“The conflict of Christianity with Rome was political from the Roman perspective, although religious from the Christian perspective. The Christians were never asked to worship the Romans gods; they were merely asked to recognize the religious supremacy of the state. As Francis Legge observed, ‘The officials of the Roman empire in time of persecution sought to force Christians to sacrifice, not to any heathen gods but to the genius of the Emperor and the fortune of the city of Rome; and at all times the Christian’s refusal was looked upon, not as religious, but as a political offense. …. Whatever rivalry the Christian Church had to face in its infancy, it had none to fear from the deities of Olympus.’ The issue, then, was this; should the emperors law, state law, govern both the state and the church or were both state and church, emperor and bishop alike under God’s law? Who represented true ultimate order? God or Rome, eternity or time? The Roman answer was Rome and time, hence Christianity constituted a treasonable faith and hence a menace to political order. The Roman answer to the problem of man was political and not religious. This meant, first, that man’s basic problem was not sin but political order. This Rome sought to supply religiously and earnestly. Second, Rome answered the problem of the One and the Many in terms of Oneness, the unity of all things in terms of the state, Rome. Hence, over-organization, simplification, and centralization increasingly characterized Rome. “
R. J. Rushdoony
The One and The Many — pg. 94
1.) If the State was asking for the Christians to have recognized its religious supremacy then the problem was religious even if the State would have defined the problem as “political.”
2.) This demonstrates that political problems cannot be cordoned off from religio-theological foundations. In point of fact, every political problem, before it is a political problem, is a religio-theological problem.
3.) Sacrifice to the genius of the Emperor and to the fortune of the city of Rome was a supremely religious act.
4.) Interesting that the current state also asks its citizens to sacrifice to the genius of the Political system. The only difference is that the sacrifice the current citizenry is asked to make is to offer up their children to the State via their attendance to state Churches (sometimes euphemistically referred to as “Public Schools.”)
5.) When fallen man makes the polis that which represent ultimate order the consequence is then that any concept of God or heaven is cast in the image of the polis that is understood to represent the ultimate order. To the contrary, when the ultimate order is seen as God and Eternity then the consequence is that the polis and the citizenry begin to incarnate, in various ways, God and eternity into Time and space.
The result of this is Augustine’s City of God vs. City of Man. The City of God, on earth, is built up as men bow to the Lordship of Jesus Christ so that His will is increasingly done on earth as it is in heaven. To the contrary, the city of man is built up as men bow to themselves, collectively considered, and so as man is taken as the ultimate man incarnates the ugliness of “hath God really said.”
6.) Christianity, when it is most vital, should always be considered a threat to pagan states and a menace to their political (and social) order since Christianity screams that such political and social orders are unreal and illusory and idolatrous to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
6.) Because Rome’s view that the problem of man was political and not religious therefore we know that Rome had made politics their religion. Man without God will always turn religion into politics and politics into religion. Since, for fallen man, above them is only sky, therefore fallen men will always make a Idol out of the political process.
7.) Those who deny that the political order can be, should be, or is divinized will always be considered threats to the State. If the conviction is that “in the state we live and move and have our being” all those who deny that precept must be either marginalized or eliminated.
8.) When Rushdoony speaks of “unity of all things in terms of the state” what he is saying is that the state becomes the only point of integration of man. All things must find their meaning in terms of the state. The state becomes the background against which, “man as chameleon” must and does find his identity.
That we are at that point today is testified to by the necessity of the State to provide our health care. In that pursuit there is the thrust of “unity of all things — even medicine — in terms of the state.
9.) If you can’t see our current situation in this country summarized in Rushdoony’s statement, “Hence, over-organization, simplification, and centralization increasingly characterized Rome,” you don’t have a pulse and you might consider that you are a Zombie.
10.) Theonomy or autonomy. The God of the Bible or Man as God. One never escapes either law or theocracy. It is never a question of “whether or not law,” or “whether or not Theocracy,” it is only a question of whose law and whose Theocracy. You can always tell which God is supreme by observing which law is enacted.