“Patriotic affection ought to elicit a further desire to protect and promote America’s goodness. Americans today are the beneficiaries of those who pledged their lives and sacred honor to form this country, those who spent their lives in the struggle to keep it, and those who have worked tirelessly to shape it into a more perfect union. We have many blessings to be grateful for, and the appropriate product of our gratitude is a desire to promote these blessings.
This desire to protect and promote our country’s goodness is properly called patriotism, but it is patriotism of a particular kind. When our country struggles or our government errs, patriotism arouses us to safeguard the things we love. Our love for our country is originally founded on all the countless lovely things about her. But our love for America does not rest on its remaining lovely. If it did, it would be no love at all. Such a false patriotism is, as C.S. Lewis once put it, ‘like loving your children only if they’re good, your wife only while she keeps her looks, your husband only so long as he is famous and successful.’
Because true patriotism appreciates America’s charms but refuses to esteem her faults, it does not cause us to blindly endorse everything our country is and has been. It will not even permit us to be unmoved by our country’s sins. We promote our country’s goodness both by celebrating its virtues and by identifying—and remedying—its vices. This patriotism will not allow us to mark as noble what is ignoble. It compels us to cherish those goods that ought to be cherished and to remedy those evils that ought to be remedied.” Kian Hudson, “What It Means To Love Our Country”, Public Discourse, 7.03.2018
1. To understand that our ultimate allegiance is to Christ and our ultimate citizenship is in heaven.
“For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” Philippians 3:18-21
“This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next...all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven.” CS Lewis, Mere Christianity (3-10)
2. To pray for those in authority; that they would lead with wisdom.
“...for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior.” 1 Timothy 2:2-3
“...it is the duty of Christians to render loyal obedience thereto in all things not contrary to the revealed will of God...A free church in a free state is the Christian ideal, and this implies the right of free and unhindered access to God on the part of all men, and the right to form and propagate opinions in the sphere of religion without interference by the civil power.” The Baptist Faith and Message, Article XVII
3. To stand for the dignity and uniqueness of all men and women, in light of the fact they are made in the image of God.
“All Christians are under obligation to seek to make the will of Christ supreme in our own lives and in human society….In the spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose racism, every form of greed, selfishness, and vice, and all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography. We should work to provide for the orphaned, the needy, the abused, the aged, the helpless, and the sick. We should speak on behalf of the unborn and contend for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death.” The Baptist Faith and Message, 2000, Article XV
4. To frequently consider the importance of Proverbs 14:34.
“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” Proverbs 14:34
Q: What else does Christ’s death redeem?
A: Christ’s death is the beginning of the redemption and renewal of every part of fallen creation, as he powerfully directs all things for his own glory and creation’s good. The New City Catechism, Question 26
1. Why is the coordinating conjunction “but” a qualifying statement in the area of our allegiance to authority (and thankfully the Lord’s tender mercies poured upon his people; Ephesians 2:4)?
2. What did Oliver Cromwell (d. 1658) mean when he said, “Paint me, warts and all.”? How does that relate to understanding life in a fallen world?
3. What did G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936) mean when he wrote, “Saying ‘my country, right or wrong’ is like saying ‘my mother sober or drunk’?”
4. How can we be more observant in prayer for those in authority, compared to criticizing or belittling them?
5. What does the Baptist Faith and Message, 2000, mean when it says we are “under obligation to seek to make the will of Christ supreme in our own lives and in human society”?
6. How do we show an attitude that understands righteousness brings flourishing while sin brings disgrace and sadness?