AMS sophistical a National Reform argument (though not so designed), as we have seen recently, runs thus:—
When we speak of “the State” without qualification expressed or implied, we do not refer to any particular State or form of government, but to earthly government, as distinct from the government of God. Neither do we mean law-makers and rulers alone, since they would be nothing without people under them. And since all the world is under some form or other of human government, the term, “the State,” is really synonymous with “the world.”
The conclusion reached is that the relation of Christ and his Church to the State is identical with Christ’s relation to the world, namely, “one of salvation;” and then follow such texts as John 6:51; 2 Corinthians 5:19; etc. The absurdity of the “argument” becomes apparent at once upon reading these texts, merely substituting the word “State” for “world,” which is perfectly proper if the mean the same thing. Thus John 6:51 would read: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the State”! The new rendering of 2 Corinthians 5:19 makes it equally absurd; thus: “God was in Christ, reconciling the State unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them [States, of course]; and hath committed unto us the ministry of reconciliation.” In like manner John 3:17 would read: “For God sent not his Son into the State to condemn the State; but that the State through him might be saved.”
It is thus that consistent “National Reform” would distort the Scriptures in the interests of its Church and State propaganda, and thus would it justify its efforts to save the State by constitutional amendments, religious statutes, Christian citizenship leagues, etc.
“CAN a government be so framed and administered as not to infringe on somebody’s rights of conscience?” asks the Christian Statesman, of February 22, last. The implication is that it cannot; and this idea seems to be held by quite a large number of religious people in this country. If these people would remember that both civil government and the rights of conscience are ordained of God, it might help them to arrive at a correct conclusion. God never instituted two things which were out of harmony with each other. He never instituted anything out of harmony with himself. Therefore he never ordained any form of civil government which conflicts with the rights of conscience.