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Given the Crusades etc, what do you make of the idea of a Christian State?

Discussion in 'Christian History' started by eclipsenow, Apr 7, 2022.

  1. eclipsenow

    eclipsenow God cares about his creation as well as us.

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    Hi all,
    this is both a theological and historical question - and I couldn't find an appropriate theology forum for it so the History forum it is. It came up in another unrelated thread but I thought it needed more exploration so posted here. I'll summarise my thoughts so far.

    First, we become bullies.
    I just posted a thread about John Dickson's book "Bullies and Saints" which outlines how Christians often seem to get it wrong when we are in charge. History shows we become the Bullies in the title of his book.

    Second, I can't see it in the NT
    I just can't see a theological basis for a Christian state. Not only did Jesus say give to Caesar what is Caesars and give to God what is God's, but Paul called the ROMANS "God's servants to go do you good!" The ROMANS! (Romans 13). Admittedly this was before they had gone into full persecutor / beast state mode - when John refers to them as the 'beast' in Revelation 13. But there seems to be an acknowledgement that secular states are there to stop total chaos - so be grateful and get on with the gospel.

    Third, I'm troubled by the uniformity.
    A "Christian State" seems to require a majority be Christian. Jesus taught we would be in the minority until he returns. Consider:

    Matt 7:13 "13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."

    John 16:18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father as well.

    And the many verses on how it will be hard in the last days (which started 2000 years ago, see Acts 2 and Hebrews 1.)

    Rather I would say we can have a Christian influence on the State - a battle which we will win in some issues and lose on others - precisely because of the fact that we will pretty much always be in the minority. Yes, Constantine's conversion was a thing - but I think that was a rare occasion in history. Also, a turning point for many wins in political life that are still considered normal today, such as a first for hospitals and many things we consider part of the welfare state today. So now we look out at our nations and fear how they are becoming immoral - but sometimes forget how far we have come.

    Fourth - attitudes to political policies can get dumbed down.

    I like how former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd - an evangelical himself - raises various questions as we think through the Christian's impact on the state. I'll hand over to Kevin:-
    _______________

    "...In particular, I would like to reflect on the various models of political behaviour adopted by Christian politicians themselves.

    Model number one is what I call the "vote for me because I'm a Christian".

    This is the model that I find to be most repugnant.

    It is the model that says that simply on the basis of my external profession of the Christian faith, that those of similar persuasions should vote for me.

    This is about as persuasive as saying that because I am a Sydney Swans supporter, that all other Sydney Swans supporters should vote for me as well because we ostensively adhere to the same belief system.

    This model is alive and well in the United States. Thankfully it is much less alive and much less well here in Australia. Although there are some dangerous signs that for certain Christian constituencies within our country, this represents an increasingly appealing message.

    It is a model for which I can find no underpinning scriptural, doctrinal or theological authority.

    Model number two says "vote for me because I'm Christian and because I have a defined set of views on a narrowly defined set of questions concerning sexual morality".

    Regrettably this model has an increasing number of supporters within the broader Christian community.

    It is a community which tends to read down rather than read up the ethical teachings of the New Testament " producing a narrow "tick the box" approach to passing so-called Christian "morals" tests.

    I see very little evidence of that approach in the Gospels.

    I see much more evidence of it in 17th and 18th century European pietism.

    Once again it will come as no surprise to you here that I am not attracted to model number two either.

    Model number three says something like this: take models number one and two above and add to them the additional tag of "family values". That is "vote for me because I am a Christian; vote for me because I have a defined set of views on questions of private sexual morality; and vote for me also because I wrap myself in the garments of something called "family values'".

    Regrettably it is my view that the term "family values" has become one of the most used and abused terms in the Australian political lexicon...."

    ...much more at this link...

    Kevin Rudd on politics and Christianity
     
  2. DragonFox91

    DragonFox91 Well-Known Member

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    Didn't the Catholic Church essentially control most of Europe for a long time?

    A Christian state would be impossible at this point b/c too many different denominations.
     
  3. SavedByGrace3

    SavedByGrace3 Whoever calls on the name of Jesus will be saved Supporter

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    When Jesus returns there will be a Christ State. He will rule with an iron rod.
    As far as the current dispensation... not so much. Nations and peoples would not have it. They would rather drown in the blood of their secular wars. Hundreds of millions in the last century alone. The atrocities committed by secular states are beyond number. Almost a billion abortions in the last 70 years. How much worse could it get?
    Earth Day: Abortion Has Killed 1-2 Billion Worldwide in 50 Years - LifeNews.com
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2022
  4. Hammster

    Hammster Good lookin’ Christian Nationalist Staff Member Site Advisor Supporter

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    I’m for theonomy. But not a Christian state, if that makes sense.
     
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  5. Pavel Mosko

    Pavel Mosko Arch-Dude of the Apostolic Supporter

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    You don't have to see it in the NT it was in the OT and if you have a ruler(king, emperor etc.) become Christian you basically get this.

    Yeah there are problems with it, but this is more Biblical than a modern secular Democracy!
     
  6. DragonFox91

    DragonFox91 Well-Known Member

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    So he dislikes every kind of Christian who runs for office? In the article he lists 2 more & still finds faults w/ them.

    I did like this part tho:

    From the article:

    "
    It is my argument that it is incumbent on each of you to become engaged.

    It is incumbent on each of you to become active.

    It is incumbent on each of you to make your voice heard.

    Evil prevails only when good men remain silent."
     
  7. bèlla

    bèlla ❤️ Supporter

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    Evil prevails when Christians fail to pray. Heaven moves on prayer not protests.
     
  8. HTacianas

    HTacianas Well-Known Member

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    First, the Crusades were initially begun as a response to Islamic invasions of Christian lands. To condemn the rationale behind it is the equivalent of condemning the Ukrainians today for firing at the Russians.
     
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  9. dzheremi

    dzheremi Coptic Orthodox non-Egyptian

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    Abyssinia/Ethiopia/Axum was a 'Christian state' from c. 330 AD until the coming of the Derg (Communist regime) in 1974. I'm not from there, but from everything I've read and from talking to Ethiopians, it seemed to do okay with religious diversity insofar as it existed, with Jews living in places like Ambober (in the Christian-majority highlands), various types of indigenous pagans in the south, and of course Muslims in the Islamicized east. I suppose you could say they were 'bullies' occasionally if you call things like fighting against Jewish (Queen Gudit) and Islamic (Ahmed Gragn) attempts to destroy the empire and bring down its indigenous Orthodox Church 'bullying', but I don't. I also don't think it was bullying to hand the Himyarites their keisters in Yemen, either, in the process of strengthening the indigenous Christian community in southern Arabia at the time, when they were being actively persecuted and martyred by the Jewish king of that country (6th century), or much later when the Ethiopians destroyed the Somalis in their war back in the 1970s when the Somalis tried to claim the Ogaden region (the area of the country where the majority are ethnic Somalis) as part of Siad Barre's "Greater Somalia" idea. Or for that matter their twice-whooping of the Italians at Adwa in the 1890s and again in the Fascist period under Mussolini.

    But maybe you meant you meant only European examples of Christians behaving badly, in which case fine. I don't really care about Europe as a 'Christian' continent. Let it be one again first and then we'll see how it fairs (though I don't think that's actually going to happen outside of very small anomalies like Malta, where as I understand it the majority actually attend services regularly).
     
  10. Ignatius the Kiwi

    Ignatius the Kiwi Dissident

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    If the state is a legitimate instrument which God has allowed man to use to govern himself, how can it be possible that God has prohibited Christians from being able to govern themselves and therefore must necessarily be governed by non-Christians? Are we so bad as to be untrustworthy with power, while non-Christians can and must be trusted with this power to operate within our interests? For isn't that what the Christian state is? Christians operating on a common basis to govern themselves? Does a Christian state mean that Christians treat others badly? Not necessarily though others or the non-Christian will not be the favoured class. Favoritism, no matter the government form cannot be escaped. There will always be certain privledge favorite classes.

    I am therefore not opposed to the Christian state in principle. I will question the idea that a Christian state, or any state for that matter, requires a majority. Often it is the vocal minority that seeks out it's purpose that wins and influences the majority. Christians were a minority when Constantine came into power. At one time Muslims were a minority in Egypt and Spain. The Communists were a minority in Russia at the time of the revolution.
     
  11. eclipsenow

    eclipsenow God cares about his creation as well as us.

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    Listen to the book.
    It's vastly more complicated than that.
     
  12. Watchman1

    Watchman1 Senior Veteran Supporter

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    Jesus told Pontius Pilate, "If My kingdom was of this world, My servants would fight for it."
     
  13. Bob Crowley

    Bob Crowley Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The closest we could get to a Christian state would be a "just state", where people did the right thing, and cared for their neighbours.

    But it wouldn't last long as the devil would want to destroy it.

    On the anti-Christ, and coincidental political developments, the Catholic Church has this to say about what might be called political attempts to realise paradise on earth -

    From the Catechism - paragraph 675 - 680

     
  14. Mark Quayle

    Mark Quayle Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Can you elucidate? And do you have a problem with the first amendment (USA)?
     
  15. Hammster

    Hammster Good lookin’ Christian Nationalist Staff Member Site Advisor Supporter

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    Theonomy happens slowly. It’s not a movement. It’s what happens when Matthew 13 plays out. Eventually there will be more Christians than non-Christians, and governments will start to govern that way. Right now we


    Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
    Matthew 28:19-20

    In the meantime, we also are to obey God and defy tyrants, just like they did in Acts.

    And I have no problem with the first amendment.
     
  16. Mark Quayle

    Mark Quayle Well-Known Member Supporter

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    To me there doesn't seem to be any warrant for a Christian State, nor for Theonomy, except for in old Israel, where God's law was acceptable as the rule. From a practical point of view, there seems too much danger of any one particular theological philosophy/denomination to become the definition of 'Christian', to the exclusion of the rest (witness Calvinism's burning Michael Servetus at the stake*). I consider myself to be of the Reformed variety, but I wouldn't even want a Reformed government, as I doubt I would be acceptable to Reformed persons who have all the authority. Even in Christ's Body there doesn't appear to be what could be called a generic, non-denominational, nor an all-inclusive, Christian. This is why the founders of the US did not want a king, and did not want a theonomy. They knew their own history.

    But I think the US First Amendment has a very different view of what sort of governance we should have, from what it is taken to require or preclude. Government is by definition a 'moral' entity —that is, it enforces what one should, or should not, do.

    *Just a note: Calvin is accused of at least being in favor of the burning at the stake of Servetus, if not ordering his execution, or even personally setting the wood on fire. I have read, and have not heard the fact that it was discredited, a letter he wrote, in which he describes his puzzlement as to why people credit him with the execution of Servetus. Either the letter has been discarded as tabloid quality, or it could not well be discredited and so has been ignored in favor of a more visceral view of Calvin himself. Sadly, I have not been able to find even any reference to the letter these last few years, in the few occasions in which I have looked for it.
     
  17. Mark Quayle

    Mark Quayle Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Very good. As long as laws don't demand worship, and adherence to any religious formulae, to include even belief in a God. MORAL law and policy, yes, definitely, but not religious, as such.
     
  18. Ignatius the Kiwi

    Ignatius the Kiwi Dissident

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    The only warrant necessary is that Christians may wish to govern themselves or others. What in particular renders a Christian unable to govern that makes a non-Christian or a Christian acting from a non-Christian secular perspective suitable? Is Christianity such a dangerous, irresponsible and perhaps evil force that we should seek to keep it separate from all institutions of power at all times?
     
  19. Hammster

    Hammster Good lookin’ Christian Nationalist Staff Member Site Advisor Supporter

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    I think at some point all laws will be biblically based. And it will still be country by country. I don’t think there will be a one world government until Christ returns, having put all His enemies under His feet. Until then, He reigns from the right hand of the Father.
     
  20. Mark Quayle

    Mark Quayle Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Nothing makes a Christian (nor other religious person) less qualified by reason of being religious. That is not my point nor did I mean to imply such a thing. I do not believe in the common [mis]use of the phrase, "separation of church and state". To my view, the first amendment precludes the disqualification of any religious believer on the grounds that he is religious in any way.
     
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