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The Church–State Relationship
There is no greater cause of persecution and martyrdom of the faithful in all the history of Christianity than
the use by religion of the coercive organs of the state.
And beyond this, the political systems of society have even affected the structures of church administration.

A call to clarify
and add impetus to
In this,

However, this does not
in any way reduce Christian responsibility to address the State on its moral behaviour.
Christian history shows the recurring theme of areas of church practice (used to cement any influential relationship with the secular authority) becoming a tool to persecute its reformers and those who attempt to call the church back to her founding purity.
Therefore it may be said of this church-state relationship –
Revelation 18:4-8.
Spoken of Prostitute City
in contrast to Bride City.
For those who insist that 'Babylon the Great' referred to here was simply secular Rome, at no time did Christians ever believe that they were here being called to evacuate that city.
Revelation 18:24.
Those who insist that this is the Roman Catholic church must then be consistent that the Bride of Christ is then also limited to a particular denomination.
"Come out of her, My people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues;
for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.
Pay her back as she herself has paid back others, and repay her double for her deeds;
...For this reason her plagues will come in a single day, death and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire;
for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her."
In this highly
symbolic language, God damns the corrupting influence which exalts the false 'bride', the great whore, which is so stained with the blood of God's people, concluding –
" her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of ALL [of God's people] who have been slain on earth."
In this
relationship between the Christian Church and the government of an empire or a state, the primary problem has been, and still is, ignorance and confusion concerning the essential nature of the Christian Church.
Whether it be in matters of authority, or ordination, or doctrine, this lack has been the infiltration-route to corrupt and to subvert the identity of Christ's Bride to become the Great Whore –
 the lack of understanding of the essence of Christ's Church. 
The Church of Jesus
essential nature consists in the special quality of personal relationships within the Christian community and not in its ministries, not in its organisation, not in its structure. This personal relationship with other Christians is not one of common interest, or common commitment.
It is one of shared spiritual identity that supersedes every other factor in human experience.
A Vital Truth!
The church is its people!
Therefore the people not the ministry
is to be the centre of its life!
  "For as many of you as were baptised into Christ have put on Christ.
There is neither Jew nor Greek
[nor any other nationality], there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female,
for you are all one in Christ Jesus."
Galatians 3:27-28.
If these words
of the New Testament are to be taken seriously, this relationship between Christians is created in their spiritual re-birth by the Holy Spirit which brings them into a new shared-identity which cannot be subdivided by class, race, or gender, for there is only one Holy Spirit.
See: The Christian Church
If this
had remained true in church practice, slavery would have ended by the exemplary impact of Christian conduct without waiting for legislation to be changed in any country under Christian influence.
Slavery in Christianity
following local cultural practice/prejudice, 'Christian' denominations have often subdivided the Church (Christ's people) on racial or cultural lines. While this may be useful as a temporary measure in a special evangelistic outreach to the community of a particular culture, it is to be vehemently opposed where it in any way affects the practical unity of their spiritual identity with all those who are His at any level of organisation or church practice anywhere!
Cape Dutch Reformed Church
as Holy Communion itself includes a personal declaration of unity with all in Christ before taking the Cup of Christ's New Covenant (for this 'bread' is shared in preparation for drinking the 'cup' of the New Covenant 'in His blood'), any factor therefore that divides, whether it be by time, location, or gender, which in any way is less than fully inclusive, completely invalidates Holy Communion itself by the compromised spiritual identity of that congregation.
Communion Celebrates this
Oneness of the Church in
Christ's New Covenant
the temptation to social influence, to increase the visibility and effect of this Christian identity as expressed in an enhanced moral ethic among a population, has subverted the definition of the Church's unique identity by compromise with local cultural practice. So, for most of Christian history its relationship with the State has been little more than a social conscience and/or a religious framework of support for the status quo, in order to profit the Church's social standing.
Zwingli and Anabaptists
It is

Roman Catholic priests give the Nazi salute at a youth rally in the Berlin-Neukolln stadium August 1933.
fitting therefore that this improper relationship between Church and State should be prefigured in the metaphor of a 'woman sitting upon seven hills' (as had been portrayed of Rome by the sestertius coin of Emperor Vespasian), for it is pre-eminently in this particular city that the young Church first fully espoused herself to secular authority. And it was the fruit of this growing liaison that in consequence reaped a bloody harvest of Christian believers in the Parthian empire to the east.
Politics of a Seduced Bride.
Yet, as understandable as it is that reformers such as Luther should have seen in this metaphor the Roman Catholicism of their day, this sad truth is much larger than the influence a single city or of its surrogates.
It has been said by one Cambridge historian that the Roman Catholic Church is the ghost of the Roman Empire sitting upon its grave.
For most centuries of Christian history the organised Church has not believed in the separation of Church and State and instead has used whatever means was available to it to influence the State in order to use its coercive influence to further the Church's religious agenda at that time either through legislation and/or executive action.
In European history, the relationship between Church and State developed differently within the two branches of the Roman empire. At one stage the Church came to endorse Caesaropapism, that is, subordination of the Church to the religious claims of the dominant political order (to the advantage of its clergy's status). This pattern was most fully evident in the East of the Empire particularly at the height of Byzantine rule at the end of the 1st millennium of Christian history.
in the West another view, the “two swords” doctrine (spiritual and temporal), was enunciated by Pope Gelasius I. According to this doctrine, the Church and the State are coequal in status. But by the 13th century Pope Innocent III made extreme claims to the effect that the Holy Roman emperor (that is, the State) was subordinate to the pope (that is, the Church) because of the relative significance of the different jurisdictions given the two 'institutions'.
St. Augustine's bribes
Later, the 16th century conflict in 'Holy Roman Empire within the Germanic Nation' between Lutheranism and Catholicism produced a compromise, primarily for the protection of Lutherans, known as Cuius regio, eius religio, a Latin phrase meaning "Whose realm, his the religion" (Peace of Augsburg 1555 AD/CE), that is – the religion of the ruler would be the religion of his people. This in effect still continued the coercive practices of the past simply with different beneficiaries in different areas.
Politics of a Seduced Bride
religious-nonconformists in Europe, known today as Baptists, Mennonites, and others, either fled or were exterminated, for this 1555 'Peace' had stated in Article 17 that –
"all such as do not belong to the two above named religions [Catholic and Lutheran]
shall not be included in the present peace but be totally excluded from it."
modern western idea of the separation of Church and State, as a principle of political governance, seems to have originated with John Locke simply concerning liberty of individual conscience in contrast to this corrupting Cuius regio eius religio practice.
An important principle to remember here then is that the history of Christian experience should not shape Christian doctrine!
The seed
of truth which is at the core of the idea of Separation of Church and State pertains to the essential character of the Christian Church, but this understanding of the nature of the Church became quickly lost in Christianity's spread throughout the Roman Empire.
This principle is far beyond simply a separation of politics and religion!
It is the spiritual essence of the character of Christianity which makes Christianity 'Christian', beyond any religious conformity or doctrinal definition.
Although in the USA the phrase 'Separation of Church and State' is sometimes attributed to American President Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptists in 1802, the basic concept really took definition in response to the European persecutions of nonconformist-Christians by State churches such as the Anglican, Catholic, Lutheran, and Reformed. The use by these Church bodies of secular authority to crush religious dissent helped define the idea of separation as a worthy ideal.
like all reactions, taken too far, it also too easily becomes in itself a restriction that was never its original intention, such a banning of prayer in public schools, etc..
In the
development of the United States, European Church-abuse of the coercive power of the State was part of the historical background to the development of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
It reads
in its Bill of Rights: Amendment I –
"Congress shall make
   •   no law respecting an establishment of religion,
   •   or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;
   •   or abridging the freedom of speech,
   •   or of the press;
   •   or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
(March 4, 1789; ratified on December 15, 1791).
See: America's
Christian Identity Myth
But this
was spelled out even more clearly in a Supreme Court judgement’s judicial comment in 1943 on this Amendment.
“The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. One’s right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.”
— Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, West Virginia State Board of Education versus Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943). (Emphasis mine).
judicial comment also has bearing on this –
"...You can't understand a phrase such as 'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion' by syllogistic reasoning. Words take their meaning from social as well as textual contexts, which is why "a page of history is worth a volume of logic." New York Trust Co. versus Eisner, 256 U.S. 345, 349 (1921) (Holmes, J.).
Source: Sherman v. Community Consol. Dist. 21, 980 F.2d 437, 445 (7th Cir. 1992)
was born into this history to continue in the restoration of humanity what has been publicly demonstrated in the person of Jesus Christ: He who was the sinless restoration of humanity to God's original design/intention! For this reason Jesus is called the "last Adam" (1Cor.15:45) for in Him is our true restoration as it was meant to be in the beginning in God's image.
John 14:9, 7.
is the revelation of God in whose image humanity was made in order to exercise dominion; an 'image' of which Jesus could say to His disciples – "Whoever has seen Me has seen the Father" and "From now on you do know Him and have seen Him".
This was Christ's understanding of His human-role and has nothing to do with Christ's deity. He made this plain in His statement of His authority over the Sabbath day, when He declared that because the Sabbath was made for human benefit and not vice versa, that gave Him authority over the Sabbath –
"The Sabbath was made for mankind, not mankind for the Sabbath.
Therefore the Son of Man* is lord even of the Sabbath."
Christ's Human Authority!
*not a messianic title!
Mark 2:27-28.
This representative-image-restored is what continues in the world today in Christ's Church as Christ knows it.
Note then,
the crucial role of those who truly represent God's character to this world, given to us in the example of Paul the Prisoner being shipped to Rome. God's angel said to him during the terrible storm at sea concerning the approaching sinking of their ship –
'Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar.
And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you
Acts 27:24.
later, therefore
"And as the sailors were seeking to escape from the ship,
and had lowered the ship's boat into the sea under pretence of laying out anchors from the bow,
Paul said to the centurion
[their commanding officer] and the soldiers, 'Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved'."
Acts 27:30-31.
This representative-authority is intrinsically resident in true Christianity everywhere!
It does not need espousal to the state at any level to act authoritatively, least of all through councils, synods, or any other hierarchy of office in any form of deputation or function. This authority lies not in ordination but in the essence of the Christian Church's identity in its ordinary members; who are called in Scripture to follow Paul's example (1 Cor.4:16; 11:1).
separation from pseudo-Christian conduct!
The call of the Voice in John's vision on Patmos calls to us today
"Come out of her, My people..."
In the
spread of Christian Missions, this flirtation with the State has been a serious hindrance. Across northern Africa, for instance, the behaviour of Christian missionaries has at times been seen as part of European colonisation and has provoked a serious negative backlash. In January 1917, Charles Strachey of the British Colonial Office even needed to write to the Church Missionary Society of the Church of England that its members behaviour was "highly injudicious" which could result in native opposition and unrest.
Christian Missions as
European Colonisation.
In addition, very subtly, the emotive issue of gay/homosexual 'marriage' has also become used to slide the Christian Church toward a new compromise of its identity with the organs of state.
See: Homosexuality
registration of marriage does not create a marriage any more than a legal divorce ends a marriage. Cultural confusion on the essential character of marriage (as God sees it) has made many sincere Christians vulnerable to being led astray and to become party to lobby-groups who try to use the power of the state to establish their social morality, with the ultimate destination of this direction being the combination of state and 'church' in the rule of Antichrist.
Do not associate with such groups in any way no matter what alarmist rhetoric they may use.
"Come out of her, My people..."!
Essence of Marriage
But foolishly
in the US, the Oklahoma state legislature has taken steps that blur the line that divides church and state. The House speaker says he wants to build a chapel inside the Capitol to celebrate Oklahoma's "Judeo-Christian heritage". Several lawmakers have said they want to allow nativity scenes and other religious-themed symbols in public schools. In their zeal to tout their faith in the public square, political conservatives in Oklahoma have even unwittingly opened the door to a wide range of religious groups, including Satanists (Lucien Greaves of the New York-based Satanic Temple) who are seeking to put their own statue next to the (2009 erected) Ten Commandments monument outside the statehouse.
Let's get back to a Biblical Christianity within which the coercive status of the State has no place whatsoever, ever!
Trump's vulgar remarks questioning why the U.S. should admit immigrants from Haiti and Africa have spotlighted the bitter divide among American evangelicals about his presidency. While some of his evangelical backers expressed support for his leadership, other conservative Christians are calling the president racist and say church leaders had a moral imperative to condemn him. "Your pro-life argument rings hollow if you don't have an issue with this xenophobic bigotry," tweeted pastor Earon James of Relevant Life Church in Pace, Florida. Trump won 80% of the white evangelical vote in the 2016 election. But recent polls show some weakening in that support, with 61% approving of his job performance, compared with 78% last February, according to the Pew Research Center. Still, conservative Christians remain as polarized as ever over his leadership.
See also: Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty   &   Five myths about church and state in America (published by the Washington Post)
Slavery in Christianity The Church & HIV/AIDS Church Behaviours Menu Homosexuality Ethical Norms

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