Why are there Bible-believing Christians on opposite sides when it comes to the issue of church and state? Some believers want Christianity legislated by the government, others do not. Both affirm that God is sovereign over all things and both agree that ultimate obedience comes not from government legislation but from a subdued heart. Both affirm the sinfulness of man and the resulting need for law in civil society. So why do they not agree when it comes to what law should govern civil society?
Oddly enough, the crucial issue comes down to ecclesiology, that is, their respective views of the church. In sum,
He who thinks of the Church as a community of experiential believers is bound to oppose him who thinks of it as a fellowship embracing…show more content… There are other theological issues involved but this difference is foundational. In the American context of separation of church and state as well as the contemporary context of doctrinal imprecision, the lines have been blurred concerning the Christian's relation to government. But, regardless of one's denomination affiliation today, the practical desire to more or less legislate Christianity flows from one's view of the church: Corpus Christi vs. Corpus Christianum. It's fair to say that those within believers-only churches who would legislate Christianity have adopted a non-believers-only view of the church without realizing…show more content… All law has a moral component." While it is certainly not true that all law/legislation has a moral component, the point is well made in that much of what is and should be law does have a moral component. However, we must make a distinction between things that are moral issues only and things that are moral issues and should also be part of civil law to insure a civil, and at the same time, free society. Stealing or kidnapping are moral things and must be outlawed in civil society. You don't have the freedom to infringe on someone else's property or freedom. Murder/abortion is a moral thing and must be outlawed. You don't have the freedom to infringe on someone else's life. Yet, things like sexual promiscuity, foul language, or reading salacious material are moral issues only. We don't outlaw them. While people are not free from the eye and judgment of God, they are free in those areas in society as they do not infringe on the rights of others. Indeed such a principle is not theocratic but it is in keeping with the nature of the gospel. Again, we persuade, not coerce. The law of Christ is for those who have been brought into God's fold, not those who remain