Marrying things to the Gospel

A Christian most certainly can be a good patriot and love their country. However, patriotism is not necessary to be a good Christian.

This past Sunday I gave the introduction to the sermon I plan to preach this week. You can go listen to it here.  It was called 1 Corinthians 2:6-9 Introduction.

I preached this sermon because often times I think we misunderstand what’s happening in Corinthian and what Paul is after. In the first 4 chapters of 1 Corinthians Paul uses the term wisdom 15 times. But the problem is not a problem inherent in wisdom itself. It is a problem with what we as men do with wisdom.

So I made the connection to our lives today, we have our own value systems that we attempt to marry to the gospel, rather than repent of our value systems and turn to Christ.  One of the values systems that I railed against was patriotism. I know some people would think, Brady what is wrong with you? Well there is a lot wrong with me, but in this case here is what I mean.

A Christian most certainly can be a good patriot and love their country. However, patriotism is not necessary to be a good Christian. So I thought I would show you what I think is a case of marrying patriotism to the gospel. The following video is the worship service of FBC Dallas from June 25. In this “worship” service you have the worship of a country and idea, but the worship of Christ Jesus did not happen that day. Even though the sermon was about and faith and fear, Christ was not worshiped. This is marrying the gospel to patriotism, and this ought not be.

Check it out. And then weep that this was a Sunday morning for God’s people to gather and worship the Risen Savior.

 

A Christian Nation?

But flowing through the river of this new Christian cultural milieu, is a current of true Christianity demanding of our government something odd.

A few weeks ago I wrote a piece about love. And I am extending that discussion just a little bit.

There has been a growing distaste in public life for what I would call real Christianity.

While the “left” (whoever they are) increases in their bigotry towards anyone with a different, strong opinion, liberalism, masquerading as evangelical Christianity, has increasingly sold true Christians for few pieces of silver. These “new Christians” outshine the older conservative Christians with openness, loving kindness, gentleness, and compassion. Or least that is the narrative.

But flowing through the river of this new Christian cultural milieu, is a current of true Christianity demanding of our government something odd. This demand calls for humanitarian love, moral “upstandingness”, and kingdom minded action. For example, with the refugee issue in the past few years, this current of true Christianity rides in the wake of the open border, leftist river, calling for some of the same actions as the left but for different reasons. These true Christians are upset, offended and angry when their government closes its doors, because that is not love, or decency. Maybe an example of what I am talking about will help:

We cannot love our neighbors at the same time we’re standing aside and watching them be slaughtered. The Bible grants the state the power and mandate to use force to protect the innocent. That means both engaging ISIS with a strong military response and doing what is in our power to shield the innocent from terror. Anything less is not a sufficiently Christian response. Russell Moore, Washington Post

Here Dr. Moore asserts that the Bible gives government to authority to use force to protect the innocent.

I think what I find most disconcerting about what Dr. Moore has written, and what many of my friends would say as they seem to be in line with Dr. Moore can be wrapped up in a couple of statements:

  • A government is a servant of God for the good of its citizens. (Romans 13:4) So a government’s primary responsibility is to its own citizens.
  • A government, even a government of the people, by the people, is still NOT a Christian entity and to expect of a government more than the Biblical mandate is dangerous thinking. Romans 13:4 says: [the authority] “is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.” Government’s mandate is primarily judicial concerning its citizens, not judicial concerning someone else’s citizens.
  • To say that government is acting in less Christian ways is confusing the state with the church. Would we hope that those we serve in government might be more compassionate? Yes, but has anyone ever thought that we were electing officials to carry out the mission of the church? 
  • Christians and Churches are the front line in ministering to those from war torn areas, not my elected officials. And I think this stems from the misguided notion that there can be anything like a Christian nation. The theocracy ended with Israel. 

So if our government closes the borders so that refugees cannot come into our country, as a Christian I want to help the refugees and serve them. But as a Christian I never expect my government to do anything OTHER than what it was mandated to do: 

 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. (Romans 13:3-6)