Yesterday in the College Only Bible Study I lead, there was a moment when I said: “We are not a Christian nation and never have been”. We as a nation were founded on Christian ideals and values but those men who put those ideals and values forward were men who belonged to a cult: The Free Masons, not men who belonged to Christ. Some may have a hard time accepting that and I’ve been argued with many times before…but I stand by this as fact.
Slavery, racism, classism, sexism were all in full swing when these men came to North America and made a nation. There was much good brought forth, but also much evil. I struggle to think through one’s belief in a God who died for everyone but yet they can consider another human being less-than to the degree that they render these men and women as animals. Many tried to even use the Bible to excuse slavery, but Biblical slavery is completely different. Within that system, there were options to buy oneself out slavery by time served or if they could pay back the debt they owed to the “master”.
Many today try to excuse how these people could think this way but there is no excuse, it was simply wrong and a shameful blemish on us as a country…and on the “Christian” title because these men claimed Christ as their Lord but as stated before, this wasn’t the truth.
Funny enough, last night, I watched Lincoln for the first time. It was a great film that inspired me to think for about an hour afterwards…I like those kinds of movies!
One of the things that struck me was the constant use of God on both sides of the slave issue. One man said: “God made these negroes inferior to us” while the other, said: “God made these men, and as humans they deserve their God-given right to be equal”. God was in the entire sphere of conversation, yet God was clearly on one side over the other.
Lincoln was not a particularly religious man, although later in life he expressed desires to go to the Holy Land and through the deaths of his children sought to “depend more on God”. Despite his apparent lack of enthusiasm for godly things, he had a huge heart for the Black plight and sought to correct the issue of their equality, even to possibly help get them a vote (GASP). This heart for the Black plight was the reason he was killed. People on the Southern side of the view desired white supremacy and (seemingly) killed Lincoln for even mentioning a Black vote.
I know this blog article may appear bouncy and maybe a bit disorganized, but these things have been rattling in my brain since yesterday. Our nation is not a Christian, never has been and never will be. Too often, I think we harken back to the “good ol’ days” of our nation where God was supreme…yet he was only so due to cultural normalcy. The new C&MA President put it well when he was speaking of our movement this week. He said: “We (the C&MA) for too long have had our hands on the steering wheel, pushing the gas pedal to the floor while looking in the rear-view mirror”- John Stumbo. I feel that as Evangelical Christians in the USA, this has been our plight as well. We don’t look for what God desires to do, heck we barely look at what God IS Doing…rather we sadly mourn our loss of the “good ol’ days”.
The sooner we accept we’ve never lived in a Christian nation and we no longer live in a nation where Jesus and his Bride are well loved the sooner we can get to the business of the Mission. We are a sent people to bring Jesus by the Power of the Spirit to this dark world. Watching Lincoln and my discussion yesterday with the college folks reminded me of this reality. Looking back reminds us of where we’ve come from (we now have a Black President…bet Lincoln never saw that coming), but wallowing there, wishing we could go back slows down the mission of now!