From a handbook published in 1929 for young American Covenanters, we find a helpful catechetical guide to navigating the issues that dissenting Christians face in the United States. The challenges and truths found in this guide from almost a century ago endure, and this testimony is worth repeating for readers in the 21st century.
10. How should a profession of life affect one’s life as a
It should serve to enlist every noble quality of the soul in
behalf of the state or nation in which the citizen resides and of all other
nations as well.
11. What one thing above all others determines the character
of a nation and paves the way for its well being on the one hand, or its
undoing on the other?
12. What should be its attitude toward God in order to
insure its well being?
It should sincerely believe and acknowledge three things:
(1) That it has its right to exist, and receive all its authority, from God;
(2) That God deals with nations, as with men, through His Son, Jesus Christ,
the King; (3) That the Bible, written under the guidance and inspiration of the
Holy Spirit, is the only book that can teach nations how to keep in the “paths
13. What part of a Constitution is the proper place to make
such a recognition?
The Preamble, or as it is sometimes called, the Enacting
14. Is there any specific example of a Preamble that would
never to the three requirements that have just been maintained?
Yes, the Preamble to Rhode Island’s Compact of Government
used to read: “We whose names are underwritten do hereby solemnly, in the
presence of Jehovah, incorporate ourselves into a body politic; and, as He
shall help, will submit our persons, lives, and estates unto our Lord Jesus
Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords, and to all those perfect and
absolute laws of His given to us in His Holy Word of truth to be judged and
15. Is there any marked difference between that Preamble and
this? – “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect
union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common
defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to
ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the
United States of America.”
16. In your judgment which of the two would be likely to
commend itself the more favorably to God and the Lord Jesus Christ?
17. What are some of the principal passages to prove that
the former of these two Preambles is right in its attitude toward God, and that
the latter is wrong?
(1) The Second Psalm throughout; especially the words, “Kiss
the Son” – which constitute an explicit command to the nations of the earth to
acknowledge Christ sincerely, devoutly, and devotedly.
(2) “The government shall be upon His shoulder.” “Of the
increase of His government and peace there shall be no end.” Isaiah ix. 6,7.
(3) “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” Psalm
(4) “Jesus Christ, … the blessed and only Potentate, the
King of kings and Lord of lords.” 1 Timothy vi. 15
(5) “The Lord is our Judge” – He is at the head of the
judicial department of civil affairs; “The Lord is our Lawgiver” – He is at the
head of the legislative department; “The Lord is our King” – He is at the head
of the executive department. Isaiah xxxiii. 22.
(6) When Satan offered the Lord Jesus dominion over the
nations of the earth on other terms than loyalty to the Father, Jesus said, “It
is written, ‘Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou
serve.” Matthew iv. 10.
(7) “Render … unto
God the things that are God’s.” Matthew xxii. 21.
(8) Then, as to the use of the Word of God, read Deuteronomy
xxii. 18-20 – a passage which contains instructions as binding on rulers today,
and as necessary to good government at the present time, as they were the
moment they were first uttered.
18. Does the Constitution of the United States, as it now
stands, measure up with such passages as the foregoing?
20. If the Bible teaches that nations ought to recognize
Christ as King, and our nation does not so recognize Him, in what situation
does such a fact place anyone who proposes to be loyal to Christ?
It places a man in the position where his first duty is to
tell the truth about the situation in a clear, kindly, courageous manner, and
where his second duty is to keep himself from becoming involved in the sin he
is pointing out, and concerning which he is bearing witness.
21. Is there any command or advice in the Bible which
defines the citizen’s duty explicitly, as touching the political situation in
the United States today?
Yes; in Proverbs iii. 6 the Holy Spirit provides expressly
for this, as well as for every other, situation in life, when He says, “In all
thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.”
22. What does every voter in the United States have to do?
He has to place the stamp of his approval on the
Constitution of the United States as it exists in fact at the time of his
voting, and accept it for the time being as his programme of government.
23. Can a man be true to Christ in Civil affairs if he
swears to support a Constitution that rules Christ out of civil affairs?
24. Does the Constitution claim to be “master”?
In its own language it says, “This Constitution … shall be
the supreme law of the land.”
25. Can Christ, then, be “supreme” in political life, when
the Constitution does not acknowledge His supremacy?
26. Which “master” will the consistent Christian choose to
27. Which “master” have you decided to serve and to give
your first allegiance to?
28. Does this mean that you are going to be disloyal to your
It means the very opposite of that, for if I am true to
Christ I will have to do what I can to bring my country to Christ; and in doing
that I will be doing the very best thing that can be done for my country’s
29. If some one, on learning what you believe, were to say
to you, “O, you believe, then, in the union of church and state,” what would
I would say, “That is the very thing I do not believe in;
what I believe is, that both the church and the state ought to have a religion,
and that the religion they ought to have is the religion of the Lord Jesus
Christ; and that the church being one person, and the state being another
person, each for itself can believe in Christ, and acknowledge Him
independently, in the way which its own nature requires.”