Christiany Decorative Elements

One of the reasons why it is obvious that we need revival in our nation is the fact that we do not rejoice in God the way we need to be rejoicing in God. “Wilt thou not revive us again: That thy people may rejoice in thee?” (Psalm 85:6).

But as we pray for reformation and revival, one of the things we have to get clear on is the definition of that phrase thy people. Many of you watched the Inauguration two days ago, or at least portions of it. My purpose here is simply to focus on one confused aspect of that whole affair, an aspect that we as professing Christians have no business be confused about.

Please make two distinctions. First, we must distinguish the Christian faith once delivered from a generic American civil religion. That is foundational. We must have nothing to do with a faith in secular democracy, decked out and festooned with certain Christiany decorative elements. American civil religion is in fact a thing, and it is a religion that we are required to have absolutely nothing to do with. Unbaptized Americans are not part of that biblical phrase thy people. The claims oWe must have nothing to do with a faith in secular democracy, decked out and festooned with certain Christiany decorative elements.f Jesus Christ are total, and they are exclusive.

But the second distinction is almost as important, and it is a distinction missed by many sectarian purists. Not all the Christian elements that we saw were provided by the decorations committee of the American civil religion. A number of the pronounced ones were provided by people who agree that the claims of Jesus Christ are not whitewash for a humanistic religion, and who courageously confess it. Our new vice-president took his oath of office with the Bible open to 2 Chron. 7:14. My people . . . called by my name . . . heal their land. There is a way that this can be understood as applying to us.

In short, things are in a frightful jumble. Worship the Lord. Teach your children. Study your Bibles. Pray.

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John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy


Rob Steele
Rob Steele

The unbelievers are God’s in the sense that absolutely everything is God’s. That’s not what the verse means but still. God saves us, not our theology. Most of us had little understanding of what he was doing when he got us and our understanding even now is through a glass darkly. Quibbles aside though, yeah and amen.

Jack Bradley
Jack Bradley

Douglas, I’m trying to sort out your thoughts here, and having some difficulty. I of course wholeheartedly agree that we must distinguish Christian faith and doctrine from American civil religion. But I must wholeheartedly disagree that Christians “are required to have absolutely nothing to do with” American civil religion. We are, of course, first and foremost citizens of the Kingdom of God, the Church. But we are also citizens of America, which as you say, has a civil religion. I think your characterization of that civil religion is more than somewhat of a caricature: “faith in secular democracy, decked out… Read more »