“We’re fighting a holy war,” Rev. Jerry Falwell said at his Thomas Road Baptist Church in 1980. “What’s happened to America is that the wicked are bearing rule. We have to lead the nation back to the moral stance that made America great. … We need to wield influence on those who govern us.”
The Baptist thinking in the early 1970s was that religion and politics did not mix. But Falwell had a change of heart in the mid-1970s after watching Dr. Francis Schaeffer, founder of L’Abri in Switzerland, being interviewed on television. Schaeffer wrote the book, “How Should We Then Live: The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture.”
The book and Schaeffer’s 10-part film series on it, challenged Christians to fight for change in America through political involvement. He explained that this was the only way to move America away from secularism and back to God.
Besides Falwell, Dr. Tim LaHaye, Ralph Reed, Rev. Pat Robertson, Dr. James Dobson, Michele Bachmann, Randall Terry and hundreds of other Christian leaders have acknowledged Schaeffer as being their inspiration for political activism. Schaeffer’s books and film series are still being used in today’s seminaries.
In 1976, Falwell organized “I Love America” rallies in numerous cities. He preached against the growing tide of permissiveness and moral decay in our nation at these gatherings. The rallies positioned Falwell as the leader of the new Christian Right.
Abortion and family values?
It wasn’t until Paul Weyrich, co-founder of the Heritage Foundation, joined with Falwell to form the Moral Majority that abortion and family values became the main focuses for the organization. Weyrich, a Catholic, realized some of the issues Falwell endorsed would not play well in a national election.
Weyrich’s knowledge of grass-roots politics in the Republican Party opened the door for Moral Majority’s partnership with the GOP. Falwell and Moral Majority then endorsed Ronald Reagan, helping him to become America’s 40th president.
In the summer of 1989, Falwell dismantled Moral Majority by saying, “Our mission is accomplished.” Falwell continued to speak out on national issues, but his influence had faded by that time.
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” (Robert Frost)
In the late 1940s, Ja-shil Choi had her spiritual eyes opened to the ungodly direction South Korea was heading. She knew something had to be done.
At the time, less than 3 percent of South Koreans were Christians. These believers were poor and powerless because of Japan’s occupation of South Korea from 1910 until the end of World War II. Christianity was banned during the occupation. Any believers who were caught disobeying the ban faced imprisonment or execution.
The “prayer mountain movement” began during Japan’s occupation. Believers climbed up mountains during the late-night hours and prayed until sunrise. They then went back down to put in a full day’s work before returning again that night.
Ja-shil Choi followed the examples of those early believers and began fasting and praying for her nation. She often prayed through the night for 10 hours or so. She continued this routine for almost 10 years before she met David Yonggi Cho.
The two then began a church in Ja-shil Choi’s house. The two fasted and prayed five to six hours per day in what they called a prayer tent. Their first church eventually grew to 1,000 members.
David Yonggi Cho then started a second church, which grew to 10,000 members. A third church, Yoido Full Gospel Church, was built in 1973.
Today, Yoido Full Gospel has over 800,000 members with weekly prayer meetings numbering in the hundreds of thousands. A Christian retreat, Prayer Mountain, has facilities for 10,000 believers to spend time in secluded prayer and fasting.
However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results. (Anonymous)
What were the results of these two nation’s choices?
Moral Majority, or the Christian Right, has had little effect in changing America through politics and by endorsing selected candidates. Maybe the movement helped elect President Reagan, but abortion, homosexuality, porn, ban on school prayers, racial problems and immorality have continued full steam ahead without slowing down one bit.
By contrast, South Korea is now home to six of the world’s largest churches, ranging in size from 47,000 to 800,000. Christianity has grown to almost 30 percent of the population.
At what point will American Christians quit putting our faith in following the strategy laid out by Moral Majority decades ago? It has not worked!
For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. (2 Corinthians 10:3-4)
Americans are in the midst of a full-scale spiritual war. If we want to win, we must de-emphasize political activism and engage America’s enemies with God’s weapons. All else has failed us.