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Government and the ChurchIf I am understanding your question correctly, you are asking how the protestant churches have historically interacted with governments and how that differs from how Roman Catholicism has done so.

This is a somewhat complicated question, because more times than not, the governments have at least been influenced by religion if not controlled by it. For example, Iran is utterly conrolled by the Islamic religion. There is no freedom of faith there. Those who want to covert to Christianity are killed.Islam forms the basis for all areas of government, from the courts to the army.

Catholicism began to really gain strength when the leader of the Roman Empire, a man named Constantine, converted to Christianity in the early 300's. Up until the 1400's, the catholic church was it as far as Christian churches. Constantine made catholicism the official religion of the empire, moving away from the traditional worship of gods like Neptune and Zeus.

When the Roman Empire fell, its vast territories from the middle east,across Northern Africa, and throughout Europe up into Britain were back to coming up with ways to rule themselves. Catholism had spread throughout the entire empire as people traveled for trade or other reasons. The countries that rose up out of the ashes of the empire had many battles to determine who would be their new leaders, and who controlled what lands. One thing that was consistant was religion. Almost all the various kings and governments were beholden to the Church. The Pope in Rome was very much like a new Caesar- his powers as the head of the Church were formidible. Like it does so often, power began to corrupt the leaders of the church. Only the priests were allowed to read the scriptures, for a peasant to do so (assuming he could even read- most could not)was a serious infraction. The reason for this is because the church had begun to teach and to do many things which were not in the Bible. It was because of these practices that Protestantism began. The church was teaching, for instance:1.Jesus literally became the communion wafer during communion. The bible teaches that it is only symbolic of His body. 2.When you die, you have to go to a mythical place called pugatory in order to pay for any sins you forgot to confess. And the only sure way for a quick exit from purgatory is to PAY "indulgences" to a priest, ($), so he'll say a mass for your release.(!!)The bible makes no mention of purgatory, nor indulgences,it does teach that ALL a believers sins are washed away when a person accepts the free- FREE- gift of Christ's death ontheir behalf. It is simple! They sought to complicate it andto profit from it. 3. Mary, as the Mother of Jesus,was conceived without sin, in other words she had a conception like Jesus'. She was assumed bodily into heaven (just like Jesus) and serves a co-redeemer alongside Christ. She is omniscient(Like God) and can hear and respond to billions of prayers, and omnipresent(like God) and be everywhere at once.The bible says absolutely none of the above. These doctines were added centuries later by people who were trying to evangelizegroups who had a very strong attachment to a goddess figure in their worship. They simply substituted Mary in for the goddess. The bible acknowledges Mary as an obedient "handmaid of the Lord" who deserveshonor, not worship. She was a sinner in need of a saviour too. I am sureshe is horrified by those who make images of her which they bow to, and all the people who blindly look to her for answered prayers. THERE ARE MANY OTHER EXAMPLES OF HOW THE CATHOLIC DOCTRINE HAS STRAYED FAR FROM BIBLICAL TRUTH! This is why the reformation had to happen. Martin Luther, a catholic monk, was driving himself crazy trying to be "good enough" to please God. He went through years of torment until God opened his eyes to a basic truth in the book of Romans. None of us is, or ever can be good enough to enter God's presence. Not even Billy Graham or Mother Teresa. The Bible says that our good deeds are "like filthy rags" to God. We have no chance on our owm, which is why Jesus had to come, had to live a sinless life, and had to shed his innocent blood on our behalf to pay the penalty, death, that God requires."The wages of sin is death"- Now all we have to do is gratefully acknowledge this tremendous gift, and accept it by faith. Luther and others thought it was high-time for this simple message of good news to be made available again to all people. There were good priests and bishops at the time, but they were out-numbered and out-shouted by those who had become corrupt. The "Church" did not want these teachings going around, because they meant freedom to the people. Freedom from sin. Freedom from the oppressive requirements of the church. And they certainly did NOT want the low class gutter people to have access to a bible in their own language!! That would wreck everything! But after much persecution and death, that is exactly what happened. The printing press was invented right around the time of the reformation which opened the door to printing bibles in various languages (God's timing is perfect!) and the people were finally discovering for themselves the truths witheld from them. Out of the energy of the reformation, a country called America was begun. The founders wanted to guarantee that all who came here were free to worship as they wish- with no church controlling the government.It was the first country in the world to do so, although England was the first strong country to break ties to the vatican. Henry the 8th was excommunicated from the catholic church because he wanted to divorce his first wife. He said, essentially, "Forget you! I'll just start my OWN church." Protestants were the first immigrants to come to America. It's doctrines are conducive to democracy and freedom of thought. Although the catholic church did eventually make it to America and went on to become a thriving body of believers. But in no way does Rome or the Pope have any power to govern this country. In fact, compared to the power it used to wield and the property it used to own, modern catholicism is a mere shadow of its former self. Reformation had some positive effects on catholicism as well. Many of the more egregious practices protested by Luther in his 95 theses were discontinued-such as the sale of indulgences. I realise this is a lengthy answer, but as I said, it is a complicated question. I hope this provides some insight for you. For further information, look up the history of the christian church, the reformation and Martin Luther. There is a vast amount of free info on the net and in libraries. Best Wishes..........

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โˆ™ 2011-09-12 20:54:51
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Q: How did the relationship of Protestantism to the state differ from that of Roman Catholicism?
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