I recently read a book entitled "Jesus Untangled", by Keith Giles. I was offered the chance to download this book free of charge if I would review it on my blog, so here goes.
I believe that this book addresses a very real problem in the evangelical Church today. The issue is that of national pride and Christianity merged together, resulting in what we see today. For many American evangelicals, God and country are on equal ground. They view America as God's chosen people, and advancing the kingdom of God is equated with doing whatever makes America great and prosperous. This is why we see so many Christians active in politics, just as concerned with the constitution as they are with the Bible, and pledging allegiance to the flag of an earthly kingdom.
This book really steps on toes as it confronts these issues, but it is something that needs to be "shouted from the roof tops" in my estimation.
There is a radical difference between the Kingdom of God, and any of the world's kingdoms, including America. While some nations may operate on better principles than others, the fact remains that they are still earthly kingdoms. None of them, including America, are founded upon the teachings of Christ. The truth is, they operate on selfish principles. As Christians we are called to separate our selves from this and to unselfishly follow Jesus Christ. His teachings go against the grain of those of this world. While nations strive and struggle for wealth and power, we are called to love, and give, and to turn the other cheek. Sadly the type of Christianity that so many follow today explains away what Jesus commands us to do, and embraces the policies of America instead, in the name of God and country.
The first Christians were not politically active, they were not caught up in the affairs of the state, and rejected national pride, considering themselves instead strangers and pilgrims upon this earth. This changed with Constantine, who declared Christianity the national religion of the Roman empire, and thus began the merger of Church and state, which has been an entanglement that has plagued the Church ever since.
As a result we now have Christians embracing war and military might, something that Jesus never taught, and the early Church rejected. We have resorted to politics and legislation to set the moral tone of our country instead of spreading the gospel and seeing people changed from the inside out. Now our worship is divided between Christ and the flag, and our allegiance is divided as well, between God and the nation. The modern Church has become entangled in the affairs of a secular kingdom, and has forfeited Christ and His kingdom.
Once again, I believe this book is right on target with its message. It will surprise many who read it. It may offend many, and step on some toes, but if it gets your attention and causes you to take a look at how far we have fallen from truly serving Christ, it will be worth the read.