Friday, July 5, 2013

Mohler: "America is not a Christian country"

Albert Mohler has agreed with President Obama in his description of the United States as not being a Christian country. The president made this statement recently,

One of the great strengths of the United States is … we have a very large Christian population — we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation. We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values.”

Mohler, asked to comment, said this. I have exerpted his writing and encourage readers to read Mohler for the full context.
Unlike New Testament Christianity, Islam is essentially a territorial religion that seeks to bring all lands under submission to the rule of the Qur’an.  
 ...Turkey is a Muslim nation with a secular government, but its secular character would not be seen as anything close to secular on an American model. 
     In this light, President Obama’s statement that America is not a Christian country is also both accurate and helpful, though he is being criticized by many conservative Christians for making the claim. His clarification, offered in Muslim Turkey, establishes as a matter of public fact the reality that our American constitutional system is very different from what is found in the Muslim world — and even in Turkey itself.
I appreciate Mohler's reflective and informed explanation here.  He continues:

     Beyond any historical doubt, the United States was established by founders whose worldview was shaped, in most cases quite self-consciously, by the Christian faith. The founding principles of this nation flow from a biblical logic and have been sustained by the fact that most Americans have considered themselves to be Christians and have operated out of a basically Christian frame of moral reference. America is a nation whose citizens are overwhelmingly identified as Christians and the American experiment is inconceivable without the foundation established by Christian moral assumptions.
     But America is not, by definition, a Christian nation in any helpful sense. The secularists and enemies of the faith make this argument for any number of hostile and antagonistic reasons, and they offer many false arguments as well. But this should not prompt American Christians to make bad arguments of our own.
 While we might be adamant about America being a Christian country, but in doing so there are so many caveats, exceptions, and qualifications it renders the statement almost meaningless.

SBC pastors are hoplessly schizophrenic in this matter. They seek to declare the U. S. a Christian nation, "one nation under God" while sputtering and complaining about how America has lost her moral foundations.

Mohler has it right. I commend his words on the matter.

We might better spend our energies on making disciples, Christians, in America rather than defending America as Christian.


Anonymous said...

Not being a historian, rather a common, dime a dozen observer of human nature, I will share this speculative thought: to the extent that the founders alluded to the Christian faith, it was for various reasons, perhaps multiple reasons for the single individual, including but not limited to sincere belief and political expediency. In our lifetime we have seen how the Christian faith is used for votes and favor, with little evidence that those using such have much concern for the faith or the people that is and are, respectively, being manipulated.

Given Kaufman’s criteria for determining Christian theology, seems our founding fathers sometimes covered the first five, but were careful not to spend much time or any with the sixth criteria (which is necessary for Christian theology), and for good reason. The best protection for faith, Christian and otherwise, and the vitality of religion is a government that does not make religious faith a criteria for office or one that favors one religion over another. Let’s continue to keep the two entities (government and religious communities) as separate as we are able.

Hopefully, Mohler will have some influence on this point, for many have grown weary of the tiresome argument that the US is a Christian nation, especially given the argument ignores the evidence that strongly suggests such is not the case (i.e., the counter-argument that is founded on a wider and more scholarly reading of our ancestors).

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget though that the Canaanites were not a Christian nation and yet there was waiting time until their sin reached the heights and fullest. Let's not forget that either.