Church and State

God has sovereignly ordained two institutions in this world: the church and the state. How should the two properly relate? This resource collection contains biblical teaching to aid Christians in navigating the relationship between civil government and the church of Jesus Christ.

  • Be Honorable Sojourners Amidst Gentiles Sermon by R.C. Sproul

    1 Peter 2:11-17

    Christians live in lands and nations around the world, but we are first and foremost citizens of heaven. In this sermon from his series in the book of 1 Peter, Dr. R.C. Sproul establishes how believers are called to demonstrate their heavenly citizenship: by living honorably toward our neighbors and toward the authorities that God has placed over us. View Resource

  • Chapter 23, Sec. 1-4 Video Message by John Gerstner

    The Westminster Confession of Faith has, for hundreds of years, served as the doctrinal foundation of the Reformed churches. In this message, Dr. John Gerstner examines the teaching of the Westminster Confession on civil authorities. View Resource

  • Church and State Teaching Series with R.C. Sproul

    Since the beginning of the Christian church, believers have struggled to understand the proper relationship between the church and the state. Some have submitted to the state in all things. Others have refused to recognize any governmental authority. In this series, Dr. R.C. Sproul explores the biblical teaching regarding the church’s relationship to the state. He explains how we are to relate to the God-ordained authority of the government. He addresses modern church-state relations, and he gives advice for those under godly and ungodly rulers. View Resource

  • The Church and the Governing Authorities Audio Message by Derek Thomas

    As image bearers of God, we are instructed to pray for those in authority over us and to submit to them (Rom. 13:1–7; 1 Tim. 2:1–2). In this session, Dr. Derek Thomas considers and applies these responsibilities during periods of calm and crisis. View Resource

  • Living under Authority Article by R.C. Sproul

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2017

    As I read the scriptures, particularly the New Testament, there is a theme that recurs again and again regarding the Christian’s willingness to be in submission to various types of authority. Given the rebellious spirit of our age, that frightens me. It’s all too easy for us to get caught up in an attitude that will bring us into open defiance of the authority of God. Let’s turn our attention to 1 Peter 2:11–16: Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among … View Resource

  • May Christians vote for a presidential candidate who denies the Trinity? Question and Answer

    Proverbs 14:34

    SPROUL: If I required real belief in the triune God for the president of a secular state, I really would be disenfranchised. I wouldn’t be able to vote, period. It’s very rare to have an authentic Christian up for election in this secular state. There have been times in the past where I’ve seen believing Christians run against pagans for the highest office in the land, but the pagan’s policies have been more in keeping with biblical policies of government than the Christian’s. So, I look at whether the policies of the candidate are essentially compatible with the fundamental precepts … View Resource

  • Obeying God or Man? Sermon by R.C. Sproul

    Acts 4:13-22

    Is it ever right to disobey those in authority over us? In this sermon from his series in the book of Acts, Dr. R.C. Sproul considers what it means to be submissive to authorities. View Resource

  • Render to Caesar Sermon by R.C. Sproul

    Matthew 22:15-22

    Is it appropriate for Christians to pay taxes to ungodly, exploitative rulers? In this sermon from his series in the gospel of Matthew, Dr. R.C. Sproul explains the responsibilities given to believers in their relationship to the state and in their relationship to God. View Resource

  • Statism Article by R.C. Sproul

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2008

    A decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered….” In Luke 2, the well-known passage introducing the nativity story, the title accorded to the Roman emperor is Caesar Augustus. Had this census been mandated earlier under the monarchy of Julius Caesar, the Scripture would read: “A decree went out from Julius Caesar….” Had Octavian followed the model of Julius, he would have called himself Octavianus Caesar, and then the text would read: “A decree went out from Octavianus Caesar….” But we note Octavius’ explicit change of his personal name to the title Caesar Augustus. This … View Resource

  • Statism Video Message by W. Robert Godfrey

    The twentieth century witnessed the rise of a particularly despotic form of statism in countries from China to Russia to Germany. What dangers do we face when the state sets itself up as a god? In this session, Dr. W. Robert Godfrey discusses the dangers of statism and the way Christians should respond when they find themselves in a nation where statism has gained ascendancy. View Resource

  • Submit to Government (Part 1) Sermon by R.C. Sproul

    Romans 13:1-3

    Every authority in this world is established not by referendum, nor by democratic vote, but by the appointment of the Ruler of heaven and earth. In this sermon from his series in the book of Romans, Dr. R.C. Sproul reminds us that we are commanded to submit to the authorities God has placed over us. View Resource

  • Submit to Government (Part 2) Sermon by R.C. Sproul

    Romans 13:4

    If anyone had reason to object to Paul’s instruction to submit to rulers, it was the Christians living amid the corruption in Rome. Yet, they listened to their Apostle. In this sermon from his series in the book of Romans, Dr. R.C. Sproul encourages us to submit in a like manner. View Resource

  • What Is the Relationship of Church & State? Video Message by R.C. Sproul

    What happens when the state fails to be the state? That is—what happens when the state refuses to protect its citizens? Does the church have the right to speak out? More importantly, is the church obligated to speak out? View Resource

  • What is the role of civil authorities in the Christian life? Question and Answer

    Romans 13:1-7

    The civil magistrate is under the sovereignty of God and is a minister of God. I can remember speaking at the inaugural prayer breakfast for a governor several years ago in the state of Florida where I said: “Today’s your ordination day. God has ordained the church. He’s also ordained the state, and all who are functioning in that role are under the authority of Christ, who is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” People may declare the separation of church and state, but often they mean by that the separation of the state and God. But, remember … View Resource