The Real God of American Christianity?
By their fruit you will recognize them. – Matthew 7:16.
Take a look at a typical American Evangelical’s Facebook profile, what do you see? You’re sure to find pictures of Trump, the American flag, some anti-Muslim memes, Bible quotes and mostly political posts demonizing Muslim-Americans, Democrats and Liberals. See, there is a trend here, today’s Evangelical American Christians worship the state more than they do Jesus. That might seem like a controversial statement, but recently there have been some events that qualify this argument. In responding to a right-wing Evangelical American, Dr. James White says as follows (emphasis mines):
There is FAR more evidence in your own timeline that you have adopted a politically oriented Christianity than there is that I have adopted anything from Islam.
Steve, but when did the gospel become something you only explain to people who look like you and have the same political views?
YQ is a Muslim scholar with a large following and a large impact in the United States and abroad. Hence, when he and I talk, the resultant discussion will be useful to both Christians and Muslims in the United States and in all English speaking locales. What on earth do his political views have to do with it?
And no, Steve, I don’t see almost any concern on the part of my critics, including you, about such things. I see a lot of politics, making America great again, building walls and the like—but I see very little interest in breaking down walls of prejudice and fear and misunderstanding in confidence that what we have to give to the Muslims is the greatest thing in all the world.
Your words are disgusting, Steve. You are speaking as a political zealot, trained in the presidential election of 2015-2016, not as a minister of the gospel.
If you think Dr. White is wrong here for making those statements, then you need to watch the First Baptist Dallas’ “Freedom Sunday” service where they literally idolized and worshiped the American flag. Patheos author Jonathan Aigner, says as follows (emphasis mines):
First Baptist Church in Dallas bowed before a red, white, and blue altar yesterday.
The snare pierces the silence, and the choir and orchestra launch us into the national anthem of American Christianity, which also happens to be the national anthem of the United States.
Our opening hymn proudly proclaims, “You’re a grand old flag, you’re a high-flying flag, and forever in peace may you wave.” (This is idolatry, folks. Nothing short of it.) The fireworks explode (you read that correctly), and audience members wave their miniature flags while singing praises to a red, white, and blue cross.
You read that correctly, American Christians during a Church service…bowed to an altar with the American flag, and in place of singing hymns that traditionally glorify God, they glorified the American flag in God’s place. You’ll notice that the Patheos author literally wrote that he considered the congregation’s actions to be worship, idolatrous worship of the American flag.
Several Churches and Church leaders were very outspoken about the literal replacing of God, for America and American symbols in a Church service, we read from the Christian Post (emphasis mines):
Several critics have denounced the “idolatry” of “Freedom Sunday” worship June 25 at First Baptist Church in Dallas, pastored by Robert Jeffress, who prominently campaigned for Donald Trump during last year’s election.
The critics include Messiah College historian John Fea, a United Methodist pastor, and a Presbyterian church music minister. Click their respective links to read their perspectives, each of which is unique, but all are agreed in accusing First Baptist of “idolatry” for venerating America on “Freedom Sunday” a week before July 4.
A survey by Life Way, a major American Evangelical organization, had this surprising information for us:
A Christianity Today article goes on to say about this issue (emphasis mine):
Also worth noting, the same survey found that 53% of Protestant pastors felt that their congregations sometimes love America more than they love God.
Regardless of your view of patriotic worship services, this number should be of concern. (When we love something more than God, the Bible calls that idolatry, and that’s the last thing that Christians should want.)
So, this weekend be sure you love your country and worship God…and never confuse the two.
Back in 2010, other Christian authors began to notice this disturbing trend of American Christianity’s idolatry (emphasis mine):
I’ve been a part of numerous churches that celebrated American Independence Day with abandon: 80-foot flags hanging from the ceilings, singing the “Star Spangled Banner” and “I’m Proud to Be an American” and even— most disturbing to me as I reflect back—saying the Pledge of Allegiance during our corporate worship.
If some visitor had asked us on those Sunday just what we were worshiping, I think that might have been a very perceptive question.
Going back to Dr. James White, I noticed that folks like David Wood, Sam Shamoun, Usama Dakdok and Robert Spencer also worship America, more than they do Jesus. See, following Dr. White’s dialogue with Dr. Yasir Qadhi, Sam Shamoun went on a rampage against Dr. James White. What I quickly realised was that White was attacked for three things:
- Ecumenicalism (accepting some Islamic beliefs, which was a false accusation).
- Inviting a Muslim into a Church to speak without rebuttal (it was a dialogue about differences in beliefs).
- Associating with a Muslim that has ties to major American Muslim organizations.
Here’s the problem, as Dr. White himself said, many Christians chose to politicize the issue. Qadhi was labelled as a terrorist, a jihadist, someone who wants to install Shari’ah law, that he worked with extremist organizations, that in the past before changing his views he had said bad things about non-Muslims…and on and on. You may think that their issue with Dr. White was theological, but then why speak about terrorism and terrorists? Why speak about Qadhi’s association with CAIR (a Muslim-American advocacy group)? Why association Dr. Qadhi and Dr. White with liberalism and liberal political ideologies? See, while on the surface they claimed (falsely) that the disagreement with the dialogue that Dr. Qadhi and Dr. White had, was theological, it was clearly political.
Where did any of these guys speak out against the “Freedom Sunday” worship?
Where did any of these “Christian apologists” speak a single word against replacing a hymn meant to glorify God, with a song glorifying the state?
Where did any of these guys speak out when the Bible Answers Man, Hank Hanegraaff converted from Protestantism to the Greek Orthodox Church that has distinctly heretical teachings about the nature of Jesus, the nature of Mary and how salvation is attained?
Where did any of these guys speak about against ABN/ Trinity Channel for preaching false doctrines and for promoting the heretical prosperity gospel? Sam Shamoun, the genius he is, made one single Facebook post about ABN, but spent 10 months, every other day, attacking Dr. White for his dialogue with Dr. Qadhi! Where is the consistency?
By their very actions, the things that they occupy themselves with, are not theological but political.
In other words, it is clear that American Christians have a new God and it is not Jesus. The Orthodox Church of America has been founded, its God, the State (and its symbols, such as the flag and anthem), its disciples, politicized Christians such as David Wood, Sam Shamoun, Usama Dakdok and Robert Spencer.
By their fruits we now know who they worship and the State is their new God.