Only that which is done in His fear carries, with it no fear of His holy wrath.
Whatever is done apart from His fear will surely bring down God’s holy wrath. For what is not done in His fear is done in hatred of the living God. It is for that reason that Paul writes that “whatsoever is not of faith is sin.”Romans 14:23b. That is not an oversimplification of the matter. That is the fundamental truth. That area where works are performed that are not acts of faith is an area where sin is committed. And sin always is an act of hatred toward the holy, sovereign God. No man yet sinned because he loved God. No man can sin out of love to God. “To obey is better than sacrifice and to hearken than the fat of rams,” Samuel told King Saul after his sinful deed of sacrificing. The very desire to rule God out of any area is already an act of sin and one of hatred towards God. One does not in love bar Him from any area or project. Love draws and does not repel. Love seeks and does not ignore.
Love desires no separation but constant and intimate fellowship.
Undoubtedly we have heard enough about the Supreme Court ruling that prayer in public schools was unconstitutional. Pages upon pages have been written for and against this ruling. We do not care to add to the words and pages written against that ruling as such. Although all the above certainly applies. Love to God does not take Him out of the school classroom. Faith does not demand such action. But hatred does. Instruction and supervision of the classroom that is not done in faith is sin! And we have come a long way on the road of antichristianity when it is against the Constitution to perform an act of faith and quite constitutional to sin!
What interests us at the moment is one of the arguments in favor of this ruling of the Supreme Court. It is that this is the only way to separate Church and State and keep them separate. This argument itself is a ruling on what the separation of Church and State means. It is to be understood that with the Roman Catholic Church obtaining more and more members in congress and as governors of States and with a Roman Catholic president at the helm of our government, there is a certain feeling of satisfaction with this ruling. For it is the expressed opinion of the Roman Catholic Church that Church and State be not separated but rather that the Roman Catholic Church rule the State. This ruling of the Supreme Court seems as a counter-check against such a union of Church and State in our land.
That, however, is not the error or correct stand of the schools is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court was not in any way motivated by this age long contention of the Roman Catholic Church. And we will certainly insist that the State should not rule the Church; nor should the Church rule the State. The offices in each are distinct and each must be kept as a separate domain, the one ruling in the spiritual affairs of man’s life and the other in the natural spheres of man’s existence.
This does not mean that the State has absolutely nothing to say about the Church as an institute. You see, that although all the members of the Church are citizens of the State, all the citizens of the State are not members of the Church. And the State has authority over these members of the Church in as far as they are also citizens of the State. The State certainly has a right to draw up certain building codes and insist that the churches in the land of that State observe them to the letter. The Church has even declared in Article 71 of the Church Order of Dordrecht, “As Christian Discipline is of a spiritual nature, and exempts no one from Civil trial or punishment by the Authorities, so also besides Civil punishment there is need of Ecclesiastical Censures, to reconcile the sinner with the Church and his neighbor and to remove the offense out of the Church of Christ.” A church that would refuse to give its members up to the State for trial and punishment for a breaking of the second table of the Law would certainly be guilty of sin herself. Jesus did not object to Caesar’s taxation of the Jews. And He expressly told Peter to catch a fish in which he would find a piece of money. This he was to pay as tax for himself and for Jesus. If we understand correctly, the churches in Canada are assessed tax on their properties. The church that refuses does violate the Fifth Commandment, no question about that. Church and State are not completely separated so that they have no connection with one another at all.
The State needs the Church. A nation without the Church is not only a pagan, heathen nation, it is an accursed nation. The psalmist declares, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom He hath chosen for His own inheritance.” Psalm 33:12. A State that tries to get away from the Church, despises her influence, forbids her prayers from being uttered is a ruined nation, an accursed and not a blessed people! And when we have come to the point where the authorities forbid and declare unlawful the prayers of the members of the Church, then the name “Christian Nation” no longer is correct.
The argument is raised that the State does not do that. It merely through its Supreme Court has ruled that offering prayers in public schools is illegal. We still have on our coins, “In God we trust.” We still demand an oath in the name of God and upon His Word. We still have chaplains in our military camps. The very Supreme Court and all our courts have Bibles in their chambers. But surely the State is going beyond its sphere of authority when it forbids the members of the Church to pray no matter where they may be.
Fundamentally the possibility of such a tragic situation and ruling is the fact that the whole public school system is wrong and based upon a wrong principle. I am not thinking at the moment of that which is taught in this public school system. Because it is not in His fear it must be antichristian. But that is not the point now. The point is that Scripture itself indicates that the school is the extension of the home and not of either the Church or the State. Church schools are wrong. State schools are wrong. It is the duty of the parent to train, instruct and teach his own child. And the school must be the extension of the home as parents, who are incapable of this training, band together, form their school societies, hire their teachers and supervise the education given to their children.
If that were the case, there would be no problem here or ruling of the Supreme Court that offering of prayers before the children in such parent-controlled schools was unconstitutional.
What compounds the problem now is that we have so many “faiths” in our land of freedom of religion. And the State seems to consider it the calling to protect the one faith from the other. Therefore no prayers may be offered, lest the children of parents of one faith have their children taught another faith by men hired by the State! But if we take the position of Scripture that the child is the direct responsibility of the parent, and parents of the like faith band together to form their schools, the problem disappears. Now however, it has been decided that Evolutionism, which directly opposes the faith of countless thousands, if not millions in America, may be taught, in fact has to be taught because no doctrine of God may be taught in a State controlled and operated school. But prayers to God may not be offered. There may be, and it is determined there must be freedom from religion in the public school, but there may not be freedom of religion.
It is but one of the signs of the times.
It ought never to be lost out of sight that the State receives its authority from the King of the Church. Church and State are separate domains and they may not interfere with each other’s internal affairs. They may not lord it over each other. They may not dictate each other’s policies. But they do have one King. “The powers that be are ordained of God,” Paul writes inRomans 13:1. And surely that Eternal King does not give to the State power to deny the Church her power. He is a God of order and not of confusion. And the State that does not recognize Him, forbids praying to Him, certainly is not faithful to the calling it has received from Him. Although Church and State are separate entities and have their own spheres of authority it is not true that State and religion do not mix. We have heard the old slogan that business and religion do not mix. This is nothing more than an attempt to cover up wicked business practices for filthy lucre’s sake. And to take the position that the State and religion do not mix is nothing less than an attempt to run an antichristian State. It is one of the signs of the times.
Right or wrong this ruling of the Supreme Court is indicative of the kind of education America’s youth is receiving. Perhaps the interpretation is the only proper one from a legal point of view. That is for legal minds to determine. Perhaps in its calling to protect all of its citizens the State must make a ruling that does not do injustice to one faith and favor another. And so to declare all praying unconstitutional is the only way to mete out justice. But the fact remains that America’s youth—except where parents know their God-given obligation and band together to establish and maintain schools where their children may be instructed in His fear—is going to receive a thoroughly antichristian education. God and His Christ must be ruled out. The children therefore may not be instructed in his calling before God, he may not be reminded in every subject taught him that he is God’s priest; although he may be taught that there is no God and that things just evolved from a cell or gaseous vapor whose existence and origin cannot be explained. But surely youth that receive such an education will not grow up into a nation that can say that God is its Lord. Neither can it rejoice and prosper as the psalmist declares, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” We are on the road to producing the antichrist. Step by step we are ruling Christ out of every sphere of our life. Various heresies have crept into the Church that already rule Him even out of the Church.
Let God’s people then continue to instruct their children in His fear. Let them not count the cost or the hardship but rejoice in the privilege of seeing their children speak the language of faith, confess that Jehovah is their God; have the joy of which John speaks, to hear and see that their children walk in the truth; to see God’s covenant promises realized before their eyes that He gathers His children out of our children.