We should begin with a quick recap of just how exciting our times are. We’re living amid the collapse of secularism and the Christian Church in the United States is starting to work out what to do about it. Before long our civil magistrates in the states will be walking around in pink high heels like the Canadian law makers. So the Reformed Evangelicals in this here land of the free and home of the brave better get to working out this Christian Nation thing fast and quick.
So where are we?
Stephen Wolfe wrote a very fine book through Canon Press that has caused quite a stir. In part, because it stoked the woke. In part, because he has some dualism going on in that book and the Postmillennial Reformed brethren simply aren’t going to dance to that song. In part, (yes there is yet another part), because some rock-ribbed religious liberty American evangelicals started to get heart palpitations when they heard talk about a Christian Prince. We now have chatter about a Protestant Pope and my name has evidently been thrown in the hat for this position. It should be known that my first act as the Protestant Pope will be to excommunicate whoever nominated me and my second act as Pope will be to not be Pope.
We have several developments in the wake of Wolfe’s book. And I am not yet sharing my opinions on these developments. I’m simply sketching the map with a “you are here” sign on it.
Scott Aniol, an online and friendly acquaintance, and Executive Vice President of G3 ministries is going hard in the paint Baptist style, saying that the Mayflower Compact founding their colony “for the glory of God and the Advancement of the Christian Faith” was Unbiblical. He also underscores that “Baptist and magisterial are inherently incompatible.”
My friend James White has thrown another iron in the fire with concern about sacralism. Timon Cline, who has recently accepted an invitation to next year’s New Saint Andrews College Lectureship, keeps spilling more ink than one can read on the Christian faith, civil law, and government. While Jeff Shafer, director of the Hale Institute, continues to display the genius of the common law tradition. You might find the recent Hale event Reconsidering Religious Establishment to move the Overton window a smidge. To top things off, Pastor Doug Wilson has now published a book entitled Mere Christendom.
Much more detail could be added to this map. The main point is, buckle up and say your prayers, sing a psalm while you are at and know that this is going to be fun for a while particulars get hammered out.
Amid all of this excitement, I’d like to make what I think is a modest and unifying proposal, a claim that is straight-forward enough. Here it goes: America should be a Christian nation. What do I mean by Christian nation? Well, let me borrow from Doug Wilson’s recent book. He describes Mere Christendom as “a network of nations bound together by a formal, public civic acknowledgement of the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and the fundamental truth of the Apostle’s creed. I mean a public and formal recognition of the authority of Jesus Christ that repudiates the principles of secularism, and that avoids both hard sectarianism and easy latitudinarianism both” (pg. 69).
So my claim is simply that America should be one of those Mere Christendom nations. To narrow the point even a bit more, America should formally acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ and have leaders who do the same. Yes, this shocks modern American man. But I have not lost my wits. I’m an all-around common American guy. Think blue jeans, apple pie, Ford trucks, and consider the following points while you do.
These are not the 8 biblical arguments just yet. They are simply some long-range artillery to soften up the beach before we storm it.
Some Long-Range Artillery to Soften the Beach
Referring to the US Constitution, John Adams wrote in 1798, “Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Adams also said, “Religion and morality alone . . . can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand.”
What’s more, Article 7 of the United States Constitution reads: “Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven.” Now, if the Lord Jesus Christ is named in the constitution, then maybe we are on to something here with this Christian nation thing. Note, he is not only named, but designated “our Lord.”
The plot thickens as you take a look at the Treaty of Paris which ended the war for Independence and officially recognized the US as an independent nation. It opened with these words, “In the name of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity.” Our Declaration of Independence likewise says that our rights come from our Creator. They do not pop up out of thin air.
The Supreme Court in 1892, in a case called Holy Trinity v. the United States, stated that we were a Christian Nation. And it is at this time I would like to remind all of my COVID-friendly evangelical friends that this is a Romans 13 moment and we should get on board with what these judges have handed down to us. Going back to the Constitutional Convention, we find that of the 55 men present, 50 of them were orthodox Christians.
Then there is our dollar bills. All of them still read, “In God We Trust” which is a terribly exclusionary statement. The poor polytheists want “In Gods We Trust” but nothing doing. The Secular Humanists want “In Man We Trust” but they’re outsiders around here apparently. Those given to C. S. Lewis’ Scientism want “In Tools We Trust.” The Religious Pluralists want, “Shhhh, We Can’t Say Who We Trust on the Money?” But, there it is, right on the money in our pockets, “In God We Trust.” Take a close look at that We. I mean, how dare they? How dare they with the plural. Who is responsible for this corporate identifier that fails to recognize me as a person, as an individual who objects to this God whom some say I must trust in if I am going to be a part of this nation? Come to think of it, that is dirty money. There was quite a movement back in the days of President Donald Trump in which some said, “Not My President.” I wonder if these same people might take a look at the back of their Benjamins, behold that slogan in which we swear faith in God, and say, “Not my dollar bills.”
The reason this Christian nation thing is a live question right now is because our society has experienced a genuine ungodly revolution. Amid this revolution, we have come to discover that it is not whether our nation will be religious but rather which religion we will have. I propose the Christian religion and I will defend this proposal with clear Bible verses. While there will be many details to work out, the basic claim I’m making in this post aims to unify many Christians and go ahead and nail down something objective as a line in the sand: If you are not for a formal and civil acknowledgement of the Lord Jesus Christ and civil leaders who do the same, then you are quite simply not for a Christian Nation or Mere Christendom. But I really think this is a reasonable position for Bible-loving Christian to adopt. Here’s 8 reasons why.
8 Soldiers Go Forth Valiantly
First, America should formally acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ because the Triune God has created our nation just as he has created every nation in the earth. Acts 17:26, “And [God] hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation.” If the Triune God is the One responsible for the existence of the nation, is it not our duty to acknowledge him?
Second, America should be a Christian nation because the Triune God has resolved to bless our nation. Genesis 22:18 says, “In you shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” Look around America, you have been highly favored. I don’t hold that America is God’s chosen nation. But I am willing to say, “Golly, He has been good to us.” And He has been good to us through His promised seed, the Lord Jesus Christ. Where do we think all of this wealth and power has come from? If God has blessed us, then how could we not acknowledge Him formally and establish leaders who call Him Lord?
Third, Jesus must be acknowledged as Lord in the United States because God rules these United States. Now I’ve made people uncomfortable. But, Daniel 4:17 says, “The most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.” The United States is one of the kingdoms of the earth. It is ruled by the Triune God.
Fourth, America must swear allegiance to Christ because America must be baptized and observe all that Christ has commanded. Matthew 28:18-20 says, “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.”
Fifth, the leaders of America must call Him Lord because America’s civil authorities are servants of the Triune God who must do his will. Romans 13:1-4 says, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God . . . For he is the minister of God.” Now would we truly say that the civil magistrate is a minister of God, but this minister does not have to acknowledge His Master? He is a minister of God who can refuse to take God’s name upon his head?
Sixth, America must acknowledge the Lord Jesus because, as Proverbs 14:34 says, “righteousness exalts a nation.” We need only look back at our Christian history to see that this is true. And we need only look at our recent history to see that the following is true.
Seventh, our nation must confess Jesus as Lord for, as Proverbs 14:34 says, “sin is a reproach to any people.” Now, someone is going to come along and insist that I’m stretching Proverbs 14:34. We can neglect to acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ formally, we can ignore His law as a nation, and still avoid the sin which brings reproach. To such a nation, Abraham Kuyper, replies, “Popular sovereignty does not say in its heart: ‘I take the place of Christ; rather, it says something far different: ‘I identify my own heart as the heart of God. I will be my own god.’ A nation that acknowledges: ‘Our king rules over us by the grace of God,’ is therefore at least a Christian nation; a nation that cries out: ‘Away with that prince who rules by the grace of God!’ does not thereby cast off its Christian garment, but becomes entirely godless.”
Eighth, America should be a Christian nation because all of the civil authorities in America must kiss the Son. Psalm 2:10-12 says, “Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: Be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, And rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, And ye perish from the way, When his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” Kings of the earth are not given the option of kissing the Son. It is a moral necessity. Any king who refuses to do so is refusing to do what the God who placed him in his office requires of him.
But You Protest
Objection 1: Someone will say, “If we formally acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ as a nation, then certain citizens will be excluded.” I’d simply respond that we already do this. Our buildings already say, “One Nation Under God.” So the Polytheists, Secular Humanists, and those rising Atheistic Noneswe keep hearing about are already excluded.
Objection 2: It will be said that I’m taking a compartment of religion and stretching it over the whole of life. Religion and Civil Government need to stay in their appropriate, designated, and separate lanes. The man who makes this objection has an erroneous conception concerning the spiritual and the physical. Civil government should only concern itself with the physical and not the spiritual. But what do you do with the worshiper of Molech who insists that his worship practice of sacrificing his son is spiritual. Would this objector say that the Molech worshiper could worship Molech all he wanted, but he can’t do so physically? He can worship Molech in his heart, but he cannot do so with his body? He can worship Molech in his home, but he cannot build a Molech Sanctuary on Main Street? If so, then this objector is no objector at all and sounds much like a Christian Nationalist.
Objection 3: Your proposal sounds like a domineering one that will suffocate people who think differently and strip people of their liberties.
This final objection signals the real trouble with our thinking and our hearts. The Lordship of Christ is not tyranny, but freedom. If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. This proposal in no way contradicts the doctrine of Christian Liberty, albeit it does transgress the doctrine of Religious Liberty modernly conceived.
This modest proposal does not contradict or distract from the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the inevitable fruit of that gospel. America as a Christian Nation does not replace the central or primary thing, Christ crucified. It is the result once we get serious about that central thing.
America will continue over the cliff she is heading for unless she repents and calls upon the name of Jesus Christ. This Christ is the Son of God born of the Virgin Mary, He suffered under Pontius Pilate was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into Hades and has risen from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father Almighty.
There is no hope apart from him. There is salvation in no other name. Would you be free? Bow to him. Would you be forgiven of the sins that condemn you and rule over you? Look to Christ, call upon His name. Call Him Lord because He is Lord, Lord of all.