2. Making God a Political Tool
Nation building tends to encourage its adherents that God is firmly on their side (of the political, cultural, or ethnic aisle). But that is akin to the tail wagging the dog.
A dramatic example of this can be found in Joshua 5, as the Israelites prepare to march against the city of Jericho. Joshua encounters a mysterious man dressed for battle, failing to realize he is facing God in the flesh. Joshua tentatively asks, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” (v. 13).
God begins his answer by saying, “Neither” (v. 14). This is a curious response, as God himself is the one who has brought Israel into the Promised Land to establish his people and to punish the inhabitants of Canaan. And yet, even with such clear battle lines drawn, God rejects Joshua’s simplistic categorizations, because he doesn’t take sides. His cause is his own, and if his children—those on his “side”—step out of alignment, he will oppose them (see James 4:4-6).
Today, we see professing Christians all across the political spectrum claiming God is on their side. But God is not divided against himself, and he will not be used as a pawn to further causes that are not his own.
3. A Return to Inferior Methods
Merging Christianity with nation building reflects a subtle and backward shift from a New Covenant model to an Old Covenant model. All the goings-on of physical Israel, while real and historical, were nonetheless symbols of the spiritual Israel. God is not working to establish a human kingdom on some specific geographical location. Rather, he has established his church throughout the earth, and he has promised that his church will not be overcome (see Matthew 16:18).
To quote Bible commentator David Guzik, “God does not intend that there be a Christian country or state where all the Christians live together in spiritual bliss, and simply say to the world, ‘come and join us if you want.’ Instead, God wants Christians to be sprinkled throughout the whole world, influencing people for Jesus Christ.”
Today, we see professing Christians hell-bent (pardon the pun) on advancing the kingdom of God primarily through geographic, judicial, and legislative conquests. With such an off-kilter emphasis, the future of the church is confused with the future of a particular political party or movement—as if the kingdom of heaven can only advance when hitched to the wagon of an earthly ideology.
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