God has entrusted us with the most outstanding nation in the history of the world. The freedom, technology and wealth of the United States of America have provided the opportunity for the gospel to be disseminated throughout the world.
For believers to have a cavalier attitude toward the moral freefall that threatens the future of our nation is not only spiritually naïve but is a terrible stewardship of the blessings that have been passed down to us.
Jesus warned His disciples that following Him would put them in conflict with the culture. “If the world hates me, it will also hate you.” “I did not come to bring peace but a sword.” “I am sending you out as a sheep among wolves.” “I will set father against son and … daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
That’s why our forefathers used to sing songs that were battle cries, like, “A mighty fortress is our God,” “Onward Christian soldiers marching as to war,” and “Stand up, stand up for Jesus, you soldiers of the cross.” They understood that Jesus had not called them to a playground but a battlefield. They took seriously the admonition of Paul to “put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”
In recent years, however, many churches have dropped all images of war in favor of a peace treaty with the world. We speak of Jesus as the healer and leader but not Lord and King. We shout grace and whisper repentance and make inordinate attempts to ingratiate our selves with those who oppose us. We retreat into silence in the face of horrendous evil and hope it will all go away.
Do you suppose our children and grandchildren will one day ask us, “Where were you when America lost the cultural war? What did you do when the world approved cohabitation, same-sex marriage, the proliferation of pornography, abortion on demand and the teaching of evolution as the source of life in public schools? Did you stand up and fight when the anti-God forces insisted on removing any reference to God and the Bible from the public arena?” How will we answer when those questions come?
Will we excuse our silence by saying, “We didn’t feel like it was our role to clean up the marketplace?” If that were God’s response in Jonah’s day, He would not have insisted that Jonah go to the pagan city of Ninevah and warn them to repent or be destroyed. If Jeremiah had that philosophy, he would have been a popular prophet instead of winding up knee-deep in mud in a cistern.
Will we explain our failure to get involved by saying, “Our ultimate hope is to win people to Christ, so we focused on building up the church”? And “We didn’t want the church to have a negative image in the community so we emphasized only what we’re for”? If John the Baptist had that philosophy, he would never have confronted King Herod’s immorality and got himself beheaded.
Will we try to explain our passivity by saying, “I believed in the separation of church and state; Christians should not get involved in political battles, so I remained neutral”? If that had been Jesus’ philosophy, He would never have said, “You are the salt of the earth” or “Blessed are you when men persecute you.” If Dietrich Bonhoeffer had that philosophy, there would be no books haling him as a courageous Christian martyr for opposing Adolf Hitler.
Read the following passages of Scripture and ask yourself, “Am I standing for God’s truth with boldness or am I cowering because I fear opposition?”
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deut. 31:6, NIV).
“Do not be afraid of what they say or be terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people. You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious” (Ezek. 2:6-7).
“'We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,' he said. 'Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.' Peter and the other apostles replied: 'We must obey God rather than men'” (Acts 5:28-29).
“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand" (Eph. 6:13).
Admittedly, it appears the cultural war is all but lost. Unless the Lord intervenes through His return or the outpouring of His Holy Spirit in a dramatic revival, our civilization is heading for moral collapse.
However, our calling is not to surrender to the forces of darkness but to stand firm in the faith. The rest is up to God—and with Him all things are possible. Besides, I’d like for my grandchildren to know that I had enough perception to see what was coming their way and enough love for them to courageously fight the good fight of faith.
“Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful” (1 Cor. 4:2)
Bob Russell is the retired senior pastor of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Ky., a church he led for 40 years. He now focuses on mentoring pastors while teaching and speaking around the country. His latest project, Acts of God, a film, small-group study and sermon series by City on a Hill Studio and book by Moody Publishers, will be available this month. Visit actsofgodthemovie.com for a preview or more information and follow Bob on Twitter at @BobRussell.