I visited a new church today, First Baptist Concord in Farragut (not sure why it’s called Concord if it’s in Farragut). The pastor decided to begin a new three- or four-week series about America, presumably in honor of the upcoming holiday. Today, he introduced his argument that the United States of America began as a Christian nation. (In later segments, he plans to address America’s fall from grace and then delve into end-times prophecy from a dispensationalist standpoint.)
Specifically, he pointed out that the various American colonies adhered to Christianity prior to the Revolution, and that afterward the nation as a whole remained Christian following unification, even after ratification of the Constitution. The colonies appealed to the Christian God as their source of authority in various constitutions and charters. Most of them required adherence to various Christian beliefs for anyone who desired to hold office — often at least a faith in the divine inspiration of the Bible. (As a side note, the Tennessee Constitution technically still requires belief in a deity and in a future judgment.)
Moreover, many of the colonists explicitly declared their intention of evangelizing the Indians. The Virginia Company declared evangelism as one of its objectives when it founded Jamestown — even though profit alone would certainly have been a noble goal!
Even following ratification of the Constitution, the federal government continued advocating national days of prayer, and various states maintained state churches. The Supreme Court never struck down these state churches; people just gradually realized it was a dumb idea for states to fund particular denominations.
Anyway, the pastor brought up facts like these and others, and then concluded by discussing the idea of inalienable rights. He didn’t specifically mention the many verses that I would have cited to argue for rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness — but he really didn’t need to do so. His main purpose was simply to encourage and embolden Christians, rather than preach on theonomy. Also, it was just the first talk in the series. And besides, any theist with any sense knows that those rights are self-evident.
Besides the holiday, perhaps the pastor also received inspiration from the corrupt tax plan (taxing AIR) just passed by Democrats in the House. He didn’t mention that bill specifically, but he did insert a brief criticism about Obama’s socialist health care plan. Obama apparently argued that you can still keep your doctor under his socialist scheme — which is technically not entirely true, but that’s beside the point. The pastor shouted out, “Well I should hope I can keep my doctor! What business could he possibly have telling me what doctors I can see?” I suspect Jesus has been scratching his head in heaven lately wondering the same question.
The preacher had clearly grown exasperated with politicians violating our God-given right to pursue happiness and obtain property.
Overall, I got the idea that the pastor felt a little uneasy preaching such a political sermon — although he was certainly passionate once he got going. Nonetheless, I appreciated that the preacher spoke on the topic. There should be more sermons like this one. By that, I don’t mean that churches should become ultrapolitical and speak about politics all the time. I simply mean that all churches should speak about it some of the time. Everyone who claims to follow Jesus needs to understand the evil, anti-Christian nature of the liberal paradigm.
Pastors routinely preach about loving your wives, or having a forgiving spirit, or worshipping God…blah blah blah. How many times can you listen to preachers talk about these generalities before your eyes glaze over? Do you want to know how to worship God? I can think of one way: Vote conservative in the next election. Conservatism is hardly the entirety of Christianity, but any liberal Christian is living inconsistently with his status as a child of God. These ignorant people should read theirs Bibles more often.