The Kingdom and the State

If the kingdom is where Christ is, then we dare not assume the power of the state for the purposes of the church, and we dare not subordinate the ministries of the church to the authority of the state. 

Onward p. 65

Let’s take one example: abortion. The purpose of the church is not to get laws passed that will outlaw abortion. The purpose of the church is to make disciples as we live out the beauty of the gospel that proclaims and nourishes life as something precious. That, of course, does not mean we don’t want just laws in our society. Certainly we do. But that is not our purpose. Laws don’t change hearts, but changed hearts will value and support life to such an extent that all citizens can flourish. We do not seek to force virtue by the power of the state. 

But we also don’t abdicate our role to seek justice and mercy, nor do we allow the state to dictate what truth is and when it can be proclaimed. When it comes to matters of the gospel, we obey God over man. But we must be careful and think critically about what those matters are. The government does have authority in our lives—given by God himself. So it is never flippantly nor without great thought that we disobey governing authorities. But disobey we must—willingly and joyfully accepting the consequences—when the state oversteps its bounds and intrudes on our place as citizens of a greater kingdom. 

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