Now that I have the aggravated attention of my native Australians and the Europeans I live with - let me explain why the USA is the greatest nation on earth. And the point of this is not to inflate American delusions of grandeur, it is actually for the benefit of those of us who live outside "the land of the free". And I think the reasons I give are going to surprise you. (I think I can hear my Aussie friends gnashing their teeth already).
Am I saying that the USA is a bastion of righteousness and that the prevailing "brand" of Christianity over there is the train we all need to get on? My answer to this question is a resounding No! America is in big trouble and the decline seems to be accelerating. This should be of great concern to any Christian because America is still the global engine room of missions funding, missionary activity, and theological training. But something great is also happening over there at the underground level and it is something that those of us on the outside would do well to embrace. Though one can never speak for every individual citizen, there are still some very distinguishable marks at the ground level of American culture.
There are three major reasons or observations that necessitated this post. Firstly, because those of us living in western countries with a Christian heritage need to wake up from the cancerous passivity and indifference that plagues us. Secondly, because the only form of politically correct racism is American bashing. And thirdly, because the health of the church in America has massive repercussions on all of us.
One thing I continually find to be overwhelmingly different in the USA is the common belief that there are still things worth fighting for. Right now there is a truth war going on over the Christian Gospel. In both Europe and Australia, the passivity of professing Christians concerning the fundamental truths of the Christian faith has allowed the false gospels of life enhancement and post modern philosophy to have an open door into mainstream evangelical churches. This has also happened in America but at least there is a fight going on over it. We seem to roll over and play dead when it comes to defending the once for all delivered glorious Gospel purchased with the precious blood of Christ. Meanwhile in America, there are still great preachers who are leading a growing phenomenon of churches and young preachers who will not compromise on the purity of the true Christian Gospel. This is important for all of our sakes. It is also a call to men who have relinquished the roles of priest in their home and guardian in their church to man up, realize that there are hills worth dying on, identify those hills, and go out there and fight to the death.
For many years I have heard the anti-American tirades of many a man on the street and sometimes even in the pulpit. There is no doubt that there is legitimate criticism that can be levelled at the American culture - not least of which their disastrous choice of a radical pro-abortionist President. People certainly vary from state to state and demographic to demographic but I have to say that when it comes to Christian hospitality and compassionate love, I have never experienced it on the level that I have in the local church communities that dot the American landscape. This is something that has humbled me in my travels and caused me to reexamine my own life and conduct among the body of Christ. So instead of taking up the popular pastime of "yank bashing" maybe it's time to at least try to adopt one of the finer points of their culture.
As an extra note I find it interesting how often I find myself discussing the war in Iraq or Afghanistan with my Christian neighbour in a conversation that never transcends the worldly level of foreign politics and anti-americanism. How about, as Christians, we evaluate the goings on in Iraq and Afghanistan in the context of Christian persecution and advancement of the Gospel. If you come at the subject from this angle and study the plight of Christians who live in these places it may radically alter your view.
May we never forget that America is the engine room of missions giving, missionary activity, and theological training. The global blessing that this has been is a sleeping giant that those of us who are Christians living outside the USA take for granted. (It also needs to be said, in fairness, that much of what is bad has also emmanated from the USA and we have been quick to embrace many of these in the name of pragmatism). In spite of all the flaws, there is a lot for us to be thankful for when it comes to American contributions to the Great Commission. And pray for the great arsenal of faithful preachers as they persevere in the "Truth War" that rages over there.
There is so much more that could be said. But I just decided to throw in my ten cents worth today. I am curious as to the response this might provoke. But more than that I am hopeful that it will awaken us to the need to fight for the Gospel on our home fronts, support our Christian brothers and sisters fighting in the "Truth War" over there, and cause us to give thanks for the great ways God has used America to bless the world.
Weekend A La Carte (February 28)
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