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    March 10, 1890

    “Religion and the Church” The Signs of the Times, 16, 10.

    E. J. Waggoner

    When so much is said pro and con, about a union of Church and State, it is fitting that we know exactly what is meant by “the church.” Many people erroneously suppose that the term refers to some particular denomination, as the Methodist, Baptist, or Presbyterian. But this is not the case. To use the term in that sense would be manifestly unfair. If in squeaking of the church “we should refer to some special denomination, we would thereby imply that no other denomination could be a part of “the church.” With the exception of the Catholic, nobody uses the term “the church” with reference to any particular sect.SITI March 10, 1890, page 91.132

    In the Bible “the church” is declared to be the body of Christ. In one place Paul says of Christ that “he is the head of the body, the church” (Colossians 1:18); and again he says that God “hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body.” Ephesians 1:22, 23. Baptism is universally recognized as the entrance to the church, as Paul says, “By one Spirit are we all baptized into one body,” and that this body is Christ is shown by the words, “As many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”SITI March 10, 1890, page 91.133

    “The church,” then, in the strict sense of the word, is composed of those who are “in Christ,” who have been converted, “born again,” and are consequently “new creatures.” From this it is very evident that, strictly speaking, no one religious sect, nor all of them together, can be called “the church.” Everybody is willing to admit that in every denomination there are those who are really members of “the church,” because they are united to Christ; but nobody will claim that all of any denomination are truly Christian.SITI March 10, 1890, page 91.134

    Since we cannot always distinguish the true professor from the false one, it is evident that the extent of the church is known only to Him who can read the heart; but it is not convenient always to make this fine distinction in our conversation, neither is it possible; and therefore we speak of all who profess the religion of Jesus as members of his church. Thus we assume, since we cannot decide, that such individual’s profession is an honest one.SITI March 10, 1890, page 91.135

    Now mark this fact: the religion of Jesus, or the profession of that religion, is the distinguishing characteristic of the church. It is that which makes the church, and without that there is no church.SITI March 10, 1890, page 91.136

    With this matter clearly in mind, we are prepared to decide for ourselves whether or not the Religious Amendment party is in favor of a union of Church and State. And this decision shall be made from the published statements of that party. In the New York Convention of the National Reform Association held in 1873, Dr. Jonathan Edwards of Peoria, Ill., said:-SITI March 10, 1890, page 91.137

    “It is just possible that the outcry against Church and State may spring rather from hatred to revealed religion than from an intelligent patriotism. But where is the sign, the omen, of such Church and State mischief coming upon us? Who will begin and who will finish this union of Church and State? If you think the Roman Catholic can do it in spite of the watchfulness of the Protestant, or that one Protestant sect can do it amid the jealousy of all other sects, or that all these sects would combine to effect a joint union with the State, you have a notion of human nature and of church nature different from what I have. Church and State in union, then, are forever impossible here, and, were it never so easy, we all repudiate upon principle. There are enduring and ever valid reasons against it. But religion and State is another thing. That is possible. That is a good thing-and that is what we aim to make a feature in our institutions.”SITI March 10, 1890, page 91.138

    Exactly, and right here do we see the omen of a union of Church and State. We do not expect that in this country the Catholic Church will be the State Church, nor that any one of the Protestant sects will be honored by an alliance with the State. Neither do we look for all the sects to combine and sink their individual names and thus form a union with the State. But we do look for a desperate effort to unite Church and State, and we claim that this effort will be made by the so-called National Reform party. And further, we claim that Dr. Edwards has admitted, even while denying it, that such union is the avowed object of that party. We leave it to the candid reader if the short argument at the beginning of this article, defining “the church,” taken in connection with Dr. Edward’s positive declaration, does not prove that a union of Church and State is the grand object sought by the Amendmentists.SITI March 10, 1890, page 91.139

    “But,” says one, “do you not teach that a man should carry his religion into his business? Why then should you object to religion in the State?” We do believe that if a man has religion he should manifest it in his business transactions as well as in church; but if he has it not, we would not have him simulate it. So likewise we believe in religion among individuals everywhere, for only individuals can be religious. No man can be religious for another, neither can one man or any number of men make any men religious. And therefore we are not in favor of upholding religion by the laws of the State.SITI March 10, 1890, page 151.1

    Perhaps it may be made a little plainer that religion in the State is Church and State united. We say that the possession of true religion marks one as a real Christian-a member of the church of Christ. The association together of a body of people professing religion constitutes, outwardly at least, a branch of the church of Christ. And so, likewise, the profession of religion by the State constitutes a State church. This is all the union of Church and State that has ever existed. And will be the result? Just this: Religion and patriotism will be identical. No matter how pure some of the principles upheld by the laws may be, they can have no vitalizing, spiritual effect on the hearts of the people, because they will stand on the same level as the law defining who are eligible to office, and regulating the length of the presidential term. In short, the incorporation of religion into the laws of the State, marks the decline of religion in the hearts of the people. And this is what the Religious Amendment party is pledged to bring about.SITI March 10, 1890, page 151.2

    Ought not all lovers of pure Christianity to enter a hearty and continued protest against such a proceeding? E. J. W.SITI March 10, 1890, page 151.3

    “Letter to the Hebrews. Chapter 10:10-20” The Signs of the Times, 16, 10.

    E. J. Waggoner

    (Lesson 25, March 22, 1890.)

    1. For what did Christ take away the sacrifices of the law of Moses?SITI March 10, 1890, page 151.4

    2. What do we learn in the Scriptures is the will of God?SITI March 10, 1890, page 151.5

    3. What is done for us by this will? Hebrews 10:10.SITI March 10, 1890, page 151.6

    4. What is the law called in Psalm 119:142?SITI March 10, 1890, page 151.7

    5. What did the Lord Jesus say in his prayer for our sanctification? John 17:17.SITI March 10, 1890, page 151.8

    6. Is the truth necessary for our sanctification? Ans.-It is; error, however fine in appearance, however firmly believed, has no sanctifying influence.SITI March 10, 1890, page 151.9

    7. Are we sanctified by hearing the truth? Compare John 3:19; 15:22; Matthew 7:26, 27.SITI March 10, 1890, page 151.10

    8. Are we sanctified by believing the truth? James 2:14, 17, 20, 26.SITI March 10, 1890, page 151.11

    9. What is necessary in order to be sanctified through the truth? 1 Peter 1:22.SITI March 10, 1890, page 151.12

    10. Can all truth be obeyed? Ans.-It cannot. To be obeyed it must be in the form of law. There can be no obedience where there is nothing commanded.SITI March 10, 1890, page 151.13

    11. Is that truth sanctifying which does not call for obedience? James 2:19.SITI March 10, 1890, page 151.14

    12. Is it therefore of no profit because it will not sanctify? See note.SITI March 10, 1890, page 151.15

    13. What did God say the children of Israel should be if they would keep his commandments? Exodus 19:6.SITI March 10, 1890, page 151.16

    14. Can we, then, be sanctified by our obedience to the law? Ans.-We cannot. See note.SITI March 10, 1890, page 151.17

    15. How does Paul say that we are sanctified by the will of God? Hebrews 10:10. Compare 2 Timothy 3:15.SITI March 10, 1890, page 151.18

    16. After our High Priest offered his sacrifice, where did he go? Hebrews 10:12.SITI March 10, 1890, page 151.19

    17. What is he expecting-waiting for? Verse 13.SITI March 10, 1890, page 151.20

    18. Who puts his enemies under his feet? Psalm 110:1. Compare 1 Corinthians 15:27, 28.SITI March 10, 1890, page 151.21

    19. Where have we liberty to enter? Hebrews 10:19.SITI March 10, 1890, page 151.22

    20. What is meant by the holiest? Ans.-It is, literally, the holies, that is, the heavenly sanctuary.SITI March 10, 1890, page 151.23

    21. By what means do we enter there?-Ib.SITI March 10, 1890, page 151.24

    22. Do we enter there actually, or in person? Ans.-No; we enter in the person of our Priest as a man is said to appear in court when his advocate is there for him.SITI March 10, 1890, page 151.25

    23. By what manner of way do we enter there? Verse 20.SITI March 10, 1890, page 151.26

    24. With what is the new and living way in contrast? Ans.-With the sacrifices of the Mosaic law, which were dead when their blood was offered in the sanctuary.SITI March 10, 1890, page 151.27

    25. What is that way?-Ib. See note.SITI March 10, 1890, page 151.28


    By 2 Timothy 3:16, 17 we learn that all truth is profitable, but truths are not all of the same nature, and are not all equally profitable. Some truths are primary, some are secondary. In James 2:19 we are told that we do well if we believe that there is one God; that is a very important truth, which, unfortunately, some nations of the earth have entirely forgotten. But it does not call for obedience-nobody can obey an abstract statement of that kind. It only calls for belief. And the demons believe it, and they remain demons still, even though they tremble before that truth. They are not sanctified by their belief, because it works no change of character; it is dead. But he who does the will of that one God is sanctified thereby, because he thereby forms a character in harmony with that will. While the law of God is that primary truth, which directly sanctifies, other truth is secondary; it can only work indirectly in our sanctification. But it leads toward sanctification, even indirectly, only when it leads us toward the law-to the way of obedience.SITI March 10, 1890, page 151.29

    We could be sanctified by obedience to the law if we had never forfeited our justification and destroyed our ability by disobedience. Instead of now being justified by the law, we already stand condemned, for we have all disobeyed it. Romans 3:9, 19, 23. Sin has perverted our natures, so that alone we can do nothing. John 15:5. But that does not destroy the fact that the law is perfect, and is justifying in its virtue. That the law cannot justify us is not the fault of the law-it is our own fault. The law did not fall in the fall of man; the law does not become sin because we sin. Romans 7:7-14. The law is the measure and rule of the righteousness of God; it witnesses to that righteousness. Romans 3:21. By our fall we are far below the righteousness of the law, and we are now dependent upon another to raise us up to where its righteousness may be fulfilled in us. Romans 8:4.SITI March 10, 1890, page 151.30

    There is a fund of instruction in this expression in Hebrews 10:20. It is not a “way of life,” as some have construed it, but a way ever new, ever living. Our Sacrifice is alive forever, and his blood is ever fresh, precious, incorruptible. 1 Peter 1:18, 19. This great truth is denied by the Catholics by their doctrine of transubstantiation. They affirm that there is no sacrifice now available for man, except upon their altars, where the water and wine are turned into the actual body and blood of Christ. In that doctrine the sacrifice of Christ is not even new, but needs ever to be renewed; the body and blood need a constant re-creating. By it the contrast between the daily offerings of the old law, and the one offering of Christ, is utterly destroyed.SITI March 10, 1890, page 151.31

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