The Church in America

America isn’t a Christian nation, and call me crazy, but I don’t think it should be either. I’m sure that I’ve already ruffled some feathers, but before you get angry and pass me off as a “crazy liberal” {which I’m not}, please take the time to read this and know why.

I think it’s time that we let go of the idea that America is a Christian nation. According to John Adams, “The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” So why are so many people so obsessed with trying to make the government behave like it is?

Politics and Christianity

I’ve never lived outside of the South or even north of Jackson, MS, I’m a middle class white female, I am a Christian, and I’m even married to a pastor. Most people would probably assume that I’m a conservative just based on that information alone, but I have a real problem putting myself in that classification most days. Politics absolutely exhausts me {ironic considering that I almost moved to DC a few years ago to work on Capitol Hill}, but I’m really more exhausted with the church in America.

This next statement is probably going to get me in trouble, but I’m going to say it anyway: being a conservative doesn’t make you a Christian. The teachings of Fox News are not the same as the teachings of the Bible. I fully believe that there are people on all sides of the political spectrum who love Jesus. Did you know that Jesus wasn’t a Republican? He also wasn’t white with blue eyes, but that’s a discussion for another day.

Morality Doesn’t Equal Christianity

I think it’s safe to say that there are people in America who aren’t Christians who would agree that it’s wrong to steal your things or kill someone. There are also plenty of people who don’t because crime is a thing, but behaving based on a set of morals doesn’t mean that you believe in Jesus.

My point is that you can’t make blanket statements like “America is a Christian nation because we have a law that says that you can’t murder someone else” because morality doesn’t equal Christianity. If anything, that’s just behavior control, and we have enough of a problem with that within the church without pushing that on our country as well. So while we’re talking about it, let’s talk about it.

Behavior Control

At it’s most basic, behavior control could be explained as getting someone to act correctly without addressing the heart/meaning/reason behind it. I honestly think that this whole notion of behavior control is behind many of the issues that people have with the church as a whole. Even within the church, most people think that they can behave their way to heaven, and the reality is that you can’t. Many people can quote John 3:16, but if you read John 3:17-18, you’ll see that if Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross really forgave all sin, your options are believe or don’t believe, not behave or don’t behave. You can’t just address the behavior without first addressing the belief. You can’t expect for non Christians to act like Christians or hold them to a Christian standard, and the reality is that most Americans aren’t Christians.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
– John 3:16-18 ESV 

The Church in America

It is not the government’s job to act like the church. Let me repeat that just to make sure it sticks. It is NOT the government’s job to act like the church. It is the responsibility of the church!

It’s the church’s responsibility to care for ALL lives – all people of all colors of all economic levels of all political affiliations in all stages of life. I mean being truly pro-life. Essentially just act like the Jesus that we all claim to want to be more like. We don’t get to classify people based on their circumstances or beliefs, and we don’t get to hate people for being different than us. We as Christians have to get to know people up close and love them where they are.

Everyone is worthy of the Gospel, not just the people most like you, and if we really cared about the state of the souls of all of the people around us, the church and the world as a whole would most likely look radically different than it does now. If we as Christians really want to bring change to our country and bring people closer to Jesus, this is how we do it! We have to address the hearts of people, not just legislate people into behavior control.

I think it’s time for the Christians to stop trying to make the government act like the church and start getting Christians to act like Jesus. There are too many hurt people in the world who aren’t hearing the Gospel because we are too busy focusing on our differences.

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