Monday, July 2, 2012

Fear and loathing at patriotic church services

I have had a number of serious, highly committed lay Christians tell me that they either have or have considered just skipping the old standby patriotic worship services at church.


A recent experience provided me with some possible reasons.

  • A church service devoid of the Gospel, where the life-changing Good News is not found in any recognizable form.
  • A worship service where some of our revered historical figures of highly questionable Christian character and commitment are used to tout the faith of our founders. Jefferson and Franklin are secure in their deservedly high standing in regards to our national origins but are hardly good examples of faith and morality.
  • A church service where historical quotations about God, civil religion at its best, are provided in quantity but where the Word of God is barely heard, not read, not preached upon, and not used in worship.
  • A church service with virtually every known cliche about America returning to God, every tired complaint about the moral state of our nation, and all that without the one thing that can help our country - individual redemption by the blood of Christ.
  • A service where Jesus makes only a cameo appearance.
  • A church service where an invitation is extended to be saved but with the jaw-dropping phrase added that listeners may become like our Founding Fathers.
Our nation has some challenges but they will not be met by sacrificing our Christian birthright for a mess of civil religious pottage.

...I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God                that brings salvation to everyone who believes...


Anonymous said...

"A service where Jesus makes only a cameo appearance."

What else needs to be said?

Steve Martin said...

Great post!

NO political gospels!

People need to hear the gospel. They can get the other (patriotic) stuff elsewhere.

Thank you.

Stephen Fox said...

Salvation is grand, as is justification by grace through Faith. But so is the Baptist legacy of free church in a free state. Hoping somebody like Bryant Wright for instance morphs Jeff Rogers Sermon into this grand presentation by Bill Leonard. Click on my name and it should work.

Jonathan said...

I'm as patriotic as anyone. But it may be that churches have become so accustomed to "mailing it in" regarding the Gospel, evangelism, discipleship, and missions so much so that church membership is essentially a social organization rather than one a real mission.

In this environment, pretty much anything that moves the emotional needle looks attractive.

Folk on the political Right will be warmed by heavy doses of patriotic fervor on a couple of Sundays per year. Folk on the political Left will be compelled by the latest social justice tag.

In either case, Jesus takes a back seat.

actionsub said...

When I was music director for a small Baptist church, this was the yearly bane of my existence. Jesus would get tied to "OUR GLORIOUS COUNTRY" by only the most tenuous of ties. However, one of the power families in our church was headed by a Navy vet, and he and his wife were both employed by the VA. To boot, he was one of these guys who thought everyone that wasn't part of the CR was a godless liberal. Drove me nuts.

Unknown said...

Southern Baptists didn't used to be that way. I attend a SBC. I am active as an assistant Sunday School teacher for Kindergarten, and a leader in AWANA, but I have pretty much resigned myself to staying home during the whole month of July due to the signing of hymns to the State and the unquestioning worship of the military.