For full reports and exact statements of the denomination's position on a particular issue, the reader should look to the references provided.

Position

The state is instituted by God and is endowed with power so that it may promote, within the limits of its authority, the maintenance of human life and its development in agreement with God's law. The state is called to protect the church with all the means given to it by God in order that freedom of conscience to serve God be guaranteed and anti-Christian powers which threaten the church be resisted and prevented.

The church recognizes and honors the state for its God-given power and service, faithfully proclaims the gospel to all in the state, and prays for all people, including those who are in authority, so that all may lead quiet and peaceable lives (1 Tim. 2:1-2). The state should not assume the right and power of the only King of the church, Jesus Christ, and should recognize that the church owes allegiance and responsibility to him alone.

History

The discussion of this topic in the CRC centered on questions raised about Article 36 of the Belgic Confession, which deals with the civil government. In 1943 a committee was assigned to study the matter. Its proposals were first sent to the Reformed Ecumenical Synod, which in 1949 adopted a declaration concerning the relationship of church and state. This declaration was approved by the CRC in 1958 as was a revision of Article 36 of the Belgic Confession. (The previous English translation was judged unbiblical because it asserted that it is the duty of the state to see to it that the Word of the gospel is preached everywhere.)

References to Agendas and Acts of Synod

Acts of Synod 1938, pp. 16-20
Acts of Synod 1943, pp. 107-14, 415-51
Acts of Synod 1946, pp. 38, 398-428
Acts of Synod 1947, pp. 83-85
Acts of Synod 1952, p. 68
Acts of Synod 1954, pp. 49-50
Acts of Synod 1958, pp. 28-31, 174-80
Acts of Synod 1963, pp. 36, 466-67
Acts of Synod 1964, p. 71
See also Belgic Confession, Article 36; and the 2008 version of Our World Belongs to God: A Contemporary Testimony, Articles 52-54.