Thursday, January 17, 2013

Higher Things Magazine on Church and State

OK... here comes a controversial statement from Pastor Mark Buetow...
America is not a Christian nation. There. I said it. Because it’s not. It never has been. That’s because by “Christian” we can only mean what Christ means: a kingdom not of this world which He rules and in which He “daily and richly forgives all my sins.” That’s the church. Now sure, the church exists alongside the state, most of the time in a particular state and nation. Sometimes as a part of the state. Sometimes cooperating with the state. Sometimes trying to avoid the state. Sometimes being persecuted by the state. But she’s always praying for the State and its leaders and citizens. Church and state are not the same things. America was not founded on the idea that sinners are justified by grace through faith for the sake of Jesus Christ. That’s the Gospel. The Good News. The center and substance of the Christian faith. Some might argue that at least the United States was founded upon “Judeo-Christian” principles, except that lots of things, like adultery and trash-talking, are legal under the laws of our land. So, the United States isn’t even just founded on the Law. Think about it. Where does it say in the Constitution that you must love God and your neighbor as yourself? Do you see the point? Calling any particular nation a “Christian” one doesn’t really make sense...
Click here to read to the rest of Pastor Buetow's article The Only Christian Nation that appears in the Winter 2012 Higher Things Magazine.

I realize this statement by Pastor Buetow may be considered "heresy" amongst some on the Right. In fact, it directly contradicts some of the pronouncements of individuals like David Barton. For more on Barton's faulty interpretations, click here.

Because questions on "Church and State" are an area of interest, I was pleased to see that this issue of Higher Things Magazine is focused on the topic. Listed below are some of the other related articles that appear in the Winter 2012 Higher Things Magazine.
No doubt about it: The results of the November 6th election managed to throw many people for a loop. Fear not! Rev. Borghardt brings his pastoral words of comfort and wisdom to bear and reminds us that the great news is God is still good and God is still in control.

Normally religion and politics are taboo topics in our conversations. There are those who go further and believe those areas should never overlap in our daily living. Rev. Cwirla demonstrates how to manage and balance these two areas through the filter of Luther's two kingdom theology.

Is there a place for activism in the life of the Christian? That's a resounding YES! Mrs. Karner carefully explains how Luther's doctrine of the two kingdoms compels us that involvement in social activism is not just recommended, it's vital as we live as Christians in, yet not of this world. 

Rev. Riley cautions us against taking Scripture passages that were meant for the Old Testament nation of Israel and applying them to any other nation or time. Learn how such passages, specifically Psalm 85, apply to His people, the Church, no matter where or when they may be. God's gift of the Gospel has been for His people throughout the ages. 

Take a tour through the words of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg with Mr. Ritchie as your guide. You'll soon see what a gifted pastor Muhlenberg was as he carefully navigated the dicey waters of the political climate of his time.

What makes Islam's use of sharia law so diametrically opposed to Scripture? There is no Jesus there. Rev. Ramirez skillfully contrasts Islam's twisting together of faith and government to God's plan for church and state.

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