Is America a Christian nation? This highly-contentious question continues to lay at the center of debate in both theological and political circles. On Sunday, megachurch Pastor Tim Lucas delivered a fascinating answer to his congregation: America is not, in fact, a Christian country.
On the surface, the preacher's comments will certainly be troubling to some who embrace the notion that the U.S. is, indeed, a highly-religious nation. Lucas, the head faith leader at Liquid Church in New Jersey, took the time in the sermon to fully explain his views on the matter.
"When we call America a Christian nation, what that assumes is at some point in our history we were operating wholeheartedly in the kingdom of God," Lucas explained. "There is no doubt our country has been blessed and influenced by Judeo-Christian values. We're thankful for that. But there's very little evidence that America as a whole ever had some golden age when we operated wholeheartedly with kingdom of God values."
While some will argue that the U.S. was never intended to be a Christian nation, others contend that the country is undoubtedly religious in nature. Lucas' statements are fascinating in that they acknowledge Christian influence, but seem to focus upon action (or inaction, for that matter). In the pastor's mind, the nation has never, on the whole, operated "with Kingdom of God values." This, in his view, seems to cut down the notion that the country is Christian-led.
As part of the church's "Poll: Faith, Politics and the Future of America" sermon series, Lucas has been conducting live polls, via text message, with congregants. This past Sunday, the pastor asked where "separation of church and state" originated. According to The Christian Post, many thought that it came from the Constitution, but it actually originated in a letter from Thomas Jefferson to a committee of the Danbury Baptist association in 1802.
While the left uses this "separation" statement to claim that there should be no mention of faith or religion in the public sphere, many on the right reject this notion. As for Lucas, he believes that the First Amendment's establishment clause, which reads, in part, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," has been misused.
Rather than protecting the government from religion -- a notion that secularists and liberals often cite, the law was set in place to do the exact opposite, Lucas contends.
"Freedom of religion was established to protect the church from the state, guaranteeing us we can worship any way we want in public," he told the congregation. "Unfortunately, in our culture, it's kind of got twisted a little bit."
Lucas also encouraged parishioners to vote their conscience, to put God first and to make government second, telling his congregation, "We are Christians before we are Americans."
Liquid Church has made headlines in the past for other fascinating means of reaching out to its congregation and the public at large. Last year, Lucas gave "stimulus" cash to his congregation, an interesting act that TheBlaze, among other outlets, reported on.
Watch Lucas' fascinating sermon here. What do you think about his views? Let us know in the comments section, below.
(H/T: The Christian Post)