Separation Of Church And State -- By: Chester J. McCullough

Journal: Central Bible Quarterly
Volume: CENQ 03:3 (Fall 1960)
Article: Separation Of Church And State
Author: Chester J. McCullough

Separation Of Church And State

Chester J. McCullough

First Baptist Church Tipton, Indiana

The Scriptural Position

One of the greatest words in the English language is the word “Liberty.” It has had an abiding significance on our lives as Americans, and it cannot be separated from our Christian experience. John says, as led by the Holy Spirit in John 8:32 and 36, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” and “If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”

The glory of Christianity, as written in the New Testament (Rom. 14:12), is that every soul is directly responsible to God and will eventually have to give an account to God. So Baptists, believing the Bible is the complete rule of faith and practice for individuals as well as the local Church, have always taught that each individual is responsible to God for the performance of duty. Wendel Rone states in “The Baptist Faith and Roman Catholicism” that Baptists affirm that the individual must repent of sin for himself, believe in Jesus Christ for himself, be baptized for himself, serve God for himself, and finally give account to God for himself in eternity. The individual soul is to make its own direct approach to God through Jesus Christ (John 14:6; I Tim. 2:5; Heb. 8:6; Heb. 9:15; Heb. 12:24) unhindered by Church, Priest, human mediation or ordinances.

Baptists believe that the revealed will in the Old and New Testaments is their one guide of faith and practice, and that Jesus Christ is revealed as absolute Lord. From these germinal conceptions all other Baptist principles proceed. Flowing forth first of all is the principle of the inherent rights of every individual and local Church before God, and from this come the principles of liberty, of conscience, and of absolute freedom of worship.

Now in considering the subject of separation of Church and State in a study of the Scriptures, it is not possible to separate liberty of the believer (or as we know it, soul liberty) and the great historic Baptist principle of separation of Church and State. I John 2:15 says “Love not the world (world’s system) neither the things that are in the world.” This must be interpreted to mean not only that we are to separate ourselves from worldly pleasures that w...

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