By Truce Podcast | Listen | 37m
Published in March of 2021

SUMMARY: Was America founded as a Christian nation? That depends on how you define Christian and how you define nation. In the 1800s did most of the population identify as Christian? Yes. Was this also a time when 1/3 of the population was in forced labor? Yes. Was this also a time when the majority of the population attended church? Yes. Was this a time when laws and social norms discriminated against Native Americans, black people, Catholics, and many other groups? Yes. Host Chris Staron illustrates that the claim that America was founded as a Christian nation or the statement that we need to “get back to being a Christian nation” is dubious. American history bears witness to a vague Christianity. One where people identify with the religion but don’t follow the way of Jesus. Staron calls this the battle between the economic Jesus and the servant Jesus.

KEY QUOTES: “I grew up with a sense of American exceptionalism…The idea that this was a Christian nation was there all the time spread by pastors and talk shows. To question that assumption was seen as questioning the Bible itself despite the fact that the United States is not in the Bible. For many of us when we learn about dark hours of American history we question our faith because our religion has been tied to the stars and stripes. And the stars and stripes aren’t always doing righteous deeds.”

“Christian America does not fit our history if you worship a Jesus who lays down his life, advocates for the less fortunate, and spends a lot of time hanging out with prostitutes, the sick, and the forgotten. Christian America does fit our history if we see Jesus as a giver of blessings and a guardian who promises to keep us safe. American exceptionalism fits our history if we see Christians as exceptional instead of servants.”

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In a succinct and meaty conversation with host Marty Duren Georgetown University professor and author Paul Miller first defines his terms, such as classical liberalism, nationalism, patriotism, and conservatism, before discussing the dangers of nationalism shaping Christians instead of the other way around. Miller concludes the conversation with some advice for pastors addressing Christian nationalism from the pulpit.

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