Tuesday, March 10, 2009
MLK on Church & State
"The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority."

- Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength to Love, 1963

Brian McLaren mentioned this quote in his talk last night and pointed out that King's statement outlines the history of church-state relations. In the Medieval paradigm the church was the master of the state; in the modern world the church became the servant of the state. Hopefully in a postmodern world the church can reclaim its status as the conscience of the state. We're not there yet, but I see a lot of positive movement in that direction.


posted by Mike Clawson at 10:40 AM | Permalink |


At 3/11/2009 01:56:00 PM, Blogger M James

I know, personally, that when you refer to the "church" you are not referring to "THE CHURCH"(Vatican) or many other interpretations of "THE CHURCH", so I wonder if you believe that your view of the church will ever be the predominant view of the "THE CHURCH"? (Gosh, I hope so!)

I too see movements of the church trying to inform the conscience of the country (look what the Mormon church did for Prop 8).

But I think an explanation for the current statistics that show more and more people turning away from the church is because the conscience that the church preaches is in direct conflict with what we see with our own eyes (IE:preaching abstinence to aids battered africans instead of sexual planning).

I think before the church can have any right to the conscience of the government, Christians such as yourself need to overcome the stigma of what "THE CHURCH" represents. I wish that that would happen sooner than later, but I fear people are just turning away instead of looking for a change.

Also, I wonder if we even need a church being the conscience of the state. Should our conscience be informed by what we are told is right? Or by what we see in the world around us?
Do we need someone to tell us murder is wrong? Or is that something that we can figure out by ourselves?

Aren't the people supposed to be the conscience of the state?

All interesting thoughts. I'd like to hear your deeper thoughts on this issue.


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