Tucked within an article this week in the Wall Street Journal about the “rift between CEOs, Obama” was a compelling – for me at least – tidbit about the confidence of people in various institutions. The article referenced a 2009 Gallup Poll in which those polled were asked the following question:
Please tell me how much you, yourself, have in each (institution) – a great deal, quite a lot, some, or very little?
The good news is that in the “a great deal” category, 82 percent of people place the military, followed by small business at 67 percent, the police at 59 percent … and then the not-so-good news. The church/organized religion follows at 52 percent. It is a given that any poll can be misused and misapplied, so without falling into that trap I would like to conduct my own one-question poll:
Do you think the Christian church in America is influencing the culture and all institutions toward biblical values, or it is the other way around?
The continued evidence of the war raging for the moral foundations of the United States and the West is legion. The glorious, although not unflawed, history of Christianity producing spiritual, cultural, social and political transformation is clearly being reversed before our eyes.
Compare the lack of transformational influence of Christianity in critical institutions such as media, arts, education and government with our ancestors of the faith as described by Phillip Schaff in his 1882 revised version of “History of the Christian Church”:
The kingdom of Christ, in its principle and aim, is as comprehensive as humanity. It is truly catholic or universal, designed and adapted for all nations and ages, for all the powers of the soul, and all classes of society. It breathes into the mind, the heart and the will a higher, supernatural life, and consecrates the family, the state, science, literature, art and commerce to holy ends, till finally God becomes all in all.
Without doubt the resurgence of Christian involvement and emphasis in transforming the five institutional spheres mentioned by Schaff has increased dramatically over the past 20 years. For example, the exponential increase in the quality and the numbers of movies produced that reflect overt or foundational Judeo-Christian values – and their market success – is very encouraging.
Where, however, has the humanist, Marxist left focused over the past 150 years in particular, and are we holding, gaining or losing in these institutions?
- Public education (government takeover of education)
- Government (post-constitutional socialism)
- Pulpits (polluted or neutralized)
What we do know is that the last is first among these three because if the life-changing truth that brings conviction, repentance and transformation in an individual heart is not proclaimed from the pulpits, what we have is the spiritual and moral equivalent of a catastrophic food shortage.
Whether it is the First Church of the Rock Concert providing nothing more than lattes, lights and laughs or the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) being the latest mainline denomination to torch the Scriptures by voting this week to allow ordination of practicing homosexuals – we are as a church not salting as much as we are being salted.
None of us knows whether this is the generation that is seeing “end times” prophecies related in Scripture come to pass. We do need to ask whether our own disobedience, selfishness and sinfulness has brought about what pastor and author Dr. Tim LaHaye once called a “pre-tribulation tribulation.”
Regardless of what your views are about end times, we can agree that Christians at no time have any defense for either living like hell or abandoning our duty to carry out the entire Great Commission, which – until our watch – transformed lives and nations.
What we also have to repent of is turning over the education of our children to the government, turning our government over to the ungodly and turning our pulpits into entertainment centers.
We cannot reform the United States of America if we can’t make disciples.
Also, Dr. Francis Schaeffer asserted in “Escape From Reason” that “modern man has not only thrown away Christian theology, he has thrown away the possibility of what our forefathers had as a basis for morality and law.” Bad theology equals bad morality and bad law.
What that means is that while we fight the “culture war,” we must after all these years get something right on a much larger scale.
Let’s start with “reconnecting the dots” in the minds of every person sitting in the pews of our churches between the Word of God and every decision they make, particularly in regards to personal character, private and public virtue, the education of our children and the responsibility for every decision of all three branches of our government.
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1, 2 NASB)
Jesus said that we ARE the salt of the earth and the light of the world – let’s act like it!