by Douglas Wilson
In my response to John Piper’s post on guns, I alluded to some of the paradigmatic issues underlying the differences we have concerning what we should do with our guns — whether we should have them in the first place, and what direction we get to point them. One of the paradigmatic differences I mentioned was the alternative ways of interpreting the Old Testament now that Christ has come — but this is just part of a larger picture.
Now when you get to the end of all the discussion, you have a very practical situation on your hands. So there is an intruder threatening your family, and you have to decide what you are willing to do in order to defend them.
So in order to make this decision in a coherent way, we do need to go upstream a ways, farther upstream than the relationship of the Old Testament to the New, although that is also included. What we are actually debating is the relationship between the Christian as saint and the Christian as citizen. This cannot be discussed without also discussing the relationship of church and state, which in our day immediately brings up the issue of “the two kingdoms.”
Let’s start with what Wikipedia calls disambiguation. The separation of church and state — a fine and noble endeavor — is a separation of two governments in the world. Civil government is one thing and church government is another.
The separation is actually supposed to be a financial one, meaning that tithe money should not be collected by the civil magistrate in order to be dispensed to established churches with nitwit bishops. It should also mean, if we had our thoughts gathered about us, that ministers of the gospel ought not be allowed to hold civil office unless they first dimitted their office as ministers. Separation of church and state, historically understood, is a separation-of-powers doctrine, and not a let’s-exile-the-church doctrine.
Read the rest here.