Chase Smith, pastor Fellowship Baptist Church, Shelbyville
SHELBYVILLE, IL. —
Is the first amendment of the constitution biblical?
Our nation’s biggest holiday is coming up, Independence Day, July 4th. We celebrate that many years ago, our ancestors had the gumption to stand up for freedom and declare this great country to be free. Around town people will be letting their flags fly high in their yards, using napkins of red, white, and blue, and using phrases like “God Bless America!” One of the reasons that our founding fathers declared independence is because they wanted to worship God how they wanted to, and not have a government tell them how to do it. They even wrote a law that states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
Is this concept biblical? Absolutely! In Romans 13, Paul describes the reason for government and its duties. Governments are supposed to be a blessing to the people from God to bring order to society. Without order, there would be anarchy, which is no friend of religious liberty. Paul explains further that governments carry out the wrath of God on evildoers, and does so for the peoples own well-being.
The best thing that a government can do for its people is let them choose who or what they worship. Our government does a good job at this, and there are many other places in which you can live in the world that they will tell you what to believe or you will be punished for having a certain faith. As a pastor, I want my congregation to have genuine faith, not one that is fake or forced, after all, a forced faith is no faith at all. Our country started off by making it law that there will be no forced religious practices, and for that I am grateful.
Chase Smith is the pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church in Shelbyville. For more information from Chase or the church call 774-3636 or visit www.fellowshipinshelbyville.com.