Who would be a citizen if the United States of America were a de jure Christian nation? Currently, based on the 14th Amendment passed in 1868, all those who are born on United States soil, irrespective who their parents are, are citizens. Or, if they are born to at least one parent who is an American citizen, living outside the U.S., they are citizens. Citizenship is based on either the location of birth or the citizenship of parents.
In the biblical pattern of the Hebrew Republic, citizenship was based on one’s covenantal relationship with Jehovah God. The covenant was a national covenant based on 1) one’s ethnicity (Jewish) and 2) circumcision as the sign of being a member of that covenant people.
Now, under the New Covenant instituted at the cross, the covenant people of God are no longer an ethnic people group, the Jews, but now they come from every nation, tribe and tongue. Membership in God’s covenant people is not by birth or circumcision but only by faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and His death on the cross for our sins.
Historically, there were those who lived in Israel, even born in Israel, but who were not ethnic Jews. They were called “strangers,” or “sojourners.” They were not members of the Hebrew national covenant. They were therefore not “citizens” with full national privileges, but they could work, own businesses, participate in national life and enjoy all the blessings of living in a nation that had Jehovah as its God. They were honored, accepted and not discriminated against in any way.
However, they could not vote, hold civic leadership positions, and help to determine national policy. If, after a period of time of living in the Israeli culture, they determined that the God of Israel was the God they would like to make their God, they could convert to Judaism as a “proselyte,” become circumcised and be a fully participating member of the Hebrew covenant people, with full citizenship privileges.
Throughout the history of Israel, proselytes played a prominent role. Rahab and Ruth, both non-Jews, are in the lineage of Jesus. Under the kings, strangers rose to influential positions—Doeg the Edomite (1 Samuel 21:7) and Uriah the Hittite (2 Samuel 11:3). After the return from Babylon many “had separated themselves from the people of the lands unto the law of God” with their families (Nehemiah 10:28), and in Esther’s time “many of the people of the land became Jews, for the fear of the Jews fell upon them” (Esther 8:17).
So, historically, God’s people do not represent a “closed shop,” only for a select few from a favored nation, race or ethnic group, but membership in God’s covenant people is open to all whose “God is the LORD.”
With this biblical perspective, here is a modern-day application of this principle, attempting to follow scriptural principles as closely as possible, today in the United States.
1. A citizen of the United States is a professed, Trinitarian, baptized Christian, who is a member in good standing of a Trinitarian church with a functioning church government that holds to the Apostle’s Creed.
This is not the establishment of a particular Christian denomination or theology, but the establishment of a state Trinitarian Christian church, recognized by the state as an official state church. The individual churches can be denominational or independent as long as the church has an accountable membership, is Trinitarian, and subscribes to the Apostle’s creed. The civil government has no say as to the church’s theology or doctrine, but the church can only be a part of the national church if they meet the above criteria, thus making their members who are over 21 and in good standing eligible to become citizens of the United States.
Some would question the necessity of belonging to a church rather than simply claiming to be a Christian. However, a willingness to submit to church authority as a repentant sinner, and have the fruit of one’s faith publicly recognized and evaluated, is a good (although not perfect) indication that one’s faith is genuine.This church membership is a prerequisite for citizenship and, obviously, for voting and holding public office.
2.There is no citizenship based on birth.
When a child reaches 21, if he is a Christian he can make a profession of faith, join a Trinitarian church, or remain a sojourner, experiencing all the privileges of citizenship except voting and running for public office. Only adult citizens can vote and run for office.
3. Amend article 6 section 3 of the Constitution which says:
“The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”
The italicized text shall be amended to read:
“All office holders must be United States citizens who have subscribed to a Christian Trinitarian oath and be a member in good standing of a national church in order to hold any office or public trust under the United States.
” 4 Amend Amendment 1 of the Constitution which says:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
The italicized text shall be amended to read:
“Congress shall make no law restricting the establishment of the Trinitarian Christian religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; the establishment of all other religions is prohibited.” Congress shall make no law abridging…
There will be other changes in the Constitution to bring it in line with the concept of a Christian Nation but these are a sample of what they may entail. We will investigate the basis for all laws, both national and state, in our Christian America example next week.