Introduction to the Current Issue -- By: Owen H. Alderfer

Journal: Ashland Theological Journal
Volume: ATJ 05:0 (NA 1972)
Article: Introduction to the Current Issue
Author: Owen H. Alderfer


Introduction to the Current Issue

Owen H. Alderfer

The relation of church to state is a concern with which Christians have long wrestled. Having its rise in a sacral society in which religion and the state were two sides of the same coin, Christianity represented a new concept in the structuring of society. This was the view that men may walk together in the market place but that they need not meet together in the same temples to worship. This new approach was a threat to the sacral structure of Roman society, and thus Christians were persecuted primarily as enemies of the state.

With the Constantinian settlement a “Christian sacral state” came into being that prevailed until modern times—even in the church-state structures of the great reformers. Now and again this structure was challenged; the Anabaptists on the Continent, the Separatists in England, the Rhode Island Colony in America all called for a restoration of the primitive Christian vision that the church and the state are separate realms.

Aspects of this problem are very much with us in our time. Questions of prayer and Bible reading in the schools, public support for parochial schools, and a call for a national preference for Christianity are evidence of this. And so this issue focuses on church and state. James E. Wood, Jr., one of the outstanding authorities and spokesmen on this concern in America today, contributes two basic articles on them. These were presented by Dr. Wood during the all-institutional study on church and state at the seminary, February, 1971.

Dr. Y. David Kim brings a Biblical and theological perspective to the study of church and state in a statement on the idea of theocracy as developed in the Old Testament.

Contributors To This Issue

Y. David Kim is Associate Professor of Religion at Ashland College and has taught Old Testament at the seminary. He has studied both in Korea and the U. S. and holds an M. Th. degree from Princeton Theological Seminary and a Th. D. from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary with major work in Old Testament. Dr. Kim, an ordained minister in the United Presbyterian Church, has taught in Korea and the U. S.

James E. Wood, Jr., is Professor of Religion and Chairman of Church-State Studies at Baylor University. He has taken advanced degrees at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (B. D., Th. M., Th. D.) and has done post-doctoral study at Yale University and the Naganuma School of Japanese Studies, Tokyo. Dr. Wood is an ordained minister in the Southern Baptist Church. He is editor of Church and State, has authored several works on church and state plus numerous journal articles, and has lectured on the subject on four continents.


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