By Matt Horanflags

          As a fan of Jesus Christ, is it bad if I don’t care whether or not the Ten Commandments are hanging in the U.S. Supreme Court?  As a fan of Jesus Christ, is it bad if I don’t care whether or not my kids are taught Creationism as a scientific theory in school?  As a fan of Jesus Christ, is it bad if I don’t get offended when someone at Target wishes me “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Chistmas”?  As a fan of Jesus Christ, is it bad if I don’t worry if there’s no “prayer time” offered to kids in public schools?
          I guess I hear two arguments for these sorts of things.  You’ll hear the “Stifled Gospel” argument, and perhaps you’ll also hear the “What will happen to this country if we abandon our Christian values” argument.  There are others, I’m sure, but, well, blog posts are supposed to be short, so…
          First, the “What will happen” argument.  It goes something like, “If we depart from the Christian values of our forefathers, this country will…[insert your own doomsday prediction here].”  Now, that might be true.  Surely when more and more people are in community studying the Scriptures and doing what they say, and when more and more people are spending time in prayer and serving the poor, the place is better off.  However, why is being an obedient disciple of Jesus Christ not enough?  Why do we need a dire warning about our country to get us to live a life of faithfulness?  Like it or not, faith in Jesus Christ was around long before the United States of America was here, and it will be around long after it becomes a chapter in the history books. 
          The “Stifled Gospel” argument seeks a social and political model that does not restrict the free sharing of the Gospel story of Jesus Christ so that more people might become Christians.  A system that facilitates its spread is a stretch, but we certainly don’t want the government to get in the way.  We want a nation where Christianity can grow.  Therefore, we need freedom.
          Ironically, however, Christianity flourishes most where there is very little freedom.  Look at Africa, steeped in poverty, disease, and civil war.  Look at China, under the grip of totalitarian rule, controlling even how many children people are allowed to have.  These are the places where Christianity is flourishing the most.  So if that’s why we want the Ten Commandments on the wall in the Supreme Court, or why we want prayer in schools, or Creation taught in science class—our plan is flawed.  These things are not expanding the Kingdom of God.  In fact, the church in the U.S. is in rapid decline.
         
Turns out that you can’t legislate people into the Kingdom of God.  Instead, toss out all of this freedom, and give us a heaping dose of disease, poverty, and dictatorship.  The gospel will spread like wildfire.

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