church state

“Gladstone was surely right when he pointed out that the Roman Empire could give equal tolerance to all religions just because it could be quite adamant about something much more important than religion, something thing required to keep society from disintegrating, namely, the veneration of the emperor. On that there could be no compromise, and I think we have to acknowledge at least some truth in Gladstone’s argument. No state can be completely secular in the sense that those who exercise power have no beliefs about what is true and no commitments  to what they believe to be right. It is the duty of the church to ask what those beliefs and commitments are and to expose them to the light of the gospel. There is no genuinely missionary encounter of the gospel with our culture unless this happens. Here we must face frankly the distortion of the gospel that is perpetrated in a great deal that passes for missionary encounter. A preaching of the gospel that calls men and women to accept Jesus as Savior but does not make it clear that discipleship means commitment to a vision of society radically different from that which controls our public life today must be condemned as false.”

From “Foolish to the Greeks; The Gospel and Western Culture” by Lesslie Newbigin, Eerdmans Publishing