One word to allow the persecution of the church, the other a misused metaphor that has eliminated anything having to do with Christian theism in the public arena. The word translated as church in the NT is ekklesia, which means political assembly. Now we are referring to early church times but this is an interesting word play. The political comes from the fact that the church had its own laws and authority figures and as it grew in number it was a threat to Roman society in the second century AD. The Roman proconsul Pliny issued a decree prohibiting “political associations” and used that to crack down on Christianity. Never thought of church being a political assembly especially since we value the separation of church and state so much. First let’s look at Pliny, a civil servant who served as governor of Bithynia, in the north of Asia Minor (modern Turkey), from 111-113 AD. In a letter to Trajan, Pliny is seeking advice as to how to handle these Christians, also approval of his actions so far. We see the Roman Empire’s attitude toward Christianity, while this letter and the questions asked in it were of little importance to the political situation in Rome it does give us a view of how these early Christians were seen in the eyes of the authorities and their actions concerning the church. Trajan’s reply is interesting, it simply states that there is no general rule or fixed standard to judge by. Of course if they are accused of civil disorder or refusing Roman practices as to the worship of our gods and this is proven and documented they are to be punished according to our laws.There is an interesting caveat added here. If they repent and prove it by returning to the worship of our gods, they shall obtain pardon through that act of repentance. Also interesting to note the closing statement in the letter.
“But anonymously posted accusations ought to have no place in any prosecution. For this is both a dangerous kind of precedent and out of keeping with the spirit of our age.” (https://christianhistoryinstitute.org/study/module/pliny)
Given the last mid-terms this is advice we could well use today. This blog is the result of my concern over the silence from the pew and pulpit in these changing times. Change will always be with us and in most cases change is a good thing. I am concerned about the lack of civility and respect we have for others and the lessening influence of the church in our daily lives and the influence of societal change that marginalized our faith and our God. We, “The Church” no longer have a seat at the table and the state of our nation and its government have reached a state of controlled chaos. How did this happen? I believe the systematic removal of Christian values, faith and yes, I am just going to say it……The removal of God in our institutions of government, learning and law. Not to be overlooked is the absence of God in our families, once a place of religious learning and teaching of moral standards to live by. Here is something to think about and gives me a dignified path of exit. “The Metaphor and the Constitution” an excellent article that contains a little nugget I just love. You must read this article to understand the impact this revelation could have on the church and the nation. Here is a brief snippet from that writing:
“This, in conjunction with several other factors, makes the “separation of church and state” metaphor an icon for eliminating anything having to do with Christian theism, the religion of our heritage, in the public arena.”
Please go to this link
So to wrap up, we have been quiet for too long. The church has been too busy trying to adapt to the changing times and remain relevant in the lives of its people. No words from pulpit or pew, just silence and the mistaken belief that this is how we show our love for all people. Like it or not we must get back to the “table.” God’s voice must be heard again. Our voice, God’s voice is being held hostage by a Metaphor.
Separation of Church and State was never intended to remove the Christian’s voice from the establishment of our Government, its laws or its people from their God.
Life is Good,