With Their Freedoms Teetering, American Christians Must Take This Responsibility

American Christendom

Religion in the Netherlands was historically dominated by Christianity between the 10th and 20th centuries. In the late 19th century, roughly 60% of the population was Calvinist and 35% was Catholic.

That was before its dalliance with secularism. Now, a mere 100 years later, most Dutch people are in the firm grip of secular ideology and identify as secular agnostics.

“A little yeast leavens the whole lump,” wrote the apostle Paul in Galatians 5:9. Used as a metaphor this explains what will happen in situations where there is an unstable foundation: a slight inclination to error or a few false teachers will pervert the concept of faith and lead the church astray.

Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920) pastored churches in Beesd, Utrecht and Amsterdam for 11 years (1863-1874), but during the onslaught of godless secularism the Dutch theologian, statesman and journalist began his trek into the rough and tumble of the public square and civic engagement. As such, he dominated the religious and political life of the Netherlands for nearly half a century, serving finally as the Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 1901 to 1905.

The prominent Dutch historian Ernst Heinrich Kossmann (1922-2003) noted that Kuyper’s intention was not to reform or dominate modern civilization but to break it. “There is not a single inch of the whole terrain of our human existence,” wrote Kuyper, “over which Christ … does not proclaim, ‘Mine!'”

Guillaume Groen van Prinsterer [1801-1876], the Dutch Protestant political leader and religious thinker wrote in 1847 “Ongeloof en Revolutie” (Unbelief and Revolution), presciently linking disbelief in religion with the oncoming godless spirit of the French Revolution.

The remarkable Groen van Prinsterer became Kuyper’s mentor. A liberal in his early years, he became a Christian around 1833 and as such one of the pillars of the 19th-century Réveil (Awakening), a spiritual renewal effort and antidote to the modernist movement.

“In politics, Groen provided the theoretical basis for the Dutch denominational political party system. He prepared the way for the foundation of the Anti-Revolutionary Party formed in 1878 by Abraham Kuyper, who, unlike the aristocrat Groen, was capable of rallying the orthodox Protestant lower-middle classes.”

The term ‘rallying’, i.e., ‘mobilizing’, brings us to the common misconception that the battle in America’s public square is between Republicans and Democrats. In reality, two distinct religions are vying for control over the public square—Christianity and secularism. The immutable former and the ever-changing latter cannot coexist; one will ultimately go down as a consequence of the elevation of the other.

American Christendom’s leaders should realize that the largest denominations of political currency are: 1) How many votes can you bring to the table, and 2) How much money can you collect that brings votes to the table. Preaching, orating, lecturing or declaiming are not denominations of political currency.

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The republican form of government established by America’s Founders sets forth that power of government is held by the people. The people give power to the leaders they elect to represent them and serve their interests. Unfortunately, Christian absence from the voting booth and its negligible impact on the culture have empowered secularism’s disciples to elect their representatives, create and pass legislation, and so codify into law secularism’s ungodly immoral values.

Consider for reference the following: Removal of prayer (Engel v. Vitale; 1962) and the Bible (Abington School District v. Schempp; 1963) from public education; slaughter of pre- and post-born babies (Roe v. Wade; 1973); consecration of sodomy (Lawrence v. Texas; 2003); and commendation and celebration of same-sex marriage (Obergefell v. Hodges; 2015).

The present sordid culture is but the public manifestation of the profane secular religion lording over the nation. Its apostles and proselytes man the nation’s spiritual, intellectual, educational, economic, vocational and cultural levers of power, and were recently found to be colluding and collaborating with the FBI to suppress free speech and warp elections.

Blitzing the airwaves lobbying for men in women’s locker rooms and showers, secularism’s corrupting influence over culture made the NBA move the All-Star Game from Charlotte to New Orleans in 2017, caused the NCAA to move its first and second round NCAA tournament games from Greensboro to Greenville, South Carolina and fouled Duke legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski. The same god that Abraham Kuyper confronted in the Netherlands in the 19th century is the same god distorting America’s once biblically based culture.

And therein lies the rub. Kuyper’s ability to organize and “rally the orthodox Protestant lower-middle classes” provided the difference between winning and losing elections, and so empower those with wisdom to “reign and decree justice,” as Proverbs 8:15 has it. The process of mustering and marshaling like-minded constituents to the voting booth is a form of art and essential for governing. This cannot be overemphasized enough.

Modern America’s tragedy is that very little strategic thought and action is employed to bring to heel the false god of secular humanism and his assault on the spiritual basis of Western civilization. American Christendom will have to substantially increase its commitment and involvement if freedom and liberty are to be sustained for our children and grandchildren. {eoa}

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David Lane is the founder of the American Renewal Project.

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