And here is the question that is really of the utmost importance. Why do you believe as you do?

Owen,

I am going to have to admit to you man, right up front, I never liked that name-Owen. It makes me suspicious!

But, may I call you Ow? I think the Church messed up the MINUTE they mixed with secular governments. It was a marriage made in hell. And the Catholics got the ball going.

The Church of the Living God should in NO wAY DEPEND ON secular Government. They support THEM by their good deeds.

2Witnesses

Revinius
Apr 3rd 2008, 05:23 PM
I am pretty ambivalent about this issue, but i do tend to lean towards the necessity for a seperation of church and state. I think with a theocracy we run the risk as Christians in falling into a papal-like state. I think state should be heavily influenced by Christians, after all we are called to be salty, but i do not think that the church should be the state.

We live in too sinful a fallen world for such a thing to work well enough to justify the union. We are told to flee from sin, but by putting ourselves up to become part of the machine that is politics i would say is flaunting ourselves in front of sin. Power corrupts.

Perhaps a good example of how such a thing may or may not work is to look at mega churches. In particular ones who have one major leader with sub-leaders. Because the power of the individual up the top is magnified by the many at the bottom the temptation/corruption of the power is magnified. I dont know many men who dont have a breaking point.

If you think i am wrong let me know, as i said at the start i am still partially of two minds in this.

Owen
Apr 3rd 2008, 05:29 PM
Owen,

I am going to have to admit to you man, right up front, I never liked that name-Owen. It makes me suspicious!

But, may I call you Ow?

You can call me O if you want, since that is one of my many nicknames (ODawg, OTown, OJuke, All-out-O, The O-ster, etc. The letter O goes well with some many things :)).


I think the Church messed up the MINUTE they mixed with secular governments. It was a marriage made in hell. And the Catholics got the ball going.

The Church of the Living God should in NO wAY DEPEND ON secular Government. They support THEM by their good deeds.

First off, to be precise it wasn't the catholics if what we envision is the RCC, instead of the only church there really was at the time. That church was just as much Catholic as it was Orthodox and Protestant, since it was from that church that everyone eventually sprung from.

But is an absolute imperative of forbidding any involvement really what is best? Can there not be some good things that can be accomplished with the church working with the government?

2Witnesses
Apr 3rd 2008, 05:32 PM
I am pretty ambivalent about this issue, but i do tend to lean towards the necessity for a seperation of church and state. I think with a theocracy we run the risk as Christians in falling into a papal-like state. I think state should be heavily influenced by Christians, after all we are called to be salty, but i do not think that the church should be the state.

We live in too sinful a fallen world for such a thing to work well enough to justify the union. We are told to flee from sin, but by putting ourselves up to become part of the machine that is politics i would say is flaunting ourselves in front of sin. Power corrupts.

Perhaps a good example of how such a thing may or may not work is to look at mega churches. In particular ones who have one major leader with sub-leaders. Because the power of the individual up the top is magnified by the many at the bottom the temptation/corruption of the power is magnified. I dont know many men who dont have a breaking point.

If you think i am wrong let me know, as i said at the start i am still partially of two minds in this.

So Rev, if you are of 'two minds' on this, you are unstable in all your ways. And a good reason men as yourself, and perhaps myself, should keep a distance.

But really, I agree! But who is stable to lead? It is God who appoints. But His Church has been called to be apart from the world. But yes, we have our influence.

I do not even believe A Christian should be in the military. But that is up to the conscience of the individual.

This is not an easy question. And I think we all should thank Ow for bring it up. Where is he by the way?

A Pat Robertson found, I think, his answer to this issue!

2Witnesses

The Novelist
Apr 3rd 2008, 05:34 PM
You can call me O if you want, since that is one of my many nicknames (ODawg, OTown, OJuke, All-out-O, The O-ster, etc. The letter O goes well with some many things :)).



First off, to be precise it wasn't the catholics if what we envision is the RCC, instead of the only church there really was at the time. That church was just as much Catholic as it was Orthodox and Protestant, since it was from that church that everyone eventually sprung from.

But is an absolute imperative of forbidding any involvement really what is best? Can there not be some good things that can be accomplished with the church working with the government?

I don't know, but I think that is a power Christians, or any other religious body for that matter, are NOT called to/for. I mean, we've seen the absuses our own faith has doled out over the ages and then we see stuff like the Taliban and Islamic ruled states.

Owen
Apr 3rd 2008, 05:36 PM
I am pretty ambivalent about this issue, but i do tend to lean towards the necessity for a seperation of church and state. I think with a theocracy we run the risk as Christians in falling into a papal-like state. I think state should be heavily influenced by Christians, after all we are called to be salty, but i do not think that the church should be the state.

We live in too sinful a fallen world for such a thing to work well enough to justify the union. We are told to flee from sin, but by putting ourselves up to become part of the machine that is politics i would say is flaunting ourselves in front of sin. Power corrupts.

Perhaps a good example of how such a thing may or may not work is to look at mega churches. In particular ones who have one major leader with sub-leaders. Because the power of the individual up the top is magnified by the many at the bottom the temptation/corruption of the power is magnified. I dont know many men who dont have a breaking point.

If you think i am wrong let me know, as i said at the start i am still partially of two minds in this.

I agree that the church should not be the state (and vice versa).

But how heavily do you feel that the church should work with the state? Where do we draw the line with involvement? Does it include issues such as abortion and homosexuality? What about suggesting in what social areas the government should spend their money?

2Witnesses
Apr 3rd 2008, 05:37 PM
You can call me O if you want, since that is one of my many nicknames (ODawg, OTown, OJuke, All-out-O, The O-ster, etc. The letter O goes well with some many things :)).



First off, to be precise it wasn't the catholics if what we envision is the RCC, instead of the only church there really was at the time. That church was just as much Catholic as it was Orthodox and Protestant, since it was from that church that everyone eventually sprung from.

But is an absolute imperative of forbidding any involvement really what is best? Can there not be some good things that can be accomplished with the church working with the government?

O,

NO! The Church needs to keeps 'its place'. And by the way, there were others, other than the church at Rome. The Church at Rome began to gain the control and influence. It was not THE CHURCH.

2Witnesses

Owen
Apr 3rd 2008, 05:39 PM
I don't know, but I think that is a power Christians, or any other religious body for that matter, are called to/for. I mean, we've seen the absuses our own faith has doled out over the ages and then we see stuff like the Taliban and Islamic ruled states.

Yes, those things were abuses and they were when Christians had power that could not be checked by other groups. But does this mean it should preclude any involvement whatsoever (even a small amount) when there is a group that could serve as a check against potential abuses?

The Novelist
Apr 3rd 2008, 05:39 PM
OOPS! That was supposed to say NOT called to/for...

Owen
Apr 3rd 2008, 05:42 PM
O,

NO! The Church needs to keeps 'its place'. And by the way, there were others, other than the church at Rome. The Church at Rome began to gain the control and influence. It was not THE CHURCH.

Why is there to be a radical separation of church and government? And what exactly is "the place" of the church?

And not to diverge into the topic, but just because the church in Rome had attained prestige amongst the other churches does not make it the Roman Catholic church. There is a period of 600-700 after that that made the church Roman Catholic. There were also other highly esteemed churches at time, on par with the church in Rome. So it was by no means a Roman Catholic church. And it was the only church that really existed at the time.

Revinius
Apr 3rd 2008, 05:43 PM
So Rev, if you are of 'two minds' on this, you are unstable in all your ways. And a good reason men as yourself, and perhaps myself, should keep a distance.

But really, I agree! But who is stable to lead? It is God who appoints. But His Church has been called to be apart from the world. But yes, we have our influence.

I do not even believe A Christian should be in the military. But that is up to the conscience of the individual.

This is not an easy question. And I think we all should thank Ow for bring it up. Where is he by the way?

A Pat Robertson found, I think, his answer to this issue!

2Witnesses

I am only of two minds in the sense that i love Jesus and want everyone else to love him to, the real issue is how to go about that. The only instability that is part of the human condition is sin. All things that are wrong with everything have a direct causal relationship to sin. I support defending what i know is right Biblically. I am no pacifist and neither is God. Some things are worth fighting for.

The Novelist
Apr 3rd 2008, 05:43 PM
Yes, those things were abuses and they were when Christians had power that could not be checked by other groups. But does this mean it should preclude any involvement whatsoever (even a small amount) when there is a group that could serve as a check against potential abuses?

I guess I'm of the mind, being a former Marine and all, that there needs to be an absolute separation of church and state, not by degrees, but rather complete. I think it saves us a whole lot of trouble we don't need on many levels. Of course, that extreme view means that I would forfeit being able to be angered/upset when the country inevitably removes "In God We Trust" from our currency, but at the same time, if the separation is all across the board and enforced in equal measure to all religions, I would accept it.

Revinius
Apr 3rd 2008, 05:46 PM
I guess I'm of the mind, being a former Marine and all, that there needs to be an absolute separation of church and state, not by degrees, but rather complete. I think it saves us a whole lot of trouble we don't need on many levels. Of course, that extreme view means that I would forfeit being able to be angered/upset when the country inevitably removes "In God We Trust" from our currency, but at the same time, if the separation is all across the board and enforced in equal measure to all religions, I would accept it.

As is your right given by your state, you can be upset at people removing that phrase from your currency because you do trust in God. If they dont they can voice that in their vote, as can you in yours. :cool:

Owen
Apr 3rd 2008, 05:50 PM
I guess I'm of the mind, being a former Marine and all, that there needs to be an absolute separation of church and state, not by degrees, but rather complete. I think it saves us a whole lot of trouble we don't need on many levels. Of course, that extreme view means that I would forfeit being able to be angered/upset when the country inevitably removes "In God We Trust" from our currency, but at the same time, if the separation is all across the board and enforced in equal measure to all religions, I would accept it.

But herein lies the issue. Where there is an absolute, complete separation church and state, the government would rule in way that is practically atheist (even if the politicians believe in God). As a result, such policies would be implemented that would effectively hinder Christianity. While we are to work regardless of what the world says, is it worth it to exclude any involvement of the church in the government (not establishment or control)?

The Novelist
Apr 3rd 2008, 05:51 PM
As is your right given by your state, you can be upset at people removing that phrase from your currency because you do trust in God. If they dont they can voice that in their vote, as can you in yours. :cool:

Absolutely true. But my point was, since I do believe in an absolute separation of church and state, as a devout Christian, then that means that I in essence must be willing to give up such things without a fight. I mean, I see the hypocrisy in my feelings and I guess this is me trying to address such. But ultimately, since Paul began writing letters to churches, we've proven that we cannot govern ourselves, a group of like minded individuals, much less a nation of many faiths and peoples.

2Witnesses
Apr 3rd 2008, 05:52 PM
Why is there to be a radical separation of church and government? And what exactly is "the place" of the church?

And not to diverge into the topic, but just because the church in Rome had attained prestige amongst the other churches does not make it the Roman Catholic church. There is a period of 600-700 after that that made the church Roman Catholic. There were also other highly esteemed churches at time, on par with the church in Rome. So it was by no means a Roman Catholic church. And it was the only church that really existed at the time.

O,

Our 'place is in heaven, where our citizenship lies'. But we are also citizenship is also in Detroit, USA; or Moscow, or ect. which I happen to live there. And so we have obligations to those places. But this must not conflict.

But yes, it can compliment. BUt Christians should not worry about the moral laws of a society in which they are living. They 'influence', they do not make laws!

2Witnesses

PS yes there were other nice churches, like those in Africa. But it was Rome that came out on top because they linked with the state.

The Novelist
Apr 3rd 2008, 05:55 PM
But herein lies the issue. Where there is an absolute, complete separation church and state, the government would rule in way that is practically atheist (even if the politicians believe in God). As a result, such policies would be implemented that would effectively hinder Christianity. While we are to work regardless of what the world says, is it worth it to exclude any involvement of the church in the government (not establishment or control)?

I guess then you'd have to then be willing to allow the Muslims, Buddhists, Scientologists, Satanists, and everyone else to have a piece of the pie as well, which is why I'd much rather remain an entirely secular government. We also must keep in mind Romans 13.

2Witnesses
Apr 3rd 2008, 05:55 PM
Absolutely true. But my point was, since I do believe in an absolute separation of church and state, as a devout Christian, then that means that I in essence must be willing to give up such things without a fight. I mean, I see the hypocrisy in my feelings and I guess this is me trying to address such. But ultimately, since Paul began writing letters to churches, we've proven that we cannot govern ourselves, a group of like minded individuals, much less a nation of many faiths and peoples.

Nov,

A great point. I mean, the Church did not give up its blood to tyrants, to then become tyrants.

2Witnesses

Owen
Apr 3rd 2008, 05:57 PM
O,

Our 'place is in heaven, where our citizenship lies'. But we are also citizenship is also in Detroit, USA; or Moscow, or ect. which I happen to live there. And so we have obligations to those places. But this must not conflict.

But yes, it can compliment. BUt Christians should not worry about the moral laws of a society in which they are living. They 'influence', they do not make laws!

So no involvement and lobbying (not necessarily in the traditional corrupt sense) whatsoever? Do we only try to influence when we sense a tide shifting towards something really bad? For instance, shouldn't a church stand up in a situation that is coming to resemble Nazi Germany (granted, many in the church stood in support of Hitler then)?

I guess the real question really is, what do you mean by influence? How do we influence?


PS yes there were other nice churches, like those in Africa. But it was Rome that came out on top because they linked with the state.

We are going to disagree on this topic and since it isn't the focus of this thread, I'll leave it where it is.

The Novelist
Apr 3rd 2008, 05:57 PM
Nov,

A great point. I mean, the Church did not give up its blood to tyrants, to then become tyrants.

2Witnesses

Thanks!!! You make a great point as well :hug:

Owen
Apr 3rd 2008, 06:04 PM
I guess then you'd have to then be willing to allow the Muslims, Buddhists, Scientologists, Satanists, and everyone else to have a peace of the pie as well, which is why I'd much rather remain an entirely secular government. We also must keep in mind Romans 13.

Do we allow ourselves as Christians to be dictated by the fear of other religions exerting their influence? Can not God work in the faithful church that appropriately works with the government to overcome the influence of other groups that may conflict with the Christian vision?

Does Romans 13 really established a total separation of the two?

2Witnesses
Apr 3rd 2008, 06:04 PM
So no involvement and lobbying (not necessarily in the traditional corrupt sense) whatsoever? Do we only try to influence when we sense a tide shifting towards something really bad? For instance, shouldn't a church stand up in a situation that is coming to resemble Nazi Germany (granted, many in the church stood in support of Hitler then)?

I guess the real question really is, what do you mean by influence? How do we influence?



We are going to disagree on this topic and since it isn't the focus of this thread, I'll leave it where it is.

O,

Do what Your conscience allows you! I am not your judge. By influence, in the NG situation, I would, as a Christian tell my congregation that Hitler is evil. Do not follow him! He is the State!

2Witnesses

'I AM Germany!'

Owen
Apr 3rd 2008, 06:06 PM
O,

Do what Your conscience allows you! I am not your judge.

But the question is what asking what is expedient. If it is a matter of conscience, that is one thing. But what is most beneficial for the church and for the world?


By influence, in the NG situation, I would, as a Christian tell my congregation that Hitler is evil. Do not follow him! He is the State!

But by that, are you not getting involved in the matters of the state? Or is our only involvement supposed to be reactionary?

Revinius
Apr 3rd 2008, 06:07 PM
Its our duty as citizens within a country to not sit idle and let the world sin before our eyes, the message of Christs sovereignty should be lovingly proclaimed at all levels of society. To do this we require a certain amount of activity and interaction between church and state. Furthermore, the difference we live can only be highlighted by the moral foundation on which we build. Its not the churches duty to change society but it is the churches role that in the overflow of desire and love we have for Christ we will show the world and the state the true nature of what and why we live.

The Novelist
Apr 3rd 2008, 06:09 PM
Do we allow ourselves as Christians to be dictated by the fear of other religions exerting their influence? Can not God work in the faithful church that appropriately works with the government to overcome the influence of other groups that may conflict with the Christian vision?

Does Romans 13 really established a total separation of the two?

A total separation, no. However, it does say that the authority is established by God, which is more than enough for me. Good, bad, or otherwise, it has been established by God, for His reasons, and He is in control.

Obviously Christians can vote their consciences and influence government in that way, but I just believe it is in our best interests to not have direct sway over policy. As Christians, we have a job to do and it ain't setting policy and governing nations...

Owen
Apr 3rd 2008, 06:11 PM
Its our duty as citizens within a country to not sit idle and let the world sin before our eyes, the message of Christs sovereignty should be lovingly proclaimed at all levels of society. To do this we require a certain amount of activity and interaction between church and state. Furthermore, the difference we live can only be highlighted by the moral foundation on which we build. Its not the churches duty to change society but it is the churches role that in the overflow of desire and love we have for Christ we will show the world and the state the true nature of what and why we live.

Here is a question to consider though. At what point do we let the government resemble the world and at what point do we take a stand? And does the church try to transform the government because that is our goal, or is it to be a means to the end of transforming the world? In other words, do we at times steps back from influencing the government because while something may be morally right, it will in fact push people further away from the kingdom of God in the political fight that would ensue?

2Witnesses
Apr 3rd 2008, 06:11 PM
But the question is what asking what is expedient. If it is a matter of conscience, that is one thing. But what is most beneficial for the church and for the world?



But by that, are you not getting involved in the matters of the state? Or is our only involvement supposed to be reactionary?

O,

I am sorry, but it is God who is in control. Once the 'church' thinks it needs to be in control to make the world right for God, democracy, and the American Way, look out Las Vagas!

Do you really think, O, that God put the Church here to controls governments? Its a pipe dream.

The Church needs to do what it was called to do, preach, baptize, teach.

2Witnesses

I just read your post Nov. That was great. I just said the same thing!

Owen
Apr 3rd 2008, 06:12 PM
A total separation, no. However, it does say that the authority is established by God, which is more than enough for me. Good, bad, or otherwise, it has been established by God, for His reasons, and He is in control.

Obviously Christians can vote their consciences and influence government in that way, but I just believe it is in our best interests to not have direct sway over policy. As Christians, we have a job to do and it ain't setting policy and governing nations...

And therein lies the real thing I am getting at. Are there times when it is in the be interest of the job we are doing to have a certain influence? Of course this leads us to the question, what exactly is our job?

The Novelist
Apr 3rd 2008, 06:15 PM
Here is a question to consider though. At what point do we let the government resemble the world and at what point do we take a stand? And does the church try to transform the government because that is our goal, or is it to be a means to the end of transforming the world? In other words, do we at times steps back from influencing the government because while something may be morally right, it will in fact push people further away from the kingdom of God in the political fight that would ensue?

Somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but are we not called to transform and influence the world one heart at a time by spreading the good news? I don't remember anywhere in the Bible where we are told to further the Christian agenda through the influence of government. I mean, in essence, isn't this a big reason why so many Jews did not accept Jesus? He did not come to overthrow the government or to be a warrior king, which is what they were expecting and hoping for.

2Witnesses
Apr 3rd 2008, 06:16 PM
Somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but are we not called to transform and influence the world one heart at a time by spreading the good news? I don't remember anywhere in the Bible where we are told to further the Christian agenda through the influence of government. I mean, in essence, isn't this a big reason why so many Jews did not accept Jesus? He did not come to overthrow the government or to be a warrior king, which is what they were expecting and hoping for.

Very Nice!

2Witnesses

Owen
Apr 3rd 2008, 06:16 PM
O,

I am sorry, but it is God who is in control. Once the 'church' thinks it needs to be in control to make the world right for God, democracy, and the American Way, look out Las Vagas!

Do you really think, O, that God put the Church here to controls governments? Its a pipe dream.

I think you are misunderstanding me. I am not advocating control, if by that you mean being the head of state. But if we define control differently, what is influence other than a form of attempting to control and outcome?


The Church needs to do what it was called to do, preach, baptize, teach.

Is that really all the church is called to do in this world though?

2Witnesses
Apr 3rd 2008, 06:19 PM
I think you are misunderstanding me. I am not advocating control, if by that you mean being the head of state. But if we define control differently, what is influence other than a form of attempting to control and outcome?



Is that really all the church is called to do in this world though?

Ow, O, but CONTROL is ALWays what it comes down to with man.

2Witnesses

The answer is YES, O.

Owen
Apr 3rd 2008, 06:19 PM
Somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but are we not called to transform and influence the world one heart at a time by spreading the good news? I don't remember anywhere in the Bible where we are told to further the Christian agenda through the influence of government. I mean, in essence, isn't this a big reason why so many Jews did not accept Jesus? He did not come to overthrow the government or to be a warrior king, which is what they were expecting and hoping for.

First off, transforming government does not necessarily entail OVERTHROWING the government. So the example of Jesus is not a basis to reject any influence whatsoever.

Secondly, we are called to transform and influence the world one heart at a time by the preaching of the Gospel. But does that necessarily mean the exclusion of other purposes? Do we not stand against certain things that could negatively influence the first purpose? And is all the church really about is getting people saved and going to heaven?

Owen
Apr 3rd 2008, 06:21 PM
Ow, O, but CONTROL is ALWays what it comes down to with man.

Is not the preaching of the gospel an attempt to control a certain outcome? IS not other forms of influence attempts at some control? It may not be forceful control (which is what is spoken against Biblically), but those things are still control.

2Witnesses
Apr 3rd 2008, 06:22 PM
First off, transforming government does not necessarily entail OVERTHROWING the government. So the example of Jesus is not a basis to reject any influence whatsoever.

Secondly, we are called to transform and influence the world one heart at a time by the preaching of the Gospel. But does that necessarily mean the exclusion of other purposes? Do we not stand against certain things that could negatively influence that purpose? And is all the church really about is getting people saved and going to heaven?

O,

I would love to continue. But its late here in Jerusalem. Tomarrow the 'religious' folks have thier way, and the State mostly shuts down. So I must sleep.

later!

2Witnesses

Owen
Apr 3rd 2008, 06:24 PM
O,

I would love to continue. But its late here in Jerusalem. Tomarrow the 'religious' folks have thier way, and the State mostly shuts down. So I must sleep.

later!

2Witnesses

Alright. You have a great night and we will continue later if you wish. :)

The Novelist
Apr 3rd 2008, 06:27 PM
First off, transforming government does not necessarily entail OVERTHROWING the government. So the example of Jesus is not a basis to reject any influence whatsoever.

Secondly, we are called to transform and influence the world one heart at a time by the preaching of the Gospel. But does that necessarily mean the exclusion of other purposes? Do we not stand against certain things that could negatively influence that purpose? And is all the church really about is getting people saved and going to heaven?

I can certainly see where you are going with this :lol: With that said, don't marginilize or minimalize our calling, it's becoming an increasingly tougher order :D Beyond that, I'm sure in the midst of carrying out the call, there is much that could have been done "government" wise to keep the heads on the shoulders of oh so many martyrs, but I've never seen that as a Biblical response to that. Do your job, expect suffering, take joy in said suffering, continue to do said job, until such time as your head is lopped off or you otherwise cease to draw breath. Did not Paul continue to evangelize and work for the church from prison, in shackles? And none of his letters ever said, "And you know what guys? While you're at it, how about working on the local government to start finagling some extra protections/rights for us? These chains are killing me and the bars are pretty doggone restrictive."

The Novelist
Apr 3rd 2008, 06:27 PM
Take care 2Witnesses! Sleep well....

Owen
Apr 3rd 2008, 06:32 PM
I can certainly see where you are going with this :lol: With that said, don't marginilize or minimalize our calling, it's becoming an increasingly tougher order :D

Certainly so. And by no means am I personally really a political person. So no fear on that one.


Beyond that, I'm sure in the midst of carrying out the call, there is much that could have been done "government" wise to keep the heads on the shoulders of oh so many martyrs, but I've never seen that as a Biblical response to that. Do your job, expect suffering, take joy in said suffering, continue to do said job, until such time as your head is lopped off or you otherwise cease to draw breath. Did not Paul continue to evangelize and work for the church from prison, in shackles? And none of his letters ever said, "And you know what guys? While you're at it, how about working on the local government to start finagling some extra protections/rights for us? These chains are killing me and the bars are pretty doggone restrictive."

Not that we really disagree, but I don't think Christians really had the influence to get him released, plus would that have really been the most beneficial and expedient thing when there are other issues more pertinent than him asking to be released when he could do what he needs to do while in prison?

The Novelist
Apr 3rd 2008, 06:38 PM
Certainly so. And by no means am I personally really a political person. So no fear on that one.



Not that we really disagree, but I don't think Christians really had the influence to get him released, plus would that have really been the most beneficial and expedient thing when there are other issues more pertinent than him asking to be released when he could do what he needs to do while in prison?

True, but I figure, and correct me if I'm wrong, that your point in all of this, is that if we can influence government to make the Great Commision and our work/lives as Christians easier for us to accomplish, then shouldn't we do it? And if we could accomplish that without any seeds of eventual corruption or sin, and if we could cut out the influences of beliefs counter to ours, then by all means. But we have proven time and time again, even with the very best of intentions, we cannot do this. We will inevitably mess it up, we always do...

Owen
Apr 3rd 2008, 06:45 PM
True, but I figure, and correct me if I'm wrong, that your point in all of this, is that if we can influence government to make the Great Commision and our work/lives as Christians easier for us to accomplish, then shouldn't we do it?

Yes. But is individual preference ("I want my freedom") something to try to exert influence with? Is that really expedient? I would say in Paul's case, if hypothetically there was the power to get him released with the Christians, I would guess he still wouldn't ask for that.


And if we could accomplish that without any seeds of eventual corruption or sin, and if we could cut out the influences of beliefs counter to ours, then by all means. But we have proven time and time again, even with the very best of intentions, we cannot do this. We will inevitably mess it up, we always do...

We mess up everything including evangelism, but again, that by itself should not be a reason to exclude. If doing something itself has the tendency to corrupt, then we should stay out of it. But if corruption really comes from something else and would happen regardless of where it comes from. And things like that can not be merely answered by seeing Christians become corrupt in political power, because there could be a myriad reasons we could come up with without discernment as to why that happened.

The Novelist
Apr 3rd 2008, 06:48 PM
Yes. But is individual preference ("I want my freedom") something to try to exert influence with? Is that really expedient? I would say in Paul's case, if hypothetically there was the power to get him released with the Christians, I would guess he still wouldn't ask for that.



We mess up everything including evangelism, but again, that by itself should not be a reason to exclude. If doing something itself has the tendency to corrupt, then we should stay out of it. But if corruption really comes from something else and would happen regardless of where it comes from. And things like that can not be merely answered by seeing Christians become corrupt in political power, because there could be a myriad reasons we could come up with without discernment as to why that happened.

You make good points and I've really enjoyed this conversation. However I guess my question for you would be, if you had your druthers, what would government look like to you, in our current clime?

On an aside...Hi ThreeBigRocks!!!:pp (I see you lurking) Long time, no see...I really must update the EC thread...God is great!

Owen
Apr 3rd 2008, 06:54 PM
You make good points and I've really enjoyed this conversation. However I guess my question for you would be, if you had your druthers, what would government look like to you, in our current clime?

By government, if you mean the system itself, I couldn't give a firm answer as I really haven't developed one. Plus the vision wouldn't be explicitly Christian either.

If by government if you mean laws, again I can't answer the question straight forward other than to give a couple contemporary examples. We would end abortion, but not necessarily homosexual marriage (because I don't think it would be expedient to argue against it in the political realm and create an already larger division between church and US society). There would be greater financial aid in certain areas of life (although not necessarily in the manner that current politics distribute it).

But in the end, I can not give the ideal because the ideal is not something I can identify with certain characteristics. I don't know what is most expedient (to continue to use that word) in the end. I can only gather that some involvement of the church within the government is expedient.

The Novelist
Apr 3rd 2008, 06:58 PM
By government, if you mean the system itself, I couldn't give a firm answer as I really haven't developed one. Plus the vision wouldn't be explicitly Christian either.

If by government if you mean laws, again I can't answer the question straight forward other than to give a couple contemporary examples. We would end abortion, but not necessarily homosexual marriage (because I don't think it would be expedient to argue against it in the political realm and create an already larger division between church and US society). There would be greater financial aid in certain areas of life (although not necessarily in the manner that current politics distribute it).

But in the end, I can not give the ideal because the ideal is not something I can identify with certain characteristics. I don't know what is most expedient (to continue to use that word) in the end? I can only gather that some involvement of the church within the government is expedient.

But don't we already, to some, albeit varying degrees, have church influence in government? And sometimes it is effective, I suppose, depending on what side of an issue you are on. Israel for example, I think we're right on and should actually be doing more to help them. Abortion? We have completely dropped the ball. I guess utlimately, however, the extent of our influence on government should be our vote. But, if we are doing our jobs as Christians and fulfilling the Great Commision, then we are in fact creating a whole lot of influence in a way that I think would be pleasing to God. I mean, I don't think He would be happy with us if we achieve what we determine to be His aims, through corrupt means.

Owen
Apr 3rd 2008, 07:05 PM
But don't we already, to some, albeit varying degrees, have church influence in government? And sometimes it is effective, I suppose, depending on what side of an issue you are on. Israel for example, I think we're right on and should actually be doing more to help them. Abortion? We have completely dropped the ball. I guess utlimately, however, the extent of our influence on government should be our vote. But, if we are doing our jobs as Christians and fulfilling the Great Commision, then we are in fact creating a whole lot of influence in a way that I think would be pleasing to God. I mean, I don't think He would be happy with us if we achieve what we determine to be His aims, through corrupt means.

Agreed. Thats why we must be a faithful and holy church ourselves. But the potential of corruption can not serve in and of itself as a reason to avoid.

The Novelist
Apr 3rd 2008, 07:12 PM
Agreed. Thats why we must be a faithful and holy church ourselves. But the potential of corruption can not serve in and of itself as a reason to avoid.


Yes and no. As Christians, we know we are sinners and continue to be sinners, and we also know that we do not handle power well at all. Honestly, there is no easy answer to any of this, and there are valid points to all of this. But ultimately, I'm always going to run back to the examples we set in our our churches. Big, small, in between, we cannot seem to get them right or improve our ability to run them. It's funny, with all of the hats I wear at my church, I get flooded with a study about this, a study about that, a new idea here and a new idea there, and coutless revolutionary new books that will forever change the way church is run. Yet, I read Paul's letters and I see him commenting on, addressing, and offering solutions to the very same problems we face today. The answers are right there in that big, thick book we all like to tote around and quote from. Yet, we ignore it and search for a better idea, a better way, and we mess things up.

If we can utterly mess that up and often times the very tenets of our faith, with an instruction manual authored by God Himself, how much worse would we mess a government up?

Owen
Apr 3rd 2008, 07:21 PM
Yes and no. As Christians, we know we are sinners and continue to be sinners, and we also know that we do not handle power well at all. Honestly, there is no easy answer to any of this, and there are valid points to all of this. But ultimately, I'm always going to run back to the examples we set in our our churches. Big, small, in between, we cannot seem to get them right or improve our ability to run them. It's funny, with all of the hats I wear at my church, I get flooded with a study about this, a study about that, a new idea here and a new idea there, and coutless revolutionary new books that will forever change the way church is run. Yet, I read Paul's letters and I see him commenting on, addressing, and offering solutions to the very same problems we face today. The answers are right there in that big, thick book we all like to tote around and quote from. Yet, we ignore it and search for a better idea, a better way, and we mess things up.

If we can utterly mess that up and often times the very tenets of our faith, with an instruction manual authored by God Himself, how much worse would we mess a government up?

If we had total free reign with the government as we do with our own faith, then a whole lot. Witness church history. But in working within the government but not being the government, we would not have that total control that could lead really horrible problems.

The Novelist
Apr 3rd 2008, 07:34 PM
If we had total free reign with the government as we do with our own faith, then a whole lot. Witness church history. But in working within the government but not being the government, we would not have that total control that could lead really horrible problems.

Some would argue that the influence we currently have has already led to really horrible problems...As a matter of fact, some would argue that every problem our country currently faces is in some way tied to the influence of the church.

threebigrocks
Apr 3rd 2008, 07:54 PM
Here is a question I want to toss up for you to consider. Its not necessarily anything new but I want to get the brain juices flowing on this one.

How should the church see itself in relation to the government? Should they ideally be contiguous or should they be separate? Should there be any relationship between the two (perhaps one way, church influences the state but not the other way are or vice versa)?

And here is the question that is really of the utmost importance. Why do you believe as you do?

How should the church see itself in relation to government? The way God intended it to be. ;)

Hey, short answers are popular 'round these parts these day Owen - you been gone too long! :P

Seriously, they ought to be seperate. Not that they can't both have authority, and rightfully so. In OT times there was a king to reign over Israel along side the High Priest. Both ruled over the kingdom, one for the law of God and one for the law of the land.

Prior to Israel's dual authority, God was it. God was first.

We do get a pretty vivid picture of how once a worldly king came into play things weren't as peachy as the Isralites had hoped. It all became quite political, and the high priests used that pull to mix the two together even though each still held their own seperate authority with the people.

In actuality for the Christian God first. Makes sense when we are directed by God to submit to our governing authorities. Both can rule alongside each other, in support of each other, but clearly there is division.

Why do I think so? Because that's what scripture says for one, established by God. Two, eventually Christ will return and rule on earth again, destroying all power and authority that aren't His, which would be my first choice.

Revinius
Apr 4th 2008, 04:21 AM
Here is a question to consider though. At what point do we let the government resemble the world and at what point do we take a stand? And does the church try to transform the government because that is our goal, or is it to be a means to the end of transforming the world? In other words, do we at times steps back from influencing the government because while something may be morally right, it will in fact push people further away from the kingdom of God in the political fight that would ensue?

No, as i said, its not up to us to transform the world. Its up to us to serve God and enjoy him by glorifying him forever. The world changes as a by-product of the overflow of the love and holiness of Gods people. Our goal should never be to transform the world, we already know it is doomed. We are on a rescue mission to get people out and get them saved. There is nothing wrong with lobbying the government as part of our outpouring but we have to rationalise if doing things like that is in the best interest of eternity. Thats a decision for us to make as individuals under God.

2Witnesses
Apr 4th 2008, 09:30 AM
No, as i said, its not up to us to transform the world. Its up to us to serve God and enjoy him by glorifying him forever. The world changes as a by-product of the overflow of the love and holiness of Gods people. Our goal should never be to transform the world, we already know it is doomed. We are on a rescue mission to get people out and get them saved. There is nothing wrong with lobbying the government as part of our outpouring but we have to rationalise if doing things like that is in the best interest of eternity. Thats a decision for us to make as individuals under God.


Rev...

Amen! WE, don not save people, or governments! WE, are ambassadors for the Nation of God, the Church, Christ as its head.

WE do not live in Rome. WE are not 'recognized' by the UN. WE do not answer to this world.

WE are His messengers to receive His chosen OUT of this world system. And so WE are IN the world, but not OF the world.

The blood, not the votes, or the citizenship built the early Church.

2Witnesses

Owen
Apr 4th 2008, 09:27 PM
No, as i said, its not up to us to transform the world. Its up to us to serve God and enjoy him by glorifying him forever. The world changes as a by-product of the overflow of the love and holiness of Gods people. Our goal should never be to transform the world, we already know it is doomed. We are on a rescue mission to get people out and get them saved. There is nothing wrong with lobbying the government as part of our outpouring but we have to rationalise if doing things like that is in the best interest of eternity. Thats a decision for us to make as individuals under God.

But how does God transform the world is the question? Does God not use us at times to transform the world?

And is it truly doomed? Yes, there will be wrath brought upon the world, but where does the Bible state that the world is doomed from hereon out?

Revinius
Apr 5th 2008, 03:43 AM
But how does God transform the world is the question? Does God not use us at times to transform the world?

And is it truly doomed? Yes, there will be wrath brought upon the world, but where does the Bible state that the world is doomed from hereon out?

We are beyond speculating on Gods purpose, but we do not that what he has ordained to happen will indeed happen. I cant imagine many times in which governments have transformed the world for the better. But i can remember many times the church as a seperate entity have done so (eg. endless line of martyrs, killing of the slave trade) not because that was its task but through the overflow of love it has for God.

brakelite
Apr 15th 2008, 12:29 PM
I agree that the church should not be the state (and vice versa).

But how heavily do you feel that the church should work with the state? Where do we draw the line with involvement? Does it include issues such as abortion and homosexuality? What about suggesting in what social areas the government should spend their money?

Mathew 20:20 ¶ Then came to him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him.
21 And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.
22 But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able.
23 And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.
24 And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren.
25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.
26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

drew
Apr 15th 2008, 05:30 PM
Here is a question I want to toss up for you to consider. Its not necessarily anything new but I want to get the brain juices flowing on this one.

How should the church see itself in relation to the government? Should they ideally be contiguous or should they be separate? Should there be any relationship between the two (perhaps one way, church influences the state but not the other way are or vice versa)?

And here is the question that is really of the utmost importance. Why do you believe as you do?
I have not read any other posts except the OP. I believe that Christians have the responsibilty to work to enshrine Scriptural principles in all the institutions of our world, including government. I politely suggest that those Christians who believe that "religious life" can be and should be "separate" from the institutions of government may have unconsciously bought into the enlightenment idea that "we kick God upstairs where He belongs and we'll run things 'our way' down here".

I further suggest that in Romans 1, Paul makes it clear that Jesus is a replacement for Ceasar as ruler of this present world and all its institutions. That is what got him into so much trouble.

Teke
Apr 15th 2008, 08:20 PM
Here is a question I want to toss up for you to consider. Its not necessarily anything new but I want to get the brain juices flowing on this one.

How should the church see itself in relation to the government? Should they ideally be contiguous or should they be separate? Should there be any relationship between the two (perhaps one way, church influences the state but not the other way are or vice versa)?

And here is the question that is really of the utmost importance. Why do you believe as you do?

I see it from the perspective that God rules supremely over all. We have examples in scripture, antitypes, of kingdoms within empires to learn from. In relation to such, God rules the empire and grants the kingdoms within grace to run theirs, as there is no authority except by God.

With that model in mind, there needs to be some balance. Personally I don't believe Christians should be nationalists in the sense they put the nation of their choosing before God and His Church. There will be some interaction as there is influence being exerted by both.

Orthodoxy is an example of this in action. For instance, both clergy and laity are in the world we all daily live in. Then there is the monastic who withdraws from all that is of the world and follows Christ in a stricter sense. Is one greater than the other, no, they co exist and influence one another in a positive manner. While the church is representing Christ to the world, what would it be without monasticism's witness to Jesus teachings to leave all and follow Him, IOW that it is a tried and true teaching beneficial to all. ;)

cnw
Apr 15th 2008, 11:09 PM
hmm we are going over this in our school time. If God is not first in our Government than truth is not first. Mans laws become greater than Gods laws (as is happening). When the church was in control under the Godly relm as we see in the OT then the king was under the levites in a sense that the religious values were set forth in the kingdom. When that was changed and the king didn't keep his kingdom under the laws of Scripture the kingdom was literally crushed king died yadda yadda.
as we grow farther away from the laws of our land being set under Gods laws and righteousness we will see our land falling.
so yes, church and state should be mixed in the sense that it should stay based on what it was founded on-Gods laws. The supreme court has moses holding the 10 comands - there has to be a point there.

brakelite
Apr 18th 2008, 09:44 AM
I have not read any other posts except the OP. I believe that Christians have the responsibilty to work to enshrine Scriptural principles in all the institutions of our world, including government. I politely suggest that those Christians who believe that "religious life" can be and should be "separate" from the institutions of government may have unconsciously bought into the enlightenment idea that "we kick God upstairs where He belongs and we'll run things 'our way' down here".

I further suggest that in Romans 1, Paul makes it clear that Jesus is a replacement for Ceasar as ruler of this present world and all its institutions. That is what got him into so much trouble.

I agree with you that Jesus is to be above Caesar. This does not mean however that the church replaces Caesar. The popes did that, claiming secular authority in the name of Christ and the result was the greatest period of tribulation and persecution for the church in history. The same can be said for the later reformation period when the church of England ruled there. Only this time it was the Catholics that suffered.
In your own country barely 100 years ago Sunday 'blue' laws were enforced and unbelievers and Sabbath keepers were persecuted.

Give the church secular power and authority and every time persecution will inevitably follow. It is inevitable that any church would seek to pass into law spiritual legislation. But God has given us freedom. Our consciences are to be our guide as we are a holy priesthood and are not to be subject to any earthly power regards religion.

This does not mean that we are not to protest unrighteousness in government when we see it. John the Baptist did that, but he remained on the outside of govt and separate from it.