Mark Noll on Aiming to be a Christian in America

one-nation-under-god-e1291894862282As many know, I appreciate the honesty of any Christian willing to wrestle with the tension between Church and State and with their immediate context of practicing their faith in the 21st century American life. My buddy over at Musings of a Hardlining Moderate is such a person as well. I think the quote by Mr. Noll is one all Americans should keep in mind as we move forward in figuring out what it means to be Christians living in America. As Carson says, “Danger! This quote may challenge some of your core beliefs about what it means to be a Christian and an American.”

Mark Noll on Aiming to be a Christian in America 

By Carson Clark 

Why reinvent the wheel? For some time I’ve been intending to write a miniblog about what it does and does not mean to aim at being a biblical Christian, especially in the context of the United States. But then I was reminded of a Mark Noll quote from his book, One Nation Under God? Christian Faith and Political Action in America. His observation is far more eloquent, insightful, and succinct than anything I might have attempted. Plus it was highly influential upon my perspective. So on this subject I will just defer to my favorite author:Mark-Noll

To aim at being a biblical Christian above all else means that self-identity must come from Christian faith and not American citizenship. It means that we are first Christians, and only then capitalists, socialists, or defenders of a mixed economy. It means that we will be Christians who happen to be Republican or Democrats, rather than Democrats or Republicans who happen to be Christians. The faith will loom larger than support for social security, welfare reform, farmer relief, anti-abortion legislation, or a nuclear freeze. It is unlikely that anyone can fully succeed in setting so rigorously the demands of faith before other allegiances, but it is nonetheless the place to begin.”

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