Senior Professionals Seminar 4/16

The Senior Professionals seminar for next week Tuesday, April 16 (2:00 - 4:00 p.m. in SCC 103), features early FPU political science faculty member, John Redekop, on "How Should a Faithful Church Relate to the State?"  Faculty and staff are invited to attend as guests of the Senior Professionals group.

The question that Redekop will address has confronted the Christian Church since New Testament times, and it has never been easily answered. Christ’s admonition in Matthew 22:21 that his followers should “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s” seemed to provide a clear answer, but it has not always been easy to determine what is Caesar’s and what is God’s. Paul in Romans 13:1 potentially provided a clearer answer when he said “Everyone must submit themselves to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established,” but what about when the authorities required something which contravened the teachings of Christ? This dilemma seemed to be resolved when Constantine made Christianity the state religion, because then the Church provided guidance to the State, and the State helped carry out the mission of the Church. But then along came the “Anabaptist Reformation” which challenged this relationship, and called for a separation of the Church from the State. But how separate were they to be, and what kind of relationship should biblically exist between them? 

Anabaptist theologians and scholars have disagreed over the answer to this question. Among them have been the late John Howard Yoder, a Mennonite theologian who long taught at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminaries and the University of Notre Dame, and John H. Redekop, a Mennonite political scientist who initially taught at Pacific College and then at Wilfrid Laurier University and Trinity Western University. Yoder most notably set forth his answer in The Politics of Jesus, ranked by Christianity Today as the fifth most important Christian book of the 20th century, and Redekop in his favorably-reviewed Politics Under God.

Redekop will introduce us to Yoder’s answer to the question “How Should a Faithful Church Relate to the State?”, and then analyze whether that is the right answer or not. He will illustrate his analysis with examples of the nature of Mennonite political participation in the American, Canadian, Paraguayan, and Congolese political systems. You will not only enjoy a dynamic presentation, but benefit from a thought-provoking one as well.