American Christianity: Introduction
I am starting this draft on Nov 8th, 2020. If you are reading this anywhere around that date, you know first hand just how crazy it is right now. We started these articles on Stumbling Saints a week before the most ridiculous election in history, in the midst of a nine month global pandemic, and at the peak of a racial tension the likes of which hasn't been seen in 60 years.
As we started writing that first week, I wanted us to stay SO far away from those three topics, partly because that's all anyone is talking about and partly because we wanted to offer some reading material that couldn't even remotely be deemed as "political".
Well, that was short lived.
As much as I wanted to stay away from politics and current social conundrums, I want even more to glorify the name of Christ and help to point His people through this mess to the only hope we have, Jesus. That being said, I am sure that there will be someone who reads this and thinks the motivation is political rather than gospel, but then again saying "abortion is murder" is somehow political in our day and age.
All of these problems, race, gender, government, sexuality, and so on, are successfully tearing our country apart. On the left, there are those who would sacrifice truth in the name of compassion, dismissing those who disagree with them as unfeeling and narrow minded. On the right, those that are stuck so deep in their own pride and tradition that they can't see anything outside of what directly affects them.
But we as Christians have more sense than that, right?
We are not liberals. We aren't so naive as to assume that truth is relative or subjective and that somehow phrases like "just be you" or "you are enough just the way you are" are the answers to our current problems. No, because we know that God is the author of truth and that there is a real truth about what is right and wrong. We know that we, in fact, are not "enough" just the way we are, but that we need the saving grace of God, that is Jesus, to reconcile us to Himself.
We are not conservatives. We aren't so hard hearted that we shoo away any cry for help that doesn't align with our preconceived understanding of the world. We don't prioritize our pride of self, country, or preference over the real heartbrokenness of those around us. No, because we are called and equipped by the maker of heaven and earth to put ourselves second to those around us and to serve and love people with the gospel of Jesus.
We are not conservative Christians or liberal Christians. We are simply Christians.
I want to take the next few weeks to really explore how being American has played into how we view our Christian identity.
A Christianity that sways and bends to the wind of any culture becomes merely a religion. Cultural Christianity (that is, a Christianity that is formed by or around the culture) is nothing in the face of God exalting, Christ magnifying, Spirit empowered, actual Christianity.
So this is the plan: we will look at some of these major hangups that are happening right now in the church, and we will figure out what the Bible says about them. That's how reformation has come historically, so that is how we will pursue it now... Biblically.
“Probably the greatest tragedy of the church throughout its long and chequered history has been its constant tendency to conform to the prevailing culture instead of developing a Christian counter-culture.” ― John R. W. Stott
Let's strive towards a counter-cultural Christianity.