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New Great Awakening: America Is Not a Christian Nation

Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.

by
Paula Bolyard

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June 30, 2013 - 9:00 am
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Denarius

And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to trap [Jesus] in his talk. And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?” But knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why put me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” And they brought one. And he said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to him, “Caesar’s.” Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” and they marveled at him (Mark 12:13-17).

When Jesus told those who were trying to trap him to obey both God and the government — the government of their pagan Roman oppressors — he was signaling a major paradigm shift. Prior to that time, Israel had a unique religious and ethnic identity. They had been ruled by various kings (and occasional oppressors) over the years, but ultimately, Israel was a theocracy ruled by God. With the advent of the New Covenant and the Christian church, God instituted a change from a national covenant with Israel alone to an international covenant with Christians the world over. With that radical statement, Jesus detached his followers from any particular nation.

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Top Rated Comments   
I'm not so worried about Caesar; it's Pharaoh in the White House that keeps me up at night worrying about my shekels.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I generally like your posts, but I find this one incomplete. Christ may have instructed us to render into Caesar, but I can't find anywhere that He told us to hold allegiance to our government either.

Frankly at this point in my life and considering what is transpiring across the culture, I find myself in probably much the same place ancient Jews found their Roman overlords. I pay my taxes, obey the nation's laws, and by all measures would be responsible for my conduct. I render to Obama and tolerate our liberated social mores but it makes me nauseous to do so.

As to loving America? The ideal of what America is supposed to stand for maybe. But frankly, America today disgusts me, the differences irreconcilable for me against the majority. I have prayed my heart not grow cold but I would be lying through my teeth if I said I cared what happened to blue America. In fact, I find myself actively rooting against it.

For the first time in my adult life, I will not be celebrating Independence Day - this phony flag waving doesn't do much for me anymore. This from someone who has at one time as recently as a decade ago been described as jingoistic. I honor my betters on Memorial Day and Veteran's Day and that I will do in their memory and service.

As to the shining beacon? Who are we fooling? We are leading the rest of the world off the cliff and deserve no blessings.

We are the revived Roman Empire.

I'm not living a lie anymore...All Hail Obama.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I try to remember that my rights are inalienable. They are not for the government to grant, only acknowledge.

The cultural battles we are fighting are, to me, cultural battles. When it comes to same sex marriage, for example, the cultural battle was lost (in a way) once the idea began to be taken seriously. The vast majority of people in our culture should have been inoculated against such an obvious lie. Previous generations were, because it was unthinkable.

But what was once unthinkable became thinkable, and then required thinking, once it became a civil rights issue.

And for a culture to accept such an obvious lie will have all sorts of consequences. The problem isn't the government or same sex marriage; it's that people who will accept nonsense, of which same sex marriage is only one example, will be unable to run a first-world country.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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Your opening opinion/statement concerns me a great deal. Could/would you kindly provide scripture in support of your opinion? I see ample scripture indicating that God is a never-changing (immutable) God and that he has an "everlasting covenant" with His people...a people that have not changed...they remain the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
seelee,

Thanks for the question. If you read through the book of Hebrews you will read a a great deal about the new covenant. In Chapter 8, in particular,

"But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second....In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old ready to vanish away" (Hebrews 8:6-7, 13).

In verses 8-9 the writer of Hebrews explains the reason this was necessary (quoting Jeremiah 31):

"Behold the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. For they did not continue in my covenant, and so I showed no concern for them declares, the Lord."

Chapter 10 goes on to talk about Christ's sacrifice once, for all, doing away with the need for temple sacrifices.

The Great Commission makes it clear that this is not just for the nation of Israel: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (Matthew 28:19).

And Revelation 5:9 makes it clear that God's "international" purpose for the church will be ultimately accomplished:

"And they sang a new song, saying,
“Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.”
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
for my friend Tex -


Rabbi Gittelsohn’s Iwo Jima Sermon

The fight for Iwo Jima in 1945 was one of the bloodiest of World War II. A tiny island in the Pacific dominated by a volcanic mountain and pockmarked with caves, Iwo Jima was the setting for a five-week, non-stop battle between 70,000 American Marines and an unknown number of deeply entrenched Japanese defenders. The courage and gallantry of the American forces, climaxed by the dramatic raising of the American flag over Mt. Suribachi, is memorialized in the Marine Corps monument in Washington, DC. Less remembered, however, is that the battle occasioned an eloquent eulogy by a Marine Corps rabbi that has become an American classic.

Rabbi Roland B. Gittelsohn (1910-1995), assigned to the Fifth Marine Division, was the first Jewish chaplain the Marine Corps ever appointed. The American invading force at Iwo Jima included approximately 1,500 Jewish Marines. Rabbi Gittelsohn was in the thick of the fray, ministering to Marines of all faiths in the combat zone. He shared the fear, horror and despair of the fighting men, each of whom knew that each day might be his last. Roland Gittelsohn’s tireless efforts to comfort the wounded and encourage the fearful won him three service ribbons.

When the fighting was over, Division Chaplain Warren Cuthriell, a Protestant minister, asked Rabbi Gittelsohn to deliver the memorial sermon at a combined religious service dedicating the Marine Cemetery. Cuthriell wanted all the fallen Marines – black and white, Protestant, Catholic and Jewish – honored in a single, nondenominational ceremony. Unfortunately, racial and religious prejudice was strong in the Marine Corps, as it was then throughout America. According to Rabbi Gittelsohn, the majority of Christian chaplains objected to having a rabbi preach over predominantly Christian graves. The Catholic chaplains, in keeping with church doctrine, opposed any form of joint religious service.

To his credit, Cuthriell refused to alter his plans. Gittelsohn, on the other hand, wanted to save his friend Cuthriell further embarrassment and so decided it was best not to deliver his sermon. Instead, three separate religious services were held. At the Jewish service, to a congregation of 70 or so who attended, Rabbi Gittelsohn delivered the powerful eulogy he originally wrote for the combined service:

Here lie men who loved America because their ancestors generations ago helped in her founding, and other men who loved her with equal passion because they themselves or their own fathers escaped from oppression to her blessed shores. Here lie officers and men, Negroes and whites, rich men and poor . . . together. Here are Protestants, Catholics and Jews together. Here no man prefers another because of his faith or despises him because of his color. Here there are no quotas of how many from each group are admitted or allowed. Among these men, there is no discrimination. No prejudices. No hatred. Theirs is the highest and purest democracy …

Whosoever of us lifts his hand in hate against a brother, or who thinks himself superior to those who happen to be in the minority, makes of this ceremony and the bloody sacrifice it commemorates, an empty, hollow mockery. To this, then, as our solemn duty, sacred duty do we the living now dedicate ourselves: to the right of Protestants, Catholics, and Jews, of white men and Negroes alike, to enjoy the democracy for which all of them have here paid the price …

We here solemnly swear that this shall not be in vain. Out of this and from the suffering and sorrow of those who mourn this will come, we promise, the birth of a new freedom for the sons of men everywhere.

Among Gittelsohn’s listeners were three Protestant chaplains so incensed by the prejudice voiced by their colleagues that they boycotted their own service to attend Gittelsohn’s. One of them borrowed the manuscript and, unknown to Gittelsohn, circulated several thousand copies to his regiment. Some Marines enclosed the copies in letters to their families. An avalanche of coverage resulted. Time magazine published excerpts, which wire services spread even further. The entire sermon was inserted into the Congressional Record, the Army released the eulogy for short-wave broadcast to American troops throughout the world and radio commentator Robert St. John read it on his program and on many succeeding Memorial Days.

In 1995, in his last major public appearance before his death, Gittelsohn re-read a portion of the eulogy at the fiftieth commemoration ceremony at the Iwo Jima statue in Washington, D.C. In his autobiography, Gittelsohn reflected, "I have often wondered whether anyone would ever have heard of my Iwo Jima sermon had it not been for the bigoted attempt to ban it."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I sincerely thank you for posting that.

Shalom.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This all seems to boil down to definitions. I would argue, to the contrary, that we are a profoundly Christian nation, precisely because the principle on which we were united as a nation was limited national government. This concept differed from all the major models of national government in our Western, Judeo-Christian heritage. Greece and Rome modeled certain ideas -- mainly democracy, property, respect for the yeomanry, and rights under the law (Rome for the last one, more than Greece). The monarchic model of Europe took more, in key ways, from the Law of Moses than it did from Greece or Rome. The idea of a nation as having an identity and destiny dependent on right standing with God came from the Old Testament, not from the New, and not from the pagan West. The monarchy was integral to maintaining that right standing with God, in a role somewhat similar to that of the Levites under the Law of Moses. The social pervasiveness of the Catholic Church was bound up with the meaning and function of the monarchy. Sin and expiation were the business not only of the confessor but of the national government. This was very much like the expiatory function of the Levitical priesthood.

But America's Founders proposed to form a nation under the true render unto GOD the things that are GOD's principle. Centuries of the Protestant Reformation and the "rebellion" of Henry VIII against the Catholic Church had to intervene. Cromwell's version of a Protestant theocracy had to be defeated. England began more and more to model a proto-American concept of NATIONAL government that did not purport to confer on its people a right standing with God. The administration of sin and expiation was not a basis for forming the nation. Local parishes and local civil government still administered the "law of sin and death," but over time, it became clear that the purpose of the NATION was a different one. The nation did not exist to broker the people's condition of sin or salvation. Elizabeth I put it concisely when she said she had no desire to "make windows into men's souls."

This is actually an exactly Christian formulation. It differs not only from the earlier heritage of the West, but from the corporate national religions of the ancient pagans, and from the modern collectivist ideologies. No one but Christians has ever come to the conclusion that it is not for the nation to organize its people's standing with God -- or with nature or history. Marxists and modern environmentalists are much more like 13th-century monarchists and 16th-century Aztecs than any of them are like American republicans.

The American idea is profoundly Christian in that it puts the state in its place: not as the first or last resort for the fearful, not as a source of salvation, and not as the policeman for sin or the mercy seat for the condemned, but merely as a temporal convenience -- a necessity, like sanitation and insurance, in a fallen world. It is essential that we remember this. The biggest and most important things in life are done by God and through God, according to Christian belief. This belief is what makes it possible to reject the urge for bigger and more intrusive government -- and to proclaim that we the people are empowered to tell Caesar what is and is not his.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I guess, "We're not a Christian nation," just as, "We're not an English-speaking nation." Although the majority are English-speaking Christians, the fact that we can't have a law that acknowledges either, and that there are "others" among us, makes it so. Which in practice means that those others get the special laws that do acknowledge their existence through protections, but the rest of us get to eat crow - or worse depending upon which of the liberal other sis in power.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
What belongs to Cesear? Reminds me of the joke where scientist tell God they can create life without Him. God ask them to show this. They go get dirt. God intervenes saying, "Go get your own dirt." Our system recognized the sovereignty of the individual under the Providence of God. As sovereigns, a usurpation by a government we created is lawless when it seeks to subjugate us beyond the duties owed to each other through Gods' Laws. In our system, Jesus' command to obey Cesear is reversed. We are the earthly Cesear. Government is to render to us that which is ours; that is, protection of and encourage the exercise of rights, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Remember also, in the Old Testament God discouraged the Israelites from having a king. He wanted us to be subject only to Him. Our system of individual sovereignty pretty well reflects that paradigm.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Render? Isn't that boiling or something?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I'm not so worried about Caesar; it's Pharaoh in the White House that keeps me up at night worrying about my shekels.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Lord have mercy! Where to begin?

The whole gist of the structure of our system of governance is based upon Christian metaphysics...and that is just the veritable tip of the Christian Nation iceburg.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The big problem here is that our basic rights are based in the idea that they are granted us by a deity, a being of a higher power and not any institution of man here on earth. Because of that, it is not right or proper for any institution of man here on earth to infringe on those basic rights and liberties.

So, what happens when Ceasar comes for those rights? They aren't properly his to take even he thinks they are; however, this is why you need to rethink your idea about removing religion or at least belief from our government and its basis. People who believe that those rights were passed down to us from a higher power are going to be less likely to try to remove them. People who don't share that belief won't share our respect for those rights.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I think the difference is that we are blessed to live in a nation in which our founding documents are based upon the truth that our rights come from the "law of Nature and Nature's God" instead of from Caesar. Just because a vocal minority (or even if a majority) no longer believes that does not change the truth of that statement. When Caesar comes for those rights, as American citizens we have a right (and a responsibility) to fight for them -- to preserve our God-given liberty and defend our Constitutionally-guaranteed rights.

But if there comes such a time that we lose those rights, Christians should not despair. Our true citizenship is in the City of God.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
There is another contradiction in your argument. Right now, our faith is being used against us. When there is something the left doesn't like - traditional marriage, abortion, the view that climate change is not actually man made, etc. - all they have to do to help derail any serious discussion of the issue is to find some kind of Biblical or religious precedent. Then they hold that up and scream "separation of church and state!"

Their assertion is that the only reason anyone could possibly be opposed to the issue is due to a narrow, theological argument that they can then paint as absurd. Any counter arguments that are based on reason alone can then be safely ignored or marginalized.

By preaching "render under Ceasar" and coaching us all to wait for our Heavenly kingdom, you are doing their work for them from the opposite side. Yes, Christ's mission was not to establish the second coming of David's earthly kingdom, but when it comes to doing what's right for ourselves and for those around us, we ought not lie down passively before evil and suffer it because we know we will have our reward, even if that evil comes in the form of Ceasar.

And fighting to establish a form of our principles in the laws of this land is not a theocracy no matter how much the left tries to define it as such. After all, God says thou shalt not murder and thou shalt not steal and those are part of our legal tradition and no one yet argues they are theological (we can save discussions of tax law for another day). And there are other examples.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I don't think we disagree here. I'm just trying to get us to understand that we shouldn't be dependent on the government to protect us or even defend our rights anymore. Though our Constitution demands that our certain unalienable rights be protected, don't we all wake up every day and live in a country in which those rights are being eroded? Tocqueville would not recognize this country. Progressives are changing the language/debate from freedom of religion to freedom of worship -- HUGE difference. "Mother" and "Father" are being redefined. The reason these things are happening is because we have a government run and strongly influenced by those who do not honor the God of the Bible. They prefer moral relativism to absolute truth.

I'm just asking that we be honest about where we are in this historical moment in time so that we can accurately assess the threat and fight with our eyes wide open.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Many fear certain religions and Ethnicity will soon be outlawed and destroyed for the good of everyone else.
Everyone else being defined by the Government.
It may be said to be racist, from the attitudes of the liberals the first ones up against the wall will be whites, Christian's and conservatives.
The spying on such is the first wave. Demonizing comes next and the eliminations of rights for those outlawed people, such as self defense and tools to do that act.
Then the rule of the streets will become the modern version of Dachau and the law of the Machete will change the demographics even more for the Democrats.
These people wish for the line in the koran to be about the people they hate, when even the trees and rocks will say there is a creepy ass cracker behind me, come and kill him.
The COEXIST crowd have no intention of coexisting.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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