Tuesday, March 12, 2013

End of Evangelicalism (4) Christian Nation

The third big issue for David Fitch is the Christian Nation, commonly symbolised by the Stars and Stripes draped on one side of the pulpit in many churches. I agree with him. This is a blindspot and contradiction for American evangelicalism.

Evangelicalism took on an agenda to turn America back into a Christian nation. This became the dominant theme for how evangelicals would engage with society. We do not see the church as having a social reality of its own. The church gathers to encourage and edify, but Christians go into the world as individuals to work for a Christian version of morality.

The Christian nation ideology functions as a fantasy for evangelicalism that enables us to see ourselves as accomplishing something in terms of changing our society for Christ, while in effect nothing ever happens. David says that the Bush II presidency was the big moment, but it produced huge disappointment.

This elaboration of the Christian Nation enables us to go on acting as if we believe “the gospel makes a difference” all the while having to change nothing about our lives. It allows us to work vigorously for justice, while being complicit with existing systems of injustice.

We are suburban congregations sending aid to urban centres, while we sit as individuals next to each other in the comforts of a church pew. We avoid knowing the poor among us and around us. We can give enormous sums of money from behind the protection of our secure bank accounts and gated communities.

We are hampered from embodying the reign of God in a living community that engages the world. We are shaped for dispossession.
We are becoming a society of individuals bound together by a form of spectating.

David Fitch proposes a different approach. The church is a new way of being together in the world. It is social manifestation of the “sent one” by the Spirit the facilitator of the kingdom, which inhabits the world for mission.

The church is the social body of his Lordship incarnating Christ in the world for God’s mission. It is the extension of the incarnate Christ sent by the Father to join what he already doing by the Spirit.

David really hits the nail on the head with one, and drives it home. If you live in America, your should read it.

My Response
here is brief because I have written about this elsewhere.

Nations have no place in God’s plan. Our loyalty is to the Kingdom of God, not to any nation state.

The Kingdom of God will come as Christians get together to re-build society form the ground up, one village and neighbourhood at a time.

The End of Evangelicalism? Discerning a New Faithfulness for Mission

No comments: