The Separation of Church and State
I opposed the Moral Majority at its conception in the late 1970’s and oppose any of its successors today. What I am saying is that the church and the state should be separate: So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s (Mt. 22.21 NIV). The issue of paying taxes to Pagan Overlords in Jesus’ time is parallel to NOT opposing Pagan moral choices for themselves today. Christians are wrong when becoming moral crusaders out of their jurisdiction.
It’s clear from the bible that the unborn are comprehensible persons. John the Baptist, at 6 months in the womb, leaped at the just-conceived Jesus in Mary’s body (see Lk. 1.41-44 cf. vs.56). Therefore, at conception, the unborn are persons. Of course, it would be a sin for a Christian to advocate for abortion, or, worse, to be party to the procedure. Having said these things, it’s wrong for Christians to meddle in other people’s affairs.
What I mean is, if an unbelieving woman is wanting her pregnancy terminated, she already, for sure, knows the issues that have been swirling in society these last 50 years. She has already made up her mind about the issue before engaging in a promiscuous lifestyle. Why not let unbelievers terminate their children instead of having them grow up either uncared for or taught bad things and so become a detriment to greater society? It’s their body that is fostering the child. The N.T. was written during a time where a father could reject any new born baby of his. Yet, there is not one word in scripture, to the effect, either strategically or tactically, of changing greater society. Yes, Constantine was wrong to join Church and State.
Pilgrims and Sojourners
Should Christians be self-righteous arbiters in a society made up of mostly unrighteous folks? This is a subtle trap since we will ever be “the few” against “the many.” Why do we not continue to advocate for adoption of the unwanted? This false Pro Life moralism, foisted on all of society, is driven by misguided Roman Catholics and Postmillenialists. This will come back around to bite us if we don’t disassociate ourselves from them: Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces (Mt. 7.6 NIV).
I would argue for a principle of non-intervention in the mores of societies at large, as seen from biblical history. Did the Israelites politically oppose other cultures of child sacrifice? In the pages of O.T. History, I see a call for personal repentance instead of world restructuring. Additionally, where were the calls to transform Roman society in the New Testament? I believe, in scripture, that moral calls were towards Christians to act better and not calls for societal change. Whenever, in subsequent church history, they did switch to calling for societal restructuring, they were wrong. An example is the Crusades, which, along with this issue, I believe, was misguided. It sounded good, for sure, but history tells a different story. Scripture should be the guide, not hairbrained ideas.
Ambassadors with Heavenly Citizenship
The gospel is NOT about bringing an unbelieving world into the kingdom. I mean, it is, but not in those terms. Christ calls His sheep, and only His sheep. People don’t believe because they are not His sheep (see Jn. 10.26). To go one’s own, unbiblically moralistic way, I believe, puts one at risk of not following Christ: Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son (2Jn. 9 ESV). How I read my bible is that God is saving a remnant out of many dead (to God) people. This is the consistent theme throughout scripture and cannot be denied. Only a fool would try to “save the world.”
At Adam’s Fall, the world was forfeited to the devil and it is his: The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to (Lk. 4.5-6 NIV). Jesus rebuked the devil whenever He could, but Satan, in this case, is correct, as seen by Jesus’ silence and pivot to refute him on other grounds. Christians live in a darkened world (see Eph. 6.12) where we use spiritual armor and not political maneuverings. Additionally, although the devil has been sentenced, final resolution will come at The Second Coming (see John 12.31 cf. vs.35, also Heb.9.28).
As Christians, we are ambassadors in a foreign country. In principle, we should NOT be trying to change the customs and laws of where we serve. Such moralizing is a fool’s errand. Many Christians today are persuaded by well-meaning ideas that, in a subtle way, are wrong. Instead of being moral crusaders, they should see what the bible really says.