For it is by grace you have been saved...

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Curbing our Patriotism?

In my last post (which was almost two weeks anyone still out there?) I wrote about the current state of our nation compared to the mindset, beliefs, etc. of our founding fathers.  Surely, we've come a long, long way from those beginnings.  But how much time should we spend focused on "bringing the nation back"?

I'm in the midst of preparing an adult VBS study on developing a biblical worldview, and one of the video presentations I'm planning to use traces the history of that worldview in our nation.  It points out that our founding fathers had a well developed biblical worldview, that is seeing all things through the lens of Scripture, through the eyes of faith, etc.  (As you know, worldview studies takes in a bit more than that, but for the sake of this post, that oversimplified summary should do.)  We indeed have a proud heritage as Americans when it comes to this. 

The presenter goes on the bemoan the current state of things, which he is right to do.  But at what point to we take this too far?  At what point does this consideration of our rich national past sidetrack us from our proper biblical role of preaching the gospel and making disciples?  

If you've read anything in these cyber-pages, you know that I'm a proud American, have been immensely active in political things, and have a strong desire to see our nation return to its biblical roots.  But at what point do we let our patriotism overshadow our kingdom responsibilities. 

One of the things that concerns me about presentations like the one I'm using, is an almost one-to-one application of God's dealings with Israel, and God's dealings with America.  We act as if God's defense of His chosen nation in the past, now applies to America today.  It may not always be in the extreme of some of those radical reconstructionist types, but there is a undercurrent in much of modern "evangelicalism" that tends to truly see America as the chosen people of God, and equates our current woes as a nation with Israel's disobedience.

We do know that the USA is not Israel, right?  In fact, controversial as it may be with some, modern Israel is not Israel.  (I guess I shouldn't digress into the whole idea of the Church being the inheritors of the promise and the spiritual children of Abraham and the dividing wall being torn down between Jew and Gentile and God making one new man out of both, so...moving along)  

This is a wonderfully blessed nation.  We've enjoyed unprecedented freedoms.  And yes, we have moved far from the foundations that gave us those freedoms, and yes, we may even suffer as a nation because of it.  But is our job as the Church of Christ to save the "nation" or to make disciples of all nations?  Is our focus to be on trying to reinstate biblical principles in our government, or is it to see men and women come to faith in Christ, to become fully devoted followers of Him?  

Now, two things.  One, as good Christians citizens it is our right and responsibility to be involved in the political process.  I've argued that case over and over.  We should be involved as citizens.  And two, the truth is that if we saw men and women truly come to Christ, if we saw a genuine revival across this nation, it couldn't help but have an impact on society, government, etc.  So the two goals are not necessarily mutually exclusive. 

But how much of our time and energy should be focused on that vs. our Kingdom responsibilities?  Is our national patriotism to supplant our Kingdom commitment? Do we need to curb our patriotism, in the sense that while being involved is a good things, spending too much time on "national" issues to the neglect of "church" issues is not a good thing? 

Drawing the lines can be tough, sometimes.  I'm certainly not going to be less involved in voting, in my support of the Constitution Party, etc.  But maybe I need to be more worried about the men and women God has placed right in front of me; seeing them come to know Christ; placing my Kingdom Citizenship in front of my American Citizenship.  Just some thoughts. 

1 comment:

Gregg Metcalf said...

To answer your main question I look to Jesus and Paul as a guide [no I am not trying to patronize, condescend, or etc.] They didn't call for any "national or political" reform.
They preached the gospel.

Neither called for an end to slavery, or to overthrow the emperors, make any political reform. As a matter of fact the disciples wanted Christ to so so.

This country will never "turn right" or make a "U-turn." Times, Paul told Timothy will only get worse.

Preach the gospel, make disciples, shepherd God's people. No Falwellian Moral Majority or political activists are going to change this nation, or any nation.

Churches, organizations, and nations move right to left, not left to right.

WE need to vote, elect representatives, address issues, but our energy, time, and resources need to be in the service of Christ.

We are not citizens here, we are pilgrims, we are passing through.

The condition of this nation is a direct result of this 200+ year experiment of man governing man.

Having said all this, "I feel ya!"