I’ve been thinking through church-state relations lately. Mostly, I’ve been thinking through the separation of the two, wondering how to think about it biblically. In the process I came across this thought provoking piece by Rich Lusk. In it he says,
Throughout the early days of America’s existence, we see a continual tug of war between the forces of historic Christendom and the emerging rationalism and individualism of the Enlightenment. Historians debate the issues: Was America founded as a Christian nation, in continuity with the Christian nations of Europe? Or is America the nation the Enlightenment created, the first secular body politic in history? The founding fathers were generally men of faith, but they drank deeply from the poisoned well of “free church” ecclesiology. The break with Britain in many ways meant a much larger break with the high church tradition of Christendom. In retrospect, given the current dominance of secularism, we can see things they could not have even imagined. We can see weaknesses they were not aware of. The real tragedy of America is found precisely here: Men of faith unwittingly gave the game away. They were swept up by larger forces they did not fully understand and could not control. In their desire to exorcise the demons of medievalism, they opened the door to secular demons seven times worse.