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    CHAPTER VI. THE SEPARATION OF CHRISTIANITY AND THE STATE

    THE Greek theory of education adopted by the apostate Church led to the union of Church and State, and the total ruin of the State. The principle of Christianity is the total separation of religion and the State. Christianity recognizes the right of the State to exist apart from the Church; and requires that the Church must exist apart from the State.PBE 53.1

    The Church and the State occupy two distinctly different realms. The realm of the Church is the realm of morals; the realm of the State is the realm of civics. The realm of the Church is the inner life of man, and the world to come: the realm of the State is the outward life of man, and the world that is.PBE 53.2

    The State rightly constituted, and abiding within its own realm, never can interfere with the affairs of the Church; and as a matter of fact, no State ever has interfered with the affairs of the Church, except when it went outside of its proper realm, and assumed to itself the garb of religion. The Church, abiding in its own realm, can never interfere in any way with the interests of the State; and, as a matter of fact, the Church has never done so, except where she left her own realm, ascended the throne of civil power, and presumed to wield the sword of the State.PBE 53.3

    The State, within its own realm, and for itself, has a right to establish a system of education, which in the nature of things must be only of this world. The Church, in her own realm, must maintain Christian education.PBE 54.1

    The State, in establishing and conducting such system of education as may seem to it best, can not ask that the Church shall abandon Christianity. The Church, in her own realm, in maintaining Christian education, can not ask that the State shall abandon such system of education as it may have adopted; and must not antagonize the State in its chosen system of education, any more than in any other affair or act of the State within its own realm.PBE 54.2

    The Government of the United States is the only one ever in the world that was founded upon the principle announced by Jesus Christ concerning civil government—the total separation of religion and the State. “No one thought of vindicating religion for the conscience of the individual, till a voice in Judea, breaking day for the greatest epoch in the life of humanity, by establishing a pure, spiritual, and universal religion for all mankind, enjoined to render to Caesar only that which is Caesar’s. The rule was upheld during the infancy of the gospel for all men. No sooner was this religion adopted by the chief of the Roman Empire, than it was shorn of its character of universality, and enthralled by an unholy connection with the unholy State. And so it continued till the new nation—the least defiled with the barren scoffings of the eighteenth century, the most general believer in Christianity of any people of that age, the chief heir of the Reformation in its purest forms—when it came to establish a government for the United States, refused to treat faith as a matter to be regulated by a corporate body, or having a headship in a monarch or a state.”—George Bancroft.PBE 54.3

    The men who made the United States, distinctly declared that in the matter of this fundamental principle of the separation of religion and the State, they were acting “upon the principles on which the gospel was first propagated, and the Reformation from Popery carried on.” They declared: “We hold it for a fundamental and undeniable truth, ‘that religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be dictated only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence.’ The religion, then, of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man, and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate. This right is in its nature an inalienable right: it is inalienable, because the opinion of men depending only on the evidence contemplated in their own minds, can not follow the dictates of other men. It is inalienable, also, because what is here a right towards men is a duty towards the Creator.PBE 55.1

    “It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage, and such only, as he believes to be acceptable to Him. This duty is precedent, both in order of time, and in degree of obligation, to the claims of civil society. Before any man can be considered a member of civil society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the universe; and if a member of a civil society who enters into any subordinate association must always do it with a reservation of his duty to the general authority, much more must every man who becomes a member of any particular civil society do it with a saving of his allegiance to the universal Sovereign. We maintain, therefore, that in matters of religion, no man’s right is abridged by the institution of civil society; and that religion is wholly exempt from its cognizance.”PBE 55.2

    In the course of its existence, the United States has developed and established a system of education. The principle upon which this system of education is founded is acknowledged to be, in this respect, the principle upon which the nation was founded—the separation of religion and the State: therefore religion must not be taught in the State schools. This principle, though infringed in instances, has been generally adhered to on the part of the State. But THE CHURCH has not adhered to this principle: indeed, she has hardly recognized it at all. She has generally acquiesced in the State’s adhering to the principle, and refusing to incorporate religion, or the religious method, in its system of education; but she has not at all adhered to the principle that the Church must not adopt the secular method in education. But this story is so well told by the United States Government itself that we need go no further in defining it.PBE 56.1

    In the Annual Report of the United States Commissioner of Education for the school year 1896-7, the United States Government has made perfectly clear the distinction between the secular method and the religious method in education: a distinction strictly in accordance with the principles of Christianity, and with the fundamental principles upon which the Government of the United States was founded.PBE 56.2

    First, as to the secular school:—PBE 57.1

    “The secular school gives positive instruction. It teaches mathematics, natural science, history, and language. Knowledge of the facts can be precise, and accurate, and a similar knowledge of the principles can be arrived at. The self-activity of the pupil is before all things demanded by the teacher of the secular school. The pupil must not take things on authority; but, by his own activity, must test and verify what he has been told. He must trace out the mathematical demonstrations, and see their necessity. He must learn the method of investigating facts in the special provinces of science and history. The spirit of the secular school, therefore, comes to be an enlightening one, although not of the highest order. But its enlightenment tends to make trust in authority more and more difficult for the young mind.”PBE 57.2

    Next, as to religious education:—PBE 57.3

    “Religious education, it is obvious, in giving the highest results of thought and life to the young, must cling to the form of authority, and not attempt to borrow the methods of mathematics, science, and history from the secular school. Such borrowing will result only in giving the young people an overweening confidence in the finality of their own immature judgments. They will become conceited and shallow-minded. It is well that the child should trust his own intellect in dealing with the multiplication table and the rule of three. It is well that he should learn the rules and all the exceptions in Latin syntax, and verify them in the classic authors; but he must not be permitted to summon before him the dogmas of religion, and form pert conclusions regarding their rationality.”PBE 57.4

    All this is an excellent reason as to why and how religion can not be taught in the public schools: why religious education can not be adopted by the State. And it gives just as excellent reason why the Church, in her education—“religious education”—can not even borrow, much less adopt, the methods of the secular school.PBE 58.1

    (a) “The self-activity of the pupil is before all things demanded by the teacher of the secular school.” But in Christianity, instead of self-activity of the child or of the man, it is self-surrender and self-emptying that is before all things demanded. “If any man will be My disciple, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus; who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God,” “but emptied Himself.”PBE 58.2

    (b) In the secular school, “the pupil must not take things on authority.” But in Christianity, in religious education, both the pupil and the teacher “must cling to the form of authority.” This, because God is the Author of the religious sense in man, and of Christianity the only true complement of the religious sense; and the Word of God is the authority of Christianity. And God is supreme in everything. When He has spoken, that ends the matter. That is authority, the very ultimate of authority : not only because it is the Word of God, but because it is essential truth. And essential truth is the highest possible authority, and must be accepted as the authority which it is. Jesus Christ, who is the Truth, “spake as One having authority, and not as the scribes.” His word was as from One having authority, not because he had any position of authority, but because of the essential truth which was expressed in the Word which He spake. All authority in heaven and on earth was given to Him, because He had all the truth in heaven and earth.PBE 58.3

    (c) “The spirit of the secular school,” though “an enlightening one,” yet is not “of the highest order;” while on the other hand, “religious education, it is obvious,” gives “the highest results of thought and life.”PBE 59.1

    (d) The enlightenment of the secular school “tends to make trust in authority more and more difficult for the young mind.” Since, therefore, the enlightenment of the secular school tends to make trust in authority more and more difficult for the young mind: and since religious education must cling to the form of authority; it clearly follows that to adopt the spirit of the secular school, or to borrow the methods of the secular school, in religious education, is nothing less than to undermine the very citadel of religious education.PBE 59.2

    (e) It is therefore in perfect wisdom that the United States Government has given the counsel that in religious education there must be no “attempt to borrow the methods of mathematics, science, and history from the secular school.” And this, for the further excellent reason that “such borrowing will result only in giving the young people an overweening confidence in the finality of their own immature judgments. They will become conceited and shallow-minded.”PBE 59.3

    Every Christian desires that his children shall have a religious education. And surely no Christian who has any wish for the welfare of his children would consciously incorporate into their education that which would result in giving them an overweening confidence in the finality of their own immature judgments, and which will cause them to become conceited and shallow-minded. Surely, therefore, it has been in complete unconsciousness of the principles involved, and of the disastrous results incurred, that the Church leaders and teachers have, in education, taken precisely the course which the United States Government declares must not be taken: that is, the borrowing of the secular method in religious education. For that same report continues:—PBE 60.1

    “With the spectacle of the systematic organization of the secular schools and the improved methods of teaching before them, the leaders in the Church have endeavored to perfect the methods of religious instruction of youth. They have met the following dangers which lay in their path:—PBE 60.2

    “First, the danger of adopting methods of instruction in religion which were fit and proper only for secular instruction: secondly, the selection of religious matter for the course of study which did not lead in the most direct manner toward vital religion, although it would readily take on a pedagogic form.PBE 60.3

    “Against this danger of sapping, or undermining, all authority in religion, by the introduction of the methods of the secular school, which lay all stress on the self-activity of the child, the Sunday-school has not been sufficiently protected in the more recent years of its history. Large numbers of religious teachers, most intelligent and zealous in their piety, seek a more and more perfect adoption of the secular school methods.PBE 60.4

    “On the other hand, the topics of religious instruction have been determined largely by the necessities of the secular school method. That method is not adapted to teach mystic truth. It seeks everywhere definite and especially mathematical results. But these results, although they are found everywhere in science and mathematics, are the farthest possible from being like the subject matter of religion. Hence, it has happened that in improving the methods of the Sunday-school, greater and greater attention has been paid to the history and geography of the Old Testament and less and less to the doctrinal matters of the New Testament.”PBE 61.1

    (a) “The introduction of the methods of the secular school” in religious education incurs the danger “of sapping or undermining all authority in religion.” And against this danger, even “the Sunday-school has not been sufficiently protected in the more recent years of its history.” What, then, of the religious education of the children of Christians in the United States outside of the Sunday-school?PBE 61.2

    (b) “More and more perfect adoption of the secular school methods” has been sought even in the religious education in the Sunday-school. What, then, of the religious education of the children of Christians apart from the Sunday-school? (c) “The topics of religious instruction, even in the Sunday-school, have been “determined largely by the necessities of the secular school method,” which method “is not adapted to teach mystic truth;” and the results of which “are the farthest possible from being like the subject matter of religion.” What, then, of the topics and methods in the religious instruction of the children of Christians apart from the Sunday-school?PBE 61.3

    When the professed Protestant Church has so far forsaken her own true Christian ground in education, and has so far adopted the topics and methods of secular education, has she not gone a long way in the course of the original apostasy in adopting the topics and method of secular education in that day? And in so doing, has not the Protestant Church in this day gone just that far on the way to the positive union of the Church and the State which resulted in the like course in ancient time? And with all this, how can the State here escape the certain ruin that must come from this apostasy and union of Church and State, as certainly as it came from that apostasy and union of Church and State in ancient time of which this is so exact a parallel and likeness?PBE 62.1

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