Church vs. State

When a state court can decide that the church has to tolerate heresy in its midst, then the teaching office of the church is destroyed, and it ceases to be church.

Lambeth 1958, Letters to Lutheran Pastors No. 48
Translated by Holger Sonntag and published here with his kind permission.

Note: At this point in the Letter, Sasse has been discussing the famous 'Gorham Case' of 1850, where a civil court, the Privy Council, ruled against a bishop seeking to uphold baptismal regeneration as the doctrine of the Chruch of England. One hundred and fifty years after the Gorham case, and fifty years after Sasse wrote the Letter, Orthodox, Catholic and Evangelical leaders signed the 'Manhattan Declaration' on November 20, 2009, affirming their intention to resist, through civil disobedience if necessary, any state encroachment on the right of the church to define doctrine in regard to the sanctity of life, the dignity of marriage between a man and a woman, and the liberty of conscience.


  1. You just reminded me of that - the manhattan declaration.


  2. Well, at least I know someone is reading this blog!
    MH :o)

  3. I read it a lot, just so you know.


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