Tuesday, April 16, 2019

A Christian first

Brian Kilmeade of Fox News raised a stink concerning Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar, a Muslim, questioning whether she was “an American first.” That story I leave for another day (if at all), but it brings to me the question whether anyone who is committed to his or her religion can be “an American first.” I am a Christian. I am a Christian first. I am an American geographically and politically, and was an American first chronologically (born by nature before born by the Spirit). I am a Christian second chronologically, by a new birth that made me part of the family of God and the kingdom of heaven. In the end being “a Christian first” means recognizing when push comes to shove “we ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

Perhaps a better question is “Can I be a Christian first and be a good citizen” or “Can I be a Christian first and be not threat to America?”

  • “A Christian first” does not mean I am un-American or anti-American. The Bible teaches the Christian to be a good citizen (Romans 13:1-2), pray for the leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-2), pay the taxes (Mark 12:17), and seek its peace (Jeremiah 29:7).
  • “A Christian first” does not mean I place some other country’s interests before those of the United States. The Bible promotes an interest in the spiritual welfare of the people of all nations (Matthew 28:19; Psalm 33:12), but being “a Christian first” does not lead one to betray his or her own nation for another.
  • “A Christian first” does mean that my citizenship is in heaven (2 Corinthians 5:20, Philippians 3:20) and I belong to a kingdom not of this world (1 Peter 2:9John 18:36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.

I make no claim that I am doing a great, or even good, job of being “a Christian first.” Often I am a failure, but…

I am a Christian first. ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness...
Matthew 6:33

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