John Lennon’s America

John and Yoko
John and Yoko

Take your mind back to 1971 and remember what the times were like. There was a counter culture movement that was taking place across America and much of the world. To put it in the simplest terms, hippies did not want to walk instep with mainstream America. They marched to the beat of their own drums. The movement began on our college campuses and arose out of opposition to the Vietnam War. The hippies were marked by a unique look consisting of beards and long hair for the men and granny dresses, no-rimmed glasses and beads for the women. This movement was marked by a call for peace, “make love not war” was a common cry. Those who opposed the war in Vietnam and embraced this movement were known as flower children.

This counter culture movement influenced a great deal of the music in the 60’s and 70’s. I will make a confession to you that I enjoy the music from this era. I do listen to praise and worship most of the time. However, if you see me on my lawnmower cutting my grass and my head bobbing back and forth you can make the assumption it is 60’s and 70’s rock-n-roll I am listening to in my earphones. My youth was marked by a devotion to Jefferson Airplane, The Allman Brothers, America and similar groups. The most influential group during this time was the Beetles, in particular, John Lennon. I was never a huge Beetles fan though I know most of their music by heart.

In 1971 John Lennon released the perfect anthem for the counter culture movement, “Imagine.” Read the lyrics to this short song.

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today…

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

John Lennon’s song stands in direct opposition to God’s Word. The opening line of the song imagines no heaven. Genesis 14:19 describes God as the Creator of heaven and earth. Revelation 21:1 describes a new heaven and a new earth where God dwells with men. The opening and closing pages of the Bible describe God as creating heaven and dwelling there. John Lennon imagines undoing what God has done.

He continues in the opening lines to imagine no hell below us. In Matthew 5:30 Jesus claims it is better for a person to lose their body parts than to enter into hell with your whole body. Colossians 1:16 says of Jesus, “By Him were all things created.” Lennon attacks the concept of hell which was created by our Lord Jesus.

He continues dreaming that all the people are living for today. Matthew 6:20 shares the words of Jesus, “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” Lennon said live for today; Jesus said live with eternity in mind by storing up treasures in heaven.

In the next stanza of the song Lennon dreams of no countries, nothing to kill or die for. Romans 13 teaches the governments of nations are instruments of God. God has established the concept of nations and governments. Nothing to kill or die for? John 15:13 records Jesus saying, “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ecclesiastes 3 teaches there is a time to kill and a time for war. Lennon’s dream of nothing to kill or die for are opposed by Jesus and the Bible.

Lennon calls for no religion and no personal possessions. In his imagination this would mean no one would be hungry and no one would be greedy. This song was written at the height of the Cold War. It is clear that Lennon embraced Communism in its purist form. He dreams of a godless society, where there is no national boundaries to defend and everyone has only what they need, nothing more. This is the song that became the anthem in many ways to the counter culture supporters in the early 70’s.

While having contempt for the song because it attacks Christians’ core beliefs, what is heartbreaking is this song in many ways has been prophetic concerning America. Our nation’s laws, decrees and decisions are now made with no consideration of God. Our nation has embraced the notion of redistributing wealth. The working class in many ways is being impacted by those who don’t work but live from the American coffer. Our nation is losing its sovereignty. Our borders and citizenship laws are not kept or respected. Our citizens have enough sense to know we must have stock laws with required fences to keep what is mine from becoming yours and vice versa. Our national leaders seem to lack this common sense. We live in a time where our nation in many ways has embraced Lennon’s song, we have no God, we have no boundaries, we share our possessions and everyone is living for today.

John Lennon’s imagination may be playing out before our very eyes BUT rest assured there is a heaven above and a hell below and one God. No song or people can undo these truths. I promise you, right now John Lennon knows there is a God and a place where people spend eternity – either heaven or hell.