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Lent Group – Perspectives on Church and State: issues in a New Testament
8th March 2017 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Church and State: issues in a New Testament perspective
Two broad issues arise in thinking about Church and state. One is the extent to which the Church seeks to characterise the life of the state, to conform it to Christian belief and practice; to establish, if you like, a Christian state. The other is the extent to which the state, as a separate power, seeks to control the life of the Church, and how far the Church should accept that control.
These questions run through the whole history of Church-state relations. They are already touched on in the New Testament, because first-century Christians already had to face these issues. They did so, however, at a point when ‘church’ did not mean what it later came to mean, and when ‘state’ was in important ways different from what we presently understand.
The discussion this week will look at the problems faced by the early church and at the indications in the New Testament as to how Jesus saw these issues and how positions developed in the writings of Paul and others in the first century. Are there principles here that apply in all ages?