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us9008g-patriotic_cross1The first time I ever questioned the appropriateness of patriotism in worship was when I was doing mission work in Romania.

After I had learned the language and settled into ministry in a village church, I remember asking a pastor friend why we didn’t do a special service in December that celebrated Unification Day (Romania’s national holiday). I also wondered why the Romanian flag wasn’t in the sanctuary.

The pastor looked at me funny and then said: “The only way we’d bring a Romanian flag into our sanctuary is if we brought in flags from all over the world.” 

“To show you do missions?” I said, trying to find a reference point from my own culture.

“No, to show we are the church.”

The pastor’s point was well taken. The church transcends the state, a truth that should be proclaimed clearly in a worship setting.

Several years later, I attended a worship service on a Sunday morning, and we were singing patriotic songs. At one point, the congregation pledged allegiance to the American flag. My wife, who was a Romanian citizen at that time, did not participate in the singing or pledging, of course. Neither did a recently converted girl from overseas who was visiting that weekend.

In that moment, the oddness of the scene struck me. We were in a worship service with fellow believers, including one just-baptized, who could not participate. Something made me feel uneasy, but it took me a while to realize why.

Why the Sense of Uneasiness?

In my experience, I find that many younger evangelicals are turned off by ”God and country” type services. And many younger evangelical leaders in established churches find themselves in a quandary whenever July 4 rolls around.

On the one hand, pastors want to demonstrate their gratitude toward those who have served their country well – heroes who put themselves in harm’s way for the good of their neighbors. They are patriotic citizens who love their country and don’t want to be seen as contributing to cynicism or apathy.

On the other hand, pastors express reservations about incorporating patriotic songs and anthems into a worship service. They worry that too many people are already confused about the relationship between Christianity and the culture, the church and the country, and that such services exacerbate the problem.

1. Extreme Experiences in the Past

Part of the unease may come from experiencing a sloppy melding of “church” and “nation” in the past. One doesn’t have to look hard to find examples of excess: services where promises given to God’s people are applied to the U.S.A., worship gatherings where paeans to American freedom ring louder than praise for salvation, sermons in which pastors preach the glories of America more than the glories of Christ.

But it’s unfair to categorize all patriotic services by these extremes. Many pastors carefully explain why it is good for Christians, as citizens of two kingdoms, to be grateful for the blessings of God upon our nation. The service doesn’t intend to wed church to state, but elicit gratitude for God’s good gifts. Other churches use patriotic services as a way of reaching out to the community. They may devote one part of the service to patriotic celebration, but then reserve the rest of the service to proclaim the kingdom that will never fade.

2. Decreasing Patriotism Among Millennials

Part of the unease may be rooted in a decrease in patriotism. Research shows that millennials are less likely to consider themselves “patriotic” than older generations. It could be that younger people, in general, tend to be less patriotic, and that this trend was also true of the Boomers when they were younger.

But I fear that the lack of patriotism among younger evangelicals today is not just generational, but a result of disillusionment, cynicism, and distrust. Is our generation so over-entertained and so comfortable that we don’t see anything in our civilization worth fighting (or dying) for?

3. Shifting Cultural Currents

A couple months ago, I wrote down some observations and reflections on younger Southern Baptists – trends people told me are true of younger evangelicals in general, not just those who affiliate with the SBC. One of those observations concerned an approach to political engagement, and speaking within the context of generational shifts, I made this statement:

Older Southern Baptists are more likely to see the U.S. as Israel. Younger Southern Baptists are more likely to see the U.S. as Babylon.

If this statement is true (and I admit it is a generalization), then it may help explain why many millennial church leaders feel a sense of angst regarding patriotic services in the church. As we witness the quickly shifting tides of morality in the United States, evangelicals who feel embattled in the cultural maelstrom are less likely to see the U.S. as the de facto “good guy” in all we do. The culture shift makes patriotic celebrations in church a sensitive issue.

4. Failure to Fully Appreciate Time and Place

Some younger evangelicals see any patriotic expression as a compromise with worldly power. Their approach is to take the flag out of the sanctuary, never sing a patriotic song, and never mention a patriotic holiday.

I think this overreaction has unfortunate and unintended repercussions. It lends itself to a Gnostic idea that downplays our embodied state (as humans) within a state (a nation). We are rooted in time and place, and this is according to God’s good plan.

Taking pride in one’s hometown or the beauties of one’s homeland should not be seen as a betrayal of God’s kingdom but a foretaste of the future, when God’s kingdom will indeed come on earth as in heaven. Too many of us look upon our situatedness with Nathanael’s skepticism: Can anything good come from Nazareth? The testimony of the Gospels is, of course, yes.

Moving Forward

Overall, I believe thoughtful consideration of what we communicate through patriotic services is a healthy development. Here are a few additional ideas to consider:

  • American believers should give thanks to God for the blessings of our temporary earthly citizenship, as long as we emphasize blessings of belonging to the eternal, multinational family of God.
  • When people in our culture are celebrating the benefits of earthly citizenship, American believers should seize the opportunity to communicate solid, biblical teaching on the distinction between earthly and heavenly citizenship.
  • As American believers express gratitude for this nation, we should be careful not to diminish the value and worth of other nations.
  • Pastors and church leaders should make it clear that American believers have more in common with Arab believers in Iraq and Syria than they do with their unbelieving next-door neighbors.
  • There is something beautiful about a congregation that shows respect and gratitude to people who have served their neighbors well. When we recognize veterans or law enforcement officers, we are lifting up ordinary citizens doing extraordinary things for the good of their communities.

What about you? How do you handle Fourth of July services in your church?

How can we communicate our gratitude to God for His blessings to us and shine a spotlight on His grace that reaches people from every tribe, tongue, and nation?


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147 thoughts on “Why Younger Evangelicals May Feel Uneasy In A Patriotic Church Service”

  1. Dan K says:

    I’m against patriotic church services and I don’t think that it is right to have the flag in a church sanctuary. Our allegiance is to Christ and his kingdom not to the flag or the nation for which it represents. I think a flag in the sanctuary of a church is a form of idolatry. Actually I believe that patriotism is a form of idolatry, of state worship.

    We can and should give thanks to God for the many blessings he bestows upon us but do so without all the patriotic nonsense.

  2. Marie says:

    I suppose I count as a younger evangelical. I live in South Africa. We do not have patriotic celebrations in our churches and would likely feel very uncomfortable if we did. We used to – in one particular denomination; the one that largely supported the apartheid state. When democracy came, there was a brief honeymoon period where everyone was patriotic, and then due to a newly-free press, everyone realised that the new state, whilst a good deal less evil than the old state, still did not count as the “good guys”. I think that can be said of any nation: it is run by a mixture of good, not-so-good and downright evil people. Outside of wartime (for instance, praying that an occupying army be defeated), we do not see much use for patriotism, and we see a lot of potential for misuse.
    Personally, and particularly as a white South African who has benefited from injustice despite having been too young to do otherwise, I feel somewhat uneasy even thanking God for material blessings – it feels a little too much like thanking God that I live in Omelas, the “utopia” in Ursula le Guin’s short story – unless the thanking is accompanied by then going and sharing the blessings with other believers.
    I will say one more thing: once I wandered into a large campus church service with 100% black congregants. I was warmly welcomed by the greeters and the people in my row, and worship continued. Their faces fell, however, when the worship leader, who had not seen me come in, prayed soon after: “and I thank God that we are black, because we can sing!” My row-mates were visibly relieved when I reacted by bursting out laughing. I think that at its best, patriotism in a peace-time church service would be like that worship leader’s prayer: mildly beneficial to those included, and inoffensive or humorous to those excluded by the statement.

  3. Dennis Lofton says:

    Trevin….I love the way you challenge my thinking! As I look at the songs I’ve selected for this Sunday, I just realized there’s not a patriotic one in the bunch! How weird is that? One is ‘Ancient Words’ which will give me a good opportunity to quote you about having more in common with Arab believers. BTW, just returned from Romania where we spent a week working with the Roma children. We’ll be going again next summer to work with a church in Bahnea if you want me to save you a seat. :)

    1. Trevin Wax says:

      Thanks, Dennis!

      I would love to go back to Romania. I did some work with the Roma during my time there too. Love those people!

  4. Tom M says:

    Why Younger Evangelicals May Feel Uneasy In A Patriotic Church Service” I think the answer to that questions starts with Why Younger Evangelicals May Feel Uneasy In A Sound Complete Bible Teaching /Preaching Church Service.
    We have generations of people who have grown up in churches that have watered down Gods word so badly that they don’t understand the meaning of scripture or the true necessity for a restored relationship with our creator. Sacrifice is what bought our salvation. God GAVE. We need to stop comparing this country to others around the planet. We are different. This country was created and formed from Christian values and based on Christian beliefs. We have been allowed to exist primarily to police the world and give Gods word a chance to reach around the globe. Yes we have had men and women that have died to give not only us but the whole world a chance to hear the gospel. Where do you think this world would be today if America had not protected the world from total domination of governments and empires that would have destroyed Christianity. They are still trying to this very day. Yes we are on our way down as a Christian nation but the gospel is going to reach around the world soon and that has been Gods plan all along. We don’t worship America in a patriotic church service we honor those who have given their lives (Christian and non Christian) so that we may enjoy the freedom to worship the God who has provided these men and women who so bravely GAVE . God has a plan and He will prevail. There will be a NEW heaven and earth when Gods plan is complete. Contrary to a growing belief this life isn’t about what we are doing its about what God has set in place.

    1. Clifford D. says:

      In fact, every country is “different” in certain unique ways — but more than different, all countries are alike in that they reflect the fallenness and corruption of man/sin. Would I rather live in a republic than in a dictatorship? Yes, but both are inadequate, corrupted systems that take advantage of others.

      Of course the debate about our Christian heritage has been longstanding. Suffice it to say the American Revolution was launched contrary to the Bible’s explicit teaching about submission to governmental authorities (i.e. Great Britain). The statement that the United States exists in order to “police” the world strikes me as culturally and politically arrogant. Yes, the U.S. government collectively and it’s leaders individually have a responsibility to govern well — to encourage righteousness and to suppress evil — as does every nation, but the government is not entrusted with Christ;’s charge to preach the Gospel.

      The author of “WHY YOUNGER EVANGELICALS MAY FEEL UNEASY…” presents balanced and challenging thoughts. I appreciate that. At our church’s gathering we have no American flag, we sang no patriotic songs; our time together is guarded, and I think it is much better spent on celebrating Christ’s kingdom and gospel. For the record, I am a Boomer. We live in Babylon.

    2. Jim P says:

      I tend to agree with you Tom. I fear younger evangelicals are falling prey to the forces that seem to be infecting the millennial generation as a whole. This generation is being taught that Globalism and multiculturalism means that we should not have countries or borders or think the country we live in is exceptional. Every person on earth should think their own country is exceptional – and live their lives accordingly. I am talking about making their societies great and influence the world for good. This generation has not had to sacrifice much to live free and do not fully appreciate the role American has had in the world.

      I like what we do in our Church. For national holidays we hold a prayer service out at our flagpole. We thank God for the privilege of living in America, pray for our leaders, pray for those Christians world wide, and commit to be the best citizens first and foremost of the kingdom and of the US.

  5. jigawatt says:

    “Is our generation so over-entertained and so comfortable that we don’t see anything in our civilization worth fighting (or dying) for?”

    I’m right on the cusp of Gen X and millenial, and my distust is in our leaders to make wise decisions for the future of this country. Why in the world is everybody so surprised that Obama is a serial liar? He’s a politician, people! That’s what he does. And the next Republican that wins the White House will do the exact same thing, along with their cohorts in congress.

  6. Alan says:

    This is a balanced analysis of the issues. I agree with much of this. I share worries that Millenials are so self-absorbed that they see little worth dying for in our present land. Of course, I thought that about prior generations too, particularly my own post-Vietnam Generation-X cohort.

    I am a free-church advocate. So, when I say this, it is with some touch of irony, but I do wonder if among younger evangelicals, there is an over-emphasis on personal liberty at the expense of church engagement with the culture. There appears to be a Live and Let Live philosophy that fails to acknowledge the serious damage immorality and evil that is allowed to flourish in our cities does to everyone who lives in our country. Not only is there a cost in lives lost (murder, abortion, etc.), but a greater tolerance for things like gay marriage.

    Balance on this issue will help us.

  7. Bruce Armstrong says:

    I would suggest that part of it – and perhaps this ties in with the “less patriotic” reason – is that relatively few millennials have served in the armed forces. Older generation(s), on the other hand, served in combat (WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War), whether they were drafted or served voluntarily. Even those pre-Millennials who didn’t serve had close relationships with several male relatives in the Greatest Generation, whereas the Millennials are farther removed from the Greatest Generation era. Being post-Watergate & post-Whitewater, I suspect Millennials are significantly less trusting of government than previous generations. Perhaps this goes back to the “Shifting Cultural Currents” you mention above.

  8. Brandon says:

    Bro, I think you copied DeYoung’s post from a couple years ago. Good work!

    1. Trevin Wax says:

      Do you have a link to that?

      Not surprised we’d have similar views on the issue, but I’d love to see what he wrote.

  9. Caleb says:

    I am one of those “Millennials” who abhor patriotic church services.

    Not having such a service does not prevent the pastor or parishioners from expressing their gratitude. It prevents that expression for a few hours on Sunday. But I think that you will find that most younger people are not against expressing gratitude for “living in a free country,” etc. It is the over-the-top patriotism that saturates so much American evangelicalism – like pledging allegiance to the flag during a service, singing patriotic/militaristic hymns, etc. And what is the responsibility of the pastor who wants to be patriotic to acknowledge the crimes committed in the process of establishing the United States, such as the killing of thousands of indigenous people and the (in some/many cases) theft of their land?

    I also disagree strongly with your characterization of this position as a “Gnostic” overreaction that denies our embodied state in time and place. “Millennials” are often criticized for trying to get the church to take our embodied state seriously around environmental and economic issues, but are now Gnostics because we do not share your patriotism? We are indeed rooted in place, but the state is not the only way to think about this rooting. And beyond that, having some sense of the moral ambiguity of the history of colonialism that is part and parcel of American history, I would argue, is actually a sign of a far greater awareness of our embodied state.

    1. Bethany says:

      I’m late to the game, but I agree with Caleb. Like him, I’m one of the millennials you just discussed.

      First: historical context. We have gone through waves in history where the world was “flat.” I would argue that the time Jesus chose to enter the world was one of those times, even with other continents cut-off from the major hub of civilization. The world was connected through the Roman empire. Perhaps an overused description nowadays, but the nature of nationalism and patriotism is changing in a world where you can be connected to someone from every country in the world on Facebook. Nation-states themselves are a very new phenomenon in the scope of history too.

      Second: Caleb hits it right on the head. “It is the over-the-top patriotism that saturates so much American evangelicalism – like pledging allegiance to the flag during a service, singing patriotic/militaristic hymns, etc.” There have been awful, awful things done by Americans in the name of America; Democracy; Freedom. Whatever. I am thankful for my hometown, my country of birth; but I am not starry-eyed about her past. CIA overthrows leading to brutal civil wars, the fight against communism justifying the funding of drug-lords. I could go on. It’s called syncretism, and American Evangelicals are guilty of it.

      But, I could go on about the wonderful changes in the world led by Americans, and the US Government. One example: President Bush’s Emergency Relief Plan to end AIDS in this last decade, which has saved thousands of lives across the African continent. As a Millennial Christian, I look back at history and see both stories at play; the good and the bad. I recognize that the Christian Values many in the US believe we have many times are not founded in Scripture, and we like any other nation can use our power for evil or good. And that’s the the thing. We are like any other nation.

      Lastly, you said:
      “But I fear that the lack of patriotism among younger evangelicals today is not just generational, but a result of disillusionment, cynicism, and distrust. Is our generation so over-entertained and so comfortable that we don’t see anything in our civilization worth fighting (or dying) for?”

      Have you been to a college campus recently? Oh, my fellow millennials are ready to fight and die for a whole bunch of issues. Are they good issues? Are they worth it? No, not all the time. But that doesn’t make us apathetic and pampered. If we could harness the momentum in my generation to take the gospel to the ends of the earth (not fight for American Christian Values) we would see mighty work of God globally.

  10. Chris B says:

    Dan K, it certainly can be (as Trevin highlights).

    I commend C. S. Lewis’ The Four Loves to you, especially the last 5 or 6 pages of chapter 1 where he talks at length about patriotism in its healthy form and in its demoniac form.

    “All natural affections, including this, can become rivals to spiritual love: but they can also be preparatory imitations of it, training (so to speak) of the spiritual muscles which Grace may later put to a higher service; as women nurse dolls in childhood and later nurse children.” Lewis, p.24

  11. Arthur Sido says:

    Tom, is it your contention that Christianity would have died out if not for America engaging in warfare around the world? Like our partnership with the Soviets that left millions under atheistic regimes for decades? Or our war in Iraq that is turning out pretty well for Iraqi Christians?

  12. Dan Glover says:

    Hi Trevin,
    I am Canadian, so we obviously don’t have July 4th services anyway. But Canada Day is July 1. I have been in very few Canadian Churches of any stripe that have a Canadian flag in the sanctuary and those that do are usually the Liberal ones. The majority of the evangelical ones that did. also had a flag for every nation in which the church sponsored some type of gospel mission work. I don’t think the national flag of any nation has any place in a church sanctuary in the patriotic sense, even though I do believe that a balanced, thankful patriotism is appropriate for Christians. The church is its own kingdom, and Christians are citizens of God’s kingdom first and foremost. Too often the national agenda of the state is not one consistent with Christianity but rather runs contrary to it. I’m not talking about particular foreign affairs choices or decisions on moral issues so much as I am speaking to the general tendency of most modern states to want to replace religion as people’s primary allegiance. I believe any sort of pledge of fulsome allegiance to a flag (nation) is not only questionable for Christians in general but it is absolutely inappropriate and smacks of idolatry in a church setting and is therefore completely out of place in a church service. It is not wrong to stand up for or be committed to our nation, but it should never be in such a way that we can’t stand back and object when that nation is in the wrong from a biblical standpoint or when it demands of us the sort of allegiance that we ought only be rendering to Christ (know you would agree here). Also, if the “patriotic service” you are talking about falls on the Lord’s Day, I believe there is absolutely no place for national patriotic songs. A minister may voice thanks giving for God’s blessing and the freedoms that Americans enjoy, and prayers of thanks may be offered for those freedoms, blessings and those who sacrificed to guard them, but our singing on the Lord’s Day is first and foremost directed to God in worship and nationalistic patriotic songs have no place there. There will be a day when the kingdom of God will cover over all the earth and that will not be because it was advanced by US foreign policy but because gospel has over come all other national agendas. We are certainly to be thankful for where God has placed us (in free countries full of blessing) but we must also recognize that allegiance to God’s kingdom makes our national allegiance pale into comparative insignificance. It is an interesting thought experiment to imagine yourself as an American participating in a worship service in another nation in which the church is pledging allegiance to that nation and singing patriotic songs of that nation’s. How would that make you feel as an American? How would it make you feel as a Christian?

  13. rcjr says:

    Yet another good piece brother. Though I am not young I am uncomfortable with patriotic services for many of the reasons you highlighted. That said, I think you missed another important one- the state of our nation. Your arguments (or reasons for discomfort) apply perfectly well in any country, even at its most godly. Our country, however, is one in which for 41 years our highest government has protected the “right” of mother/fathers/boyfriends to murder their own unborn children . One in which every day for 41 years we have murdered over 3000 unborn babies. Were I a believer in Germany, circa 1942, I pray I would not be in a church praising the glories of the Reich. Can’t understand why anyone would want to celebrate our own bloody nation whose holocaust dwarfs the holocaust in Germany.

  14. Christopher says:

    I’m a Canadian born in Scotland in the late 1980’s and serving at a Japanese church in Vancouver — so a mix of three continents! Canada is a place I eventually embraced and came to consider my home and I am always happy to return here when flying back from overseas.

    But when I think of the Canadian flag — much as it reminds me of some wonderful things about Canada like freedom and natural beauty — the truth is that I cannot bring myself to celebrate my country without deep reservations. The reality is that Canada bears a significant resemblance to Nazi Germany, insofar as we legally don’t consider a baby to be a human being until it is born. This is insane. And like in the U.S., children are murdered here in the womb en masse ever year (every day?). So, I find it very hard to say that Canada is a wonderful country, even though there is so much that I enjoy about it. It feels more right to say that I love the people, but for the same reason, I can’t really see them as “Canadians” so much as human beings who are either saved by the Lord (citizens of heaven) or who do not know Him (citizens of the world). And because of the evil that is legally entrenched here, in addition to my concern that Canadian culture should be misconstrued as Christianity by Japanese visitors/immigrants, I would not want a Canadian flag in the church. We pray for Canada and celebrate its good aspects as blessings from God, but our flag is the cross of Jesus Christ.

  15. Tom M says:

    Not at all. Gods plan will prevail regardless of what we do here. My point is that God not only blessed this country but made it possible for it to come into existence for His good, Unfortunately we are in SHARP DECLINE. With the technology in place today it will be possible to deliver the gospel around the world in the near future. Not only have we kept the muslims at bay but where do you think we would be if we had lost WW1 or for that matter the our own revolution? Its not about US its about Gods timing. This country will fall, if Jesus doesn’t return first, but ALL nations will. This world as we knows it is over its not a matter of if but when. I’m not a doom and gloom’r but this is what the bible tells us. Do you think God didn’t use war as a tool to advance His people. Or maybe those stories in the bible are just myth or better yet where interpreted incorrectly during translation. I’m not suggesting that God directed all the conflicts we have been in but He has used them to further the cause. Are you suggesting that Christainity would have been better off under Soviet rule. Or better yet muslim rule which is their goal if left to their own plan?

  16. Corey Stringer says:

    At the church I serve as worship pastor, we do not do a full-out patriotic service. I am in the millennial category. We believe that though you can incorporate patriotic themes and ideas into a service, it should not be all about that. We love to recognize current service men and veterans. We believe they should be honored for their commitment and sacrifice. But a lot of the times, the church goes so heavily patriotic that it forgets the true reason the church exists. That is to worship the Creator. With the structure of the society today and the poor commitment of people to their spiritual walk, we get limited time to invest, teach, and disciple them.

  17. John Gardner says:

    RC, this is also one of my biggest concerns. One on one, I believe that we can have the sort of discussions in which we define our terms sufficiently to explain the “time and place” considerations that Trevin mentioned. But in a corporate service, with so many definitions of “patriotism”, I’m not comfortable doing anything that could possibly be construed as uncritical endorsement of the State.

  18. Flyaway says:

    We have a Christians flag and an American flag in our sanctuary. We believe that our nation is under God. We sometimes sing these songs as prayers: “While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
    Let us swear allegiance to a land that’s free,
    Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
    As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer. ”

    God Bless America,
    Land that I love.
    Stand beside her, and guide her
    Thru the night with a light from above.
    From the mountains, to the prairies,
    To the oceans, white with foam
    God bless America, My home sweet home.

    O beautiful for spacious skies,
    For amber waves of grain,
    For purple mountain majesties
    Above the fruited plain!
    America! America!
    God shed his grace on thee
    And crown thy good with brotherhood
    From sea to shining sea!

    O beautiful for pilgrim feet
    Whose stern impassioned stress
    A thoroughfare of freedom beat
    Across the wilderness!
    America! America!
    God mend thine every flaw,
    Confirm thy soul in self-control,
    Thy liberty in law!

    O beautiful for heroes proved
    In liberating strife.
    Who more than self their country loved
    And mercy more than life!
    America! America!
    May God thy gold refine
    Till all success be nobleness
    And every gain divine!

    O beautiful for patriot dream
    That sees beyond the years
    Thine alabaster cities gleam
    Undimmed by human tears!
    America! America!
    God shed his grace on thee
    And crown thy good with brotherhood
    From sea to shining sea!

    O beautiful for halcyon skies,
    For amber waves of grain,
    For purple mountain majesties
    Above the enameled plain!
    America! America!
    God shed his grace on thee
    Till souls wax fair as earth and air
    And music-hearted sea!

    O beautiful for pilgrims feet,
    Whose stem impassioned stress
    A thoroughfare for freedom beat
    Across the wilderness!
    America! America!
    God shed his grace on thee
    Till paths be wrought through
    wilds of thought
    By pilgrim foot and knee!

    O beautiful for glory-tale
    Of liberating strife
    When once and twice,
    for man’s avail
    Men lavished precious life!
    America! America!
    God shed his grace on thee
    Till selfish gain no longer stain
    The banner of the free!

    O beautiful for patriot dream
    That sees beyond the years
    Thine alabaster cities gleam
    Undimmed by human tears!
    America! America!
    God shed his grace on thee
    Till nobler men keep once again
    Thy whiter jubilee!

  19. joe says:

    The main problem with your thesis is that the Christian values that thecountry was founded on weren’t Christian values. They were diest values. Jefferson didn’t believe in the trinity, nor to mention the numerous illegitimate children he had from raping his slaves. I go to the most solid Bible teaching church I’ve been to on my 32 years of life. I’m grateful it’s never once mentioned politics and there are no flags anywhere. They do this on purpose as not one political party fully represents the Christian cause.

    1. Jeremy says:

      Joe the basis of your argument is that the founding fathers were deists, This is in fact wrong Jefferson was a deist which means he believes in God as creator of the world, but they do not believe that he still interacts with the world today. he simply allows it to work its problems on its own. But to suggest this view is the only view is seriously flawed. John Adams was also heavily involved in the creation of both the declaration and the U.S. Constitution. The declaration pointed out Britains violation of what these men believed were “God Given Rights.” John Adams in speaking of the Constitution said “This constitution is written for a moral and religious people and is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Even Jefferson understood and believed that the moral code Christians lived by was the best moral compass available and therefore used it as a guide when writing those documents.
      As to the question of patriotic services, I have no issue with them as long as it does not detract from the giving of worship to God and his kingdom. I think perhaps we are again getting a little to concerned about things that are not salvation issues. As long as your patriotism is not taking the place of God then why are we so concerned about it?

  20. Alan says:

    Your selective reading of American history is no more correct than a jingoistic reading. Self love and self hate are both wrong. The greatest failure of America’s system of public education has been the promotion of this self hate. It should be clear to any objective reader of history to see that millions if not billions of people are better off because of the existence of the United States.

    It may be popular at cocktail parties on the coasts to blast the history of this nation, and talk about popular liberal issues promoted on the latest disgusting HBO series that is now OK for evangelicals to watch in an effort to “stay relevant” with the culture; however, such myopic readings of history and selective issue promotion is little more than the modern mind washing of the church carried out by the culture. This is no different from the reverse approach that finds everything good in this land. We need balance and most of all we need to put aside our liberal or conservative blinders that prevent us from seeing clearly.

    There were sinful episodes in the history of the U.S. There is much sinfulness in our past and much sinfulness in our present. We should repent of the past and make a better present. Beyond this, it is clear that I have great freedoms because of this land. I should be thankful for it, and I should pray for it. Patriotism is not a problem. Sin is a problem. All generations should remember that sin isn’t exclusive to the United States.

    1. Joanne says:

      Thank you , Alan. Yours was a very thoughtful comment on the writings of others

  21. Michael Ochoa says:

    Thanks for taking the time to lay out these thoughts especially the moving forawrd.

    Our congregation does not do a patriotic service. Nor do we have a flag of anykind on the platform or up front. We meet in a school auditorium so occasionally throughout the year there will be flags on campus.

    However the community I live in is a really diverse. In a desiring to meet and know my neighbors, and have fun my children and I decided last year to do a July 4th Neighborhood sidewalk parade. My family and I personally invited close to 200 families in our nighborhood. Many who I met during this canvassing were immigrants from the middle east, Europe and India. Most had never even been visited by a neighbor or invited to anything like this before. However, rather than being offended at it mostly all were grateful and excited to be invited to participate. Some from the middle east, and one from Iran in particular ever was brought to tears as she told recalled how her grandfather would organize these events and parade in her neighborhood in Iran. Like her so many said they felt genuinely welcome by this simple invitation to parade and have lunch with us.

    We had around 125 neighbors come out and have lunch with us that day. My kids loved it and I made many new friends.

    I was hesitant to do it again this year and even though my kids were excited at the prospect I almost did not do it because it’s a lot of work. Then several weeks ago while outside working in the yard a neighbor who lives at the far edge of our neighborhood out on a walk stopped to ask me if we were going to do the parade again. This year our whole cul-de-sac is helping out and we expect close to 200 people to come out for it.

    I truly see the July 4th as just one of many opportunites to welcome the foreigner in our midst and to open the doors to welcome people to my home where I can share my life with them and most importantly live out and speak of the Good news of Jesus Christ and to love my neighbors regardless of their receptiveness as Christ loved me regardless of my years of rejecting him.

    I truly desire to see the fullness of God’s promises to Abraham in Genesis 22:18 not just to the world in a vague sense but in the sense that all natons including America would be blessed through his offspring so that it’s real down to the people on my block and street and neighborhood.

    So, we don’t do it in the church service but a little patriotism, friendliness and kindness can make a difference and open doors to relationship with those around us.

  22. sean carlson says:

    Well, you started out well but then went kinda marshmallowy by the end. I think you like patriotic services as long as they’re done a certain way. You’re off target when you suggest younger evangelicals are too pampered to appreciate their country. More likely they’re disgusted with a corrupt & venal government which also happens to like to go to war alot.
    If we’re to do anything on the 4th, falling on our faces & pleading for His intervening mercy & grace would be a good start.

  23. tim casper says:

    There are a great many things that I find worth dying for! Very few worth fighting for, and nothing at all worth killing for!! I cannot love my neighbors & enemies and kill them at the same time. I can point to many verses where I am command to love but not one where I am commanded to kill.

  24. Bethany says:

    Fellow millennial here. I agree wholeheartedly with everything you say. I grew up in a church where the “Christian flag” (what does that even mean?) and the American flag were side by side in the sanctuary. In AWANA, we said the pledge of allegiance every week. Near patriotic holidays we’d sing “God Bless America” and other such patriotic songs. Along with this went an attitude that everything the US did was utterly right and ordained by God. So my background may have a lot to do with my current views on this, but I think that conflating the US with God’s chosen people is a very, very dangerous road to travel.

    At my current church, they acknowledge the patriotic days and, during prayer, thank God for this country and its leaders, and those who have died defending the ideals that the US stands for. No patriotic songs are sung, no American flags are present. I think that’s a much more healthy way to address patriotism in churches.

  25. Brian says:

    As a younger evangelical who does not feel uneasy in a sound complete Bible-teaching/preaching church service who also somewhat falls under the category of being disillusioned, cynical, and distrustful towards the US, stemming from seeing the US as Babylon, I’ll go ahead and shed some light on this. For many reasons, it is because of not being categorized as one uneasy in a Biblical service that I am uneasy in a patriotic service. This country was not created and formed from Christian values and beliefs, it was founded primarily by a series of people whose beliefs were merely deistic and were significantly influenced by the “enlightenment,” a largely anti-Christian movement. While the US’ actions abroad have helped to prevent some nations from being successful in eradicating Christianity (Soviet Russia), countless people and organizations within the US are working, intentionally or not, to destroy Christianity as well, either by attacking it head-on, or by watering it down (Joel Osteen, Rachel Held Evans, Sam Harris, Rob Bell, the ACLU, etc.), and working to ruin it for other places (the middle-east, China, possibly North Korea). In light of this, intertwining the people who have given their lives to further the Gospel with the country that is increasingly fighting the Gospel is arguably an insult t o these great men and women. Additionally, I have seen many instances in which this country as a whole does not live up to certain Christian standards to the same extent that other countries do, even countries that do not have Christian roots, or are even antagonistic towards Christianity at the government level (stemming, oftentimes, from the association of Christianity with the US and, by extension, many of its unsavory traits). Moreover, the 4th of July itself commemorates the day that some people within the colonies declared independence from a nation that was not necessarily abusive, a declaration in which they likely anticipated bloodshed and the splitting of families as a consequence, a cause that I as a Christian cannot wholly endorse with a sound conscience.

  26. Flyaway says:

    Ecclesiastes 3 American Standard Version (ASV)

    3 For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven:

    2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

    3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;

  27. Shelvin Lamb says:

    As a mid 40’s, 20 plus year Worship Pastor in the SBC church, I am certainly seeing this issue (along with others) come to the forefront. I live in a military town, and we do one Sunday (usually around July 4) with a heavy lean on patriotic/ God and Country music. The other two holidays (memorial and veterans) we at least make mention of the holiday and usually do a prayer or have a video clip regarding it’s true meaning. Several things I have observed:
    1) I must say that over the past few years, I have seen a lot of ‘traditions’ and ‘way we have done church’ blasted as turn off’s for today’s generation. Some may have good points, but I really wonder is this based out of conviction or ‘I just want it to be different.’ While certainly my generation, and the ones before have made mistakes and done things wrong, I just cant believe that the majority of these ‘issues’ that are being brought up really turn people away for God and the church. I think for the most part it is excuses for disobedience and rebellion. And if ‘why are we worshipping the flag’ (tongue and cheek) doesn’t turn them off, something else will. Other issues I speak of: Calvinism, power of prayer, the ‘unbilblical’ sinner’s prayer, political debates, and other social issues.
    2) On the flip side- for many in our congregation, what we do is never enough and the leadership gets termed unpatriotic. Those who feel that way would still say that no matter how much we do in terms of patriotism, and that we haven’t done enough. I can see that as a turn off for anyone.
    3) I agree that we as a country are further from God than ever before. But I am still proud to be an American and should be able to express that without my motives being questioned. For all our faults, it is denominations (founded in the USA) like the one I am in (along with many others) that have led the way toward going into the world, reaching, making disciples, championing orphan care, adoption, and church planting like never before. We are doing a LOT of great things. That is lost by all generations and is a huge contributor to people leaving our churches. Why would the lost want what is seen in many Christians and today’s leaders? Which is lack of joy in their lives, and contentment in what God has called them to do. We might to take a hard look at how missionaries have been called by God into the field from our churches in this country, see how many were funded and educated/ equipped by Godly institutions in this country, and financially supported from our American churches to do the work of ministry.
    Finally, I believe what we do is God honoring, not over the top, and certainly not lessening God to His rightful place We will sing patriotic songs this week, but be very specific that we celebrate our freedoms of Americans, yet, we only worship God.

  28. Kyle says:

    I think perhaps this is the post he is referencing, but I can’t be sure.

    http://www.churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/152006-kevin-deyoung-patriotism-and-the-church.html

  29. Caleb says:

    Christopher,

    You should read up on the history of abortion in Nazi Germany and on Nazi Germany in general. Then you would know that it is flippant rhetoric to compare Canada to Nazi Germany. That kind of talk does nothing to further the pro-life/pro-choice debate and it uses deception to manipulate the past for your own ends.

  30. Caleb says:

    Alan,

    If your comment directed at me?

  31. Jim says:

    I’m not anti-patriotism but I don’t think it should have any more than an occasional and minor role in the church – perhaps one patriotic song every several months at most. (Praying for one’s country and its leaders can – and should – occur more often, but in the context of prayer for the local area and wider world as well, and I’m not sure that really counts at patriotism.) And the singing of patriotic songs in church should be approached with care – I’d be suspicious of anything that isn’t overtly and substantially religious in character, though of course many such songs are.

  32. JohnM says:

    I have been in church services singing the patriotic songs of another nation. It didn’t bother me. I’m a member of a church that has the U.S. flag and another national flag up front., and I’ve been a member of a church with the flags of many nations. I agree none of them really ought to be there, but that some are other-than-American never troubled me.

  33. JohnM says:

    I think I may have said this regarding another of those trends among younger evangelicals, but I think what we’re seeing might just be a shift among attitudes period, never mind a particular generation. It might just be that the younger generation is simply coming of age at a time when this across the board shift is taking place. I could be wrong.

    One of the reasons I think attitudes are changing is, when you think about it, the U.S. has more or less been continually at war for almost a quarter century now. Americans are simply burnt out on it, and on flag-waving, and wondering exactly where has it gotten us.

  34. Dan Glover says:

    Good comments. Christopher. Amen.

  35. Christopher says:

    Hey, Caleb,

    I honestly appreciate your concern about the way people talk about abortion, but I wasn’t attempting to engage in a discussion about it. I was talking about why I have deep reservations when I celebrate Canada. To explain those reservations, I drew a comparison between Canada and Nazi Germany, but the comparison was not between their abortion practices (I have no knowledge of abortion practices in Nazi Germany, but rather some knowledge of their euthanasia practices). I was pointing to the similarity between them insofar as they both had/have legal dehumanization of (an) entire group(s) of people in order to make morally/legally possible those groups’ eradication. Namely, in Canada, according to the Criminal Code (Section 223), “A child becomes a human being within the meaning of this Act when it has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother.” Do you still see this as deceptive?

  36. Craig Sanders says:

    As a young Southern Baptist, I certainly identify with the uneasiness in patriotic church services, and while I agree with most of your analysis, I think #4 may not quite grasp the concept of time and place for millennials. The transformation of time and place in the digital age enables anyone to be a globetrotter and, I believe, ingrains within the mind of young evangelicals that they belong to a global church not confined, and certainly not centered, in the USA. While this may result in a lack of appreciation for the homeland, it’s not because of detachment but rather because the world has become smaller. Patriotism in church services and among older Christians only reminds millennials that they belong to a diverse and global people and dilutes the richness of their faith.

  37. Teddy says:

    I would argue that the recent (recent being the last 75 years) history of American warfare is the primary catalyst for each generation’s sense of nationalism. In this theory, baby boomers and their parents were raised at a time when the nation was obligated by world circumstances to band together for a common good. World War II, specifically, was a war that unified the nation in a legitimate good vs evil scenario. The impact of such a war throughout the 1940s and 1950s was enormous: developing a national pride predicated on a unified conquering of true tyranny and oppression. But since then, our military engagements have been utter failures both in strategy and in cause of engagement. Vietnam and The War on Terror will/have gone down in history as horrific blunders on military, political, and moral stages. The younger generations may not have a strong sense of patriotism because America has proven to be more of a bully than a friend in recent history. Rather than being proud of their country, many millennials are utterly ashamed of it.

  38. Tom M says:

    Can a deist go to heaven?
    You would have to be under the influence of our public school system to not realize that this country was founded under Gods direction . Proverbs 28:2 (New Living Translation)
    2 When there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily. But with wise and knowledgeable leaders, there is stability. Think what you want but the moral rot is setting in and it is because
    #1 our Christian parents and grandparents let the flesh take over our homes and schools and government
    #2 Churches have failed to preach and teach the Bible as God intended. I can site scripture for anyone who needs it. Its there.
    #3 The bible does not teach us that this world will get better and be saved through our GOOD WORKS or God is going to change His mind and let us off the hook. We are to spread the only good news there is ( Accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior) or continue on the path you are on and end up in Hell. Sorry if that offends someone but I’m not making this up. This is interesting conversation but the cure is simple. The end to this corrupt and failing world is coming. You can’t stop it. Do you think John the Baptist would change his message for this new generation ? No he died preaching repentance as if your life depended on it and would do it again if necessary and so should we. Oh and by the way Joe, King David put Thomas Jefferson to shame when it came to sin.

  39. Kathleen says:

    American wasn’t free for five million slaves before the Civil War nor for many millions more who lived in racist oppression after the Civil War. Nor the 10s of thousands who cannot afford adequate legal assistance nor the 44 million who have died in abortion since 1973.

  40. Kathleen says:

    Thomas Jefferson wrote the following clause in the Declaration of Independence: He [King George III] has waged cruel War against human Nature itself, violating its most Sacred Right of Life & Liberty in the Persons of a distant People who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into Slavery in another Hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their Transportation thither.

    And then took it out! And the framers of the US Constitution never mentioned slavery because they knew it was wrong — they called it “involuntary servitude”.

    Why do we so thoroughly reject this very real part of our history? Why do we persist in declaring the US a nation founded on “Christian values”?

  41. Ian Shaw says:

    Blind nationalism is wrong. And it makes things muddy to mix that into a church service. That is all.

  42. Daniel Madrid says:

    I am a young evangelical, and this is my story [cue dramatic music]:

    My family took me to church (independent Baptist) every time its doors were open. I was saved at age 6. It wasn’t until age 21 that I encountered my first “God and Country” service at the Southern Baptist church I joined when I went to college in Auburn, AL. I could not bring myself to sing the patriotic songs during the worship service. I was almost to the point of utter dismay at what was happening around me. Songs were sung such as, “The Star Spangled Banner,” “America, the Beautiful,” and others. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE this country. I’m extremely grateful to God for her. But the fact of the matter was that this particular service was more about honoring our country and proclaiming her greatness than it was about honoring Jesus Christ, our great Savior, the one who bought us with His own blood. I was confused. What message were we sending to the international students in the congregation (of whom there were dozens)? I felt like the church was acting hypocritically. Every other Sunday of the year, we would be lifting up Christ, the gospel would be clearly presented in every sermon and Sunday School lesson with a call to repentance and faith. Yet on “God and Country Day,” we missed the point. We forsook the real reason that we were gathered there in the Lord’s house, and we put our trust in a kingdom that will one day pass away.

  43. Bethany says:

    I am a millennial and have never been in a church that actually acts like the church God has called for. Our churches are run like businesses, there’s no accountability, and there’s absolutely NO difference between the way the church and the world look. So excuse me if I have a little laugh at the fact that ANYONE is concerned with the appropriateness of patriotic services. How about giving some concern to the guy on the pew next to you who will some day spend eternity in hell. Or are you sitting there with your eyes covered and ears plugged screaming “DON’T JUDGE, DON’T JUDGE, MUST NOT JUDGE”
    We’ve got much, much bigger fish to fry.

  44. cjones says:

    I don’t have a problem with thanking God annually in a special worship service for living in a nation that has enjoyed freedoms that are pretty much exclusive to the USA. We’ve enjoyed religious liberties for 200 years with citizens of various religions living in peace with one another because we have religious liberty. I admit that liberty is under threat now and we very well could lose it in our generation. Personally, I don’t see a “patriotic service” as “blind nationalism” like what you see in communist countries or dictatorships. Rather, it is thanking God for the freedoms we’ve enjoyed as a people. However, I can understand how immigrants from places like Romania can feel uncomfortable because of memories of Nicolae Ceausescu. I understand nationalistic displays can be reminiscent of over the top propaganda of May Day celebrations, but perhaps pastors need to clarify why they do such worship services and remind people that Jesus is still the center of worship in such a service, not veterans or the flag; but this is a special time to reflect on the freedoms we’ve enjoyed and to pray for our nation to repent of our sins and for God to send revival.
    I realize millennials are products of our liberal education system that demonizes America and downplays its achievements and it’s Judeo-Christian heritage so their apathy is understandable. I would encourage young people to go on mission trips to see how the rest of the world really lives. Try going to the slums of Mumbai or having a government monitor mirror your every move in Vietnam; or go to Myanmar and ask the persecuted believers there what they would think of religious liberty. I could go on with examples but the reason we have an immigration problem and not an expatriation problem is because people want to live here to escape poverty, tyranny, persecution, etc.
    I know America has its problems and some of our history is shameful, but it is still a beacon to the world’s underprivileged so they have hope and a chance to better themselves by coming here. I would encourage everyone to go see the movie, America, Imagine the World without Her. http://www.americathemovie.com/ by Dinesh D’Souza who is an immigrant from India.

  45. Darryl Klassen says:

    Christianity was birthed under the dominant Roman Empire. The Church does not need the US to protect it; that’s God’s job. Many non-US people around the world have a hard time equating American militarism with Christianity if they see the American agenda clearly. Your recent wars (dating back to WWII) have been disasters in terms of promoting the Kingdom of God.

  46. Tim says:

    Good questions, Trevin. I cringe when the church gets patriotic.

  47. Holly says:

    Great article — although it seems as though many folks on here and on facebook didn’t actually read it they are just spouting off their own thoughts as to why it is WRONG. I think you made many valid points for why we should have them but with respect for all involved.

  48. Bitsy says:

    Hi, Trevin! :) Thanks for a great post! You have me thinking now… (You can just see the wheels turning in my little brain now, can’t you??? LOL)

  49. Holly says:

    agreed!

  50. Holly says:

    Have you actually listened to all the verses of the songs you mentioned? They both point directly back to thinking God for his blessings and provision in our nation, which COULD then be used to talk about the Gospel if the pastor was savvy.

  51. Daniel Madrid says:

    While these songs do mention God, it’s as if He is a footnote. Let’s be honest, the songs are about our country, NOT God. “USA is awesome, USA is beautiful, USA is wonderful, oh by the way God too…”

  52. M Russell says:

    I have grown to dislike the “patriotic service”. The worship service is about Jesus, not us or U.S.
    I think an alternative would be to have a special “thanksgiving service” that follows the regular worship service. For example, the regular service from 10:00 to 11:30, then a 15 min break, and then a half-hour patriotic thanksgiving service. Bigger churches might follow the special service with a picnic or fellowship meal. The important element is the thanksgiving service is a time for praying for the country leadership, praying for reformation, thanking God for the freedoms available, and a reminder of Christian good citizenship.

  53. Christiane says:

    the Brits have a wonderful hymn that celebrates their country and that ‘other country’ that is the Kingdom of God . . . I think the hymn is respectful and puts both in the proper perspective to be sung in their Anglican Churches:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_EApxM7WTo

    ” I vow to thee, my country, all earthly things above,
    Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love;
    The love that asks no question, the love that stands the test,
    That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best;
    The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,
    The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice.

    I heard my country calling, away across the sea,
    Across the waste of waters she calls and calls to me.
    Her sword is girded at her side, her helmet on her head,[6]
    And round her feet are lying the dying and the dead.
    I hear the noise of battle, the thunder of her guns,
    I haste to thee my mother, a son among thy sons.

    And there’s another country, I’ve heard of long ago,
    Most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know;
    We may not count her armies, we may not see her King;
    Her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering;
    And soul by soul and silently her shining bounds increase,
    And her ways are ways of gentleness, and all her paths are peace.”

  54. Good read. Here are some quick responses.

    1. I get the disillusion of the millennial generation, but I’m not sure that makes it right to the extent it should dictate agenda. In some ways it can be a compromise.

    2. Patriotic themes should never take precedence over God.

    3. The US has a unique angle that other countries may not have. God was included in a major way into our nation’s birth. Not all were believers, but many agreed with the Judeo-Christian ethic.

    4. Men (and some women) paid a huge price that I’m not sure the millenial generation experientially comprehends or appreciates. Some who have gone to Afghanistan and Iraq may get it, but otherwise, they don’t know what it took to allow freedom of religion to be purchased.

    5. I’m in a place where God and country works. Yet I preached from Rev. 16 last week. I don’t prop up the US as Israel or Babylon. I preach the US in application as Israel AND Babylon. We are neither. We can only mimic obedience or sins. But I’m uncomfortable to not think “nations.” Scripture has a lot to say about His role and judgement of nations.

    6. I think the point that was best was that of people in the crowd who are not from the US. Good point. Yet there is a reason so many are coming to this country. Freedom is not bad. And when I pledge, it’s “under God.”

    I may be partial. I served in Army Infantry for 11 years. I went to Iraq #1.

    We have a WWII vet in our church. He is a very godly man. Seeing him weep in humility just because of a thank you … well it’s moving. And soon the millennial generation won’t have to worry about it. They will have to own it themselves. And BTW – when teens see these men weeping and honored, that is a good thing.

    What do you think of my response?

  55. Jonny Ivey says:

    Thanks Trevin. I must say that as both a young Evangelical my comments will surely consolidate your argument. But my Englishness may nuance it. In England both young and old evangelicals feel uneasy about seeing the U.S flag at church. It’s not that our country isn’t a blessing and a wholesome part of our earthly identity; of course, it is. But why is this particular element of it emphasised? Our manhood is a good God-given identifier yet we don’t fly that flag in all-male churches. Our personalities are God-given gifts yet we don’t have separate churches for the shy, intelligent or audacious. It’s not that having a flag is sinful – it’s simply an irrelevance among the people of God. But one, as you mentioned, may make those who are not American feel uneasy. Surely we must value the warm welcome of every church member far more highly than a flag or even a nation? Can we not be grateful for our nationality and culture in the privacy of our own heart? The beauty of the church is that its only common identifier is our identity in Christ; not our socio-economic status, our gender, our job, our success, our country or our culture. Whether this is true or not, many people on this side of the pond feel uneasy about the prospect of overemphasising the goodness of our nation, whether they are young or old.

    Thanks for such an interesting article. I recently wrote a blogpost at http://postandgate.wordpress.com/2014/06/29/world-cup-2014-glory-and-identity/ which, I guess, exhibits all the English logs which are quick to call the splinter in the American eye. My thought has been qualified and refined. Thank you.

    Jonny

  56. ozgur J says:

    Tom M, you remind me so many of my southern friends. They also want to say things that sound Godly and then you bring your earthly logic to it. For example, you wrote “Are you suggesting that Christianity would have been better off under Soviet rule… Muslim rule? There are many countries that has Christians under Muslim rule and were under Soviet rule, the church did prosper and grew under them as well. I would actually think that some persecution would be good so that we can see if they truly want to follow Christ! Your view of the Bible is so mixed up with politics, it is difficult for you to differentiate which is which.

  57. Aqua1 says:

    I’ve visited and worked in 32 nations. I was born outside the US.

    I’d kindly ask that you name one nation that the US liberated and “colonized” please. Not a fan of patriotic services, and loved the article, but get your facts straight on “colonization”. The US has only asked for ground to bury their dead when they have liberated places like Europe, Vietnam, Korea etc. That’s not “colonialism” that, my good information deprived friend, is fact.

  58. ozgur J says:

    I have to agree with the other replies that you started well, but you tried to sound balanced. This is one of those topics where American Evangelicalism has gone so far toward nationalism that the millenials are just getting started. What is worth dying for? Nationalism would say your country, but how about the Bible?

    It is also not an overreaction to take the flag out and not sing any patriotic songs. You are suggesting that they should be in there? Is that true? Is it must? Biblical mandate?

    One last comment about how American believers are similar to Arabic believers… It would be great to hear a Pastor say that we have more in common with Palestinian believers that Israeli jews? Come on, this would take some guts at least in the South. It would be ok most other places. That alone shows how far we have gone.

    1. ToneyLady says:

      Yes. This.

  59. Derek says:

    I’ve always been a bit uncomfortable with patriotic services, this is not because I don’t love my country or don’t want to honor those who have given so much, it’s because far too often those services unintentionally serve to divide people. The United States of America is not ancient Israel. Although there is significant Judeo-Christan influence, we are not a Christian nation. As President Jefferson himself wrote: “the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” We are a nation of people and secular laws and, though I love my country, we often make mistakes. Rarely, have I ever sat in a patriotic service that didn’t try to promote one political ideology or attack another under the veil of honoring our nation. I sat in church services in 2004-2005 in which the “patriotic” service was nothing more than a rally for the Iraq War and the policies if the Bush administration; both of which I opposed as a rational, informed citizen. Such services didn’t unite the church. A place where we should all be united in our faith in Christ was suddenly divided along political lines: republican/democrat, liberal/conservative, hawk/dove.

  60. Tim says:

    Some scholars consider our presence in the Philippines to be a form of colonialization.

  61. Tim says:

    That last comment was meant as a reply to aqua1, but for some reason did not get nested below his/her comment.

  62. Rachel Hedin says:

    While I appreciate your attempt to understand the younger generation’s perspective on nationalism and christianity, your approach has guaranteed that you won’t find the answer. You assume that people “feel uncomfortable” are unpatriotic, are too self absorbed or individual.
    You would be better served to regard this difference in generations as a genuine, honest conviction based on biblical examination. The bible says that we’re sojourners. The bible says building Babel won’t end well and calls us to be dispersed to be the gospel together throughout the world.
    Believing that isn’t a lack of patriotism. It’s orthodox christianity.
    Start there, and then have a dialogue about balance. Anything less is dismissive and unproductive if you truly want to engage millenial believers.

  63. Kelsey says:

    Perhaps Millennials’ lack of patriotism has nothing to do with being “over-entertained and comfortable” and everything to do with reservations about the sometimes less-than-ethical behavior of our country on the international stage. Perhaps our reservations about patriotic church services are related to the understanding that nationalism has led to all kinds of terrible things in the past (ie most major wars), and our worship should transcend our national identity. Mixing the two is often a slippery slope. I regularly thank God in my own prayers for the many blessings of this country. But I have walked out of church services that mixed hymns and patriotic anthems. And I don’t think it’s because I’m just one of those darn unpatriotic kids these days.

    1. Nick says:

      You are SPOT ON! Thank you. Putting Nationalism over God’s will for us is a huge mistake we as a country have made time and time again.

  64. Derek says:

    The United States seized a colonized the independent nation of Hawaii. The Spanish American War was a war of colonization. The US took Guam and the Philippines from the Spanish. We didn’t colonize Cuba (except for Guantanamo), but we liberated it and then insisted upon virtual control of the economy as a result.
    This is to say nothing of the countless Native American nations whose cultures we destroyed and land we stole. One man’s colonization is another man’s Manifest Destiny.

  65. Tim says:

    A commenter on my blog’s post on the danger of unbridled patriotism taking the place of our citizenship in God’s kingdom offered some pertinent C.S. Lewis quotes, one of which is:

    From The Screwtape Letters: “I had not forgotten my promise to consider whether we should make the patient an extreme patriot or an extreme pacifist. All extremes except extreme devotion to the Enemy [That is, God], are to be encouraged. Whichever he adopts, your main task will be the same. Let him begin by treating the Patriotism or the Pacifism as a part of his religion. Then let him, under the influence of partisan spirit, come to regard it as the most important part. Then quietly and gradually nurse him on to the stage at which the religion becomes merely part of the “Cause,” in which Christianity is valued chiefly because of the excellent arguments it can produce in favour of the British war effort or of pacifism.”

  66. Lyra Kierkegaard says:

    “But I fear that the lack of patriotism among younger evangelicals today is not just generational, but a result of disillusionment, cynicism, and distrust. Is our generation so over-entertained and so comfortable that we don’t see anything in our civilization worth fighting (or dying) for?”

    On the contrary, this is WHY my generation is less patriotic. Because 80% of the “god and country america mom and apple pie” bull we hear is from people who are the enemy. You know who uses that stuff? The people who want to spy on you. The ones who want to turn your backyard into a freeway or a garbage dump. We came into a nation destroyed by Baby Boomers and found that not only did it have less and less to offer people who weren’t Baby Boomers, but that the Republic was more nominal than real.

    I’ll be patriotic when there’s a country worth loving. I love my state and I’d die for her, but that’s about it.

  67. Dan Glover says:

    Except that our nation is not our mother. God is our father and the church is our mother (Gal. 4:26).

  68. Bruce C says:

    Showing a flag in church is no different than wearing a MCDONALD’S shirt in a Burger King. If you don’t understand that, then just take a minute and think about it. I get so fed up with people looking for excuses to justify their own personal beliefs. I am proud to be a Christian and am also very proud of my country which I served. I also welcome those from other beliefs and cultures into our church and hope they enjoy themselves while there and if they don’t there are tons of places to worship as you want in this country.

  69. Thinking … adding ….

    The greatest generation people group in the church I serve, well, I ask them to make sacrifices for the sake of the kingdom’s agenda and for the sake of the gospel. They pay for much, and I’m not a “we should do this because they pay the bills” kind of guy. I actually hate that principle. But as some point they should receive ministry and respect. Is it that big a deal? Only if God is left out is it really a crime. If not, why not?

    I think we sacrifice sacrifice on the altar of reaching the millenial generation. How often (If your demographics are multigenerational) does the WWII generation have to bend in church?

    OK, one more? What other issues besides patriotic should be addressed the same way, but are not? Are we as the church consistent with our critique? I have no answer.

  70. Dr. Daniel Mercaldo says:

    The analogy with Romania is a poor one. Having ministered in Romania for many years as a visiting pastor since 1980, it is clear that the Romanian government then and now is not rooted in a Christian world-view and Biblical concepts that formed the foundation of America. Having been a school teacher in Public School for years, I can tell you that students who are now Boomers and below in age, simply DO NOT KNOW AMERICAN HISTORY. The revision of American history by current college trained teachers is at the root of why Millennials (and older) are so unpatriotic. This is sad, especially when you know history and the tremendous price the Founders paid to establish this Nation on solid, Biblical, Christian principles. If you know the Bible and read the early documents of our great Nation, you see the correlation between the two. No, it is not America right or wrong, but American exceptionalism can be heartily affirmed by true Evangelical believers. I say that while agreeing with Ruth Graham Lotz, that judgment is coming soon to America unless we get back to those founding principles that gave us the foundation to build this Nation on 238 years ago tomorrow, July 4, 1776. After traveling in over 50 other nations, excuse me Millennials (and others), but let me shout it out….Blessed Anniversary…and…GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!!

  71. Hey everyone. How about this question? For those who can tolerate it, what would a service look like that would meet in the middle?

  72. Chris Green says:

    “Pastors and church leaders should make it clear that American believers have more in common with Arab believers in Iraq and Syria than they do with their unbelieving next-door neighbors.”

    I think that what you mean by this is that what we have in common with Arab believers is more important than what we have in common with our unbelieving neighbors. I completely agree that our Kingdom citizenship trumps all others and so our allegiances should be properly prioritized. However, I don’t find it wise to underplay our cultural heritage either.

    I think that the “patriotic crisis” within the American, evangelical church in reality stems from a greater identity crisis in American culture, namely, “what does it mean for me as a 20-something/30-something to be an American?”

    Personally, I find that the more global we become, the more we become aware of our cultural uniquenesses begin to treasure them. This is okay… if not even healthy.

    I think a great topic for this coming Sunday morning (for we Millenials) would be “What does it mean to be Christian and American?” or at least, how do we begin to answer that question.

  73. Dale M. says:

    Totally agreed. Well stated Dan.

  74. KC says:

    Mr. Wax —
    May I challenge you to ask yourself and others whether your beliefs about these things begin with the Bible and then move out to life, the world, philosophy, etc.–or whether it might be the other way around.
    Let me use a slightly different issue to point up what I’m getting at. Many times, in discussions with Christians about the role of money in the Christian life, I hear this assertion: “Well, it’s not a sin to be rich.” This usually comes early in the discussion and is said in a way that makes it clear that this is an axiom beyond question. All considerations thereafter must be done deductively with this unmovable premise firmly in place. And my problem with it is that, even if it should prove to be true, it belongs as a conclusion reached at the end of careful biblical study, not as a given truth from the start.
    Similarly, I find that flag-waving patriotism among American Christians is assumed as being good and right, and that this is a starting point for thinking about the issue, not a conclusion reached after careful biblical study.
    I mean no offense, but I see this in your post here. So I humbly suggest you back up and really ask: Where am I getting such ideas as those which bring forth utterances like “it is good for Christians, as citizens of two kingdoms, to be grateful for the blessings of God upon our nation.”
    Should you choose to go back to Scripture first, may I suggest starting with a look at the way the Bible actually uses the term PATRIS (from which we get “patriotism”) in Hebrews 11:14?
    Peace,
    — KC

  75. Ben says:

    A lot of younger American Christians like myself tend to equate excessive patriotism with militarism, which is understandable given that we’ve constantly been told that if you don’t support the various wars our government has gotten involved in, you’re unpatriotic. I think Millennials tend to get a lot of their information from internet-based news sources that serve as an alternative to the unreliable and political establishment-serving mainstream media, and are therefore prone to take on points of view that are not as friendly to the powers that be. Specifically, they tend to be relatively anti-war, which is a nuisance to the military industrial complex that is served by mainstream opinion, and so they must therefore be attacked as unpatriotic hippy types who spit on soldiers.

    We know that the government lies to us about everything, and that they are by and large a corrupt, mafia-esque organization that extracts from the poor in order to give to their cronies. They don’t serve us and they never will. The soldiers who ostensibly die for our freedoms are in fact dying to promote the interests of group of imperialistic, money-hungry thugs.

    And then on top of that, just look at how evil our culture has become; we kill over a million babies a year through abortion, for example. This is not the sign of a country blessed by God, but rather one that has been put under his judgment for rejecting him as Lord. We’ve refused to make the true King our king, and therefore he has given us the devilish worldly “kings” we deserve.

    So saluting the flag and acting patriotic in light of this shoddy state of affairs rings hollow to a lot of people,

  76. Bill says:

    To say flatly that patriotism is state worship and therefore idolatry is a huge over simplification. The Psalms are filled with David appreciating, giving thanks fire and standing in awe of creation. Was he committing idolatry? Was he worshipping creation? Our odds it possible to be grateful and humbled by the Grace that God has shown by allowing us to be placed in this country at this time? Should we despise that Grace in the name of devotion?

  77. Steve S says:

    Interesting article. I do agree that we should give respect and honor to those who serve and to our leaders in this country. As for the uneasiness over patriotic services I would have to ask where these types of services are required Biblically. Are we to have services that focus on our country and it’s founding? If so is the whole service or only part of the service to be focused on patriotic themes as it relates to the Fourth of July?

  78. Robert says:

    If you can not thank God for our Country and enjoy a patriotic service which gives honor to both God and country. Points out the wrong and champions the good. While seeking to show the lost true salvation, then please do not attend my church. and if you are uneasy about patriotism after the blood of so many has been split for your freedoms, then do us all a favor and leave America.

  79. I have always considered all nations, “Babylon”. As we are now in two kingdoms, there will be a day when there will be only one. No King but Christ. I appreciate this article, as a pastor, I have always had a very very very difficult time with some congregants who were willing and desiring to forego the gospel and the word of God for patriotism. It left me a little raw at times, especially one year when I couldn’t see the congregation from the platform because of all the flags. I look back, it was a bit humorous and I preached on Romans 13 that day.

  80. KC says:

    One of the following is NOT from the Bible. Can you guess which?

    “Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”
    — 1 Peter 2:11-12
    “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country– a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.”
    — Hebrews 11:13-16

    “And seeing the procession of the Roman column passing by his cell, Paul called out in a loud voice, ‘Thank you for your service, boys! I do not know what I would do, if it were not for you securing my freedoms!'”
    –Acts 30:

  81. Tim W. says:

    The time will come one day when we recognize ourselves as World Citizens, rather than separate and superior to other nations and peoples. Patriotism and Nationalism are increasingly seen as empty and hypocritical when we start to recognize our own imperfections in relation to all other people around us. The United States is incredibly blessed, but the highest form of patriotism, to me, is not a slap on the back but a push for something better. I have higher expectations for my fellow countrymen than what I am seeing these days. We are not so much a unified nation as we would like to boast. We are much divided among arbitrary political, social, religious and economic lines. I can’t wave a flag and ignore that. I can’t sit in church shouting patriotic praises and wonder whether or not God has a smirk on his face.

  82. Aaron K says:

    I really struggle with patriotic services because so many I’ve attended have turned into an exaltation of America rather than a time of praise and worship to God. Make no mistake: God is extremely passionate and particular about worship. One needs to look no further than the book of Amos to see His thoughts on it. In short, God was quite angry with Israel because their sacrifices did not reflect the status of the time period. They offered sacrifices of abundance while their own people were starving. The worship did not reflect the realities of the day. In the same way, how can we as Americans exalt a nation (while “free,” though that’s an extremely relative term) that murders millions of babies every year and oppresses the weak and the poor among us? Yes, we can and should be grateful for our freedoms, but to exalt our nation is a bit of an over-reaching of our role in worship. I’m grateful to be an American, make no mistake. But many Americans mistake patriotism (not a bad thing) with nationalism (which is idolatry). That mistaking of patriotism for nationalism is what drives so many millennials away patriotic ideas. To be frank, we’re tired of pep rallies when what we really want and need is a balm for the soul.

  83. Scott says:

    Well, I didn’t agree with everything in this article, especially the part where he says that millennials don’t think there is anything worth fighting for. That is just flat out wrong. I know he formed it as a question but the way that he stated it was errant. I do agree that there is a cynicism and a distrust present, but these are corroborated by a myriad of lies, moral decay, and flip-flopped political positioning throughout our young lives. But I don’t think this cynicism or distrust falls on only the millennials. I have met plenty of Christian Gen-x’er and Boomers that don’t trust Obama, the Clinton’s (with good reason), or anyone with left leanings for that matter. But I think these older generations have experienced something that we have not. They have experienced a Christianized idealism that ran through the rivers of America, and everyone was drinking it down. Now, those rivers have been damned. It is not a Christian nation anymore; that philosophical ship has sailed and has sunk. American ideals are now wrapped up in a not-so-tolernat “tolerance”, a spiritual and social oneness that contradicts the Biblical concept of unity in Christ, and a lack of a moral compass that also once had Scripture as its true north.
    So, when I see the social and spiritual decay that has taken place under the banner of the American flag I am heartbroken. I mourn for the loss of the Christian ideals that were fought for in wars past. I truly love my country. I am so very grateful that God chose to place me here in His divine providence. But when I hear these songs sung in a sanctuary dedicated to the praise and worship of our one, true and mighty Lord it feels as though we are praising an abstract concept that has long since died. But there is a war to be waged. There is still something we must contend for and stand up for, and that is the Kingdom of God. I will wholeheartedly fight for the principles, the doctrines, and the morals commanded to us through Scripture, because these are our only hope. America can never save us. Only through the blood of Christ can we be saved. This is my battle hymn.

    I hope this isn’t too preachy, I just felt like I needed to express a bit more of what millennials think than this article portrayed.

  84. Ken says:

    I trust that you meant pretty poorly for Iraqi Christians.
    They are getting wiped out by Sunni radicals.

  85. David Binner says:

    In reading all the posts I am wondering how many saved Christians have taken an active role in political campaigns..I think disillusionment occurs because of lack of participation and not being an influence within those within the realm of your influence..I attribute part of this indifference to Christian school movement which did not encourage active robust participation..moreover I think there are areas that saved Christians have common foes and due to lack of interaction lose opportunities because of denominational differences…one saying that still sticks with me today is we can all hang together or we can hang separately.. Saved Christians are ambassadors for Christ and should be effective in home, work and in community activities…there are things we likely all don’t like in what is occurring in the World and possibly in our churches but we should have skin in the game and be active in political process…protect our rights and pray for our leaders…. Don’t expect God to do …protect our liberties …if we don’t do it for ourselves

  86. Dan Porter says:

    I think Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States” is a principle contributing factor.

  87. Amy says:

    “We are different. This country was created and formed from Christian values and based on Christian beliefs. We have been allowed to exist primarily to police the world and give Gods word a chance to reach around the globe.”

    This is precisely the attitude that millennials such as myself take issue with. Where in scripture do you find the command for God’s people to police the world? Did not Jesus say, “My kingdom is not of this world (John 18:46)?” Nowhere in the New Testament do we find a command to force unbelievers, those not of the church, to follow a moral code. We do not even find coercion of those within the church, rather we judge, then separate ourselves from them or set them apart for God to deal with (Matt 18:17, Gal 1:9, 1 Cor 5).

    Does America have a place in God’s plan? Of course! But America’s place is not that of the chosen people. If anything, her place is something like Rome’s during the first century AD – a bureaucracy with worldwide importance and an infrastructure that facilitated the spread of the gospel, but apathetic at best to the message, or like Babylon under Cyrus, performing God’s purpose for good, but not as part of the covenant (Is 44:28, Ezra 1:1-4). The chosen people themselves are scattered throughout the world, and focusing on one nation as “special” invariably leads to a devaluation of churches and believers in other parts of the world.

    You ask, “Where do you think this world would be today if America had not protected the world from total domination of governments and empires that would have destroyed Christianity.” I would put forward that the world would be exactly where God wanted it to be. The early church was persecuted harshly under the Romans, but faith was not destroyed. Many true believers were killed in the Inquisition, but faith was not destroyed. Muslims have killed Christians in the Middle East for centuries, but faith has not been destroyed. Thousands of believers were sent to Siberia under Stalin, but faith was not destroyed. Uncountable Christians were killed in China, but today it has the second highest conversion growth rate in the world.

    My point is this: God does not need a global enforcer to preserve his people. Indeed, throughout history the church has been largely unsuccessful when it becomes entangled with secular authority. The Crusades were undertaken with the purpose of reclaiming the Holy Land, but today must be considered an embarrassment to any believer. The Thirty Years War is looked at today as a devastating horror, but at the time was perceived as the great moral issue upon which Christianity’s preservation hinged.

    Rather than honor those who spread “Christianity” with the edge of the sword and receive the result of their labor (Matt 26:52), why don’t we honor those who truly give their lives for the gospel? Wouldn’t Martyr’s Day be a much more appropriate day for the church to observe, and one that would bring together those out of every nation, tongue, tribe, and creed? We should not be united around the American flag, but around the banner of Christ, our king. We should be strangers and exiles in the earth, seeking a better, heavenly country (Heb 11:13-16), rather than trying to establish our own righteous kingdom on this earth.

    1. ToneyLady says:

      I agree wholeheartedly.

  88. Mike Wallace says:

    “We are to spread the only good news there is ( Accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior) or continue on the path you are on and end up in Hell. ”

    Exactly! And that mission does not include worshipping the United States.

  89. KC says:

    Amy —
    Amen and Amen!
    Please see my previous two comments for similar thoughts.
    The first, addressed directly to Mr. Wax, was offered humbly and quietly.
    The second, meant for everyone else, was, I admit a bit more sarcastic.
    You have argued the same point much more eloquently.
    Thank you!

  90. Mike Wallace says:

    “I’d kindly ask that you name one nation that the US liberated and “colonized” please. Not a fan of patriotic services, and loved the article, but get your facts straight on “colonization”. The US has only asked for ground to bury their dead when they have liberated places like Europe, Vietnam, Korea etc. That’s not “colonialism” that, my good information deprived friend, is fact.”

    Hawaii, The American Southwest, Puerto Rico, Philippines, Guam, American Samoa, Mariana Islands, Marshall Islands, Palau, Micronesia, US Virgin Islands, Panama Canal Zone, Cuba, Ryukyu Islands, Nanpo Islands, Marcus Islands

  91. Aaron K says:

    Amy, I think you’re spot on. I’m frustrated by our constant (ignorant) belief that America is somehow ‘different.’ In reality, we’re only a manifestation of what is in man from the very beginning. We’re no different than Babel, Babylon, Rome, or Nazi Germany. Our chief sin, as it has been with humanity from the very beginning, is arrogance. In our arrogance, we look to idols. America is a country whose idols are things like comfort, ‘happiness,’ and convenience. If something is inconvenient, we get rid of it. That’s why we have 3,000 abortions per day in America. It’s no different than the man who blows up thousands of people in a stadium. Americans just package it up to look cleaner.

    If we do anything for the Independence Day holiday, it should be falling on our knees and pleading with God for mercy and to heal our people that we may glorify Him. We must look forward to a day when every nation, tribe, people and language will worship the Lamb.

    Our fallenness and arrogance isn’t a new thing. Where was the church during the civil rights movement? We hid behind a misinterpreted Romans 13 and other scriptures, saying that to be a good Christian was to be a good citizen. Maybe sometimes it isn’t. And why do we so often blindly support things that are disobedient to the very Word of God? Because we’re blinded by our own corruption.

    Yes, we ought to be thankful for our freedom. Yes, we ought to care for our veterans and those who are in service to our country. But we must be oh so careful not to exalt any of our patriotism over the cross because we as a nation are fallen, just like any other country. We have facets that are good, but they don’t hide or outweigh the bad. We must be careful not to make God into a “flag-waving American” because He is so much bigger than that. And if our worship is to be a reflection of what God has done, is doing, and will do, shouldn’t we focus on the main purpose for this time: the advancement of the gospel to every nation, tribe, people and language?

  92. Britain Burnette says:

    I personally believe that a strictly patriotic church service is not proper for the Church to participate in. My opinion of this comes from the fact that without Jesus Christ and His blessings no nation would be blessed. Blessings are meant to teach us about God and His Son, Jesus Christ. The Bible (specifically the Old Testament) makes it very clear that obeying God’s Word results in blessing, and I believe that the United States and other nations have been blessed or cursed individually based on their overall obedience to God’s Word. But the Bible also makes it very clear that being blessed is not synonymous with being saved and being cursed is not synonymous with being unsaved. The Israelites were God’s chosen people regardless of their level of obedience. I personally believe that this principle is the same for every individual and nation who has ever lived. If you live a blessed life, you are being taught by God how to live properly. If you do not lived a blessed life, you are being taught by God how not to live your life. If you are not saved, then it really doesn’t matter whether you were blessed or not blessed. In conclusion, I believe that patriotic church services miss the point of God’s blessing a nation. God blesses a nation to reinforce Godly living, not to selfishly hoard all the blessings.

    1. ToneyLady says:

      Be careful not to equate material blessings with godliness, and poverty or other hardship with ungodliness. If that were the case, then nothing bad would ever happen to believers.

      Rather, Jesus himself told us in John 14, “In this world you will have troubles, but I leave you my peace.” As believers and followers of Christ, we’re going to experience all manner of difficulties, but we have the peace that comes from knowing our final destination. Christ has overcome.

  93. Uzziah says:

    It’s not only the last 41 years…we’ve had Jim Crow, slavery, ethnic cleansing of native peoples, unjust military invasions overseas, etc. I can’t think of any time when America was “at its most godly.”

  94. M. Mitchell says:

    Although I am not a young person, I am sick to death of patriotism/nationalism and militarism infesting the church and gullible people still trotting out the tired old lines of the military “keeping us safe” by killing scores of people – men, women, and children – in third world countries. I’m also tired of politicians using religious rhetoric to get elected. The US isn’t a Christian nation. The US military doesn’t seek to do God’s will. People in the US military don’t serve their neighbors, unless they happen to live next to a politician or military contractor or other people in the military. The church is no place to honor or pledge any person or thing – only Jesus Christ.

  95. M. Mitchell says:

    America had no business being involved in WWI. Americans aren’t God’s chosen people, and America’s wars were not waged for God. I’m not sure what you mean by having kept “Muslims at bay” – – the US has been waging war on Muslim countries for decades as well as provoking them with sanctions.

  96. Valerie Wilson says:

    I do not know where to begin. I have noticed recently that the church we currently attend says little about Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, July 4, Memorial Day and so forth….I am 62, kind of hard to believe…I watched POW’s come home the day my first daughter was born! Although I have not fought for this country, I feel I am a true patriot. We NEED to honor those that protect our freedom of religion. We need to sing and honor the flag of our United States of America. We need to pray and it should be held in our local churches. PERIOD! Should we do a test to see those countries whose churches do not respect their country this way….just where do they stand in today’s world? Do they send their country men and women to another country to help settle disputes, to bring aid. We are a revered country and my prayer is that we continue in that vain. Those churches who do not honor our country in this way are adding to the already stagnant attitude among many Americans, young and old! This is going to cause me to evaluate and check our church to see if the American flag stands in its halls of freedom.

  97. Johnny says:

    Thanks, Trevino. Great article.
    Could you point me to some verses/passages that highlight how we are dual-citizens, rather than simply having a foot in both worlds, or only having our citizenship in heaven? Thanks!

  98. Johnny says:

    Well- that was a weird autocorrect. Apologies, Trevin!

  99. Mark Roberts says:

    As with one poster above, I see that much of the “no patriotism” in church is coming from those who have not served in the military or lived in military families. I will admit this is a generational thing as my generation and my parents rarely had any families that had not served in some way. I would also challenge younger believers to see what believers who were part of our founding fathers wrote and thought. We are not a “Christian Nation”, but we at least were a nation founded on Christian principles that lifted up and honored God. Also, let me challenge many that advocate a more multi national view point. If our nation was called to war again on a large level, and you were called to serve, would you go and engage an enemy that was made up in part of fellow believers as yourself?

  100. I am far from young. I am Evangelical. I love Millennials and appreciate their passion.
    I just returned from a very multi-national place. I was privileged to be in Palau for the celebration of the Palauan Evangelical Church’s (the official name of a church group) 85th anniverary. Our celebration included Palauans (an Independent nation, by one reckoning, the fourth smallest in the world) Chuukese, Yapese (two of the states of the Federated States of Micronesia–each a distinct people group with their own language and culture), Germans, Americans, and a delegation from Papua in Indonesia.
    There were no flags in the Worship Center. There were a great many shirts–some of which said explicitly, “I love (fill in the place),” and others that clearly implied that. I took no offense. In fact I think it is healthy for people to love their place. Did Paul love the Empire of Rome? That would be stretching it. He did instruct us to give thanks for those in authority, 1 Timothy 2. He took advantage of the Roman resources that were available to him–he used the roads, depended on the law-enforcement they provided, appealed to Roman justice, and used the culture (mostly adapted Greek culture) they had spread as part of his Gospel spreading resources. He realized, and taught ,that legitimate government, though flawed, provides the infrastructure for peace, tranquility, and the suppression of crime, 1 Timothy 2, Romans 13.
    Certainly, I hold that all people, of whatever nationality, need to apply the Biblical truth of giving honor, paying taxes, and rendering to Caesar. In some cases that is a struggle. A few find themselves where Bonhoeffer did. Even he continued to love his nation.
    Since I am part of the generation that brought us the Moral Majority, and even attended a rally, I will apologize. I observe, however, that many Millennials stop after they reject that kind of flag-waving. BTW, a frequent feature of MM rallies was the singing of the song, “I’m Just A Flag-Waving American.” The MM-rejecting young adults are more apt to decry the genocide of American Indians–something they can do nothing about–than they are to wrestle with the killing of the unborn–something concerning which they can make a profound difference.
    All nations are a mixed bag. Part of my heritage–I am from, and live in, the South–is slavery. While many Native American peoples lived on land they had taken from others before them, my nations treatment of its indigenous people was shameful. On the other hand, I have visited Dachau, and the American Cemetery at Normandy. I am thankful we won. My nation has recognized the freedom and provided the prosperity that has enabled the Global spread of the Gospel. I know God is not dependent on the US Treasury, but one can’t deny that American prosperity has been used of God in that regard.
    Trevin points the way to the balance beam, an apparatus we must often walk on these controversial issues.
    At the church where I am privileged to be one of the pastors, we sometimes sing patriotic songs. We try to do so, as we should with all songs, giving attention to what the words communicate. We have said the pledge to the flag. If we acknowledge that others are rightly pledging allegiance to other flags, that there may be those in the congregation who have, and appropriately have, other or mixed allegiances, and that all God’s people have a higher allegiance, I see no problem there.
    Early on this Fourth of July, I am thankful for my nation. I am praying for its leaders. I am grateful to be part of a Kingdom that is made up of every tribe, tongue, and nation. Sometimes those sentiments are in tension. So be it. I need to hold to them all.

  101. As someone who was born in the U.S. and has lived here all my life, I care about the people in this country; such caring is at the heart of patriotism. And caring for others is also at the heart of Christianity, too, of course: loving one’s neighbor just as you love yourself.

    But as Christians, we should NOT view ourselves as citizens of the U.S., or any other worldly country (recognizing, nevertheless, that others WILL regard us as citizens of one or another of this world’s countries, despite our own feelings).

    Hebrews 11:13-16 (KJV)

    13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them,
    and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
    14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
    15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.
    16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly:
    wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God:
    for He hath prepared for them a city.

    If we desire a better country, God is not ashamed to be called our God;
    but if we are mindful of whichever of this world’s countries we are presently in,
    our only “opportunity” is to be “left behind”
    when God brings to His prepared city ITS citizens.

  102. Shawn Evans says:

    Romans 13:7 tells us to give honor to whom honor is due. Enough said.

  103. christiankinser says:

    The problem with this entire story is not how we need to make worship enjoyable for everyone and structure worships for individuals. Worship is ment to please God, not please people. No church should have any flags or sing patriotic songs during a worship service to The Lord. The worship of Almighty God is to be conducted and regulated only by what is instructed by God’s word. We are to add nothing more, nothing less, and nothing else. In other words, if God does not command us to do something in worship them we don’t do it. Does God command us to pledge allengance or sing secular songs in our worship? No he doesn’t, so therefore we shouldn’t do it. Many would say that we should be able to do anything in worship if we have the right attitude towards it or if it is semi-religious. We see God’s attitude towards this in II Chronicles 26 were King Uzziah entered the temple and started to burn incense. What’s wrong with that you would say, he’s honoring God by burning incense to The Lord. The problem in this is that The Lord required only his priests to conduct this practice. For this act of disobedience God struck him with leprocy. This might sound harsh but this is the fact of the matter. Only God can regulate what takes place in his worship, not man.

  104. Scott H says:

    I have followed this discussion for the last two days and must say that many of the comments in this section are heartbreaking to read in that many Christians have a sharply negative view of the country that they should be grateful for. It is not accurate to judge the United States on the basis of the negative facts or perceptions of our history alone without considering the good as many on this blog’s comments have done (we would not want ourselves to be judged by our negatives alone). I am afraid many Christians have a very inaccurate picture of American history based on secular history education that minimizes the role of Christianity in the founding and continuance of our nation, that maximizes the negatives of our history while minimizing the positives, and that portrays America as largely a bad thing in the world. People, its time to stop taking this education as gospel truth as if it were inerrant Scripture. The writers of these books are largely non-Christian (often even anti-Christian), so why would you believe these people as inerrant authorities? There is much good in our history: people coming to America for religious freedom (not fleeing because they can’t find it here), the many revivals and awakenings that have happened in our country, the abolition of slavery & segregation, the improvement of working conditions, that fact that we have been a great missions sending country, the liberation of death camps and subsequent re-building of war torn countries are just a small sampling of the good in our heritage. While it is wrong to worship America in place of God in a patriotic service, there is a positive way to be patriotic about our country while still worshiping God (singing songs of prayer like “My Country Tis of Thee” – a song that recognizes God as the author of liberty, for instance).

  105. Tim says:

    Here’s a piece by Laura Droege that describes her experience in a church service that went overboard with patriotism. It’s not pretty, and should be taken as a cautionary tale for everyone in church leadership.

  106. Don Sbragia says:

    On the contrary, I can think of dozens of instances where the Bible shows God commanding people to kill. Just sayin’…..

  107. auggie says:

    I’m shocked by those who reply, saying that “lack of patriotism” at church is along the same vein as “lack of biblical understanding.” This is exactly the problem. Younger people, especially more conservative ones, are not getting less patriotic and therefore unwilling to express it in church; they MAY be getting more global-minded and realize, like you did with your Romanian friend, that we don’t come to church to worship the State. We don’t even come to church to thank our neighbors for serving us. There are appropriate times and places for that. Church is not it. Younger people (like me) might be getting more historically-minded and recognize that bringing the flag and the State into the sanctuary has spelled very bad news in past history.

    I left evangelicalism for a liturgical church that is extremely “conservative” and very biblical. We don’t follow the secular calendar, but the church calendar. We don’t deck out the sanctuary for Hallmark holidays like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, either. That’s not what church is about. We’re here to worship God, not each other. Only One who gave His life for us is our focus in that place.

  108. Amy says:

    One clarification I would like to make is that there are two subjects being discussed here:

    1. Why (American) millennials are non-patriotic, and

    2. What the proper role is for patriotism in the church.

    For the first, I think there are many reasons that millennials in general are non-patriotic, but I’d like to focus on some that are of particular note to believers. Some, like slavery, the abuse of Native Americans, and past involvement in foreign wars, are indeed beyond our control, but are seen as a stain on the Christian nation ideal put forward by our parents. Others are the more recent failures and the hypocrisy of the “Moral Majority.” As America’s majority drifts further and further from a sort of Christian legalistic culture toward a post-modern framework, those of us who retain a solid Biblical basis find ourselves more and more marginalized. We have become Gershom.

    I could continue here, but I think it’s unnecessary. Whatever she may have been in the past, America is no longer a Christian nation, and treating her as such strikes us as a deceived if not deceptive gesture. I love the place where I love. I love my friends and neighbors, saved and unsaved. I love the land, the trees, the rolling fields, the blue skies, the glory of this place. But I do not love it with the same love as I have for the heavenly kingdom. I pray for my rulers, but I I hate their actions when when they go against God’s law. This is not based on history or culture, but on right and wrong.

    I addressed the second issue fairly exhaustively above, but I’ll reiterate by saying that the church is not Israel. God dealt with a nation then, but now he calls his people out of the whole world. He no longer has a covenant with any particular nation, but with a body of believers. Should not the body of believers reflect that fact, rather than that they happen to be based in a particular geographical location?

  109. Caleb says:

    Scott H,

    Would you prefer a history that emphasized the role of Christianity in the atrocities of the American past?
    No one is denying the abolition of slavery, but they are trying to get you to reconcile the establishment and perpetuation of slavery in a “Christian” nation (and Jim Crow after slavery, etc. etc.). It is a complex story that overly patriotic church services fail to acknowledge.

  110. Scott H says:

    Caleb,

    True Christianity had no roll in the atrocities of slavery as you have be completely disobedient to Christ to engage in atrocities. Your question to me is absolutely absurd in light of what I actually wrote. Please re-read my post to read what it is really saying.

  111. Linda says:

    I am not a “young evangelical”–at age 59 I don’t think I qualify for that label! But I do find myself uncomfortable during patriotic celebrations at my church. Even if it’s simply recognizing veterans for their service, there is a tone, in my opinion, of idolizing our country and our military. I see a smugness and arrogance in believing the USA is the “best” country on earth with an emphasis on what we’ve accomplished, not what God has done. We take too much pride in ourselves, our accomplishments, and our country (while turning a blind eye to the bad stuff) and we know what pride leads to.

  112. Tom M says:

    You sound sympathetic to the mulim cause, Let me pose a question to you. Do you think anyone actively practicing the religion of islam using the quran as its bible would make a good American citizen? If you do then I would suggest you don’t understand what the difference between the two are.
    I didn’t say we are Gods chosen people I said we would be used by Him to accomplish His plan. If you don’t understand that this world is on a crash course which there will be no correcting it or saving it and that the wheat and chaff are being separated as we speak then I understand you train of thought. We best not get to comfortable here. Our new home is waiting. Our personal address depends on us.

  113. dufflepud says:

    We NEED to stop equating the will of the United States government will the will of God. God has blessed the United States and those who live there should be grateful, but we are to die for Him daily, not any earthly government or country. Where other countries may experience physical persecution, the church in the U.S. is confronted daily with compromise and materialism, and is unprepared because the temptations are not even perceived. Satan is warring against the church everywhere and the U.S. is not exceptional in this regard. To think that the government of the U.S. is the friend of the Christian church one would have to be blind.

    “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?” – 2 Corinthians 6:14, 15

    The watering down of the word that you pointed to has led the church in the U.S. to spiritual compromise with the powers of this age. Younger people perceive this and reject the double mindedness of the Christian church as a result. The church in the U.S. stagnates while churches abroad who endure suffering grow and believers here wonder why. Perhaps the church in the U.S. does not offer a difference from the culture that surrounds it. Just a thought.

  114. cb scott says:

    I would no more be a blind patriot of the USA than I would be a blind constituent of the SBC. My personal history will amply prove both declarations to be true.

    However, I thank Holy God for both and will publicly thank Him for giving me the blessed opportunity to be part of both in an assembly of my local church or in the public square. Without apology I shall salute and defend Old Glory and give abundantly and consistently to the CP. Yet, I know both are fleeting things. Therefore, my eternal allegiance shall forevermore be to my King, Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God.

  115. Ryan says:

    First, I suggest that many evangelicals feel uncomfortable with patriotic church service BECAUSE of a desire for sound biblical teaching. We were brought up being taught (or this was often inferred) that the US is the new Israel. We were taught that capitalism is the outpouring of Christianity. These are gross misunderstandings of scripture.
    You asked, “where do you think this world would be today if America had not protected the world from total domination of governments and empires that would have destroyed Christianity.” I believe fully that the Gospel can survive and even thrive in persecution. NOTHING can kill the gospel of the Living God. If anything could, it wouldn’t be persecution, it would be the hedonism and idolatry of his people. This happens in times of freedom, prosperity, and power. This is not to say that we should pray for persecution, but we should pray for the strength to walk the straight and narrow in spite of circumstances. Not that we are able to make our walk one which lacks persecution. If I must kill my neighbor to ensure “religious freedom” for my street, should I do that? By no means. I should love my neighbor to the point that all the neighborhood sees God’s love in me. I may be killed and so might others, but I will have loved obediently. I will have trusted God. I will have lived in faith.

  116. Brian Pierson says:

    Brilliantly vociferated. And I am 47, hardly a young “millennial.” I too cringe when the worship leader takes us through all verses of “America the Beautiful,” and the pastor whitewashes our nation’s past atrocities against various ethic groups during this country’s formative years (and is still happening today).

  117. Brian Pierson says:

    I wholeheartedly concur.

  118. Brian Pierson says:

    I don’t buy that, Scott H. Many of our founding fathers claimed Christianity, yet had no qualms about having slaves or having had a hand in the persecution and genocide of Native Americans. These facts alone bring me to tears for repentance for a nation that still has so much potential, yet falls so woefully short of any semblance of a true godly standard.

  119. Brian Pierson says:

    As if the “good” she has accomplished will somehow whitewash the evil it has done? Your beliefs seem to stem more from the philosophy of Islam (where good and evil deeds are weighed on Judgment Day) than in Biblical Christianity. “For we must all give account of the GOOD and EVIL we have done.”

  120. KC says:

    Just to add to Ryan’s excellent comments about persecution vs. “times of freedom, prosperity, and power”:
    I serve as one of the members of the preaching team at our church, and few years ago, when we were going through Acts, I had chapter 14. I knew I needed to center my message on v. 22, but I found myself in a quandary. How do you preach to American Christians that “it is NECESSARY (Greek: dei) that we must enter the kingdom of God through many tribulations”? It is clear from the context that Paul is referring to physical, material persecutions, not the garden variety sufferings we all encounter in life (even unbelievers get cancer, etc).
    As part of my message, I reflected on the fact that American Christians find themselves having to skip over large chunks of the Psalms in order to feel a personal sense of devotional attachment to what is written there. We do not know what it is to have physical, material enemies trying to kill us. And what I asked from the pulpit was this: Based on the way the Bible is written, could we actually say that God ever intended His people to reach a place where we are so comfortable and in command in the societies of this world that we have effectively side-stepped this unpleasant part of what it means to be His people here? I pointed out that Paul did NOT say “It will be necessary that we enter the kingdom of God through many tribulations until the day comes when a bunch of Enlightenment philosophers make up a ‘Christian’ nation based on liberty and justice for all. Then it will no longer be necessary that we enter the kingdom this way.”
    since Christianity took the seat of societal power following Constantine, it has often been the case that we

  121. KC says:

    Ooooops!… Forgot to take out the stuff at the end… At first, I started to go in a different direction, then changed my mind about how I wanted to say it. But because I can only see two lines of my own text in this comment box, I forgot that I had left that other stuff at the end. Please disregard that part…

  122. Ron Simkins says:

    Thank you for your challenge. I am a 72 year old pastor.
    I love Jesus dearly. Think the Bible is wonderful. And, fully agree with your Romanian pastor friend about flags, etc. Since a person can only pledge allegiance to one God why would I pledge allegiance to a flag? Since the Kingdom of God is multi-national, why would I insult fellow believers by acting like God favors my nation? I appreciate the life I have as an American and thank God for it as I ask God to help me share those blessings as widely and wisely as possible. Mixing God up with Empires has been a mistake from time immemorial, and it is when American believers do so as well. So, I find it wonderful if young believers are becoming clearer on the fact that the kingdom of God is filled with sisters and brothers of every nation in the world, and we are to attempt to love and protect this family of God as much as we can.

    1. ToneyLady says:

      Mr. Simkins, what a wonderful summation. Thank you, sir!

  123. Alex G says:

    Christianity would not have died out without America. God is the One Who holds us in His hands, not America. I too am Romanian but was born here in the US. I love both Romania and America and am thankful for my freedoms and rights as an American. I appreciate my civil servants and the men who risk their lives for their country. That being said, I am a Christian first and will put my Christian brothers and sisters first before my unsaved American neighbors. Is church really the place to sing patriotic praises and glorify a nation over the One that put you in that nation? My answer would be no, and I am uncomfortable when I am told to pledge allegiance to the American flag when I am to pledge allegiance to the Lamb of God; when I am told to sing praises and glorify a nation when I am to praise and glorify the King of kings and Lord of lords. To top it all off I know a lot of Christians that have prejudices against anyone who isn’t American even if they are brothers and sisters in Christ. I think that being grateful for your country and loving its citizens is different than overzealous patriotic zeal.

  124. Tom says:

    Trevin, I am currently deployed in service to “Babylon,” as you call it. I would like to thank you for correctly representing the opinions of many in the hate America crowd, you articulate it well. But you improperly represent the theological position of older Southern Baptists. What Southern Baptist Theologian can you site that viewed the United States as the new Israel? Your post also plays into the rewriting of history that is so prevelant in our public schools, which is more likely why you and so many “younger evangelicals” hate America. Please feel free to continue in your opinion, while I and thousands of others put our lives on the line to protect your right to have an opinion and are comforted by the notion that there are still churches who love their country and want to see it prosper in God’s eyes. As Paul in Romans anguished over his people, so there are still Christians who long for our Nation to return to the biblical moorings that founded it. Regardless of what you and some of your bloggers may attempt to do to that history to try and change it. Benjamin Franklin the “deist” has a profound request that no deist would ever make, a request for a chaplain to lead the Congress in prayers, “I will suggest, Mr. President, that propriety of nominating and appointing, before we separate, a chaplain to this Convention, whose duty it shall be uniformly to assemble with us, and introduce the business of each day by and address to the Creator of the universe, and the Governor of all nations, beseeching Him to preside in our council, enlighten our minds with a portion of heavenly wisdom, influence our hearts with a love of truth and justice, and crown our labors with complete and abundant success!” An active creator and governor of the nations a deist never did pray for. May that same creator be an active in the hearts and minds of the next generation who may fall in love with their country again. May God bless America!

  125. Sue says:

    “services where promises given to God’s people are applied to the U.S.A.”

    These “promises” were given specifically to Israel, not American Christians.

    that said, the greatness of America could never have happened without the faithfulness of Christians. From creating a country based upon an “idea” and experiment in freedom, to Abolition, higher education, civil rights etc., we never kept our excellence to ourselves, but shared our ideas, freedom, compassion and wealth with the rest of the world.

    The lack of patriotism in milleneals is because they’ve grown up under the influence of liberal ideologies that hate the very foundations of America, freedom, and self-government— our Republic, which the founders all agreed need a virtuous people to “Keep”. The past 40 + years liberals have tried to subvert our these foundations.

  126. Joey says:

    Trevin, first of all, I am grateful for your work and passion for the Gospel. Maybe this is a conversation to have offline, but I feel as though the heart of this is, “it’s ok to be grateful for the benefits of being an American, but don’t love America…that’s idolatry.” Now, we serve a King and a Kingdom first, and I totally get that. Jesus died and rose again so that we may have eternal life, regardless of our natural birth. What is your counsel, then, to military families? Is the sacrifice worth it? The time away from home, the deployments, the hardships? My fear is that articles like this downplay the fact that the benefits that we love come with great sacrifice. Of course don’t honor military service or the country in church, but don’t reject patriotism as idolatry. If so, then those of us who are serving and dying for our country are doing so for a false god. Please, brother, watch your words carefully. There are millennials who love the Lord with all their hearts and souls and still choose to serve their countries.

    1. Trevin Wax says:

      My brother is in the national guard and I am proud of him. There is nothing in this post that would say we do not or should not love America. I love this country, while recognizing the kingdom must be first in my affections, especially in church.

      1. Joey says:

        Trevin, thanks so much for the reply and for taking time to interact with us. I don’t think that my concern or feeing was completely random, nor did I misunderstand what you were saying. The comments here show, however, that if your intention was not to disparage patriotism…then you missed the mark. Your comment about the Kingdom having first priority is of course spot on. Please know I am not trying to troll, and I will not comment any further. Just honest feedback.

  127. Nick says:

    As a younger follower of Christ, the reason I feel like we younger followers don’t feel the sense of patriotism that the older folk do, is because we see how badly man has corrupted our nation. Obviously it was never perfect, but things have taken a SERIOUS downturn in the past 100 years. And now with the Internet, we have the information to see that the USA is not so wonderful as the mainstream media may have you believe. Don’t get me wrong, I love this country, and all that it once stood for. The lives that were given as a sacrifice to keep our land safe and free I am very grateful for. Though I’ll boldly say that the last war that actually meant something for our freedom and security was WWII. The senseless wars since then have been fought for anything OTHER than our own security and liberty. Our own government have passed laws trampling our own Constitutional rights. We are on a very dangerous path because we have put patriotism before The Lord. I pray that we would truly return to God to lead us in our way. I am encouraged seeing many younger people realizing this. God Bless you all, and realize that we are part of God’s Kingdom, a kingdom FAR greater than any that futile man could ever create.

  128. WP says:

    Great article! Many excellent points. Another major reason for unease is the fact that many attendees (and a large portion of legal citizens) were not born here. They love much of the US, but they also spent their formative years in another nation; Often a nation that the US was not always, or perhaps still not friendly.

  129. Jessica Mangiameli says:

    I am one of these younger people who feel very uncomfortable with patriotic services simply because I value authenticity. I grew up in evangelic america and as was given a dishonest rosey view of America’s present state and its past. When one grows older and learns of the dishonesty of our politicians, a rigid economy, a racist, oppressive and murderous past I am less included to want to sing out our praises. As a young person I feel like we have a lot to fight and die for. Our generation is fighting at length for equal rights for all, fighting age old systematic oppressions and most of all fighting the idea that America is great when we are all well fed, fat and without a worry when the rest of the world and the poor in our own country struggle. This makes me feel uncomfortable.

  130. Kathy says:

    Trevin, Thank you for your comments and for being willing to tell about your own blindness to this. This kind of thing really needs to be said more often in the American church. We’re guilty of some serious syncretism between the gospel and American ideas about what form of government and economic system is the best. Not young any more, but uncomfortable all the same.

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Trevin Wax


​Trevin Wax is Bible and Reference Publisher at LifeWay Christian Resources and managing editor of The Gospel Project. You can follow him on Twitter or receive blog posts via email. Click here for Trevin’s full bio.

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