Where was I ? Oh yes, the second influence that Kurt pointed me to was the book: The Myth of A Christian Nation, How The Quest For Political Power Is Destroying The Church, by Gregory A. Boyd.
I love this book ! I could rant and rave about it forever but I don't think any of you would enjoy that very much. So, I'm going to attempt a book review. I hope to give you a glimpse inside this great book and to perk your interest in what I believe is a very important and relevant topic for us today. Well enough of me, let's get to the book and what Pastor Gregory Boyd has to say.
Myth of a Christian Nation, Introduction Chapter:
So, I'll let Greg speak for himself as to the central thesis of the book :
" I believe a significant segment of American evangelicalism is guilty of nationalistic and political idolatry. To a frightful degree, I think, evangelicals fuse the kingdom of God with a preferred version of the kingdom of the world.......many of us American evangelicals have allowed our understanding of the kingdom of God to be polluted with political ideals, agendas, and issues. " (page 11)
Ouch !!! Those words sound very harsh. But are they true ? What kind of "nationalistic and political idolatry" is he talking about ? Again, I'll let Mr. Boyd speak for himself:
" Many believe there is little ambiguity in how true Christian faith translates into politics. Since God is against abortion, Christians should vote for the pro-life candidate......since God is against homosexuality, Christians should vote for the candidate who supports the marriage amendment act-and a Bible-believing pastor should proclaim this....since God is for personal freedom, Christians should vote for the candidate who will fulfill " America's mission" to bring freedom to the world." (page 10)
Greg goes on to say that there is a myth which gives this strong connection between Christianity and politics in America such a strong emotion. He calls it, The Myth of a Christian Nation.
" This foundational American myth is, in fact, untrue, America is not now and never was a Christian nation, God is not necessarily on America's side, and the kingdom of God we are called to advance is not about "taking America back for God." (page 13)
Again, very strong words from a very confident man. This myth of America as a Christian nation has hindered the cause of Christ. It has led many around the world to associate America with Christ, so that "they hear the good news of Jesus only as American news, capitalistic news, imperialistic news, exploitative news, anti gay news, or Republican news". (page 14) I couldn't agree more !
Well that's it. Since you have the review of the introduction you can stop here. No need to read the follow-up posts about the rest of the book. Um, no ! Totally 100% kidding. In the days to come I plan to share with you my thoughts about each chapter in this great book. I hope you will stay with me on this journey. I also hope you will not just take my word but get the book and see what Pastor Boyd has to say for yourself. We'll end with a question.
Do you know anyone who has been put off by Christianity because of American Christians' tendency to link their faith with their politics ? What messages do you hear repeated ?