Defining a Christian nation.

How should we define a nation as 'Christian'?

A Japanese Christian once asked me why Americans sing ‘God Bless America’.  The answer I gave was that American’s view their nation as being a ‘Christian nation’.  

The bulk of the Muslim world refers to America as the ‘Great Satan’. This disturbs most Christian Americans but they accept it because, after all, Islam is opposed to America because America is a ‘Christian nation’.

Which brings me to the question – What is it that makes a nation a Christian nation?  Here are three examples.

I:     This country is situated in Eastern Europe. In 936 AD the ruler of the country was baptized as a Christian.  From that time on it has had the Christian faith at its center. By the 16th century it was the largest country in Europe. At the battle of Vienna in 1683 it defeated the Muslim Ottoman Empire and so stopped the Muslim advance into Europe. It also fought many wars against Russia.

Many times the country was in subjection to its neighbors and even disappeared off the map for a time in the 19th century. In the 1919 -1922 war with Russia it defeated and drove back the Communist and atheistic Red Army.  Although occupied by Germany in WWII many of the population escaped and made the fourth largest troop contribution to the allied effort. A young Roman Catholic priest who was hunted by the Nazis at this time eventually became Pope John Paul 2nd.

Even under Communist occupation after WWII it maintained its Christian heart and this, together with a labor union movement, led in 1990 to the overthrow of the atheistic communist occupation.  Today the country has a constitutional right to freedom of religion.  89% are Roman Catholic and in a recent survey 72% of the population said they are not opposed to Christianity being taught in Public Schools.  However, the 89% Roman Catholics who pack the churches every Sunday go to worship Mary, the mother of Jesus as the Queen of Heaven.   This country, of course, is Poland.

QUESTION:  Is this a ‘Christian nation’?

II:     This country is a group of islands off the Western coast of Europe. There is strong evidence that Christianity came to this country around 56AD when Bran, the father of the king Caracatus, returned from captivity in Rome where he had been converted by the Apostle Paul. One of the early church fathers, Tertullian, said that the country could not be conquered by Rome’s legions but it had been conquered by the gospel of Christ.  

In the following centuries many invasions occurred, Vikings, Danes, Saxons, Jutes, etc.  In 878 AD the Christian king defeated the pagans and their leader and his followers were baptized.  In 878 AD King Edgar spoke an oath at his coronation, which confirmed the Christian faith. At every coronation since that time, the monarch has said this oath. Every coronation is held in a Christian cathedral and is first and foremost a Christian religious ceremony affirming the faith of the monarch, and of the country, as being Christian.  The monarch bears the honorary title of ‘Defender of the Faith’.

200 years before the Reformation this country was promulgating Bibles translated into the common tongue.  In the 16th and 17th centuries many of the population left to form Christian colonies overseas.

By the 19th century, this country ruled the greatest empire the world has ever known. On the wave of this expansion it sent out missionaries who took the gospel message to just about every country in the world.  Later on this Empire went into decline and today it is none existent.

Since WWII this country has opened its borders to the immigration of anyone from the countries previously within its empire.  This has led to a situation, which, according to Religious Trends, a comprehensive statistical analysis of religious practice in the country, published, by Christian Research, even Hindus will come close to outnumbering Christians within a generation.

The forecast to 2050 shows the number of Christians declining to 899,000 while the active Hindu population, now at nearly 400,000, will have more than doubled to 855,000. By 2050 there will be 2,660,000 active Muslims in the country- nearly three times the number of active Christians.

Nevertheless the official religion of the country is Christian and the monarch still says the oath that has been said for over 1100 years.  This country is, of course, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

QUESTION:  Is this a ‘Christian' nation?

III: This country is part of a huge continental land mass originally peopled by pagan animists but, beginning in the 16th and 17th centuries, settled by traders and others from Europe. The genesis of the country in question began with the settlement of dissenting Christians, mainly from England, in the 17th century.  They formed groups of colonies based on Christian principles.  Eventually these colonies rebelled against the rule from overseas and coalesced to form the new country.

In 1787 it produced a written Constitution and in 1791 a Bill of Rights which, among others, affirmed right of everyone for freedom of religion.

The whole of the land mass to the south and west of these colonies was further explored and populated, fuelled by wave after wave of immigrants came from just about every country in the world.  This continues right up to the present day.

In the 19th century, in a somewhat reciprocal movement, this country started sending out Christian missionaries. Today there is an ongoing effort by the Christians in this country to proclaim Christianity to every country of the world.

However, in recent years the Supreme Court judges and the politicians, who are democratically elected by the population, have passed laws that are the antithesis of Christian teaching.  They have banned prayer in schools, banned the posting of the Ten Commandments in government buildings, legalized abortion, including late term, accepted homosexuality and allowed same sex marriages.  They generally adopted an anti Christian stance when formulating laws or interpreting the Constitution. This country is the major source of all the pornographic, violent and generally debauched films, television and web sites that have such a corrupting influence on today’s culture.

Nevertheless, this country clearly had Christian beginnings, has a Christian heritage and constitutional intentions. It is a fact that 85% of the population state that they are ‘Christians’.  The country is, of course, the United States of America.

QUESTION:  Is this a ‘Christian' nation?

In fact which, if any, of these three countries is Christian?

Is it Poland with its 89% Roman Catholics who pack the churches every Sunday to worship Mary, the mother of Jesus and the Queen of Heaven?

Is it Britain with its history of Christianity affirmed every time a monarch is crowned but which today is increasingly secular and becoming more Hindu and Muslim than Christian?

Is it the USA, which despite having a population of 85% professing Christians, vote in anti Christian politicians who consistently legislate against Christianity?

For me the answer is none of the above and none of any for that matter.   In Old Testament times God dealt with nations, primarily the nation of Israel.  That is because He was using that nation to tell the world about Himself and prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah, the One who would redeem the fallen state of the mankind.  The Holy Spirit only came upon people at special times, in special circumstances for special reasons.

However, since the death and resurrection of Jesus and the Pentecost event, the Holy Spirit is for all believers at all times for unlimited reasons.  God no longer deals with nations, he deals with individuals.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, all are one in Christ Jesus.

The ONLY way a nation can become a Christian nation is if ALL the people in it are Christians and ALL the laws are based on the Bible.  

No such country exists and no such country will exist this side of Christ’s return.

Americans sing ‘God Bless America’ and British sing ‘God Save The Queen’.  Maybe every Christian in every nation should sing, ‘God Save My Nation’ and then let the blessings flow as they will, because they are a God ordained result of the salvation event.  Individuals are saved – nations are not.

May God bless you.