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Sermon #3339

Church and The State (3)

A Sermon on Romans 13:1-7


Romans 13:1-7 ESV KJV
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to …

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Sermon Description

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones continues his historical review of the relationship between church and state. Building on his previous sermon, he presses the listener to consider church history in this sermon on Romans 13:1–7 titled “Church and the State (3).” It is important, he argues, because there is no neutral ground. It is all relevant to the life of Christ’s followers and how they live out those lives. Claiming disinterest and avoidance is a great sin. As Dr. Lloyd-Jones expounds on the lives of the Puritans and Separatists (both groups had deep-rooted interest in this topic), he reminds that these two were completely different in their approach towards church and state. Though the Puritans went to America to find relief from religious tyranny, they themselves became the religious and ecclesial tyrants who were intolerant. At the same time the Separatists argued for complete freedom between church and state, wanting the religious freedom to worship as they chose. As these groups are considered, Dr. Lloyd-Jones cautions refraining from severe judgment because they were outworking new ideas and beliefs in a difficult political atmosphere. Listen to his compelling review on church history and be encouraged to think anew on one’s own responsibilities regarding religious freedom.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The sermon begins by providing context from Romans 13:1-7 regarding the relationship between the church and the state.
  2. The sermon outlines two main views on the relationship between the church and state: the church controls the state (Catholic view) or the state controls the church (Erastian view). The sermon sides with the view that the church and state are separate.
  3. The sermon discusses the Pilgrim Fathers, who escaped religious persecution in England but then became religious tyrants themselves in America. They were “semi-separatists” who believed the state should enforce church discipline.
  4. The sermon then discusses Roger Williams, who founded Rhode Island and advocated for complete separation of church and state as well as religious freedom and tolerance.
  5. The sermon discusses the Levelers, religious radicals who fought for political and religious freedom during the English Civil War. They helped pioneer ideas of democracy and freedom that we now enjoy.
  6. The sermon argues that modern humanists who advocate for freedom and democracy owe a debt to these 17th century religious dissenters, even though humanists are anti-religious.
  7. The sermon outlines the current relationship between church and state in various countries:
  8. The Catholic Church aims to influence states but lacks the power it once had.
  9. The U.S. has complete separation of church and state.
  10. Scotland has a “modified establishment” where church and state are separate but the state still appoints a “Lord High Commissioner” to the General Assembly.
  11. Ireland and Wales have disestablished churches. England still has an established church.
  12. Anglo-Catholics in the Church of England support disestablishment but evangelicals oppose it due to fear of Anglo-Catholic control.
  13. The sermon concludes by saying these historical issues show how Christians can be misled by tradition rather than Scripture. The sermon will next evaluate these issues in light of the Bible.

The Book of Romans

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.