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Patriotic Worship is Coming to a Church Near You

Written by Ed Stetzer on . Posted in Ed Stetzer

Pastors and churches mix patriotism and worship around July 4th.

Doubtless most Americans believe America has a special relationship to God. Last year LifeWay Research found:

Despite headlines lamenting the global decline of the United States since the Cold War, 54 percent of Americans believe the nation is on the upswing, according to a September survey by LifeWay Research. Only 4 in 10 think “America’s best days are behind us.”

And though the U.S. Constitution makes no mention of God, 53 percent of Americans say they believe God and the nation have a special relationship, a concept stretching back to Pilgrim days. Even a third of atheists, agnostics, and those with no religious preference believe America has a special relationship with God.

For followers of Jesus this should be cause for careful reflection. Following July 4th weekend a few years ago, I noted:

For example, this past weekend was undoubtedly one of much pomp and patriotism in many churches throughout America. As an interim pastor at several churches, I've participated in such celebrations and appreciated the intent. However, as a pastor at churches I serve, we have not made a major practice of emphasizing patriotic holidays during worship services. We acknowledge them, pray for our nation and leaders, and are thankful. However, we are also cautious because, as I see it, some churches have overemphasized patriotic celebrations and this has led to a confusion of where "God Bless America" and "All Hail King Jesus" do, and do not, mix.

Many believers have come to wonder about the wisdom of mixing nationalism and Kingdom in church. Some are honestly struggling through what it means. Expressing his inner turmoil about patriotic worship services, Marty Duren wrote,

Sing the Star Spangled Banner ...

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