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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Priorities: American Patriotism or Zeal for God

This past July 4th, the blogosphere was alive with talk concerning the appropriateness and inappropriateness of Patriotic displays in Christian worship gatherings. Dr. Russell Moore, guest host of the Albert Mohler Radio Show, even dedicated an entire show to the debate with two guests who do not favor patriotic displays in corporate worship.

I may catch some heat for what I am about to say, but ultimately Christians are supposed to fear God more than they fear man, so here goes...

Personally, I am not in favor of grand displays of patriotism in Christian worship gatherings. I do not believe pledges of allegiance to the American Flag in Christian worship gatherings are helpful. I do not believe the Star Spangled Banner should be sung. I believe if I see one more power point of the American flag as the backdrop with an image of Jesus at the forefront I going to be sick.

I do believe in our Christian corporate worship gatherings we should give thanks unto God for the freedom we have in this country to worship freely and without governmental interference. We should pray for our governmental leaders, including the commander-in-chief. We should pray earnestly for the men and women and the families of those who serve our country admirably in the military. We should pray for peace.

But at the center of every Christian corporate worship gathering should be Jesus Christ. I know this is difficult for previous generations to believe, but people like myself who do not favor grand patriotic displays, are patriotic, however, I am much more zealous to see the Kingdom of Christ increase more than American zeal. I know you can have zeal for Christ and American patriotism, but the problem I see is that most people I run into have a far greater concern for America and its future than Christ's Kingdom and the future of their own local church.

For example...

You are far more likely to find in many Christian churches members who are talking about the increase of gas prices and its impact on Americans than the increase of unbelief in the community and its impact on God's glory.

You are far more likely if the subject of Hispanics is raised in many Christian churches to have members making comments about how Hispanics are taking jobs from Americans and how Hispanics need to learn English than how we might reach them for Christ and bring them into the fellowship of our churches.

You are more likely in many Christian churches to have members extremely more incensed when the nation is attacked than when the nation repeatedly attacks the character of God.

You are more likely in many Christian churches to have tears run down the cheek of a member's face or the stirring of a member's affections when God Bless America is sung than if the hymn There is a Fountain Filled with Blood is sung.

You are far more likely to have Christian members of your local church who will fight and die while serving in the military for their country than you will have members who will die while serving their Lord on the mission field in the hard places.

You are more likely to have many Christian members in your local church who celebrate July 4th weekend more than they celebrate Resurrection weekend.

In some Christian churches you are far more likely to hear a comment about "bombing those Muslims" than "preaching the gospel to those people of the Muslim faith."

You are far more likely in some Christian churches to hear conversations about the problems of America and how to fix them than to hear the problems in the local church and how to fix them.

You are far more likely to hear a heated conversation from a church member in many Christian churches over illegal immigration than a heated conversation about regenerate church membership.

You are far more likely in many Christian churches to hear conversations about the decline of the American economy than to hear conversations concerning the decline of baptisms.

How many readers can quote the pledge of allegiance to the American Flag? Now how many of you who quoted the pledge of allegiance to the American Flag can quote Matthew 22:37-38, Deuteronomy 6:4-5, or Acts 4:12?

When I see the day where more Christians are more concerned with the Lord's Kingdom than concern for the future of America I will be less concerned about songs like America the Beautiful being sung on July 4th weekend.

1 comment:

Brent Blake said...

This is a great assesment of the problem with the church in America today. We are biblically illiterate, cold hearted, and basically just babies in the faith. I am completely supportive of your stand on these issues. We as believers would give a salute to the flag much quicker than we would care to ponder calvary and our rescue. Preach on.