John MacArthur’s Can God Bless America? is a short book you can breeze through in about an hour, but it asks an incredibly important question: is God able to bless America — and should He? In a time when the phrase “God bless America” has become a clichéd slogan, lip-service to a generic and rather selfish patriotism, we need to use this phrase advisedly (if at all).
MacArthur takes a look at the underlying assumptions we have about this phrase and — more importantly — what the Bible has to say about national blessing and the conditions attached to it.
Basically, we want God’s blessing without God in the bargain. God, give us safety and wealth and good feelings about ourselves as Americans, please. But don’t demand anything of us. Obedience and then blessing — are You kidding? MacArthur writes, “While people reject the God of Scripture as their sovereign, they still claim Him as their servant” (vi).
I appreciated MacArthur’s discussion of the dangers of moralism and how attempts to use politics as the church’s main strategy for influencing our nation are doomed to failure. Jesus didn’t try to overthrow or control government. We don’t need more laws to make us moral; we need regeneration.
MacArthur lists sixteen reasons that moralism doesn’t work, and his arguments are compelling (to list just a few, 1.) it isn’t our commission, 2.) it wastes immense amounts of precious resources, 4.) moralism misconstrues the nature of God’s kingdom, 6.) moralism is a religion devoid of theology, 8.) moralism has no New Testament model except the Pharisees, 13.) the politics of moralism makes those we are supposed to reach with the gospel into enemies, etc.).
America is not God’s chosen nation, entitled to special privileges and first in line by right for when He hands out blessings. That would be Israel, and even their national blessings are and have always been dependent upon their obedience. The fact is, we’re fast becoming a post-Christian nation and we have no right to expect special treatment from God simply because we are Americans. Our sense of entitlement must be so disgusting to Him.
Unpatriotic? Maybe. But my citizenship is in Heaven, and God forbid even a good thing like honest earthly patriotism to become more important to me than my real country. ( )