• pic
  • pic
  • pic
  • pic
  • pic
  • pic
  • pic
  • pic
  • pic
  • pic
  • pic

1 bowens weekly sermons button 1 twm daily news button 1 twm weekly guest sermons button

 

“The various acts of toleration enacted in Europe differ greatly from the principles of religious liberty: ‘the one is a concession, the other a right; the one is a matter of expediency, the other of principle; the one is a gift of man, the other a gift of God.’ [Phillip Schaff].

Religious persecution usually arose from some form of union between church and state. A relaxation of the relationship between church and state results in toleration, but only when there is absolute separation between church and state can there be religious liberty. This became the case in the founding of the United States of America, where the ideal of a free church in a free state was first realized; likewise the principle, that self-support and self-government are inseparable. In the American constitution-a Magna Charta of religious liberty-a New Testament principle and a sixteenth century ideal became a reality. Summarizing the progress of religious liberty Philip Schaff makes the following up evaluation:

‘The history of religious liberty teaches important lessons. Intolerance and persecution have wrought incalculable misery in the past, and are contrary to the spirit of Christianity, justice, and mercy, and incompatible with modern civilization; while liberty has proved to be the best friend of religion, and receives from it its strongest moral support. Spiritual offences should be spiritually judged and punished according to the gospel; temporal offences should be temporally judged and punished according to the law. The best legal guarantee of religious liberty is a peaceful separation of the spiritual and temporal power; the best moral guarantee of liberty is human culture and Christian charity.

The church needs and should ask nothing from the state but the protection of law. She commends herself best to the world by attending to her proper spiritual duties and keeping aloof from political and secular complications. She can only lose by force and violence; she can only gain and succeed by the spiritual weapons of truth and love.’” (V. Norskov Olsen, Papal Supremacy and American Democracy, 1987, p.150-151)

Who's Online

We have 244 guests and no members online