The question is as old as our Republic. And still has no satisfactory answer that will go unchallenged. Today’s multicultural crowd will shudder at the notion that we might be a Christian nation; they will, at the mere hint of Scripture being sent their way holler “Theocracy!”
On the other hand, there are (usually) well-meaning Christians who look askance at you for asking such a silly, rhetorical question. To such, of course we’re a Christian nation; always have been, always will be. Why even ask? It’s obvious.
Well, friends, it’s anything but obvious that we are a Christian nation. No less than Billy Graham, perhaps the greatest evangelist in our times, stated that we are not, and have never been, a “Christian nation.” We are, however, a nation of Christians, and this is the essential point: a nation can not be “Christian.” Only an individual may be Christian.
The definition of who is a Christian is not up to me, or thee. It is up to God, who calls those he chooses* to die to sin and be reborn in Jesus Christ. God is sovereign; not thee, not me. Now a nation of Christians may choose to follow God’s law, or not. Since we are also a nation of sinners, we mostly will not follow that law. Even a casual examination of life in these United States will suffice to prove that we are far removed from perfection.
Didn’t Jesus tell us to imitate God and be perfect (Matthew 5:48)? Yes, and we fail. Such will it forever be on this side of God’s kingdom. So let us not waste what precious little time we have in the here and now on arguing about whether we are a “Christian nation.”
Let’s do our level best to proclaim the Gospel, and, to the best our sinful natures allow, perfect ourselves. It’s really simple: love God; love your neighbor. Everything else is commentary.
*With apologies to any who believe that salvation may be gained through works, or particular sacraments, rites,or liturgies. I don’t know you’re wrong, but I think you are: God won’t be taking time and attendance when he judges us. I’m a Reformed Baptist, meaning a Calvinist. Hey, it’s my cross to bear…
[Note: this is a repost, prompted by the story that Senator-elect Scott Brown attends a Calvinist church. Yet has Cistercian sisters praying for him. Neat.]