Please forgive my tone in the next few paragraphs. I’ve been reading Puritan preachers lately, and I think it’s garbled up my syntax a bit. Nevertheless:
It is always the business of the true Church to order the secular government around. It is never the business of the governor to order around the church. Both church and state are concerned with government, and their spheres overlap, but it’s the authority of the church that necessarily presides over the power of government, provided that the church is truly the church established by God according to the gospel (with Christ as it’s chief cornerstone, and apostles and prophets as its pillars).
The church has as her weapons (1) the truth, authenticated by the scriptures and by the Spirit of God who confirms truth by conviction in the hearts of men, and (2) the power of the church’s members, given by the Holy Spirit, to humble themselves in obedience to the truth even to the point of death. The government’s only weapon is the sword, which can coerce only those who fear death but do not fear “the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Men who fear God are not afraid of guns and prisons, and in a fight between church and state, the church will always win, unless that church has lost its faith in the truth of the gospel. The church that has lost its faith in the gospel is of course no true church at all, but a bad forgery.
The framers of the US Constitution were wise to ban Congress from attempting to establish a church. Only God can establish the true church, and the government that attempts to establish a false church may in fact disestablish itself when the true church begins to rise. But this is a very different thing from attempting to separate church and state, which is as much nonsense as trying to separate light and air.
It’s a sad indicator of how weak we are as Christians that the above might seem to be a new idea, and that it’s necessary to take the next step toward application and point out that the churches in the West today have almost no authority over the government. Politicians ignore pastors almost completely, and preachers abstain from pointing out which candidate is more Christian than another on pain of taxation. This could only be possible if the church’s understanding of the gospel were so thin as to be almost negligible, like non-alcoholic beer or tobacco-free cigarettes. Or else, we are all false churches, and there is no true church in the West at all.
Has God taken away our lampstand, or is it merely guttering?