America has a rich history rooted in the Christian faith, drawing many principles from Scripture. And while this is true, it does not lend us the conclusion that America was a “Christian nation,” even at our founding. Such an assumption is absurd and presents a misguided interpretation of history and a misunderstanding of the nature of how people are converted and saved. Many of the founding fathers were deists, an ideology which runs counter to the Biblical portrayal of an all-sovereign God, which necessarily affects our understanding of the Gospel.
The assumption that this was a Christian nation, displayed prominently within this Bible version, will hurt the cause of the Gospel in that it delivers the understanding to the unconverted that if you are an American and support the Constitution, you are a Christian and are “in” God’s favor. This is blatantly fallacious and patently unbiblical. American Religion is opposed to the Biblical Gospel. The Biblical Gospel critiques American Religion much in the same way Jesus critiqued the Pharisees.
Something I find kind of ironic that I wanted to highlight within this Bible version is that Jonathan Edwards is cited. I find it odd simply from the standpoint that if anyone during that period would have been opposed to the very thing he is being cited in here, it was Edwards, not to mention Whitefield.
The very nature of Edwards’ preaching assumed there were masses of unconverted people at the gatherings and in his own congregation! Just read Edwards’ Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. No assumptions are made. And certainly, because of the response from the Great Awakening, many people were not unconverted prior to hearing the Gospel preached.
Edwards well understood that many of those claiming conversion during the Great Awakening were not converted. He did not come from the standpoint that America was a “Christian nation” as this Bible version would suggest, but a nation of religious, Pharasaical sinners, who assumed they were converted by nature of their association with the church, but who needed the grace of Christ in order to be saved, as opposed to establishing their own religious righteousness for salvation.
Edwards wrote many of his observations and findings from the Great Awakening in The Religious Affections, in which he distinguished true affections for Christ from false or emotive affections that die off in due time. This itself is a testament to the fact that Edwards did not consider early America as a Christian nation. This assumption is false.