Was America founded as a Christian nation?
That is an often-debated question. If we look at ancient Israel, for example, to answer the question, we will discover that our nation was not founded to be Christian. Israel was founded as a nation under God, which the Lord founded with its first citizen Abraham.
The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. 2 “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
Genesis 12:1-3 (NIV)
The Lord’s promise to Abram (Abraham) was clear: He promised to make Abraham a great nation that He would bless and protect. Israel was a nation founded upon God, founded by the Lord God.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!
Psalm 33:12 (ESV)
Did the Lord God covenant with our founding fathers to build America into a great nation for God? I don’t see any evidence. Were many of the founders Christian in conviction and confession? Indeed. But to say that America was a nation founded upon God would be an aspiration.
“The majority of the founders also believed that religion was necessary for maintaining moral virtue and assumed that the nation would remain culturally Christian.” (Steven K. Green teaches law and history at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. He is the author of, “Inventing a Christian America: The Myth of the Religious Founding.”)
“Demographically speaking, America certainly resembled a ‘nation of Christians’at the time of its founding and has ever since. But it’s a rather different proposition to claim that the founders established the new American government as a ‘Christian nation.’ Clearly, they did not.”
“If the founders had not made their stance on this ‘Christian nation’ issue clear enough in the Constitution and the Federalist Papers, they certainly did in the 1797 Treaty of Tripoli.
“Begun by George Washington, signed by John Adams, and ratified unanimously by a Senate still half-filled with signers of the Constitution, this treaty announced firmly and flatly to the world that “the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.
“Despite the founders’ intent, later generations of Americans began to assert that the country they created was indeed Christian.”
(The above-italicized quotes are from Kevin M. Kruse, professor of history at Princeton University, author of “One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America.”)
There is no question that many of the laws in the bible and values of the Christian faith influenced the shaping of our nation both in its laws and government.
However, remember that our pledge of allegiance to the flag didn’t include “one nation under God” until 1954 when President Eisenhower encouraged Congress to add the words.
It wasn’t until “July 20, 1956, Congress proclaimed that the national motto of the United States: ``In God We Trust”, and that motto to be inscribed above the main door of the Senate, behind the Chair of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and on the currency of the United States.”
Where is America today? Today 63% of U.S. adults claim to be Christian in some sense.
Culturally, we are still a nation where the majority are Christian, a fact for which we should be prayerfully thankful to our God every day. 63% would be excellent, except 75% claimed Christianity a decade ago. Here is a frightening reality: if the number of professing Christians continues declining at the same rate as the last ten year, 100 years from now, anno domino 2122, there only be ONLY 6.2% in America who will claim to be Christian.
The future doesn’t need to be so bleak. It’s not too late for the church to wake up and be the church. Especially as the SCOTUS made great strides regarding the abortion laws of our land, let’s not sit idly by and let the evil one take more ground without the church resisting His evil influence. Let us rejoice that Christ is still Risen and Ascend. Let the words of Christ to Peter encourage us today.
And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. Matthew 16:18 (NIV)
Let us pray for our nation but let us also proclaim the name of Christ to our neighbors.
“if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 (ESV)
We’ll never be a Christian nation, but we can be a nation where Christians abound, our faith is alive, and we are striving to bring the name of Christ to neighborhoods, nations, and the world. All for the sake of Christ and our blessing in Jesus’ name.