Month: December 2018

Pastor's Blog

Christianity and Nationalism

In this past Sunday’s message, I made the statement that “there must be zero tolerance among us for attitudes of racism or nationalism.”

Perhaps you’re unsure of what I meant by that last word—“nationalism.” Maybe you’ve heard it used as an antonym for “globalism,” which is certainly not the sense I had in mind. So what is “nationalism”? The Encyclopedia Britannica defines it as an “ideology based on the premise that the individual’s loyalty and devotion to the nation-state surpass other individual or group interests.”

Mirriam-Webster defines it like this: “loyalty and devotion to a nation especially: a sense of national consciousness exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups.”

According to these definitions, I hope it’s clear why Christianity and nationalism are incompatible. As followers of King Jesus, our primary emphasis should never be to promote the culture and interests of our country, but rather the interests of the Kingdom of God. Similarly, our devotion and loyalty to Christ must be greater than all other loyalties—including our loyalty to our country. Because, as Hebrews 11:13 says, God’s people have always been “strangers and exiles on the earth.” Similarly, 1 Peter 2:11 refers to us as “sojourners and exiles.” And Philippians 3:20 reminds us that “our citizenship is in heaven.”

And like we heard on Sunday, Christians should have a special interest in those from other nations, because God does, and He’s told us to have the same (Matthew 28:19).

Of course, this doesn’t mean that Christians can’t be patriotic or practice good citizenship. It doesn’t mean that Christians should be apathetic about political issues like immigration policy or state sovereignty.

What it does mean is that the interests of the Kingdom of God should take first place in our heart, and that we view all of these other issues—and all of the individuals represented by these issues—through the lens of the Great Commission, which is to say, God’s heart to bless the nations.

Pastor's Blog

A Great Name

In Genesis 11, the Babel-builders say to themselves, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth” (Genesis 11:4).

You just need to read the next few verses to hear how that ended. Short version: not well. There’s humour in the fact that God had to “come down” to see the city and tower (Genesis 11:5), and He was not at all interested in their plans to make a name for themselves.

There’s rich irony, then, in the fact that this chapter ends by introducing us to a man from this very same part of the world (Genesis 11:27-28) who hears the following promise from God: “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great” (Genesis 12:1–2).

“I say to the boastful, ‘Do not boast,’ and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horn; do not lift up your horn on high, or speak with haughty neck.’” For not from the east or from the west and not from the wilderness comes lifting up, but it is God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another. (Psalm 75:4–7).