A thought occurred to me the other day about American Christendom; it was more of a question. Why do Christians expect the unsaved to act like they are saved before they get saved? I know, go back and read it again. Why does the Church expect politicians, public figures, or for that matter, religious leaders to have the moral courage to act in a way only possible through the work of the Indwelling Holy Spirit?
The Apostle Paul understood this when he explained to the Corinthian church:
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.’” (1 Corinthians 1:18-19)
I have found one of the more challenging aspects of political discourse is why we, who describe ourselves as Christians, expect the secular world to see things through our political lens. If my political lens is developed through a biblical worldview why would I expect a secular person, or a moderate Christian for that matter, to agree with my opinion when they reject the inerrancy and infallibility of the source on which I base my beliefs?
As a person who has just come out from under the ether of political pragmatism at the cost of personal piety, I cannot and should not expect others to understand why I have a litmus test when it comes to the issue of abortion or same-sex marriage. And even if I find a candidate with my belief system who swears he or she will never waver on values issues that is no guarantee that when the time comes to make the tough decisions that he or she will do so.
American Christendom for far too long has relied on politicians to do the work of the Church, and the citizenry for that matter. We the People, whether it be the voting public in general or values voters in particular, cannot leave the hard work of changing hearts and minds to a conservative and/or biblical viewpoint (not that there is much difference) to our representatives. They represent us; they are not us.
The Church has been betrayed by political parties for as long as I can remember and then some. The United States, a nation that began as a virtuous nation, has lost its national virtue. We have replaced the rule of law with the rule of mob; we have substituted absolute truth for no truth is absolute. And as I said earlier, we have given up our personal piety for political pragmatism.
How did that happen?
I admit ashamedly that the Church as become a harlot, not unlike the time of the Judges, after the death of Joshua:
“When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the LORD nor the work which He had done for Israel…but they played the harlot with other gods, and bowed down to them. They turned quickly from the way in which their fathers walked, in obeying the commandments of the LORD; they did not do so.” (Judges 2:10, 17)
Today in America if a pastor preaches on sin he is considered a “fundamentalist” and “intolerant” of other religions. News flash! Jesus was intolerant of other religions! Oh and quite contrary to the teaching of some pastors today, Jesus preached on sin and its penalty:
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.” (Matthew 5: 27-30)
While I understand the desire to preach about the needs of the unchurched, if all that pastors preach are seeker-friendly messages and never teach on absolute truth, it is absolutely true that all sermons in America will be friendly to seekers and empty on the truth of our sinful nature. How can America be brought to national repentance when churches will not preach on the need for personal repentance? How can revival come to America if not first in the lives of Americans?
We can no more cajole unsaved people to get saved than we can “motivate every person to leave here to be a better father, a better husband, to break addictions to come up higher in their walk with the Lord”, especially those who do not know the Lord!
Why is that? Because without the conviction of the Holy Spirit we as a nation and we individually will not see our sinfulness. If I’m being told, “C’mon, just try harder!” then I’m going to believe the lie that I can change myself from my sinfulness. That is nonsense and Spurgeon knew this over 100 years ago:
“The ox projects no thought upward or beyond: to stand in the cool brook or lie down in the fat pasturage is its all in all; even thus it is with the mass of men, their souls are tethered to their bodies, imprisoned within the circumstances of the day.” Charles Haddon Spurgeon
If all I worry about is what am I going to eat, or wear, or who I’m dating, or if Chris or Adam is going to be the next American Idol, then it is unlikely that I am going to take the time to look “within myself” and see the need for the Savior. The Apostle Paul writing to the Roman church nearly two thousand years ago saw the futility of this approach:
“Whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.’ How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:13-15)
I wrote in “The Right Sailing of the Human Fleet” that “America has set itself so far off course that it is almost impossible to imagine the country ever righting itself.”
Let me make that a little clearer. America will never right itself back on course without a spiritual revival. Without a return to our national virtue America is lost.
While as a citizen of the United States I have an important responsibility and privilege to vote and make sure that the better candidate wins elections; that alone will not save America.
As a citizen of the Kingdom of God I have an important responsibility and privilege to share the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ so that sinners will be won to the Savior; the only thing that will save America and more importantly…its citizens.
If I allow the fear of rebuke, retribution, or ridicule to keep me from speaking biblical truth in the arena of ideas and to the people I come in contact with, then the United States and its citizens will simply continue being “imprisoned within the circumstances of the day.”
Copyright © 2009 David Jeffers.
All rights reserved.