11 May 2008

Render Unto Caesar

Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.

Matthew 22:19-21

The Romans were right to persecute Christianity - what a millstone it's been! But the "render unto Caesar" commandment was clever - it was a way out for Christians on the issue that governments care about most. It allowed them to survive, eventually to take over the government.

But most importantly of all, it set the stage for the distinction 1600 years later between the Church and the State, and public and private morality. It was an expedient, and although the chickens didn't come home to roost for 16 centuries, it contained one of the seeds of Christianity's ultimate downfall.


Post a Comment

<< Home