||2018-03-13 18:44:56, 조회 : 16, 추천 : 3
What is the Relationship Between Church and State?
An Instrument of Evil
Last week we continued to learn about the relationship between the church and state by understanding what an established religion/church is. We learned about the established church in our history and saw that this is a very dangerous for the state and the people in it. We learned that disestablishmentarianism allows for people to practice their religions and remain protected. Today, we will learn how the government can be used as an instrument of evil.
In a recent conversation that I had with a fellow Christian, we discussed about the mass shootings that have been happening recently. Whenever we turn on the news, the term Christian and patriotism are often linked together. In fact, when President Trump decided to make his slogan, "Make America Great Again" many leftist newscasters took the opportunity to take the slogan and use it to fuel the Christian agenda again. However, these misconceptions have not been sprung from nowhere. Instead, there are many Christians in America who have the "tendency to mingle their religious devotion with a brand of super-patriotism." Many Christians assume that God and/or Christ is always on our side, so you might find images online of the American flag wrapped about Jesus. However, Sproul tells us that "no matter where we live, our first allegiance is to our King and to the heavenly kingdom to which we belong." In addition, no matter where we live, any government is susceptible of being corrupted.
In Ephesians 6:10-13, Apostle Paul says,
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm."
Why does Apostle Paul tell us this? He encourages his fellow brother and sisters in Christ to stand up against the "craftiness of Satan." While this may sound foreign, many people do not give enough attention to Satan's powers. Sproul states, "It is common now to completely dismiss Satan from our consciousness." However, Apostle Paul made sure to explicitly highlight his power, hence why he said we must be "girded for spiritual battle." This battle isn't against a person, rather, it is a battle against "spiritual forces." Those that are included are rulers and authorities alike. We must always be equipped for this battle.
The New Testament speaks about the oppression and the tyranny led by the Romans. In fact, much of Revelations explains the persecution from the Romans. While many people believe that Revelations is explaining about something to come, there are many scholars who believes that Revelations is talking about "Nero." His wickedness was so evil, that he was nicknamed "the Beast." This shows that human government "can become instruments of spiritual powers and principalities that unleash all kinds of evil into the world." We can see this in recent history during World War II. During this time, Hitler and his Nazi regime murdered millions of people. He was also followed by Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong. Sproul asks, "How can governments become so corrupt that they actually become tools in the hand of satanic powers?" This is way different than how we defined what government should do. We described the government as being ordained by God, to "protect, sustain, and maintain the sanctity of human life." This is a far cry from atheist regimes like Hitler, Stalin and Zedong. All three regimes practiced the murder to human life without any just cause.
In recent times there is also another case in which the government can be an instrument of evil: abortion. There are thousands of unborn babies that are being killed "under the sanction of the government yearly." However, whenever the church protests against the unjust killing of babies, there are a lot of push back. The argument for this is because people believe that the church is attempting to crossover to the sphere of the state. We learned that the church does this so that it can remind the state of the chief function to protect life.
We also learned that the government should protect private property. Whenever an individual's private property is not protected by the government, it can be confiscated at whim. In addition, the government is then using its power to legally steal people's private property. In the Old Testament, when King Ahab stole Naboth's vineyard, Elijah the prophet gave judgment to him.
Interestingly, the people of Israel gave us insight about how the government was going to act in this manner. When the Israel people wanted another king and they did not want God to be their king, God warned them about a king in which they can "see." God told them that a king will go to war, take their children, horses, fields, confiscate their property and impost unjust taxation. This can be seen in modern day society. We can see how the government becomes greedy and heavily taxes people.
One of the biggest tactics that the government uses in order to tax the wealthy is by saying that they will redistribute the money to those that are less fortunate. They say that the goal will be so that everyone can be in "middle class" and live comfortably. Sproul says that. "this is all done in the name of economic equality." Sproul gives a great example to understand this in easier terms. Imagine you are an 'A' student and there is someone in your class that is a 'D' student. The teacher then gives you and the other student a 'C' in order for everyone to receive the same grade. Unfortunately, is not equality. Sproul states, "Equality is not the same thing as equity." This is what the government is doing when they are not protecting people's private property. Yet, the vast majority of our country is swayed by the government's appeal for the "greater good." Yet, the government is still stealing, whether or not this is for the better good.
As Christians, we must be more responsible in maintaining and standing up against these political activities. We should never use our own interest to pursue these activities.
1) Do you find Christians that often misuse their religion to purse a political agenda?
2) What did Apostle Paul mean about the spiritual warfare? Why do you think he emphasizes this?
3) What does history reveal to us regarding the government?
4) Is redistribution wrong? Why or why not?