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Disestablishmentarianism


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#1 Evangelion

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Posted 03 January 2003 - 12:37 PM

Christadelphians are disestablishmentarians; we believe in the separation of Church and state. This is an ancient Christian tradition drawn from the commandments of Christ and the instruction of the apostles.

From a group of modern Anabaptists (see here), the Biblical evidence:
  • God Establishes and Rules Over the Governments of Men.

  • God establishes governments.
    Romans 13:1.
    Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
  • Civil power is God-given.
    John 19:10-11.
    Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?
    Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin,
  • Men in government are placed there by God.
    Daniel 4:17.
    This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.
  • The Lord directs the decisions of civil leaders.
    Proverbs 21:1.
    The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.
  • The Work of Government.
  • Government is established to keep order in society.
    Romans 13:4.
    For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
  • Collecting taxes is a God-given right.
    Romans 13:6-7.
    For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.
    Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

    Mark 12:13-17.
    And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words.
    And when they were come, they say unto him, Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not? Shall we give, or shall we not give?
    But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, Why tempt ye me? bring me a penny, that I may see it.
    And they brought it. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? And they said unto him, Caesar's.
    And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's.
    And they marvelled at him.
  • Our Duty to the Government.
  • We should respect our leaders.
    I Peter 2:17.
    Honour the king.
  • We should pray for our leaders.
    I Timothy 2:1-3.
    I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
    for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
    For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour.
  • We should pay taxes.
    Luke 20:25.
    And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's and unto God the things which be God's.
  • We should obey our leaders.
    I Peter 2:13-15.
    Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake:
    whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.
    For so is the will of God.

    Romans 13:2.
    Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
  • God's Intention for the Christian.
  • His nation is a holy nation.
    I Peter 2:9.
    But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.

    Colossians 1:13.
    Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.
  • He seeks a better country.
    Hebrews 11:13, 16.
    These all . . . confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. . . . But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly.
  • He represents another country.
    II Corinthians 5:20.
    Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.

From standard authorities, the historical evidence:
  • The Christians refused to show their loyalty by burning incense to the emperor. Being men of peace, they would not serve in the Roman armies.
    The March of Civilization, Ancient and Medieval World (New York; 1931), Jesse E. Wrench, Professor of History, University of Missouri, page 205.

  • They preferred the Kingdom of God to any kingdom that they might serve on earth. . . Since they believed in peace, they would not serve in Rome's imperial armies.
    From the Old World to the New (New York; 1932), Eugene A. Colligan, Associate Superintendent of Schools, City of New York, and Maxwell F. Littwin, Principal, New York City Public Schools, pp. 88, 89.

  • To begin with the real ground of the military crown, I think we must first inquire whether warfare is proper at all for Christians. . . . Shall it be held lawful to make an occupation of the sword, when the Lord proclaims that he who uses the sword shall perish by the sword? And shall the son of peace take part in the battle when it does not become him even to sue at law? And shall he apply the chain, and the prison, and the torture, and the punishment, who is not the avenger even of his own wrongs? . . . And shall he keep guard before the temples which he has renounced? . . . Shall he carry a flag, too, hostile to Christ? . . .

    Of course, if faith comes later, and finds any preoccupied with military service, their case is different, as in the instance of those whom John used to receive for baptism, and of those most faithful centurions, I mean the centurion whom Christ approves, and the centurion whom Peter instructs; yet, at the same time, when a man has become a believer, and faith has been sealed, there must be either an immediate abandonment of it, which has been the course with many; or all sorts of quibbling will have to be resorted to in order to avoid offending God, and that is not allowed even outside of military service. . . . Nowhere does the Christian change his character.

    Tertullian, The Chaplet, or De Corona; The Ante-Nicene Fathers, edited by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, Vol. III (Grand Rapids, Mich.; 1957), pp. 99, 100.

  • There were two grounds on which service in the Imperial armies was irreconcilable with the Christian profession; the one that it required the military oath, and the countenancing, if not the actual performance, of idolatrous acts; the other that it contravened the express commands of Christ and the whole spirit of the Gospel.
    Early Church History to the Death of Constantine (London; 1892), E. Backhouse and C. Tylor, page 128.

  • Early Christianity was little understood and was regarded with little favor by those who ruled the pagan world. . . . Christians refused to share certain duties of Roman citizens. . . . They would not hold political office.
    On the Road to Civilization, A World History (Philadelphia, Chicago, etc.; 1937) Albert K. Heckel and James G. Sigman, pp. 237, 238.

  • Zealous Christians did not serve in the armed forces or accept political offices.
    World History, The Story of Man's Achievements (River Forest, ILL.; 1962), Habberton, Roth and Spears, p. 117.

  • While among Romans it was considered the highest honor to possess the privileges of Roman citizenship, the Christians announced that they were citizens of heaven. They shrank from public office and military service.
    Persecution of the Christians in Gaul, A.D. 177 by F.P.G. Guizot, former prime minister of France; Vol. III of The Great Events by Famous Historians (New York; 1905), Rossiter Johnson, ed., p. 246.

  • The Christians were strangers and pilgrims in the world around them; their citizenship was in the heaven; the kingdom to which they looked was not of this world. The consequent want of interest in public affairs came thus from the outset to be a noticeable feature in Christianity.
    Christianity and the Roman Government (London; 1925), E.G. Hardy, Principal of Jesus College, Oxford, p. 39.

  • The Christians stood aloof and distinct from the state, as a priestly and spiritual race, and Christianity seemed able to influence civil life only in that manner which, it must be confessed, is the purest, by practically endeavouring to instil more and more of holy feeling into the citize of the state.
    The History of the Christian Religion and Church, During the Three First Centuries (New York; 1848), Dr. Augustus Neander, translated from the German by H.J. Rose, p. 168.

  • To hold this motley collection of peoples in a common allegiance, to give them something like a national flag as a symbol of this unity, the emperor was defied. . . . Simple rites of sacrifice to him were added to local religions and local rites. . . . The Christians, however, were as rigorous monotheists as the Jews; they could not sacrifice to the emperor any more than the Jews of old could sacrifice to Baal. . . .

    'Render therefore unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.' (matthew 22: 21) But sacrifice was a thing of God's. The true Christian, then, could not bring himself to make what to an outsider was merely a decent gesture, like raising one's hat today when the flag goes by in parade.

    A History of Civilization (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey; 1955), Crane Brinton, John B. Christopher, and Robert L. Wolff, Vol. I, p. 137.

  • Christians refused to. . . . sacrifice to the emperor's genius---roughly equivalent today to refusing to salute the flag or repeat the oath of allegiance. . . . Very few of the Christians recanted, although an altar with a fire burning on it was generally kept in the arena for their convenience. All a prisoner had to do was scatter a pinch of incense on the flame and he was given a Certificate of Sacrifice and turned free. It was also carefully explained to him that he was not worshiping the emperor; merely acknowledging the divine character of the emperor as head of the Roman state. Still, almost no Christians availed themselves of the chance to escape.
    Those About to Die (New York; 1958), Daniel P. Mannix, pp. 135, 137.

  • Rome had become gradually full of people espousing foreign cults, who on demand would swear allegiance to the divine spirit of the emperor. The Christians, however, strong in their faith, would take no such oath of loyalty. And because they did not swear allegiance to what we would to-day consider as analogous to the flag, they were considered politically dangerous.
    The Book of Culture (New York; 1934), Ethel Rose Peyser, p. 549.

  • First-century Christianity had no temples, built no altars, used no crucifixes, and sponsored no garbed and be titled ecclesiastics. Early Christians celebrated no state holidays and refused all military service. A careful review of all the information available goes to show that, until the time of Marcus Aurelius, no Christian became a soldier; and no soldier, after becoming a Christian, remained in military service.
    The Rise of Christianity, by E. Barnes, 1947, p. 333.
Christadelphians do not refuse to fight for secular governments on the basis of a fundamental objection to war, but on the basis of our unflinching allegiance to Christ. At some time in the future, God's kingdom will be established on this earth, and Christ will require his servants to fight for it. But that is the only kingdom worth fighting for, and that is the only kingdom to which Christadelphians belong. No true Christian can serve two masters. Either he will serve the state, or he will serve the Lord Jesus Christ.

There can be no divided loyalties.
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#2 Parakaleo_*

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Posted 05 January 2003 - 10:56 AM

For those dummies like me who don't understand what disestablishmentarianism is, here is an excerpt from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.

  • Main Entry: disestablishmentarian
    Function: noun
    Etymology: disestablishment
    : one who opposes an established order
    - disestablishmentarian adjective, often capitalized
Excellent work again, Evangelion! :D

#3 Evangelion

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Posted 05 January 2003 - 11:30 AM

Thanks P. :)

The most important thing to remember, of course, is that in this context, "disesteblishmentarianism" refers to the separation of Church and state.
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#4 jes1994_*

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Posted 06 January 2003 - 02:21 AM

For those in the US, there is an FAQ on conscientious objectors at http://www.scn.org/ip/sdmcc/co.htm

I'll probably be starting up a thread about this topic in the GT section shortly.

#5 Evangelion

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Posted 06 January 2003 - 05:58 AM

Hey, this is very useful material.

Thanks Jes. :)
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.




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