It’s Time for a Permanent Break Between Church and State
Before we celebrate the Supreme Court decision to let an enormous cross stay on public land in honor of the sacrifice made by World War 1 soldiers, let me take a moment to argue for something you may not expect from a Christian Pastor.
Let’s have Christian faith and America get divorced once and for all.
Sounds heretical? Divisive? Unamerican? Hold on.
I’m not advocating for the removal of all Christian influence from our government and society. That should happen when faithful Christians are in positions of governmental authority and influence. You cannot and should not stop that. In fact, you should WANT that.
I am arguing that the Christian religion mixed with Americanism is NOT a good thing for the Church or America. This divorce needs to happen. Let’s draw up the contract and sign the papers immediately.
Of course, we don’t need an official divorce. The 1st Amendment is enough. But I suggest one of the things holding Christians back from actually being Christian is this murky unofficial cohabitation of faith and the American state. We’ve been living together long enough. Neither of us wants to fully commit long term. So I advocate that this relationship takes the same step every cohabitating couple unwilling to fully commit should take: Go separate ways.
The more we assimilate Christianity with America, the more we detach the Gospel from Christian faith and replace it with geographical borders and constitutional amendments. While I do believe many of the great freedoms we enjoy in this country are the result of heavy Christian influence in our founders, the unintended consequence is that we have created “Christian nomenclature” whereby being American somehow equates to being a good person / Christian who is going to heaven.
Let me assure you: NO SUCH affirmation exists in scripture. Not for America, not for Israel (see Romans 9:6), not for Great Britain, nor any nation. You do not get to heaven because you are a good citizen, you get to heaven by admitting you’re a fallen sinner who needs Christ’s forgiveness. PERIOD. End of story. The Gospel is not an American ideal. It is no national mantra. It started two thousand years ago in the Middle East under the Roman Empire by Jews who could not stop sharing with everyone that they saw the carpenter/itinerant rabbi Jesus die and rise again.
Second and possibly equally important, we need this divorce because of the dangerous cult it creates. I’m talking about the most dangerous cult in the world. Hinduism? Islam? Branch Dividian? NOPE. The most dangerous cult in the world is FALSE Christianity. Jesus NEVER warned His disciples about Roman Pagans, unbelievers or atheists. He constantly warned them about false teachers and false believers AMONG them (See Luke 10:3, Matthew 7:15; Matthew 10:16 and Revelation 2:2). The Apostles would repeat the warning regularly (see 2 Peter 2:1; Acts 20:29; Galatians 4:17; Jude 4; 2 Thess. 3:14 and more). Perhaps the strongest warning comes from Paul to Timothy: 1 Timothy 4:1 (ESV) “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons.“
I believe what passes for Christian faith in this country is often a mixed-breed, adulterous, contaminated falsehood that epitomizes the phrase, “a form of godliness but denying it’s power.” Let’s refer to it going forward as “American Christianity.” American Christianity is fine with, of course… American sexuality. See the recent fever pitch moment on the Bachelorette when the professing Christian contestant announced her commitment to both fornication AND Jesus. She’s never read Jesus’ stern rebuke of Thyatira in Revelation 2. Or consider the aptly named Madonna’s suggestion that Jesus supports abortion. Then there’s Taylor Swift’s newest video showing Christian pop singer Ciara officiating a gay wedding while painting all Christians as back-wooded hateful rednecks. That’s the distorted Christian faith American culture is busy trying to produce and will continue to produce unless we get this divorce finalized soon!
Let it be time for Christianity to actually mean something in this country. Let it mean what it was always meant to mean: That we who had no righteousness before the Father came to Him repentant and were loved and forgiven by His grace. Further, THAT because we understand we’ve been PURCHASED by the blood of His Son Jesus, we agree that our bodies and our money, our time and our talents, our homes and our children BELONG to HIM and are for HIS GLORY. Our freedom does not mean we don’t get to do what ‘WE want’, it means we live to do what HE WANTS. Then, let Americans carefully consider even becoming Christians because of the great cost to their “personal autonomous freedom” which it requires. Didn’t Jesus suggest people do this? He did. It’s in Luke 14:15-28.
Let it be time for America to be what it should be – a secular nation where being Christian gives you no advantage but plenty of opportunities to be distinct and stand out. Then every Christian will be Christian for what Christ has already DONE for them and not for what America could possibly give them.
Let’s get a lawyer in here. Let freedom from American Christianity ring.
Perhaps then, we WILL BE the salt of the Earth and the light of the world.