The question of the relationship between the Church and the State remains a perennial problem for the Christian. Four hundred years ago at the time of the Reformation the principle in England was that of one State, one Church, so that every Englishman was regarded as a member both of the State and of the Church. One thing that history has taught us is that everybody cannot be forced into the same ecclesiastical mould and that between fellow-Christians there must be room for conscientious differences of judgment and practice where forms of worship are concerned. Failure to recognize this on the part of the authorities in England led to the hazardous sailing of the Pilgrim Fathers for the New World in the search of that freedom. Subsequently, as toleration gained ground, the Free Churches came into being—free, that is, or independent of official connection with the State-while the Church of England continues to this day to maintain its historic bonds with this Protestant realm of England.

The Rev. Edward Rogers, a Methodist minister, writing in the January issue of The London Quarterly and Holborn Review on the subject of “Christians and the Modern State,” speaks of industrialization, urbanization, centralization and secularization as the four distinctive features of the modern State, and asserts that the Christian, “simply because he is a Christian, confronts the State in two inseparably related ways,” as one who, “whatever the social or political order, … must seek to live by faith and love. The political order,” he says, “may be corrupt or cruel, the economic order unjust and the moral code of society debased. Nevertheless, he will be generous and just, truthful and ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.