by John Ellis
Like many Christians living in America, if not most, the churches that I attended as a child had patriotic services every July 4th weekend. Not limited to patriotic holidays, though, God and country was one of the overriding motifs of my religious training throughout my entire youth. In fact, it’s not a stretch to say that in those churches patriotism and holiness were considered loose synonyms. You couldn’t be a good Christian if you also weren’t a good American as defined by a certain ideological subset. Sadly, I’m afraid, the gospel witness of those churches was hijacked by a form of secular worship – the worship of an earthly kingdom.
There is much to be thankful for if you are born and live in the United States of America. Furthermore, as Christians, we should pray continually for our country and our nation’s leaders; we should pray that God will continue to extend His hand of grace and restrain the sinful impulses of unregenerate men. We should thank God that we are able to worship and serve Him mostly unabated, and we should pray for God’s continued protection. However, it is inappropriate, at best, to turn the worship service on the Lord’s Day into a glorification of humans and human achievements, no matter how thankful we are for those humans and their achievements.