Making an Idol of American Exceptionalism

Nathan Finn summaries his Facebook friends’ political banter like this: “America is a Christian nation, we have lost our spiritual moorings, and political liberals are mostly to blame—but if we elect the right politically conservative (or perhaps libertarian) candidate, he or she (probably the former) will restore America’s greatness and perhaps usher in another Great Awakening.”

This, he says, is a false gospel. Believers are not called to make America great, but to expand the kingdom of Christ. We aren’t called to political action so much as we’re called to evangelicalism.

Finn writes to review what looks like a great book from John Wilsey,  American Exceptionalism and Civil Religion: Reassessing the History of an Idea. If we take the idea of American Exceptionalism to the extend described above, we have politicized the gospel, rendering to Caesar what should be rendered to God alone.

This is the idea I was getting at back when I asked this question, “How would your perspective change if you became convinced the United States was not founded as a Christian nation?

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