Sunday, July 13, 2008

America with a God-Directed History?

Andy over at Think Christian has a great post asking some questions about the history of America.

An article at Touchstone is raising these questions by looking back at The Light and the Glory, “one of the most widely read nonfiction Christian books of all time.” I’ve not read it, but apparently it retells the history of the United States from a “Christian view”—that is, it interprets US history as the story of God actively intervening to shape and preserve a particular nation and way of life. Christopher Columbus stumbled across North America not by luck, but at the urging of the invisible hand of providence. American victories in the Revolutionary War weren’t just the result of human cleverness or luck; they were instances of God nudging history in the right direction.

And later:

Now I really want to track down a copy of this book. Not because I think I’d agree with it—on the contrary, it honestly sounds a little alarming. It’s one thing to believe (as most Christians do) that God oversees and controls events throughout history, but there’s a certain presumptuousness in claiming to be able to recognize not just patterns, but specific points at which God stepped into human affairs and pushed things in the right direction. And then there’s the subtle implication that God’s sovereignty plays out not through a divine authority over all of human history, but through a series of brief interventions interspersed with long periods of presumed inactivity.

He hits the nail on the head at the end:

I’m interested in reading more, but I think The Light and the Glory’s approach should at the very least set off warning bells in our minds. It’s especially suspicious when your vision of providential history coincidentally casts your own country and society as the God-ordained protagonist.


1 comment:

Chip Burkitt said...

I remember The Light and the Glory, but I never read it. It didn't seem like authentic history.