"For us let it be enough to know ourselves to be in the place where God wants us, and carry on our work, even though it be no more than the work of an ant, infinitesimally small, and with unforeseeable results."
-- Abbé Monchanin

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Is The USA A Christian Nation?

Many today argue that the United States of America is a Christian nation. Is this true?

Early in his ministry Jesus laid out what his job description:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, 21 and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:18ff New International Version)

The Gospels show that spiritual, physical and psychological healing was a major part of his work.

Justice was also of great importance. He condemned the religious leaders for being preoccupied with ritual practices but neglecting justice. (Luke 11:42)

Jesus instructed his followers to give to all who ask. (Luke 6:30ff) They are not to resist those who act violently against them, and if sued, they are to give even more than the suit demands. When impressed into service, they are to give service above that demanded. The old rule of "a tooth for a tooth" is superceded. (Matthew 5:38ff)

Jesus' followers are not to judge others. (Matthew 7:1-2) Rather they are to be merciful. (Luke 6:36)

They are to bear lasting fruit. (John 15:16) The Apostle Paul delineates what characterizes this fruit:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23 New International Version)

These qualities must be clearly evident in the lives of his followers.

Jesus commanded his followers to love one another. (John 15:12) Not only are they to love one another, they are to love their enemies! (Matthew 5:43-44) This is the criteria by which they will be known to be his true followers. (John 13:35)

Jesus makes it quite clear that he clearly expects his followers to live out the life he has described, and lived himself. “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?
(Luke 6:46 New International Version)

It is not the shibboleths we shout but the deeds we do that determine whether or not we are a Christian nation.

On the basis of our deeds, we definitely are NOT a Christian nation.

Would that we were.

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