Project Wittenberg

A Brief Statement of the
Doctrinal Position of the Missouri Synod

Of Church and State

Commission on Theology and Church Relations
of the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod

(St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, N.D.)

[Adopted 1932]

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Of Church and State

34. Although both Church and State are ordinances of God, yet they must not be commingled. Church and State have entirely different aims. By the Church, God would save men, for which reason the Church is called the "mother" of believers Gal. 4:26. By the State, God would maintain external order among men, "that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty," 1 Tim. 2:2. It follows that the means which the Church and State employ to gain their ends are entirely different. The Church may not employ any other means than the preaching of the Word of God, John 18:11, 36; 2 Cor. 10:4. The State, on the other hand, makes laws bearing on civil matters and is empowered to employ for their execution also the sword and other corporal punishments, Rom. 13:4.

Accordingly we condemn the policy of those who would have the power of the State employed "in the interest of the Church" and who thus turn the Church into a secular dominion; as also of those who, aiming to govern the State by the Word of God, seek to turn the State into a Church.


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Rev. Robert E. Smith
Walther Library
Concordia Theological Seminary.

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