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The American Church At a Crossroad

Over the last several years, my appreciation for our founding fathers has grown exponentially. Our constitution, their crowning achievement, is the greatest governing document ever forged in the minds of men. That said, the growth of my appreciation is in direct proportion to the increasing turmoil that is currently gripping our nation.  


That turmoil includes rampant inflation, massive national debt, unlimited funding of foreign wars, attacks on freedom of speech, lawlessness, antisemitism, the sexualization of children, a porous border, a tainted electoral system, and the weaponization of the federal government––to name a few.   

What’s coming to light are the bad actors, entrenched in government, education, media and entertainment, who are intent on “fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” You may recognize these words––Obama spoke them in 2008. And it was not mere rhetoric.

My sense is more and more people are becoming better informed about the wrecking ball that is bludgeoning our nation. What’s alarming, however, is the deafening silence of the American Church. 



Looking broadly at the church, I’m reminded of the myth of the frog in the pot of water: if you place a frog in a pot of boiling water it will jump out. But if you place the frog in a pot of tepid water and gradually heat it, the frog will remain in the water until it boils to death. At present, the church is sitting unperturbed in a pot of water that’s fast approaching boiling point.

So, why has the American church largely relinquished her God-given responsibility to influence government and culture


One argument that holds sway is that the church has no business meddling in politics. Isaiah 9:6, however, clearly speaks to the divine source of governmental authority, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder.” Isaiah is speaking to Christ’s kingly leadership rather than religious leadership. Furthermore, God makes his appeal through the church––his ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20). And so it is through the agency of His church that Christ governs.

 

This is consistent with the Constitution in that the first three words of the preamble––We The People––affirm that our government exists because the people formed it. And the powers given to every elected official are invested in them by the people. 


So, why must the church influence culture? Culture reflects the moral acuity of a society and expresses what the collective members of that society believe and value. Those values are then substantiated through policy, (hence, the word politics), which are the working instruments devised by government. Whoever influences culture shapes politics, and politics determines the fate of a nation. The church has the authority and a moral imperative to influence both culture and public policy.


The church’s failure to influence, however, is due, in large part, to Pastors who fail to preach God’s Word which exposes the evil at work in a society. Christian leaders who will not speak for fear of losing tithes, or exposing division or becoming targets of persecution, are prioritizing safety and position over their pastoral calling. Moreover, when Pastors lack courage to teach biblical truths, then Christians will be influenced, not by the Word, but by the ungodly culture.


There are simply no arguments of merit that preclude Pastors from speaking out against evil. Case in point: German Pastor, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a rare voice in pre-WWII Germany, stood in opposition to the burgeoning Nazi regime. While some Christian leaders openly embraced Hitler––most remained silent. Had that silent majority joined in opposition with Bonhoeffer, the Nazi’s would have failed to gain sufficient influence with the German people needed to assume power. 


Bonhoeffer understood the danger, stating, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” And so it was in the 1930’s that the German church remained silent and 52 million people ultimately perished.

Should the American church fail to embrace her godly mantle––should she determine to simply wait and watch and wonder why the world is on fire––then the America envisioned by our founding fathers will utterly collapse, and the world with her.  

 

 

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