Tag Archives: freedom

The People Groan – America In Crisis

freedom

When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan.

Proverbs 29:2

A 2020 Barna survey revealed that only 51% of Americans believe in a traditional, biblical view of God as “all powerful, all knowing, perfect and just Creator.” This is down from 73% in 1991.  The same survey showed that 56% of Americans believe in Satan as a “real spiritual being who influences people’s lives.”

In an interview, George Barna stated that during the early stage of the pandemic, surveys showed that most Christians were fearful and looking to government for leadership. For most people, God didn’t enter into the equation when making decisions.

While fewer people believe in God, a 2021 Pew Research study reveals that more people believe in UFO’s than in God.

Does this sound like the righteous are increasing?

When the Wicked Rule

As a conservative, evangelical Christian, I must admit that when I read Proverbs 29:2, my mind focuses first on the wicked ruler as the reason America groans under division, strife, loss of freedom and economic uncertainty. For those paying attention, Leftists have made their agenda clear: they seek to destroy our nation and replace it with their godless dystopian vision.

But if I ignore the first half of Proverbs 29:2, I won’t understand why God has allowed this to happen. If I ignore the first half of this verse, I see the wicked rulers (or their ideology) as the sole problem, and my solution will be to elect different rulers. When I seek only a political solution, my prayers for our nation reflect my human concerns but not the concerns of God.

When the Righteous Don’t Increase

I once heard a preacher say that a nation gets the leaders it deserves. If this be true, and it must be because our just God removes kings and sets up kings (Daniel 2:21), then efforts to turn America around will fail if we don’t meet God’s standard: Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people (Proverbs 14:34).

Our human concerns—wanting our children to grow up in a free society and not in a totalitarian nightmare, for example—are legitimate concerns. But God also tells us to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. If we want the best future for our children, we have to get our priorities straight. Whether we like it or not, it may be too late for America, it may have an incurable wound. The America we love may soon be relegated to the dustbin of history because of its idolatry. My first choice would be that my children grow up to live righteous lives in a free, God-fearing nation. But if not given that option, it is better to have righteous children whom God favors (Daniel 1:9) while captive in Babylon than to have free children who participate in Babylon’s sins and incur God’s judgment (Revelation 18:4).

American Christianity At a Crossroads

I believe our nation is already under judgment and has been for some time. How else could its wickedness have increased so dramatically in such a short time unless God has given us over to our desires (Romans 1). Too many evangelical churches have become indistinguishable from the culture. Too many Christians have placed their lamp under a basket and the current state of our nation proves the American Church exhibits a lukewarm faith that is “wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked” (Revelation 3:17).

When God judges a nation by abandoning it to its sin, it should become obvious to God’s people that this world, apart from God, is not a good place. Our idols won’t save us. Our government leaders won’t, our money won’t, our military won’t, our Constitution won’t. When Jesus evaluates the churches in Revelation he tells them, “I know your deeds.” Pray that “In God We Trust” be more than a motto in our land.

American Christianity is at a crossroads. God will eventually destroy all of earth’s idols. The Church must reject them now. The world system offers us many idols. As long as we accept them, Babylon will leave us alone to languish in apostasy and mediocrity and idolatry. If we reject the world’s idols, Babylon will persecute us. The good news, attested to throughout history, is that Christianity flourishes under persecution. Through reproof and discipline, Jesus implores us to be zealous and repent and invites us to dine with him and overcome the world (Revelation 3:19-21).

 

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America’s Fight for Freedom

Whatever happened to America’s fight for freedom?

Don’t get me wrong. Americans still fight for freedom, but for many people it’s a different kind of freedom than previous generations fought for.

Yesterday morning, a day after celebrating our Fourth of July holiday, I wondered if my memory was accurate. It seemed to me that, during the Cold War, most Americans believed that the battle was between God-fearing nations and God-denying nations. Those who wanted to preserve individual freedom fought those who wanted to enslave individuals under collectivistic communism. The most effective pejoratives against communism were that it was godless and would take away our freedoms. It seemed clear—the Cold War pitted those who believed in a sovereign God and in the right of individuals to serve Him or to reject Him against atheists who demanded service only to the state. For Christians who knew their Bible, which system was good and which system was evil was easily discernible.

That was a major reason why the United States was determined to halt communism’s advance, even if it entailed great sacrifice.

But did we win the war?

Who Won the Cold War?

During the Cold War, the majority of Americans believed that communism was evil. Fast forward to today. Why do so many people in the U.S. believe socialism, which shares many of communism’s evils, is good?

I believe our secular society no longer cares much if we adopt a godless ideology, because in practice, most people already live as if God doesn’t exist. Thus, a call to fight godless ideologies will not have the effect it had on previous generations.

I also believe it is because we live in a secular society in which most people want to do what is right in their own eyes. Many Americans want freedom from religion so they can do whatever they want in their personal lives, including behaviors prohibited by Holy Writ. Many Americans want nearly unlimited freedom from government interference, believing the Bible imposes few if any restrictions on their economic activity.

Instead of fighting for freedom from a godless communism bent on taking away our freedom to serve God, too many of us fight for the freedom to serve our self. Now that our society has chucked God overboard on its journey to progressivism’s imaginary man-made nirvana, the argument has turned to economics.

Now, in what seems to me to be a capitulation to our culture’s dominant worldview, the main weapon many Christians use to fight socialism is a zealous promotion of capitalism, claiming it to be the only moral economic system.

What happened to God? Have Christians really come to believe that God will give his glory to another? Is it capitalism that will save us and demand our service?

Who won the battle for the hearts and minds of humanity that was fought in the Cold War? The West may have halted the geopolitical boundary expansion of communism, we may have won the battle against flesh and blood, but how did we fare “against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms?” (Ephesians 6:12)

The Task Ahead

It is sad that many Christians now fight against godless ideologies, not by proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom of God, but by proclaiming the gospel of capitalism. What message do we send to unbelievers when we are so ashamed of the gospel and the freedom it gives that we promote with all our might the freedom to pursue great wealth via capitalism? Jesus’ words in Mark 8:34-38 ought to sober up any Christian inclined to fight evil by employing the very weapons the enemy uses to destroy him (1 Timothy 6:6-10).

Our task hasn’t changed. Our mission is the same. True freedom comes from Christ (John 8:36). The pearl of great price cannot be obtained via capitalism or by voting into power a certain political party. Our job is to spread the good news of the kingdom of God.

 

Did you like this article? Check out my book, The Narrow Road: Loving God In a World Devoted to Money, on Amazon.