RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CHURCH AND STATE
Supt. Bruce N. G. Cromwell, Ph.D.
The 2015 FMC-USA General Conference directed the SCOD to research things that make for peace, the use of force or violence, and the concept of a just war. As I began to study this topic and research these issues,1 eventually resulting in a paper on capital punishment for the SCOD,2 it was suggested that the broader and yet more foundational issue which must be addressed is the relationship between the Church and the State. Such interchange is rife with challenges and opportunities. History has found the dizzying dance between the city of God and the city of humans to often have the respective partners switching the lead, or at least attempting to each guide the relationship. But the two-steps and dips and twirls and spins that Church-State relations seem to currently be engaged in have led to increased questions about what a Christian should do in our complicated and confusing political reality.
When looking at the issues facing our societies and the best ways for peoples and nations to address such societal concerns it is important to ask what the proper place and role of the Church is alongside of political entities. How much should one influence the other, or even relate to the other? The words “separation of Church and State” are frequently thrown about in such discussions, though they are often used in a manner not intended by Thomas Jefferson,