8. Family, church, and state are parallel institutions, each with real but limited authority in its ordained sphere. As the keeper of the keys of Christ’s kingdom, the church is the central and defining institution of history. As the primary social group, the family is the foundational institution of society. (Matt. 16:19; 18:18; Acts 4:19; 5:29; 25:11; Heb. 13:17; 1 Pet. 2:13ff.; Eph. 1:22-23; 1 Tim. 3:15)
Matt. 16:19 – “And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Matt. 18:18 – “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Yes. In Christ, the church can do this. When the church leave Christ, and call people unsaved/ disobedient to the gospel for reasons that Christ did not endorse, it no longer use the keys.
Acts 4:19 – But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge.
Acts 5:29 – But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.“
Yes. The same Peter who told us to submit to authorities (1 Pet. 2:13), tell us we ought to rather obey God. The authorities did not want Peter to commit any direct sin. They wanted Peter to shut up about the gospel, to refrain from doing something good. When elders, or a husband, tell you not to do a certain type of good work, does this apply too? I believe it does. After all, the same word for submit is used for submission to governing authorities, church leaders, and husbands.
Acts 25:11 -“For if I am an offender, or have committed anything deserving of death, I do not object to dying; but if there is nothing in these things of which these men accuse me, no one can deliver me to them. I appeal to Caesar.”
This is an example, not doctrine. But this same Paul preached submission to government. Because of that, I get the impression that submitting meant yielding to the good things the government could give (legal protection), while opposing the bad (unjust arrest). If this is the truth, then surely it counts for church and home submission too?
Heb. 13:17 – Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.
I Pet. 2:13 – Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme,
Yes. Heb. 13:17 refers to church authority, and 1 Pet. 2:13 to state authority within their contexts.
Eph. 1:22-23 – And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
Christ is the head of the church, but I don’t see how this is relevant to the tenet. By the way, this verse use “head” (kephale in Greek) in a figurative way that may refer to Him being the source – “Him who fills all in all.” (See tenet 2, discussion under 1 Cor. 11:3)
I Tim. 3:15 – I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
True, but how is it relevant to the tenet?
8a) Family, church, and state are parallel institutions,
This is not supported by a text. Moreover, this was not always so. For example, church and state, in some societies, was the same institution. For children whose “family” was a church orphanage, the boundaries between church and family were hardly there. In many societies, the despot’s will overrode that of the family. The spheres have never been separate.
b) each with real but limited authority in its ordained sphere.
Family has limited authority in its sphere? This tenet gave no evidence for family authority. Eph. 6:4 (discussed in tenet 5e) perhaps does, for fathers over children. Some other verses certainly do, for parents – both mother and father – over children.
Church has limited authority in its sphere? Yes, that is defended.
State has limited authority in its sphere? Yes.
c) As the keeper of the keys of Christ’s kingdom,
d) the church is the central and defining institution of history.
I see no scriptural support for this. Is God – Christ himself – not central to history, instead of his church?
e)As the primary social group, the family is the foundational institution of society.
This is not scripturally supported, but I’ll concede it for rational reasons.
Other ways Christians understand this:
As a rule, Christians find Christ, not the church, central.
Where patriarchal spheres of authority limits people to roles, many believe spheres of authority exist to give responsibilities to authoritarians, not to limit those under their authority. If upholding the law, for example, is in the state sphere of authority, it means the state have a responsibility in that regard. It does not mean you should refrain from wearing a gun, and say crime protection is in someone else’s sphere.
Summing it up
How reliable is this tenet? I will use a color code:
The color code:
This is adequately Biblically defended