Saturday, February 09, 2008

The Myth of a Christian Nation, Part 11

Chapter 8 of Myth... is called "One Nation Under God?" and it talks about the fifth negative consequence of believing that America is a Christian nation, that "it inclines kingdom people to view America as a theocracy, like Old Testament Israel."

The chapter is devoted to debunking this idea, and I won't get into all of it here. But, I will offer a few quotes that allow Boyd to state his point.

Undoubtedly, part of the reason evangelicals accept this claim [that America is a theocracy] is the fact that fallen humans have always tended to fuse religious and nationalistic and tribal interests. We want to believe that God is on our side, supports our causes, protects our interests, and ensures our victories--which, in one form or another, is precisely what most of our nationalistic enemies also believe. So it has been for most people throughout history.

[T]here is no reason to believe America ever was a theocracy. Unlike Israel, we have no biblical or empirical reason to believe God ever intended to be king over America in any unique sense

God’s theocratic program in the Old Testament was temporary, conditional—and ultimately abandoned…While God is by no means through with Israel, he is no longer using them or any other nation to grow his kingdom on the earth. The kingdom is now growing through Jesus Christ who lives in and through his corporate body. In this sense, Jesus and the church constitute the new Israel…comprised of people from every tribe, every tongue, and every nation (Rev. 5:9; 7:9; 21:24-26)…Manifesting this divisionless ‘new humanity’ (Eph. 2:14) lies at the heart of the kingdom commission.

There is only one chapter left, in which Boyd responds to common questions and objections. We will look at that next time.

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