Why does it matter that we’re not a Christian nation any more? Maybe a better question – Does it matter that we’re not a Christian nation any more? Forget about the why – does it even matter at all? For those who think we still are a Christian nation, please see Americans want to read the Bible more, but don’t. That should remove any doubt that we really aren’t. And while this is written with the U.S. in mind – it’s true for any country that used to be Christian, but no longer is.
BTW – by Christian nation I mean one where enough people really are Christians, and live as Christians, so that it’s obvious the country, as a whole, has Christian values and lives them out. Therefore, the silent majority, or anything like it, doesn’t count.
Does it matter that we’re not a Christian nation any more?
You can probably guess that I think it matters. Otherwise, why would I even ask the question? It’d be beyond weird to ask if something matters, conclude it doesn’t, and just end there. Now – you’re obviously free to disagree with me. You can even feel like we’re better off not being a Christian nation.
However, I think conclusions like that are based more on viewing Christianity as the things that self-proclaimed Christians have turned Christianity into – and much less on how Jesus said His followers should act.
Why does it matter that we’re not a Christian nation any more?
At first I was going to put in a bunch of things Jesus said. Examples of how Christians are supposed to live. The importance of loving each other. And all of that’s relevant. And it’s good. However, it hit me that this is different. It’s not about individuals. In other words, it’s not about a Christian person going out to do the Great Commission thing – and talk to one person or a group of people about why they should become Christian(s).
No – this is about a country. Yes, a country is a group of individuals. But my question, however inadvertently it may have been, is about a country. In my case, it’s about the U.S. But it could be about any country.
And yes, it was very inadvertent. And yet, when I realized what I’d done, I decided it was actually better than what I was planning on doing. Especially since the small group I’m in was talking about the misuse of a passage from the Old Testament. A passage that really does fit in with the “country” level view – but not in the “individual” view for which it’s usually dragged out.
Why is the different between a Christian nation and a Christian individual important?
Let’s look at one of those times when Jesus spoke of loving everyone.
Love for Enemies
Mt 5:43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Obviously – it talks about love. But did you notice the part about the sun rising and the rain being sent?
He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
Let’s take a look now at some passages about rain. Rain from God.
Dt 11:8 Observe therefore all the commands I am giving you today, so that you may have the strength to go in and take over the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 9 and so that you may live long in the land that the LORD swore to your forefathers to give to them and their descendants, a land flowing with milk and honey. 10 The land you are entering to take over is not like the land of Egypt, from which you have come, where you planted your seed and irrigated it by foot as in a vegetable garden. 11 But the land you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven. 12 It is a land the LORD your God cares for; the eyes of the LORD your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end.
Dt 11:13 So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today—to love the LORD your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul— 14 then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and oil. 15 I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied.
Notice – God tells His people that if they obey Him, then it will rain according to the seasons. In turn, that rain will produce an abundance of crops for every need they have. In other words, life will be good. The people will be able to eat and be satisfied. No droughts. No famines. None of the stuff that actually did happen when the people turned away from God, as in:
Dt 11:16 Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them. 17 Then the LORD’S anger will burn against you, and he will shut the heavens so that it will not rain and the ground will yield no produce, and you will soon perish from the good land the LORD is giving you. 18 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, 21 so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the LORD swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.
I realize, some will try to blame every little thing that happens on God. If there’s a drought – it’s God’s fault. If there’s too much rain – it’s God’s fault. On the flip side, some will say every little thing that happens in the fault of some person or some people who have turned away from God.
I get it. What we sometimes forget, or want to ignore, is Satan. Some things happen because of Satan. And some things just happen for either no reason or for reason’s we’ll never know.
So while we can’t say every bad thing that happens is because we turned away from God, neither should we ignore the warnings from God about what will happen when we do turn away from Him. Some of those things are about us – as individual people. Maybe as a family. But also as a country.
If we’re not a Christian nation anymore, are we stealing from God?
Here’s the reason I ask if a non-Christian nation is stealing from God. Maybe especially one that, like the U.S. and maybe like where you live, used to be “Christian” but isn’t any longer. On top of that, one that seems to be increasingly proud that they aren’t anymore.
You see, someone who knows what Christianity is really about knows that everything, literally, belongs to God. Our home. Our income. Our car. Even our life. And we know that we should give some portion of what we have back to God.
2Co 9:6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written:
“He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever.” 10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
2Co 9:12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14 And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
That’s what we should feel and do, if we’re really Christian. Granted, most don’t. But as fewer and fewer people are Christian, then the portion of the country that even tries to follow the standard set above drops.
For some period of time, using the example of rain from above, God will send the rain to the righteous and the unrighteous. However, there’s also a time at which the situation changes. God will withhold the rain from both the unrighteous and the righteous.
There’s no secret about that. It’s in the Old Testament. And while many things have changed between the Old and New Covenants, the concept of justice has not.
Neither has God’s command for Christians to be His representatives here on earth. You know – the Great Commission thing? And all the things that were said by Jesus about us loving each other?
When Christians do those things, there’s a noticeable result. I’m going to climb out on a limb here and mention global warming. Ever since Adam and Eve, people were to take care of God’s earth. Because we aren’t doing that – things like climate change, poisoned food and water supplies, starvation, Etc are happening.
It’s a case of greed overtaking care of the planet and even overtaking care of other people. As Christians, we should all be feeling extremely guilty about what’s happening to God’s creation. But look at the politics. The Christian right (republicans in the U.S.) is all for destroying the planet in the name of making money and not taking care of people who need help because that means less money for them. Meanwhile, the left (democrats) are the ones trying to do something about climate change and taking care of disadvantaged people. Yes, the same left who tries to equate women’s health with abortion.
How does that happen? How can that be? Not only is this particular situation backwards, but the two sides hate each other so much that nothing’s going to happen.
And so, as a country, I feel like we’re very much in the situation that came up in Malachi. The one that many people try to make an individual issue. But clearly, it’s a “country” issue – a country where the people used to know God, but don’t any longer. A country like ours.
Mal 3:6 “I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. 7 Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD Almighty.
“But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’
Mal 3:8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me.
“But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’
“In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit,” says the LORD Almighty. 12 “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the LORD Almighty.
Mal 3:13 “You have said harsh things against me,” says the LORD.
“Yet you ask, ‘What have we said against you?’
Mal 3:14 “You have said, ‘It is futile to serve God. What did we gain by carrying out his requirements and going about like mourners before the LORD Almighty? 15 But now we call the arrogant blessed. Certainly the evildoers prosper, and even those who challenge God escape.’ ”
So yes, I do believe we’re stealing from God. Not just because of what we don’t give to the church. But also because of what we don’t do for His people that need our help. And because we have taken so much from the world He gave us to live in – and haven’t put nearly enough care into making sure it would continue to be a viable home. We’ve destroyed the home He gave us. And we’re literally killing the people we should be helping.
We’re not a Christian nation anymore, but is it too late to recover?
The only real question I can see is this: Have we gone so far away from God that even the promise from Malachi won’t be fulfilled?
Sure – maybe we can look at it and say that of course, God will come through. But that’s not the issue. What I’m asking is – have we gone so far that we won’t even ask? Are we worshiping ourselves so much that we’ll never, as a country, turn back to God and ask for His help?
Or are we so selfish that we don’t even want to ask? Are the decision makers, politicians, people with influence, so much n love with the power and the money they have that they really don’t want to give it up? Are we electing people into positions who are going to continue to lead us into a path of even greater disparity between the haves and the have-nots? Are those who need help so caught up in the rhetoric and the hate that they don’t even realize what’s happening?
We, Christians, should know that no matter the state of this planet we call home, God can and will restore it. After it’s too late, after Armageddon. But He can do it. But are the rich so blinded by money that they don’t realize this cannot go on forever? Or don’t they even care? Are they so short-sighted and / or so jaded by money that they don’t care that even their own children or grandchildren will end up in a world that’s running out of time?
The passage in Malachi says, Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”
The question isn’t whether or not God will provide.
No – the question is whether or not we will even bother to test God.