Sunday, August 15, 2010

Workman: a root antagonism

Sunday, August 15, 2010
The LORD has established his throne in heaven,
    and his kingdom rules over all.
    —Psalm 103:19 (NIV)
    The student should beware lest he overlook the momentous issues involved in the refusal of the State to allow any society or club to exist which had not first obtained official recognition, and the equally momentous refusal of the Church to obtain such recognition. The question is not one of legal technicalities or procedure, or the “sheer obstinacy,” as Marcus Aurelius would have phrased it, of Christian fanatics, but points rather to one of those root antagonisms of principle the influence of which, in different forms, may be felt in the twentieth as much as in the second century. By Roman theory, the State was the one society which must engross every interest of its subjects, religious, social, political, humanitarian, with the one possible exception of the family. There was no room in Roman law for the existence, much less the development on its own lines of organic growth, of any corporation or society which did not recognize itself from the first as a mere department or auxiliary of the State. The State was all and in all, the one organism with a life of its own. Such a theory the Church, as the living kingdom of Jesus, could not possibly accept either in the first century or the twentieth.
    ... H. B. Workman (1862-1951), Persecution in the early church: a chapter in the history of renunciation, 2nd ed., London: Charles H. Kelly, 1906, p. 71-72 (see the book)
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, Your rule will conquer all.
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