A “Christian” Nation?

Is there such thing as a “Christian Nation”? Yes. The question is, is this a geographical place, or a certain body of land, or a certain set of citizens? No. The only “Christian Nation” that exists is the “one, holy, Christian, and apostolic Church.” It was to the Church that Peter addressed these words: “You are a holy nation, a royal priesthood.” It is wrong to apply these words to any geographical place, or a particular country such as the United States. The body of Christ, the Church, those who have been called out of darkness and into His marvelous light come from many different lands and countries, but they are citizens of a heavenly country, whose King is Christ the Lord. Christians in this life hold a dual citizenship. We are citizens of the Church, the “Christian Nation,” and we are citizens of an earthly nation, and subjects of an earthly government.  

Are there nations with Christians in them? Certainly. But to say that a country, even the United States, is a Christian Nation is to misunderstand Scripture. Does the United States enjoy special favor from God, over and above the rest of the nations of the earth? I think it would be wrong to say this. If it does enjoy, or rather, has enjoyed God’s favor then it is only so for the sake of His Church. Yes, many of our founding fathers were Christians, many were Deists. But many of those Christian founding fathers were also erring in their Christian beliefs. Puritans, Methodists, Presbyterians, and others deny Christ’s true body and blood in the Sacrament and deny baptismal regeration.

Does this mean that I am unpatriotic, or that I do not love my country or think that it is one of the best places to live on earth? Absolutely not. I consider myself very patriotic, for I love the land into which I have been born. Even more, however, do I love the land into which I have been born from above as a citizen of heaven through Baptism. The nations of this earth, its kings and rulers, rule by God’s authority according to Scripture. But these nations will not last. Their rulers will not last. The gates of hell will not prevail against the Church, which shall go on forever. But the gates of hell seem very much to be prevailing against our land of liberty. The United States is a great nation. It is founded on excellent principles. But it is not a Christian Nation anymore than Germany was, or France, or Italy, or Palestine. That designation belongs solely to the Church.

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About Rev. Paul L. Beisel

Graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN in 2001 (M Div.) and 2004 (S.T.M.); LC-MS Pastor and Adjunct Instructor for John Wood Community College; Husband of Amy and father of Susan, Elizabeth, Martin, and Theodore.
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One Response to A “Christian” Nation?

  1. Rev. Mike Grieve says:

    I could not agree more. I am tired of hearing people say that this country was founded on Christianity. Baloney! Our country’s pledge of allegiance says that we are “one nation under God,” whatever “God” means in that context (depends on who you are I guess). I’m also tired of hearing people say that if we would just get the right “Christian” people elected to public office, then things would get better. Do we forget how many of our past presidents were Masons? (14 or 15, with one being unconfirmed). Do we forget that Lincoln was a deist, and that Jefferson “edited” the Scripture? Even our previous president came out, near the end of his presidency, saying that the Bible had errors. These sort of things do not surprise me anymore, but what does surprise me is that we still have people who actually believe that we are a “Christian” nation. We are a nation, that has people in it who are members of the “holy nation,” as you so aptly said.

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