Myth of a Christian Nation 7-29-10

Posted on 29. Jul, 2010 by in Myth of a Christian Nation, Nationalism

I wanted to revisit the Myth of a Christian Nation, as something I read recently correlates with something we talked about last  night at our fellowship gathering.  It also goes along the lines of a post by Arthur Sido at “the voice of one crying out in suburbia…”  First a quote from the book, still chapter 1.

“The sword is part of our common curse, yet God uses it to keep law and order in the world.  For this reason, followers of Jesus are to be obedient, as far as possible, to whatever government they find in power over them.”

He then goes on to quote Romans 13:1,3-4, and then gives a quote from John Howard Yoder:

“God is not said to create or…ordain the powers that be, but only to order them, to put them in order, sovereignly to tell them where they belong, what is their place….Likewise God does not take the responsibility for the existence of the rebellious ‘powers that be’ or for their shape or identity; they already are.  What the text says is that God orders them, brings them in line, providentially and permissively lines them up with divine purpose”.  (From John Howard Yoder, The Politics of Jesus, pg. 201-202).

Now, the purpose of this post is not to discuss the merits of the John Howard Yoder’s theology, as I really don’t know much about him.  The question is in regards to our interactions with our government, and how active we should be in our government.

During our discussion last night we got onto a discussion about politics, as it relates to the death penalty.  Now, from a purely worldly perspective I am not opposed to the death penalty.  I think if the world decides they want to institute that form of punishment I don’t think it is morally or ethically wrong.  My point was that, as a Christian, I don’t feel that I can involve myself in the politics of that, because my walk with God in His kingdom takes me above those arguments, and puts me in a position where I can not condemn another person to death, nor necessarily condone it.  I see an application here for the “let the dead bury their own dead” principle.  I would rather let the world govern themselves, without my input, as my input will have little effect in reality anyway, without staging a huge political battle.  I am just not interested in trying to politically win others over with my beliefs.  The question was then asked whether I was content to live by the rules made by others, with no say-so in the rules, and my response was “yes”.

Now, this is quite a departure for me.  In my former life I was as conservative as they come.  Although I didn’t watch a lot of news at that time, if i did it was Fox, and I loved the likes of Shawn Hannity, and other conservative voices.  To call myself an activist would have been an overstatement, but I was a “conservative of conservatives”.  Now, although my own personal beliefs line up more with the Republican party than the Democratic, and I still follow national politics with interest, I no longer have the desire to involve myself in these things.  Do I vote?  Yes.  Although for a time I quit.  I just don’t put much importance in worldly issues, as I feel that the Spirit has drawn me away from that, and towards Christ.

Having said all this, I am curious how others feel about this topic?  I can’t quote chapter and verse as to why I believe this way, and its really only been in the last week or so that I have felt this way.  So, I can not claim to have truth on this topic.  As such, again, I am interested in what everyone else thinks.

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7 Responses to “Myth of a Christian Nation 7-29-10”

  1. Douglas Weaver 29 July 2010 at 10:53 pm #

    Good point Mark. Our kingdom is not of this world and as Greg so aptly puts it, the Kingdom of God will not be ushered in via the kingdoms of this world. I say, let the dead govern the dead. The gospel flourished under the oppresive Roman government and refused to die under the hand of severe persecution. Indeed, when we are weakest, He is able to show himself strong.

    Might I also say, I can find no scriptural justification for deriding those in authority – regardless of our alignment with their policies and decisions. Rather, I am to pray for them – not against them.

    • Mark 29 July 2010 at 11:36 pm #

      Timely word, brother.

  2. arthur davis 2 September 2010 at 9:20 pm #

    Great post sir. I see the darkness but am not dismayed, because how else would Yeshua return to establish His Kingdom. I don’t get anxious because I aim to obey Yeshua. I’ve made up my mind that no weapon formed against me will prosper since I know how much He loves me. And perfect love casts out all fear. YESHUA BE PRAISED.

  3. akaGaGa 9 January 2011 at 7:27 am #

    It seems that God is opening the eyes of His People to a common problem in America. We have been raised to believe that God and country are almost the same thing, and are always in agreement. I’ve come to believe the truth is a far different thing. Our job is to win souls, which cannot be accomplished at the point of a gun. I’ve posted on this a couple times, if you’re interested:

    http://akagaga.com/2010/05/wfw-prayer-a-christian-nation-and-a-young-soldier.html

    http://akagaga.com/2010/05/wfw-a-christian-nation-or-a-nation-of-christians.html

    • Mark 9 January 2011 at 4:35 pm #

      akaGaGa,

      I did follow the first of your links, and, once again, I find myself in agreement with you regarding the importance placed on national politics by American Christians. Arthur Sido has blogged on this multiple times at Voice of One Crying Out…. I will have to explore your blog more in the future, as time allows.

      God bless,

      Mark

  4. jimmy 4 February 2011 at 3:52 am #

    We don’t need to really try to win others over to our own beliefs politically… W do need to win them over to God s belief system… To not get involved in politics, would be to not do the very thing Jesus commands us to do… Love our neighbor… To love is to serve… Our very freedom is at stake, the freedom we have to even discuss this here. If we bury our head in the sand or simply look the other way… If we do not stand for righteousness, then we are condoning the sin. It happens ever sunday morning in pulpits all across this great land of ours, and that is. the very reason w are in this mess… The church, us, you and I, we’ve laid down and decided w should be politically correct, we should just be quiet, don’t make waves… Once again, don’t stand up for what’s right… We are not being “one crying in the wilderness”…. While I haven’t read the book you refer to, I’m hoping the title is to just get our attention… Surely he is not wanting us to seriously consider that this nation wasn’t founded on godly principles… About a year or so back, I did an exhaustive study on that very thing. It was sparked by our current commander that was spreading the news to the world that we were not a christian nation….. As doug pointed out, we find in 1 timothy 2 that we are to.pray for our leaders, for those in authority, we must do that for sure. But we find a few places in proverbs where it talks about, in so many words, the condition of a nation and the leadership … I like how the message bible puts it in proverbs 28:2

    When the country is in chaos,
    everybody has a plan to fix it—
    But it takes a leader of real understanding
    to straighten things out.

    Where will this leader get “real” understanding? Only through a relationship with God. That’s why we must pray for them, but I believe its also why we must get involved. Proverbs 28:16 is another good verse. Proverbs 29 has several great passages on the subject.

    I will say this… obviously we are all called to serve God and His kingdom, although I understand that we all have our “fastball”… that thing that God has specifically called us to… which can and does change through the course of our life… we go from glory to glory… I know for me, I am definately one that is to cry aloud and stand apart… I REALLY dislike text because you.can’t see the person nor can you hear the vocal tone which says so much about what the person is really saying… having said that, this is all said in love and I take no offense to anyone here and I hope it is received in like fashion. Mark, I just stumbled across this I think from facebook, and enjoyed reading the blogs… blessings to you all… jimmy

    • Mark 4 February 2011 at 10:43 pm #

      Jimmy,

      Great to hear from you. I certainly don’t take any offense. If we as the body can’t have open discussion then we are in serious trouble.

      Regarding the book, the title is pretty indicative of the content, but it is not a book written to slam America. It really is written from the perspective of stressing the nature of Christ, and thus the nature of the Kingdom, and how NO nation, no matter how “Godly”, can be the fulfillment of the kingdom of God on earth. He does touch on aspects of American history that are specifically anti-Christian in nature, like our treatment of Native Americans, slaves, etc. I will not do the book justice without writing a long diatribe, and even then may not do it justice, but I would strongly recommend that every Christian read it. I have gotten a lot out of the book even if the subject matter behind the title was removed. It is really excellent.

      In regards to what you shared I would concur that we are to be a “voice crying out…”. The thing I would say, however, is that what makes us different is not our moral stance before the general public, or our insistence that others live by our code of ethics. What SHOULD make us stand apart from the world is our sacrificial love for each other and the world. Of course, along with this will come the example of a people who have had the law written on their hearts, and thus their lives will be lived to a different standard than the lives of the world around them. Ultimately it is not the assurance of Godly laws that will help the lost, but rather a living, breathing example of the love of Christ, lived out on earth by His people. I have a hard time enforcing Christian values on people who aren’t even saved, because to me that is what the pharisees did.

      Scripture gives no example of Jesus trying to change the political climate of the day. He never tried to change Rome, but instead said “give to Ceaser that which is Ceaser’s”. Interesting that Jesus never condemned sin in the world. He spoke a lot regarding sin amongst the Jewish people, but not concerning the world. In fact, He hung out with the sinners, and condemned the religious status quo the most. Likewise, in Paul’s writings, or in the rest of the NT for that matter, there is no mention of trying to change the political status quo. Instead we are commanded to seek the Kingdom, love our neighbors, etc. I do not feel I am loving a gay person when I fight politically against his right to be “married”. I certainly don’t agree with that choice, and would prefer that marriage be kept sacred between a man and a woman, and would even cast my vote to that effect. However, to go beyond that and vocally fight against them to me goes against the example of Christ.

      Anyway, the book gives much better explanation, from a very non-inflammatory standpoint, and again I would recommend it as a good read, even if you don’t agree with everything in it.

      God bless you and your family, Jimmy. I hope all is well with everyone, and thanks again for reading.

      Mark


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