America. Land of the free, home of the brave. Great Land of liberty, of Thee I sing.
God, bless America.
In the past, it has been possible–even encouraged–to be a Christian–a biblical, evangelical, committed Christian–in America.
In the relatively recent past, even those Americans who were not ‘overtly religious’ were open to and welcomed the influence of Christianity on our culture.
The foundations in Christianity resulted in the priorities of Freedom and Liberty, but also certain ‘foundational values’, such as a commitment to Family, Personal Integrity and Responsibility, Respect for others. Even the free market system was based on values of ‘hard work, risk, responsibility, and reward’–all within a framework of honesty. Generosity was encouraged, as was Compassion.
Many of these values arose out of a ‘friendliness’ to Christianity, at the very least.
Christians within America knew and embraced the Truth found in Scripture that ‘Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12). American Christians embraced this, and all Americans benefited from it.
God did bless America!
In it’s first 200 years, America went from a non-entity to the most powerful, most prosperous, most generous nation on the face of the earth, and it stood with those who sought freedom and opposed tyranny. Each citizen had a ‘say’ in how the country was run–through the electoral process. The freedom to vote, which had been restricted to the privileged few, was now open to all.
Certainly, it was not perfect…but America was unique in history in its commitment to freedom, liberty, equality, morality, and its dependence on the influence of Judeo-Christianity. The Church–those believers in Jesus Christ that live their faith on a day-to-day basis–was influential in the culture, and the economy, the halls of power.
Over the last few decades, however, it’s changed…a lot!
Our culture has moved increasingly (and with increasing speed) away from the influence of Christianity, and have replaced with relativistic, humanistic thought in which ‘everyone does what is right in his own eyes’ (see Judges 17:6; 21:25).
The Church responded, not by repenting of its own sin and worldliness, but by linking itself to politics and politicians for their ‘salvation’. We tried to find ‘the right person’ and pass ‘the right laws’ to champion our causes.
Instead of seeking God, we sought political power.
It has ‘worked’, to a small extent, at times…but not any more.
Now, we have a choice to elect an egotistical, misogynistic, arrogant businessman, who bullies and shames opponents, rather than resort to mature discussion, debate and compromise. Our other choice is an arrogant, pandering control freak who wants the government to interfere and control everything (and everyone) from cradle to grave, and seems to want to target biblical Christianity in doing so.
Neither, in my opinion, has the class, humility, maturity and ‘gravitas’ to be President…but, barring some amazing turn of circumstances, one will be.
Now, the Church is left pretty much on the outside, looking in. Neither candidate is all that interested in the ‘Christian’ perspective, and neither is going to be ‘defending’ Biblical values, much less ‘promoting’ them.
So, what are we to do?
BE the Church!
We are to stop looking to Washington* to defend our way of life, and start living it out, humbly, lovingly, respectfully, prayerfully, but BOLDLY anyway. We are to love God and love people, we are to share the Gospel, we are to worship Jesus as Savior and Lord uncompromisingly. We are to have compassion on others–even if it was their sinful lifestyle choices that destroyed their lives–and try to point them to Jesus and the Biblical lifestyle, which leads to “Life, to the Full!” (John 10:10)
In other words, we’re to do what we should have been doing all along…looking to the Lord for our direction, and building on His Word as our foundation.
Who knows? Maybe in God’s plan, the Church in America, now focused on BEING the Church in America, will result in America coming back to the Lord…but even if it doesn’t, our focus is clear.
BE the Church by BEING committed, worshipful, loving Christ-followers.
*Note: This does not mean totally ‘unplugging’ from politics…but that’s another Blog.