As the nation pauses to mark the anniversary of America’s Declaration of Independence this July 4, the Hausvater Project presents:
- Church and State: Common Sources, Distinct Powers, Separate Jurisdictions, Overlapping Subjects
- Getting Christ out of Caesar’s Shadow: A Call to the Confessing Church
- Save These Dates: Conferences coming to Iowa on October 7 and October 14
Church and State: Common Sources, Distinct Powers, Separate Jurisdictions, Overlapping Subjects
By Ryan MacPherson
Much confusion and disagreement surrounds the relationship between church and state. Should they be kept entirely apart, as Thomas Jefferson’s dictum concerning a “wall of separation” would suggest? Should they be united, as in England, where Parliament declared King Henry VIII to be both the monarch of the state and the head of the national church?
The answer found in Scripture and presented by the Lutheran theologians of the Reformation era in the Book of Concord lies somewhere between these two extremes. Church and state share a common source, exercise distinct powers, maintain separate jurisdictions, and yet serve overlapping subjects. To understand how these four points apply to any particular situation sometimes requires a bit of mental wrestling, but the sooner that Christians embrace the paradoxical implications, the more clearly they’ll be able to navigate the two “kingdoms”—church and state—in which they live out their vocations.
... Church and state serve an overlapping constituency. The church consists of all people everywhere who believe that in Christ they have forgiveness of their sins and peace with God. The state, meanwhile, governs those people who live within its geographical domain, some of whom might be Christians, and others might not. As Martin Luther observed, the Christian lives simultaneously as a citizen of each kingdom, church and state. Within the lives of Christians, the two kingdoms overlap, claiming the same persons as their proper subjects—a dual citizenship of sorts.
Click to Continue Reading: http://www.hausvater.org/articles/376
Getting Christ out of Caesar’s Shadow: A Call to the Confessing Church
By Jonathan Conner
Our allegiances are realigned. We are not first indebted to Caesar or his state or his army (although we may rightly honor and participate in these things); we are first indebted to Christ and aligned with His Church. Christ is our master; He owns us. Because of this our faith is not in Caesar’s might, mandates, or missiles; our faith is in the Lord Jesus Christ who made the earth and heavens, rules the nations, and claims us as His own. Caesar will not and cannot save world; that work can only be done by Christ and the Gospel He has placed in His Church. This means that the great gift the Church has to offer the world is not more legislation, enhanced social programs, or lobbyists in Washington (although Christians may rightly support such efforts). The great gift the Church has for the world is Christ and His Gospel. That’s the message that needs to echo from the Church’s pulpit.
... If we allow Caesar to replace Christ’s kingdom with His, we will watch Caesar gut Jesus’ cross and resurrection out of the Gospel and fill it with an “improved society.” Improved societies are noble things, but Jesus didn’t call the Church simply to improve society (to make it a little less dangerous, a little less dirty, a little less uncomfortable). These are certainly things responsible citizens should strive for, but the Church has been called to hear Christ’s voice, His voice which announces the present and coming Kingdom of God, and to make disciples of Jesus through the proclamation of the Gospel. It’s the Gospel that makes the Church the Church, and that Gospel cannot be substituted for any initiative of Caesar, no matter how culturally beneficial.
Click to Continue Reading: http://www.hausvater.org/articles/377
Forgiveness in Christ: it’s for you and your children. (Acts 2:38-29)
The Hausvater Project seeks to equip Christian men and women for distinctive and complementary vocations in family, church, and society, by fostering research and education in light of Holy Scripture as proclaimed by the Lutheran Confessions.