Weekly Thought – May 22, 2018
Fred understood human nature better than most. He was never shocked because he grasped the depth of our depravity, but also celebrated the heights to which we could soar in the Spirit. He enjoyed thinking about philosophical elements of society. The separation of church and state is an example.
God and America
In their writings, memorials, statues, public utterances, and their deepest thoughts, our founding fathers demonstrated their faith in the Divine. When they advocated the separation of church and state were they being hypocritical? No, I think not. They simply understood it better than we do today. Separation was not to isolate or dwarf either.
We have confused the issue of religion in politics with the theory of separation. These are very different concepts which the media and unknowledgeable, biased people treat as synonymous.
The basic tenet of separation is to keep two major bureaucracies (church and state) from uniting and thereby combining treason and heresy under the same authority. If a person became offensive he could be declared treasonous and if that failed, marked as a heretic. The chance to escape was slight.
The union of church and state refused equal freedom to denominationalism. The elimination of choice between denominations would be extremely unhealthy. Personally, I know and respect a great many of the current religious leaders, but I do not know a single one I would risk handing over leadership for all of Christendom. The dispersion of church leadership is an advantage of denominationalism.
When a human leader has the choice between the visible power of politics with money/power and the invisible power of God, the temptation is great to turn toward the visible which can be controlled, neglecting the invisible which is intended to control him.
Unfortunately, we are seeing a revival of the concept of civil religion. To say that morality comes only from the Christian faith, in my view, is untrue. There is a great need for stronger morality in America. I am grateful for greater depth of our moral fiber. But I believe to say it can only come from Christians is not true.
I appreciate the effort to revitalize America. We need it. However, I am afraid of any group who indicates that when we choose them as leaders we automatically get the exclusive sponsorship of God. Quoting religious platitudes can hardly deliver God to our nation. Who knows if He is through with us, but if He is elections can’t return Him.
It is important that I am searching to be on God’s side, not promising that He is on mine. Am I saying religion (and Christian faith) should not enter into political decisions? Certainly not! To say a man’s convictions should be kept out of any of his decisions is to suggest he become schizophrenic. In seeing the validity of a man’s faith in his political life, we also see the wisdom of not creating a society in which a man could be hanged on the dual horns of treason and heresy.
This week think about: 1) How do I react to Fred’s thoughts on church/state? 2) Why do I participate in the political system? 3) When do I most effectively allow my faith to influence my work, church, family?
Words of Wisdom: “To say a man’s convictions should be kept out of any of his decisions is to suggest he become schizophrenic.”
Wisdom from the Word: “He said to them, ‘Then give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’” (Matthew 22:21 NET Bible)