A lesson we need to relearn

George W. Truett, a long-time pastor and leader in the Southern Baptist Convention, was an ardent supporter of war in 1917. He used his pulpit to call for financial support and to urge prayer for America as she sought to “make the world safe for democracy” during World War I. He had fallen prey to the siren song of “patriotism.” He had allowed the line between Christ’s Church and the state to be so blurred that, perhaps, he no longer noticed the distinction.

But it was an error he recognized after accepting an invitation from then United States President Woodrow Wilson to go to Europe to preach to the troops. Apparently, God used the experience to show Truett the clear distinction between His Church and the state that had been so blurred before.

Upon his return he described the Church — not the United States — as a “pure democracy” and issued stern warnings about what might happen to that purity should the Church ever get too cozy with the state.

It is a lesson all Christians need to relearn because history shows we did not always hold the government, the military, and war in such high esteem.

May God once again make clear the distinction between His Church and the state — just as He did for George Truett.

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