Thursday, April 05, 2007

CHRISTIAN AMERICA?

Ben Cole has a great post up on his blog "Baptist Blogger." Ben Cole puts up a lot of great posts. I like Ben Cole. One may not agree with everything he says or the way he says it, but, one never has to wonder what he thinks or what he means. I like that too.

Someone might say..."yeah but, he has an ax to grind." Who doesn't? There are those grinding the anti-pentecostalism ax, the pro-baptist baptism meaning done by a group that holds to eternal security ax, and let's not forget the how much a church has given the cooperative program ax. I've got my own ax, or two, or three that I grind occassionally...or often. Whether or not one sees something someone says as "ax grinding" generally relates, I'm beginning to think, to how much the one reading agrees with the one writing. Like I said, I like Ben Cole.

What I like about his post, however, is his clear understanding of the difference between our beloved nation and our beloved bible. The two don't go together like love and marriage as he clearly articulates. He gives his reasons. I agree.

And...I want to add some personal observations. I think we are most fortunate to live in the good old USA. I'd fight for her and die for her as many have and are now doing. They are heroes to me as a citizen of this nation. I love them. I love our flag and our beloved Constitution.

But I don't love America because she is a "christian nation." She isn't. There were many of her founding fathers who were believers. Some were not. In fact, there is only one christian/holy nation on this earth today and it isn't Israel or America. It is the nation of 1 Peter 2:9. It is the Church. She is the ONLY holy nation on earth today.

That doesn't negate my love and appreciation for my country any more than it did Paul the Apostle when he chose to use the Roman laws as a citizen. It just enables me to keep a clear distinction between her and the Church of which I'm also a part and will render allegiance to both in a godly way.

Our nation was founded on common law which had it's genesis in England. It was originally based on natural law and certainly reflects the nature of God to the degree it can. But to say our nation was founded on the Bible, as some in our day do say, is to misunderstand the uniqeness of the political and the spiritual. It is good for any nation to adhere to common law/natural law in my books. This simply means our statutes are to be drawn from interpreting what has been seen in common law as valid and restating those conclusions without creating new offenses or beliefs.

Natural law, for example, has shown and, in fact, has been codified in our Constitution, with the idea that life is sacred. "All men are created equal...and have been endowed with certain inalienable [transfered] rights." Can't get more sacred than that.

Robert Bork was correct, in my view, when questioned at his failed confimation hearing, when he said that Roe vs Wade made a "right to privacy" statute lawful that was not originally codified in our Constitution. [Thus the far left waged a campaign out of fear he would reverse Roe vs Wade that resulted ultimately in the defeat of his appointment.] But it left out, he said in effect, the "created equal" principle that IS inherent in that document. I don't know where Bork falls on abortion,I can guess and I agree I'm sure. But, I know where he falls on common Law and natural law and I agree there also. But it is our Constitution based on common Law interpreted for our nation, that is our guide. May we return to the Constitution for the political well being of our people.

I believe many mistakenly see our founding fathers as christian when some were and some were not. But they DID see common law/natural law as the basis for our society. The God of the Bible is revealed partially in that politcal/philosophical premise and I'm grateful. But the God of the Bible is only fully revealed in Christ and His Cross. That is what makes one christian.

I would say our nation does not now nor has it ever embraced the Christ of the Cross. So I and all other believers will present the gospel to our nation as we would were we to be living in England or Spain or Russia or any other nation so that her people might turn in repentence and faith to the Christ of the Cross.

We in America can also be grateful for our heritage based on natural law which reveals much of the nature of God codified in common law and ultimately in our own Constitution. What a great system we have. But we must not confuse this with biblical christianity.

Paul

8 comments:

Clif Cummings said...

I believe we would be much more effective if we would call people to consider the Christ of the Cross and not "americanized christianity" as their only means of salvation.
Christ came to call sinners to repentance and transform them into Jesus followers. He did not die to make a nation christian, or a business christian or a school christian - for that matter.
Don't hear what I am not saying! I believe their is a place for christian business enterprises and christian schools. However, what makes them christian is the PEOPLE saved by God's grace operating them. The entitiy itself is not Christian.

Paul Burleson said...

Clif,

I agree. In fact, I often say that there can be no such thing as "christin music" or a "christian business." Only christian people. But the idea of a "christian nation" seems to continue.

Looking forward to our upcoming meeting with you. Thanks for stopping by.

Debbie said...

Paul, Cliff, I couldn't agree more. The Baptist in me is standing and saying Amen loudly. I especially like what Cliff has said in his post, because that is exactly what we are doing and some are wanting to do in missions to other countries. Bringing American Christianity to the world isn't necessarily bring the Christianity the Bible speaks of.

bryan riley said...

I've seen a few blog posts about "The People Formerly Known As _________" (Congregation, the Pastor, etc.). I thought of how this tied in with that... the people formerly known as religious right. Or, the people formerly known as conservative American evangelical Christians. We must remember that our allegiance is to God's Kingdom and none other. You are right that we still can be proud of our country, fight for her, die for her, etc., but only if called to do so by our first love, Jesus Christ.

Paul Burleson said...

Debbie,

Good to hear from you and happy Easter. I am always blessed by, not only your comments, but your posts on your blog.

Bryan,

I've thought about your comment "but only if called to do so by of our first love Jesus Christ."

I realize that many christians [not saying you..your comment just triggered this thought] believe it is morally wrong to kill even in war. That kind of pacifism, born out of a conviction that Jesus teaches it is wrong, is understandable and respected, at least by me.

I would say a couple of things to that kind of conviction.

One is that, for me, Romans 13:1-5 makes clear my responsibility to serve in a protective role to my country if called upon by the leaders to do so. This is the way I believe I can know I'm called upon by the Lord. The scripture seems to say it to me.

Two, were I to NOT wish to serve in a capacity that would take a life, I would then serve in a role to care for life or to nurse life back to health.

You're probably thinking "where did he get that from my comment I wonder?" It really is just that I had the thought when I read your comment that someone may have wondered how a christian can be sure they are "called to do so by their first love Jesus Christ." Then I realized some Christians believe they are called to NOT do so by Jesus Christ. So the last paragraph is the logical conclusion of my somewhat illogical, perhaps, thinking.

Thanks for dropping by as always and my love to your family. You guys are being prayed for.

Bob Cleveland said...

I've often said there's no such thing as a Christian nation. If there were, then I suppose the nation would go to heaven. That does not seem to be a biblical concept.

The founders addressed the matter of religion in the constitution. But all they said was that the gummint could not make any laws respecting the establishment of religion. They opened the can of worms, but they noticeably did NOT say anything about Christianity being some sort of national religion. So I conclude that we are NOT a "Christian nation", and that, by design.

Christians are people. Period.

Paul Burleson said...

Bob,

As usual, all I find myself able to say about what you say is..."amen." :)

Anonymous said...

What is Ben Cole's URL? How do I find his blog?