Much word count by the apostle Paul is dedicated to the reconciliation of different ethnic groups (mainly Jews and Gentiles). To Paul, his Messiah and Lord wasn’t crucified simply to reconcile humans to God but rather God went a radical step further. Using the detested symbol of the cross, he did what no one else was trying to do (or wanted to be done!).
Michael J. Gorman in his Reading Revelation Responsibly quotes Gregory Boyd who writes, “In our minds-as so often in our sanctuaries-the cross and the American flag stand side by side” (p. 51).* From the inception of our country to be Christian and to be American were synonymous. We are suffering the effects of that today as many in the church are far more American than they are Christian. Many believe the 2nd amendment is a “God-given right.” Even a second-hand glance at the New Testament will leave you with a sense that we’re called to the giving up of rights, not the holding on to them with both hands clasped tightly.
The reconciliation noted earlier is stifled when churches become breeding grounds of nationalism. No one nation is better than another nation; at least that’s what the whole of Scripture informs us. But our nation was founded on a general belief that we (Americans) are God’s chosen people-God’s new Israel; the city on a hill. (I.e., we’re superior.) The question is, has this notion ever even left?
*Gregory A. Boyd, The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest of Political Power is Destroying the church, p. 12.