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Is Jesus A Good American?

IN THE September 22 ISSUE

FROM THE 2012 Articles,
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andMinistry Musings
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by Rev. Christopher Lewis,
Nothing is Impossible Ministries

nothing is impossible

What does it actually mean to be a Christian in America?

I have traveled across a lot of the country and talked to a lot of church-people about their faith. What I’ve discovered is interesting.

For many church-goers in America, to be a good Christian means to be a good patriot and a good Republican. In fact, the conservative movement, in linking itself with the Christian faith, has been so vocal in recent years that for many—Christian and non-Christian alike—the term “Christian” has come to be nearly synonymous with words like “conservative” and “Republican.”

Of course, there have been those who have resisted these labels, but equally interesting is the observation that many Americans who react to these labels do so by claiming Jesus for their political parties instead. So, for some, Jesus is really a liberal democrat.

How sad that so many of us have completely lost sight of what Christ and his message are all about. I would like to remind my fellow Americans of two facts that we need to remember if we are going to hold on to the integrity of Christ’s message.

1) JESUS IS NOT A REPUBLICAN.

He’s also not a Democrat.

When people start to claim Jesus for their particular political agenda, they lose sight of Who Jesus really is and what He’s all about. Jesus said: “My kingdom is not of this world.”—John 18:36a

There were people among the Jews who thought that the Kingdom of God was about bringing God’s rule to the earth through taking control of the nation’s government. They were called “zealots” and, though they tried to win Jesus to their cause, he was not interested. His kingdom was not the kind of kingdom that could be bought through political or military force. It was one that would be bought through servanthood, love and sacrifice.

2) JESUS IS NOT AMERICAN.

I’ve noticed that a lot of American churches have a cross, a “Christian” flag, and an American flag all sitting on the platform. The theological message conveyed by this, even by those who don’t consciously realize it, is that the cross and the American flag are equal in importance to the Christian. This has become so ingrained in our culture that most of us go for years before it even dawns on us that it borders on idolatry to lift anything up as an equal to the cross of Christ.

Jesus never promised a preference for America above other nations, and God never once indicated in His Word that America is meant to hold any kind of status as a new Promised Land.

Don’t get me wrong. He loves America.

But He also loves Iran, Britain, Tanzania, and every other country in the world. As Revelation 5:9 speaks of Christ’s sacrifice: “…with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.”

Has He especially blessed America through the years? I think it can rightfully be argued that He has. However, He has equally blessed other nations at times through the years, and He has also removed that blessing according to His will.

We need not ask if God is on our side, but if we are on His.

Many Christians put God and Country on an equal footing, some consciously and others unconsciously.

However, for a true Christ-follower, the Bible tells us that “our citizenship is in Heaven” (Philippians 3:20) and that we are part of a different Kingdom, the Kingdom of God. Our first priority, if we are truly Christ-followers, is to His Kingdom and not to any other Kingdom on earth.

This does not mean, of course, that we should not honor our leaders or take part in politics. What it does mean is that our political agendas should never govern our theology and faith. No political party or nation can claim God’s endorsement because these very parties and nations are our creations, not His.

Once we get our priorities straight, placing God’s Kingdom above all other kingdoms, we can begin to work together across party lines and national lines to seek relevant answers to life’s questions and this world’s needs. As long as we let those lines get in the way, we are in danger of missing the very point of being Christ’s followers in the world.

Check out another article here in KRL by Kurt Willems with a similar topic published last year-Why Jesus might be a Republi-demo-liber-green-peace and freed-O-crat

Christopher Lewis is an ongoing contributor to our Helping Hands section, and recently moved with his wife Karen to Leeds, England to pastor a church there.

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