But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.
2 Peter 3:18
The Church and the "Christian" Politician
The early church would have most likely disciplined any Christian in an influential position who professed faith in Christ, but denied him in the area of law and public policy. This discipline would probably have taken the form of withholding the Lord's Supper from those under church discipline.
It would also probably have included a ban on fellowshipping with that professing Christian who had denied his Lord in the public square. Anyone who professes faith in Christ, but in works denies Him, is guilty of spiritual fornication.
He is bowing to the gods of this present world system, rather than bowing to the Creator and Law-Giver of the Bible. Unless, and until, he openly repents of his sin of idolatry (spiritual fornication) he should and probably would have been dis-fellowshipped by the early church.
God gives us guidance as to what the church should do with idolaters and fornicators in 1 Corinthians 5. There, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Paul wrote:
It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife.
And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.
For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,
In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?
Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us:
Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.
But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.
For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?
But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person. (1 Corinthians 5:1-13)
Paul was dealing with a specific example of a man who was sleeping with his father's wife. But, in verse 11, he applies the God appointed remedy of church discipline freely to all who are called "brother" (Christian brother) but are in reality idolaters (spiritual fornicators).
The influence of early Christians suffering persecution on their society was substantial. It eventually led men like the Roman Emperor:
· Constantine to declare Christianity a legal religion in the Edict of Milan, 313 A.D.
· Theodosius to declare Christianity the ONLY legal religion, circa 395 A.D.
· Justinian to incorporate aspects of God's moral law into his Justinian Code.
The influence of Christians who enjoyed religious liberty has been mixed. In early America, the influence of Christians was strong in law and public policy. It influenced our common schools and our first colleges such as Harvard, Yale and Princeton. It also led to a burst of missionary activity going forth largely from Great Britain and early America.
But in more recent times, the influence of Christians who enjoy religious liberty has waned. Many now view religion as a private affair, not to be imposed on others. They profess Christ, but, more often than not, they deny Him in law and public policy.
George Theiss is a combat veteran of Vietnam who now follows the Lamb of God. He and his wife, Christy, have been married 42 years (in 2019). They have 8 grown children. You can contact George at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2002 through 2019 by George Theiss