In discussing the meaning of “being a Christian Nation,” we must first decide what the term means. The Merriam-Webster provides these definitions:
1) a politically organized nationality;
2) a non-Jewish nationality (Biblically);
3) a community of people composed of one or more nationalities, and possessing a more or less defined territory and government, and
4) a territorial division containing a body of people of one or more nationalities and usually characterized by relatively large size and independent status.
What IS Christianity, Really?
Even with the dictionary meanings, many questions are left unanswered as to the meaning of Christianity and “being a Christian nation.” In the U.S., if a person attends a “Christian” church, he may regard himself as a Christian, which would be a bit of a stretch since nowhere in the definitions of the word “christian” is church attendance, regular or not, mentioned as being a characteristic of a Christian person. In fact, it has often been said that there are more demons who regularly attend church than humans. Would that attendance then make the demons ‘Christians’? Hardly.
I do not discount the possibility of church attendance being a good and worthwhile action, but the value of the time spent at church services is, or should be, totally dependent on what is heard and seen from those who have been called to be pastors and teachers, shepherds and leaders of the local flock.
I seldom use the word religion when discussing biblical topics because of the bad connotation it has, based on the behavior and actions of many who claim to be ‘Christian’. The word ‘religion’ as defined by Dictionary.com is:
Church Attendance and Religion
I have some serious concerns that many people only consider church attendance data when trying to determine whether a nation is considered to be truly Christian, or not.
I remember that the churches I attended even as a young boy were careful to post the Sunday attendance numbers along with the tithes and offerings in a prominent place in the church sanctuary and when a “new record attendance number” was reached, much ado was made of it. Most people tend to associate the practice of “religion” with regular church attendance and the paying of tithes or giving of “offerings” to a church rather than what the Bible says of religion. For some, the amount of offerings and tithes posted on that board could be a measure of the religion they espouse and hold to.
This statement can be attributed to the Jews of Israel in the time of Jesus when, on a certain occasion, He was visiting the Jewish Temple, sitting opposite the treasury observing the many worshippers who entered the Temple and deposited their money, the rich putting in large sums. But Jesus was moved to speak when He observed the poor widow who cast in two mites (one farthing), and knowing that her money represented all that she had, He stated that her offering was “more than all they which have cast into the treasury” (Mark 12:38-44 KJV).
Which of the Jewish worshippers — the poor widow, or all the wealthy —
showed true religion?
Consider the “Model” for a Christian
Contrary to many people’s individual belief, The word Christ is NOT the last name of Jesus. The word Christ is a transliteration of the Greek word, Christos (Strong’s 5547, pronounced Khris-tos’) and it has a meaning taken from the word Messiah, an English transliteration of the Greek word, ‘messias’ (Strong’s 3323, pronounced mess-see’-as, which coincides with the English word “messiah,” a transliteration of the Hebrew word mashiyach (Strong’s 4899, pronounced maw-shee’-yach) which means “anointed” and usually indicates a king or priest. Thus, the word that follows Jesus name is more of a description of what Jesus was and what His appearance on earth was meant to accomplish. The words “Jesus” and “Christ” put together literally means Jesus, the One anointed by God. Read Isaiah 61:1-2 which is a prophecy of the appearing of the coming Messiah, the One Anointed; then read Luke 4:16-20 where Jesus completely fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah 61:1-2.
The point here is that Jesus was the one sent by God into a flesh and blood world, in a flesh and blood body and having emptied himself (“made himself of no reputation,” Philippians 2:7 KJV; “emptied himself,” Philippians 2:7 ESV) and walked this earth as a man just like any other flesh and blood man. Jesus performed great miracles and did many great and might works totally by and through the powerful anointing that came upon Him when He was baptized by John in the Jordan River.
The model for all who claim to be Christian (transliteration of the Greek word ‘Christianos’ (Strong’s 5546, pronounced khris-tee-an-os’, which means “followers of Christ”) is the same Jesus Who did mighty miracles of healing, even raising the dead, while walking as a flesh and blood man under the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
It then stands to reason that, if a person claims to be a follower of Christ (The anointed One), he would be expected to do the same works that Jesus, the Christ, the One Anointed, did and even greater works (John 14:12 KJV) according to Jesus Himself. This indeed sets a high standard for a person, and especially a nation, to be called Christian. I am nearly eighty years of age and I will admit that I have only seen a few works of miraculous healing during that time and one of them was on my own body.
If the United States were truly a “Christian nation” with as many people claiming to be Christian walking around should we not expect to see a multitude of miraculous healings and not a few being raised from the dead? I now fear that the words “Christian Nation” have become a byword for all who, instead of doing the works connected to true Christianity use them to make themselves ‘feel better’ about their own lives, most of which exhibit no anointing of The Holy Spirit.
James, the half-brother of Jesus, the Christ, the One Anointed, exhorted those to whom he wrote: “But be ye doers of theword, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed” (James 1:22-25 KJV).
One expositor stated that James is comparing the word of God to a mirror wherein a man can observe his own actions and deeds and, continuing to observe and make every effort to conform to the word by allowing it to transform the image he sees to one that pleases God, (Romans 12:1-2 KJV), he can be a blessed man and will bless others in the process.
Having grown up with Jesus, his “big brother,” and closely observing the words and deeds of Jesus, James fully understood what it meant to be “Christian, a follower of Christ.” Using the words penned by James, I must conclude that any person who still blindly claims the US is a Christian nation has looked into the mirror without seeing the faults and blemishes the mirror plainly shows has decided to continue using the “Christian Nation” byword as a “feel good” therapy with no concern about the real meaning of being a Christian or a Christian nation.
James also said in James 1:26-27, “ If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”
There was a time when most of the rest of the world respected this nation and indeed considered the US to be a Christian Nation. But former president Barack Obama stated in June 2007, “Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation — at least, not just. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, and a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.”
As much as I hate to agree with anything Obama ever said, he spoke the truth in those words, and shamefully, we have now become a nation that is far less Christian than when they were spoken. As a result, the U.S. is now facing the total loss of the blessings promised in Psalm 33:12, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.”
I have become a person who now places absolutely no confidence in man or his ability to make himself or his nation better without the anointing that Jesus had when he walked the earth. Until that anointing, the presence of The Holy Spirit of God, is invited back into our nation, no amount of “claiming to be a Christian Nation” will have any meaning other than as a political catchphrase or an empty ‘feel-good’ byword.