America a Christian Nation?

A nation, as a political entity, cannot be truly “Christian,” since an institution cannot have faith, nor be forgiven its sin. Moreover, a civil government is ruled by laws, not the Gospel—which is the main power Christ gave the church. The church is universal, the body of Christ—through time and place. Earthly kingdoms, however are limited and have a definite end.
It seems fair to say that early America was more amenable to practicing Christian believers, but now it is more antagonistic towards them in its policies. But laws (even the best ones) cannot give Christ’s righteousness, nor distribute the Father’s grace. That is the not the God-given purpose of government.
Sinners repent and are baptized to be disciples of Christ. We do not baptize countries or constitutions. Groups of people do not have a collective faith—every person either believes or disbelieves for himself. As Luther said in the Smalcald Articles: “thank God, a child seven years old knows what the Church is, namely, the holy believers and lambs who hear the voice of their Shepherd. For the children pray thus: I believe in one holy [catholic or] Christian Church.” Individuals are forgiven and follow Christ, because they are ruled by the Holy Spirit and the Word—not mere external civil laws. Morals and outward obedience do not make a person just, the Father justifies and counts sinners righteous for the sake of Christ.
While governments are divinely instituted, and must be respected, and we pray for good government, there is no salvation in any government or rule of law. But when government does not do its job well, it is much harder to live as a Christian and let the Spirit do His work of saving sinners through the proclamation of the Word. “Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself” (Phil. 3:19-21). —ed.