Just because John Adams and George Washington quoted from the Bible or made reference to God does not mean that they were trying to construct a Christian nation. Granted, the Founding Fathers were the products of a Christian culture, but most of them were never comfortable with the beliefs that defined this culture. Very few of them would qualify for membership in today’s evangelical churches.
— John Fea, Is America a Christian Nation? What Both Left and Right Get Wrong
To the average Evangelical Christian, it almost goes without saying that the United States is God’s shining city upon a hill. It is believed to be the nation He prefers over all others on the face of the earth. America, in their view has replaced the ancient nation of Israel as the apple of God’s eye. The calls for America to return to its Christian roots goes out from the pulpits and even from the halls of many of our political institutions. The separation that is supposed to exist between church and state is slowly eroding as today’s Christian leaders work feverishly to turn America back to God.
On the other hand, to the average nonbeliever America represents the freedom to do as one pleases without the infringement of another’s religious principles. Many on the outside of the Christian sphere in America are working just as diligently to repel the encroachment of today’s Evangelical movements upon their rights as American citizens. So, is God for or against America?
Let’s keep in mind that many of the founding fathers and framers of the Constitution were Deists, those that believed in a Supreme Being who does not intervene in the affairs of human life. Let’s also keep in mind that America was founded on betrayal, bloodshed and genocide. It is possible that between 10 and 114 million Native Americans were killed as a direct result of US actions. Not to be forgotten are the hundreds of thousands of Africans brought to America as slaves. This atrocity lasted for more than 200 years! The systematic brutality and injustice of this inhumane institution has scarred this nation with wounds that still have not been completely healed. I think it is safe to say that the founding of this nation does not represent the character and nature of God. Fast forward to the present and this fact has not changed.
God No Longer Has An Earthly Nation/Kingdom
“My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” — Jesus
There has been much debate over the issue of whether America was founded as a Christian nation. The belief in the affirmative has shaped many of the political and religious movements of our day. However, in order to answer this question accurately, we must look to the one source that will either confirm or dispel this belief. The one on whom Christianity was founded!
Jesus refused an earthly crown and an earthly kingdom. We are told in the scriptures that Satan promised to give Jesus control over all the nations of the earth if he would bow down and worship him (Matthew 4:8-9). We know that Jesus did not comply. When brought before Pilate, the Roman judge preceding his crucifixion, Jesus again refused to claim any kingdom or nation as his own saying, “My kingdom is not of this world… My kingdom is not from here”
What makes Christians believe that He has changed His mind and now claims kingship over America? Do Christians today not realize that “The earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein” (Psalm 24:1). Do they realize that God’s people are scattered across every nation of the earth (Revelation 7:9)? Do they really believe that God is sovereign over all creation (Psalm 135:6)? Do they understand His desire is for all mankind to come to the knowledge of the truth (I Timothy 2:4)? Have they never understood that He is no respecter of persons (or nations) (Acts 10:34)? Have they forgotten that, “Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34)!
During his days on earth, Jesus never tried to get the political system to be on his side. He never told his disciples they must work to change laws that would favor the Jews in Rome. Jesus never worked with the government to try to legislate morality. In fact, He stayed pretty neutral concerning the government and its workings. Instead He focused on demonstrating a different kingdom. This kingdom is invisible to the naked eye but is alive in the hearts of those who accept Him as their King.
Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”
While the political and religious figures went about debating laws, philosophizing, and enforcing their rule, Jesus was healing the sick, feeding the hungry, helping the blind to see, and changing the hearts of men to come back to God.
The kingdoms (nations) of this world are hostile to the kingdom of God. God’s kingdom is a direct threat to man’s kingdom. This is why Jesus was crucified and a murderer was exonerated. When the kingdoms of man clash with the kingdom of God the result is persecution and violence towards those representing God’s kingdom.
In his excellent book, The Myth of A Christian Nation, Gregory Boyd describes the kingdoms of the world as “power over” kingdoms. He writes,
“While it comes in many forms, the kingdom of the world is in essence a “power over” kingdom. In some versions–such as America–subjects have a say in who their rulers will be, while in others they have none. In some versions, subjects may influence how their rulers exercise power over them– for example, what laws they will live by– while in others they do not. There have been democratic, socialist, communist, fascist, and totalitarian versions of the kingdom of the world, but they all share this distinctive characteristic: they exercise “power over” people.
In contrast, the Kingdom of God does not function in a “power over” method. Boyd describes the Kingdom of God as a “power under” kingdom which advances by “people lovingly placing themselves under others, in service to others, at cost to themselves.” It does not operate through earthly means such as laws, statutes, ordinances and policies. Not that it doesn’t have laws, but, its laws are of a different nature. While man enacts laws to legislate the behaviors of the people in society, God works to change their hearts so they no longer need the laws of man. The man who follows natural laws obeys them because he fears punishment and retribution. In this sense, governments are good because they help deter bad behavior, but they do nothing to change the person’s heart (see Romans 13:1-4). The man who follows spiritual laws obeys them because it is the right thing to do (Romans 13:10). This person has had a change of heart that can only be accomplished by being born of the spirit of God. In God’s Kingdom the sinful nature of man is slowly being eradicated and is replaced by righteousness. The motive to do good is not for fear of discipline, but the love of God. Fear and love are the two main motivations for why we behave as we do in either kingdom.
If you have not read Gregory Boyd’s book, these videos are an excellent resource on the subject at hand.
The Kingdoms (Nations) Of This World Are Under Satan’s Rule
Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”
And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.
We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.
I John 5:19
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
From the scriptures, it is clear that the kingdoms of this world are under Satan’s authority. This includes the United States! Doesn’t this explain why there is so much corruption, greed and violence in the nations?
“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” Lord Acton, 1887
People who desire power over others are almost always corrupt. They have taken the bait from Satan that Jesus refused. This is why the world is in such a constant state of turmoil, bloodshed, and warfare. It is Satan who has deceived man into believing he is fit to rule himself and rule over others. He is the one who is working to overturn any good accomplished in the United States. It is the rulers of darkness of this age both invisible and visible that are turning the world into George Orwell’s vision of a Big Brother society. This wicked spirit has been given authority by God to be the great adversary of all mankind. In the end, God will prove to man that he is completely unfit to rule because of the destruction he has caused throughout the ages.
With all that said, why are the right-winged political forces and conservative Christian communities aligning forces to save America? Don’t they understand that we are supposed to live as strangers and pilgrims on the earth? Do they not realize that we are to desire a better, heavenly country whose builder and maker is God? Don’t they comprehend that America will be a part of the Antichrist Global government to come?
Where Your Treasure Is Your Heart Will Also Be
The Christian Conservative movement in America is extremely dangerous. They have mistaken God’s heavenly kingdom for an earthly one and are doing everything in their power to restore it. Their patriotism and zeal is completely misplaced. They have taken a “by any means necessary approach” to taking control of this country. Sadly, this means that even the murder of innocent people across the world is acceptable if it will achieve their goals. If you don’t believe me, ask former president George W. Bush who declared it was God leading him to war in Afghanistan and Iraq. My question is, which god was he referring to: the god of the kingdoms of this world or the God whose Kingdom is not of this world?
American Evangelicals and their political cronies declare they are bringing democracy to oppressed lands and freeing the people from their bondage. This is very noble, but as Gregory Boyd pointed out, democracy is just one form of Satan’s governmental system that can be just as corrupt as any other. This is also hypocrisy of the highest order. “Good”, “freedom loving” “Christian” Americans are coming to the rescue of their fellow man in far away lands by bombing them, destroying their cities and towns, and murdering thousands upon thousands of innocent people.
Jesus is not concerned with converting nations to one form of government to another. His form of freedom is not from dictatorship to democracy; a closed economy to a capitalist one. His goal is to call out a people who physically dwell in the kingdom(s) of this world, but will live by the kingdom of God. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (2 Corinthians 3:17)! The people of God are not to concern themselves with the governments of this world. We are to be about our Father’s business! The reason America is spiraling out of control is because of the sin of the people claiming to love God while becoming more and more entrenched in the kingdoms of this world. Jesus said that his servants would fight if His kingdom were earthly. What does that tell you about those who would go so far as to pick up the sword to use it against their “perceived” enemies? The terrible things that are taking place in America are meant to be a wake up call that it is one of the worst offenders of the principals Jesus established regarding kingdom life.
God’s people have lived among the most ruthless and bloodthirsty rulers in history. They lived under the oppressive regimes of Pharaoh in ancient Egypt, Nebuchadnezzar in ancient Babylon, Nero in ancient Rome, Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union, Adolph Hitler in Germany, Pol Pot in Cambodia and many more. Because of this, many of God’s people have suffered horribly at the hands of the kingdoms of this world. This suffering is currently taking place in various places around the world. Many American Christians believe they are exempt from this and are trying to legislate their way to power and control. However, they will soon find out the hard way that God’s purposes cannot be thwarted. Persecution is a great cleanser and unifier of God’s people. He has used it throughout the eras to point people back to what is important. America is no exception and may need this more than any other nation.
When Daniel was threatened with being thrown in the lion’s den, he did not seek to circumvent the system through political scheming. When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were to be thrown in a pit of fire, they did not seek to petition for their rights or gather other like-minded believers to incite an insurrection. Jesus could have called on twelve legions of angels to deliver him from those who came seeking his death. In these instances (and many more) God’s people did not defend themselves, seek vengeance on their enemies, rebel against the judgment of the authorities, or seek political means to circumvent their impending circumstances. Their trust and loyalty was always to God and his kingdom regardless of the outcome. Where are the members of the Christian right placing their trust?
Our Duties Toward Government
Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
I Timothy 2:1-4
As disciples of Christ, we are to be subject to the governing authorities and to render to them their due whether in taxes, honor or obedience. Paul states in I Timothy 2 that we are to pray and intercede for those who are in authority so that we may lead quiet and peaceful lives. Never in the New Testament are we instructed to become entangled in the political systems of the world (2 Timothy 2:3-4). However, we should be aware of what is happening so that we may know how to direct our prayers to God. When we do engage in the political works there is a warning we should heed. Please take notice of what Romans 13:2 states,
Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinances of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.
Resistance to the authority that we have been placed under will bring God’s judgment. All of this patriotic-religious jockeying for political power that is going on in the Body of Christ is actually a form of rebellion! God gives us the type of government that we deserve to serve his purposes. When we resist those he has placed in authority, we place ourselves under the judgment of God. When Israel desired a human king and rejected God’s rule and authority through Samuel the Prophet and his sons (I Samuel 8:5), they were sternly warned what they would get,
This will be the behavior of the king who will reign over you: He will take your sons and appoint them for his own chariots and to be his horsemen, and some will run before his chariots. He will appoint captains over his thousands and captains over his fifties, will set some to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and some to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers. And he will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants. He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage, and give it to his officers and servants. And he will take your male servants, your female servants, your finest young men, and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take a tenth of your sheep. And you will be his servants. And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the LORD will not hear you in that day.
I Samuel 8:11-18
Does this sound familiar to the situation America finds itself in today?
Stay tuned for part two of this series which will examine the belief system of Dominionism and how it is ruining the Christian testimony of America in the world.