“The first level of the Church’s faithfulness and in a sense, a test of the validity of everything else she will say later, will be her own obedience to the standards of discipleship.” (Yoder, The Christian Witness to the State, 16)
2. The witness of the Church must be consistent with her own behavior.
3. The Church should speak only when she has something to say. (Yoder, 21)
These three principles work hand in hand. On any given topic, unless a Church is exhibiting a certain type of behavior, it has no true conviction, and if it has neither behavior nor conviction, it has nothing to say.
I mentioned my Church and State paper the other day. The outline is a couple posts down. Here is the introduction. I’ll post some excerpts in the coming days.
The Church’s relationship to the State has been, and currently is, a matter of deep contention. Standing apart from, being one with, and living in co-existence with, (to greater and lesser degrees) are three of the major ways Christians have chosen to interact with the State. In contrast, I will offer three ways in which the Church can witness to the State: Directly, Indirectly, and as a separatist alternative. In this paper, we will examine both contemporary and historical ways the Church has chosen to relate to the State. I would like to give us a path to follow, as we consider how we in this country might properly exercise our citizenship in this nation and the Kingdom to come.
The Church is at its best when it serves as a witness to the State, living and being a missional community that reflects the
In the contemporary setting, we error when we go too far in one of two directions, relating too closely to the state, baptizing most or all that it does, or standing too far from it, in no way influencing it for the better.