Much of the misunderstanding in the area of “the separation of Church and State” hinges on the interpretation of the First Amendment. The religion clause of the First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
Traditionally, it has always been understood that this meant that in America there would be no State Church, like the one they had in [18th century] England. Historically, it has been understood that there is a separation of the function of the Church from the function of the State.
But that does not mean there is to be a separation of God or Christianity from the State…
Kennedy, D.J. and Newcombe, J. (2001). What if Jesus Had Never Been Born? [ebook]. Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville. Location 1334
When the Bible encourages generosity to the needy, it is always talking about voluntary giving within the Church—not forced “contributions” through taxation.
One Sunday when I preached on how the Bible does not teach socialism, a woman said to me afterward, “I completely disagree with you.”
—“Wonderful! What do you disagree with?”
She said, “I believe we are our brother’s keeper.”
I said, “I completely agree with you. I believe we are, too. The difference with you and me is I believe we are our brother’s keeper, and you believe that the government is our brother’s keeper.”
Her mouth fell open, and she walked out without saying another word. That concept is the difference between Christianity and socialism.
Kennedy, D.J. and Newcombe, J. (2001). What if Jesus Had Never Been Born? [ebook]. Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville. Location 2084
In 325, in addition to officially recognizing the Trinity as taught in the Scriptures, the Council of Nicaea made a ruling important in the history of hospitals. They decreed that hospitals were to be duly established wherever the Church was established.
I. Donald Snook Jr. writes: “Many of the great hospitals can be traced to the period directly following the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D., when the bishops of the church were instructed to go out into every cathedral city in Christendom and start a hospital…”
The oldest hospital in the New World still in existence today is the Jesus of Nazareth Hospital in Mexico City, established by [Governor Hernán] Cortez in 1524. Indeed, the Christian impact on health, especially in terms of caring for the sick, has been enormous.
Kennedy, D.J. and Newcombe, J. (2001). What if Jesus Had Never Been Born? [ebook]. Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville. Locations 2506,2522.
Following the example of Jesus Christ, the Great Physician, Christians have fueled some of the greatest humanitarian advances in medicine. Every once in a while, a skeptic will admit the positive effect of Christian faith in terms of helping people.
W. O. Saunders says this in American Magazine:
“Your agnostic is tremendously impressed by the power of your faith. He has seen drunkards and libertines and moral degenerates transfigured by it. He has seen the sick, the aged, the friendless comforted and sustained by it. And he is impressed by your wonderful charities your asylums, your hospitals, your nurseries, your schools; he must shamefacedly admit that agnostics, as such, have built few hospitals and few homes for the orphans.”
Kennedy, D.J. and Newcombe, J. (2001). What if Jesus Had Never Been Born? [ebook]. Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville. Location 2696
The great cathedrals of Europe are among the finest architectural masterpieces known, and their inspiration comes from Jesus. It was a servant of Christ, [composer Johann Sebastian] Bach (a man who dedicated every note he wrote to the glory of Jesus Christ), who changed Western music for all time.
Had Jesus never been born, art would depict only the finite. The attempt to capture the Infinite on canvas or in stone would never have been introduced. In short, had Jesus never come, the world would be poorer, even in the realms of art and music.
Kennedy, D.J. and Newcombe, J. (2001). What if Jesus Had Never Been Born? [ebook]. Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville. Location 2959.
In the nineteenth century, Charles Bradlaugh, a prominent atheist, challenged a Christian man to a debate on the validity of the claims of Christianity. The Christian, Hugh Price Hughes, was an active soul-winner working among the poor in the slums of London.
Hughes told Bradlaugh he would agree to the debate on one condition. Hughes said, “I propose to you that we each bring some concrete evidences of the validity of our beliefs in the form of men and women who have been redeemed from the lives of sin and shame by the influence of our teaching. I will bring 100 such men and women, and I challenge you to do the same.”
Hughes then said that if Bradlaugh couldn’t bring 100, then he could bring 50; if he couldn’t bring 50, then he could bring 20. He finally whittled the number down to one. All Bradlaugh had to do was to find one person whose life was improved by atheism, and Hughes—who would bring 100 people improved by Christ—would agree to debate him. Bradlaugh withdrew!
Kennedy, D.J. and Newcombe, J. (2001). What if Jesus Had Never Been Born? [ebook]. Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville. Location 3228.
The frightening thing about a humanist and atheistic state is that there is nothing beyond man to which one can make an appeal. The founders of this country said that men have been created equal and have been endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. Therefore, our rights are not given to us by the State, which can extend or withhold them as it pleases, but rather they have been inalienably given to us by God.
We have an appeal beyond man, beyond the State, to God Himself, whereas in the humanist state there is nothing but man. The humanist state inevitably leads to tyranny and despotism.
Kennedy, D.J. and Newcombe, J. (2001). What if Jesus Had Never Been Born? [ebook]. Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville. Location 3840.