(Back in January, Atmosphere Church did a sermon series called, “Why Church”. I wrote this as a post for a series of blogs that went along with the sermons. As Maine faces a controversial vote regarding marriage tomorrow, I thought it would be good to reiterate this and maybe get us in the right thought processes in preparation for it.)
Is America a Christian nation? We may be less Christian than you actually think we are. Let’s pray that the Church in America will be what she needs to be, and not be blown every which way by different winds of change- may we stand firm in the Word.
One of the biggest assumptions in this nation is that America was built on Christian beliefs and morals. Contrary to popular belief, this assumption is not entirely true. Yes, you will see when looking at the Reformation and years following, the settlers were primarily Christian Pilgrims and such all looking for freedom from a Catholic and Anglican dominated Europe, however, this was not necessarily the faith of our founding fathers. Many of them were Deists. A Deist is one who believes that (logically) there must be a God somewhere out there, but that He is so transcendent (far removed) that we can never know Him. This idea came out of the enlightenment in the 1700’s. These Deists have always ravaged the Church and what she stands for.
Between the American war for Independence, the War of 1812, and the French Revolution, Deist thought permeated the masses. Questions of “Where is God” came and caused many to wonder if He cared about all the wars that were being fought. The French Revolution (1789) especially ruined the testimony of the Church because the Patriotic French were fighting against a monarchy that the Catholic Church had always supported. Enter the Deists and Atheists who were out to destroy organized religion (especially if it was for any political figure) and you get France at the turn of the 19th century. Fortunately, God worked through great preachers like D.L. Moody, Charles Finney, and others to prevent this happening in America to the same extent. During this time, Missionaries began to leave from America to the World. Some brought the message of Christ as they should, but others, following the doctrine of Manifest Destiny, brought more American Culture than the Gospel (and this continues today).
This is the doctrine that set America on the course to becoming a land of control freaks. The basic idea behind Manifest Destiny is that, because God gave us this land, He has allowed us to constantly expand and eventually create a vast empire. America, as a result of the Church being influenced by things such as Deism and this new (and false) doctrine, was headed towards total thirst for control. This fueled numerous wars, including our own Civil War. The Union could not bare the fact that they were losing control of half the nation, and thus fought strongly for the regain of the South causing people to ask, “whose side is God on?”
The 20th Century and Post Modern Thought
Manifest Destiny, in a way, has continued right through to the present. Here, we do not blame Democrats, Republicans, the Church, the Atheist, or even God as some would like to do. The blame can be focused solely on our lack of willingness to look at what mistakes of the past we are repeating today. Two World Wars, a near nuclear holocaust, conflicts in Vietnam, Korea, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and mass amounts of wrong doings by people in the name of God are all results of us as the American people, and especially the American Church failing to remember who God is, what Christ has done, and why we are here.
As the past hundred years have seen its share of war, bloodshed, disease, and famine, the Church has again been left with the inevitable question of “where is God?” Unfortunately, the hurt that has been done to Americans and thus the World by a misguided Church in America, has caused people to believe there to be no truth. These ideas of Post-Modernism and Relativistic thought have come across America and the World in force. “Everything is true, and nothing is false” according to those who believe in relativism, and the Church stands about to fall at the hands of the enemy, but there is hope. This hope lies in Christ, and His ability to bring change to the Church in America, and the world.
Are we as the Church, the Body of Christ, living as we should in the time and place that God has placed us in?
Are we trying to make a culture of moralistic Deism? Or are we spreading the hope, truth, and love of the Gospel message to the World?