Day 103: The Separation of Church and State

Luke 9:49-50 :

John answered, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we forbade him, because he doesn’t follow with us.”

Jesus said to him, “Don’t forbid him, for he who is not against us is for us.”

This simple statement of Jesus is profound and counteracts many ideas that are common in the world. One important thing I see in it is that it splits humanity in to two groups: those that are for Jesus and His disciples and those that are not. It’s interesting that Jesus used the word “us” in this statement and not the word “me.” Jesus does not allow people to claim that they are for Him but not His followers and hidden in this simple statement is an important connection. Since Jesus’ disciples follow Him, the direction of Jesus and the direction of the disciples should be the same. You can’t claim to go along with Jesus but not His disciples, and His disciples really aren’t if they aren’t going His way. When we claim to be a follower we should pay close attention to the direction of Jesus and the apostles as we read in the Bible and maintain that direction along with them, then we are going in the right direction as well.

It is also interesting to note that Jesus doesn’t claim that there is a middle ground. He says that if you have not decided to be against Jesus and His true disciples then you are acting as if you are with them. It is very interesting that “opposition” is the indicator of which side we are on and not “following.” Those who act by not opposing are already, perhaps even in secret, supporting Jesus’ side.

I am not saying that everyone who fails to condemn Christianity is a Christian, but I believe this is saying that anyone who isn’t against Christianity is actually approving what it teaches, even if they are not a believer in Christ themselves.

This has implications when thinking about the concept of a “separation of church and state.” There really is no separation of church and state because the state either opposes or accepts Christianity. Jesus clearly tells us that no one can be neutral to it. It is impossible because neutrality is not a Christian belief. For one to say they are neutral is to choose to oppose Christianity.

In this light, it is good for a government to recognize God and His people and to protect them. It’s not a matter of keeping God out of the government, it’s a matter of keeping the government from setting itself up against the church and to keep it from attempting to force those who are not in the church to join it. This does not represent neutrality, it is Christianity. It is a Christian belief that all people come to God willingly and without force. It is because the government believes in Christianity that it will not force the church on its citizens.