One way the Church in America is going to hurt the cause of Christ in the long run is if we are indiscriminate with our hitching of Christianity to politics. I have a serious issue with this because I suspect that one day the wagon of politics is going to roll right over the top of us Christians.
Beyond that, syncretism has destroyed more than one pastor, teacher, author, church or ministry over the years. In fact, I tend to believe that in this day and age syncretism of any kind is philosophically Enemy #1. Paul wrote:
Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?
—1 Corinthians 5:6 ESV
Syncretism sneaks in like a microbe and the next thing you know, everything’s been rotted from the inside out.
This is why I couldn’t believe this Web site or the product it is selling: Bushfish.org.
I keep on telling myself it’s a joke, but if it is, it’s not a very funny one. If it’s not, well…I like President Bush and I think he has been a good president, but this is just wrong. In this same vein, I saw some T-shirts and ball caps that had the name of Jesus printed out in a font that consisted of the American flag and it took just about every ounce of my self-control to keep from screaming.
We’ve got to be very wise. I think that Evangelicals especially have tried to wrap themselves in the robes of Christ’s righteousness and an American flag cloak at the same time, but we simply can’t wear both. Christians belong to a different nation altogether. There is no equivalence between being a citizen of Heaven and a citizen of the United States. One of those must come second—a distant second.
I am totally for our country-there’s never been a country like this one—but we simply can’t syncretize America and Jesus. He’s Lord of all, not just Americans, and being an American is not the magic pass key through the gates of Heaven. Love America a little, but love the Lord a whole lot.
To quote a famous line from an old TV show: “People, let’s be careful out there.”
8 thoughts on “Strange Bedfellows”
Dan, I was just introduced to your blog through Milton over at Transforming Sermons, and I want to encourage you—I’ve definitely been blessed by what you’re writing. It’s nice to know there’s someone else out there who cares about good theology and at the same time is able to walk carefully amidst the conservative culture that so often puts God in a box with a ribbon. Keep going, man, I’m excited to have found a brother.
I saw the fish graphic before I read your post and just assumed it was joke. Unfortunately I was sadly, sadly, mistaken.
We must learn that there is no “Christian” America to take back. There never was and there never will be. There is only the Kingdom of God which extends beyond any boundaries that we scribble on a map.
This kind of stuff really gets me irritated so I better stop now…
i remember watching a movie where the politicians, while campaigning, would say, “God bless American…and no where else.” it’s the same idea that you are sharing dan.
I wonder whether people who make things like that think about the effect their whole mindset has on the rest of the world? I fear it’s actually a hindrance to the gospel globally.
Yours is one of the only blogs that I have to look up words. Syncretism, I love it. Don’t take that as an insult though, I love to have my vocabulary expanded.
Anyway, I totally agree. Yes, I’m all for this country. But Christ is my Lord and Heaven is my home. I didn’t even have to vote for Him, but He won anyway!
Excellent post, I’m putting the link on my blog.
It IS a hindrance. It’s not only a hindrance globally, but here in the States. We saw some of this during the 2004 election cycle and we didn’t respond graciously enough. We can laugh about red states and blue states, but the fact is that a lot of people in the blue states don’t want anything to do with Christianity because too many Christians wrap themselves in the flag. Whatever you think about the correctness of their assumptions, the fact remains that we can’t reach those folks for Christ as long as we’re doing the syncretism thing. And while it’s true that some of them would rather have ALL religion out of politics—a position that is unsupportable—we still need to find a way to meet them where they are.
When you’re as loquacious as I am, it’s inevitable that a few polysyllabic words will spring forth as I ramble. But hey, I’m here to “edumacate” people, right? 😉 Thanks for the link!
On what other website did you find the link mentioned to that Bush fish website, if you don’t mind me asking?
I’ve never seen such.
I’m a-wandering through, but I just wanted to say that I really appreciate what you said, Dan (and Brian, too). I am a somewhat left-leaning Christian and I am thoroughly grieved, both at the way in which some Christians push away everyone on the other side of the political spectrum (brothers, sisters, people who need Christ) and at their blindness to what they’re doing (or the badness of it).
Thank you for adding to my hope of finding a place in the American church.