Patriotism and the Church

I love the USA. I think it is one of the greatest countries on earth. We have incredible freedoms and have been blessed in many ways. One of the most obvious blessings we have is wealth. We have more money than we know what to do with (even though we don’t think we have that much and are always looking for more).

The 4th of July is a great opportunity to celebrate our freedoms and thank those who have protected and fought for them. One thing I have a hard time with, however, is when the USA is referred to as "God’s country" or a "Christian nation." I know that many of the founding fathers were indeed Christians (or at least Deists) and that most of our laws have their basis in biblical values.

There are many reasons I have a hard time with these ideas and when our churches glorify the USA. First off, it’s impossible for a nation to be Christian. A nation is not a living, breathing human. It’s an idea. That is, nations are philosophical divisions of land. I don’t think that the USA (that is the area of land) will be in heaven. Also, I don’t like the USA being called God’s people becuase it’s not biblical. There is only one nation that can claim the title of God’s chosen people and that’s Israel (although I would perhaps argue that the current nation of Israel is less God’s people and more a philosophical idea). Anytime we take biblical references to God’s chosen people or nation and apply it to the USA we are mis-interpreting the Bible and misleading both ourselves and others.

We can’t choose to be God’s chosen people. Only God can do that. I do believe that God does rise up nations and tear them down for his own purposes and I believe God has a plan for the USA. I just think we need to be sure we don’t think that the blessings that were promised to Abraham, Jacob, and the people of Israel apply to us as a nation. If anything, they apply to the church (which I believe is part of God’s promise to Abraham–Gen 12:1-3).

We stilll are called to be good citizens. We’re called to set an example for all people and to pray for our leaders. 1 Tim 2:1-4: "I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth."

Let’s make sure we understand and apply the Bible properly in all areas of life.

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