Copyright © December 10, 2011
This article is a continuation of Jerald Finney’s systematic development of the doctrines, application, history, and legalities of “separation of church and state.” See En1 for more on this matter. This article is an edited version of Section I, Chapter 12 of the book God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application (Link to preview of God Betrayed). (Link to Contents of “Separation of Church and State Law” Blog which has links so that the new follower can start his study at the beginning. “Line upon line, precept upon precept.”). See En2 for information on books by Jerald Finney which thoroughly examine “separation of church and state law.”
Conclusion to “The biblical doctrine of government”
Salvation is the beginning of a new life. After salvation, one’s purpose is to glorify God. Jesus said to Peter who rebuked Him for speaking of His coming sufferings and death at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes:
“Get thee behind me Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of the Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works” (Mt. 16.23-27).
One who is saved continues in God’s Word and seeks to live according to biblical principles has the promise of persecution while on this earth: “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Ti. 3.12). Some Christians forget that although every saved person will go to heaven, there they will still be rewarded according to their works:
“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved: yet so as by fire” (Mt. 3.11-15).
A individual, a family, a church, or a nation made up of Christians (those who are saved and follow the principles of God) has hope. (For more on this, see Study on 1 Thessalonians and Study on 2 Thessalonians.) Peter makes clear he will keep his brethren in remembrance that a believer needs certain things to prevent himself from being barren and unfruitful and to keep himself from falling—faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity (2 Pe. 1.3-13). God would have us exercise these qualities in all things. “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Pe. 1.3-4). [Bold emphasis mine.]
All things would include all principles of the Word of God: the doctrines of church, state, and separation of church and state are therefore to be studied diligently and applied by the Christian. Unfortunately, most Christians are deficient, especially in knowledge. The principle of Hosea 4.6-19 concerning rejection of knowledge and the inevitable consequences thereof, although directed immediately to the children of Israel, is also a general principle which applies to believers today. Sadly, in any nation, the lost and the saved who are not seeking to follow after God’s principles always outnumber Christians, at least in the long run. As a result, no civil government has ever been under God for any length of time, and every civil government has been or will be judged by God before He sets up His kingdom.
Did God give us all the principles people need for success as individuals, as families, as churches, and as nations knowing that we would always ultimately fail? Yes. He knew it from the beginning. He knew we would totally destroy ourselves even with all His wisdom at our disposal. He knew that we would ultimately totally reject all His wisdom, statutes, and commandments. And along the way, He knew that no one, at any time, would ever fully comprehend God and God’s ways. He knew man would blow it. Yet, because of His love, He sent His own Son to pay the price for our monstrous sins. He gave each and every person a way out. That way was not oneself, one’s conscience, one’s family, one’s virtue, one’s good deeds, one’s church membership, one’s baptism, or one’s civil government. That way was His Son. Period.
En1 Why should believers, and especially pastors, be concerned about the area of church and state law? Because only through knowledge can they avoid dishonoring the Husband/Bridegroom/Head of their local church body and thereby failing to achieve their God-given goal—glorifying God and pleasing Him.
These articles systematically examine the biblical doctrines of church, state, separation of church and state and the application of those doctrines in America. For believers and churches, the information presented is—according to God’s Word—of great importance to our Lord. By reading and studying each article using the Bible as the standard, a believer will discover that the biblical principles are correct as presented. By studying the historical and legal facts presented—without bias, prejudice, illicit motive, or an overriding opposing agenda which has a vested interest in maintaining a status quo due to loss of finances, support or something else—and examining those facts in light of biblical principle, a qualified believer (a believer who has the necessary biblical, historical, and legal qualifications and education) can understand that the conclusions are correct.
That said, understanding the biblical principles, relevant history, and legal principles and facts is, first, impossible for one who is not a born again believer who is walking in the Spirit, and, second, daunting for even the spirit filled follower of Christ. Years of honest, open minded study is required to achieve the correct knowledge and understanding of all facets of church and state law. First, one must interpret Scripture correctly (See 2 Ti. 2:15) as to the relevant topics. After mastering the biblical principles, one must then labor through the annals of history, and the intricacies of law. In order to be qualified to comment upon the law, one must have an extensive legal education. He must understand how to do legal research and how to reach correct legal conclusions. Legal commentary by a pseudo lawyer can sound good to the untrained, while he may be correctly understood as frivolous and unlearned and probably heretical by the educated believer.
This is not to say that a non-lawyer cannot understand the legal and historical aspects of spiritual matters. In fact, the author knows some pastors and other believers who, having already correctly divided the Word of Truth and determined to seek to please God in all matters, have open minds and who have eagerly sought truth in the historical and legal church and state law arena. He is working with such a young pastor at this very moment. He is a brilliant young man who had mastered the Scriptures and Baptist history before the author met him. He excels the author in those matters, as do some other pastors and believers known by the author. Unlike most pastors, he does not have the disadvantages of having gone to either a secular or ecclesiastical (Baptist or otherwise) institution of higher learning. Secular colleges and universities usually corrupt even the most devout child of God; and religious colleges, institutions, and seminaries generally (with few exceptions, one of which the author has personal knowledge of)—by either mixing an ample dose of humanism with whatever biblically correct teaching they dose out; or by having totally having abandoned truth—likewise usually corrupt their students to one degree or another.
On the other hand, I am vexed by what I read in some books and websites concerning church and state law; particularly by some vicious, unfounded attacks upon the Biblical Law Center Declaration of Trust by unqualified, biased assailants who are attempting to mislead believers and churches through incorrect biblical and legal analyses and personal attacks upon and outright lies about those with whom they disagree in such matters.
Being a believer alone, even a pastor, does not by itself qualify one to teach on church and state law. The author has been a believer and faithful member of independent Baptist churches since his salvation. He was called by God to go to law school for His glory and to please Him. As a result of that calling, he obtained a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from one of the best law schools in the country and has practiced law for seventeen years. He has no motive for dishonesty. By design, he has never made a dime above expenses in his work in the church and state law arena. In fact, he has spent tens of thousands of dollars with total income of at most three to four thousand dollars in all the years he has worked in this area of law. Because of this he is beholden to no one and nothing but the truth and his Lord and Savior. Since becoming a lawyer, he has devoted untold thousands of hours in biblical, historical, and legal study and analysis of church and state law.
As always, he declares that if anyone can show him where he is in error, he will recant. Honest, loving believers have taught him much and caused him to modify some of his positions. He has also, in his continued studies, modified some of his conclusions and positions. However, he maintains his primary positions because neither he, through his continued studies, or others have shown him to be wrong about his basic church and state law principles and conclusions.
En2 God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application (Link to preview of God Betrayed): may be ordered from Amazon by clicking the following link: God Betrayed on Amazon.com or from Barnes and Nobel by clicking the following link: God Betrayed on Barnes and Noble. All books by Jerald Finney as well as many of the books he has referenced and read may also be ordered by left clicking “Books” (on the “Church and State Law” website) or directly from Amazon by going to the following links: (1) Render Unto God the Things that Are His: A Systematic Study of Romans 13 and Related Verses (Kindle only); (2) The Most Important Thing: Loving God and/or Winning Souls (Kindle only); (3) Separation of Church and State/God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities? (Link to preview of Separation of Church and State/God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities?) which can also be ordered by clicking the following Barnes and Noble link: Separation of Church and State on Barnes and Noble.