Religion, State, and Society

As persons we learn that membership in the family is consistent and identical with solidarity with our fellow human beings everywhere, that being born in relationship is a stepping stone to growing in relationship and maturing in responsibility. We bring this collective understanding of ourselves into relationships of the wider society, allowing us to share in the privileges and responsibilities of membership of family and kinship, and to submit to a government of laws and regulations providing for our common security and protection. The rule of Scripture that we should care for one another is the cord of Church, society, and state (1 Cor. 12:25–26).

As religious persons we are mindful of the Creator and express that by freely yielding our wills in worship of Him in the same way that we express our sense of common responsibility by banding together freely and necessarily as citizens. The moral constraints to which we are obliged to submit offer the basis for the institution of a government in which life and property are respected, evil is restrained, wrong avenged, and justice upheld so that virtue and enterprise may flourish by individual industry (Prov. 8:15–17; Ps. 128:2).

By the nature of the case, established freely and by common consent, government cannot do more than create the environment for good to flourish; other means are required for the production of the values essential for moral progress (Gal. 5:22–23; Eph. 5:9).

For that purpose believers must abridge their own needs and wants and summon everyone to provide for the necessities of those less fortunate than themselves. By their example they will instill in others the duty “to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8). Indeed, government that is instituted as the means of bringing us the blessings of liberty will endure only if it is answerable to the values of the rule of law, justice, equity, mercy, and moderation.