Patriotism or Gospel?

We’ve just finished July 4 celebrations across the country.  People in our neighborhood are still shooting fireworks.  Pastors and church leaders walk a thin line when it comes to how much time and emphasis we give to celebrating and incorporating patriotic music or symbols into worship services. Churches must maintain a delicate balance between the two.

As followers of Christ we hold in tension our allegiance and love for country and our ultimate allegiance due to God alone. Christians are citizens of our country but we are foremost citizens of the kingdom of God.

Christians are not called to worship the state but to worship God. Any form of government makes a poor substitute for God who should have our total allegiance. Churches should make sure that the cross (the symbol of Christianity) is always more visible than any other symbol including the American flag. We are blessed to live in a great country that gives us religious freedom to worship as we see fit.  Our freedom is worth celebrating however, to elevate patriotism to worship status is idolatry.

It is appropriate on occasion celebrate our freedom, wave the American flag and demonstrate patriotism; but to make that a regular feature of worship that takes away the presentation and preaching of the Gospel is going too far. Even though we believe democracy is the best form of government, it is still imperfect and should not be idolized.

Thomas Jefferson said, “The reason that Christianity is the best friend of Government is because Christianity is the only religion that changes the heart.”

Churches should focus on preaching the Gospel that changes hearts which will change people and ultimately change our government for the better.

Remember we are one nation under God not over God.

Keep the Son in your eyes,

Mike James

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