As we’ve written and talked about quite a bit lately, there is no question that America was built by men who believed in and feared God. People will tell you that that’s not true, that they didn’t believe or that the founders had a view of God that downplayed his involvement and importance in human life, but that’s simply not true. As you also know, whether people believe the truth on that issue in this day and age is becoming more and more irrelevant, because 21st Century Americans care less about God, the Bible, and His church with each passing day. This is where American would do well to take a lesson from… the United Kingdom and China?
As strange as that sounds, two news reports from England’s The Telegraph news site over the last week put America’s path toward total apostasy and rebellion in a shocking new light. In the first, British Prime Minister David Cameron called for the Christians of his nation to be more evangelical and more bold with their faith. To quote the article – Christians should be “more evangelical” about their faith and “get out there and make a difference to people’s lives”, David Cameron has said.
In his strongest intervention on religion to date, Mr Cameron said that in an increasingly “secular age” Christians need to be even “more confident” and “ambitious”. He said he wants to “infuse politics” with Christian “ideals and values” such as “responsibility, hard work, charity, compassion, humility and love”.
Can you imagine those words being spoken in America today? Can you imagine a leader not only saying something nice about Christians simply to placate them, but calling on them to help them bring about the change the nation needs to see? Though Cameron made concessions later in saying that atheists and secularists can bring about morality as well, his point stood clear – if things are going to change, those who believe in Christ need to be leading the way. That’s a sermon every American needs to hear, coming from the lips of a world leader in a nation that has long been secularized.
The second article focused on the estimation that China is on pace to have more Christians than any other nation in the world by 2025. While our first inclination might be to suggest that that’s due to population, consider the fact that as China was in the midst of becoming the world’s most populous nation, in 1949 they only had one million who claimed Christianity. Today that number is nearing sixty million. Though there are still a number of underground churches facing persecution, there are also churches who are working with the government and even sanctioned by it, because, as the article says “’They do not trust the church, but they have to tolerate or accept it because the growth is there,’ said the church leader. ‘The number of Christians is growing – they cannot fight it. They do not want the 70 million Christians to be their enemy.’” One minister interviewed in the article said, “Christianity can also play a role in maintaining peace and stability in society. Without God, people can do as they please.” Though their doctrine may not be correct and though the Communist Party of China is still working hard to control what is taught, China is realizing what Cameron also pointed out: without vocal, active Christians a nation fails from the inside. Why has America forgotten that?
It’s clear throughout the course of history that once a nation experiences hard times or hits rock bottom morally, they begin to turn back to God for guidance. That was the entire point of the book of Judges, and we can see it happening elsewhere to Israel and their contemporaries throughout the Bible. It doesn’t HAVE to be that way though. Some sort of rock bottom status is not a requirement for large-scale repentance on a national level, though. Unfortunately, as long as a nation’s citizens feel self-reliant and morally good in their own hearts without God, and the Christians of a nation feel comfortable and lack urgency in their evangelism, change will never come about without some sort of rock bottom experience. Sound familiar? That’s exactly where we are in America today, and unless that changes we will continue down a path to destruction where God will bring us to repentance. What can we do to stop what feels like a runaway train of immorality among the populace and apathy among the church?
First, develop a proper understanding of sin. Sin isn’t a “mistake” or a bad decision, it is rebellion against God and makes us guilty for putting His Son on the cross. It separates us from each other through our own selfishness, from God’s blessings because of His justness, and from God Himself because of His righteousness. So long as we continue to think that our sins aren’t that bad or that other people’s sins like homosexuality, drug abuse, etc. are worse rather than focusing on our own separation from God, we will remain stagnant.
Second, we have to develop a sense of urgency. Yes, heaven is a real place that God has promised those who are faithful to Him, but hell is just as real and from what we read of Jesus’ words about the broad gate (Matthew 7:13), most people are going to go there. Family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, even those folks you would consider enemies – is that the end you want them to meet? Eternal separation from God and the punishment that sin without atonement absolutely requires?
Unless we start thinking eternally, we will continue our path towards national destruction. Change doesn’t start with a legislature passing a law or a court making a decision according to God’s precepts. They haven’t done that, they aren’t doing that, and so we shouldn’t expect them to do so. Instead, change starts within us, as individuals and churches, developing the fire for God’s Word and taking it to the people around us lest it start to catch fire in our bones like Jeremiah (20:9).