Patriotism and Christianity
Do they Mix?
The 4th of July, this year, has brought up a question that I have never considered, or even heard, before. The question is, as Christians is okay to be patriots/patriotic? After hearing this question asked I thought it would be a good question to tackle as a kick-off to my blog. In answering this question, I think there are a couple of questions we need to ask, ourselves; 1. Where do our nations’ authority come from? 2. Does God speak on what type of relationship we are to have with our nations and the leadership of them? I think in answering these questions we can conclude whether patriotism is a characteristic that is okay for Christians to have and exhibit.
America’s Founding Fathers
I thought it would be good to take a moment to look at what our country’s founders said about where our nation’s authority originated. Even though there are many places we can look to see what they wrote on the origin of the U.S., I thought we’d look at a passage from the “Declaration of Independence”. It is the 4th of July, after all. In the “Declaration” it says, “We hold these truths, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” So, we see that credit was given to the Creator for our unalienable rights. And it was upon this Creator, that we know as God, that our founders created this wonderful country.
What does the Old Testament Say?
What, if anything, can we learn from the Old Law about the authority of nations? From where do they receive their powers? Can we learn anything there to prove or disprove our founders’ beliefs of where our national came?
There are actually quite a few scriptures addressing national authority, kingdoms, rulers, and our relationships with them. The 1st place I would like to look is Daniel chapter 2. Here we find the story of King Nebuchadnezzar looking for someone to tell him his dream and then interpret it for him. After the Chaldeans couldn’t do it, Daniel stepped up to take on the challenge. Daniel did so, but the important point is that within this story Daniel made some revealing comments about national authority.
In verse 21, for example, Daniel tells King Nebuchadnezzar, “for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom.” We see that the king’s authority came directly from God, as it was God that allowed the king to rule his kingdom. And, in verse 38, when talking about men, beasts, and birds, Daniel says God, “hath made thee ruler over them all,” further establishing from where the power of rulers originates. So, we see from Daniel chapter 2 that it is God that appointed King Nebuchadnezzar to rule, and God that allowed the king his ruling authority.
In Proverbs 8:15-16 we read, “By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.” This even applies to ungodly rulers, as we see above in King Nebuchadnezzar. We see Nebuchadnezzar spoken of again in Jeremiah.
In Jeremiah 25:8-11, we see God using Nebuchadnezzar, who was not a Godly man, to do His will. God warns Judah that He is going to move Nebuchadnezzar against the people of the land. God then follows through with His warning, moving Nebuchadnezzar against Judah to carry out His judgement upon the people of Judah.
From the Old Testament, we can see that God established and appointed kings, allowed them power to rule, and used them to carry out His will. While this does not directly answer the question about patriotism and Christianity, we are laying down a foundation that we will build upon in part 2 of this discussion. In part 2 we will look at what the New Testament says about national authorities, their establishment, and our relationship with them. We will look at whether the New Testament agrees with the Old Testament on this subject, or if we are told that a change has been made under the New Law.