Popular Christian bumper stickers featuring the letters “NOTW” remind drivers that Christ’s kingdom is “not of this world” and that His followers are “foreigners and exiles” in this world. For many American Christians, however, our spiritual loyalty can often get tangled with patriotism. How can we claim to be “not of this world” and yet still honor our earthly nations?
As the son of World War II soldier, I take great interest in the history of my country and look forward to celebrating our freedom tomorrow on July 4. I also have a moral responsibility to fulfill the civic duties my country requires. However, like all Christians, I must comply with my “eternal” responsibilities first.
Augustine of Hippo (AD 354–430) called these two allegiances the City of Man and the City of God, respectively. Knowing how these obligations relate to each other and how to balance them is a challenge. Check out these two previous posts for details on Augustine’s City of Man-City of God ideology and see how it can help Christians balance their present and eternal obligations.