These questions form heated discussions in our culture today. Virtually everyone who debates this come to the table with a bias, and tends to read their own beliefs into their discussion. For the record, I am all for debate, but I will say that I detest when people try to say that one political party is the "Christian" or "God-following" one.
America Upon His ShouldersI just finished reading America Upon His Shoulders, which was given to me a few years ago. I've enjoyed learning more about the founding of our nation, and hearing it from a Christ-centered perspective.
There is no doubt that most of the "Founding Fathers" of the United States held a deep belief in a sovereign and just God. For example,
- "We shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations and who will raise friends to fight our battles for us." Patrick Henry
- "Thou gavest Thy Son to die for me; and hast given me assurance of salvation." George Washington
- "God governs in the affairs of men." Benjamin Franklin
However, this book makes some overstatements, such as stating that the media has "taken away permission to speak the name Jesus." This untrue hyperbole has no place in debate. Also, I am always cautious of pulling applications out of passages (especially from the Old Testament) to support points. After all, Israel is not equal to the church, and neither of these are equivalent to the United States.
What's the Point?The issue of application is where I'll close. It seems like the purpose of this book is to rally Christians to stand up and speak out about the guiding principles and morals of our nation. And it attempts to make a connection between the decline of our country and the growing secularism.
The last sentence may be true, but I think I would disagree with the solutions. What our nation needs is not more moralism, but that people's hearts would turn to God. And this heart-change is not accomplished by legislation, but by Christians engaging those around us in love and truth.
If Christians main strategy is to withdraw into holy huddles, only coming on to scream "Immorality!" from blogs, TV, and the pulpit, we will not change this nation. In fact, I think one reason that the country is in the current situation of moral decay is because the church has done this withdrawal.
Yes, we need to speak out about the truth and vote as the Spirit leads, but that is not going to win the souls of men. What we need to do is engage our neighbors on a personal level, and reach them where they are. Our primary mission must never to be a nation that is guided by Christian principles, but a nation that is full of Christians that live by God's principles and the Spirit's power.
And you cannot legislate that.
- America's Key Founders, Neither Christians Nor Deists (from Justin Taylor)
- An Interview on the Idea of America as a Christian Nation (also from Justin Taylor)
- Pastors, Politics, and the American Republic (from Desiring God)
- Penn Jillette on Compassion
- Election Day 2012
- Why Christians Should Serve Outside of the Church