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Sunday, March 3, 2019

The Influence of the Church

How does the Church relate to government? We have a popular philosophy going in the world today that says there should be separation between Church and state. They carry that idea to the extreme, concluding that it means the state should not be influenced at all by the moral view of the Church, which is the Body of Christ. Nothing could be further from the truth!

The Constitution says that the government “shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or inhibiting the free exercise thereof.” What that really means is, there isn’t supposed to be a state church. The people who said, “no state church,” were very wise, perceptive Christians. The state backing a religious design that somebody calls a church, like the Church of England, or the Church of Denmark, is not biblical. A human institution is no more the Church than is the man in the moon. The framers of the Constitution feared a government-backed religious institution, because they knew it would exercise, finally, coercive force upon the individual.

Rather, we must have with a nation, not a church controlled BY the state, but a church which is a powerful influence UPON the state. The Church should become a great beacon for the state to observe, so that the state will know the difference between right and wrong.

Carl Henry, a theologian, said that if the state is one day going to be judged by the laws of God (judged according to what the Bible says it is supposed to be), then it behooves the Church to make clear those rules, so that the state will understand the rules by which it will one day be judged. I believe that to be true.

Therefore, the Church should influence the state, not because it coerces the state in any way, but because it has a majestic mind and a deep spiritual awareness. The Church should be able to give spiritual interpretations to the concerns of the state, so that government will look on and say, “Yes, that is true. That is the standard which we must follow.”

It occurs to me that we need to discuss what the Church must be in a world like this. The Church should have such a knowledge of the Word of God, such spiritual discernment, that it can talk about anything that is a matter of public policy: abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, welfare, or any of the issues that are going on in our particular time.

We need men who will speak with such irrefutable intelligence, as was the case in colonial America, that nobody can stand in their way. That kind of an influence, from a spiritual entity called the Church, could make a remarkable difference in America today.

When the Church speaks through the words of these individuals, who are in touch with God, and who know what the Bible says, it will speak irrevocably and inexorably. Everyone will have to listen. They said about Christ during his earthly ministry:

“Never man spoke like this man” (John 7:46).

No one is able to influence our minds, our hearts, our spirits, like this Man, Jesus Christ. Well, Christ said, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12), but before His earthly ministry was done, He added, “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14).

“If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God” (I Peter 4:11).

How does the Church relate to the role of government? The Church is an instructor. The Church is a source of knowledge. The Church should have something better to say, than George Washington, or Thomas Jefferson, or anybody like that. These were mere human beings.

But the Church can speak as a divine entity, intellectually motivated by the presence of Jesus Christ. The influence of the Church within a state, within a government, should be one that is valuable beyond estimation.
From “The Future of America—A Call to Revival, Part 2,” by Dave Breeese.

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