Christendom Was A Renewal Of The Old Testament Theocracy

In terms of the relationship between Church and State the policies so far mentioned and the reactions to them may be classified between two extremes. There was the ‘totalitarian’ view set forth by Eusebius, caricatured by Athanasius picture of Constantius shouting ‘Let my will be the canon’. The Emperor had brought with him into Christianity a sacral position which made him a little less than divine. On the Christian side, many parts of the ante-Nicene writings and of the New Testament assured men of the divine origin of the state. The Christian emperor could soon be assimilated to the godly prince of the Old Testament.

N. Q. King The Emperor Theodosius and the Establishment of Christianity (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1960), 19–20.


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  1. This implies that the ‘quest for Christendom’ is not so much about forming large ecclesiastical organizations like State Churches, denominations, NAPARC, etc., but about ecclesiastical organizations, or any size, that wish to exercise authority beyond proclaiming the Word of God and Fencing the Table. At least that is what I am hearing in the quote above. Or is there more to it?

    • Randall,

      The point King was making is that the re-unification of church and state, the creation of “Christendom,” (i.e., the church-state complex that last from Theodosius to roughly the late 18th century) was a renewal of the Old Testament theocracy. It has nothing to do with the quantity of the church and everything to do with the quality of the church, i.e., what sort of thing the church became.

      From the crucifixion of our Lord, on Golgotha, outside the city gate (Heb 13:12) until the legalization of Christianity (in stages) c. AD 311, there was no union between church and state and no state-enforcement of Christian orthodoxy.

      The creation of Christendom was, King is arguing, was a renewal of the Old Testament types and shadows. It was a parallel development to the renewal of the OT priesthood. It was a backward movement in the history of redemption, from the New Covenant realities to the OT types and shadows.

  2. What is it called when the theonomy goes in reverse-the church passes the will of the State as Christian doctrine? I see this much more commonly than I see the doctrine of Bahnsen et al nowadays.

    • It might be called Erastianism.

      There are plenty of theonomists out there. As things get worse, more will turn to Theonomy. It’s part of the QIRC.

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