Christian America and the Kingdom of God

If you’re ever looking for a good book which includes an excellent history of American Fundamentalism, I recommend R.T. Hughes’ book Christian America and the Kingdom of God. You may recall I posted a few thoughts about the book after first reading it in 2010, but for whatever reason felt prompted to read it again last week. The ‘second time around’ the history of America’s fundamentalist movement and how much the original vision has changed from the time of the first Great Awakening in 1740-1760, really struck me. And particularly, the drastic changes which took place within the 20th century, (chapter 5 – A Fundamentalist Vision for Christian America; from the Scopes Trial to George W. Bush).  

In his conclusions the author pointed out a rather startling comparison,

“Obviously, there is a sense in which America is a Christian nation, after all some 76% of the American people claim to be Christian, in one form or another. But the Christian ‘character’ of the United States is comparable to the Christian character of the Roman Empire after Constantine or the Holy Roman Empire of the sixteenth century. Christian trappings abound, but if one compares, for example, the Christian dimensions of the Holy Roman Empire with the teachings of Jesus, the differences are stunning.

Jesus counseled peace, but the empire practiced violence. Jesus counseled humility, but the empire engaged in a ruthless pursuit of power.  Jesus counseled concern for the poor, but the empire practiced exaltation of the rich. Jesus counseled modesty, but the empire practiced extravagance. Jesus counseled simple living, but the empire encouraged luxurious living for those with the means to embrace that way of life. And while Jesus counseled forgiveness and love for one’s enemies, the empire practiced vengeance.

Like the ancient empire, the United States abounds in Christian trappings. And yet the United States embraces virtually all the values that have been common to empires for centuries on end.

It pays lip service to peace but thrives on violence, exalts the rich over the poor, prefers power to humility, places vengeance above forgiveness, extravagance above modesty, and luxury above simplicity.

In a word, it rejects the values of Jesus.

How then, can we claim that the United States is a Christian nation?”

Just something to ponder on…


3 comments on “Christian America and the Kingdom of God

  1. The author’s statement as quoted from the book Christian America and the Kingdom of God is sadly correct and worse few will pause to consider their ways to make sure they haven’t fallen to the institutions of men. After all, their churches rehearse over and over again that serving the church is serving God.

    Therefore, I don’t want to believe that the church especially in America has pushed aside the Savior and has placed themselves between God and man. They both imply and implore that their standing is in line with God no matter what the scriptures says, no matter what they teach, no matter what they do or how they do it. They are after all the ordained and the church would not be as successful without them. I suppose they’re right if success is based upon the size of a building and the number of tithes they collect.

    I ignore the fact that few churches take to heart the teachings of Jesus Christ and even fewer actually put His Word into action. I mean the church does what Jesus Christ teaches right? They feed the poor, care for the sick, visit the prisons and teach the gospel don’t they? I mean I pay the church good money to do those things for me and so I trust that they are keeping their end of the bargain.
    They are after all more qualified than I am to do Christ’s works at least their institutions say they are. And I do my best to ignore the fact that when the economy gets tight the church will cancel missions, feed less people and slow their outreach in favor of church salaries and vacation/conferences, new gymnasiums and limos.

    I know of one large national church group that does not support their own missionaries because they insist upon sending their money to political action committees that support the interests of Israel. I don’t think that is a bad thing necessarily because they need help right? And after all, the missionaries themselves are starving right along with their congregations which should endear them to those they are trying to reach. Politics is after all more important than hunger.

    But I have to say that most church secrets are so well guarded that most congregations do not have a clue to as where their money goes nor do they realize that the monies are filtered through higher counsels that skim, direct and control the system to assure that their collective umbrella keeps the congregation safe. That shouldn’t matter to me since all I really want to do is to find God and the church is where he’s at right?

    Most important to me is the fact that church doctrine, teachings and statements of faith are taboo subjects that cannot be examined, questioned or discussed with the pastor. After all, how dare I check a church discipline against Bible text. So thankfully, if I have a problem understanding something I can just keep it to myself or to avoid expulsion I can accept the token book or DVD that should settle the issue for me once and for all.

    The last thing I ever want to do is question the church leadership, make waves or divide a church over something as frivolous as the concept of God’s Word. After all, the church has a history and a tradition of discipleship that has been around for centuries. It shouldn’t matter that Origin, Eusebius, Maricon, Philo, Jerome and many other early church leaders were adepts of Pythagorus, Plato and Simon the Sorcerer. I should never miss the opportunity to just shut up and trust God that my church hears His will.

    And I simply cannot trust the Bible as the source of my walk with God because there are so many of ‘em and everybody has a different point of view about what it says. So I have to go to a church, like it or not, even in America.

    • Therefore, I don’t want to believe that the church especially in America has pushed aside the Savior and has placed themselves between God and man.

      The one thing i take heart in Dave is there are (still) congregations in America, admittedly most of them are very small according to today’s standards, that are remaining steadfast in the faith.They continue to look for the coming of the Lord, and seek the Kingdom of God. Brother, these make up the real, true, Church in America. They are part of the remnant.

      The last thing I ever want to do is question the church leadership

      If you attend a church in which the members are never permitted to question what leadership believes or question any teachings brought to the congregation by leadership, brother you need to leave and seek a new place to worship and be taught the word of God.

  2. Though it may be difficult, yes sometimes we must leave. Thank the Lord we have the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us…and teach us!

    God bless you brother Dave.

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