“I am God, the God of your father,” the voice said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make your family into a great nation. I will go with you down to Egypt, and I will bring you back again. You will die in Egypt, but Joseph will be with you to close your eyes.” (Genesis 46:3-4)
Read: Genesis 46:1-47:31, Matthew 15:1-28, Psalm 19:1-14, Proverbs 4:14-19
Relate: I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.
This quote came as part of a reply from President Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists Association. They had written him fearing that the newly framed Constitution did not prevent government from “assuming the prerogative of Jehovah and make laws to govern the Kingdom of Christ.” Basically they feared there was nothing to prevent from government from regulating church affairs. Thomas assured that such fears were unfounded.
From Jefferson’s letter was pulled that now famous phrase “separation of Church and State”. The average American would be shocked that it is not actually part of the Constitution of Bill of Rights and even more shocked that it did not originally mean what it does today. Our modern understanding of Jefferson’s famous phrase would better be understood as “Segregation of Church from State”. This modern concept is not Constitutional, accurate, or even good.
React: Going far beyond TJ’s original intent, Separation of Church and State has now come to pervade every aspect of our lives. We have created an artificial divide in our world and called one side “sacred” and the other “secular”. This idea of separation has infiltrated everything and is the driving force behind the commonly command to keep it quiet. “Your religion is all fine and good but keep it out of this workplace, school, or… whatever”.
There was no word in Biblical Hebrew for “secular”. The closest you can come is מִצְרַיִם (Mizraim). The word literally means “Egypt” but in some contexts could mean “the rest of the world” as in “everything that is not Israel/Judah”. With this in mind, God’s command to Israel (Jacob) takes on a whole new perspective: “I am God, the God of your father… Do not be afraid to go down into the world, for there I will make your family into a great nation. I will go with you down into the world, and I will bring you back again.”
Like Jacob, we need to push past our fears, gird up our loins, and head into the world. We need to get out of our segregated Christian subculture. We need to meet those that do not yet know Christ where they are at, speaking their language, showing them love, and introduce them to the King. We need to get rid of this evil dichotomy of secular and sacred. Everything is sacred. Everywhere is sacred. It is time to stop separating the church from the world.
God, help me to recognize that I take You everywhere I go and that everywhere we go is holy because You are there. There is no such thing as secular. Let me go with You into my workplace. Let me go with You to my neighbors. Let me go with You everywhere my writing would take me. In everything I do, with everything I say, let me be bringing glory to You and let me be about the advancing of Your all encompassing Kingdom.
19 thoughts on “Separation Of Church And State”
Yeah? I don’t agree. The secularness of the planet keeps us safe from the likes of you.
I do want to thank you for reading through my post even if we aren’t in agreement. I’ve said that I want to be about Jesus’ mission wherever I go. Jesus Himself said that His mission was to bring encouragement to the poor, freedom for the captives, sight for the blind, liberty for the oppressed, and the favor of God on all. Which of these is “unsafe”?
You are not preaching to a dosbeliever but rther a non-evangelist so watch it – you keep it to yourself – I have unfollowed you thanks for your Missioning!! Works wonders for You don’t it? Nor others either.
Thank you for writing this!! Unfortunately, this is the world view of Americans today. Unfortunately, (or more accurately, very fortunately!!), if we believe in Christ, accept him into our hearts and accept his salvation, we are now bound by the great commission – “Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.””
Matthew 28:16-20 ESV
So, kind of hard to claim belief in and salvation throughChrist Jesus , then “Keep it to yourself.” All too many “Christians”??? take this approach. But – if you are a believer in Christ, makes it kind of hard to keep to yourself. If you do, what are you saying?? Guess that view is – “I am saved – everybody else can go to hell!!” What kind of a believer is that??
This is a fabulous post and really spoke to me, thank you. This message needs to be heard.
This is a fabulous post. The baptist were also concerned that Catholicism would be hte national religion. IT goes to show that our founding fathers did not want a national religion, but rather the freedom to worship how they wanted. Today people want it to be freedom FROM religion, instead of freedom OF religion. Keep up the great work!!
Thanks so much for this timely exhortation–informative and inspiring. I appreciate so much the prayer and the musical selection. Thanks for your encouragement
Well said! We carry the Kingdom wherever we go – we can’t and shouldn’t try to leave it at the door.
I will not try to tell you that all Founding Fathers were practicing Christians, but almost to a man, they recognized the importance of Christian values and the worthiness of the Bible as a basis for governing and daily life.
I would encourage you to follow the link below and read for yourself what they had to say.
No one bats 1.000, so don’t let the negative comments deter you. Many people simply aren’t well enough informed to understand our history or read documents of the period in historical context. You – and they – should see a video, Monument, by Kirk Cameron. A very good dive into our history that is documented in both documents and….Monuments.
Calling them “Christians” is a bit misleading. Many were deists and Freemasons, which is not inconsistent with Christianity, but incredibly inconsistent with the modern Evangelical movement that insists they were Christians.
I’ve read plenty on the early history of the US. I am half curious to watch Monument but, since it is by Kirk Cameron, only so I can point and laugh at all the half truths and misconceptions I am sure to find.
Great post! Just read this evening and posted about this very subject this morning.
I’m not entirely certain I understand your position on separation of church and state. I think that separation is incredibly important for both the church and the state, to protect from each other. Both have breached this wall, and the resulting corruption has caused immense distrust for both. This is why we have an entire generation that doesn’t vote and doesn’t go to church (including the Christians, such as myself).
I also think Christians need to be more consistent if we want to be able to do certain things in public. Where I live, a company changed their rules on breaks to make it impossible for Muslims to complete their daily prayers. A few years ago, Louisiana took money from public schools in order to provide vouchers so kids could go to private schools tuition-free. The the Islamic Society of New Orleans requested vouchers, and the legislature freaked out. Apparently there was an unwritten rule that the vouchers were only for Christian schools.
If we want to protect our own right to worship, we need to protect that right for everyone. And the best way to protect the church from the state is for the church to stay out of politics and government. Jesus really didn’t care what the Romans were doing. That wasn’t the kingdom he promised us, and neither is this.
That was great write up, but to me there are/is still secular places and people, but as a believer, in as much you have Christ in you, every where one goes it is safe. But if someone is still doing and living in the world i think he/she still lives in the secular world. How do you classify films that does not glorify God, Films and music that glorify Satan? these can be called ”secular”. But with Christ in ones life there is no such.
Saying something is secular means it has to do with the physical world but not the spiritual. Saying something is sacred means it is holy *or* religious in nature. While not everything is holy, it all is religious in nature. There is nothing in heaven or on earth that carries no religious connotations.
You are doing a mighty work my friend. Trying to lift all our eyes off of ourselves and our world is a task only One could ever do. Praise be to the Son of God. May He bring all His sheep safely to the Father! We will pray for those who refuse to look to Him!
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Good effort, too many Americans believe that exact phrase is in the Constitution.
The Constitution was meant for a pious citizenry, it wouldn’t work otherwise.
They meant there will be no establishment of a particular sect or denomination.
Freedom of Religion not from it.