Solomon cautioned, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death" (Prov. 14:12). Or as one Bible scholar explained: "A striking example is the talk of a seductress that seems delectable—and may be so at first—but quickly turns odious."
Learning the "right things" is required to perpetuate freedom. And the best learning for the establishment of Western civilization in America (and previous to that, in Europe) is that which the Founding Fathers had a great deal of: the knowledge of God.
Consider the First Charter of Virginia (1606): "In propagating of Christian Religion to such People, as yet live in Darkness and miserable Ignorance of the true Knowledge and Worship of God, and may in time bring the Infidels and Savages, living in those parts, to human Civility, and to a settled and quiet Government."
Our rights come from God. That vision did not originate with the Revolutionary-era founders, but they recast it in their own generation. One hundred and seventy years after the First Charter, another document was drafted—The Declaration of Independence.
"When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."
Christian education instructed America for the first two centuries, equipping men and women with exceptional character. American exceptionalism came to pass as the byproduct of a Christian culture, advanced by Christian theology and strengthened by biblical wisdom. However, Christian thought and biblical wisdom have now been rendered obsolete in the 21st century at the hands of secularism. Secular preeminence in public education, higher learning, newsrooms, sports, the Courts, the Fortune 500, Hollywood and medicine has collapsed a once Christian culture
The culture established by the Founders was once studied in painstaking detail, so as to grasp and capture the process of designing and establishing social and civil order. That inheritance, bequeathed to us, has been shanghaied by a "dirty, sloppy, wallowing [secular culture]: an insignificant little glint of gold quite lost in [and] dwarfed by [secularism's] piggish behavior."
Today public education and higher learning have embraced a progressive bureaucratic form of government, discarding the constitutional form that governed America for most of its history.
The corrective to the dissolution of the American culture is revival—a spiritual resurrection. Unfortunately, a pious heresy has slipped into the church over the last century—the belief that Christians are not to "polish brass on a sinking ship." So Christians have deserted the battlefield in the war for the soul of America. Dr. Paul A. Rahe, in his presentation, "The Greek Legacy" said "The primacy of war, and the primacy of politics, go together."
In our Democratic Republic, the body of voters who bring their principles to the voting booth will reign. Therefore, organizing is primary. But evangelicals appear lost on how politics work because out of an estimated 65-80 million evangelicals in America, half are not registered to vote. Christian leaders have the zeal of God, but they do not understand how to earn or spend political currency.
Not understanding political currency, many pastors confuse their congregants by saying, "There's little difference between Democrat and Republican parties." This is equivalent to arguing that there is no difference between Islam, Hinduism, Buddhists and Christianity.
I say this all the time, but there is nothing good or bad about the Democrat or Republican Party. Both are simply empty holding vessels; like-minded constituents are housed there. But Christians are not housed in a "vessel" that champions abortion, same-sex intercourse and marriage, and transgender bathrooms: all irreconcilable with biblical truth.
Former Ohio Congressman Bob McEwen explains:
"An airline passenger turns to her seatmate and asks, 'What do you do?' He replies, 'I'm a pastor.' She responds, 'Oh that's wonderful! I think that spirituality is very important; I really don't care which religion because they all lead to the same place. My son does something with crystals out in the Bay Area that seems to help him. Besides, it's all the same God; I really appreciate what you do!"
"Now, she thinks that she has just paid the minister a compliment. However, she has just demonstrated that she doesn't have a clue what she's talking about.
"The pastor then turns to his other seatmate and asks, 'What is it that you do?' He answers, 'I am a Member of Congress.' The pastor responds, 'That is terrific! I so respect people in public life. It is a great thing that you do; I don't care which political party because there are good people in all parties. They are all trying to do what is best. I just vote for the best candidate.'
"Now, the minister thinks that he has just paid the Congressman a compliment. However, he has just demonstrated that he hasn't a clue about how politics and government work.'"
Market research firms have polled and researched religious conservatives for much of the last decade. Analyzing the lack of power, vigor, vitality and listlessness of Christian conservatives is never-ending. What these firms have demonstrated is that they don't have a clue on how to change the political temperature in America; they simply research which way the wind blows. America is in need of Christian thermostats, not Christian thermometers.
There is good news: Judge Roy Moore won the Alabama Republican Primary last week! Gideons and Rahabs are beginning to stand.
David Lane is the founder of American Renewal Project.