jump to navigation

Frame: Toward a Theology of the State April 17, 2009

Posted by heldveld in Antithesis, Christian Education, Christian Reconstruction, John Frame, Two Kingdoms.
add a comment

An interesting article by John Frame (Toward a Theology of the State) that traces the Biblical development of government and then explores the relationship of religion and the state.

The picture to this point, then, is that as Israel developed from nuclear family to extended family to clan to nation,  family authority became more elaborate and complicated. In time, God introduced new institutions. The heads of extended families were no longer exclusively responsible for prophetic and priestly ministries as were the patriarchs. Rather, God relieved them by assigning many religious duties exclusively to the priests, Levites, and prophets.

As the above quote shows Frame sees government developing out of family authority. Which leads him to draw the following conclusion:

I conclude, therefore, that state authority is essentially family authority, developed and extended somewhat by the demands of number and geography. Thus I believe we may eliminate from our consideration the views of the Lutherans and Meredith Kline, as well as others, who see the state as a distinct institution ordained by God, with powers and responsibilities different from those of the family.

I had never thought about government in this way (developing out of family authority) but Frame’s case makes sense and appears to do a good job of tracing the Biblical development of government.

Following his tracing of the development of the “state”, he then examines the relation of religion and the state. Among his insights:

God calls all human beings to repent of sin and to put their trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior. Those who have believed in Jesus are to do all things to his glory (1 Cor 10:31; cf. Rom 14:23; 2 Cor 10:5; Col 3:17, 24). Anything the believer does,
therefore, must be done according to God’s standards and out of a motive of love for him. This principle certainly bears on any human associations, whether for business, education, charity, worship, art, recreation, study, government, or whatever. The believer must press the royal claims of Christ in all areas of life. And to do that is, of course, to work toward Christian standards and practices in all those associations, so that there will be Christian businesses, Christian schools, Christian media, Christian charities, Christian churches, Christian art, Christian recreations, Christian scholarship, and, of course, Christian government. Why should government be any different from any other project in which the believer is involved? If we promote Christian schools because Christ is to be Lord of all of life, doesn’t the same argument apply to government? And once Christian standards become the norm in such institutions, why should that institution not formally recognize that commitment by confessing Christ?

He makes additional points on education and religious expression among others. I found the article helpful and encourage you to read it in it’s entirety.

Advertisements