I obviously agree with Franklin Graham’s recent overarching point on the nation turning its back on God.
But I do not believe he places the blame in the right place.
In an interview on NewsMax TV, he said: “In the last four years, we have begun to turn our backs on God. We have taken God out of our education system. We have taken him out of government. You have lawyers that sue you every time you mention the name of Jesus Christ in any kind of public forum. What has happened is we have allowed ourselves to take God out everything that we do. And I do believe that God will judge our nation one day.”
But who is “We?” Who is he pointing the finger at? “The far left” is the answer.
“They want to shut the mouths of evangelicals. They want to shut the mouths of Christians,” Graham told NewsMax. “One hundred years ago, political leaders in every community were the pastors. They were the voices that were heard. They were the voices that had the influence. Politicians know that and the government knows that — and they are trying to shut the mouths of especially evangelicals.”
Throughout the interview, Graham refers to “them” and “they.” But I think that is not the core of the problem. It is “us” and “we.” Christians, those who claim the name of Christ. Those who profess to be followers of Him, have the Holy Spirit and believe the Bible is exactly what it claims to be.
As I posted yesterday, if we Christians had not given place to more and more of the world at the cost of less and less of the spiritual, there would be no place for the far left to exist. Some would always be there opposing Christ, but they would not control all the halls of influence in our nation and have attained the power over the culture they currently do without Christians having voluntarily vacated the space to do other things.
Consider the decline of the big mainline denominations, which have lost members by the millions as the country has gained population by the tens of millions. Whose fault is it that the Episcopalians and Presbyterians and Lutherans and Methodists chose to more and more chuck the Bible and follow the culture? Leftists? This is most obvious with the acceptance and even ordination of gays. But that is mostly the final straw in a long retreat from holding to the word of God and evangelizing the lost. A little compromise begets a lot of compromise. None of that was due to lawyers or leftists.
Graham said that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is “a very good man, and I like the man very much — but I don’t think he was exciting or charismatic enough.”
Is that really justification for Christians not showing up? Is that really the reason that a three-percentage-point majority chose leftist secularism? It could not be bound up in much deeper, foundational issues? The question is rhetorical. Christians need to acknowledge that a far deeper drift from Christ is what should properly be placed at the center of the finger-pointing. That drift open the gates for this re-election.
I just cannot help but think the future pivots on our understanding of how we got to this moment. It is not about the rise of leftist secularists. It is about the voluntary decline of Christians that allowed the rise of leftist secularists.
It is obvious that “they” want to stamp out Christianity, because “they” stand on the opposite side of every biblical based argument that arises these days. “They” seem to hate Christians, wouldn’t you think by all the stabs and cuts and jeers that the Christian activists endure while debating the major issues of our country today. So who are “they”? That’s not a hard question, and it seems you and Franklin agree on who “they” are, but differ on who is the blame for our dismal state as a nation. He “they” and you “us” which is probably not a popular opinion with either side yet you make some valid points. “Us’ missed it during last months election, and allowed the candidate who seems the most hostile to “us” another four years to take those heart felt swings at our Christian values. The wound becomes much deeper as we watch the entire political world rear their ugly, pathetic, corrupt heads, while exposing the darkness of their hearts for all to see. Could we find a place where so much darkness could be gathered (unless maybe Hollywood) under the pretense of a much nobler cause.
I am replying to letter in order to show how much I disagree with Franklin on the issue of God judging America for what we are doing (or not doing). It seems arrogant to me that we have somehow decided we are now God’s chosen race (Jewish) and God is going to hold us accountable as a nation. I believe we are his chosen people because of Jesus and the cross, but our judgement will not be as a nation it will be individuality.
This leads me to believe you stopped a bit short with your opinion of the problem or as you put it “us”. First let me say you do make a valid point as you reference the decline of the major denominations and them following the culture, (Leftist). It is sad that we are suffering from lack of direction, given the path that so many of our churches have taken especially with the more noticeable issues.
It is heart breaking to think that millions of Christians did not even register to vote this year, but even harder to imagine is the division within the church when it comes to the right candidate. Why were we so split on who was right and who was wrong? That answer definitely falls in the same category as the reason for such a downward turn in those major denominations that you mentioned. I would say the issues of right and wrong, good and evil have become a bit gray within the church leaving the Christians very undecided.
Yet if we are going to look at the root of the issue we must get much closer to the problem. You see my friend the “us” cannot be labeled as the “church”, or the “denomination”, or even “the Christians”, the “us” is you and I and the problem is “sin”. Sure all these established groups play a large part in the decline of the country and the problems Franklin is talking about, but it is sin in the life of the believer that has allowed things to get to this point. Will the individual believer continue to let the traditions of the church replace the work of the Holy Spirit in their life? Will we trade belonging to a denomination for a relationship with the Lord? Doing the right thing can only be accomplished when we understand what the Apostle Paul meant in Rom. 7:14a “For we know that the law is spiritual:” It is not the government, and it is not the denomination, and it is not the church to whom we should point the finger. It is un-rejected sin in the life of the believer. If the “us” is found to go any further than the individual believer it will be because someone lied to them and said America is going to be judged for the darkness in men’s hearts. It is I who will be judged, yet it is I who am forgiven, but it is I who must die daily to the things that are keeping me from being the man God wants me to be. I believe you are right that it is the “voluntary” decline of Christians that has allowed the rise of leftist secularists. Thanks for your article it gave me something to think about this morning.
…everyone who passes by it will be astonished and say, ‘Why has the Lord done thus to this land and to this house?’ 22 And they will say, ‘Because they forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers who brought them from the land of Egypt, and they adopted other gods and worshiped them and served them; therefore He has brought all this adversity on them.’”
2 Chronicles 7:21-22
More than half a century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.
Since then I have spent well-nigh fifty years working on the history of our Revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous Revolution that swallowed up some sixty million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.
God’s judgment starts with His people, those who “call upon the name of the Lord” as Jeremiah and Isaiah would put it. The left has gained ground because the church has not been the church. We have opted out of God’s holiness and righteousness for prosperity and better toys.
We go to a building we call a church to be entertained, to have healing services, and some cases to laugh and have fun. We want bigger and better worship bands and high tech everything. We don’t want that old fashioned Holy Ghost conviction that drives down on face and bellies, where wail and weep because there is sin in our lives. We don’t want humbleness and meekness, we don’t want contrition, we don’t want to be broken and spilled out.
We want a cheap and easy grace, that allows us to fulfill our hearts desires. No cross, so self denial, we don’t need such spoilers of fun. We don’t want our spirit striped bare exposing our guilt and shame. NO SIR, NONE OF THAT! We want to walk out of that building we call a church feeling good about ourselves, filled to the brim with happy, happy thoughts.
History is repeating its self because, once again, God’s people have forgotten God.
I completely agree that God judges the individual. We all rise or fall alone before God based on our unique faith in Christ. I also think our nation’s condition is a reflection of the church’s condition, and the church’s condition is dependent upon that of the individual believer. It may not be that way for other nations, but I suspect it is (See the Solzhenitsyn quote above from David Pauley.) I’m not aware of anyone — although I am sure they exist in the margins — who think that Americans are the chosen race.
However, I don’t think it is arrogant to recognize that this country, is unique in both its foundation, its governing charters and the degree of material blessing. All good things come down from the Father of heavenly lights, and this nation has been showered with good things. On the flip side, those countries that have most shook their fist at God — Haiti and Communist regimes in our times — have seen the fewest blessings.
I think that if we continue to turn from God, particularly given our historic turning toward him, we will continue to lose the blessings that flow from Him. Judgment? Perhaps. The societally approved killing of 55 million babies may need to be answered for — in addition to the individuals. But I wonder if it is more where God lays his hand of blessing and protection and where he removes it. Either way may look very much the same on the ground.
Gives new meaning to the song “Back in the USSR” doesn’t it? Russia’s retreat away from Christianity and God seems to echo ours. I don’t know the solution but do know only God can bring revival. We need to turn back to the Bible and church or this generation will be lost. Its already far down the road to socialism and its up to us to be bold enough to cry out against it and pray hard that the Lord will intervene. It is all part of his plan, though, and it could be He will not intervene and we will end up on the trash heap of history as all great superpowers before us. Only time will tell where we will end up.
Yes I do enjoy a great discussion and I must say “what a pleasant surprise” to click on the link and find the replies to my comments. I appreciate all the thoughts as they make me think about myself in a deeper way. Maybe different than most I like to think about America as a blessed country, and then try to justify that thought. Yes there have been many countries who have shook their hand at God who seem to reap the fewest blessings, but how much more does that make our future look dismal? And surely we can see our nations condition tied to a once held position of unified humility with hearts facing God. Yes 2 Chron. 7:14 has a corporate purpose and is a corporate promise which may have been the foundation for the obvious blessings our nation has shared. (although the american Indians may not have agreed) I am not sure it all makes sense though. We read of great awakenings and revival in the land and the Lord knows their are many theory’s for when, where and how we received this level of blessing. Or did we get here simply because we believed? My strongest belief is that if it was for the reason of humility and seeking God the blessing should be over. You say you don’t know anyone who thinks we are the chosen nation, but I believe that is what the church of America has been teaching for years. We have been riding this Christian nation carpet for a long time, although the history books I read depict a history of sermons that sound very much like the ones we hear today.
I have been spending a lot of time in Uganda and I never will forget the excitement I felt during the new years celebration at the turn of the millennium, the president and first lady joined with the clergy and people of the nation to declare Uganda a Christian nation. I will admit that I see signs of God’s blessing on the country quiet regular although I am not sure the people are seeing it. While I was there in October they were celebrating 50 years of independence which included a speech from their president that called the country to repent and turn to the Lord.
( http://www.wnd.com/2012/11/ugandan-president-repents-of-personal-national-sins/ )
Should we tell the Ugandans that they are on the road to great blessings because their nation has purposed to humble themselves and seek God. I am afraid not because just like America the blessings do not come from the results of a nation built on the right idea, the blessings come when God’s people humble themselves and seek God and turn from their wicked ways. I for one do not want anyone waiting on the blessings or believing they are riding the skirt tail of a great group of forefathers that secured the blessings for them.
I think the church is not helping the situation of our country because the idea of corporate blessing is dominate there as well.
I think maybe we have told people to come to church and be part of what is happening and God will bless that. I also believe people need to fall on their faces before God and let the Holy Spirit do His job of pointing out the sin that is destroying them. And then when they go to church they will be ready to work with other like minded believers to reach the lost of this world.. And if we are that blessed nation then by the looks of it the blessing should be about over and we need to hurry. Yes I agree with Mr Pauley, people have forgotten God, but i believe they have also forgotten the New Covenant. Sorry I guess you know what I have been thinking lately.