Good-Bye, Christian America

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A few thoughts on Christianity in America. . . . You probably don’t agree with all of them, but at least it is food for thought and discussion.

Goodbye, Christian America; Hello True Christianity (Huffington Post)

From Richard Stearns, President of World Vision:

We are quickly moving toward a secular society. . . .

As this cultural shift has occurred, many Christians have reacted in frustration. We have fought to place the Ten Commandments in courtrooms and Christmas crèches outside town halls. We have sued over public prayers and crosses in state parks. One court recently weighed in on whether cheerleaders at a Texas school should be allowed to post Bible verses on their banners.

While symbols can be important, we have focused perhaps too much on them instead of the underlying reality they reflect. Instead, we need to go back to the basics of living as disciples of Christ, living missionally for Christ and demonstrating the Gospel in tangible ways within our schools, workplaces and communities.

While I would be happy to see the Ten Commandments back on the courthouse wall, the fight over symbolic issues is backfiring, alienating people from the truths of the gospel rather than attracting them to it. The kind of Christianity the world responds to is the authentic “love your neighbor” kind. Its appeal can’t be legislated through court battles and neither can courts stop its spread. . . .

Christians can stop worrying about the symbols of the decline of Christian America and get back to the mission Jesus gave us to show the world a different way to live — a way that demonstrates the great character of God: his love, his justice, his compassion, his forgiveness and his reconciliation.

Against a “Christian Government” (The Cripplegate)

Jesse Johnson writes,

In church history there has been this constant temptation towards government officially establishing a religion. For that to happen, the church and state must be connected. . . .

But when Christianity is compulsory, those marks are worn down. When the gospel is reduced to citizenship, the essential act of conversion is denigrated. It makes sense that OT Israel functioned as a theocracy. If you could be circumcised into a relationship with God, that relationship better include governmental laws, taxes, and (most importantly) punishment for those who transgress the law. Obviously the OT Law was powerless to change the heart, but it was powerful enough to govern a rebellious people.

But in the NT, there is no concept of a Christian government. There is no Pauline Epistle on laws or taxes. . . .

We understand that not all Israel is Israel, and not all the citizens of a Christian country actually fear the Lord. The lesson from Constantine is that you can baptize people all you want, but if they don’t believe in the gospel—if their will is not changed by the power of Scripture—all those baptisms succeeded simply in redefining the word Christian without transforming the soul.”

What are your thoughts? Do you think we have a post-Christian government? Is that good or bad?

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2 responses to “Good-Bye, Christian America”

  1. Jimmy says :

    Definitely good and challenging thoughts. I do believe it is very easy for those of us in the “church” to focus on symptoms rather than on causes. If our society is rejecting Christian symbols, there is a reason for that. We shouldn’t fight for the Christian symbol, rather, we should strive to embody the gospel to those around us. And here’s the kicker – all through history, those who embody the gospel to those around them have 2 things (at least) happen. They bear fruit in that people accept the gospel and turn to Christ, and they also are persecuted (truly persecuted) for their faith. In the U.S., we haven’t truly experienced persecution for our faith as many of our brothers and sisters in the world and throughout history.

    As believers, we are not to fight for christian symbolism, we are to bear the fruit of the Spirit in our everyday lives – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Against such, there is no law. It cannot be legislated into someone’s life or out of someone’s life.

    To summarize, I’ll reference C.S. Lewis (I don’t recall the full quote). We need a government comprised of Christians, not a “Christian” government. People don’t need to be “Christian” plumbers, engineers, mechanics, teachers, lawyers, doctors, etc. They need to be Christians who are plumbers, engineers, mechanics, teachers, lawyers, doctors, etc.

    • joeyespinosa says :

      I think you are right about the persecution part. We really haven’t experienced that. I’m glad about it, but you can’t help but feel that we are missing out on something significant.

      Love those thoughts from CS Lewis.

      I appreciate your comments; you always have insight things to share!

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