Post by tacoturner on Sept 30, 2007 15:47:39 GMT -5
Ok, this is less of a theological discussion and more of a historical/social/political quandry in three parts:
1) Was America founded as a Christian nation?
2) Is America a Christian nation (meaning, now)?
3) Should (we strive for) America be a Christian nation?
I think it's important to address these as separate questions, and I'm interested to hear any imput from any angle. My Bible study picks fights with me almost every week because I disagree with the common concensus, so I'm interested in some intelligent discussion... my thoughts to follow after the football game
Post by Mike Miller on Sept 30, 2007 16:35:03 GMT -5
1) No. Were many, if not most, of the founding fathers professors of Christ in some way? Yes. Did they intend for everyone to be Christian? Not necessarily. Indeed, they quoted the Bible a lot, but they were not founding a theocracy. They wanted people to be able to worship as they choose, and not all of them were Christian, at least in an orthodox understanding (For example, George Washington was an active Freemason, but he never joined a church. Freemasonry is not Christianity. And Thomas Jefferson was a deist who published his own bible, which omitted all references to miracles. Jefferson even denied the resurrection of Christ). To be founded as a "Christian nation" it would have to be clear that Christianity was the only religion the citizens were to practice. No one can make that case.
2) No. Would a Christian nation elect Jews, Muslims, or atheists to Congress? I don't think so.
3) No. Our purpose is to glorify God by declaring the Gospel and making disciples. Never are we told to establish a political entity around Jesus. Jesus Himself even rejected that concept ("Render unto Caesar . . . ."). We are to submit to all governing authorities (not just Christian ones, Romans 13:1-7). Should we vote our consciences, based on how we believe God would have us vote? Yes. Should we as Christians be involved in the political process as God would lead? Yes. But our purpose is not politically or nationally oriented; it is Kingdom oriented, and the Kingdom of God is not of this world. The only extent to which we should work to make America Christian is by winning people to Christ.
One more thing--I am very patriotic. I love to sing the national anthem and many other patriotic songs. However, patriotism is not commanded in the Bible. If it were, then the only good Iranian Christians or Chinese Christians would be those who are patriotic toward their nations. While they should obey the laws--except where those laws require violation of God's Word--they are not required to be nationalistic. Webster defines a patriot as "one who loves, supports, and defends one's country." I do love my country, but Christians who do not love their country (whether it be America, Iran, or any other) are not less Christian. This is why I am not big on worship services consisting of patriotic songs. While I love patriotic songs, if we were to say that singing patriotic songs is an act of worship, then Christians who sing the patriotic songs of other nations would also be engaged in worship. I love America, but I do not worship her. My worship belongs to God.