What place does our faith have in the “public square” today?
When Jesus began his ministry Jews expected that the Kingdom of God He announced would reinstate King David's political state. They missed the all encompassing and timeless plan revealed in the spiritual aspect of Christ's teachings. Yet, today many are in danger of repeating the Jew's misunderstanding by mistaking the Kingdom of God for the Kingdom of America.
Losing this distinction has led many to see the necessity of a “Christian nation.” Well-intentioned men have thought they could build the Church and subsequently the Kingdom. However, Christ said He'd build his church (Mt. 16:18) and we're to preach His Kingdom (Mt. 24:14). God's Kingdom cannot be confined to man made boundaries. The prideful thinking that man can build God's Kingdom is inherently inward looking, expecting prosperity while in effect hamstringing the call to go and proclaim the gospel to all people. Artist Derek Webb reminds us that our “first allegiance is not to a flag, a country, or a man...it's to a King and a Kingdom.”
The union of Church & State endangers true confessions of faith. When the “public square” is commandeered by the State to push conversion, the result will be Cultural Christians merely conforming to expectations. Worse, True Believers suffer unnecessarily when The State falls into the hands of false teachers (2 Pet. 2:1). Complete separation is impossible since beliefs should influence the way people act (vote) and it's impossible for any government to build a just society without tapping into The Moral Law woven into every being and revealed in God's word. Ideally where freedom of speech exists every faith (or lack thereof) will be protected with equal access to the “public square,” knowing that the Truth of the Christ will prevail over all others.
Christ commanded his disciples to go and proclaim His Kingdom to all people, even where free speech doesn’t exist. Christ will build His Church and advance His Kingdom as His Gospel is proclaimed in and from the “public square,” even if it runs red with a martyr's blood.