Church state relationship definition essay

church state relationship definition essay

Free Essay: Abstract There has been much debate on whether or not the Separation of church and state refers to the division of the relationship The United States of America faces this issue as they struggle deciding what the meaning. I. Definition of church-state relations In the following paper, the writer will analyse the development of church-state relations in China from the s to the . Separation of Church and State," is an explanation of why something works or Over the years citizens have sometimes forgotten the meaning of freedom, . in the relationship that exists between the national state and the organized church.

church state relationship definition essay

Civic liberty, civic dignity is one of the favoured ways of expressing what it is to come into the community established by Jesus Christ. Which is why, from the beginning, the Christian community looked like, and in many ways was a counter-culture.

It was what some sociologists and historians call an imagined community which is of course not the same as an imaginary community, like having an imaginary friend: And at times in the ancient world the civic identity, the political identity of being a Christian and the political expectations of the Roman State came into deadly collision, so that martyrdom resulted.

But at its deepest this is a vision which reminds the Christian community that part of its purpose is to treat people as capable of civic dignity ad civic liberty, capable of that responsible maintenance of their environment by free decision taken in consultation. That is one of the things that makes it distinctive.

To learn to be a Christian therefore is to learn how to exercise decision-making freedom and the maintenance of your environment in the context of a vision for all human beings, which is one of the things that makes it both exciting and complicated and liable to appalling failures. A word about some of those failures and some of those mistakes. This potentially quite exhilarating picture of Christianity as a kind of citizenship in an imagined community can go wrong in a number of ways.

One of the most obvious is to say that this is simply a rival identity to all other societies: This was the state governed by clergy; by the international corporation of real experts with its supreme court in Rome.

A distinguished predecessor of mine, Thomas Becket, discovered that this was not at all an academic argument.

church state relationship definition essay

But that would take me far afield. I simply mention it here as one illustration of what can go wrong — the assumption that if the Church is a kind of political unit surely it must be in competition with other kinds of political unit.

And at times both Church and State have fallen into that error, and played out that unhelpful—and sometimes murderous—script. Equally mistaken or course is the idea that this new citizenship is simply something that goes on inside your head. You never find ways, or never try very hard to find ways, of expressing that in the world around, and you may even want to discourage other people from seeking to express it.

This can lead unfortunately to Christianity being a tool of oppression: We have to find a way of saying the new citizenship is about beings of flesh and blood, and thus we may expect it to have visible and tangible effects in the world.

St Augustine at the beginning of the fifth Christian century treads this complex and delicate path with enormous skill and imagination in his great work on the City of God. At the end of the day, says St Augustine, those are the two great human options. If you go for the first you are moving slowly in the direction of the City of God — the polis, the political reality that the Church represents.

And the best you can hope for is indifferently controlled selfishness. You may or may not agree with the way Augustine sketches out the territory. Oddly enough I think we sometimes see this most vividly expressed in modern situations where the name of Augustine may very well be unknown and some of these theological refinements may not be familiar. What many people will say is that, amid the chaos of developing economies, impoverished societies and failing states, the one source for creative and dependable civic virtue is in communities of faith.

And all of a sudden some of these issues have become rather pertinent to the UK. And if the Big Society is to be anything more than a slogan looking increasingly threadbare as we look out at a society reeling under the impact of public spending cuts, then reflection on this subject has got take on board some of those issues about what it is to be a citizen and where it is that we most deeply and helpfully acquire the resources of civic identity and dignity.

About years ago a very distinguished Anglican theologian by the name of John Neville Figgis, a priest of the Community of the Resurrection in Yorkshire, wrote about how the Church should be seeking to shape public opinion. And by that he meant, first and foremost, shaping public opinion within its own boundaries.

The Church ought to be a place where people were educating one another about civic questions and human dignity, where people were educating and being educated about liberty, responsibility, the creation of a sustainable human environment. And Figgis said that the significance of trying to shape public opinion within the Church was something quite different from an institutional programme on the part of the Church to impose its vision on everybody else.

And that civic dignity, as it is developed and explored, becomes the organ, or the motor by which people are stimulated to go out into the wider society and talk about, argue about, what is good for the community. And the better we get at that argument within the Church, the better we shall get at arguing in public about the values and visions that we derive from what God has done.

To quote an authority rather nearer home: A working society is one in which all those kinds of bodies are reflecting on themselves by engaging with each other. And once again the body of Christ, the political reality that is the Church is a place where image and ideals and policies are generated and thought through in a way that allows them to move into wider discussion and debate.

If the Church has, as it still has in this society to some extent, a guaranteed public platform by the visibility of the Establishment even if that is just simply a matter of Archbishops of Canterbury in Westminster Abbey from time to timethen the justification of that is not that the Church has a God-given right to tell people what to do or to think.

It is because the kind of argument the Church should be having within itself about human dignity and human hope is the kind of argument any healthy society needs to make room for. The only justification for the public presence of the Church in British life or the life of any society is in its God-given capacity to keep that argument alive, to remind people that humanity is never exhausted by any particular political definition or social order, that there is always more to discover about human beings made in the image of God.

It is that dimension of depth that we are here to celebrate, acknowledge and empower in public debate. This occurred for much of western European history as the Popeusing a forged document called the Donation of Constantine, claimed that he had the authority to appoint and depose kings, and would excommunicate those who did not obey him.

Theocracy, a form of government in which divine power governs an earthly human state, either in a personal incarnation or, more often, via religious institutional representatives i. Such was the case in Calvin 's Geneva and the Vatican. A state which has its own secular ideology and tries to suppress or eliminate traditional religions which it regards as false and socially subversive rivals as occurred in Communist countries. A separation of church and state in which there is religious freedom and all religions are treated equally, which is the case in the United Statesand no religious body has any official influence over the state.

The result can be the formation of a civil religion with a pledge of allegiance and where the symbols of the state, such as the flag, take on a quasi-religious status. The Eastern Orthodox churches conceive of the relationship between church and state as a symphony. The state defends the church by oppressing other denominations while the church supports the state by encouraging patriotism and acceptance of the state's policies.

Each has its own domain in caring for the needs of the people. Islam has traditionally not made any distinction between religion and state as the ulema function as both jurists and theologians. The concept of the state is not prominent in Islamic thought for theological and historical reasons.

Church and State

Islam sees itself as a transnational religion. The state and religion as rival sources of authority and identity which can be in conflict with each other. This was the situation in the Roman Empire before Christianity became the official religion as well as much of medieval European history.

The religious state where the ruler is believed to be god and the whole of society is orientated to the worship of the ruler and the state is seen as sacred and not secular as was the case in Ancient Egypt.

History Ancient In many ancient cultures, the political ruler was also the highest religious leader and sometimes considered divine. One of the earliest recorded episodes challenging a state religion of this type is the story of Moses and Aaronconfronting the king of Egypt in order, ostensibly, to win the right to hold a three-day festival honoring the Hebrew god Yahweh.

According to the Book of Exodusthe Hebrews' petition was granted only after a series of miraculous plagues were visited upon the Egyptians. Moses then led the Israelites out of Egypt, never to return. Cyrus of Persia meets with Jewish leaders returning to rebuild the Temple of Jerusalem. The first government declaration officially granting toleration to non-state religions was issued in the ancient Persian Empire by its founder, Cyrus the Great in the fifth century B. Cyrus reversed the policy of his Babylonian predecessors and allowed captured religious icons to be returned to their places of origin.

He also funded the restoration of important native shrines, including the Temple of Jerusalem. Ancient Jewish tradition, on the other hand, affirmed a strict state monotheism and attempted to suppress non-Israelite religions by destroying unauthorized altars and sometimes slaughtering the priests of rival faiths. Although many of the kings of Judah and Israel in fact tolerated other religious traditions, they were condemned for this policy by the prophets and other biblical writers.

In the Orient, the right to worship freely was promoted by most ancient Indian dynasties until around C. King AshokaB. One must, on the contrary, render to other creeds the honor befitting them. However, they also insisted that indigenous peoples pay homage to the state religion as well, a policy which put monotheistic faiths such as Judaism in a position of either compromising their own principles or rebelling against the state's authority.

Church and State - New World Encyclopedia

The Jews rebelled against enforced Hellenization in Macabeean revolt of the second century B. The Ancient Romans tolerated Jewish non-compliance with the requirement to honor the gods of the state. The Roman state saw itself as the ultimate authority and locus of law and loyalty with an Emperor who claimed divinity and expected to be worshipped.

The Christian Church, which only appeared much later, recognized the necessity of the state in the maintenance of law and order but could not accept its claim to be sacred or to have authority over morality or people's souls. It saw itself as having the authority to determine what was God's law and expected people to put obedience to God and the Church above obedience to civil law and the Emperor. After a period of conflict, Christianity was made the official religion of the Roman Empire so as to unite and reinforce it.

Both state and church each had their own, sometimes overlapping, spheres of influence over people, one temporal and the other spiritual. The Emperors had considerable authority over Church doctrine and discipline while trying to incorporate Christian principles into civil law. Constantine was looking for a religion that could unify the empire in a way that the old Roman religion could not.

He thought Christianity could fulfill this role and in proclaimed the Edict of Milan, which removed penalties for professing Christianity and returned confiscated Church property.

He considered himself responsible to God for the spiritual health of his subjects, and thus a duty to maintain orthodoxy. By doing so he forced the church to define itself by a creed and used the power of the state to enforce orthodoxy. Up until this time the church had rarely made such decisions and did not have the power to persecute heretics. That the church allowed an unbaptized emperor to do so changed the relationship between church and state.

The Eastern Orthodox churches sometimes refer to Constantine as the "13th Apostle" so great was his influence on the Church.

church state relationship definition essay

The idea that the Emperor is head of the church as well as the state is known as Caesaropapism. Christianity became the official state religion under Theodosius I in the early fifth century C. The later Roman Empire under Christianity repressed non-Christian religions and Christian heresies alike. Jewstoo, suffered under the influence of Christian bishops such as Ambrose of Milanwho prevailed in his opinion that a Christian emperor must not compel a local bishop to pay for the rebuilding of a synagogue he had led his parishioners to destroy.

This precedent was also an important one for asserting the independence of the Western church from the state. Under the influence of Saint Augustine of Hippothe Western church viewed the state as a "secular" power whose role was to uphold Christian law and order and to punish those who do evil.

Augustine's teaching is the origin of the term "secular," by which he referred to the period prior to Christ's second advent. The Eastern church took a different view, seeing a positive role for the state as God's agent in society. A third course would be adopted in lands affected by the rise of Islamwhich recognized no distinction between religion and the state.

In the eastern Byzantine Empirethe emperors, although sometimes deferring to powerful bishops and monks on matters of theology, considered themselves to be the "supreme pontiff" of the Church, as well as head of state. Justinian I promulgated the doctrine of harmonia, which asserted that the Christian state and the Church should work together for God's will on earth under the emperor's leadership.

A strong supporter of Orthodoxy and opponent of heresy, Justinian secured from the bishops in attendance at the Second Council of Constantinople inan affirmation that nothing could be done in the Church contrary to the emperor's will. This doctrine remained in effect until the Ottomans conquered Constantinople now Istanbul in the fifteenth century. In the West the Bishop of Rome emerged as the central figure of the Roman Catholic Church and often asserted his spiritual authority over various kings, on both theological and political matters.

There are two powers, august Emperor, by which this world is chiefly ruled, namely, the sacred authority of the priests and the royal power.

Of these that of the priests is the more weighty, since they have to render an account for even the kings of men in the divine judgment. You are also aware, dear son, that while you are permitted honorably to rule over humankind, yet in things divine you bow your head humbly before the leaders of the clergy and await from their hands the means of your salvation. On the basis of this document the Pope and his representatives claimed the authority to appoint and crown kings suggesting that all temporal authority had to be legitimized by the Church.

The Italian humanist Lorenzo Valla proved inthat the Donation was a fake by analyzing its language, and showing that certain phrases were anachronistic and that the purported date of the document was inconsistent with the content of the document itself. However, the Vatican placed Valla's work on the list of prohibited books, and defended the document's authenticity.

It continued to be used as genuine until Baronius in his "Annales Ecclesiastici" published admitted that the "Donation" was a forgery, and eventually the church conceded its illegitimacy. The precise purpose of the forgery is not entirely certain, but it was clearly a defense of papal interests, perhaps against the claims of either the Byzantine Empireor the Frankish king Charlemagnewho had assumed the former imperial dignity in the West and with it the title "Emperor of the Romans.

It has been suggested that an early draft was made shortly after the middle of the eighth century in order to assist Pope Stephen II in his negotiations with Pepin the Shortthe Frankish Mayor of the Palace. In return for Stephen's support, Pepin apparently gave the Pope the lands in Italy which the Lombards had taken from the Byzantine Empire. These lands would become the Papal States and would be the basis of the Papacy's secular power for the next eleven centuries.

Inserted among the twelfth-century compilation known as the Decretum Gratiani, the document continued to be used by medieval popes to bolster their territorial and secular power in Italy.

It was widely accepted as authentic, although the Emperor Otto III did denounce the document as a forgery. Nationalism and the Renaissance In Europe, the supremacy of the pope faced challenges from kings and western emperors on a number of matters, leading to power struggles and crises of leadership, notably in the Investiture Controversy of the eleventh century over the question of who had the authority to appoint local bishops.

The reason the kings wanted to be involved was that the church owned and controlled vast areas of land and so the bishops had great economic and thus political power.

A see-saw battle ensured during the succeeding centuries as kings sought to assert their independence from Rome while the papacy engaged in various programs of reform on the one hand and the exercise of considerable power against rebellious kings on the other, through such methods as excommunication and interdicts. In England there was a clash between church and state over the legal jurisdiction. King Henry II wanted the clergy to be tried in civil courts and not church courts on the basis that everyone should be judged by the same law and receive the same punishment.

The problem was that clergy who committed even crimes such as murder were being judged very leniently by the ecclesiastical courts, which was seen as unfair. The Archbishop of CanterburyThomas Becket disagreed as he wanted to defend the independence of the church.

During the Renaissancenationalist theorists began to affirm that kings had absolute authority within their realms to rule on spiritual matters as well as secular ones.

Kings began, increasingly, to challenge papal authority on matters ranging from their own divorces to questions of international relations and the right to try clergy in secular courts. This climate was a crucial factor in the success of the Protestant Reformation. He went on to dissolve the monasteries and confiscate much church land which he redistributed to his supporters. The result was the destruction of the country's welfare provision. Modern period Protestant churches were just as willing as the Catholic Church to use the authority of the state to repress their religious opponents, and Protestant princes often used state churches for their own political ends.

Years of religious wars eventually led to various affirmations of religious toleration in Europe, notably the Peace of Westphaliasigned in These seminal documents in the history of church and state played a significant role in both the Glorious Revolution of and later in the American Revolution. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen guarantees freedom of religious opinion.

No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief… The French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen likewise guaranteed that: In the French case, not only would the state reject the establishment of any particular religion, it would take a vigilant stance against religions involving themselves in the political arena.

The American tradition, on the other hand, welcomed religious arguments in public debate and allowed clergymen of various faiths to serve in public office as long as they adhered to the U. The French leadership, having suffered from centuries of religious wars, was also deeply suspicious of religious passion and tended to repress its public expression, while the Americans adopted a positive attitude toward newer and smaller faiths which fostered a lively religious pluralism.

These two approaches would set the tone for future debates about the nature and proper degree of separation between church and state in the coming centuries.

Contemporary Many variations on relationship between church and state can be seen today. Some countries with high degrees of religious freedom and tolerance have still maintained state churches or financial ties with certain religious organizations into the twentieth century. Englandfor example, has an established state religion but is very tolerant of other faiths as well.

In Norwaysimilarly, the King is also the leader of the state church, and the twelfth article of the Constitution of Norway requires more than half of the members of the Norwegian Council of State to be members of the state church. Yet, the country is generally recognized to have a high degree of religious freedom.

In countries like these, the head of government or head of state or other high-ranking official figures may be legally required to be a member of a given faith. Powers to appoint high-ranking members of the state churches are also often still vested in the worldly governments.

Several European countries such as GermanyAustriaand several Eastern European nations officially support large religions such as the Catholic ChurchLutheran Evangelical Church, or the Russian Orthodox Churchwhile officially recognizing other churches as legitimate, and refusing to register newer, smaller, or more controversial religions. Some go so far as to prohibit unregistered groups from owning property or distributing religious literature.

In most European countries churches are involved in education.