Does God insist on us being a “Christian” nation, and does this fulfill our mission? Before I am tarred and feathered for my reflections on this topic, know that I am a Dad and a Father-In-Law to active duty combat veterans. I support them and the fellow soldiers in all their duties for our nation and around the world. I admired theirs and so many like them, who pledge to defend and support the Constitution from enemies both foreign and domestic. Furthermore, I believe this U.S. to be the second most important document ever penned by human hands. The most important document ever penned by human hands is the Bible.
This edition is directed towards the United States church and how the culture of nationalism bias has infiltrated, even polluted the Mission of the Church. By insisting that we, the good old U.S. of A. MUST be a Christian nation misses the mark of who God is calling us Followers of Jesus to be in this fallen creation. Does righteousness exalt a nation? Absolutely! Does abandoning the truths of God destroy a nation? You bet! But in an attempt to be righteous and avoid being evil, many Christian Americans have mistaken our calling as being that of creating a “Christian” United States of America.
Many of those who hold this view, point out that God formed the nation of Israel in the Old Testament to be a Godly Nation. This quote from Exodus 19:6 is often their rationale:
And you will be my kingdom of priests, my holy nation.’ This is the message you must give to the people of Israel.”
But remember, that the Bible wasn’t written in English. The Old Testament language was Hebrew and that word Nation is gowy and it means “a massing of people, a foreign nation”. God set up Israel as a “foreign” nation, one that is counter-cultural to this fallen creation. But notice 1 phrase and 1 key word; one is about ownership and the other is about purpose. The phrase is “My Kingdom”. This speaks about ownership and in order to be a citizen of a “kingdom” one must submit to the Rule of The King. This is not a democracy, though often some vainly imagine this is what God wants.
The key word is “Priests”. This is the purpose of God’s people. It is to serve Him and the people He loves. And who are the people He loves? Everyone! And He wants His Kingdom of Priests planted right in the middle of the Kingdom of the Enemy who is ruining His Creation. I believe it is wrong to interpret this passage as a call for nationalism. But it has in so many corners of the U.S.
And one of the, perhaps unintended results is that well-meaning Christians are looking to the political process for our country’s redemption. Much of our chaos has been produced through this political process. God is not looking for a defined geographical space to be “His” nation. God is looking around this globe for “pockets of priests” who will serve Him first, then serve the people He is reaching out to reclaim and restore.
I want you to look at this passage from the New Testament and see it in perhaps a different way. It is 1 Peter 2:9.
For you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
And though some may jump on that word “nation” as their proof, here is the Greek word for “nation”. It is ethnos and according to Thayer’s Greek lexicon is means “a multitude (whether of men or of beasts) associated or living together; a company, troop, swarm.” And, get this, in Strong’s lexicon it means ” a tribe; specially, a foreign one.” And do not overlook that key phrase from Peter: Royal Priests. Royal means we serve under a King, THE King.
Our Mission, as chosen, called and Royal Priests is to live together like a swarm invading the territory of the Enemy, the territory that Satan stole from God. It’s not geography or politics folks. It is The Kingdom of God whom we have been chosen and called to serve. Not a political identity. So Church, let’s be the swarm!