“Can America Survive?” Better Questions, Please.

To understand some of the underlying frustration in a post like this, you have to know something about the past 5 years of my life.  I work in a Christian bookstore.

To those that know me, I am aware that this is no big revelation, but I believe it plays a huge role in why I feel the way I do about certain aspects of the Church.

As a seller of Christian books good and bad, poignant and cheesy, inspired and inspirational, I have seen my fair share of “trends” within the “Christian market”.

A trend that has been building steadily over the last year and a half concerns lamenting the decline of God’s chosen nation, America, and calling for Christians to DO SOMETHING to yank the United States out of the evil hands of the socialists.  Is this a bit of a caricature?  Of course. But while I’m sure not all of these authors would call America “God’s Chosen Nation”, I do believe most of them would agree with the rest of my description of their stance.

John Hagee’s new book, Can America Survive?: 10 Prophetic Signs That We Are the Terminal Generation encapsulates this trend perfectly.

When I first saw this book featured in our store’s catalog, a coworker and I sort of laughed it off.  I remember asking her, “Does the answer to that question impact the way I follow Christ?”

And that’s really the core of my discontent with the current onslaught of discussion about the dangerous road that America is headed down:  What does this have to do with following Christ?

This morning when I was getting ready for work, I noticed that John Hagee’s show was listed in the Guide.  I flipped to it as it was starting, and, as my luck would have it, he was talking about his brand new book.  Over the next half hour, I stomached as much as I could of his “preaching”.  He was really concerned about the death of the dollar, America no longer backing Israel, and Iran blowing us up with nuclear weapons.

As an American, I can agree with him that getting nuked by Iran would be quite unpleasant, and I hope that this doesn’t happen.  Yet, I couldn’t help but feel that he was missing the point.

He is a pastor.  Pastors are supposed to take care of the church and encourage folks to follow Christ more closely.  I couldn’t help but think the entire time I was watching the program, that every minute spent agonizing over his perception of the state of the union was a minute he was not encouraging his flock to love God more fully, love their neighbors as themselves, and to love one another as unconditionally and sacrificially as Christ loved them.

Instead it appeared that he was more interested in creating fear and panic.  (Fear tactics when it relates to politics cause me to ask if we really trust in God’s sovereignty, but that could be a whole ‘nother post.)

I know that Hagee’s sentiment does not represent all of Christendom in America, and I am grateful for that.  But I couldn’t help but wonder:  When the thousand or so people in attendance (not to mention the thousands more watching on television) carry on with their daily lives, will hearing a message of doom and gloom about our country make an impact in how they represent Christ and His Kingdom?  Maybe the answer is ‘yes’, and I’m extremely short-sighted, but I’m inclined to say the answer is ‘no’.  And that discourages me greatly.

Christ would look so much more beautiful to the world if we were asking questions like, “How Do I Love Selflessly?”  “What Can We Do to Eradicate Abject Poverty?”  “How does a Follower of Christ Relate to the World While Pursuing Social Justice?”  “How Can We Better Build Bridges to Those Whom We Have Wrongly Hurt?”  “What Does it Look Like to Love As Christ Loved in the Mundane?”  “How Do We Best Honor the Image of God that is Imprinted on Everyone We Meet?”  “What Role Should the Church Play in Racial Reconciliation?”

Obviously, these aren’t the only important questions, but I think they’re a start.  They are better questions that refocus us on following Christ regardless of circumstance.  Wrestling through these sorts of questions inspires me to keep growing much more than speculation on politics.  I’m inspired when I hear Christians asking these questions and not settling for easy answers.  Only as we focus more on the Kingdom and less on Country can we begin to go down this road.

What say you?

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11 thoughts on ““Can America Survive?” Better Questions, Please.

  1. Excellent post!

    Years ago, when I was heavily involved in a Pentecostal church (there’s a long story behind that), I watched John Hagee fairly regularly. It seems his message doesn’t change much over the years — America is the “chosen” nation, she’s headed down the wrong path, we’re living in the Last Days, liberals are destroying the world, etc etc etc! Regrettably, I bought into it for a while.

    Then as my life took a series of twists and turns that no one could have forseen and as I began to ask some questions of my own, Hagee’s voice (and the voice of many) became more and more shrill and his message became more and more intolerable to me. What I’ve come to learn through study, age and experience is that there is now and has ever been only one “chosen” nation – Israel; and that Jesus never waved an American flag or sang ‘God Bless America!’

    Please understand, I think that most Christians who believe this way are genuine in their belief. It’s something we’ve all been taught in America from the earliest age in school and church alike. But, I think you make a brilliant point – if Jesus were to come back today what questions would he be asking? Would he REALLY be asking if America can survive or would he be asking why America didn’t use her vast resources more proactively? Would he ask if Iran was making nuclear weapons or would he be asking why America didn’t use her virtually unlimited power to stop genocide in places like Darfur?

    It is we who have wrapped Jesus in the American Flag and it is we who equate Him with the American soldier! There are better questions to ask and, God willing, we still have plenty of time to get our act together and start asking them!!

  2. I want a moment to be slightly tongue in cheek and point out the irony in this book. John Hagee and his contemporaries are scared the America is circling the drain, so to speak. All this is a sign of the End Times. The end is near. BLAH BLAH BLAH.

    As believers in this line of thinking shouldn’t these people who are looking forward to the end be doing everything they can to bring it to fruition?

    I would like to believe that I live my life in light of the end, not in fear of it. I want to make every day count, living my life with passion and purpose. I don’t think I can do that if I live in fear of the end. I know my future (ultimately, of course) and want to leave as many changed lives as I can. All books like this do (IMHO) is make Christians look like the Tin Foil Hat Brigade.

    • Haha at the “Tin Foil Hat Brigade”.

      My ever-evolving opinion on End Times Theology will have to be another post some time.

      I really struggle with reconciling a pre-trib Rapture, Left Behind-esque view of things with my theology of how God’s working through the church and building His Kingdom here and now. You know, “the now and the not yet.”

      • On the “now and not yet” point… one thing that we aren’t very good at is being good stewards of what we have been trusted with, whether it be the earth around us or the people seemingly dropped into our lives.

  3. Praise God!!! I am so glad I found this blog. I watched Hagee last night talking on his 3rd part of his survival series and I kept asking myself, what is his point? Will he give christians a solution or just more China owns America, the dollar isn’t worth anything, we are prime targets for attack etc? We know the end of the book/bible?….so what is his point of invoking fear? Then I woke up this morning with the same questions and decided to google: “What is the answer to John Hagee’s, can america survive book”?. Google sent me to your website. Then I read your post and felt relieved to know I was not the only one with questions.

    As an avid christian book reader, and wanna be christian retailer/bookseller, I have decided to concentrate on sending christian books like Joyce Meyer and bibles, overseas to those who just don’t have the resources. This is my solution for ME to spread the gospel and give help and hope to those truly hurting.’

    God bless you and to all those who have commented!

  4. (Just saw the following while I was on the computer. Juanita)

    BREAKING NEWS: Intensive and extensive and expensive and even pensive research has just discovered that the well-known pretribulation rapture is really and actually a SEVEN-stage coming. For proof look closely at I Thess. 4:13-18:
    (1) The Lord descends.
    (2) The shout.
    (3) The archangel’s voice.
    (4) The trumpet of God.
    (5) The dead rise.
    (6) The caught up (rapture).
    (7) The meeting in the air.

    I just left a space so you can fill it in with your gasps, shortness of breath, and clutching your heart. Yes, it’s true – seven (count them) stages. Would I or anyone else try to kid you? Lindsey, LaHaye, Ice, Jeffrey, Van Impe, Hagee, Missler, Strandberg etc. would never TRY to kid you. For proof of this, just Google articles like “Pretrib Rapture Diehards,” “Deceiving and Being Deceived,” “Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty,” “Pretrib Rapture – Hidden Facts” and “Pretrib Rapture Secrecy” – all by a secret writer known only as D.M.
    BTW, for more info on the exciting seven-stage rapture, Google Joe Ortiz’s “End Times Passover” blog which can out-blog any blog that knows how to blog!

  5. When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get three emails with the same comment.
    Is there any way you can remove me from that service?
    Bless you!

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