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The Forum > Article Comments > The rise and fall of English Christendom > Comments

The rise and fall of English Christendom : Comments

By Peter Sellick, published 27/3/2018

The troubled relationship between theological and state power goes back to ancient Israel and the eventual failure of its experiment with kingship.

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A nice article Peter. Nevertheless, I am enclosing a bunch of thought that I wrote in 1987 against overemphasizing the communitariasn aspect in Western (Catholic in my case) Church - indistinction to Eastern Churches - against the individual aspect: http://www.gvirsik.de/Thoughts_on_RENEW.pdf.
Posted by George, Tuesday, 27 March 2018 9:34:34 AM
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Distrust of monarchy is found in the Bible. In an eloquent passage the prophet Samuel points out the defects of monarchy.

Samuel1 8:7 And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.

God regarded the desire of the people for a king as a rejection of the rule of God.

In the following Samuel points out the evils of monarchy:

Samuel1 8:11 And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots. 8:12 And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots. 8:13 And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers. 8:14 And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. 8:15 And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants. 8:16 And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. 8:17 He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants. 8:18 And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day.

continued
Posted by david f, Tuesday, 27 March 2018 9:36:00 AM
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continued

The man credited with originating the expression, separation of church and state, is Roger Williams, a Baptist minister. He headed the first unit of government which had separation of church and state as a basic principle.


Williams was a Baptist minister with strong opinions. He was expelled from Massachusetts Bay colony for those opinions. Unlike many people with strong opinions he recognized that other people had strong opinions which were different from his, and they had a right to have and express those opinions. He set up Rhode Island as a colony which welcomed dissenters of all kinds.Baptists who supported Trump and would tear down the separation of church and state might learn from Williams.

From "Roger Williams and The Creation of the American Soul":

"The Bay's leaders, both lay and clergy, firmly believed that the state must enforce all of God's laws, and to do so the state had to prevent error in religion. This conviction they held fast to, for their souls and all the souls in Massachusetts plantation depended upon it.

Williams recognized that putting the state to that service required humans to interpret God's law. His views were not fully formed-how Massachusetts dealt with him would itself influence their formulation-but he believed that humans, being imperfect, would inevitably err in applying God's law. Hence, he concluded that a society built on the principles that Massachusetts espoused could at best only lead to hypocrisy, for he believed that forced worship "stinks in God's nostrils." At worst it would lead to a corruption not of the state which was already corrupt, but of the church, as it befouled itself with the state's errors. His understandings were edging him toward a belief he would later call "Soul Libertie." pp. 3-4

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Posted by david f, Tuesday, 27 March 2018 9:48:19 AM
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Well uncle Pete, Christianity is in the end, likened to a bowl of rolled oats and raisins, not worth two bob, unless marinated in milk and soaked for hours before eating.

But, like any useful commodity, in the end it is gobbled up and is gone!
Posted by diver dan, Tuesday, 27 March 2018 9:49:13 AM
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continued

Many Enlightenment figures such as Voltaire distrusted the common people and thought religion was necessary to rein in their savage impulses. They thought religion was a legitimate tool of the state.

The US Constitution was written by men of the Enlightenment. They were not representative figures and distrusted democracy.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Awakening tells of the influences on most Americans of the time. The men who wrote the Constitution regarded religion as a divisive force. The reason of the men who wrote the constitution for supporting separation of church and state differed greatly from that of the man who originated the concept.
Posted by david f, Tuesday, 27 March 2018 9:50:25 AM
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ISTR reading elsewhere that officially the head of the Church of England is Jesus, and that the English Monarch is merely the Supreme Governor.
Posted by Aidan, Tuesday, 27 March 2018 10:17:47 AM
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