“The confusion of Church and State is the basis of our faith”

Dear Editor,

I have long lamented the silence of the church on secular issues. Now, when Russian troops commit rape, murder and torture against Ukrainian civilians, it matters even more. Of the missions given to the Messiah to heal, nurture, etc., most are now massively publicly funded and carried out by government and secular organizations, inextricably confusing our Christian and civic obligations. Paul enjoined Christians in strong and explicit terms to “submit to governmental authorities because all have been instituted by God and whoever resists them resists God…obey your rulers…be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution .be subject to the rulers. ” [Rom.13; Heb.13;1Pet.2;Tit.3.]

Given this connection and the biblical mandates for church and state, why is there silence in the pulpits as Russian troops commit moral atrocities against innocent Ukrainian civilians? The press has called Trump practically a “Putin groupie,” but Southern evangelicals are his political “base”!

The domains of God and the State are separate, but God is above both. Putin’s behavior is subject to the moral laws of God and man, and he grossly violated both. He will be tried for war crimes. Ukrainian Orthodox leaders strongly condemned him, but I heard more condemnations of Putin and his war against Ukraine on television than I read in my denomination’s newspaper.

As a child, the Allied nations allowed Hitler to persecute Jews and occupy foreign lands. Even American aviation pioneer Charles Lindberg was an admirer of Hitler. Putin brought several recently liberated republics back under Russian control without our resistance, like slowly boiling the proverbial frog to death. The Russian people and their State Church overwhelmingly support Putin and his war. I guess our church leaders have been almost silent because they mistakenly consider the sacred and secular spheres to be separate.

It is the Easter weekend where we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the death of Roman soldiers caused at the instigation of Jewish religious authorities. This confusion of church and state is the basis of our faith and our message, so why doesn’t it inform and inspire our witness on this date? Paul wrote in the context of Rome’s rule of law which ultimately led to the crucifixion of Jesus! Laws can protect or persecute depending on the “governing authorities”. When Jesus died, he was quoting Psalm 22, which ends with a statement of truth and hope, that is, “Rulership belongs to the Lord.” He rules over the nations.

Bob Allison

Shawnee