Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I write what I'm about to say with a great deal of sensitivity to the fact that many people may disagree with my conclusions. I recognize that and respect those who do disagree. Some of those will be members of my own family. This was true in the post before as well. I believe friends and even family members may disagree respectfully and lovingly and that is certainly the desire of my heart on this issue.

Patriotism is by it's very nature a bit emotional and I wish to "tread lightly" here because of that fact. I hope what I say will be heard as personal, respectful, and open to opinions that differ with mine. I'm no scholar, theologian, or even an historian for that matter. I'm just a guy with a blog who has studied to some degree the bible, history, and people with much to learn about all three. That all said, I think I'll just dive in.

There is a widely held view of America today that says she was founded as a "Christian nation." This is generally said because of the belief that our nation was founded on biblical principles originally and most of the Founders had a faith in God at the time. And, as a result of our beginning, America holds a special place in the heart of God. His blessings have been upon us in the past in a greater way than perhaps any other nation with the possible exception of Israel.

In the mind of those who hold this view, America has indeed lost her way and needs to return to the God upon on whom she was founded. His blessings will not continue to be upon her if she doesn't. Returning to God would cause America to thrive, but a failure to do so would be her downfall.

Now here is the hard part. I have to say, from the outset, that I disagree with this view completely. Remember, I’ve already talked of my genuine love for America as a citizen in the previous post. What I will say today will only enhance that I hope and will show that my love for her cannot be legitimately questioned.

I DO believe our beginnings were founded upon a belief in God and our Founders sought to fulfill the views of Sir William Blackstone (The Eminent English Jurist) who said. "Man must necessarily be subject to the laws of his Creator. This will of his Maker is called the law of nature. This law of nature is of course superior to any other. No human laws are of any validity, if contrary to this: and such of them as are valid derive all their force from this original." But is this the Christian faith? That is the question to be answered.

Our Founding Fathers sought to establish a system of government and a society that reflected the reality of that "law of nature" [Natural Law] spoken of by Wm. Blackstone. Our Constitution undergirds the idea that those rights natural to all men are not "granted" by a government or society but they established our government of laws (not a government of men) in order to "secure" each person's Creator-endowed rights to life, liberty, and property in this country. I, for one, most certainly have a desire for our country to continue to be a free society that respects the dignity and the rights of all citizens in that free society.

I'm further grateful that America was founded BY the people and FOR the people with the people always in mind and said so in those fabulously special words that take their form in the Preamble to the Constitution..."We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

This somewhat simple yet profound introduction to the Constitution of this country says it all. The Constitution then explains how the Preamble will be accomplished with the division of government and the guidelines for our society. This nation IS nothing short of special. But she is not a "Christian" nation and certainly is not SPECIAL to God because of that.

If one's definition of "Christian nation" is simply that our Founders recognized the bible as a source book for the existence of the Creator who established natural law..then one could say America is a Christian nation. But that neither correctly defines Christianity nor clearly states the intent of out founders. America is not special to God BECAUSE she is "Christian" by a truly biblical definition of "Christian."

It is true that there once WAS a special nation to God. Once, Israel enjoyed God's special favor over all other nations. This was NOT because she was more righteous than the other nations, but so she could provide a lineage that would ultimately produce the Messiah Himself. When Jesus Christ appeared, Israel, having fulfilled that purpose, was then replaced with another very special nation.

That new very “SPECIAL” nation in the present day is not ANY nation that has geographical boundaries, including America. It is, as Jon Zens says, “The aggregate of believers who have been called out by the gospel FROM ALL NATIONS and are now identified as a chosen race, a royal priesthood, A HOLY NATION, [My emphasis] a people for God's own possession. (1 Peter 2:9)

In this NEW and FAVORED nation that exists today there are no differences among her citizens along national, racial, gender or social lines. The scripture says it this way speaking of her citizens... "They are neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female...” Her citizens are not divided along political parties either. Her citizens can found in EVERY nation on earth and are united as brothers and sisters together because of their relationship to Jesus Christ. “All are one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).” You may biblically call her the "Church," the "Bride of Christ," The Body of Christ" and even a "Holy Nation" as does the Apostle Peter. But she is the ONLY Christian NATION that has existed over the past Two thousand years.

A fact that is difficult to understand sometimes is that, according to the scriptures, ALL of God’s "special" blessings are reserved only for those who are part of this new "Holy Nation.” This is because they have been "accepted in the Beloved." (Ephesians 1:6) That verse reveals that God only "accepts" people who are said to be "In Christ."

It is true that His grace is given to some degree to all people of the earth in what was called by the Puritans "Common Grace." This "common grace" is indeed extended to all peoples of all nations in many incredible ways by a gracious God. This has been especially true, it would seem to me, of America. But His SPECIAL favor and blessings are reserved for those who have accepted Jesus Christ because of what He did on the Cross of Calvary.

It is THIS that brings about a true relationship with God. That relationship is neither based on things that are on earth nor things done politically or socially on the earth. That is simply not the basis for knowing and relating to God. Paul said it this way, "We have been blessed with All spiritual blessings in heavenly realities in Christ Jesus." [Eph.1:3] It takes something that is real BEYOND this world and it's political systems whatever those may be for God to be involved in relating to fallen human beings. This story of the need all men and the nature of Christ and His work at Calvary is what the gospel is all about.

I say again, it IS historically accurate to say that in one sense America was founded on what could be called a Theistic world-view [Natural Law] and that Christianity was, in fact, the major religious influence in that world-view at that time. Pointing this fact out is not a bad thing and is historically correct. But to call it "Christian" does a disservice to both Christianity and some of our Founding Fathers.

Some would argue using valid historical moments such as the United States Supreme Court when in 1892 that court made an exhaustive study of the supposed connection between Christianity and the government of the United States.  After researching hundreds volumes of historical documents, the Court concluded...”These references [The studied historical documents] add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of other utterances that this nation [America] is a religious people...a Christian nation.”

Then there was the time when our Supreme Court Justice George Sutherland reversed an 1892 decision in relation to another case and, as he did, he is quoted to have said, "Americans are “a Christian people.” Even Justice William O. Douglas came close to saying that with a similar idea when in 1952 he said... “We [Americans] are a religious people and our institutions presuppose a Supreme Being.”

But I would remind us all that what was quoted from history in the last two paragraphs is speaking to a RELIGIOUS DISPOSITION and is not a reflection of biblical Christianity at all. Biblical Christianity is based upon a personal faith in the person and finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Even many of our Founding fathers were far from that biblical reality personally. But they assisted in the founding of our great country too. light of all this, There are four things I wish to say to summarize what this means for believers who are also earthly citizens. but it will be done in the next post. These four things will bottom line how I view the way we as believers are to be different BECAUSE we are citizens of this new and "Holy Nation" [The Church] while at the same time citizens of America.

I would be saying the same thing were I to be writing for an audience of Christians located in Germany, Iran, China or any other nation on earth. Biblically, it is described as being Salt and light to whatever society or culture or nation in which we find ourselves as believers. We shall see this next time.

Paul B.


Aussie John said...


I would be castigated for writing what you have here. Imagine a "furriner" saying such things:)

I am very grateful that you have written as you have, and say a loud "Amen", to your words, "Biblically, it is described as being Salt and light to whatever society or culture or nation in which we find ourselves as believers."

Sometimes when reading/listening to some of yours and our county's leaders I'm reminded of Kings James words to the English Parliament in 1609, "The state of monarchy (politicians and clergy) is the supremest thing upon earth ... Kings (politicians and clergy) are justly called Gods, for that they exercise a manner or resemblance of divine power upon earth."

I won't be offended if you edit.

Bob Cleveland said...

Somewhere in the back corners of my mind is the idea that if the USA were a "Christian nation", it'd be part of the Body of Christ. And that can't be, as it's specifically OK to be an American and an atheist if you so choose.

I think that tosses out "Christian" as a descriptive adjective for America.

Not to mention the founders seem to have been careful to bar anything such as a national "religion" .. in the definition of a system of worship or service of the ultimate Deity.

Becky Dietz said...

Hear, hear!

Paul Burleson said...

Aussie J,

Edit what you said? How about shout from the roof tops what you reported was said so people will never forget the arrogance of men!! Thank you for reminding us all.


With this.." And that can't be, as it's specifically OK to be an American and an atheist if you so choose."'ve articulated well that what was intended by "freedom of religion" was NOT "free to take up a certain religion only" or even "freedom from religion." It was, in fact, intended to be "freedom of religion." If someone chooses none. So be it.

Good words.


I almost couldn't get it to the place where anyone would hear it. It was the hardest post to write I've ever experienced. I'm serious. I wrote all day yesterday. It didn't work for me. I wrote late last night. Didn't work. At 4:45 am this morning before I left to catch a plane for Hartford Conn. Didn't work. I left it.

Mary and I got to the OKC airport at 6:30 am and everything was socked in with fog. ALL FLIGHTS cancelled. We came home. I set down and it flowed exactly the way I wanted to say it for good or bad.

So...I'm glad you think it's worth..a "hearing." ;)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing this, Paul.

My own thoughts are that we are able to live together as Christian people only in the Kingdom of Our Lord.


Aussie John said...


CBS has an interesting article published in April 2009 and entitled, "Is U.S. A 'Christian Nation?' ". There are some interesting things said amongst the 465 comments.

It can be found here:

Paul Burleson said...


I personally think you may be suffering from "correct thinking." I hope you never get over it. ;)

Aussie J,

Thanks for the link. I read the article and many [not all] of the comments. Interesting to say the least.

Especially this...."Newsweek, meanwhile, recently printed a cover story entitled "The End of Christian America" – which prompted complaints and a call for the firing of the author of the piece, Editor Jon Meacham."

My argument with Mr. Meacham is that Christian American never had a beginning.

And this comment...."These articles perpetuate the problems. never doubt that our nation is in fact the only country in the world to be strictly founded on morals. Hence the reason we are so successful. And, the religion (Christianity) is what our forefathers based the morals of the Constitution on.

My argument with this is that our nation was founded on the idea of Natural Law as understood and propagated by William Blackstone. Such is revealed in the scriptures to be sure, as well as natural law, but biblical Christianity was not specifically the foundation for our Constitution as I say in my post.

Thanks for the information and the link.

Aussie John said...


"correct thinking". Yes!

Is a Christian Nation even possible?

Nowhere in the New Testament do we find any promotion of the idea of a theocratic nation, one in which where God rules the state and those who dwell within. Old Covenant national Israel, was such a nation, chosen by God and placed under His rule. The New Covenant is vastly different, where God chooses individuals from every nation, tribe and language group to be members of a spiritual nation, the Kingdom of Heaven.

Natural nationality, or race, never entered into God’s scheme of things for entry into His New Covenant kingdom. Membership of this Holy Nation (1 Peter 2:9) is by the convicting, convincing power of the Holy Spirit upon the heart and mind of the recipient.

Does this mean that Christians will have nothing to do with the secular affairs of the nation into which we were born, ignoring, or resisting the governments? Romans 13;1 Peter 2:13-17 indicate otherwise. Jesus said we are to be “salt” and “light” in these societies, nations and governments. By this we are to demonstrate the love of Christ,and our discipleship, by our involvement as we live amongst the people of all cultures who make up our nation.

Genuine tolerance is a mark of Biblical Christianity, where we demonstrate a disposition to allow things that we do not necessarily agree with, or even like, without interference. That does not imply that we are to believe that everyone’s views are equally valid. It certainly does not mean any desertion of our own Christian convictions or beliefs in favor of others. Genuine tolerance entails the refusal to impose our convictions and beliefs as a valid pass to be a part of our nation.

Tolerance doesn’t prevent us from opposing practices which are antithesis to the standards of behavior we hold as important in our country, as it doesn’t stop us from opposing the greedy commercial materialism, which, like an animal, feeds on society, driving the retailers and traders to regard every day as an opportunity for their rapaciousness.

Such thinking denies the physical/ psychological/spiritual needs of workers and their families to enjoy something other than the grind of work.

Similarly, some immigrants are demanding that our nation institute the public holidays of their nationalities. Most national public holidays are set aside for celebration and commemoration of events which help define the making of the nations in which we live, and like days of rest and recreation, are important in that nation .

Never-the-less, dates and seasons are not the markers to which Christians should be committed (Colossians 2:16-17), but we can be salt and light whilst participating in them with the society in which we live.

When will Christians learn to not equate the Kingdom of God with the kingdoms of the earth. Jesus made that quite clear (Matt.18:36)

Paul Burleson said...

Aussie J,

I kid you not, you have stolen my thunder. [That's an old expression in the States that means you've said what I was going to say.]

In my next post I will say this..."There is no evidence in history or scripture that indicates a geographical nation will ever arise whose citizens will all accept the message of the gospel as valid." That's one example.

What is that old statements about.."great minds?"

Rex Ray said...

All of Hitler’s military belt buckles had, “In God we trust”, but did they?

I find myself knowing you’re right but I don’t want to admit it because that would destroy my child’s belief and other things like President Obama being right in saying, “America is not a Christian nation.”

I’m sort of like the saying: “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.

(That’s illustrated when Peter’s speech silenced the multitude at the first church counsel but they remained zealous for the law.)

My dad had a saying: “One church in a community was better than a policeman on every corner.”

Paul Burleson said...


I understand the sentiments behind what you're saying....basically. But this I can say for sure.

I do like the sayings your dad least the ones you've told us he had up to this point. Thanks for commenting. He sounds like a practical thinking kind of guy which kind of appeals to me,

traveller said...

Clear, concise explication of this issue. As hard as it may be to believe I have nothing further to add. :-)

Paul Burleson said...


Well that is to our loss I assure you. Thanks for stopping by as always.

Rodney Sprayberry said...

Cultures/Governments deal with religion on that spectrum that runs from ambivalence to antagonism.

Historically three approaches are most common

Religious persecution
Religious tolerance
Religious freedom

Until America there had never been a country or time in history (that we are aware of) where religious freedom was promoted on a large/cultural scale

Granted it is a struggle. There are times when the government believes it has the right/responsibility to step in and curtail certain religious practices.

Sometimes there is overreach. Sometimes there is misapplication. But that is a small price considering the historical stands that governments have taken in response to religion.

In a fallen world religious freedom is the best option on the market. It is also the most self-serving option for the Christian.

If we do not protect the right of the Hindu, the Muslim, the Wiccan, or the always come back to bite us in the end!

There are some areas in which I firmly believe American excels. The fight for religious freedom(historically championed by Baptists) is one

I would rather live in America, with a Muslim president, a Mormon vice president, a Congress full of Atheists and Supreme court full of agnostics...who all understand the importance of religious freedom that A Government full of cultural Christians who take such things lightly and make decisions on majority rule. :)

Especially if the believers this country understand and embrace the power of th Gospel.

Paul Burleson said...


Three of the better statements I've read....I

In a fallen world religious freedom is the best option on the market. It is also the most self-serving option for the Christian.

If we do not protect the right of the Hindu, the Muslim, the Wiccan, or the always come back to bite us in the end!

There are some areas in which I firmly believe American excels. The fight for religious freedom(historically championed by Baptists) is one.

I've already written my post for next time and I'm going to have to remind you and Aussie J about that as you guys are going to believe I stole your comments and just made a post using them ;-)

Aussie John said...


"you have stolen my thunder"! That saying is old hat Down Under amongst we ancient ones:)

"Great minds"? Yours, I'm sure! Not mine. That's why I read your blog.

When people are 'on the same page' (I'm not that ancient)they are bound to have some similar thoughts, which are worth repeating.

Most of my life of ministry I have been plagued by church people who are looking for an earthly kingdom, and wanting to legislate Christianity for society. Your article pressed the right buttons.

Maybe I'm less patient these days, but if anything will get me waving my walking stick, it is that.

Paul Burleson said...

Aussie J,

I think I can speak for all the commenters on this blog, You wave your walking stick this way any time. We're all the better for it.

Rex Ray said...

As Red Skeleton would say, “If I do it, I get a whippin I dood it.”

I’ve been thinking about you saying: “If we do not protect the right of the Hindu, the Muslim, the Wiccan, or the always comes back to bite us in the end!”

As noted by countries such as Denmark, the open arm policy of accepting Muslims has come back to bite them. On one note only, Muslims are only 4 percent but make up a majority of the country’s convicted rapist. (The victims are non-Muslim.)

We talk about our great grand children having to pay for our foolish spending, but I believe they’ll be more worried about staying out of certain neighborhoods.

Muslims don’t come to be Americans, they come to take over. Their leaders openly declare their goal is Islamic law once they are in majority. Islamic ideology is a cancer in our society.

President Obama said America will never be at war with Islam, but I believe the ultimate war will be between Islam and what’s left of the free world.

Rodney, our church has enough land for a Mosque; would you sell it for that purpose? I rest my case. :)

Paul Burleson said...


I know you addressed Rodney but I had a thought and decided to post it. I hope you don't mind.

The idea of ANY religion taking over things in a free society as ours is abhorrent to me personally. This is why in a free society you would want to be sure to live by the Constitution and proper established laws. But those functioning laws must apply as RESTRAINTS for all and PROTECTION for all.

I'm NOT speaking for anyone but myself here, but as to not wanting to sell church land for a Mosque, I wouldn't want to sell that land for a theatre, or high rise, or a golf course either.

But WHATEVER happens to America socially or politically, I believe as Kids of the Kingdom we're to present the gospel with delight trusting our King is in control of the outcome of history.

Rex Ray said...

Will we live in a free society if Muslims out-vote us? We only have to look at countries that have Muslim control for that answer.

In Israel, I scolded my son for not giving a ride to two Muslim women hitch-hiking. He said, “If they got in the car and realized who we were, they’d jump out regardless how fast I was driving.”

A few years before he moved to a small town 15 miles from Beersheba, a father had killed his high-school daughter by locking her in a shed and burning it. She had been seen talking to a Muslim boy NOT in her tribe on the street after school.

You’re right about not selling church property. We have 120 acres next to the church and I’d sell any of it to those you mentioned, but I’d not sell one foot for a Mosque at any price.

As far as trusting God for what we believe is good, I believe the Jews had the same idea in Germany. I believe God gave us brains and wants us to use them.

Thanks for the reply.

Paul Burleson said...


You're welcome. We do think differently, but, at our age, we can celebrate the fact that we can think at all.!!

Right? ;-)

Anonymous said...


I'm thinking you need to make a friend who is a Muslim, someone you can get to know as a person.

There has been this huge campaign out there against people of the Islamic faith, and the Islamic extremists have been held up as 'the stereotypical Muslim'.
But I have found that this is not the case. Far from it.


Aussie John said...


"I believe as Kids of the Kingdom we're to present the gospel with delight TRUSTING OUR KING IS IN CONTROL OF OUR HISTORY."

That's what I call using your Bible AND your brain!

Now Christiane has stolen my thunder! I have known lovely Muslims who were mystified by the hate filled fundamentalist interpretations of their religion.

Imagine! God has brought the foreign mission field to us!

My heart goes out to them because they don't know the peace and certainty for eternity that I do.

Self-righteousness was the hallmark of the hypocritical leaders of the Jews,who perverted the Scriptures to suit their own prejudices and interpretation of the law. They taught that it was right to hate your enemies, which was not what was written in the law.

On the other hand, Jesus came proclaiming the SPIRIT of the law, teaching that outward compliance with the Pharisees fundamentalism was not enough, but that God required an inward submission to his holy character which He revealed in Himself.

What Jesus preached was something antithetic,and utterly alien to the humanistic interpretations of the Pharisees.

The shock to their narrow minds must have been explosive when Jesus taught that His people must love their enemies, bless them that curse you,do good to them that hate you and to pray for those that use you.

A world which denies Jesus teaches an antagonistic, angry response to enemies, to answer their cursing with like cursing, to respond to their hate with hate, and to wish ill on those that use us for selfish ends.

Jesus’ teaching is so diametrically, radically different from what this world teaches that when we as Christians submit to it, and practice it, we stand out as men and women who do not hide our lamp under a basket.

Evidence will be clearly seen that our New Covenant, new nature is as foreign to this world as is a relationship with our enemies.

In this God will be glorified and opportunities to share the precious treasure we hold in these weak earthen vessels. Enemies are mystified by Christ-like responses to them, and want to know why we are so different. The rest is up to the work of God through His Holy Spirit, and to our genuinness in being ambassadors for Christ.

Rex Ray said...

Hey! I guess you heard when God gave the cow 50 years to live, she complained that was too long to work giving milk and gave 40 years back. And the monkey said it was too much to swing in trees 20 years, so he gave 10 back. Also the dog said 20 years was too long to bark and gave 10 back.

Man complained his allotted time of 20 years was too short and asked if he could have the years the animals gave back. The Lord said yes.

That’s why man enjoys his first 20 years, works the next 40 years, acts like a monkey entertaining grandchildren 10 years, then sits on the porch 10 years barking at everyone that goes by.


I knew a Muslim in Tokyo. He said he had been taught to hate Americans his whole life. He was trained to be a warrior. At 15 they held a pistol to his head saying they would kill him if he didn’t shoot a man holding a picture of his family saying, “See I have a son your age.”

At 32, he still cried telling the story. He fought in many battles and became ‘important’. He had been in Japan 8 years without proper papers. He saved a lot of money that he put in a bank back home. He accepted Jesus the first time he visited Tokyo Baptist Church where a former member of our church was the missionary pastor. (After 20 years he was fired as a missionary, but remains the pastor.)

The Muslim was told by the local Muslim priest that his money had been taken and unless he renounced Jesus, he would be deported and shot. He invited the priest to church. He got to tell his story many places in fighting deportation. Three years later, I heard his goodbye to the church as he was going to a seminary in Japan to study being a preacher.

Paul Burleson said...


Traveller sent to me via e-mail assuming it was too lengthy for a comment. I appreciate his thoughtfulness but like others in this comment thread, it’s too good to not make it available. But thank you Traveller for respecting this blog enough to allow me to make that decision. I’ve had to break it into three comments. Read them all, I assure you they are worth it as all in this thread have been.

Traveller said.....

It seems I was a bit hasty about not having anything to say to this most recent post of yours. Indeed, it was far too long to be accepted. I am provided it in this email and give you the liberty to post, or not, and to edit should you so desire. Thanks for some good, challenging conversation these past few days.

Here is my proposed post:

"Rex, I hope you will allow me to offer my perspective on Muslims. As background let me provide my experience. I have been traveling extensively internationally for more than 30 years. In that time I have spent a significant amount of time in nearly all the countries of the Middle East, including living a combined six years in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. In addition I have extensive experience in countries in Africa and Asia that are Muslim or large numbers of Muslims. During this time I have had extensive conversations and exposure to the way they live and their outlook on life. In addition, I have read extensively on Islam and the culture of the Middle East.

With that background may I suggest that while there are Muslims who fit the description you provide I do not believe they represent the majority of Muslims. You might be surprised to learn that most Muslims are concerned about many of the same things you and I are concerned about. They are concerned about the disintegration of their family life, the influence of secular media on the integrity and morals of their children and society in general.

Paul Burleson said...


Most of them struggle to make financial ends meet and to support not only their immediate family but their responsibilities to their extended family, which are significant. There is also a sincere concern that the secular West is so corrupting of their culture that it will be lost. They feel greatly pressured by our cultural dominance in the world. This not only includes a loss of morality but the pressures of consumerism and materialism. One of the reasons some react so strongly against the West is this feeling of a lost culture. (Remember to a Muslim there is no distinction between culture and religion. They are united in similar ways to what it was in the West prior to the Enlightenment.)

There is a broad spectrum of commitment to their faith. Many are cultural Muslims (similar to the cultural Christians we have). Some are devoted but not fanatic. Far more than you might expect are caring and concerned about others and the condition of others lives. But, yes, there are those who believe that Islam should dominate the world. Further, they live out the idea of hospitality to the stranger far more than most Christians in the US do. I have started a number of friendships because the Muslim reached out to me though I was a stranger in their country. Most Muslims have high regard for Americans as individuals and do a better job than we do of distinguishing between governments and people.

In my experience I do not find these proportions to be significantly different than the spectrum of belief among Christians who often are as militant in desiring to wipe out Islam in the name of modern day Crusades.

Likewise, in my experience God is chasing after Muslims as much as he is any other people of the world. I could relate a substantial number of stories to you of Muslims who have never heard the story of Jesus but Jesus has appeared to them in a dream that started them on a journey to find a Bible and Jesus followers so that they could learn more of Jesus so that they might follow him as well.

Paul Burleson said...


One specific story may interest you. About 18 months ago a young lady in my university Sunday School class brought an Iraqi Shi'ite woman who was working on her graduate degree in our local university to our class because this young lady wanted to go to a church while she was in the US. On that first day, with only the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we had a most wonderful conversation that not only highlighted our differences but also similarities of belief. It was only one small step but it was a step toward bridging a gap between us as individuals. As the hour of our time together passed the presence of the Holy Spirit was palpable in our conversation in ways I have seldom experienced. I cannot yet report to you this young lady has chosen to follow Jesus but I do know she has a very different view of Jesus followers than when she walked into the room that Sunday morning. It remains my prayer and that of others that one day she will choose Jesus.

In my opinion instead of lumping all Muslims into one category, which they do not appreciate any more than we like to be treated in the same way, it is much better to enter into conversations with them and live with them in a way that they see the love of God. For among Muslims there is a great hunger for acceptance from God as Islam has a strong sense of it is the balance of how one lives their life as to whether they will live in eternity with God. In other words did their good deeds outweigh their evil deeds. This leads to great uncertainty as to whether God will accept them.

It would be my recommendation that you follow the advice of Christiane and seek out a Muslim as a friend, not with an agenda to convert them but to learn who they are and enjoy being with them as a friend. God will provide all the opportunity for them to see and hear Jesus in your life. This is all Father asks of us.

Paul Burleson said...

Remember..the previous three comments make up the one Traveller sent me. My picture appears only because I posted them from his e-mail. Disregard the picture. He's MUCH better looking than am I.

Christiane and Aussie J.

Thanks for continuing the conversation.


You, my friend are funny. I'm into my "barking years" that's for sure.

Aussie John said...


I'm so glad you published traveller's words. Excellent!

Paul Burleson said...

Aussie J,

I was thinking the same thing about the comment someone posted at 2:46 PM.

Anonymous said...


I can hear you barking, and I am laughing because, in my family, we don't bark, we 'meow'. :)

My dear Father, of blessed memory, had congestion for years in his eighties, and on occasion, when breathing out, would make a sound like 'meow'.
I would say, 'Pop, you're meowing. You need to do your inhaler breathing exercises more'.
God Bless him, he tried.

Well, I inherited the gene.
I have asthma and when work was done here at the house today, a lot of dust was kicked up by the electricians. Of course, I reacted, full-scale, and had to use the inhaler. But not before it happened that my dear husband, who is always very honest (darn it), looked over at me and said, 'You're meowing.'


Rodney Sprayberry said...

Someone once said that that one person’s freedom ends where another person’s rights begin. I think Paul’s thoughts concerning restraint and protection for all is important to remember.

Using your example…

A church is a legal entity and thus is entitled according to national, state, and local laws, to certain rights such as right to personal property (not to mention freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, and freedom of worship)

Setting aside imminent domain and regulatory issues, the right to own personal property means that we have the freedom to do with the property what we wish. Also, no one can use the property in any way they want without our consent.

But, let’s say a neighbor decides to sale his property to a group who wants to build a mosque. Or, he consents to allowing that group to build a mosque on his property. Either way, he (or the group) has a right to do with the property what they wish.

Now, as a church we may protest such a move because that would be within our rights to do so. However let’s say for the sake of discussion, the mosque is built and a group of Muslims begins to lawfully assemble to practice their religion.

Then, we have a responsibility as Americans to support their right to religious freedom. As believers, we also have a responsibility to build relational bridges for the purposes of living out the implication/application of the Gospel with those who are our neighbors and/or enemies.

Do not forget Rex, the Puritans left England because they wanted to practice their religion free from persecution. Then they turned around, in a new world, and for the most part prohibited others from doing the same.

The Constitution and Bill of Rights was created by imperfect men of foresight and genius, to protect against such things.

Here is a historical tidbit to think about…

Did you know that George Burroughs was one of the few men (and member of the clergy) to actually be executed during the Salem witch trials? He was accused of being the ring leader of a group of local witches by powerful preachers like Cotton Mather. He was accused, among other things, of having unconventional religious beliefs and he was well known as a religious dissident. According to, historians, he was the only person in the trials to actually die for his religious convictions. Oh, did I mention…the evidence is pretty clear that he was a Baptist.

Paul Burleson said...


You said......"Then, we have a responsibility as Americans to support their right to religious freedom. As believers, we also have a responsibility to build relational bridges for the purposes of living out the implication/application of the Gospel with those who are our neighbors and/or enemies."

You have captured in this comment the twin responsibilities I've been trying to put out there for the past couple of posts. We are Americans and are to be responsible as such. We are Christians and are to be responsible as such. The two are not the same and play out differently at times. But both are where we are and are not always understood by those around us.

What's worse is that sometimes WE confuse the two. I repeat, as you've illustrated, Christian and American are NOT synonyms.

Well said.

Paul Burleson said...


I've chosen to do for Rex what I chose to do for Traveller. I want all of you to know neither expected that it was going to be done and left that to me. I appreciate that and I've, as I said, chosen to to do it.

I am choosing to not do this in the future so as to not start a trend. I hope all of you will understand.

Rex said.....


Our computer says the my browser's cookie function ability is disabled, and I can't make a comment or ever read them. So could you do for me what you did for Traveller? Thanks. (BTW - I don't even eat cookies.)

Did I not say Red Skeleton was going to get a whippin? That proves I’m a prophet does it not? :) I’ve enjoyed the comments and the attitude they were given – especially Traveller’s.

But do you think I don’t know these good things I’ve been told?

I’ll explain by saying I’ve lived in Germany two years, Japan 13 months - 13 trips, Kirkastan one week, about a year of mission trips to Mexico, two years in Alaska -7 trips, and Israel four months - 4 trips. (Through stupidity - swam four miles alone across the Sea of Galilee at 65…In my ‘barking age’ that’s no brag.)

I said that to say I don’t remember disliking anyone including Muslims. (One tried to talk my son and me into getting a second wife.)

What I’m getting at is most people get along with other people.

Germans did not vote for the holocaust but leaders led them there. Neither will Muslims vote to “kill the infidel” but leader’s goals will lead them there. It’s not a matter of ‘if’, but a matter of ‘when’

Paul Burleson said...

Rex said....con't

Today I read an email that led to:

This link:

Tells what this Muslim organization (Council American Islamic Relations [CAIR] is supposed to do.)

But this link:

tells about the book “Muslim Mafia” exposing:
Which politicians are given money by CAIR.
How Capitol Hill staffers are strategically placed by CAIR.
Why FBI bonuses are paid to agents who are nice to CAIR.
Why our government is afraid to reveal what they really know about CAIR.
How CAIR has compromised our intelligence systems.
How CAIR is secretly working with government officials to ban the Patriot Act to make future attacks against our country even easier.

New evidence that CAIR was launched to support the Hamas terrorist group and has transferred tens of thousands of dollars to a group recently convicted as Hamas' top fundraising arm in the U.S. – money that ended up aiding terrorist attacks on Israelis and Americans;

Internal documents showing CAIR, despite claims of cooperating with law enforcement, actively works behind the scenes to mislead and deceive the FBI on behalf of terrorism suspects – and has even cultivated Muslim moles inside law enforcement who have tipped off FBI terror targets;

CAIR is more closely tied to al-Qaida than previously reported;

CAIR and its sister fronts are funded by foreign Muslim Brotherhood sources;

CAIR leaders share the Muslim Brotherhood's ultimate goal to replace the U.S. Constitution with Islamic law;

The Muslim Brotherhood investment in corporate America will be used to pressure U.S. companies into compliance with Islamic principles.

To sum up what I’m saying – it’s not good Muslim people we need to worry about, but their leaders and when push comes to shove people follow their leaders.

Aussie John said...


I read Rex's words with real interest because the very same thing is being said and written about what is happening in this country.

Whether America or Australia, to put it simplistically,there is nothing which escapes the attention of the Sovereign Ruler of the universe which He created.

We Christians, across the board, believe the Scriptures declare the omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient nature of our great God.

Without sticking my head in the sand and hoping the bad things will not happen to me, mine and my nation (they do, and have), I trust Him.

He has protected me from some evil Australians, and possibly evil nationals from elsewhere as well. I really don't know about the latter, but I do know the times of my family, my times, and the times of my nation, and this world are in His hands.

I know one thing: He knows, more than anyone else, what CAIR, the KGB,the CIA, and the AFP are up to, and he can shut them down at any time.

Am I naive? Simplistic? or some other epithet? I don't know!

Do I let my guard down sometimes, taking my eyes off my King? Oh,yes!

I do know that nothing happens in His universe without Him knowing and allowing (not causing) it to happen!

I do know Paul knew what he was talking about when he counselled the Philippians:
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and petition, along with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus."

traveller said...

Aussie John, while I understand Rex's concerns I tend toward your view of the world. Thanks for expressing that better than I could have done.

Mrs. Austin said...

Paul: I just read this post. And man did my face have the biggest smile! You are such a great writer and truly have a great desire to tell the truth even if it goes against your "group." I love it! There have even been some comments that you have posted to other fellow readers that I wish I had the "like" button from Facebook. Although I think you can be too nice to some people. ;)

Rex Ray: I have read your comments and decided that I should respond.

Let us not forget the Inquisition, Salem Witch Trials, and the Dark Ages. All Christian atrocities.

Christians should not be concerned about Muslims. They should focus their attention to atheists. With more and more advances in science it is getting harder and harder for people to believe in something with no evidence.

I mean at least Muslims believe in a god. Us atheists sin and enjoy it. ;)

Science bless!