Today's "thought" is just that -- some food for thought as we in the United States gear up for an upcoming election.
At such times deep loyalties (and even friendships!) are often tested. Emotions tend to run high as political toes get stepped on. And because votes and political platforms are at stake, assertions are frequently made regarding the the religious/political origins of America -- including the assertion that: "America was founded as a Christian nation." Given the current state of affairs in America even the most ardent advocates of such a view are usually willing to acknowledge it doesn't even come close in our day -- though many still continue to suggest it was in the beginning. It's into that whole debate I offer this "thought." It is written by a man named Arno Froese and appeared as one of the articles in a journal called, "Midnight Call."
It will not end all the controversy concerning the degree to which Judaeo-Christian values influenced (or were included) in America's founding document in 1776, but it does offer many valid points for believers to consider. It was passed it on to me by a close friend, so apart from this one article I know little about the publication or its author. Yet I felt its content (at least the parts of it I have space to include) are worth being considered. Otherwise, amid our good intentions, we may declare or convey ideas that are not historically or biblically accurate. Enjoy.
The True Christian Nation
"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness and into His glorious light."
"For Christians, born-again of the Spirit of God, the above Scripture gives the identity and task of the true Church on earth. We who believe have been chosen before the foundation of the world (see Ephesians 1:4). We are a royal priesthood. This seems a contradiction of definition. Royalty represents rulership, priesthood deals exclusively with the things directed toward God. We pray for the Church, for one another, and for those still in darkness. That is our task. We are to demonstrate to the world, 'Him who has called you out of darkness and into His glorious light."
That it the true Christian nation. It has no headquarters, no elected leadership, no home address, no telephone number, no email. This nation is not identifiable with earthly terms. It is the Church of whom Jesus stated, "I will build my church." He has been doing so through His servants the world over, now, for about 2000 years. The Church continues to be built on all five continents. They speak and understand thousands of different languages, hold to diverse customs and cultures, but they nevertheless constitute the holy nation -- the only real (multi-national!) Christian nation... Particularly during the month of July when the founding of the United States of America is celebrated, there is the extreme danger of mixing our political identity with the holy nation, the Church of Jesus Christ. James uses quite brutal language to illustrate the difference between the world and the Church. "You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God" (James 4:4).
What is the future of this country or, for that matter, any other country in the world? There is none. It is hopeless. Second Peter 3:11-12 reads, "Seeing then that all these things shall be destroyed, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire and the elements will melt in the heat." The only hope is for those who have been born-again of the Spirit of God, for the next verse reads: "But in keeping with his promise, we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness" (V. 13).
In reading the Word of God, believing in it, and trusting in God's only provided salvation --Jesus Christ -- our minds are continuously enlightened to the fact that our residence on planet earth is temporary. We are reminded of the so-called Holy Roman empire. They attempted to Christianize the whole world under the rulership of the church. He is an example: "And if society is to be healed now, in no other way can it be healed save by a return to Christian life and Christian institutions. When a society is perishing, the wholesome advice to give to those who would restore it is to recall it to the principles from which it sprang." (The Great Encyclical Letters of Pope Leo XIII, "Condition of the Working Classes." P. 225). Most Christians would agree with that statement. But while it may be well meant and noble, biblically speaking, it is fundamentally wrong. Why? Because the Bible makes no provision for a Christian nation.
As Al Dager states: "There is much speculation on the religious nature of the United States of America as it was founded. Many Christians assert that the United States was founded as a Christian nation, and therefore, it is not only our right, but our duty, to reclaim it for God. But is America a Christian nation in the true sense of the word? To call anything "Christian," whether an individual or a nation, certain criteria must be met. If we are speaking of an individual, the biblical requirements are that he must be born again by the Spirit of God, understanding all that this entails. Yet if we are speaking of a nation, its purpose must be that of ministry in the name of Jesus Christ alone, without regard to any other gods. Its primary charter must be the Bible, and all who hold positions of authority must be individuals who meet the criteria necessary to call themselves Christians (as stated above). A true Christian nation would be a theocracy governed by God through His prophets. His law would reign supreme in the hearts and minds of that nations founders, and all who founded the nation would have to meet the criteria necessary to call themselves Christians. Just as important, the nation would have to have been created in response to a covenant initiated by God with those who founded it.
As a point of information, the Pilgrims did not found the United States. They founded a small colony that eventually got swallowed up by the states and the newly formed federal government. The belief that the Mayflower Compact was the basis for a Christian nation has caused many to attempt to reestablish what never existed -- a Christian nation based upon Biblical precepts and founded upon a covenant relationship with God. What is overlooked, however, is that the Mayflower Compact reaffirmed loyalty to the King of England; its framers never intended to found an independent state...
Even if the initiators of the Revolution had been Christians (and as he shows, there is ample evidence to suggest that most were not. The group included a mixture of Deists, a Humanist, and many Freemasons, with born-again Christians in the extreme minority, though I do not have space to include all those details)... it was an unholy alliance at best. Scripture tells us that God has made one nation of all: the Church. It is the Church that is our "Christian nation," not the social and political institutions of the world (John 18:36).
We can thank our heavenly Father that we enjoy the freedoms that this republic grants us. But as citizens of Heaven, our allegiance if first to our brethren in foreign countries. Otherwise, we may find ourselves killing true Christians for political causes. We must be vigilant to the dangers of becoming embroiled in political and social causes in the name of Christ, else we will find ourselves unequally yoked, storing up for ourselves wood, hay, and stubble, for the day of judgment."
As I said -- some good points and ample food for serious consideration!
In the Service of Jesus and His Holy Nation (the Church!), Pastor Jeff