Should the Church or State be Supreme on Earth? (Part II)

In the previous post, I gave two examples from history, to illustrate the medieval controversy of whether the State should be subject to the church (the organization or “local church”) or the church subject to the State. 

It was a legitimate question in the middle ages when Romans 13:1 was interpreted as vouchsafing the heads of state the divine right of kings and the organizational church was strong enough to contend with the State for leadership. At the end of that post though, I suggested those in the middle ages were asking the wrong question, that the question is not whether the church should be subject to State or the Sate subject to the church, but whether the Church (the true body of believers) should be subject to King Jesus. 

In other words, rather than trying to put one organization under the other, which is the human impulse, we should recognize that both are under, and must answer to, King Jesus. The heads of States must answer to God (Romans 13:6), and Christians in government and in the church must answer directly to God as well. If both the State and church obey God, there will be no conflict between the two. The more the kingdom of God advances on the earth and the more people submit to God, the less conflict there will be between church and State, so long as those in the Church do in fact submit to King Jesus.

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Should the Church or State be Supreme on Earth? (Part I)

Should the church or the state be supreme on earth? This was a question in the middle ages; it is relevant question today, and it will need an answer in the future as the Kingdom continues to advance on the earth.

This was a real issue in the middle ages. Two events acutely illustrate how serious the question was in the middle ages. The first event was the murder of Thomas Becket on December 29, 1170 in Canterbury Cathedral. Becket had served as Lord Chancellor for King Henry II of England since 1155, and was so competent and loyal that in 1162 Henry decided to appoint Becket Archbishop of Canterbury, the head of the church in England.  

But Becket, who apparently understood what it meant to do his job sincerely, acted in loyalty to the church rather than Henry when Henry demanded he sign papers effectively acknowledging the supremacy of the crown over the church. Becket’s loyalty to the church led ultimately to Becket’s murder in Canterbury cathedral by some of Henry’s men in 1170. Whether Henry impliedly ordered or merely negligently enabled Becket’s murder will probably never be known, but Henry publicly repented, and the relationship between the church and state was temporarily restored.

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An Unexpected Air Adventure

So, today The Wife and I got back on a plane for the first time since the pandemic started. This was no small task given that we binge-watched twelve seasons of Mayday and Air Disasters during the pandemic and both swore we would never get on a plane again. But as I mentioned in a prior post, if the GSB team has any chance of making it to Italy in September, we have to get back on the horse and see if we can still ride.

So, we are in the security line, and I’m unloading my computer bag, my belt, my shoes and emptying my pockets in the plastic bins on the security belt and couldn’t remember whether I had to remove my watch. After all, it had been 15 months since I had done this. So, I held up my arm with my watch on it for one of the TSA’s finest to see, gesturing. In response, he says, “Did I say remove your watch? On second thought, is that a Rolex?” Mildly funny. I retort,  “Well I’ve been felt up so many times on the other side of the scanner, I just assumed you’d want me to take it off also.”

I then make my way through the porno scanner, and Seinfeld’s partner pulls me aside and gives me the pat down. And, he was good, real good. He caught me with some chapstick and a microfiber cloth to clean my glasses in my pockets. Not exactly a box-cutter or a shoe bomb, but we can all fly safer now knowing people with chapped lips and dirty glasses will not be able to get past our nation’s first line of terrorism defense.

Notwithstanding this poor start to our trip, I was still optimistic. While standing at the gate ready to board, the pilot walks up and the gate attendant says to the pilot, “Are you going to depart on time?” The pilot says, “I don’t know. Are you going to get them boarded on time.” This is not the sort of interaction and teamwork that inspires confidence in those of us who are getting ready to be jammed into a tin can and shoved through the air at 500 miles per hour, but I shrug it off. I just figure the TSA and the flight crew are still a little rusty as a result of the pandemic.

When I get on the plane, I see Eric Gordon is sitting behind me. If you don’t know, Eric Gordon plays for the NBA’s Houston Rockets. How good is he? Well, the Rockets paid him $17M this year. So, we chat a little because I am from Bloomington, Indiana and played basketball in college, and Eric played college ball in Bloomington at Indiana University. We chat about his restaurant in Bloomington, Bobby Knight, and Kelvin Sampson

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Movie Review: The Mauritanian

Some movies are intended for consumption; others are intended to consume. The Mauritanian is of the latter sort. It will consume your thoughts long after the movie ends. The issue is torture, and more specifically the use of enhanced interrogation at Guantanamo Bay in the years following 9/11.

I’ve written before about torture, and why it is an issue that requires a more nuanced ethical approach than simple absolutism offers. The Mauritanian takes up the issue of the real life story of Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a man picked up in North Africa in the months following 9/11 for his alleged association with Osama Bin Ladin. He was taken to Jordan and then to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he was held by the U.S. Government for 14 years (through both the Bush and Obama administrations) without charges ever being brought against him.

When I began watching this movie, I fully expected a strong helping of the typical Hollywood hubris combined with twisted facts to support a hard-left premise. What I got was something more honest and penetrating. The Bush and Obama administrations must have both thought Slahi guilty, but if they did, why not indict him and put him to trial? The suggestion offered by the movie is probably accurate: the evidence was merely circumstantial or inadmissible. And without spoiling the movie, I can say that the best evidence against Slahi was certainly and rightly inadmissible.

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