Koyzis Sees the Light?

At the First Things blog for evangelicals (is this a form of putting born-agains in a ghetto?) — Evangel — David Koyzis, frequent critic of 2k theology, raised objections about celebrating July 4th in church.

More than two decades ago I walked into the building of a megachurch near Chicago on the Sunday nearest the Independence Day holiday. I sat down prepared to worship the God who revealed himself uniquely in Jesus Christ, but I was disappointed by what I saw when I opened the bulletin. Every “hymn” was a national song of some sort, including the Star-Spangled Banner, America the Beautiful and My Country ‘Tis of Thee. At one point in the service the congregation was expected to recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, apparently substituting for the Creed, which was nowhere in sight. I chose not to remain for the service, got up and left, feeling somewhat cheated.

I am not opposed to expressions of patriotic loyalty, which have their place and time. But I strenuously object to devoting an entire Sunday liturgy to what in effect is a glorification of nation. Nor am I keen on the presence of a national flag in the sanctuary and other symbols of nationhood.

Koyzis goes on to suggest that churches should turn these holidays into a call for and celebration of justice. (Psst. Be careful lest Glenn Beck find out.)

The point of mentioning Koyzis discomfort with celebrations of the U.S. (he is a Canadian) in worship is that if he can feel such unease, then it is possible for him to imagine the discomfort that Reformed confessionalists experience when neo-Cal’s like Koyzis glorify plumbing, banking, or nation-governing (i.e., political theory) into full-time Christian service or kingdom work. I mean, if you can see that Christ’s kingdom transcends the boundary dividing upper and lower North America, can’t you consider that the activities in which Christians engage on the holy day is categorically different from their work on common days? Or is Koyzis the only one allowed to think that equating the work of redemption with the work of creation and providence is a function of flawed theology?


One thought on “Koyzis Sees the Light?

  1. It almost seems like for American’s to see it, they have to live overseas for awhile or something. We have friends from Africa that were visiting the United States and were shocked and quite offended at what they found on a Sunday near July 4. They couldn’t fathom the way Evangelicals had blended nationalism with Christianity.

    Welcome to America, I said. In that unique American way…..a greater Christendom concept is reduced to…just America. Christo-america I guess.

    I told them the entire season from Memorial Day, including Flag Day, and up to 4 July is becoming Patriot Season on the American liturgical calendar.

    I also advised them to walk out next time they saw it or any forms of Constantinian Sacralism. We talked about it awhile and they said, wow, it’s going to be hard to find anywhere to go to church.


    Thanks for the post,

    John A.


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