Parson to Person
From early days, the United States of America has been generally know by the world as a Christian nation. To be sure there were many times and episodes in its history that would bring that idea into question. Still, following the great revivals of the early 19th century, that label largely stuck, more predominately in the Southern Bible belt than in the other regions. This will draw some flack, but here me out.
A few years ago, the then president of the United States stood before a gathering of leaders from many nations and forthrightly declared that America was NOT a Christian nation. A fire storm of repudiation ensued from folks at home.
I shall refrain from the many temptations of digression that present themselves in order to advance the greater purpose in mind. Could he have been correct? I think it all depends upon what one considers a Christian to be.
To perhaps 90% of what is called the “Christian World” the definition of a Christian is one who confesses that Jesus is the Son of God. Repentance from sin and faith in Him brings eternal salvation to the spirit of the individual. But Faith in God has wrought individual salvation since Eden, and none of the Old Testament saints are biblically known as Christians. What are we to make of it all? Please think with me!
The disciples of Jesus were first called Christians at Antioch (Acts 11). They did not name themselves that, but the general populace dubbed them with that title. They were a Greek speaking people and knew exactly what they were saying and meaning. It is dedicated discipleship (followership) by which those saved people were recognized and entitled.
The disciples at Antioch were 1) saved by grace through faith; 2) baptized by the first church by immersion in water; 3) honored the Word of God by teaching the biblical landmarks that guided their life, these included the above plus eternal security of the believer, and the authority of the church to spread the gospel, and administer the ordinances Jesus put into His church . As one is dedicated to these things and grows in the Word, he will be a New Testament Christian. Did this just decimate the popular idea of Christianity? Doubtless!
When folks align themselves with a religious organization without thought or research of the Biblical model, they become a Christian in colloquial name only, and are devoid of any meaningful honesty with their Creator as it is revealed in His eternal Word. Evangelism is reduced to an invitation to “our church” and its programs rather than to the all important, individual, relationship with God both in salvation and in dedicated, acceptable service.
Maybe, just maybe that Muslim pleasing president was unwittingly right. Simply put, a nation of churchgoers does not a Christian make!