Early church and state relationship

Relationship between Church and State

early church and state relationship

The earliest Christians lived, of course, in a non-Christian and usually hostile society. indicates, the relationship of Church and State did not become at once a. own church-state arrangement in an increasingly pluralistic society.” 5. Yet, while now over a half-century old and fairly well established, programs nevertheless. A separation of church and state in which The Eastern Orthodox churches conceive of the relationship between church and as was the case in Ancient Egypt.

Download the Kindle version of this review. In the past three decades both political conservatives and political liberals have written a great deal of dangerous drivel about church and state. This desipience is beginning to affect government policy and the spending of tax monies. Recently William Bennett, Secretary of Education, advocated government financial support for Roman Catholic schools, and conservatives have advocated voucher programs to channel government funds into religious schools.

This writer attended a national conference of Christian school principals in Washington, D. Within the past few months, William F. His essay originally appeared in Princeton Review in It is now taken from a recently re-released book of essays by a variety of authors edited by Iain Murray, The Reformation of the Church.

This is an exceedingly complicated and difficult subject. There are three aspects under which it may be viewed. The actual relation which at different times and in different countries has subsisted between the two institutions.

The theory devised to justify or determine the limits of such existing relation. The normal relation, such as should exist according to the revealed will of God, and the nature of the state and of the Church. Constantine Before the conversion of Constantine, the church was of course so far independent of the state that she determined her own faith, regulated her worship, chose her officers, and exercised her discipline without any interference of the civil authorities.

Her members were regarded as citizens of the state, whose religious opinions and practices were, except in times of persecution, regarded as matters of indifference.

It is probable that much the same liberty was accorded to the early Christians as was granted by the Romans to the Jews, who were not only allowed, in ordinary cases, to conduct their synagogue services as they pleased, but to decide matters of dispute among themselves, according to their own laws.

It is also stated that churches were allowed to hold real estate before the profession of Christianity by the Emperor. According to this statement, it belongs to the Church, through her own organs, to choose her officers, to regulate all matters relating to doctrine, to administer the Word and sacraments, to order public worship, and to exercise discipline.

And to the state it belongs to provide for the support of the clergy, to determine the sources and amount of their incomes, to fix the limits of parishes and dioceses, to provide places of public worship, to call together the clergy, to preside in their meetings, to give the force of laws to their decisions, and to see that external obedience at least was rendered to the decrees and acts of discipline.

The Trinity Foundation - The Relation of Church and State

And this, in general terms, was the actual relation between the two institutions under the Roman emperors and in many of the states which rose after the dissolution of the Roman Empire. But it is easy to see that the distinction between the internal affairs which belonged to the bishops, and the external which belonged to the civil ruler, is too indefinite to keep two mighty bodies from coming into collision.

If the magistrate provided the support of the bishops and sustained them in their places of influence, he felt entitled to have a voice in saying who should receive his funds and use that influence.

If he was to enforce the decisions of councils as to matters of faith and discipline, he must have some agency in determining what those decisions should be.

If he was to banish from his kingdom those whom the clergy excluded from the church, he must judge whether such exclusion was in itself just. And on the other hand, if the church was recognized as a divine institution, with divinely constituted government and powers, she would constantly struggle to preserve her prerogatives from the encroachments of the state and to draw to herself all the power requisite to enforce her decisions in the sphere of the state into which she was adopted, which she of right possessed in her own sphere as a spiritual, and, in one sense voluntary, society.

Simple and plausible, therefore, as the relation between the church and state, as determined by Constantine, may at first sight appear, the whole history of the church shows that it cannot be maintained.

Either the church will encroach on the peculiar province of the state, or the state upon that of the church. It would require an outline of ecclesiastical history, from Constantine to the present day, to exhibit the conflicts and vacillations of these two principles. The struggle, though protracted and varied in its prospects, was decided in favour of the church, which under the papacy gained a complete ascendancy over the state. The Middle Ages The papal world constituted one body, of which the pope, as Vicar of Christ, was the head.

This spiritual body claimed a divine right to make its own laws, appoint its own officers, and have its own tribunals, to which alone its officers were amenable, and before whom all persons in the state, from the highest to the lowest, could be cited to appear.

All ecclesiastical persons were thus withdrawn from the jurisdiction of the state; while all civil persons were subject to the jurisdiction of the church. The church being the infallible judge of all questions relating to faith and practice, and it being the obvious duty of all men to receive the decisions and obey the injunctions of an infallible authority, the state was bound to receive all those decisions and enforce all those commands.

The civil magistrate had no judgment or discretion in the case; he was but the secular arm of the church, with whose judgments, no matter how injurious he might regard them to his own prerogative or to the interests of his people, he had no right to interfere.

The Relation of Church and State

The church, however, claimed the right to interfere in all the decisions of the civil power; because she only could judge whether those decisions were or were not inimical to the true faith, or consistent with the rule of duty. Hence arose what is called the indirect power of the church in the temporal affairs of the state.

Even without going to the extreme of claiming for the pope, by divine right, a direct sovereignty over the Christian world, moderate Romanists of the Italian school claimed for the pope this indirect power in the civil affairs of kingdoms; that is, power of deciding whether any law or measure was or was not hurtful to the church, and either to sanction or to annul it.

What Is The Relationship Between Church & State?

And in case any sovereign should persist in a course pronounced by an infallible authority hurtful to the church, the obligation of obedience on the part of his subjects was declared to be at any end, and the sovereign deposed. In most cases, the actual relation between the church and state is determined historically, i. On the assumption of the external unity of the whole church under a visible head and of the infallibility of that visible body when speaking through its appropriate organ, the relation of the church to the state-which Gregory strove to realize, and which did for ages subsist-is the normal relation; and it is therefore, at the present day, the very theory which is held by the great body of Romanists.

In practice, however, it was found intolerable; and therefore, especially in France, and later in Austria, the kings have resisted this domination and asserted that as the state no less than the church is of divine origin, the former has the right to judge whether the acts and decisions of the church are consistent with the rights and interests of the state.

The kings of France, therefore, claimed indirect power in the affairs of the church; and exercised the right of giving a placet, as it was called, to acts of the church; that is, they required that such acts should be submitted to them and receive their sanction before taking effect in their dominions.

early church and state relationship

As the Reformation involved the rejection of the doctrine of the visible unity of the church under one infallible head, it of necessity introduced a change in the relation between the state and the church. This relation, however, was very different in different countries, and that difference was evidently not the result of any preconceived theory, but of the course of events. It was, therefore, one thing in England, another in Scotland, and another in Germany.

The Church of England With regard to England, it may be said, in general terms, that the Reformation was effected by the civil power. The authority by which all changes were decreed, was that of the king and parliament. The church passively submitted, subscribing articles presented for acceptance, and adopting forms of worship and general regulations prescribed for her use. This fact is so inconsistent with the high-church theory that every effort is made by advocates of that theory to evade its force and to show that the change was the work of the church itself.

It is admitted, however, by Episcopal writers themselves that in the time of Henry and Edward, the great majority both of the clergy and the people, i. Henry rejected the authority of the pope, though he adhered to the doctrines of Romanism. He declared himself by act of Parliament the head of the church and required all the bishops to give up their sees, suspending them from office, and then made each take out a commission from the crown in which it was declared that all ecclesiastical power flowed from the sovereign, and that the bishops acted in his name and by virtue of power derived from him.

The six articles were framed by his authority, in opposition to Cranmer and the real Reformers, and enacted by Parliament and made obligatory under severe penalties upon all the clergy.

These articles affirm all the distinguishing doctrines of Romanism. The clearest proof that they rested on the authority of the king is, that as soon as he died they were discarded, and a doctrinal formulary of an opposite character adopted.

Under Edward VI, the actual practice was for the crown to appoint a certain number of the clergy to prepare the requisite formularies or measures; and then these, if approved by the king, were published in his name and en forced by Parliament. The convocation and the clergy then gave their assent.

early church and state relationship

It was thus the Prayer Book was prepared and introduced. Thus, too, the Articles of Religion were, under Edward, the act of the civil power alone. Under Elizabeth they were revised by the Convocation.

The actual relation of the church to the state in England is sufficiently indicated by these facts. The king was declared to be the supreme head of the church, i. The clergy were brought with great difficulty to make this acknowledgment, and therefore it cannot be said to be the spontaneous act of the church. It was rather a usurpation. It is said that the acknowledgment was made with the saving clause, quantum per Christi legem licet, with regard to which there is a dispute whether it was in the first acknowledgment.

The preponderance of evidence, so far as we know, is against it; and certain it is, it is not now in the oath. And it can make little difference, because the very end of the oath was to declare that Christ did allow the king the power which he claimed and exercised.

The king then, as head of the church, changed the form of worship, introduced new articles of faith, suspended and appointed bishops, visited all parts of the church to reform abuses, issued edicts regulating matters of discipline, granted commissions to the bishops to act in his name, and by act of Parliament declared that all jurisdiction-spiritual and temporal-emanates from him, and that all proceedings in the episcopal courts should be in his name.

These principles have ever been acted on in the Church of England, though with less flagrancy of course in the settled state of the church than at the Reformation. All the proceedings, however, of Elizabeth; all the acts of James I against the Puritans; of Charles I in Scotland, in the introduction of episcopacy into that country; of Charles II at his restoration; and even of William III at the Revolution, when the non-juring bishops were excluded, were founded on the assumption of the absolute power of the state over the church.

And everything still rests on that foundation. The king still appoints all the bishops and has the legal right to suspend them; all the binding authority of the Articles and Prayer Book rests on acts of Parliament.

No man can be refused admission to the church, no matter what his opinions or character, against the will of the state; and no man can be excommunicated but by civil process; and the ultimate decision, even in the trial of a bishop for heresy, is rendered by the king in council. Different theories have been devised to justify this entire subordination of the church to the state.

The early Reformers Cranmer especially were thoroughly Erastian and held that the king was entrusted with the whole care of his subjects, as well concerning the administration of the Word, as in things civil and political; and as he had under him civil officers to act in his name, so he had church officers, the one class being assigned, appointed, and selected by the authority of the king as much as the other. This whole theory rests on an exorbitant notion of the regal power.

A second theory supposes that there is no difference between a Christian state and a church. A church is a people professing Christianity, and they may adopt what form of government they please. This supposes not only that the details of church government are not prescribed in Scripture, but that there is no government in the hands of church officers at all ordained by Christ; but in whatever way the will of the sovereign power, i.

This is the doctrine of Dr. Though this theory, if sound, might justify the existing state of things in England, it cannot justify the Reformation; for that was not carried on by the people, i. High churchmen take different grounds. Some admit the irregularity in the mode of proceeding under Henry and Elizabeth, but justify it on the ground of necessity, or of extraordinary emergency, calling for the exercise of extraordinary powers.

early church and state relationship

Palmer, deny that the church is responsible for those acts, or that she is to be judged by the preamble of acts of Parliament, or by the claims or acts of the crown, but exclusively by her own declarations and acts. And he endeavours to show that all the leading facts of the Reformation were determined by the church.

Christianity - Church and state | omarcafini.info

To do this, however, he is obliged to maintain that what the king did on the advice of a few divines was done by the church, which is as unreasonable as to refer the sanitary or legal regulations of a kingdom to the authority of the physicians or lawyers who may be consulted in drawing them up.

Palmer falls back on the theory suggested by Constantine, which assigns the internal government of the church to bishops, and the external to the king. He accordingly denies that the king can, either by himself or by officers deriving their authority from him, pronounce definitions of faith, administer the Word or sacraments, or absolve or excommunicate. During the Middle Ages it was customary to classify the population of Christendom into laboratores workersbellatores soldiersand oratores clergy.

The last group, though small in number, monopolized the instruments and opportunities of culture, and ruled with almost unlimited sway half of the most powerful continent on the globe.

early church and state relationship

The clergy, like Plato's guardians, were placed in authority In the latter half of the period in which they ruled [ AD onwards], the clergy were as free from family cares as even Plato could desire [for such guardians] In the latter half of the period in which they ruled, the clergy were as free from family cares as even Plato could desire. This authority was also used by local Inquisitions to root out divergent elements and create a religiously uniform community.

  • Church and state in medieval Europe
  • Church and state
  • Church and State

The conflict between Church and state was in many ways a uniquely Western phenomenon originating in Late Antiquity see Saint Augustine's masterpiece City of God Before the Age of Absolutisminstitutions, such as the Church, legislatures, or social elites, [6] restrained monarchical power.

Absolutism was characterized by the ending of feudal partitioning, consolidation of power with the monarch, rise of state, rise of professional standing armies, professional bureaucracies, the codification of state laws, and the rise of ideologies that justify the absolutist monarchy. Hence, Absolutism was made possible by new innovations and characterized as a phenomenon of Early Modern Europerather than that of the Middle Ages, where the clergy and nobility counterbalanced as a result of mutual rivalry.