Church and State

The Seventh-day Adventist denomination from its very beginning has been a staunch advocate of church-state separation, especially in the United States, where there is clear constitutional provision for such separation, holding that the distinction between church and state is drawn in the New Testament: “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s” ( Matt. 22:21 ). On the one hand, civil government is ordained of God ( Rom. 13:1–4 ); therefore, whether the civil authority is wielded by a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, or a pagan, it finds its source in God; all citizens are under the protection of, and are subject to, the civil power. Civil government’s legitimate concern relates to temporal affairs; the Bible says that in this...

From the Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia. Published with permission from the Review and Herald Publishing Association.