Further Thoughts on Christian Americanism

A comment from yesterday’s post made me think that perhaps I had not clearly articulated the answer to the question posed by the title of the post.

I am not advocating in any way, shape or form that we abandon patriotism. Bro. Tony rightfully drew our attention to the beginnings of our nation. America was indeed founded upon strong Christian principles by devoted patriots. The problem that I see is that we have deviated from both the Christian and patriotic principles of these founding fathers.

Christianity has largely become Laodiceaic in its fervor. Patriotism is often reduced to political infighting and advancement of agendas within the culture. (A most noticeable exception to this would be our military–those guys and gals really are patriots in the most real sense.)

Now before you aim the cannons at me, I am not questioning anyone’s patriotism. Neither am I questioning your love for God. I am trying to draw attention to the fact, however, that some things are out of balance in the Christian culture. There are times when being a Christian will create conflict with being an American. As I promised yesterday, let me elaborate. (This may take a couple of posts).

There Is a Conflict of Personal Liberty
There can be no doubt that America has been blessed with an abundance of liberty. I strongly suspect that it is our great freedom that has caused terrorist fanatics around the world to hate us so strongly. And yet, as wonderful as these freedoms are, we will find that they conflict with Christianity.

Why is this? It is because we have more rights as Americans than we do as Christians. As Americans we enjoy the rights of freedom of speech, ownership of property, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These are wonderful personal rights that allow every American the chance to better their life, making America the “land of opportunity”.

The conflict arises when we unconsciously try to transfer those same liberties to our relationship with God. God calls us to yield up our rights to Him. He seeks to govern our speech. He tells us that we are not our own but we are bought with a price. He tells us that we have the responsibility to pursue His glory.

I have personally dealt with Christians who are struggling with various aspects of surrendering their life to God. Their conflict was often exacerbated by a failure to distinguish between their rights of citizenship and their responsibilities of serving God.

We have the right to determine our own government. We can vote, lobby, politic, sue, discuss, debate, constitute, and legislate. Democracy is without a doubt (at least in my mind) the strongest form of government. I am thankful to God for the opportunity to live in such a system.

Have you ever seen someone try to turn a church into a democracy? It happens all the time. How about a denomination? Instead of seeking the leadership of the head of the church, we start lobbying, politicking, suing, etc. Is it any wonder that so many churches have become so ingrown that they can barely function? As the church, we can never afford to forget who we are, and whose we are. The church is God’s possession, He has purchased us with a great price.

These are just some thoughts upon which to ruminate. Having said all that, I am eternally grateful to live in a nation where I still have the liberty to pursue God with all my heart. I just pray that I will do that.

Advertisements

12 responses to “Further Thoughts on Christian Americanism

  1. Great work Gordon.
    “God calls us to yield up our rights to Him. He seeks to govern our speech. He tells us that we are not our own but we are bought with a price. He tells us that we have the responsibility to pursue His glory.”
    Too often the world cries out to ‘be you own person’, ‘be independant’, ‘its my life I can live how I chose’, ‘who do you think you are telling me waht to do?’.

  2. Gordon,
    I appreciate your words and thoughts. I totally agree with you. I have said, when preaching a sermon and mention “Rights” as Christians, that we have none. We are God’s. Yet, as citizens of the USA we have those rights as long as we are a free nation, “Under God”.

  3. Good one Gordon,

    I’m proud to be American,
    and very thankful for what God did
    for me!

    have a very blessed day 🙂

    and God Bless

  4. Some good thoughts there.

    I am personally wary of patriotism. A Christian belongs to heaven, not to any nation.

    God Bless

    Matthew

  5. Hi Gordon

    Great Post..
    If we believe that God is in charge of all things and we believe that what we have is from God, then why wouldn’t we be patriots? That time was a time of looking to the Lord for what He has given us and what we owe, a price that we can not pay. I think that( know that ) times have changed to the point that knowing what God did for us is not a thought in the USA. We are a poeple of our own power( the we did it Club)and that will be our wrong doing for us as a nation.

    Gordon thank you so much for this Post.

    I think this is the reason that we do not see the USA in the end times clearly.

    Doug

  6. MDM–you are exactly right. I am planning to address the attitudes you mention in my next post.

    TA–What most Christians don’t realize is that the greatest liberty is to be found in surrendering to God.

    Janice–I too am thankful for being an American.

    Matthew–I am glad that we are fellow-citizens of God’s Kingdom.

    Doug–Welcome to the blog. I think your comment is right on track.

  7. Gordon –

    “The problem that I see is that we have deviated from both the Christian and patriotic principles of these founding fathers.”

    I couldn’t agree more. I meant no harsh criticism of you / your thoughts yesterday. If I came across that way, please forgive me.

    If I may encapsulate my thoughts on this topic…

    The Pharisees and Saducees were not able to bring together a proper view / stance on God and country.

    The founding fathers of America, though not perfect, were able to coalesce these things.

    The powers that be in our day, both political and “religious”, do a rather poor job across the board of presenting the proper balance.

    You’re a good man, Gordon. Thanks for your platform and for your fair and objective treatment of the topics that you address.

    Regards.

  8. Interesting direction in this post. I often think that we have confused Americanism with Christianity as if they are interchangable terms. You are correct in saying that the Church is God’s. His house, bought with a price, His kingdom run His way. It is a Theocracy rather than a Democracy and while democracy works (or has til now) for our nation, it never works well in God’s kingdom. He demands that He be in charge and doens’t ask us what we think about it. 🙂
    We as Christians cannot operate independently, we are part or a much bigger picture.
    Good post, brother

  9. Thank you, Gordon,

    In the past, as a music leader, I’ve been guilty of using “God & Country” to whip the congregation into a fervor, then feel pleased that the people worshiped so freely. Yeah, they worshiped alright, everything but God.

    A few years ago, my perspective changed. Now, if I do anything remotely “patriotic” in a service, it usually along the lines of Isaiah 6. “I dwell among a people of unclean lips.”

    Instead of “God & Country” it MUST be “God, come and save our country. We are dirty, we are filthy, and we are lost. We are in need of You, and You alone. Come heal our broken land.”

  10. Tony–I did not feel that you came across that way at all. Your comments were appreciated.

    JG–Thanks as always for your thoughtful input.

    Jeff–As a former worship leader, I too am guilty of the same thing. It is only recently that I have come to see it from this point of view.

    In all of this discussion, let us remember that it is perfectly appropriate to celebrate our nationality. I have always been proud to be an American, and shall remain so. It is just that now I see myself as a Christian American whereas before, I might have called myself an American Christian.

  11. great post, gordon. I am in complete aggreement. I think a lot of the time our inherent freedom as Americans is what gets us in trouble with God.

    People are always pulling the “Its my right” card. God is not a BurgerKing religion. It’s not…have it your way….It’s God’s way or the highway!

  12. The difference between a countries government and Jesus government is this:

    Country
    Dictatorship/Monarchy is by far the best form of government however they eventually fail because absolute power corrupts absolutely. Therefore we try and have a democracy where this is limited and everyone votes in someone of course this causes more problems there are so many voices to be heard but it is the best we can do because the alternative never works.

    Church
    It is a total Sovereign dictatorship.
    He has re-established a theocracy which the fleshly Israel hated and wanted a king. But instead of talking through the prophets Hebrews says he talks through his Son. No one will need to be told the Law for it is written on their hearts and minds. We are all govorned and yielded to Christ.

    The church of the firstborn: Isaiah 9

    “On the throne of david and over his kingdom to establish it and to uphold it from then on (calvary) and forever more. The Zeal of the Lord of Hosts will accomplish this”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s