ABOUT two years ago, in this paper we gave some Bible Studies in Christian Citizenship in Church and State, for the especial benefit of the Christian Citizen.
At that the Christian Citizen was very diligently working for union of church and state in every relationship of man throughout this whole land; and at the same time was denying it, and even seemed not to be able to discern it. For this reason we printed in the SENTINEL, addressed to the Christian Citizen, the Bible Studies in Christian Citizenship and Church and State.
These lessons were all simply studies of the plain statements of the New Testament and of confessed fact. These scriptures just as they stand, with a study of simply what they say, showed plainly that there cannot be any such thing as Christian Citizenship of this world without a union of church and state. A candid study of confessed facts demonstrated the same thing.
It therefore appeared perfectly plain that, directly contrary to the plain word and principles of Christ, the Christian Citizen was definitely pushing a propaganda of the union of church and state in every relationship of men throughout this whole nation; and that this Christian Citizenship idea and the Christian Citizenship movement as a whole, and in each individual feature of it, is nothing else than a propaganda of the union of church and state after the very likeness of things in the Dark Ages. All this plainly appeared, whether or not it was discerned by the Christian Citizen and those who are engaged in the Christian Citizenship movement.
And now, as announced in last week’s SENTINEL, all this is acknowledged in the changing of the name of the Christian Citizen and now calling the same paper Church and State; because as stated by itself, “The name Church in State expresses the Christian Citizenship principles we wish to advocate better than the old name Christian Citizen did or could.”
It is acknowledged also in the very idea, and almost in the very words, of the Studies, that, “In the make up of individuals they are essentially one; for the same man may be both a Christian and a patriot.” And there can be no possible shadow of a doubt that when “the same man” proposes to “be both a Christian and a patriot,” at the same time both a member of the church and a member of the state, there is in the “same man” a positive union of church and state.
That Christian Citizenship and the union of church and State are one and the same thing, is acknowledged by Church and State, which was the Christian Citizen, also in the confession that “Clearly church and state are one in the individuals of which they are composed.” This is the very point upon which we insisted in the Studies with the Christian Citizen as making it absolutely certain that political Christian Citizenship is inevitably the union of church and state. The truth of that can never be escaped. Every candid mind, every honest soul, must knowledge that in every individual who proposes to be at the same time a member of the church and a member of the state, there is decidedly a union of church and state.
In one sense it is a distinct gain to have these people take their stand openly in favor of a union of church and state, when they advocate the principles of such a union. Yet it marks a deplorable apostasy when people who know the evils of a union of Church and State do openly take a stand in favor of it. And that they do know the thing to be unworthy of advocacy is evident from the fact that at first they professed to be opposed to a union of church and state, though they maintained the same identical principles that they now maintain. For what but apostasy can it possibly be for people to espouse that which they had professed to avoid, knowing it to be evil?
Yet this case of the Christian Citizen and those whom it represents, is only an item which illustrates a general tendency among the churches and religious organizations of this time. From the beginning of the organized form of the National Reform in 1863, day of every division and every phase of it have at first persisted that they were opposed to any union of church and state. Yet all the time they all advocated principles that meant nothing but a complete union of church and state.
Now, however, they have about all ceased making that plea, and some, like the Christian Citizen, openly acknowledge that they advocate a union of church and state. Religious journals which at first opposed the National Reform movement, because it meant only a union of church and state, now favor not only that movement but also a union of church and state.
All these things show a steady moving tide toward a recognized union of church and state in the United States. And the thing about it which is particularly to be remarked is that this union of church and state is recognized and promoted by the very people who at the first have invariably professed to oppose the union of church and state as an evil, and such an evil as to deserve the opposition of every true Christian—of every right-thinking person. This then reveals a steadily moving tide of apostasy. For again we ask, Without apostasy how can it be possible for people to advocate what they have long opposed as a confessed and well-known evil?
If in the beginning they were really opposed to a union of church and state, and honestly believe that what they were advocating was not in principle the union of church and state, then sincerity of purpose would have led them to abandon the whole scheme the moment that they discerned that their principles did involve the union of church and state. But the facts of experience demonstrate that when they are obliged to acknowledge that their principles do indeed mean a union of church and state, instead of abandoning they espouse it and definitely advocate it. And all this certifies either that they were not sincere in the beginning, or else that the tide of an acknowledged evil has proved too strong for them and has carried them away from their own sincerity to the espousal of a confessed evil.
A. T. J.