Growing up, I remember hearing that America was a “Christian Nation.” For a while, this made sense, but as I looked at society and looked at the Bible, it became very obvious that America was not a “Christian Nation.” Since America became America, we have had a diversity of religious beliefs, and this diversity was and still is allowed by the 1st amendment.
We are not a theocracy; we do not run our government based on the Bible or even the Bible’s moral ethic. And while this should have been obvious for a long time, there can be no doubt now. Our government, by act of law, has rejected the foundational Christian doctrine that we, as people, were created in the image of the almighty God and that as part of that creation, there are two separate and complementary sexes.
In the founders’ minds, as expressed in the Declaration of Independence, the foundation for human dignity and rights was “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” Without a God who creates and endows, there is nothing special about man compared to a pig — they are fundamentally the same type of creature, only man is more evolved than the pig.
While America hasn’t had a perfect track record on human rights, it has traditionally faired much better than the rest of the world. And the root of this has been the belief in a God who created and endowed.
However, the institutionalized killing of defenseless children has been legal for decades, and now the God-ordained institution of Marriage has been profaned by act of law (these are just two of many examples). We are not a Christian Nation, if ever we were.
Christians In Our Nation
What we must be, though, is Christians in our nation. American Christians have enjoyed an easy life that contrasts sharply with the difficulties Christians in the first several centuries endured. And this says nothing of the persecution the church experiences in many other parts of the world today, like in China or India.
Historically, the best thing for the true Gospel has been when Christianity has not been popular and when there hasn’t been a church on every corner. As Dean Inserra says, we are currently over-churched and under-reached in America, but especially in the south.
When you study Acts, you see how the Gospel spread because of and through persecution. In one sense, the people fleeing persecution took the Gospel to new places that hadn’t been reached. And in another sense, the obvious fact that people would die for or endure persecution for their beliefs gave great weight to their claims and convictions. Many will die for something they believe to be true, but no one dies for something they know to be a lie. The apostles were in a position to know if they were dying for the truth.
While it is getting harder, and certainly less politically correct to articulate Christian truth in our culture, we need to realize, accept, and embrace that this could ultimately be the best thing for the Gospel. It will weed out those who are only “culturally Christian” because they won’t endure and withstand the social and legal pressure.
The present and upcoming difficulties will serve to purify the church and make its message all the more distinctive.
You must decide today how you will respond in the future when the cost increases for holding and sharing your convictions. If you don’t, you may find that you lack the resolve when the time comes.
We are not a Christian nation, but we had better be Christians who are involved in our nation. For what is a nation, except numerous “neighbors” whom we are called to love. The gospel won’t share itself and Christ wasn’t crucified for us to remain silent.