Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Christian Nation (revisited)

If you go back far enough on this blog, you'll find a previous entry, provoked by a presidential statement. Some further thought on the matter--provoke by our adult Sunday School class nick-named "Bare Knuckle Bible"--probably ought to be added to that.
First, define Christian. We live in a day of nominal Christianity--in name only. There is no one set of practices or beliefs that is held by all who would call themselves Christian. It seems that if a person is not a member of any other religion and does not consider himself atheist or agnostic, he is by default a Christian.
The most truthful definition of the term must go to its first Biblical usage. In Acts 11 we find the first reference, it was in Antioch that the term was first used. It was the term which meant simply of Christ, and it was used to describe the church there--those who were actively following Christ and teaching what Christ had taught.
It can well be argued that our nation was settled to be a Christian community. The Puritans who came to Plymouth were unarguably Christian in the same sense as Antioch, and their intent was to live their lives as a Christian community. They came here seeking freedom from the Church of England. The writings of the time clearly reflect that. After that the nation retained a Christian flavor, in that the principles of the Bible continued to be evidenced in all of community life and in that churches were a normal part of the landscape with the majority of the population attending with some degree of regularity. By the time our nation came to be, our founding fathers were an interesting mix of sound Christians, Deists and others who held, at least least loosely, to God's Word. Their writing gave testimony to their belief that God's principles were the principles upon which they designed our nation's government.
Since that time however, our nation has drifted--or in my opinion fallen--away from those standards. Biblical principals are ignored and denied. Even our churches no longer teach Biblical principles, some having clergy that will outright deny the absolute truth of the Bible, the supremacy of God and other principles.
So, in short, I still say we are not a Christian nation. Not that I like it; but that's the way I see it. Start by examining who are truly Christians. That's enough to prove it without going any further.
The end of the matter is that all of us who are Christians, according to the original definition of the term, need to work to push (or lead) us back in the direction from which we came. We should start by living our lives the way Christ would have us live them, according to the pattern He set for us.  How's that for a New Year's resolution?

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