Benjamin L. Corey

Benjamin L. Corey

BLC is an author, speaker, scholar, and global traveler, who holds graduate degrees in Theology & Intercultural Studies from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and received his doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller. He is the author of Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus, and Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith.

The Unbiblical Idea That God Has Blessed America Most (What Franklin Graham Is Wrong About Today)

What Franklin Graham Is Wrong About Today, Vol. 4

Franklin Graham is known for saying controversial things, but the other day he said something that wasn’t very controversial at all. He said that God has blessed the United States of America more than any other nation on earth.

This concept isn’t unique to Graham– I’ve heard it said a thousand and one times in my life. The idea that America is somehow God’s favorite, that America is the place God has blessed more than anywhere else, is widely accepted in Americanized Christianity.

But here’s the question: Is it true?

I’ve noticed over the years that many of us seem content to repeat ideas and facts we’ve been taught from childhood, and that we believe and repeat them simply out of habit– something I call generational theology or generational beliefs. Somehow, few of us seem to be encouraged to ask the all important question of whether or not generational theology actually true before we believe and repeat it.

But has God blessed us more than anyone else? Are we somehow God’s favorite?

Surely, the United States has enjoyed great wealth and prosperity– but this alone is not evidence of God’s blessing. In fact, to associate blessing with material wealth is to completely miss the New Testament concept of blessing. Certainly, in the Old Testament blessing was often associated with prosperity, but in the New Testament, instead of wealth and prosperity, blessing has connotations more in line with a state of happiness and contentment that comes from living out the teachings of Jesus.

However, even if an abundance of wealth were part of God’s blessing, it is completely possible to have an abundance of wealth and not be blessed by God. Is a man who robs a bank and gets away with it blessed by God, or a thief who enjoys his ill-gotten gain in spite of how he acquired it?

Yes, the United States is wealthy, but it is wealthy for a good reason: since its inception, American wealth and prosperity has been at the expense of… well, everyone who’s not white. The nation was born on stolen land, genocide, and slavery– realities that directly relate to our prosperity as a nation. We cannot divorce our wealth from the genesis of it all– one that was rooted in rebellion against God instead of Christian living.

Thus, our prosperity has nothing to do with God’s blessing, unless God’s “blessing” for us is really, really, bad news for a whole lot of others.

So, what about the New Testament concept of blessing being related to happiness? Did God bless us in that department more than any other?

Certainly not– we’re not the happiest country in the world, by far. When happiness is measured, Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, and Finland seem to come out on top. You know, those socialist hell-holes that everyone is fleeing in droves to come to the United States.

While both the OT and NT concepts of God’s blessing fail to describe America, the idea that God has “blessed America more than any other nation” really fails in light of the biblical truth that God doesn’t play favorites that way. In fact, it’s one of the major messages of the New Testament.

When Jesus came on the scene of world history, Israel had a long history of thinking they were the bees-knees when it came to God’s favorites. Jesus’ first public speech actually ended in an assassination attempt, and one of those reasons was because he hinted to the fact that God’s “favorites” would be the very people who rejected him and denied him honor.

Further along in his ministry, Jesus very specifically commands his followers to love and bless everyone equally. The reason Jesus gives for this is simple: because that’s what God does. In fact, Jesus drives home the point by using the analogy of rain, and points out that God causes the rain to fall on everyone, not just some people (Matthew 5:45). In Luke he points out that this is true even for people who hate God, and that we are to bless our enemies as an act of imitating God who is “kind to the ungrateful and wicked” (Luke 6:35). It’s as if Jesus wants to make it abundantly clear that God blesses everyone.

Finally, and perhaps most pointedly, we find the early church in the New Testament finally embrace this idea that God has not blessed one group of people more than any others. To that point in time they had believed exactly that– God had blessed and accepted Israel, but that Gentiles were out. Peter had a dramatic experience that caused him to see how broken that sort of thinking was, and it led him to boldly proclaim, “I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism” (Acts 10:34). It’s actually one of the most beautiful transitions in Scripture, because it’s the point where the group mentality shifted from, “We’re the ones most blessed by God” to the realization that, “Oooooooh. I get it now. God receives and blesses them, too.”

To claim that God has blessed America more than any nation on earth is the height of arrogance and biblical illiteracy. Viewing one’s self, one’s people, or one’s nation as being more favored by God is a destructive and toxic belief– one that Jesus came to deliver us from.

Instead of thinking we’re the greatest because God blesses America more than everyone else, we are invited to have the experience of Peter in Acts.

We are invited to look at those around us and to realize, “Oooooooh. I get it now. God has blessed all of them, too.”

So, no. God doesn’t bless America more than any other nation on earth– and that’s what Franklin Graham is wrong about today.

Benjamin L. Corey

Benjamin L. Corey

BLC is an author, speaker, scholar, and global traveler, who holds graduate degrees in Theology & Intercultural Studies from Gordon-Conwell, and earned his doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller.

He is the author of Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith, and Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus.

It's not the end of the world, but it's pretty #@&% close. Trump's America & Franklin Graham's Christianity must be resisted.

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21 Responses

  1. What i find interesting is that the bully in chief, is becoming socialist himself. Capitalism would allow for the markets to decide, but he now wants to change rules to protect home industry, that’s fine, but that’s not capitalism. Capitalism is what allowed businesses to move their operations overseas to get a better price. His new enemy Canada (Canada!) where he is slapping a duty on softwood, is case in point. The softwood case has been taken to the World Court and to the independent arbitrators for the Free trade pact many times. Every time, the judges determined that Canada was in the right. But because of lobbying from the big lumber in Washington, Trump is slapping a duty on Canadian softwood. I don’t really care that much about softwood, but the point is that he is disregarding a variety of neutral court cases and going with those who are influencing him. Golly, that seems to me more like Russian style communism. Lets face it, America did not want his man, the problem is that they also did not want Hillary. It was a bad election. America is a great country, But it depends upon how you define great. Here is an interesting short read on patriotism.

  2. As someone who is not from the States I have to say that your propaganda that the US is the greatest nation to ever exist has to be one of the most distructive things about your country. The sad thing is that so many of your own citizens believe it to be true. I truly tire of hearing that Trump is the leader of the free world. Just because you have more money and more weapons does not make your country a leader….it makes you the school yard bully who people are afraid to take on because they have too much to lose, especially at this point in time.

    There are amazing things about your country…I lived in Cincinnati for 2 years while doing a Masters degree and I met wonderful, warm, friendly people. I will forever treasure the time I spent there. But I also met people who knew virtually nothing about the rest of the world. The News only reported world events that somehow impacted the US, weather maps cut off Canada and Mexico as if the US was the only country on this continent. When attending an event where the US National Anthem was being sung, my friend’s father, who noticed I was not singing, warmly invited me to join in singing the National Anthem because he wanted me to feel included. While I accept the gesture with the intent with which it was given, why on earth would anyone believe someone from another country would know the words to your National Anthem. Seriously, I am quite certain that no one in the States know the Canadian National Anthem nor would I ever think that someone from another country would know the words.

    Compounding the idea that America is the greatest nation ever to exist with the belief that it is predestined by God to be great only makes the US more dangerous. Suddenly you have God saying you are the most blessed and thus anything you do to make yourself great is only fulfilling what God intends for your country. It is frightening.

    I do know I am generalizing and not every person in the US believes this or is ill informed about the rest of the world. The US has done some amazing things and made significant contributions to the betterment of the world. But so have other countries and while celebrating your accomplishments is expected, believing they somehow make you better than everyone else is just false.

    1. Having grown up in the 1950s, I was subjected to the US propaganda that I believed.
      The USA was never an aggressor nation
      Communists never win elections
      All of the countries in the free world actually were free.

      Then in 1957 I learned the truth about Vietnam. Never looked back.
      This song by Tom Paxton says a lot.

    2. IF nothing else hockey fans know the Canadian National anthem, I learned it when I was seven living in Philadelphia. The Canadian anthem, which I really love – I love Canadians too – by the way, is not lacking in deified nationalism – “God KEEP our land glorious and free.” So whether you believe you all got there on your own or with God’s help you are asking God to maintain glory and freedom – not so different from the attitudes you are complaining about re; USA. The US might seem excessive but having lived in Europe for 7 years it was fun to see how EVERY nationality takes tremendous pride in who they are and the characteristics of the nation.

  3. But if I was Franklin Graham I might make the same mistake, after all, I’d be making almost a million dollars in salary plus all those DVD and book sales. He probably thinks everybody is just like him, God forbid.

  4. Interesting to see the national Guard called into an unarmed prayer protest by Native Americans over a pipeline at Standing Rock and carted them away in police vans versus the armed stand off by the good ol white boys in Oregon who are treated as patriots.

    Seems pretty familiar to the Native Americans.

  5. Not sure I agree with everything you’ve written but I find it to be something I should think about and ponder while searching Scripture to validate your opinions. I do believe God has blessed our nation…however, I believe it was not for ourselves but for Him. He desired to make us a nation that professed Christ with the responsibility to use that blessing to bless others particularly in the provision of a bullypulpit to share the Gospel. But we have squandered that opportunity and used the blessings unwisely believing they were for ourselves alone. There have been moments where we’ve done well and seized the opportunity to share Christ. But by and large, we have failed to understand why we’ve been blessed in the first place.

  6. Dr. Corey,
    Given your belief or hypothesis that the U.S. is not the most blessed country, what would be the top three more blessed countries you’d rather live in?

  7. From a Christian point of view, Jesus made it clear that it was the souls of individuals that were important to God, not nations. It wasn’t even religion that was important as reflected in his Samaritan stories.

    Any Christian who would believe that money, prestige or fame are definite signs of God’s blessing, would then have to believe that such men as Herod were blessed, and that’s just anti-Christian.

  8. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

    These are the blessings of God. Does God bless nations or individuals. I’ve heard that churches are blessed according to the number of “nickles and noses.”

  9. “The Unbiblical Idea That God Has Blessed America Most ”

    Which god? So many gods and goddesses to choose from, and all equally valid choices since they all have the same amount of evidence for their existence.

  10. FINALLY, someone has come out and said it.. It is so offensive to the rest of the world and to Christians in the rest of the world, who are treated as third class citizens by the USA Church leaders. Other nations are expected to take great notice of anything decreed by USA Churches, and yet God has given ALL the Gifts to ALL his people gathered all around the world. I often ponder that ,as it was said “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” John1:46, could be the cry of USA Churches if one day a great revival and uprising of Faith comes out of any other nation on the earth.

  11. American Exceptionalism is the most offensive and frankly ridiculously laughable concept to come out of the post war period. Imagine if China or Russia believed they were God’s favourite. Other countries would be rightly suspicious.

  12. The Gods have granted every nation on Earth the same blessings. The United States (not America!) simply used them (up) faster than any other nation, largely because of our national concept of “Individualism”. It wasn’t divinity, it was simply the social structure that created our situation.
    Graham seems unable to differentiate between Blessings and Raw Materials easily obtained. Shows us where his mind is.

  13. Graham is merely extending the egocentric nature of his religious beliefs – that some invisible sky daddy has made everything about his species’ salvation. Why wouldn’t Graham then believe that HIS god of HIS country had a special place in that deities heart/mind/whatever. Manifest Destiny came at a price to those crushed in its motivational wake.

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