A common rallying cry for conservative activists, including Christians, is that we need “to take America back.” Okay, sign me up. Take America back where?
Generally the point is that we need to take America back from the liberals and progressives — the secularists in the academy, the homosexuals in the streets, and the raunchy movie producers in our very own Netflix queue. Okay, sign me up again. Once we have taken America back from those guys, what do we do with it?
The assumption is that the underlying America is just fine the way it is unless some progressive has been messing with it. We need to “save America,” the thinking goes, and so the language of salvation is used all the time. But in our heart of hearts, we are saving an innocent kidnapping victim, and not a skid row bum who became a drunk because of his own stupid choices.
In other words, once the progressives, that alien force, are taken out of the picture, America’s native good sense will return, the nation will right itself, common sense will again prevail when it comes to the national budget, we will stop killing the unborn “because we are too good for that,” and so on. In short, America gets to be saved without a savior. America gets to be saved without repentance. America gets to be saved without hearing and believing the gospel. In other words, if the terms of the Great Commission were a great tournament, America always gets a bye.
This is not just a trivial error; it is heresy. It is another gospel. It is false, damnable. Further, it is a basic reason why we have so little success in fighting the progressives, whose vision for society really is a lunatic vision. Traditional values can’t fight sin, for the same reason that healthy tissue can’t fight cancer — but is rather the tissue that provides cancer with its scope and its future.
You can tell this assumption is operating when somebody says that progressive socialism is “unAmerican.” No, our leftists are homegrown, and every bit as American as, say, an amber wave of grain. To return to the cancer illustration, what good does it do to say that this cancer is not “my cancer”? It shouldn’t kill you then, right? To say this cancer in my body is not my cancer, but is rather some kind of “European-style” cancer makes no sense, other than perhaps as an exercise in blame shifting.
If you persist in saying that the healthy tissue is the “real you,” and that the moral cancer rotting out your bones is not, then this precludes repentance. And yet, the declaration of the gospel — that Christians were told to preach to all nations, including ours — includes preaching repentance and faith. Nations means nations, repentance means repentance for our own sins and not other people’s, and faith means faith in Jesus Christ. Baptism means baptism into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Sorry to get into all the deep theology here but the Christian faith means calling everyone to believe in Jesus. The name for not wanting to do that is unbelief.
This is what we must do in order to “take America back.” Any attempts to take America back without an explicit call for America to become (again) a Christian nation is an exercise in futility, and far from taking America out of the saloon, it is actually buying her another drink.
I am not calling for America to join a particular denomination. This is by no means sectarian. I am simply saying that our nation — our leaders, our judges, our poets, our jesters, and our people as a whole — must confess that Jesus is Lord. They must confess that only Jesus is Lord. Other nations are called do the same and, as they do, they would of course recognize one another. This is what I would call mere Christendom.