The Point: Christian Patriotism

Can a Christian be patriotic? For the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview, I’m John Stonestreet with The Point.

Years ago on BreakPoint, Chuck Colson pointed out how Americans used to openly embrace the Christian traditions and values that shaped our Republic. In that culture, it was easy for a Christian to be a patriot. Perhaps too easy. Vibrant, biblical faith could degenerate into a civil religion, where the country’s well-being and the expansion of God’s Kingdom were synonymous.

But today, many Americans have rejected the religious values that informed our society.

Where along this range of attitudes is true Christian patriotism?

Well, first, we mustn’t deify our country. We don’t wrap the flag around the cross. Our citizenship is in heaven, and that’s where our ultimate allegiance is.

But as Chuck said, we can’t love mankind in the abstract; we can only really love people in the particular, concrete relationships God has placed us in—our family, our church, our community, and our nation.

So celebrate this July Fourth by thanking God for calling us into His kingdom and allowing us to live in—and yes, love—this land of liberty.

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  • jason taylor

    First of all one must not make out that America is some sort of Christian Israel. Christian values shaped every nation in the Western World(including Russia by the way). To say the Founding Fathers were especially Christian is absurd(they weren’t particularly though individuals among them were). The leaders were usually well off townsmen and rural folk with the virtues of such which were often no greater virtues then not having the faults of European aristocrats. They were respectable rather then Christian, though some of them just happened to be good Christians probably a greater proportion then in England though that analysis must always be taken with a grain of salt. And to say that the American Revolution was somehow especially Christian is-literally and I do mean literally and not just especially–atrocious. It was a brutal civll.war where the customs of war as known at the time went by the wayside, the larger war was often used as an excuse for feuding and the population was controlled by terror.

    Second we must not say America is evil. America has on the whole done better then most nations-grading on the curve.

    Third one must equally not say that the Founding Fathers were secular, enlightened, cosmopolitan and(horrible libel to deep to be stated!)by implication-French. They were American, they thought in terms of American culture which was a transplant of British. They thought of themselves as Englishmen until they thought of themselves as Americans. And the claim that they were religious is true in a different way then is naively preached in Churches. They were not an army of Cromwellian russet colored captains who knew what they fought for and loved what they knew-quite . They were however recruited strongly from Congregational and Presbyterian sections and large numbers of them were quite pious especially Other Ranks. If you asked them what they were fighting for you would have been surprised. They would have surely said “liberty”. But frankly they did not know what the word meant and it meant different things to different American subcultures. Or rather most of them were not philosophers and those that were were not just philosophers(with ironic good fortunate a lot of them were politicians as well as philosophers; European philosophers lived under despotism and hadn’t the slightest idea how to run a country after they had seized it). Furthermore they were American philosophers which meant they were British philosophers and that means more then a prickly tribalism in the statement suggests. The British enlightenment of which America shares a part of was a tradition of it’s own, which diverged uniquely from the continent.

    And yet it must be repeated that most were not philosophers. One veteran when asked what he thought he was fighting for was quizzed about various writers whom he had never heard of. He finally gave the reply to the effect of, “We had always run our own affairs and they were interfering with that.” That is a homely way to put it by an apparently quite homely man. But perhaps it is the best.