There are several areas of theology about which I find myself thinking on a consistent basis. One of those topics is the integration and relationship between the Christian worldview and political-economic science. (This probably isn’t terribly surprising given the fact that I entered college as a social studies major.) Lately, I have found myself thinking about these issues again… and on a frequent basis as well. This has much to do with some recent studying I’ve been doing on Dietrich Bonhoeffer. His views on government and the Christian’s relationship to government has sparked this internal conversation ablaze within me once again. …Well, some of these thoughts will now be spilling out in this post.
Is Americanism Christian?
Was America founded on Christian principles? This is a question of much debate today, and in Christian circles we often run to our answer “yes” as if it will work as some sort of trump card, winning all moral issues in politics.
When the Articles of Confederation were tossed aside and the Constitution was being formed, our founding fathers established for us a Democratic Republic. In addition, America has tended to be very capitalistic. Our founding fathers also established for our nation various rights such as the right to bear arms and religious freedom.
Are any of these things inherently Christian? No. They are not. They are political ideologies. Our founding fathers may have been influence by Christianity, may have been Christians, and/or may have had Christian values, but that doesn’t make the political system Christian any more than Tony Dungy’s (a Christian NFL coach) football playbook a “Christian” playbook. Capitalism is no more Christian than Marxism, or vice versa; republic is no more Christian than a dictatorship, etc. So, when we say that out nation was founded on Christian principles, we cannot be speaking anything of government or political ideologies, for God does not describe any type of Christian government. He only describes one type of government—the God-given type (Rom 13:1).