Friday, June 29, 2012

The high road for an Independence Day sermon

When did it become de rigeuer for churches to devote the Lord's Day prior to July 4th to a hodgepodge of religion, worship, patriotism, and celebration of civil religion?

My guess is that sometime around the Reagan revolution thirty years ago.

I know how pastors think, some of them anyway, and there is always pressure to preach the grand glories of the Republic and toss in some God-talk with it. Folks expect that. Sometimes we are all about meeting the expectation of our congregation, not a bad thing, but not always the best thing either.

It is also somewhat expected that the pastor issue breathless warnings about our country going to Gehenna, declining morally, and other highly preach-able, and appreciated, boilerplate sermon pyrotechnics.

And, as a result of the Obamacare decision, is not the pulpit pump highly primed for a rip-roaring, stemwinder sermon a la 'America You Are Too Young To Die'?

Resist the temptation, brethren. The Republic will survive this latest challenges and will not endure for the long, long haul anyway.There are vastly more important, eternal matters about which to preach.

Take the High Road, the Straight and Narrow one, instead.

Let the theocrats offer their bluff and bluster about bringing America back to God. There is something eternally better: The life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ.

There are no Christian nations, only Christians so try and secure a few more souls for the Kingdom of God this Sunday, rather than a few more votes for November's election.

My hope is built on nothing less than
        Jesus blood and righteousness.

...and eat a little BBQ if you can.


Tom Parker said...


Fantastic post! I 100% agree, but sadly the pulpit is being used more and more for politics.

Anonymous said...

There is one Sunday a year that I prefer not to attend church: July 4th Sunday. Shameful, shameful display of civic religion and Republican Party talking points.

And with such this year it WILL be in many churches, due to the Obamacare decision, 'America You Are Too Young To Die.'

To which I hope someone stands up and states, 'Oh, contrar, good fellow, perhaps now the young will not die in America.' Histrionics? OK; let's loose all the partisans and call it Fat Sunday, instead. We can repent on Monday.

Anonymous said...

"Let the theocrats offer their bluff and bluster about bringing America back to God. There is something eternally better: The life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ."

Thank you for that wonderful breath of fresh air! I've been stifled by comment after comment that the Supreme Court decision leads to socialism, which will lead to loss of our religious liberty.

Maybe we should start being more concerned about God's Kingdom than our religious liberty. We don't seem to be doing much useful with our religious liberty anyway.

On the SBC Periphery said...

I agree with everything you wrote except your spelling of "Independence." Exactly my thinking regarding God and Country.

Dave Miller said...

I don't like to mix religion and politics. My sermon title Sunday, "Why John Roberts is the AntiChrist."

D.R. Randle said...

AMEN and AMEN. After almost 5 years in the pulpit (during none of which have I ever preached a sermon about any of the patriotic holidays), this year is the first time that I wasn't even asked about putting a patriotic song into the service nearest July 4th. Very thankful for that. And very thankful that I've never heard even 1 Church member ask me to preach a "God and Country" sermon, much less critique me for not doing so. I wonder if the rest of our Churches stopped doing this if they'd find that not many really care either.

D.R. Randle said...

Dave Miller,


You are bound and determined to start a wacked out chain email though, aren't you?

Anonymous said...

The mega church I used to attend had indoor fireworks on one of those Sundays, along with color guards and major choir / video performance.

I can't remember if the sermon matched the pre-show.

Tim Dahl said...

My sermon is in the nature and calling of tthe church this week. Been doing a "next step" class for new believers, and my sermons are on those same topics. Kinda like giving everyone in the church a primer of what and why we are all about.


Matt Richard said...

I'm not all that "high-churched," but one thing the churches that observe the church year have over those that don't is that they already have something on their schedule that supersedes July 4th, Flag Day, Groundhog Day,etc.

Stephen Fox said...

Jeff Rogers of FBC Greenville, S.C. had a great sermon on George Truett and ML King a few 4ths ago. As I said at it set the standard.
See and Jill Lepore if you want to take the high road on the nations founding. And Diarmaid McCulloch is pretty good on Jonathan Edwards.
Hope to see you post soon on how Dave Miller is coming along with his remedial reading list.
for the kingdom's sake

Stephen Fox said...

As for the remark on Obamacare, see Mary Paige Powell in Viewpoints today, Sunday at She teaches at UAB