The Last, Best Hope Of The World?
What Christian, in the time the New Testament epistles were being written, said the following?
“The Roman Empire is the last, best hope of the world. The laws of this great nation have afforded it the opportunity to be a blessing to mankind, and to bring hope to the masses. Through this great nation, under the blessing of God, justice and liberty will endure, under the guidance of Caesar and the courts.”
If you guessed that no Christian said this, you are correct.
Yet since that time, scores of people have held up an earthly empire (Great Britain, Israel, Germany, the United States) as being the last, best hope of the world. What do all these people have in common? They are blasphemers and idolators.
In an article entitled, Is America The Last, Best Hope of the World?, written by Jeff Wright, he addresses the fact that people have considered America, more specifically the US, to indeed be the last, best hope of the world, and calls this mindset out for the idolatry that it is.
Wright wrote the following:
“Just as a Christian in the first century would never make the claim that Caesar or the Roman Empire is the last, best hope of the earth, Christians today make a mistake by elevating any kingdom of this world to the status of “the hope of mankind.” When we slip into the mindset that America is the best hope of the world along with the assumption that we must do something to preserve this status, we will eventually find ourselves supporting acts by the government that are contrary to the kingdom that deserves our first and ultimate allegiance, the kingdom of God.
The kingdoms of the world and the kingdom of God offer radically different visions for the world. American evangelicals along with all Christians ought to reject the idea that America is the last, best hope of earth because this is a form of idolatry. It is giving a status that ought to be reserved for God to someone or something else. If America is the best hope of the world then the good news of Jesus Christ and his kingdom is not.
Unless we strongly affirm the earliest of Christian creeds, Jesus is Lord, we will tend to give the agendas of earthly kingdoms undue importance. Unless we me make it clear that our ultimate allegiance is to Jesus Christ and his kingdom, we will tend to look to the State rather than the church for the solutions to life’s challenges. If America is the hope of the world then the State ought to export this hope to the world and Christians should enlist in that cause. However, if Jesus Christ is the hope of the world then the church ought to be about the business of the kingdom of God.
….We don’t need the State to coerce others into doing good. We have the superior resources of the kingdom of God. The State, American or otherwise, is not the last, best hope of the world, Jesus Christ is. Jesus Christ is Lord and, therefore, all other Caesars are not.”
I agree with Wright - because many see the American State as something worth defending, this mindset has led to much bloodshed, hatred, and opposition from even professing Christians that live under the American State. Historically, America has prowled around looking “for monsters to destroy” and has had no problem spreading propaganda to get people to hate the Germans, the Russians, the Japanese, the Chinese, the Iraqis, and on it goes. Sure, State actors from these other places have made threats against the US and would love to wreak havoc in the territory controlled by the American State, but the American Government has gone beyond threats and actually caused harm in some of these places and more. Conservative war hawks in the US today are some of the people most responsible for the death and destruction across the world, and the people that blindly follow them are just as responsible. Today the greatest enemies of America, according to the propagandists, is Russia and China, though few understand the dynamics involved in US relations with Russia and China and how the US has aggressed against both. What business does a Christian have becoming entangled in the affairs of these earthly kingdoms? I do not trust the Russian Federation, the China Communist Party, or the US Government, and none of them are more virtuous than the next, and none of them have anything to do with the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. The greatest threat to Christians living under the American State is the myth that America has been, or is, a Christian nation. Those who pledge allegiance to a kingdom other than God’s Kingdom are idolators. America has never been the hope of the world, even when things were “better." Looking to an earthly kingdom as the hope of the world, and as something that Christians should give their lives and resources to defend, is folly, and certainly not “Christian.”
The only hope for the world is the gospel of the Kingdom of God.