Kuyper advanced Calvin’s views to the idea of “sphere sovereignty.” The idea of sphere sovereignty is articulated in the Introduction to this section. This perspective is good because people recognizes the real presence of different spheres and that people are networked in different ways, which is a good thing.
The principled pluralist government should also allow for a pluralism of religious belief. It is not the role of the state to determine what is right and true, but to allow for a pluralism of viewpoints. God, not even believers, will determine who are His (Mt. 13.36-43).
What does this look like, finally? Smidt gives several principles after making it clear that the Bible does speak to politics on some levels, but on other levels it just doesn’t speak to politics. So here are some key principles he sees for a principled pluralist church and state relationship:
1. The vital role of communities: People are social beings and communities and societies are essential features of societies. These relationships are fundamental and prior to the state and form a shield against the encroachment of the state upon individual rights while not advocating a radical individualism that is contra Scripture.
This is such a huge reality in our culture. Relationships are vital and drive much of what drives ministry to younger generations. We’ll get to more principles tomorrow.