The Difference Between a Nation of Christians and a Christian Nation

Ben Brown gave a great reply. One that I mainly agree with. However, I still don't think I could convince somebody that Christian Exodus is not something God would call people to. I'll go through and reply to Ben's comments. It will be like I'm talking to him, but don't feel like you're invading our privacy by reading. This is the internet after all. And Ben, if you want to reply to my reply in your blog I'll put a link to that post in here.

"The difficulty(s), I think, would form along "denominational" lines. Christianity isn't necessarily suited to the democractic model. There are denominations that consider abortion ok, there are denominations that think women cutting their hair is sinful. If we tried to form a Christian nation it couldn't be 100% democratic. People would try to find biblical basis for their own view, but as most of us know people can find "justification" for just about anything if they know how to look."

Two issues here that I would like to talk about. First, I would agree that democracy probably isn't the government that would allow people to be led by God moreso than some other form of government. It does appear to be the form of government where people reap what they sow a lot quicker than they would in another form. If we are a stupid and shallow people, we will elect stupid and shallow leaders. If we are God-fearing people, then we would elect God-fearing leaders. So if a nation that is democratic is filled with genuine Christians, then the nation would be on the right track.

Now onto "denominational" lines. I do not know of a Christian whose life shows they are seeking God, who holds the Bible up at the foremost authority, and still thinks abortion is ok. There are disagreements when it comes to the life of the mother amongst Christians, but I do not think there is any disagreement otherwise. Christian Exodus would not attract those who believe that the American government has already made all of the right decisions anyway. And as for the more legalistic branches of Christianity, Christian Exodus has already stated what they believe. Either you believe these things and hop on or you don't believe them and stay where you are. Here is their statement of faith. I have a problem with one of them, but that is another topic for another day.

So far I am not convinced Christian Exodus is unbiblical or out of God's will. We'll continue on.

"Then the problem becomes dissatisfied people breaking off and forming their own groups. The precedent has already been set by breaking off into the larger group of Christians, what's to stop a smaller group from doing the same thing if they don't like the brand of Christianity that's currently predominant. It's a logistical nightmare. When the kingdom comes it's not going to be a democracy, why try to cram it into that hole now?"

This wasn't a problem during the time when America was colonized (or taken over depending on your perspective). There were many places for different groups to go and live together. I don't Christian Exodus is saying they are trying to bring the kingdom of God about through government. I think they are saying what I said in another post - being godly in government should not be something excluded from the being godly list. We accept that we are to be godly in our families, careers, and church life, but when it comes to government we shut the godly meter off. Saying they are trying to be the new Israel or the kingdom of God is a misrepresentation of their stance. They just want to live in a nation where they don't have to continually wash their hands of their nation's perpetual sins. A nation will sin. Just like it is for individuals, sins are much worse when they are conscious and continual. I feel guilt for our nation's sin of abortion every time I think about it because I am an American. I am partly responsible because we live in a democracy and I have a say in what happens.

"I don't disagree that God makes all things possible, but just because something is possible doesn't necessarily mean it's a good idea. We're call to be "in the world, but not of the world." By separating ourselves we're not really doing that. Also, how much less are we a witness to those around us, when we're not even around. You asked whether it would hurt our witness, and I am left wondering if our witness would still exist. Would we live, work, fellowship, wholly exist within this new nation? If so why leave? We'd send out missionaries to the outside world, but then how is that any different from what the church is doing now. A few doing the work that the many should be doing."

I could use the same arguments you used for subjects such as house church to home schooling to going away on retreats. Why take all of the good Christians out of the institutional church? How can you children be a witness to the world if they aren't in public school? How can you be an effective Christian if you are going into isolation for a period of time? Sometimes things have to happen that separate us from those around us, whether for a moment or a lifetime, that will enable the Gospel to grow. Our witness is not limited to our personal relationships. Although I believe in personal evangelism, I do believe many Christians have the tendency to use our relationships as manipulative tools rather than for authentic friendship.

An example of effective evangelism is found in the book Celtic Way of Evangelism. It talks about how Ireland and Northern Europe was won to the Lord.

The general concept in their evangelism was the monastery. Don't think of what the monastery has become, but realize what its original intention was. I think this illustration parallels the goal of Christian Exodus. Technology has made people in a state like South Carolina just as close to the rest of the world due to all of the improvements in communication and transportation just as people who once lived in Europe outside of a community were close to the community they wanted to minister to. In a weird and maybe unhealthy way, I am closer to people who live around our nation than I am to people who live 100 yards from me. In Celtic Way of Evangelism, George Hunter describes how the Christians would move to a location outside of a community, establish a monastery, and start living out the Christian life together. It wasn't about evangelism; it was about being real Christians living together. As a result of this, the communities they were living outside of saw God's love and were eventually included into their communities. Before long, the people in the other community were living out the Christian life, realized this, and decided they were Christians. The book focuses on the difference between Christianity being a lifestyle to be lived compared to a set of belief statements to be acknowledged.

I strongly believe that the greatest evangelistic tool Christians have is just being authentic Christians living together. That was the drive that encouraged me to start the church in Lansing. That is the drive that penetrates my ministries now. There is no apologetic trick or evangelistic method that will create real Christians besides us being real Christians.

A person's witness is not limited to their personal relationships. As a matter of fact, William Bradford, who lived in the 1620s, just witnessed to me today. I wanted to read the Mayflower Compact to see whether it was overtly Christian or not. It was. The whole purpose of starting the colony appears to be to bring glory to God. This is where I have a problem saying Christian Exodus is wrong. Although, I agree partly with everything you wrote. I understand the fear of separating the people of Christ from the world. I don't think democracy is the form of government God intended for the world. I fear the continual fragmentation of Christianity. However, I still can't say Christian Exodus is out of God's will. It appears to be a continuation of His will. He has sent people to start nations in the past, from Abraham to John Calvin to American colonists, and will probably continue to do similar things in the future. But I get the feeling that everyone around me is saying this is not something God would do. How can it not be something God would do if it is something God has done? Please let me know why and where my logic is faulty. I want to know the right answer.

Christian Exodus might not, in God's mind, be a witness for today. It might be for tomorrow. God is at work for the redemption of the world. And if Christian Exodus can somehow bring about that, He is all for it. I still don't see where it exacerbates problems that are already occurring. It seems like it would fix some while being a light for the world of how people who claim to follow God should live together.

Also, some non-Christians will still live in South Carolina, so it isn't like they will be living in a Christian bubble.

"I'm at work, so I need to go, but I think it's a pipe dream to think that a christian nation could even exist. And a bad idea if it ever came to fruition."

I think I would agree again. But I do think there is a difference between a Christian nation and a group of people who are Christians that comprise a nation. A Christian nation would be arrogant and proud. As a matter of fact, I think America makes this claim. A nation of Christians would be humble and serving. Quick to help the rest of the world in an instant. Loving in every way possible. It wouldn't accept sin while at the same time trying to reform the sinner. It would be everything a good church should be because it would just another ministry of the church (God's people). The kingdom is God's. We are just caretakers for a temporal time.

Watch out for the potholes.