Dethroning Christendom could be a good thing in today's culture
The fall of Christendom is the best thing for Christianity. I’m talking about the current election. A cycle that started for me, like many Christians, with some really tough question has brought me to this conclusion. Not only did I ask, “Who is the best presidential candidate for our country?” but I also questioned who would be the best for Christianity. And that’s what brought me here.
It started like this. Disagreeing with President Barack Obama on a number of issues caused me to take a hard look at Gov. Mitt Romney, whose Mormonism and vacillating politics also made me take pause. What would the implications be of having Romney as the first president who didn’t self-identify as Christian? Every president to date has at least professed the Christianity I know. Now, potentially the most powerful man in the world could hold a different ideology completely.
In reality, though, presidents have already represented different ideologies. And here is the problem. Presidents throughout American history have professed Christianity and committed a variety of non-Christian acts, including misrepresentation, adultery and I’d even say murder. They have kept systems intact that should have been scraped, such as slavery, and instituted programs that have a sorry history at best, like rejection of refugees during World War II. All the while, countries view the U.S. as having Christian roots, and, frankly, having Christian leaders. All men make mistakes, but doing it as “Christian” leaders gives a bad taste not only to names like “George W. Bush” and “Bill Clinton.” It sours the name of Christ.
That’s the danger of modern day Christendom. Jesus would cringe at America’s past and present administrations’ insufficient efforts to “love neighbors” and, ultimately, this becomes a big obstacle for people in coming to know the true nature of Christ. Christ called into question the stoning of sinners; he didn’t institutionalize execution or tolerate torture. Instead, when all authority on earth was given to him, he gave us the grace of heaven despite our crimes.
The United States is a secular state with particular freedoms that were influenced in part by Christian ideals. The United States is not a new Israel. For this reason, I think it’s important for American Christians to acknowledge their American identity, but also to know that their primary citizenship is in heaven. They belong first and foremost to the kingdom of God. A dominion of torture, murder and injustice in the world coexists with this kingdom, but Christians should have no part in these things.
On the contrary, Christians should fight against political injustice through Christ’s authority. As Christians proclaim the truth of Christ to a world under broken systems, people have the chance to live under a new rule — God’s. God is the only true source of justice and freedom. When I look at the two men who could rule the United States for the next four years, I should not be looking for a Messiah. I must view them as mortal, fallible men. I need to see the end of an evangelical Christendom as being a separation that will be the hope for a better Bride.
Although a wave of anti-Christian sentiment is overcoming the country, and this tide is a seemingly inevitable force, it’s the best thing. When Christians stop feeling persecuted only for things like supporting a particular war or particular sexual ethic, and start to feel it solely for glorifying Christ’s just and perfect reign, they will colabor with the men and women who first brought the nations the Good News. They will experience the joy recorded in Acts 4:22 of Paul and others “strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. ‘We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,’ they said.”