It seems to me that it is a simple biblical fact that God does not hold America in any higher esteem than He does the other nations on the earth. It is true that God sends His rain upon the just and the unjust, [Common Grace referred to in the last post]] but America is no more "just" than is England, Germany, or China. We may have a better system of government. [We do IMHO] We may have more fairness in our laws. [Ditto] We may have more religion in our national life. [Hmmm maybe] But none of these things are the basis of being “Justified" before a Holy God.
In fact, I tend to think all the righteousnesses [Good deeds] of ANY nation are viewed before a holy God the same as the righteous deeds of all the human race which are scripturally said to be as "filthy rags." To be justified biblically [Declared Just] takes a faith relationship with Christ. So it is true that Americans can be Christian by the biblical definition of Christian. But a Nation, even America, cannot. [This because "Christian" speaks of relationship NOT Institutions or beliefs or even deeds.]
May I say parenthetically...This same reasoning is why I believe it would be fair to ALSO say there is no such thing as Christian music or Christian literature and the like. There are Christians who sing or write literature just as there are Christians who are citizens of America. But I repeat, being a Christian has to do with a personal relationship with Christ, NOT a system of beliefs held or a system of laws based on a belief in God or even good deeds done. The fact that we don't seem to know this may indicate that we are perhaps more engaged in our day in "Christian Institution building" than we are "Kingdom building."
It is also true that we Christians are to be light and salt to any national community [Even America] in which we may live. But, and here is an important but, that is NOT to be in a politically confrontational way. Our calling AS CHRISTIANS is clearly to NOT have our faith placed in better laws, the correction of injustices through the courts or even through the election process. Fair and just laws are good for ANY nation and as a citizen we should vote for them and OBEY THEM. But as Christ's ambassadors, our hope is in the One who is above all governments and we have NOT been called to heal the moral wounds of a society that has been fatally wounded from it's beginnings as all societies are. But we ARE called to proclaim the gospel which speaks of every person's need to be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:20).
There is only one hope that we as believers have that can possibly bring about a correction in any moral collapse of any society in which we may live, including America, and that is to trust that God will work through our witness by saving those with whom we share the gospel. Changing an unbeliever's political views or bringing about a moral revolution in a community does not improve anyone's standing before God. It is certainly not a means to His special favor or blessing on a nation as a whole. It is the heart that needs regeneration and changed, not one's political or moral views, even if those views embrace the Preamble and Constitution of the U. S. of A.
I said earlier that fair and just laws are good for ANY nation and as a citizen we should vote for them and OBEY THEM. The passage of the civil rights act of 1964 [Enacted July 2, 1964] was a landmark piece of legislation in the United States that outlawed major forms of discrimination against blacks and women, including racial segregation. It ended unequal application of voter registration requirements and racial segregation in schools, at the workplace and of the facilities that serve the general public. Our history up to that point evidenced the need of such legislation. But our history since then shows the failure of even that just and needed legislation. Things may be a bit better but as a nation we still have and will always have much work to do in battling evil because it is a losing battle actually.
The battle is truly won in those who DO respond to the gospel as they discover themselves to be united with another nation of people which is of a heavenly order. They then can live as such REGARDLESS of the failures or successes of ANY laws of ANY present culture or society. True citizens of the true "Holy nation" [The true Church] will actually be what scripture calls "salt and light" which are both needed in any nation on earth.
As citizens of this new "Holy Nation," [The Church] I believe that we certainly will do battle against all kinds of evil. But our ways and weapons are different. To show how we might wage warfare as we live in our own American culture I'm going to make three statements about present day issues we face nationally that I think indicate a presence of evil and how we might face them as salt and light. [It will ALWAYS be important to remember our weapons of warfare as Christians are not carnal but spiritual]
To do battle against racism...we would lead the way with concrete acts of kindness, inclusion, and love. All the time building relationships with every kind of person regardless of their race or color. I am speaking of things such as a refusal to recognize any limitations on marriage or church membership locally BECAUSE of skin color. This way of living was forgotten by many Christians as I was growing up as evidenced by local churches taking African-Americans into their fellowship, not as members, [Even if membership roles were to be biblical which I doubt] but under a dubious term called "Watchcare." Real Salt and light living would not have permitted that. All the time being mindful of the gospel being shared effectively with life and words. [We won't at present deal with the failure of light and salt people prior to and even since the Civil war.]
This would be regardless of the civil laws for or against racism.
To do battle on behalf of the poor... The Church would support the GENUINE needs of widows, orphans, and others who CANNOT provide for themselves, such as women being abused, and we would take seriously such things by making certain they are not permitted to exist unchallenged legally, morally, AND spiritually. We would open our hearts, wallets, and even homes to care for the poor and needy, [James 1:27] spending time with those who are unable to provide for themselves. All the time being mindful of the gospel being share effectively with life and words.
This would be regardless of the civil laws for or against the poor and needy and the abused.
To do battle against abortion... we would open our hearts and homes to pregnant women who don't need a "pro-life lecture, but a roof, a meal, and prenatal care, as well as become homes where adoption is a reality. The Church's concern would address the protection of our children even AFTER their womb experience is over by making certain that ANY child abuse is taken seriously by the people that make up the Church. All the time being mindful of the gospel being shared effectively with life and words.
This would be regardless of the civil laws for or against such abortion.
These are but a few of the practical ways believers are to demonstrate the love of Christ instead of our becoming objects of ridicule by constantly engaging in negative rhetoric about how bad our society is and thinking our government is the answer to any and all human needs. This is recognizing our weapons of warfare that go beyond the making of laws and confronting a culture. We are to "be" something different regardless of the cultures or laws that exist.
What has just been described would truly be light and salt to ANY nation. THEN trying to decide if America IS Christian would be a moot issue. Are there any Christians in America would be the question!! If the answer is "yes" they would be what salt is, a preservative which can keep decay from spreading and they would also be light which can show the way to go in the midst of darkness. That's always the result of being REALLY Christian.