Herman Hoeksema On The Twofold Kingdom

Hoeksema insisted that the Christian church, “as the manifestation of Christ’s body on earth, is universal in character; hence the church as an institution could not raise the American flag nor sing the national hymns.” The flag could be flown in the church edifice during choir concerts, Christian school graduation exercises, and similar events, but not during worship services. Members should also raise the flag at home, on the streets, and on all public and Christian school buildings. Hoeksema insisted that his congregants, as Christian citizens, “are duty bound to be loyal to their country” and to answer the call when needed for military service. Finally, he declared, “anyone who is pro-German in our time has no right to the name of Calvinist and is a rebel and traitor to his government.”

…In the third and final part of his statement, Hoeksema asserted his beliefs about the spiritual nature of the church. “In the church of Jesus Christ, we raise no flag, and sing no national anthems…. The church and state are separate, must be separate, and if you do not keep them separate, it is you who stab at the heart of all true liberty. Then you will either come to the domination of church over state, as is the ideal of Roman Catholicism, or to the subjugation of the church to the state, as was the condition in Old England, at the time of our Pilgrim Fathers.”

Robert P. Swierenga, “Herman Hoeksema and the ‘Flag in Church’ Controversy” in Origins, 25 (No. 2, 2007): 28—35. (HT: OldSchoolPresby)

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