In thinking about this idea of the secular church, we need to consider a view that has cropped up in relatively recent history. It concerns the twin ideas of the sacred and the secular. This view maintains that they both operate in the same field, which, so far as Christianity is concerned, entails that Christianity should in a sense be secular. In other words, here you have not a contrast between the church and the world, but rather a view that says that the church should be the world, or at least should be actively engaged in and be characterized by the things that mark the world.

The second thing Christians need is a knowledge of the Word of God. The reason that's necessary is that we don't always know what to do or what to say or how to act even though we're convinced of the sovereignty of God. The only way we know what we should say or do is by studying the Bible. 

Having discussed the first two options, God alone or Caesar alone, now we need to mention a third option, which acknowledges the authority of the two, but with Caesar as the dominant authority. This is what happened to Pilate. 

A second area in which the state has limits is in the area of morality. The state has absolutely no right to require immoral, unbiblical conduct on the part of Christians. If the state does, not only do Christians have a right to disobey the state, they must disobey the state.

To help us think through this whole church and state matter, we need to turn to the trial of the Lord Jesus Christ before the chief representative of the Roman authorities in Palestine, namely Pilate, as recorded in all four of the gospels. We are going to be looking at John’s account in chapter 19. Early in the trial the issue of whether Jesus was a king had come up. Pilate needed to examine Jesus on that charge to see if Jesus really did make himself out to be a king who was challenging Caesar’s authority.