65 thoughts on “Baptist Distinctives Day 6 Bonus: Separation of Church and State”

    1. Dude, get it right!

      “Red is the color of the blood that he shed,
      Brown is for the crown of thorns they placed upon his head,
      Blue is for royalty that in him did dwell,
      and Yellow is for the Christian, who’s afaid to tell”

      1. I prefer Petra’s version:

        The Coloring Song (by Petra)


        Red is the color of the blood that flowed
        Down the face of Someone Who loved us so
        He’s the perfect man, He’s the Lord’s own son,
        He’s the Lamb of God, He’s the only one
        That can give us life, that can make us grow,
        That can make the love between us flow.

        Blue is the color of a heart so cold
        It will not bend when the story’s told
        Of the love of God for a sinful race
        Of the blood that flowed down Jesus face
        That can give us life, that can make us grow
        That can keep our hearts from growing cold.

        Gold is the color of the morning sun
        That shines so freely an every one
        It’s the sun above that keeps us warm
        It’s the Son of love that calms the storm
        That can give us life that can make us grow,
        That can turn our mornings into gold.

        Brown is the color of the autumn leaves
        When the winter comes to the barren trees
        There is birth, there is death, there is a plan
        And there’s just one God, and there’s just one man
        That can give us life, that can make us grow
        That can make our sins as white as snow

        That can give us life, that can make us grow
        That can turn our mornings into gold.
        That can give us life, that can make us grow
        That can keep our hearts from growing cold.
        That can give us life, that can make us grow
        That can make the love between us flow.

  1. The wimmens in our congregation were warned against wearing red. I think the “appearance of evil” defense was used here. Its a slutty color or something. But what about THE BLOOD!!??

    1. So do redheads have to dye their hair to keep from being accused of being Satan’s spawn?

    2. Somewhere in the Torah, it says not to wear any red garments. Who knows why? Maybe one of Moses’ competitors had the corner on the red-cloth market.

      … But I always think of this when I see the sort of fundamentalists who say they take every word of the Bible literally as an eternal law, and they’re wearing something red, or made of blended fibers (another law), or they don’t have their heads covered, or the men obviously shave, etc.

      1. I didn’t know that. When I went to an Orthodox Jewish relative’s wedding, I was instructed not to wear read. I had assumed this was because red draws too much attention and is therefore immodest.

    3. in my Christian school there was a rule in the handbook ( NO JOKE!) that girls (9th grade-12th grade) could ONLY wear red or pink lipstick and nail polish. Apparently those are “holy” colors, though I thought they more resembled a hooker than holy…so i rarely wore make up cuz of that rule. i even remember getting ready to perform in the choir at a concert and one of the moms going down the line putting red lipstick on all the girls that didn’t have any on already.

    (gasp for breath)
    Separation of church and state? Buncha durned Calvinists came up with that one…

  3. Separation of church and state is generally defined like this in the IFB: We don’t want the state to tell us what to do, but we want the state to be more like us!

        1. I never heard him preach.. he’s just a pastor of a local fundy church that was near where I grew up. The one in the back.

  4. Now, this has always been my fundy pet-peeve. It was preached at church that if there was a bill about to be passed that the church didn’t like, then we were all supposed to write our congressman.

    But, that same congressman better not mess with the church!

    1. Not to defend Fundies, but aren’t many groups guilty of this kind of selective politics. They want government to do things but only things that are for their benefit. Kind of like some who want the deficit and debt cut until they decide to cut their favorite program, subsidy, or hand out.

      1. I really have no problem with Christians getting involved in politics per se.

        What I see here is the irony of saying “the dadblamed goverment had better stay out of our church!” and then proceeding to bring in (and give a place of honor!) to all the flags, symbols, and trappings that represent the self-same dadblamed government.

  5. make no mistake: when fundies say “seperation of church & state”, what they’re really saying is “we hate catholicism.”

  6. I never heard this as a part of the acrostic growing up. Separation (for the S) was about separation from the world and disobedient Christians, and of course the ubiquitous, subjective secondary separation.
    Now, I heard plenty of calls for separation of church and state LOL–they usually came at election time or during annual patriotic programs put on by the christian school.

    1. We’re a BRAPSISS group here so we have both S-separation ecclesiastically and ethically, and S-Separation of church and state.

  7. At this point in College I was literally shocked to learn that Baptists were actually FOR separation of church and state. My jaw was dropped for the remainder of class. 😯

    1. It really was shocking to me when I found out Baptists were supposed to be FOR Separation of Church & State. I’d spent my whole life hearing people bash it as Baptists until I found that out on my own.

  8. I believe Separation of Church and State is the Baptists’ greatest contribution to the world. It is the idea, radical at the time, that there should not be a state religion, but rather, that each person should be allowed to choose his own religion. Even the great Reformers failed to recognise this point.

    For all the silliness that Baptists have managed to get involved in over the centuries, this single idea revolutionised Europe in it’s time, and continues to revolutionise nations even in the news today.

      1. You’re exactly right, RobM. Baptists really haven’t made many “contributions”.

        1. Definitely not as many as they lay claim to, but that isn’t really a solely fundy claim. Everyone tends to brag of their involvement & highlight the things they are proud of.

        2. I wish Christian denominations would stop trying to “one-up” other believers and just say, “It’s all God!” Yes, some men have been highly influential in changing or emphasizing different aspects of Christianity – like Isaac Watts writing his OWN hymns instead of only singing from the psalter – but it’s all Jesus Christ in us.

        3. @Pastor’s wife,

          Are you directing that at me? Cause if I were to say that the Lutherans’ greatest contribution was to bring sola fide back to the forefront of Christian thought, that would be some sort of “one-upmanship”?

          Isn’t it just a matter of historical fact? Can’t we rejoice in how God used the Lutherans and the Baptists and others to make unique contributions to Christianity and the world?


        4. @Jason, no, I was speaking in generalities. Certainly, historically there are some things we can state with confidence, although even then people will still disagree over some things!

          I guess my point was that the IFB tends to attribute to itself everything good since John the Baptist and attribute everything bad to some other group (i.e., “Catholics are legalistic” not realizing the legalism that creeps into their own churches). That is just silly. (No one on here does that.)

          I think God has used men (and women) of many different denominations through the ages to refocus the church on something it may have been neglecting or distorting, and I hope we can all appreciate that even if it’s in another denomination. So, no, not arguing with you or accusing you, just supporting in general more of a spirit that we are one in Christ instead of “You’re a Baptist? Your denomination never did anything for Christ. On the other hand, MY denomination has done xyz.” All our good works are as filthy rags without Christ anyway!

        5. Fair enough. Thanks for clarifying.

          Yeah, historically, cultural Fundamentalism is only a few decades old, but then history is not a strong point for cultural Fundamentalism.

          I totally agree with your point that the IFBX’s have either understated the importance of or in many cases denied the existence of the universal church. It has only been in the last decade that I’ve come to the place where I can genuinely rejoice in how God has worked and is working through so many kinds of people across so many denominations. It’s wonderful and reassuring to realise that God is not limited to our boxes. 😀

        6. So glad too that God works in ways far beyond our own expectations and limitations!

          My parents gave lip service to the universal church, but in reality we were extremely separated, but they inadvertently helped me learn to appreciate a broader range of Christianity through 1) hymns and 2) stories of missionaries. When you see that hymn writers and many of our Christian heroes of the past weren’t actually IFB Baptists but Congregationalists, Methodists, Wesleyans, etc. you realize that God has used people from many religious backgrounds.

          (BTW, I think reading Elizabeth Elliot’s “Through Gates of Splendor” helped me on the way toward rejecting KJVonlyism. Jim and Elizabeth Elliot were godly and committed Christians, but they read Phillip’s paraphrase of the NT! They attended Wheaton too. So the easy IFB label of “everyone outside our circles is a compromiser and possibly a heretic just didn’t match with what I was reading in missionary biographies.)

      2. Martin Luther worked under the patronage of the state. Lutheranism became the state religion in various German states. Luther, to my knowledge, never taught Separation of Church and State and certainly didn’t practice it.

        1. Just because Luther was on the faculty of the university operated by the Elector of Saxony doesn’t mean he was under the patronage of the state. Saxony was under the rule of Charles V, who didn’t care for Luther or the Elector, and, at least for most of Luther’s post-1517 life, Leo X was the Bishop of Rome (also not a Luther fan, who excommunicated Luther and his prince, et al). It actually took some cunning to protect Luther’s life from the state, but that’s another story.

          As to not teaching separation of secular and spiritual authorities, called “Two Kingdoms” in Lutheran theology, the simplest place to look is “On Secular Authority”, or “Address to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation.” There are many others. Suffice to say, the idea isn’t a Baptist contribution.

        2. Joshua, Thanks for pointing me toward those two works. That allowed me to get a fuller understanding of Luther’s views on the matter.

          That said, Luther was indeed on the payroll of the Elector who both bankrolled his work and protected him (as you’ve pointed out). The state religion of Germany at the time was Roman Catholicism. The Peace of Augsburg established Lutheranism as an alternate state religion for the princes to choose.

          While the Peace of Augsburg may have been a contradiction of Luther’s published views, it occurred over thirty years after both publications you mentioned and Luther didn’t seem to make too much of a fuss over it. Never in his lifetime did Germany see separation of church and state.

          So I’m happy to concede that Luther was indeed a forerunner in the development of this idea, but it is not a Lutheran idea. It is the Anabaptists who both developed and adopted it as a denominational distinctive (this cannot be said of Lutheranism by any stretch of the imagination) and lived and died to make it reality.

          There is a significant sense in which the American experiment, which has served as a model for freedom in many other nations, was shaped in large part by Baptist influences both in England and the Netherlands, and in the American colonies.

          Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptist Association serves as one evidence of this point. The association had written him on his inauguration urging him to work this principle more consistently into the legislative habits of the new nation. In his response, Jefferson indicates his intention to do exactly that. Though the term “separation of church and state” has never at any time been part the US constitution, the idea is often discussed to this day as it was framed in that letter from Jefferson to the Baptists: “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 & State.”

        3. Jason,

          History is fun, huh? This is quite a complicated time, so it’s up for grabs sometimes as to what everything means. I guess I equate the state with the larger Roman Empire, but sure, the local territories were very much plugged in with the church (good, bad, or indifferent). I do, however, think that is very different from how the Holy Roman Empire blended church and state to where the state had governance in spiritual matters. So maybe we just mean two different things when it comes to this topic.

          At any rate, I’m glad you checked out the sources. It can also be demonstrated that Luther’s followers didn’t pay much attention to their teacher’s own warnings about mixing church and state.

          As for the Peace of Augsburg, Luther didn’t have much to say about it because he had been dead for nine years. The subsequent Augsburg Interim was a hotly debated issue though, touching on matters of the state in some degree (adiaphora, etc.), leading ultimately to the Formula of Concord.

  9. Looks to me like separation of church and architecture. Jeez, a thermostat between the banners, emergency light on one side of his head and a heat vent on the other. It looks like a door at his back. The ceiling like makes me think, what is going on to cause that? There oughta be a law about that.

    1. Well, when your architect and contractor is Deacon Bill, who added a room to his own house while reading the Timelife Do-It-Yourself book and now prides himself on his contracting skills, that’s what you get.

  10. Let’s not kid ourselves. Fundies are for a “one-sided wall” of separation between the church and state. One-sided walls don’t exist, so neither does the potential fruition of the Fundy vision of what America should be.

    They want the government to keep out, but at the same time they want to do whatever possible to turn the United States of America into a country where “God will be our king” like ancient Israel.

    The only problem is that this is impossible. And it’s impossible because they would never be able to come to a consensus on what God really wants. That’s why you have a myriad of christian denominations, all thinking they have unique access to the truth found in the same book that their neighbor is reading.

    1. http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/local/los_angeles&id=7251909



      The above links show what happens when the fundy church gets heavily involved in local politics.

      1) The mayor, a close friend of fundy pastor who has often spoken at the church, declared Lancaster to be a “Christian community”. Fundy college students were recruited to help the campaign of the mayor.

      2) A large “In God We Trust” was placed in the City Council chambers. This symbolic action is going to cost the city a lot of money in legal defense at a time when funds are tight.

      3) They have also worked hard to have specific prayers said before public meetings (pushed for passage of local bill during election). Wonder how that’ll work when a Wiccan comes to pray. More of the city’s very limited resources will pay to fend off lawsuits.

      This local fundy pastor has said that separation of church and state is a one-way street, only intending for the state to stay out of the church’s business. It is used as an excuse why the church’s college will not get accredited (somehow not a problem for his fundy high school who recently got WACS accreditation – but whatever).

      This concept of one-way separation works out well for him as long as Baptist remain in power. I bet he would change his tune if the Catholics or Mormons became the majority…or pagans.

      Fundies need to be careful what they wish for.

      1. I remember the tune they were singing when JFK was running for president. Funny how they wanted him to remove all of his religious views from his political office, yet when one of theirs get into (or close to) political office they sing a different song.

        1. Yes! Kennedy is the perfect example.

          The day a Catholic/Mormon/Wiccan/Muslim secures a public prayer time for a Lancaster City Council Meeting, they will make all kinds of fuss about it…probably walk out of the room during it, etc.

          In the meantime, the City gets to cough up all kinds of money to fend off lawsuits.

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