“If professing Christians are unfaithful to the authority of their Lord in their capacity as citizens of the State, they cannot expect to be blessed by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost in their capacity as members of the Church. The kingdom of Christ is one, and cannot be divided in life or death. If the Church languishes, the State cannot be in health; and if the State rebels against its Lord and King, the Church cannot enjoy His favor. If the Holy Ghost is withdrawn from the Church, he is not present in the State; and if He, the ‘Lord, the Giver of life,’ be absent, then all order is impossible, and the elements of society lapse backward to primeval night and chaos.”
A.A. Hodge, Evangelical Theology
First, to all those Radical Two Kingdomists (RtKt) who want to introduce a dualistic wall between Church and State, this quote of Hodge is not your friend. According to RtKt the State does not have Jesus as its Lord because the State is supposed to insure that the culture is pluralistic. A pluralistic culture requires a pluralities of Lords. Hodge’s quote doesn’t support that ‘thinking.’ According to RtKt it is not possible for the State to be Christian since neither families, or schools, or cultures, or anything but individuals can be ‘Christian.’ Hodge’s quote doesn’t support that ‘thinking.’ According to RtKt Church and State are divided and only the Church can be presently spoken as being Christ’s Kingdom. Hodge’s quote doesn’t support that ‘thinking.’
Second, note that Hodge draws a direct correlation between the health of the Church and the health of the State. As goes the Church so goes the State (and we would add… ‘so goes all other aspects of the Culture). The Church is to a culture what a Well is to a water supply. If the Well is touched with disease the whole water system and everything it nourishes languishes. The Church in the West has long been diseased and so the West is dying in every cultural nook and cranny. Make clean the water supply and all else will grow.
Third, note in the italicized part that Hodge runs this in reverse as well. Not only is it the case that if the core is diseased then all that the core feeds will suffer as well, but it is also the case that if all the extremities rot the core will go bad as well. It is not only the case that a diseased Church leads to a diseased State but it is also the case that a diseased State leads to a diseased Church. Death can happen from the inside and work its way out or death can come from the outside and works its way in.
This brings us to why I believe that RtKt is as dangerous to the Church as is the Federal Vision. It is my conviction that following Federal Vision with its toying of the Gospel is and will lead to rot from the inside out. Similarly, it is my conviction that following Westminster West RtKt theolog with its toying with Christ’s Lordship is and will lead to rot from the outside in. Regardless of which direction the rot moves the end result is that, “He, the ‘Lord, the Giver of life,’ is absent,” resulting further then in “all order being impossible, with the elements of society lapsing backward to primeval night and chaos.”
Fourth, no culture can exist without both some kind of Church and State acting harmoniously together. Where there is no harmony between Church and State then parallel institutions will be constructed by the dominant of the two institution to do an end around the institution that is causing grief. In our case the end run around the Christian Church was for the State to build government schools to function as the defacto State Church that would catechize future generations into the religion of the State. Many years later of course the Christian Church augments for the Humanist Church and fills in where the Humanist Church leaves any gaps.
Fifth, note that Hodge in the first sentence clearly articulates that being citizens is a ‘religious activity.’ Citizens must be faithful to their Lord in the putative common realm because the putatively common realm actually is Christ’s realm. Abraham Kuyper was correct when he said, “There is no area of life that the Lord Jesus Christ does not lay his hand on and say, ‘Mine!’.” All activity is religious activity and to insist, as the RtKt insists that Christ does not speak a revelatory and informing Word to all those areas that belong to Him is a recipe for all areas of society to “lapse backward to primeval night and chaos.”
God grant the Church more men with this kind of insight of A. A. Hodge.