May 15, 2024

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May 15, 2024

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The Pulpit Is Responsible

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Much has been, and is daily written, about the demise of our American culture. Rampant crime, drugs, violence, gender surgery on minors, civil unrest, cities controlled by activists, political corruption, a bloated and unaccountable administrative state, global elites speaking openly of depopulation strategies, the list is long. And certainly, when viewed from an historical perspective, it can be argued that America is fading away as a nation.

One is reminded of the prescient Life Cycle of Nations, put forth by the Scottish historian Alexander Tyler at the time of the American Revolution:

“From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to liberty; From liberty to abundance; From abundance to selfishness; From selfishness to apathy; From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage.”

It should be a stark eye-opener when each of us sees this last stage and then reflects on current events.

America’s greatness has been undergirded from the beginning by our Judeo-Christian moral foundation. (Note the beginning of the list). The Mayflower Compact, which the Pilgrims landed with in 1620 in Plymouth, states: “Having undertaken, for the glory of God, and the advancement of the Christian faith ….”

DeTocqueville, at the time of the American Revolution, attributed America’s greatness to the American pulpits “aflame with righteousness”! We would have had no American Revolution without the pastors speaking God’s Truth and standing up to tyranny.

A short list of what’s “right” with America includes:

  • Freedoms to believe, worship, and live as one wishes are unrivaled compared with other nations.
  • To this day, when disaster strikes, the US is usually the first to respond anywhere in the world.
  • America has done more to alleviate poverty than any other nation.
  • Americans are the most generous people on earth.
  • America is more friendly to Jews, Blacks, and women than any other nation on earth.
  • Americans did more to defeat the 20th Century’s three evil empires than the rest of the world combined.

So what has happened? The moral attack on America began over 100 years ago. Karl Marx, the father of communism, hated the idea of God or any higher power than people.

In this same time period, Charles Darwin began pushing his evolution theory, focusing on the false idea that God had nothing to do with the creation we all live in – it all happened by chance.

The late 1800s also saw the rise of the Industrial Revolution, which was promoted by many “philosophers” to show that “We, humans, can do everything by ourselves; we don’t need God.” People like Woodrow Wilson pushed the idea that our schools only needed to train “workers”—the need for “citizens” with faith, a sense of family and community, a true concern for our culture, a sense of civic responsibility and virtue, etc., was not a priority.

Actually, America’s Judeo-Christian moral foundation was still pretty much intact until the 1960’s. Sex, drugs, and rock and roll became the new culture. Also, the mantra of don’t believe anyone over 30 really caught on.

Major Christian voices warned of this tearing down of our moral foundation. Francis Schaeffer, in the 1970s, warned that the church was “accommodating” the culture. Solzhenitsyn, with real-life experience of a Godless culture, warned that “men have forgotten God.” As usual, throughout history, they and other people, like the prophets, were ignored.

Prominent Christian voices are still warning us today, but, as in earlier times before, they too are ignored. Oz Guinness, looking at the big picture and the lessons of history, warns:

“America, the present moment is your zero hour. The way to go forward best is to go back first. The time for your decisive choice is now. For God’s sake, for history’s sake, and for your children’s sake, choose life and choose freedom. And choose with no further delay. Your zero hour is upon you.”

Eric Metaxes’ book, “Letter to the American Church,” points out very disturbing parallels between the 1930s German church and today’s American church. A story is told of a group of pastors who went to Germany after the war and asked German pastors, ‘What did you do to stop Hitler and the destruction of German society?’ All they could do was weep.

Sadly and tragically, especially in view of the Life Cycle of Nations, the state of the current American church is not good:

  • Just six percent of Americans have a Biblical worldview.
  • A mere 40% of self-identified evangelical or born-again believers agree that the Bible is God’s literal Word.
  • 70% of self-identified Christians reject the Bible’s teaching that Jesus is the one-and-only way to God, according to research from Probe Ministries.
  • 43% of evangelicals deny the divinity of Jesus, a Ligonier Ministries survey found.
  • Only 37% of American pastors are Bible-believing, according to GCU.

Probably the most worrisome is a Barna Study that revealed that 90% of American pastors agree that our cultural issues are Biblical issues, but less than 10% will speak on them. Their concern is staff, square footage, and money!

And so, given all these current issues with the American church, one has to ask: Why? How did this happen?

President Eisenhower warned us about the military-industrial complex, whose priorities were not our nation’s priorities but rather a strategy for more money and control. The COVID pandemic showed us the pharmaceutical-industrial complex. Parents nationwide have awakened to the educational-industrial complex. All this and more reflect the disturbing situation wherein the government/industrial sector has replaced the Constitutional structure wherein “We the People” are in control and the government reports to us.

So, unfortunately, especially in view of the Barna results and looking at the “leadership” of the American church, the elephant in the room is what we might call a Clergy-Industrial complex. Most discussions of our culture mention the church, but the real issue is the church’s “leadership.” The focus there, as we see, is on money, and obviously, the command for “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you …..” (Matthew 28:20) is not a priority.

It has been observed that many pastors see themselves as CEOs and not the shepherds they are called to be. In any other industry, these results listed above would cause the “leadership” to be fired.

So what is to be done if we are to have any chance of restoring our Judeo-Christian moral foundation? History is very clear; without a moral foundation, our culture is done!

The first step is for the church – the People – to back off from the clergy-Industrial complex, just as American parents are backing off the educational-industrial complex. Just as in the First Century, the church needs to grow and flourish on its own.

Several steps are available.

1. The church needs to find out the belief system of its pastors. The church is “paying the freight”; it deserves honesty here. If the pastors are Biblically solid, then maybe organize teams to research the Biblical Truths that accompany the issues, thereby helping equip the pastors to “equip the saints.” There are numerous good resources. This also builds trust and a strong sense of community. The bottom line is the pastors MUST step forward and boldly equip the church to go forth, speak the truth no matter the cost, and be engaged (lights) with the culture. If the pastor can’t, or won’t, step up, then he needs to be dismissed, and the church either find a pastor who will equip the saints or take another path. The time for decisive action is now!

2. Form house churches as parents are forming home schools. Build your own community of committed believers. Maybe rotate the preaching of the word among the elected elders. Maybe use recordings of preachers speaking on the issues.

3. Tie in with churches that are boldly preaching the Word and Biblically standing up. Pastor Jack Hibbs of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills (CA) and Gary Hamrick of Cornerstone Chapel (VA) are two excellent resources, among others, that your house church can watch and be equipped with.

In summary, we are wise to heed the warnings. Our culture and our nation are at a critical point in our history. We all must act or our culture will likely perish at that last step in the Life Cycle of Nations. Together, and with God’s help, America may be able to return to the first step!

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