Pat Robertson has said some crazy things over the years. Some of them are amusing. Some of them are dangerous…
And some of them are pure idolatrous.
The other day on the 700 club, Pat said something that stepped far outside of any legitimate form of Christianity, and strayed so far into idolatry, that he might as well boil down his jewelry and make a calf out of it.
A reader wrote in a question as to why so many people would be opposed to Donald Trump and his quest to “make America great again.” To the reader, this didn’t make sense, so Pat explained. In his answer, Pat said he believed that what was happening was truly “satanic” because “America is the great hope of the world.”
America is the great hope of the world?
I had to rewind the tape three times to make sure I heard him correctly.
Sadly, I did– so let me be ridiculously blunt with you:
It doesn’t matter if you are a republican or a democrat, a liberal or conservative.
It doesn’t matter which denomination you belong to, or what version of the Bible you prefer to read.
It doesn’t matter if your church has a worship band or prefers to sing hymns to the piano.
It doesn’t matter if you’re in church every time the doors are open, or have started a global ministry.
If you think that America is the “great hope of the world” you have yet to become a Christian.
Because Jesus is the great hope of the world. That’s the *entire* premise of the Christian religion.
Apart from the saving, transformative love and works of Christ, there is no hope. No matter what kind of Christian you are, we are all united in this core belief: Jesus is our great hope, and we believe he is the great hope of this world.
This is why we spread the Gospel of “good news” whether you view that Gospel through a conservative lens, a liberal one, or something in between.
This is why two millennia of Christians have spread out across the globe and invited every nation, every tongue, to come to know Jesus.
Everything we do is rooted in the belief that Jesus is the great hope of the world.
The author of Hebrews reminds us that we have this hope as an anchor, and that it is solid and sure. The anchor of Jesus is the only one we have– it is the only thing we place our hope in; it is the only thing we place our faith in.
The anchor of Jesus is God’s promised deliverance for us. Generations of God’s people waited for this hope. They wrestled with God, asked God how long they’d have to wait for the promise, and paved the way for hope to take on human flesh and walk among us.
Once hope became flesh, followers of God clothed themselves with it. They abandoned everything else– worldly allegiances, physical possessions, personal ambitions… they gave up everything and began a quest to change the entire world, once they realized that Jesus was the great hope the world had been waiting for.
It’s all Jesus, folks. It’s what Christianity is about.
Jesus has, and always will be, the great hope of this world.
There is no other hope.
To say that America is the great hope of the world? To invite people to put their hope, their faith, and their trust in the United States?
That’s pure idolatry. Wicked, evil, perverse idolatry– idolatry no less wicked than the idolatry that led to the golden calf or bowing down to Baal.
It’s always idolatry when we place our hope in something fashioned by human hands, whether it’s a statue or a nation.
America is the great hope of the world?
No, Pat. Jesus is the great hope of this world.
It’s only Jesus.
Dr. Benjamin L. Corey is a public theologian and cultural anthropologist who is a two-time graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary with graduate degrees in the fields of Theology and International Culture, and holds a doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary. He is also the author of the new book, Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith, which is available wherever good books are sold. www.Unafraid-book.com.