The Patriotic Gospel
Did you know that almost 96% of Haitians claim to be Christians?
Did you know that over 65% of Americans claim to be Christians?
In both countries where All Things New operates right now, there is heated political debate raging and Christianity, in particular, plays a huge role in both of those debates. In recent years there have been phrases that describe different types of False Gospels (please note that these are "false" gospels) that have reared their heads in Christianity:
- Prosperity Gospel. GOD's blessings are found in material things, so that someone who loves GOD will also be blessed financially and materially by Him.
- Social Gospel. Reduces the gospel to helping people out of poverty, hunger, sickness, etc. It teaches that people are saved by us helping them rather than the True Gospel that states that only Jesus can save us. (Click Here to read a blog about how this is one of my biggest fears for ATN.)
- Patriotic Gospel. A Gospel that finds its base in a political system, political party, or country. It teaches that true power is found in politics or nationalism and believes that the ills of a society could be healed with the right political leadership.
The patriotic gospel is the newest of these "gospels" and is very dangerous in today's world. Here is a small picture of what is happening in Haiti and America right now:
People are rioting in the streets against corruption. The average person in Haiti believes that they have been forgotten. That billions of dollars of aid has come into their country and they have not seen even a single, solitary step in the right direction of alleviating poverty. Gangs are beginning to control the streets in some areas. The President has presided over 3 years of discord and disaster and people want him to step down. The virus brought a few months of shutdown and increased tensions along with the closings of school...again. The currency is so devalued that the cost of goods has risen at least 20% in just the past year. People are clamoring for political change.
It is one of the most combative political times that I remember. Democrats and Republicans cannot agree on anything and can barely remain civil when talking about even the most insignificant ideas of how the country should run. People are protesting and rioting in the streets all over the country against racism while others are absolutely sure that racism no longer exists. Because of this, the racial divide is as stark as it has ever been in my lifetime. The pandemic has divided us even further between "maskers" and "non-maskers" and those who believe that covid is serious vs. those who do not. With a huge election coming up in November, it is hard to know how bad things might get no matter who gets elected.
Followers of Christ
Where do we as Christians stand in this difficult time? Should we fall into the trap of the "patriotic gospel" that teaches us that America is better than anything else, but only the America we like (whether you are conservative or liberal)? Should we join with Haitians by taking to the streets trying to cause chaos until their demands are met? Should we shut our ears and eyes to everything else in the world except for our narrow experiences and beliefs and rest in the fact that we are "right" regardless if that is true or not?
This is the problem. The Gospel is not about patriotism at all though we should all be a part of the political process and let our voices be heard. The Gospel is also not about being politically powerful and it does not state that real and lasting change will come if we vote in the right President, find the right congressmen, and have the correct balance on the Supreme Court.
Listen to this description of Jesus in Philippians 2: "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature GOD, did not consider equality with GOD something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death -- even death on a cross!"
In both countries and in all political parties, and especially for Christians, we are missing a key ingredient: Humility. What if, instead of insisting we are right and shutting everyone else out, we:
- Listened to those that have experienced different things than we have.
- Spent more time on our knees in prayer for our country (whether Haiti or America) than we do on our social media accounts or causing upheaval in the streets.
- Found ways that we were the same.
- Understood that we do not need conservatives/liberals in power as much as we need Jesus to make real change in our lives first, which leads to real change in our family, which leads to real change in our church, which leads to real change in our community, which leads to real change in our city, which leads to real change in our state, which leads to real change in our nation, which leads to real change in our world.
The "patriotic gospel" is no gospel at all. Politics will neither save or destroy our nation. It never has and it never will. Our nation will be saved when the Church turns fully to Jesus or it will be destroyed when the church is deceived by something else whether that be prosperity and riches, social justice at the expense of love, or political power when real power is what is needed.
I am not saying do not be involved in politics and push for what the Bible teaches us is true and right. What I am saying is that Jesus is more powerful than politics. Listening (and I mean true listening) is better than always talking. Love is better than hate. And only the True Gospel of Jesus Christ can save Haiti or America.