A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Thursday, March 28, 2024

The God of Christianity Is Not a Tribal Deity

The God of Christianity is not a tribal deity. To connect him as having special status to any earthly nation is to reduce the God of the Universe to the tribal equivalent of Baal or Chemosh.

On this Holy Thursday, we are reminded that Jesus instituted for his followers-- not just American Christians-- a meal in which all are invited. And though different Christian traditions do not agree on whether Christians from other traditions can partake of the sacrament in their tradition, one thing that no church requires is a birth certificate or citizenship papers in order to sit at the Lord's Table.

The people God has called to be a light to the world is not America or Canada or Germany, but the Church. The Church is God's holy nation (1 Peter 2:9). It is the ONLY Christian nation that has ever existed and will ever exist. To claim any earthly nation as Christian is to commit ecclesiastical fraud. Thus, to connect the secular documents of any nation-- e.g. the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence-- to the Bible is to profane the very writings that the Church has declared holy. It is to reduce the Bible to just another cultural liturgy of one nation, enlisting it in the kind of tribalism the New Testament rejects.

The Bible is the story of God and God's work in the world in order to reconcile the world; and the Church as God's holy nation bears witness to that transnational message that cannot be tamed or enslaved to the provincial boundaries of national borders.

It is a good thing for Christians in America to love America, but what cannot be done is to baptize the secular and enlist the Scriptures in service to one earthly people by binding it with other documents that God has not inspired. To do so is to commit idolatry and peddle heresy.

Christian Nationalism turns the God of the Universe into a golden calf and reduces the church into nothing other than a cheerleader for narrow national interests.

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