An Interesting Take on Idolatry of Country

Thanks to my friend Rob Martin for directing me to this interesting link about the relationship between Christians and the state. I liked that it was general (i.e., the definition could be applied to any Christian, in any country). I have not read the initial post that the author references, but I found the topic of this particular post interesting on its own.

I have been pondering the relationship between our devotion to the Kingdom of God (for Christians) and our devotion to the country we live in. I do think that we need to remember that whatever rules we make for ourselves must be able to be applied equally by other Christians to their country. It is not fair to make “US only” rules based on some supposed special treatment by God. I don’t see this view as biblical, so I would be hard to convince that we are allowed to be devoted to America while other Christians should not be devoted to their country in the same way.

I would love to hear any perspectives on Scot McKnight’s definition of the line between reasonable acknowledgement of our role in shaping the direction of the country we are called to live in, and going overboard and replacing faith in God with faith in government. Please use the comment section below, rather than commenting on the link on my facebook. Hopefully, we can be civil even as we (likely) don’t all agree. Multiple opinions are desirable, I want to hear from people from a variety of viewpoints! I’ll plan to follow up with a summary of the discussion, and some of my thoughts, in a few days (hopefully not more than a week).

5 comments on “An Interesting Take on Idolatry of Country

  1. I’m glad you found the article meaningful. I’ve been enjoying following McKnight’s blog. Some excellent topics found there.

    • I’m actually hoping to comment with my reactions to it more later, but want to be able to address issues/agreements others have with it so that my comments are more meaningful for my readers. I like a lot of what he says, but agree with some of the commenters that he misses some things. My guess is that he was trying to be brief in the statement, which I admire since I struggle with brevity. 0:-)

      • You, too, huh? Someone told me that where most people think in small words and phrases, some people think and process in sentences, some in whole paragraphs… I, on the other hand, think and process in PAGES at a time… 🙂

  2. FYI, McKnight has responded to Joe’s challenge for describing what is wrong with the 10 points that McKnight put up… interesting commentary. Could be a fun conversation.

  3. Links to your blog and Scot McKnight’s blog popped up on my Facebook newsfeed right around the same time, so I’m going to take that as a sign that I should throw my two cents in as well. 🙂

    I will admit that I would locate myself on the very “classic Anabaptist” end of the church/state relationship continuum. Actually, I remember when I was a part of the guinea pig class for Messiah’s newly instituted “core course” one of our assigned readings was the chapter “In God We Trust — The Dilemmas of Christian Citizenship” from John D. Roth’s book “Choosing Against War.” As I recall, the vast majority of my class vehemently disagreed with Roth while I energetically agreed with much of what he said. In fact, his book as a whole was a large influence on some of my views on Christian relationships to the State.

    I think that just about any way Christians define their relationship to the State will be problematic, including my own. That being said, however, I am least unhappy with a fairly separatist stance in regards to how I relate to the State. While I do vote because of the conviction that doing so is one way that I can exert at least a small bit of favorable influence, I refuse to say the Pledge of Allegiance because of my belief that the Kingdom of God knows no geo-political boundaries, and by pledging allegiance to one political entity, I am simultaneously positioning myself against many of my brothers and sisters in Christ who just so happen not to live in the same geo-political region and who might, in fact, be considered “enemies” of the geo-political region in which I happen to find myself.

    As I said, I think that every Christian’s relationship to the State will have problems. My methods of relating (or not relating) are not exempt, and I have been disabused of the notion that I am practicing the “right” way and should force that way upon everyone else. However, I think that if I could come up with one imperative for Christians as regards their relationship to the State, I think that imperative would be to give very careful thought, prayer, and discernment to how that relationship becomes embodied in his/her individual life. I think that probably the worst form of (un)involvement is an uncritical one.

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