I cannot think of a word strong enough to express just how much I love America. I am the girl who read the handbook on the American flag etiquette. I used that knowledge to write an editorial when the local fire department planned to stop keeping a Bible in their department. The Virginian Pilot ran my letter to the editor and my pastor printed it in the bulletin the next Sunday. I fought my way through the State University constantly fending off ideologies that undermine the American way of life because I love my nation. The anti-biblical worldview of secular humanism, Marxism, and postmodernism that has overrun the universities is detrimental to the stability of our nation. I have since published two books to argue for the reformation of America upon her biblical foundations.
I am an Evangelical Christian
I fit squarely within evangelical Christianity historically and yet I do not join without remainder all the modern voices that are so classified today. The more nuanced I become the more I cringe at some of the current trends of communicating a love of country. I am so happy that there are those who hold the fort even if it is with an extremity that I do not share.
Let me be clear that I am extremely pro-America, the American way, the historical biblical foundation of America, the pledge of allegiance, the national anthem, and all the great patriotic symbolism of Americana. I am also pro-nation and nations of the world.
The reason I am committed to protecting the American way is because the real American way is a way built on biblical applied theology. Many people misunderstand our history and think supporting a nation is to support Babylon or Rome – both pagan Empires. Nationalism is a Judeo-Protestant worldview that should be protected – but that does not mean there is not other views mixed into it today that are troublesome.
It is only in the context of nations that we can protect the worldview that all men are created equal and that no one should be treated as less than another. Only in the context of a healthy nation is personal property safeguarded to allow the flourishing of all its citizens.
What I see happening, today, is a reductionist religiously charged view of American nationalism which is leaving a bad taste in the mouths of many astute believers. These believers want far less of that sort of thing and are unfortunately finding solace in an opposing perspective instead of in a healthier perspective. Our (evangelical conservative) extremism is creating more liberal progressives in the Church, not less.
Believers are eschewing what gets dubbed “Christian nationalism” and along with it, the worldview of nationhood. The answers in Christian progressivism (or ex-evangelicals) involve aligning with the secular ideology of globalism. When we make the choice a decision between right or left, people who do not like what they are seeing in the “Christian right” are choosing the left in reaction. Then we blame secularism for the demise of our nation when we are the ones using rhetoric that is driving people away. (I am using “we” not to contribute to the “us v. them” but because there is a worldview difference between those who consider themselves evangelical conservatives, as I do, and those who see themselves as progressive. I am speaking mostly to those who are my fellow evangelical conservatives with the hope that any progressive readers will consider my arguments as a distinct perspective from what is common).
We often quote the verse that “the gates of hell cannot prevail against the Church” and yet we believe the world can succeed in defeating the Church in this earth. And more to the point we are only including in our reference “the Church” those who fit our idea of what Christian thinking should be. We expel the rest to join the label of the world even when they are our born-again brothers and sisters in Christ. I am the first to say that worldview matters, but I am not going to reduce the label of Church to those I deem to have good theology.
Sometimes we errantly wed the Kingdom to America so closely that we believe if America falls so does Christianity. We often adopt language that confuses and hurts our ability to disciple a nation. We go so far as to make America a barometer for the end times. We have to remember God loves all the nations of the world and wants to see them all flourishing in the truth – not just America. America is only special because of her foundation in biblical truth – that is why she is blessed. But any nation can be discipled and transformed to a nation which is blessed and flourishing when God’s biblical truth is applied to the nation and not just to save souls.
America is a Christian nation because she is undergirded with Christian truth – she is born out of a Protestant worldview. She is not Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, etc. She is Christian. This in no way means all her citizens were or are Christians in the born again following God meaning of the word. Nor does it mean she does not have national sins in her past or present. No, it means the worldview operative in America is Christian. Just as Tom Holland identifies in his book Dominion that he as an agnostic non-Christian is Christian and not Roman, or Greek, or Muslim in worldview.
The End Time Narrative
What we are witnessing in our day is a failure of discipleship resulting in record breaking anti-transformation that has broken from biblical truth. We stopped whole life discipleship resulting in the secularization and paganization of our modern world. If there is anyone to blame it is the Bible believing church going born again Christians who are responsible for the state of our nation. We are responsible to disciple and we are responsible for the conditions we create when we do not. We spiritualize this as the conditions of an end time world, but we do this to our own detriment. What if we did that in 1942 when Hitler was taking over the world? What if we just said the world is getting so dark it must be the end times and failed to stop Hitler and his demonic ideology from sweeping the earth? We would be living in the tortuous effects of his ideology to this day.
C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, T.S. Elliot, and many others worked through radio, periodicals, and the writing of many books, to disciple a nation in thinking that would stay off such diabolical worldviews as Nazism from affecting the West again. They did not, however, champion the end of the age. A few Hobbits laying down their life for their world defeated the dark lords and the eye of Sauron. They refused the power of the darkness and restored the land to its intended goodness.
We have been getting closer to “the end times” for 2000 years, but eschatology fails when it robs the world of truth in the here and now.
Avoiding Utopian and Doomsday Ideology
It does not take millions of people to turn a nation. It takes leaders willing to be a different voice and endure the criticism of the naysayers and dooms-day-ers to begin the process that disciples nations and reforms them to reflecting the glory of God.
I am not offering a utopian ideology where the world can be free of violence and war if we just become one tolerant happy global entity. Progressivism lends toward utopianism. Conservatism lends toward dooms-day narratives of victims holding the fort for the sake of righteousness until the Lord takes us home. No one wants to live in a pre-Protestant* world. No one wants to go back to anarchy and empires. We want to live in the beautiful blessing of nations. Reformation is hard work, but in laboring in the Gospel holistically we will see the fruits of our labor in the flourishing of cities and nations who live in the truth. We will not see this perfectly before the Lord returns, but we will see the blessings of God on nations that do law, justice, business, and family His way.
*(My statement is not intended as an affront to Catholics – Protestant history also has Catholic history as our history – but the worldview of the Bible that was disseminated through Protestant Christianity is what has indelibly shaped our modern Western world).
The Kingdom of God
The biblical worldview is one where we steward our gifts, talents, resources in our area of influence for the glory of God. Discipling nations will look not only like what fits inside a church context, but discipleship of finances, home life, entertainment, business, carpentry, agriculture, etc. It is whole life discipleship. It is whole nation discipleship. There is no secular.
God’s truth applies across all sectors of society. However, the Church does not have jurisdiction over all areas of society, hence the Christian doctrine of separation of church and state. Believers are called to government. Believers are called to disciple the nation in biblical theology that undergirds good government. But the Church and the Government are not to intertwine organizationally.
The Kingdom of God is not of this world, but it is for this world. It is not reserved for eternity but is displayed here and now even though there remains a not yet. Living for eternity is not to eschew the natural world like Gnosticism – it is to live from heaven within the earth making earth look like heaven when it comes under the truth of another Kingdom.
One day, Jesus will return and make all things new. He will come to dwell with us in the heavens and earth which have been made new. He will inhabit His Church completely consummating the marriage of the Lamb. We can draw upon that one day now and live out His truth now in time and space upon the earth. We must stop leaving nations to the sway of the evil one. It is our responsibility to live out the Great Commission in our particular vocational callings as a peculiar people who live making earth look like heaven.
To reform a nation, you need to know what makes a nation truly great. Understanding America’s beginnings creates a pathway forward for all nations. From America’s first President, to the birth of capitalism, to the shaping of its institutions, Karla Perry shows the reader what makes nations flourish.
“Karla has important insights into some of the critical issues of our times. She has the ability to articulate them in an interesting and engaging way that is also practical.”RICK JOYNER, FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT, MORNINGSTAR MINISTRIES
“An enemy is not needed to destroy a great civilization. It can self-destruct by forgetting the ideas that made its language, literature, family, education, politics, economy, laws and judiciary great. Many feel the need to re-form America that no longer knows what is love, marriage, divorce, male and female, family or nation. In this powerful premier, Karla Perry explains what made America great in the first place and how it can again become a blessing to its citizens and a light to the world.”DR. VISHAL MANGALWADI, AUTHOR OF THE BOOK THAT MADE YOUR WORLD