It’s been said you can’t teach stupid. You either are or you aren’t. Yet, many are buying into the stupidity that is dividing our country and tearing down essential elements of who we are.
Nationalism is one of those elements. One writer said: Nationalism is not the same as patriotism. While patriotism is a bit more of a vague word to describe the love and devotion to a country, nationalism is more the promotion of a nation's culture, language, and supremacy above others. He then went on to describe patriotism as fireworks and parades on the 4th of July, then had nothing else to say.
It made me wonder, in his mind, to which does a man or woman give the last full measure of devotion? To some celebration or to a belief in what represents who we are and that for which our country stands? One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Nationalism is the effort of maintaining the strength, viability and identity through which a nation guards its independence, unrestrained from the influence or control of other nations, so that it remains free to chart its own course and respond according to its own values.
That becomes a bit more challenging since the push today is for a one-world government, producing a world society of blurred boundaries, a single religion with a god mixed from all religions and blended cultural identities, run by an elite collection of individuals yet defined. It is the false hope of a utopia where a few make the decisions for the whole and no nation can rise against or above another.
The primary reason this utopia is a false hope is the failure to take into consideration the evil within individuals and the ungodliness within mankind. Wars and rumors of wars will continue until the end because of the self-interest of those who would suppress, then oppress and finally press their interests above all others.
So, to take down the number one super power of the world, the major deterrent to world-wide destruction, and reduce us to one of the bunch is a violation of why we exist and why the world needs us to be a strong and capable nation.
Since WWII, the U.S. has been the world power to help hold up struggling nations and come to the aid of countries under threat of losing their freedoms. Our strength and values have qualified us as the premier nation, capable of resources, rescue and revitalization to help the helpless and defend the defenseless.
If we don’t remain strong, the world will destroy itself and be overtaken by forces wanting to annihilate all that is good and just.
For me, Nationalism and Patriotism are an inseparable representation of love of country and the belief we must remain the strongest beacon of liberty for the sake of the rest of the world.
However, the word nationalism has become a dirty word in the world of politics and now in religion, even tying it to our fight against the Coronavirus.
In a church news email I subscribe to, there was an article this week: Christian Nationalists Least Likely to take Coronavirus Precautions Seriously.
“Christian nationalism was the leading predictor that Americans would engage in incautious behavior and was the second strongest predictor that Americans would take fewer precautions like wearing a mask or sanitizing/washing one’s hands.” In other words, Christian nationalists are less likely to do the things that scientists and government officials have proposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus and are more likely to engage in activities that spread it. And this wasn’t even talking about attending church.
Furthermore, the study proposes that what prompts this incautious response is Christian nationalists’ beliefs. Namely, “belief in divine protection, distrust of scientists and the news media, and devotion to Trump.”
They were also associated with engaging in five points of incautious behavior more often than others. Namely, eating at restaurants, attending gatherings of ten or more people, visiting family and friends, going shopping for nonessential items, and going to the grocery or drug store.
Conversely, religious people who don’t ascribe to Christian nationalists’ beliefs, were associated with being more observant of the precautionary measures. “Once we account for Christian nationalism, devout Americans are more likely to alter their behavior and wash hands or sanitize more often, wear a mask, and avoid touching their face.”
If this wasn’t a real study someone spent time and effort on, I’d think somebody had stayed a bit too long in the stupidity zone. In their seriousness to find solutions to the spread of a virus, they blame and mock Christians who trust God and love their country.
2Pet 3:3 Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own desires,
Why was this study necessary in the first place? To justify the on-going attack on Christians. Once it was Conservative Christians who were the problem. Then Christian Fundamentalists. Then Evangelical Christians. Now, Christian Nationalists. We are an obstacle because we act according to our beliefs and hold our God higher than any power, authority or rule, all the while having a deep devotion to our country.
We can have our Christianity as long as we keep it inside the building. But with this new derogatory title, some feel we are spilling our Christianity out into the political arena.
In the comment section of this article one person quoted Dietrich Bonhoeffer: “One can't be a Christian and a nationalist at the same time.” It was to be proof that the two can’t go together. I responded to that comment: “The Nationalism Bonhoeffer was talking about was the Nazi regime. Let’s keep that in mind.” Someone responded: “I wonder as a Christian, where does your loyalty lie?” To which I wrote back: “There is only one God I serve with full devotion. And I also love my country and can speak against the evil that is attacking it.” That was what Bonhoeffer was saying. As a Christian and pastor, he could not support the Nazis regime. And was executed in prison for saying so.
We cannot separate our life interests into compartments that don’t overlap. That’s the message of Colossians.
Col 3:17-22 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them. Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart. Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.
Now, more than ever before what we believe must affect who we are and how we act. Whether that is in the home, at work or in the marketplace. It affects how we think, what we say, what we do and who we vote for. Our lives are a web of devotion to God with everything being connected to Him because we love Him.
Some say: your devotion to God must come after the health, safety and welfare of the people. What? My number one priority in life can be trumped by circumstances? I can’t say, “Sorry, Lord, but this is more important than you are.” That’s what some churches in California are fighting against right now.
District Attorney Dan Dow has declared San Luis Obispo County in central California a “sanctuary county” for churches holding worship services and singing. According to The Christian Post, Dow will not prosecute churches in his county who have defied a recent order from California Gov. Gavin Newsom outlawing singing in churches.
In his statement, Dow said, “Inherent with my responsibility to enforce the law is the discretion that I have … to pursue only those charges that are warranted and are in the interest of justice.”
“Now more than ever, we need more people attending their houses of worship and seeking help from the Almighty for an answer to the coronavirus. In that spirit, I’m calling on people of faith in our county and across our state, across our country and across the world, to pray for peace [and] healing.”
“It would be, in my opinion, the very definition of insanity if we branded a person of faith as a criminal for singing in a house of worship. It would be a severe injustice for my office to charge a person with a crime who has simply chosen to practice their faith by singing with their congregation.”
Do you know what the First Amendment says about religion? Cornell University restated it: The First Amendment forbids Congress from both promoting one religion over others and also restricting an individual's religious practices. It was to protect the church from the government not the government from the church.
It’s coming down to choosing what or Who is most important. For the non-believing it’s always the what over the Who. For we who believe, we know the Who is the ultimate answer. The blessing lies in the Lord, not somebody’s concern, opinion, restriction or rules.
Ps 33:12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, The people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance.
Ps 144:15 How blessed are the people who are so situated; How blessed are the people whose God is the LORD!
One California church that is under threat of fines and imprisonment for defying the Governor’s restrictions on churches produced this statement: “In response to the recent state order requiring churches in California to limit or suspend all meetings indefinitely, we, the pastors and elders of Grace Community Church, respectfully inform our civic leaders that they have exceeded their legitimate jurisdiction, and faithfulness to Christ prohibits us from observing the restrictions they want to impose on our corporate worship services,” said a statement from the Pastor and the Church Elders.
You say, “What about Rom 13:1-2 Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.”
Peter dealt with that in Acts 4:18-20 And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard."
That’s the authorities telling them stop obeying God or else face consequences.
Acts 5:27-29 When they had brought them, they stood them before the Council. The high priest questioned them, saying, "We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man's blood upon us." But Peter and the apostles answered, "We must obey God rather than men.
Whenever the authorities declare we cannot act or live or function as Believers devoted to our God, they have crossed a line, and gone beyond their God-given authority.
Through the writer of Hebrews, God said: Heb 10:23-25 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. By forbidding assembling or restricting it into becoming non-essential, authorities are causing Christians to violate God’s command.
My son has not been able to take his family to church since March. All churches in Las Vegas are limited to 50 people. Some of those churches hold well over a thousand at a time. Once the worship team and musicians, staff and those in leadership get there, there isn’t any more space available. Why is Nevada doing this? Because that’s what California has done.
You’ll find that what starts in California typically moves across the country, whether that’s in fads, perversions or politics. That’s why we have to keep an eye on the West and anticipate what’s coming our way.
We can no longer say, but that’s out West. Austin City Council just this past week took $150 million away from the police budget and gave a good portion of it to fund abortions and other social programs that enslave people to the government. Stupidity is on the way.
The choice to live out our faith places us on the field of battle. We fight Satan at every turn as he distracts and tempts us by drawing our attention away from our devotion to God. We fight our own impulses of desire for things that satisfy us with no regard for what’s best. We fight against the world in its insistence on determining how life is to be lived, its undermining our desire to walk godly in an ungodly environment and its obsessing over changing right to wrong and wrong to right.
Do you know what BLM, Inc. stands for? It isn’t Black Lives Matter. They are anarchists trying to destroy America. And it doesn’t matter to them who they destroy along the way – white, black, brown or Asian. And if you say, all lives matter, you will be attacked. And people are taking a knee in support of their efforts. We need to know the truth and courage to take a stand. How?
Eph 6:11-12 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
This is a deliberate effort to prepare ourselves for the battles. Paul wants us armed and ready to stand against the forces of evil. I admit that scares me. I know the hidden dangers.
But instead of this weakening us with fear, it should strengthen us with courage. The strongest Christians today are those under persecution. They have determined the value of the Lord far exceeds any personal gain without Him.
1Pet 4:12-16 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.
There have always been movements to dismantle the church and remove its influence from society because we stand in opposition to lawlessness and immorality. We love God with all our hearts, souls, bodies and strength and love others as ourselves. We believe in the Christian foundation of our nation. These beliefs make us an enemy the world must conquer. Without the church there is no resistance against the evil seeking to steal, kill and destroy.
Christian Nationalists stand against those forces. And when it becomes necessary to rebel, they do so understanding the consequence of their actions. When they reject those systems that make God and His Church unnecessary and objectionable, they do so knowing there is a price to pay. To them the price of not rebelling is greater than the burden of remaining silent.
Martin Niemöller, a Lutheran Pastor, enthusiastically welcomed the Third Reich. But a turning point in Niemöller's political position came with a January 1934 meeting with Adolf Hitler. Niemöller and two prominent Protestant leaders met with Hitler to discuss the increasing state pressures on churches and the restrictions being imposed on them. Following that meeting, Niemöller realized the Nazi state was a dictatorship, which he must oppose. He did and was imprisoned. After the war was over and he was freed from prison, he wrote:
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
As Christians, we can love our country and still reject and speak out against the movements set to destroy it. We can honor our civic responsibilities, but if those responsibilities clash on matters God has commanded, we must obey the Lord.
That’s in the final words of the third chapter of Colossians, Paul wrote: Col 3:23-24 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.
In the church, the home, at work or in the marketplace, who we are isn’t defined by those who oppose us or set the standard for us. It is the Lord Christ whom we serve.
- Jesus said we were to be salt and light to the world.
- Salt adds value to whatever it touches – as a flavor enhancer, a preservative or an enticement to quench the thirst.
- Light helps us navigate the darkness by exposing the obstacles hidden there.
- Though the world will never acknowledge how essential the church is, we have to let our lights shine, and as we do, we must also tap the salt shaker.
- We do that by allowing who we are in Jesus to affect every aspect of our lives.