“Some ‘Facts’ Well Overlooked” American Sentinel 11, 5, pp. 35, 36.

THE Christian Statesman, in its issue of January 11, discourses upon “The Logic of Christianity,” and presents some strange “facts” which it says should not have been overlooked by people professing to be Christians, concerning their responsibility as citizens under this Government.

“The mission of Christianity in the world,” it says, “is not fully understood by a large number of church members. They overlook the fact that by the gospel of the kingdom the world is to be transformed, and the kingdoms of this world made the kingdoms of our Lord.”

But why has this “fact” been overlooked by Christian people? Is it not because the Scriptures nowhere teach it? For the teaching of Scripture on this point is that when the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord, they will be dashed in pieces by him, and broken “like a potter’s vessel.” (See Psalm 2:8, 9; Daniel 2:34, 35, 44, 45; Revelation 11:15, 18; 19:19-21.) This clearly shows that these kingdoms will not be reconciled to him by the gospel. When God’s kingdom is to be set up on the earth, every earthly kingdom must first be swept away, because it is utterly impossible to incorporate earthly governments into the kingdom of Christ. But all those individuals will be saved who through faith have been created new in Christ. An individual can, by the power of God, be “born again,” and thus fitted for the kingdom of God; but to speak of a civil government as being “born again” is manifestly absurd.

The Statesman argues that because an individual professor of Christianity “must find a place in his creed for God as supreme, for Christ as Saviour, … and for the Bible as the rule of life,” and because the Church must proclaim her belief in these truths, therefore the nation ought to do the same; in other words, that the character of a government is to be determined by the same test which determines the character of an individual or a family or a church. But the party who talk about “Christian” governments and think to make this one of them by the proposed “Christian amendment” to the Constitution, persistently refuse to recognize the plain fact that civil government is not a moral entity. No comparison can be made between it and an individual, a family, or a church, on moral grounds. The proper object of human existence in this world is the glory of God; but the proper purpose of civil government is the protection of human rights, and each of them is good in character according as each fulfills the purpose of its existence.

To employ the same test of character for a civil government that is proper for an individual, would lead to strange conclusions. For example, no individual is good, according to the Bible standard, who will not forgive those who injure him. No matter if they trespass against him repeatedly, he is still to forgive, even as God, whose child (if a Christian) he claims to be, forgives those who trespass against him. He must pray, “Forgive us our trespasses, even as we forgive those that trespass against us.” Must the State, therefore, in order to be good, forgive its criminals, provided, they say, I repent, and ask to be forgiven? Would that be a good government under which evil characters might commit crime day after day and escape by merely asking to be pardoned? Would not such a government, on the contrary, be one of the worst imaginable? Certainly it would; and this illustrates the absurdity of the idea that a government is not a good one unless it conforms to the moral standard set up for individuals.

We repeat, civil government is not and from its very nature cannot be a moral entity. Individuals can delegate power to their representatives, but they cannot delegate morality. One individual cannot be the moral representative of others.

The Christian Statesman says that infidel’s surpass some Christians in their power of discernment” upon this subject, and cites in evidence some words of Mr. Samuel Putnam, as follows:—

“It is the impression of some that a Supreme Court decision, or an act of Congress, or of the President, can make this a Christian State. But this is impossible. Nothing can make this a Christian State except the Constitution. Ten thousand decisions of the Supreme Court, or ten thousand acts of Congress or of the President, can’t make this a Christian State.” “The Constitution is a secular Constitution; and nothing can make it a Christian Constitution save the [36] Constitution itself. God himself can’t get into the Constitution except the American people put him in there by constitutional amendment.”

It does not speak well for the Statesman party that they have to take up the logic of infidels respecting Christianity, rather than that of persons who have experienced Christianity and know what it is. It is very true that no decision of the Supreme Court, or act of Congress, or of the President, can make this a Christian nation, any more than a vote of the Presbyterian General Assembly in favor of the doctrine of infant damnation could send infants to the place of torment. And it is equally true that this Government cannot be made Christian by an amendment to the Constitution, nor can the Constitution itself be Christianized by any such means. The Constitution is not “secular” in the sense of being opposed to God and Christianity, but only in the sense of being, from the nature of the purpose it is designed to serve, necessarily outside the sphere of moral belief and action. The idea that God can be “put into” the Constitution by a vote and a change in its wording may be harmonious with the infidel conception of God, but is nevertheless little short of blasphemy.

How is an individual Christianized? Jesus tells us it is by being “born again.” “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” John 3:3-5. It is left for these would-be reformers to discover a new way of becoming Christian; namely, by a vote of the people. Or do they think that the State will thus be “born again” “of water and of the Spirit,” thus to become fitted for eternal existence in the kingdom of God?

We are glad that the illustrious men who framed the Constitution and reared the fabric of our commonwealth, overlooked the “facts” which the “Christian amendment” party are trying to force their descendants to recognize.

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