September 19

1 Timothy 2:1-4

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity.” vss. 1-2

It only took about 3 centuries for the Roman Emperor to discover that the Church could be a powerful ally in maintaining control throughout the Empire. When the Church was offered legal status and bishops began to rule like princes believers were told to offer supplication and prayers for rulers and all in high positions. With the support of the Church the Empire promised a quiet and peaceable life to all citizens. This powerful alliance between Church and State operated for many centuries in one form or another and wasn’t really challenged until the Age of Enlightenment and the move toward a more secular society. There are some who still yearn for those “good old days” and who would love to see a return to that close connection between Christianity and political rule. Now it’s certainly proper for us to offer prayer for government officials and assemblies in our congregation. They have important decisions to make and need support and guidance. But that doesn’t mean giving up our prophetic role of speaking truth to power. There’ll always be tension in the relationship of Church and State, but both operate most effectively when there is as complete a separation as is possible.

Thought for the Day: What’s dangerous about having a State Church?

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