Reflections on a "Nation of Christians"

In Part 1, I said that America was not founded as an official "Christian nation," nor is it a nation where the Christian religion was supposed to be given preference. The idea of a nation that is democratically governed without any establishment of religion was not only an amazing idea, but was one that many believers have fought for out of the deep religious conviction that God desires such freedom of conscience.

A nation where the government declared Christianity the official religion and said that the Bible was the law of the land would result in utter devastation and tyranny. Not only because it would be abused by the majority and resisted by the minority, but it would also immediately present a dilemma of which parts of the Bible we're going to follow. How many of the Old Testament laws are we going to follow? Are we going to reinstate slavery? There's nothing in the Bible prohibiting it. What about polygamy? What about......see the problem?

However, here in Part 2, I imagine and ask the question, "What would it look like if everything from our daily personal conduct to our national policies fell in line with the teachings and example of Jesus?" The focus on Jesus is important. Baptist theologians have long said that the criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ. Part of what it means to say you're a Christian is that you believe Jesus is the best picture we have of what God is like. So, what would it look like? As you read the following words of Jesus (chosen mostly from the gospel of Matthew for simplicity's sake), imagine the United States adopting such principles in its policy-making. Ponder the contrast between these commands and the efforts of modern day Christians. I'm convinced that we wouldn't recognize Jesus if He showed up again today - in fact, we'd crucify Him all over again. There's a reason that Jesus was always in trouble with the religious leaders of his day. Are you sure you're ready for a "Christian nation"?


"You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment." (Matthew 5:21-22)

"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift." (Matthew 5:23-24)

"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 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. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:38-48)

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal." (Matthew 6:19-20)

"You cannot serve both God and Money." (Matthew 6:24)

""Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you" (Matthew 7:1-2)

"In everything, do to others what you would want them to do to you." (Matthew 7:12)

"While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?" On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." (Matthew 9:10-13)

""No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved." (Matthew 9:16-17)

"Listen and understand. What goes into a man's mouth does not make him 'unclean,' but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him 'unclean.' " (Matthew 15:10-11)

"Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times." (Matthew 18:21-22)

"If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." (Matthew 19:21)

"So the last will be first, and the first will be last." (Matthew 20:16)

"Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's." (Matthew 22:21)

"'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'" (Matthew 25:40)

"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, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." (Luke 4:18-19)

"For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." (Luke 18:14)

"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." (Luke 23:34)

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