Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Webster
Davis Motor Sales banner ad

Keeping the Faith - Mixing is a Mistake

ronniemcbrayer300 maroonKENTUCKY (6/31/13) - Regardless of the particular denomination, most of this country’s churches are fiercely joined to American nationalism. On this Independence Day weekend you will likely find “God and Country” rallies inside churches of all theological brands.

Stars and stripes will drape the ceiling. Patriotic songs will boom across the sanctuary. There might even be a military color guard in front of the pulpit. Stories of economic and armed forces supremacy will mingle with the Bible’s stories of faith.

Not that any of this, in and of itself, is necessarily a bad thing, but it does remind me of Tony Campolo’s nimble words. He said, “Mixing government with the church is a lot like mixing horse manure with ice cream. It doesn’t affect the manure very much, but it really ruins the ice cream.”

Largely, the church has operated under the false notion that America actually belongs to us Christians. We have accepted the preaching of the kingdom of God and the rallying around the red, white, and blue as synonymous. We have long believed that the church and the state can make beautiful music together if only the two would cooperate (or put more accurately, things would go much smoother if we Christians could control the state). I don’t think this is very good for the ice cream.

Yes, I love my country. I enthusiastically sing the National Anthem, say the pledge, “do my part,” and pay my taxes (though the latter is performed with less enthusiasm than the former). But I recognize that the sacrificial, life-giving, peace-pursuing, cheek-turning way of Christ, and the domineering, power-hungry, least-of-these-abusing systems of the world, aren’t compatible. And when these different ways of living are mixed together – Tony is right – it all starts smelling like guano.

But this is nothing new. Not many decades after the resurrected Jesus ascended to heaven and the Apostles died, somebody decided it would be a good idea for the church to join forces with the powers that be. Just imagine how many people could be converted, helped, enrolled, and evangelized if the church were more powerful, more organized, and more efficient – if the church were in charge!

So the church went for power and won it in spades. The coffers ran over with gold, people of influence, including kings and queens, began to seek the ministers’ approval on policy, the pews were full every Sunday, there were no more martyrdoms (unless you were someone who opposed this new arrangement), and as Vernard Eller said, “the church’s computers jammed trying to move all the names from the ‘Pagan’ column to the ‘Christian’ column until somebody realized it was just easier to switch the headings.”

Ever since, and this was centuries ago, Christians have more or less pined for the seats of governmental power, believing that such an approach would enhance the work of God. What actually happens is a stinking mess. With the infatuation of being “in charge,” we seem to forget that the way of our Lord was not the way of domination, but the way of submission and sacrifice.

Roger Williams, New England Puritan preacher, founder of Rhode Island, organizer of America’s first Baptist congregation, and champion of religious liberty a full century before Thomas Jefferson, was the one who actually coined the phrase “wall of separation” between church and state.

He understood that the two should be kept separate, not to protect the government, but so as not to pollute genuine faith. Power simply has a way of corrupting spirituality. I suppose we must relearn that lesson: Any state religion – whatever name it might go by – is illegitimate, for faith is matter of heart and spirit, not coercion or force.

So this weekend, in my own church sanctuary, I will pause and thank the heavens for my country, its freedoms, and acknowledge that God has indeed “shed his grace” on us. But I want no part in creating a “Christian America,” for such an effort might taint my ability to actually be a Christian, a Christian who happens to reside in America.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, pastor, and author of multiple books. You can read more and receive regular e-columns in your inbox at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.


Disclaimer: The content supplied by columnists and letters to the Editor on this site does not in any way, shape or form, implied or otherwise, necessarily express or suggest endorsement or support of any of such content, statement, or opinions therein. SurfKY News does not necessarily adhere to or endorse content provided by outside non-staff sources.

© Copyright 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

button coupons
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
button classifieds

In Other News...

Lady Aces Captures 10th Consecutive Third Region All 'A' Title

OWENSBORO, Ky. (1/26/15) — Longtime powerhouse Owensboro Catholic defeated Hancock County 79-58 to win the Third Region… Read More

UPDATE: Two Die, Two Injured in Two-Vehicle Accident

DAVIESS COUNTY, Ky. (1/25/15) ― Two people are dead and two others injured after a two-vehicle collision last night on… Read More
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013

Most Read This Week

January 23, 2015 8562

Local Church's Faith Restored; 71 Souls Saved…

in Video by Gary Gates, SurfKY News
January 20, 2015 7376

Bridal, Prom, Pageant Expo Planned for February…

in Hopkins News by Dana Brown
January 22, 2015 7130

Nortonville Man Accused of Selling Drugs near…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Jail
January 21, 2015 5993

KYDOT Pre-Treating Roads Thursday in Antipation…

in Top News For All Sites by Keith Todd
January 23, 2015 5670

Parents Face Charges after Marijuana Joint Falls…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Jail
January 22, 2015 5560

MCEA Head: Further School Mergers Might Ease…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
January 21, 2015 4870

Man Arrested after Allegedly Nodding off on Baby…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Jail
January 23, 2015 4493

Nortonville Woman Charged for Meth Possession

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Hopkins County Sheriff's Office/Hopkins County Detention Center
January 25, 2015 4365

Dean’s List Announced

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Joyce Riggs
January 22, 2015 3682

Local Family Business Changes Hands

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News

Stories Trending Today

January 25, 2015 4365

Dean’s List Announced

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Joyce Riggs
January 26, 2015 2891

Man Goes to Jail after Allegedly Attacking Family

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Jail
January 26, 2015 2695

KSP Arrests Two on Child Porn Charges; MPD…

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Trooper Stu Recke
January 25, 2015 2456

UPDATE: Two Die, Two Injured in Two-Vehicle…

in Local (Owensboro) Top News by Dispatcher Dustin Staves
January 25, 2015 2363

Juvenile Hit by Vehicle at McDonald's

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by GPD Officer Wes Miller
January 25, 2015 1993

Market Commentary - Jan. 25, 2015

in Top News For All Sites by Randall L. Franklin
January 25, 2015 1851

Kynect Enrollment Climbs as Countdown to Feb. 15…

in General News For All Sites by Office of the Governor
January 25, 2015 1778

March 20-22 Women's Retreat: 'Holiness in Family…

in Owensboro News by Jennifer Kaminski
January 25, 2015 1671

Legislator's Log - Week of Jan. 25, 2015

in General News For All Sites by Brent Yonts
January 25, 2015 1595

Dave Says - Jan. 25, 2015

in General News For All Sites by Dave Ramsey

SurfKY News Group, Inc.
Corporate Office & Studio
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431
270.452.2727 (phone)
  •  270.452.2249 (fax)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social fbsocial twsocial yt
social gpsocial flr subscribevideoitunessocial rss