The Impossibility of a Christian Nation

What if Nations (Instead of People) Were Christians

Some people talk about Christian businesses as if businesses themselves could be Christians, but there’s really no such thing. When someone claims they run a Christian business what they mean is the business is run by a person who is a Christian and – one hopes – tries to act like a person who honors Jesus in every single aspect of their business activities.

What about a Christian nation, then? People talk about them in a way that also seems to suggest nations can be Christians. But people are Christians – not nations or businesses. Yet if nations could be Christians what might that look like?

A Christian Nation Would Be the Servant of All Other Nations

The nation would:

  • Care as much for foreigners as its own citizens.

Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt. (Exodus 23:9.)

  • Never neglect the needs of widows and orphans.

Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. (Isaiah 1:17.)

  • Not lord itself over other nations.

Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you.” (Mark 10:42-43, continued below.)

  • Serve other nations, not seek to come out on top.

Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:43-45.)

  • Not think more highly of itself than it should.

Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. (Romans 12:3.)

  • Turn the other cheek when other nations hurt it.

If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. (Matthew 5:39.)

  • Love its enemy nations.

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:44-45.)

  • And over all this and more, exhibit fruit of the Spirit at home and abroad.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. … Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23, 25.)

Anyone reading that list would see it’s impossible to fulfill.

People who say America is or has been or should be a “Christian nation” don’t mean they want America to fulfill that list either.* That is because a nation that’s a Christian would be one that serves all other nations, always seeking their good before its own. That’s not what people want out of their government.

They don’t want to live in a nation that would love its neighbors that much.

Impossibly Christian

The real issue, though, is that people, not nations, are the ones who can be called Christians (Acts 11:26) because they, not nations, are indwelt by Christ and are thus able to live by faith.

Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20.)

Yet even people find it hard (or should I say impossible?) to carry out everything in those passages above. It’s a good thing God is the one working in us to fulfill his will.

“… for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” (Philippians 2:13.)

The Christian life, then, is the Holy Spirit living through you, bringing you into Christ’s kingdom.

And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.  (Romans 8:11.)

Christians then are people who belong to Christ and in whom the Holy Spirit now lives.

But a nation cannot be a Christian. So when someone speaks of a Christian nation, they speak of an impossibility. And if what they mean (as in the example of a “Christian business”) is a nation made up entirely of Christians who run the government in a manner dedicated to fulfill the passages above in how they treat all other nations in the world, then the answer is no one has ever seen a Christian nation. Ever.

And you won’t until Jesus comes and changes the way everything works.

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” (Revelation 21:5.)

Jesus on the throne ruling lovingly, with grace and mercy, over all creation – that is when you will see a Christian nation.


*For America’s history as not being a Christian nation ever, see Why America Has Never Been A Christian Nation.


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22 Responses to The Impossibility of a Christian Nation

  1. Pingback: The Impossibility of a Christian Nation — Tim’s Blog – Just One Train Wreck After Another @tim_fall | Talmidimblogging

  2. Pingback: Monday Picks ~ 6-12-2017 | Life on the Bridge

  3. Theophilus says:

    A few chapters in the old testament and then, all of Revelation which describes how Christ Jesus will reign on earth during the millennial Kingdom may tweak your position! Praise the Lord and Amen.

  4. This is good, Tim — thanks.

  5. Doug says:

    Very good, Tim. Jesus said, “Fear not little flock. It is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Jesus has ALL authority in heaven and on earth. So I guess perhaps “He rules the world with Truth & Grace and makes the nations prove the glories of His righteousness and the wonders of His love?” Oh wow, that reminds me Christmas is not far off. Thanks for yet another good blog post.

    • Tim says:

      I love those lyrics, Doug. Did you know Joy to the World was written in regards to Jesus’ second coming? Not that if has no application for Christmas, but it’s based on Psalm 98 (and other passages) which scholars see as dealing with the ultimate return of the Savior as King.

      • Doug says:

        Yes, great lyrics!! Thanks for that additional info. Didn’t know this, yet it’s not surprising: When He no more let’s sin and sorrow grow, nor thorns infest the ground; when He comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found. Thanks again, Tim!

  6. Kathy Heisleman says:

    Thanks for yet another clearly reasoned and logical blog–this was so helpful to me. I especially like the scriptures you provided. I’m glad to have this blog as a resource.

  7. Yep. “And the government shall be upon his shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful, Councellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince Of Peace.” That’s a far journey from Babylon.

  8. jackie hemphill rathbun says:

    My word, Tim Fall…I just recently discovered your blog on Facebook and every one of your posts resonates with me in huge ways. I am currently reading Myth of a Christian Nation by Greg Boyd after having a discussion on the topic with Christian friends. I was ill-prepared for it and was unable to speak intelligently against their claims that America was and needs to become again a Christian nation. This post says everything I wish I could have said to them!

    I’ve also been reading books like Executing Grace and Just Mercy about the death penalty and its ties to racial injustice and lynchings and studying American History with my kids and wondering why in the world would Christ-followers want to claim the atrocities that have happened in this country as things that happened under their aegis, in Jesus’ name?!

    Also, your stance on women in the church is spot on and needs to be widely circulated. I wish more men thought like you and were willing to speak out in support of your sisters. My father recently wrote and submitted a paper questioning the role of women in his church (currently they are complementarian but heading deeper into pure patriarchy in my opinion). He is under church discipline now for even daring to question it.

    The Church needs a wake-up call and you are doing a noble job. Sorry for the long-winded comment but I just wanted to say thanks for your superb writings.

  9. Pingback: The Impossibility of a Christian Nation | A Sacred Conspiracy

  10. We used to attend church more regularly and quote the Bible a lot. No doubt there.

    But how could a Christian nation let its citizens kidnap people from Africa and force them and their young into lives of bondage? Then after some Christ-like people helped them get free the descendants of these kidnapped Africans still weren’t welcome in “Christian churches” or other public places.

    Don’t forget the attempted genocide of the Native Americans either. Odd how prairie romance writers never mentioned the Cherokee Trail of Tears since it would have occurred in that time period.

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