God doesn’t need America.
Disclaimer: I’m very grateful to be an American. I’m exponentially more grateful to be a Christian.
No version of America (1776 or 2014) should be equated with the nation of Israel in the Old Testament. We are not God’s chosen people.
We are not set apart from other nations in the heart of God. God doesn’t love Americans more than Syrians. or Russians. Or Canadians (yes, even Canadians).
Yet this myth persists, and it baffles me. Because we can agree to disagree about the purpose of the founding of our country all day long. (If you ask me, it’s hard for me to wrap my mind around the connection between “religious freedom” and mass genocide of…the people who already lived here).
What truly troubles me about the syncretism swirling around the intersections of faith and patriotism is this belief that somehow God needs America. I haven’t found someone who would explicitly say that, but it is seems to be a valid, logical conclusions made from a foolish thought process.
In our country, we have created a God in our own image. He loves the same people we love and hates the same people we hate.
We have forgotten that we serve “the God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.” (Acts 17:24-25)
God doesn’t need America. God doesn’t have a special relationship with America. Nations have come and gone, and will continue to do so, yet our God remains the same.
I remember reading a Puritan sermon in college, “A Model of Christian Charity” by John Winthrop. As early as 163o, Winthrop and others were calling for a new nation that could be a “city on a hill” as if the ancient text they barely referenced (Matthew 5:14-16) was just waiting to be fulfilled by the yet to be formed starts and stripes.
The idea that God would bless America in a unique way as compared to other nations shows, among other things, a complete disregard for the global nature of God’s love and sole focus on our worldview as the center of a very small universe.
Some churches are hosting God and Country services, “dedicated to calling America back to the God of Abraham and Isaac, and of Washington and Lincoln.” Instead of a Sunday morning worship service. Can’t make this stuff up.
I’ve seen church members leave a church for good when the American flag was removed from the stage in an effort to give singular focus and devotion to Jesus.
I think these folks are well-intentioned; I really do. But I also think heaven will be a shock for them (if they make it!) because they’ll see such a rich, diverse gathering of people, “a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” – Revelation 7:9-10
America is a fantastic country. If I could pick any country in which to live it would undoubtedly be this one. I don’t share many of my generation’s disdain for our country, and especially not the men and women who protect her. However, I am beyond convinced that God does not need America.
America is not the hope of the nations. America is not the light of the world.