WHAT DOES SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE MEAN?
The church is protected by the government. Good government means no persecution of Christians. Persecution is happening in many countries of the world, where an anti-Christian government keeps Christians from functioning as they should be allowed to. Governments are ordained by God, so they are accountable to God for what they do. They are not accountable to the church, nor is the church accountable to the state, except that they are called to pray for the government, pay taxes, and obey the laws of the land, except those that violate their accountability to God, in which case the church “must obey God rather than man,” as Peter told the Sanhedrin. The government is ordained by God to protect and to punish, to protect those who are living in peace and obeying the law, and to punish those who are lawbreakers and do criminal acts. Paul says that the government does not bear the sword in vain. Christians are not to take up the sword, as they did during the Crusades, but the government is required by God to protect the rights of Christians to worship in freedom.
1 ARE ALL GOVERNMENTS SERVANTS OF GOD?
No. The government in Nazi Germany needed to be resisted. Few were ready to do that. The government of the antichrist will need to be resisted, and that will mean much suffering. He is called in Scripture “the beast from the abyss.” He will have the world’s vote but not heaven’s.
2 HOW DO WE KNOW WHEN WE CANNOT OBEY A HUMAN GOVERNMENT?
When it comes in direct opposition to the clearly expressed will of God. If the government tells Christians that they cannot gather, it is time to disobey. Christians in Iran, India, and China are gathering illegally, because Scripture commands us to “not forsake the assembling of ourselves together” (Hebrews 10:25). The law of God overrides the law of the state. Government told Daniel not to pray. So he went home and prayed. Government told three young men to bow down to the king’s image. They chose to disobey the orders. The king eventually reversed his decision and gave the unharmed men a promotion.
3 CAN CHRISTIANS SERVE PAGAN LEADERS?
Daniel interpreted the vision of an oriental despot, then boldly urged the king: “Break off your sins by practicing righteousness and your iniquities by showing mercy to the oppressed” (Daniel 4:27). Not your normal communication to a dictator. We thank God for a stable government in America and pray it stays that way.
4 IS A DEMOCRACY A CHRISTIAN FORM OF GOVERNMENT?
No. But it is compatible with Christianity. The rule of God in the new world is a theocracy. Christians are ultimately God-honoring. Where the two governments collide, God must win. Democracy allows for a Christian to submit to the government AND to God. A democracy can exist in a non-Christian climate, but it is best encouraged by Christians who submit to governmental leaders but also to God. Islam erases any difference between state and religion, making it dangerous.
5 WHY SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE?
The founders provided this to protect the church, not the state. It is being used now to protect the state from religion. Something flip-flopped. The state does not have to be Christian for us to submit to it, but it must not be anti-Christian. Evil governments as in China are anti-Christian and must be resisted.
6 IS HONOR DUE TO ANYONE WHO IS LEADING A COUNTRY?
No. The government of North Korea is not a servant of God. The pagan government of Rome was. When the government of God is in conflict with human government, what must Christians do? What did the young men in the fiery furnace do? They would not bow to the idol. But they didn’t take out their guns and shoot the king. They said, “Here is what we are going to do. You do what you need to do.” God backed them up, and the dictator changed his game plan.
7 SHOULD POLICE CARRY GUNS?
They are responsible for putting terror in the hearts of the disobedient, the enemies of the state, the anarchists. They can’t do that with words–or slingshots. Of course, expect a misfire from time to time. But don’t take away the weapons for the exceptional cases. Let them do their job, and they need guns to do it. They are helping to protect us from the crazies, those who hate the government and any institution that takes away their ability to do wrong. Rightful government is not a terror to those who do right. Paul wrote “Do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer” (Romans 13:3-5). It’s in the book. Take away their “sword,” and the anarchists just got permission to hit the streets and burn buildings. Those who want to disarm the police are voting for non-government. Words do not restrain the violent–guns do! Some politicians think they can turn people into being nice. The apostles Paul and Peter knew differently. You don’t reason with these kinds of people–you put them behind bars.