Christian leader: US not truly a Christian nation

Saturday, May 7, 2016
 | 
Michael F. Haverluck (OneNewsNow.com)

Christian flag over US flagWhether or not the United States is still a Christian nation has been debated by politicians and Christian leaders alike — from U.S. President Barack Obama to the Southern Baptists Convention’s (SBC) Dr. Russell Moore.

"Whatever we once were, we're no longer just a Christian nation,” Obama told CBN News while campaigning for the presidency in 2007. “We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation and a nation of nonbelievers."

Moore recently gave his own take on the issue, clarifying that the question can be asked and answered from two distinct standpoints.

"Sometimes people ask whether or not America was founded as a Christian nation, and one has to say, 'Well, what do you mean by a Christian nation?'" the Christian leader asked while addressing the issue on a video published on his website. "If what you mean by that is a nation in which most of the people profess to be Christians, then certainly, the United States of America was and is a Christian nation based upon that sociological definition of a Christian nation."

America not really a Christian nation?

On the other hand, Moore maintains that the answer to the question is different when addressing what most people are really asking when using the term “Christian nation.”

"What they mean is the idea that God was in covenant with the United States of America in order to bless the United States of America as a special people — as a new Israel, as a group of people covenanted under Christianity,” Moore explains. “And the answer to that is clearly, 'no.'"

To make his point, the voice of SBC makes a key distinction.

“[Even though America’s founders were deeply influenced by Christian ideas], they did not found the country as a Christian nation,” Moore contends, according to CBN News. “[This] is why there is, for instance, no religious test for office holders and why there is a separation between the responsibilities of the State from the responsibilities of the Church — or of worshipping communities in the United States."

Reading into the Scriptures?

Moore argues that many often misinterpret the Bible to imply that it refers to America in the grand scheme of things as a nation mentioned by God … when it really doesn’t.

"I think that the confusion often comes in when people assign to the United States of America a Providential place in history that the Bible never assigns it," the biblical scholar expressed. "This shows up in people taking, for instance, Old Testament passages and applying those passages directly to the United States."

To prove his point, Moore pointed to an often-cited Old Testament verse that he says has been widely misunderstood.

“If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land." —2 Chronicles 7:14

The Southern Baptist leader then explained how the passage has been over-generalized to apply to governments.

"God did not promise that to a political body,” Moore argues. “He did not promise that to anyone apart from the mediation of Jesus Christ.”

Understanding the Word as it is written

He went on to put the Old Testament Scripture into context.

"Those passages were given to the covenant people of Israel in relationship with God through the covenant promises made to Abraham, and then to Moses and then to David," the theologian asserted. "And those covenants are fulfilled in Jesus Christ."

To further impress his point, Moore shows how an over-broad interpretation of Scripture can be misleading — at best.

"So the idea that we're living in a Christian nation in that sense is really a form of theological liberalism,” he continues. “It assumes that a person — or a nation — can be a Christian apart from the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit … apart from new birth. That is contrary to the Gospel that we have received in Jesus Christ.

The Bible expert stresses how Christians in America must regard and carry themselves.

"Instead, we must say we are Christians who live in a nation among many people who profess to be Christians — some of whom are and some of whom aren't,” Moore insists. “And we must be the people who give a faithful Gospel witness in those days.”

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