Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Apostasy’ Category

From Conservative Review:

There’s been a lot of justifiable hand-wringing regarding the Christian vote in this election cycle. Unfortunately, the reality is even worse than the perception.

That’s because data suggests that what’s driving many believers to vote isn’t their beliefs as much as it is their racial/ethnic identity — just like the electorate at large. In other words, voters coming from the institution charged with preserving America’s vitally important moral foundation — the church — collectively aren’t approaching the ballot box any differently than the secularly-minded.

That’s bad news if you’re trying to conserve a society based on God-given (not government granted) rights, but more on that later. First, let’s permit the troubling data to speak for itself.

Let’s begin with Catholic voters, which are a crucial voting bloc for both Republicans and Democrats. Since Roe v. Wade, only once has either side won the presidency without winning the Catholic vote. And that was in 2000 when George W. Bush won the Electoral College despite losing the popular vote, so that’s obviously an outlier.

How critical is this bloc of voters? Consider Obama won Catholics by three points in 2012, which mirrored almost precisely his national popular vote advantage (3.8 points).

While polls have shown Democrats with a decided edge among Catholics ever since the race was narrowed to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, Trump doesn’t have a Catholic problem as much as he has a minority problem. Trump has narrowly led among white Catholics since last summer. However, that’s not enough to overcome Clinton’s astounding three-to-one lead among Hispanic Catholics.

The same pattern exists among evangelical protestants, but it’s even more striking.

LifeWay Research just published a fascinating survey drawing distinctions between voters who simply identify as evangelicals, and those who actually have evangelical beliefs. Overall, the survey found among whites who hold evangelical beliefs Trump overwhelmingly leads, 65-10. Meanwhile, Clinton holds almost the exact same lead among non-whites with evangelical beliefs, 62-15.

For the sake of its survey, LifeWay defined evangelical beliefs as the following:

  • Trusting in Jesus Christ alone for salvation.
  • Believe they have a responsibility to share their faith in Christ with others.
  • Believe the Bible is the final authority in their lives.

What’s unsettling is how those who claim they “believe the Bible is the final authority in their lives” could have such starkly different voting patterns. Especially because the Bible makes it clear the Christian is to set aside their worldly identity (race, ethnicity, gender, family legacy, nation of origin, etc.) in order to find his/her identity in Christ first and foremost.

Sadly, just the opposite appears to be happening with many voters.

Whites with evangelical beliefs are voting for a Republican whose lack of character and tendency to bully/demean flies in the face of what the Bible requires of our leaders. On the other hand, non-whites with evangelical beliefs are voting for a Democrat who is a staunch advocate for infanticide and sexual immorality, which are clearly condemned by the Scriptures. Not to mention Clinton’s willingness to have government violate the First Amendment to punish those who believe in Biblical morality.

Here’s why this trend spells certain doom for American Exceptionalism if it continues.

John Adams once said our Constitution establishing self-government was “meant only for a moral and religious people.” Many of his fellow founding fathers echoed similar sentiments. It’s no coincidence that as the culture has become more decadent the government has gotten bigger. The less moral restraint we have, the more government is needed to suffer the consequences of our actions.

Furthermore, those who fundamentally just believe in big government will seek to further incentivize immorality in order to justify their calls for more government. Thus creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. Either way, morality and limited government are hand-in-hand. You cannot have one without the other.

This is why great spiritual awakenings came before liberty in our history, and then later revivals were required to secure that liberty for future generations once it was established. Spiritual revival leads to a morally-restrained people. A morally-restrained people require less government to restrain them.

But if we are now living in a time, as this data suggests, when even those who have inherited that spiritual legacy will instead see things as racially polarized and ethnically balkanized like the general population does, then the last line of defense to preserve our heritage has also been lost.

Many of us long for a day when it seems the majority of Americans once more believe in the right things regardless of our political differences. Those days will not return if believers, who are required to set their cultural biases aside to serve a greater cause, are unable to do so. For if someone is unable to set what divides us aside to serve God, they’ll never do it to serve their fellow man.

This puts us in existential danger. Without a moral and religious people, good luck preserving the notion of God-given rights that empowers individual freedom and limits government intrusion.

Is it any wonder we’re mired in a depressing presidential action between, as 19-year-old Janae Petijean told the Boston Globe, a man who “is everything wrong with America’s culture” and a woman who “is everything wrong with our government,” given everything wrong with the church?

Read Full Post »

“But not all evangelical Christians—in fact, alas, most evangelical Christians, judging by the polls—have shown the same critical judgment when it comes to the Republican nominee. True, when given a choice, primary voters who claimed evangelical faith largely chose other candidates. But since his nomination, Donald Trump has been able to count on “the evangelicals” (in his words) for a great deal of support……

This Presidential election has uncovered the fatal condition of the American Church! When Christians throng to Donald Trump publicly and completely ignore his very public sordid anti-Christian life, you need no other indicator to say that the Christian church has died in America!

from Christianity Today:

As a non-profit journalistic organization, Christianity Today is doubly committed to staying neutral regarding political campaigns—the law requires it, and we serve our readers best when we give them the information and analysis they need to make their own judgments.

Just because we are neutral, however, does not mean we are indifferent. We are especially not indifferent when the gospel is at stake. The gospel is of infinitely greater importance than any campaign, and one good summary of the gospel is, “Jesus is Lord.”

The true Lord of the world reigns even now, far above any earthly ruler. His kingdom is not of this world, but glimpses of its power and grace can be found all over the world. One day his kingdom, and his only, will be the standard by which all earthly kingdoms are judged, and following that judgment day, every knee will bow, in heaven, on earth, and under the earth, as his reign is fully realized in the renewal of all things.

The lordship of Christ places constraints on the way his followers involve themselves, or entangle themselves, with earthly rulers.

On the one hand, we pray for all rulers—and judging from the example of Old Testament exiles like Daniel and New Testament prisoners like Paul, we can even wholeheartedly pray for rulers who directly oppose our welfare. On the other hand, we recognize that all earthly governments partake, to a greater or lesser extent, in what the Bible calls idolatry: substituting the creation for the Creator and the earthly ruler for the true God.

No human being, including even the best rulers, is free of this temptation. But some rulers and regimes are especially outrageous in their God-substitution. After Augustus Caesar, the emperors of Rome became more and more elaborate in their claims of divinity with each generation—and more and more ineffective in their governance. Communism aimed not just to replace faith in anything that transcended the state, but to crush it. Such systems do not just dishonor God, they dishonor his image in persons, and in doing so they set themselves up for dramatic destruction. We can never collude when such idolatry becomes manifest, especially when it demands our public allegiance. Christians in every place and time must pray for the courage to stay standing when the alleged “voice of a god, not a man” commands us to kneel.

This year’s presidential election in the United States presents Christian voters with an especially difficult choice.

The Democratic nominee has pursued unaccountable power through secrecy—most evidently in the form of an email server designed to shield her communications while in public service, but also in lavishly compensated speeches, whose transcripts she refuses to release, to some of the most powerful representatives of the world system. She exemplifies the path to power preferred by the global technocratic elite—rooted in a rigorous control of one’s image and calculated disregard for norms that restrain less powerful actors. Such concentration of power, which is meant to shield the powerful from the vulnerability of accountability, actually creates far greater vulnerabilities, putting both the leader and the community in greater danger.

But because several of the Democratic candidate’s policy positions are so manifestly incompatible with Christian reverence for the lives of the most vulnerable, and because her party is so demonstrably hostile to expressions of traditional Christian faith, there is plenty of critique and criticism of the Democratic candidate from Christians, including evangelical Christians.

But not all evangelical Christians—in fact, alas, most evangelical Christians, judging by the polls—have shown the same critical judgment when it comes to the Republican nominee. True, when given a choice, primary voters who claimed evangelical faith largely chose other candidates. But since his nomination, Donald Trump has been able to count on “the evangelicals” (in his words) for a great deal of support.

This past week, the latest (though surely not last) revelations from Trump’s past have caused many evangelical leaders to reconsider. This is heartening, but it comes awfully late. What Trump is, everyone has known and has been able to see for decades, let alone the last few months. The revelations of the past week of his vile and crude boasting about sexual conquest—indeed, sexual assault—might have been shocking, but they should have surprised no one.

Indeed, there is hardly any public person in America today who has more exemplified the “earthly nature” (“flesh” in the King James and the literal Greek) that Paul urges the Colossians to shed: “sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed, which is idolatry” (3:5). This is an incredibly apt summary of Trump’s life to date. Idolatry, greed, and sexual immorality are intertwined in individual lives and whole societies. Sexuality is designed to be properly ordered within marriage, a relationship marked by covenant faithfulness and profound self-giving and sacrifice. To indulge in sexual immorality is to make oneself and one’s desires an idol. That Trump has been, his whole adult life, an idolater of this sort, and a singularly unrepentant one, should have been clear to everyone.

And therefore it is completely consistent that Trump is an idolater in many other ways. He has given no evidence of humility or dependence on others, let alone on God his Maker and Judge. He wantonly celebrates strongmen and takes every opportunity to humiliate and demean the vulnerable. He shows no curiosity or capacity to learn. He is, in short, the very embodiment of what the Bible calls a fool.

Some have compared Trump to King David, who himself committed adultery and murder. But David’s story began with a profound reliance on God who called him from the sheepfold to the kingship, and by the grace of God it did not end with his exploitation of Bathsheba and Uriah. There is no parallel in Trump’s much more protracted career of exploitation. The Lord sent his word by the prophet Nathan to denounce David’s actions—alas, many Christian leaders who could have spoken such prophetic confrontation to him personally have failed to do so. David quickly and deeply repented, leaving behind the astonishing and universally applicable lament of his own sin in Psalm 51we have no sign that Trump ever in his life has expressed such humility. And the biblical narrative leaves no doubt that David’s sin had vast and terrible consequences for his own family dynasty and for his nation. The equivalent legacy of a Trump presidency is grievous to imagine.

Most Christians who support Trump have done so with reluctant strategic calculation, largely based on the president’s power to appoint members of the Supreme Court. Important issues are indeed at stake, including the right of Christians and adherents of other religions to uphold their vision of sexual integrity and marriage even if they are in the cultural minority.

But there is a point at which strategy becomes its own form of idolatry—an attempt to manipulate the levers of history in favor of the causes we support. Strategy becomes idolatry, for ancient Israel and for us today, when we make alliances with those who seem to offer strength—the chariots of Egypt, the vassal kings of Rome—at the expense of our dependence on God who judges all nations, and in defiance of God’s manifest concern for the stranger, the widow, the orphan, and the oppressed. Strategy becomes idolatry when we betray our deepest values in pursuit of earthly influence. And because such strategy requires capitulating to idols and princes and denying the true God, it ultimately always fails.

Enthusiasm for a candidate like Trump gives our neighbors ample reason to doubt that we believe Jesus is Lord. They see that some of us are so self-interested, and so self-protective, that we will ally ourselves with someone who violates all that is sacred to us—in hope, almost certainly a vain hope given his mendacity and record of betrayal, that his rule will save us.

The US political system has never been free of idolatry, and politics always requires compromise. Our country is flawed, but it is also resilient. And God is not only just, but also merciful, as he judges the nations. In these closing weeks before the election, all American Christians should repent, fast, and pray—no matter how we vote. And we should hold on to hope—not in a candidate, but in our Lord Jesus. We do not serve idols. We serve the living God. Even now he is ready to have mercy, on us and on all who are afraid. May his name be hallowed, his kingdom come, and his will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.

Read Full Post »

From The Resurgent:

The polling has drawn ever closer. More and more people wonder if those of us who are NeverTrump should finally yield knowing that we can beat Hillary Clinton. I am in an odd position. I am mindful that should Trump win, the Republican establishment will blame people like me for giving rise to Trump. Likewise, I know if Trump loses, the Republican establishment will blame people like me for giving rise to Trump and Trump supporters will blame people like me for his loss. I suppose I should say not that I’m in an odd position, but that I am in a no-win position.

With Donald Trump’s rise in the polls and the increasingly competitive nature of the race, it is time to reconsider my opposition to Trump. After all, I view Hillary Clinton’s candidacy as anti-American.

I realize saying Hillary Clinton’s candidacy is, in my view, “anti-American” offends some or comes off as hyperbolic, but I think her candidacy is fundamentally anathema to and is fundamentally in opposition to basic, historic American values. I believe the founders of this country recognized individual liberty as negative liberty. It was not what individuals could do if government helped them that made this country great. Rather, it was what individuals could do if government left them alone.

Hillary Clinton’s vision of a leviathan nanny state runs counter to those ideals. She would expand the government, engage the government in social experimentation, and she would advance the agenda of the sexual revolution against the church. I am under no delusions. With Clinton as President, the church in this country will be in for a difficult time, besieged from the outside. The forces of Mordor will be fully on the march.

With Hillary Clinton, the Supreme Court will fall into the hands of the left for a generation at least. The devastation to our social fabric will know no end. Trading in the idea of negative liberty, Clinton and a left-wing Supreme Court will pursue expansionist federal policies and concepts of positive liberty that advance the individual prurient interests of deviants against the church in ways the founders would not have anticipated and no rational person would think wise. But Clinton as President will mean the insane have taken over the asylum.

Gertrude Himmelfarb wrote, “What was once stigmatized as deviant behavior is now tolerated and even sanctioned; what was once regarded as abnormal has been normalized . . . . As deviancy is normalized, so what was once normal becomes deviant. The kind of family that has been regarded for centuries as natural and moral – the ‘bourgeois’ family as it is invidiously called – is now seen as pathological.” Clinton’s Presidency will lock that in.

In addition to that, the increasingly illiberal left will further capitulate in the face of evil, choosing to surrender to radical Islamists blowing themselves up as a new normal.

In short, I see the election of Hillary Clinton as the antithesis of all my values and ideas on what fosters sound civil society in this country. Further, she should be in jail.

At least with Trump we might, might, get a better Supreme Court. We might get better cabinet picks. In fact, in terms of my view of the country the odds are pretty great that my side has a greater chance of prevailing with Trump than Clinton. What most would identify as my side would have control of the Executive Branch and the powers of appointment and regulation that come with it.

So I should at least here and now, as the race draws close, reconsider my opposition to Trump. The truth is, with headlines about Clinton’s emails, terrorist attacks, the Obama Administration’s advancement of transgenderism in the military, etc. I have been actively reconsidering my opposition to Trump. I’ve done it in conversation with friends, in prayer, and in quiet time dedicated to considering the future.

In so doing, I have to admit that while I may view Hillary Clinton’s campaign as anti-American, I view Donald Trump’s campaign as un-American.

The American spirit eschews the idea of a strong man in Washington fixing all our problems. We are supposed to be against the imposition of values set by Washington and instead should embrace our heterogeneity as a people. Not only does Donald Trump not do that, but his views pervert the liberal order of things as much as Clintonian illiberalism. Clinton offers a tyranny of the minority and Trump offers a tyranny of the majority. Clinton offers neither safety nor freedom and Trump offers safety at the expense of freedom. While I see Clinton as having no virtue, I see Donald Trump corrupting the virtuous and fostering hatred, racism, and dangerous strains of nationalism.

More importantly, while I think Hillary Clinton will do long term damage to the country, I believe Donald Trump will do far more damage to the church, which must be my chief priority. A Clinton Administration may see the church besieged from the outside, but a Trump Administration will see the church poisoned from within.

I see it happening even now. This past Friday I debated the merits of Trump and sat next to a Christian who argued that because God chose sinners, we should choose Trump. She argued that a bunch of other Presidents were terrible, immoral people so we should be okay with Trump. She argued that God chose Abraham, Samson, and David, so we should choose Trump.

I do not recall John F. Kennedy writing books bragging about his affairs. I do not recall Bill Clinton telling a television audience he wanted to have sex with his daughter. How far a Christian must fall to justify the low morals of one man by tearing down the reputations of others in sometimes exaggerated manners. And I do recall God choosing Abraham, Samson, and David and all of them repenting of their sins. That repentance stands in studied contrast to Donald Trump who has three times said he never had to ask for forgiveness and only recently said his advance of the church, if he is elected, might be the only thing that gets him into Heaven.

That is a far cry from sola scriptura, sola fide, sola gratia, solus Christus, et soli Deo gloria

When I see Christians defining deviancy down to justify a political decision, I see a real problem for the church. When I see Christians saying we have license to choose bad men because God chose bad men, I see the sparks of apostasy. Many of my friends have turned themselves over to the anger Trump displays. I see friends on twitter in meltdown, tweeting profanity at others, spending their time on radio attacking friends by name for refusing to yield. That is not healthy. But not only is it not healthy, it reeks of desperation.

“This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world” (James 1:27). Trump has openly championed funding an organization that would murder the would be orphan and sell his organs while he has cheated widows and single moms of their money. And more and more Christians are championing his stains while staining themselves.

The level of fear many of my friends have towards what a Clinton Administration may bring has turned to desperation and desire for a protector. But we already have one and neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

So many pastors who email me to beg me to reconsider and so many others who write do so because they think this is the last best chance to get this nation right. They think we will turn a corner after which we cannot turn back. While I concede they may be right, what I see is a level of desperation causing them to place their trust in one strong man instead of God. And, in truth, I do not concede they are right, but have concluded we are already past the point of redemption when the best either party can do is offer up Clinton or Trump. We are beyond the point of looking to five black robed masters to save us from ourselves when we put up either a Clinton or a Trump. The seriousness and virtue of the voter is in the grave already and my Christian brethren for Trump yearn for an idolized past that never existed in a future that is not theirs, but God’s, to shape.

Christians looking for a strong man to protect the church instead of the strongest man who conquered death is a terrible thing to see. Many Christian leaders are engaging in a kind of syncretism, trying to blend patriotism with Christianity. They seemingly argue that if the nation falls, the church falls and for the church to rise the country must rise. But Christ has already risen so the true church is in no danger of falling. The gates of hell shall not prevail.

Seeing men like Wayne Grudem and others beclown themselves trying to justify support of a man like Trump makes me weep for the shallow faith of a church more wrapped up in its Americanness than its Godliness. I have to say I was truly blown away by having a Christian sit next to me on Friday and argue that we should support an immoral adulterer who had never asked for forgiveness because of what he might do for Christians.

Just read Wayne Grudem’s attack on Rudy Giuliani in 2012 to see his hypocrisy derived from desperation now:

So it seems to me that if evangelicals don’t support Romney in a significant way, Giuliani will be the Republican candidate. So then we will have a pro-abortion, pro-gay rights candidate who is on his third marriage and had a messy affair prior to his divorce from his second wife. Then we will lose any high moral ground and the enthusiasm of the evangelical vote (many of whom will just sit it out), and the difference between Giuliani and Clinton will be only one of degrees as he shifts leftward in the general election to appeal to the “middle.” So then if we lose, we lose, and even if we win, we lose on the crucial moral issues of abortion and protection of marriage. Romney is a much better choice. But he needs evangelical support now if he is going to win.

How now can Grudem advance his witness to questioning unbelievers? He now praises an unrepentant man both guilty of and proud of the very sins he attacked Giuliani for. Even Giuliani never wrote a book bragging about his affairs with married women or boasting of taking advantage of others through strategic bankruptcy filings and shorting laborers. One can hardly escape the conclusion that had Giuliani been the nominee, Grudem would be chastising Christians for not wanting to vote for the man.

Scripture tells me (and you) that believers should have nothing to do with any person who holds himself out as a Christian and is unrepentant.

But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church[a] whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

1 Corinthians 5:11-13

We instruct you, brothers, in the name of [our] Lord Jesus Christ, to shun any brother who conducts himself in a disorderly way and not according to the tradition they received from us.

2 Thess 3:6

This is the inerrant word of God and Christians are choosing to ignore it because they have convinced themselves they are not electing a priest, but a President. Therefore they have segregated the commands of their faith from the desires for themselves. I cannot bifurcate my faith in that way. I cannot in good conscience support anyone who bears the name of brother when he is unrepentant of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler.

It is not just because of my values, but for Donald Trump’s own salvation that I cannot embrace him. For Wayne Grudem and Janet Parshall and other Christians to support Trump in his present rebellious state against God to serve their political interests is selfishness.

Here now is a man in Donald Trump who sees no need to be saved and has no understanding of a faith he professes. And he sees Christians cheering him on in his rebellious state, defending him when they blasted others for the very same sins.

The whole purpose of shunning the unrepenant sinner is to drive him to God. Yet, Christians in America are cheering on this rebellious sinner providing him no reason at all to repent. American Christians in politics are so busy trying to save their political interests they are ignoring scripture and losing a soul to hell. Saying they’ll pray for Trump flies in the face of the admonition of scripture. We should not put off the steps to push Trump toward reconciliation with his Lord in hopes he gets the Presidency. Then it makes it less likely he will reconcile in that distracted state and more likely we lose a soul to hell.

All Christendom should be ashamed we are putting our needs in this temporary place ahead of saving a soul bound for eternity.

That I see so many Christians justifying Donald Trump’s immorality, defining deviancy down, and turning to anger and despondency about the future tells me I cannot in good faith support Donald Trump because his victory would have lasting, damaging consequences for Christianity in America. We harm our witness and the testimony of the strength of our Lord by embracing the immoral, unrepentant strong man. We harm our American virtue by buying into the idea that one man can make America great again. Further, we risk losing Donald Trump’s soul for the sake of our selfishness.

Lastly, for those who compare Trump to Cyrus, God never asked his people to support Cyrus’s cause, only to accept him as their ruler. God never asks his people to choose between the lesser of two evils. God uses all men, from pharaoh to Trump. And he can do so without making Christians endorse the person’s sins. God did not tell the Jews to throw open the gates of Jerusalemn for Nebuchadnezzar. God did that himself. God shut the door of the ark and brought the rain and dried again the land. God raises us from the dust of the earth and he stitched us together in our mothers’ wombs. He holds the entire universe in the palm of his hand. God can see us through all things if we aren’t so busy pretending his will and exercising pretended divine authority. His will be done. If God wants Trump in the White House, he does not need my vote or a violation of my conscience to get Trump there. To think otherwise is to think God is not God.

I think Hillary Clinton will do lasting damage to the country. I cannot vote for her.

Having reconsidered my opposition to Trump, I think Donald Trump will do lasting damage to the witness of the Church in America and I therefore cannot vote for him.

I am without a candidate. I just cannot vote for either one. Whichever is elected, it is God’s will and as his holy and inerrant scripture commands, I will pray for my President as I pray for the current President. But I will not harm my witness nor risk Trump’s soul to serve my political desires.

The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. I do not believe a vote for either candidate glorifies God and I am certain neither advances his kingdom.

Read Full Post »

From The Resurgent:

This is something that has “boggled” me, I cannot understand for the life of me why Christians, and even worse so Called Christian Leaders think that they HAVE to publicly endorse Donald Trump! The rationality that they come up with for doing so, sometimes mishandling scripture very badly in the process is just unbelievable!

Read Full Post »

This is from a website long ago deleted:

Introduction

Doomsayers for many years have been predicting the decline and fall of this country. And while many of these short-term predictions have proved inaccurate, there is some truth to the prevailing belief that this nation will fall like every great nation before it. Apart from revival and reformation, this nation is destined to decline.

The problem with many of these doomsayers is that while their prognosis is right, their diagnosis is wrong. Yes, the future is bleak. But our problem is not ultimately political, economic, or social, as these doomsayers would have us believe. The decline of this nation (just as the decline of every other nation) is due to spiritual factors. The political, economic, and social problems we encounter are the symptoms of the spiritual deterioration of a nation.

Just as there are spiritual principles that influence the life of an individual, so there are political-spiritual principles that govern the life of a nation. And though we may feel that these are obscure and difficult to discern, in reality they are visible to anyone willing to look at the record of history.

Our problem is that we don’t really learn from history. George Santayana said that “those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.” The philosopher Hegel said, “What experience and history teach us is this: that people and government never have learned anything from history or acted on principles deduced from it.” Or as Winston Churchill said, “The one thing we have learned from history is that we don’t learn from history.”

The refrains that are often heard are: “It can’t happen here,” or “Our country is different.” But the reality is that nations are born and die just like individuals. Their longevity may exceed the average person’s lifespan. But the reality is that nations also die.

History has shown that the average age of the great civilizations is around two hundred years. Countries like Great Britain exceed the average while other countries like the United States are just now reaching the average age.

Each of the great civilizations in the world passed through a series of stages from their birth to their decline to their death. Historians have listed these in ten stages.

The first stage moves from bondage to spiritual faith.

The second from spiritual faith to great courage.

The third stage moves from great courage to liberty.

The fourth stage moves from liberty to abundance.

The fifth stage moves from abundance to selfishness.

The sixth stage moves from selfishness to complacency.

The seventh stage moves from complacency to apathy.

The eighth stage moves from apathy to moral decay.

The ninth stage moves from moral decay to dependence.

And the tenth and last stage moves from dependence to bondage.

These are the ten stages through which the great civilizations have gone. Notice the progression from bondage to liberty back to bondage. The first generation throws off the shackles of bondage only to have a later generation through apathy and indifference allow itself to once again be enslaved.

This is the direction this and every other country is headed. The book of Judges shows that the nation of Israel passed through these same stages. And this country will do the same unless revival and reformation break out and reverse the inexorable decline of this nation.

The Cycle of Nations

In his book The End of Christendom, Malcolm Muggeridge makes this powerful observation. He says:

I conclude that civilizations, like every other human creation, wax and wane. By the nature of the case there can never be a lasting civilization anymore than there can be a lasting spring or lasting happiness in an individual life or a lasting stability in a society. It’s in the nature of man and of all that he constructs to perish, and it must ever be so. The world is full of the debris of past civilizations and others are known to have existed which have not left any debris behind them but have just disappeared.

He goes on to say that

…whatever their ideology may be, from the Garden of Eden onwards such dreams of lasting felicity have cropped up and no doubt always will. But the realization is impossible for the simple reason that a fallen creature like man though capable of conceiving perfection and aspiring after it, is in himself and in his works forever imperfect. Thus he is fated to exist in the no man’s land between the perfection he can conceive and the imperfection that characterizes his own nature and everything he does.

Nations rise and nations fall. Every nation has followed this progression from bondage to bondage.

The nations of this century will be no different. But let us not accept the Marxist notion that these are fixed and intractable laws of history. Christians can point to unusual times when revival has redirected the inexorable decline of a civilization. In the Old Testament, Jonah saw revival postpone God’s judgment of Nineveh. In the sixteenth century, Martin Luther and John Calvin saw a Protestant Reformation transform Europe. And even in the history of the United States the First and Second Great Awakenings changed individuals and our society.

But apart from God’s intervention, nations will decline and eventually pass off the scene. Much of the Old Testament records the history of the nation of Israel. It passed through these same stages and so will every country in the world.

As Christians we must recognize that nations will rise and fall just as individuals will be born and die. Our civilization will not last indefinitely, but will eventually pass off the scene. Only God’s Word endures forever. We should not put our trust in the things of this world for they are destined for destruction. Instead, we should put our faith in God and His word.

The Decline of the Family

Nations most often fall from within, and this fall is usually due to a decline in the moral and spiritual values in the family. As families go, so goes a nation.

This has been the main premise of thinkers from British historian J. D. Unwin to Russian sociologist Pitirim Sorokin who have studied civilizations that have collapsed. In his book Our Dance Has Turned to Death, Carl Wilson identifies the common pattern of family decline in ancient Greece and the Roman Empire. Notice how these seven stages parallel what is happening in our nation today. In the first stage, men ceased to lead their families in worship. Spiritual and moral development became secondary. Their view of God became naturalistic, mathematical, and mechanical.

In the second stage, men selfishly neglected care of their wives and children to pursue material wealth, political and military power, and cultural development. Material values began to dominate thought, and the man began to exalt his own role as an individual. The third stage involved a change in men’s sexual values. Men who were preoccupied with business or war either neglected their wives sexually or became involved with lower-class women or with homosexuality. Ultimately, a double standard of morality developed.

The fourth stage affected women. The role of women at home and with children lost value and status. Women were neglected and their roles devalued. Soon they revolted to gain access to material wealth and also freedom for sex outside marriage. Women also began to minimize having sex relations to conceive children, and the emphasis became sex for pleasure. Marriage laws were changed to make divorce easy.

In the fifth stage, husbands and wives competed against each other for money, home leadership, and the affection of their children. This resulted in hostility and frustration and possible homosexuality in the children. Many marriages ended in separation and divorce.

Many children were unwanted, aborted, abandoned, molested, and undisciplined. The more undisciplined children became, the more social pressure there was not to have children. The breakdown of the home produced anarchy.

In the sixth stage, selfish individualism grew and carried over into society, fragmenting it into smaller and smaller group loyalties. The nation was thus weakened by internal conflict. The decrease in the birthrate produced an older population that had less ability to defend itself and less will to do so, making the nation more vulnerable to its enemies.

Finally, unbelief in God became more complete, parental authority diminished, and ethical and moral principles disappeared, affecting the economy and government. Thus, by internal weakness and fragmentation the societies came apart. There was no way to save them except by a dictator who arose from within or by barbarians who invaded from without.

Although this is an ancient pattern of decline found in Greece and Rome, it is relevant today. Families are the foundation of a nation. When the family crumbles, the nation falls because nations are built upon family units. They are the true driving social force. A nation will not be strong unless the family is strong. That was true in the ancient world and it is true today.

Social commentator Michael Novak, writing on the importance of the family, said:

One unforgettable law has been learned through all the disasters and injustices of the last thousand years: If things go well with the family, life is worth living; when the family falters, life falls apart.

The Decline of Values

There are many factors in the decline of a nation. Certainly a major one is the breakdown of the family. But another potent but less perceptible force is the power of ideas.

False ideas are bringing about the decline of western culture. Carl F. H. Henry, in his book Twilight of a Great Civilization, says:

There is a new barbarism. This barbarism has embraced a new pagan mentality . . . not simply rejecting the legacy of the West, but embracing a new pagan mentality where there is no fixed truth.

Today we live in a world where biblical absolutes are ignored, and unless we return to these biblical truths, our nation will continue to decline.

To understand how we have arrived at this appalling situation, we need to go back a century and look at the influence of five intellectual leaders who still profoundly affect the modern world. The first person is Charles Darwin (1809-1882). In 1859 he published The Origin of Species and later published The Descent of Man. His writings blurred the distinction between humans and animals since he taught that we are merely part of an evolutionary progression from lower forms of life. Darwinism, as it came to be called, not only affected the field of biology, but became the foundation for the fields of anthropology, sociology, and psychology.

The second person is Karl Marx (1818-1883). He and Friedrich Engels published the Communist Manifesto around 1850, and Marx devoted his life to writing about the demise of capitalism and coming of communism. He understood the importance of ideas. Marx once wrote: “Give me twenty-six lead soldiers and I will conquer the world.” The twenty-six lead soldiers are the keys on a typewriter. The pervasive influence of communism in the world today is testimony to the truthfulness of his statement.

The third person is Julius Wellhausen (1844-1918). Although he may not be as well known as the other two men mentioned, his influence was just as profound. He was a German Bible scholar whose theory on the dating of the Pentateuch completely transformed Old Testament studies.

Wellhausen argued that the early books of the Bible were not put together by Moses but were gathered together many centuries later by several different men called redactors who wove various strands together. He and his disciples established an anti-supernatural approach to the scriptures which is influential in most denominational seminaries today.

The fourth person is Sigmund Freud (1856-1939). He merely took the logical implications of what Darwin was doing in biology and applied them to what today is known as psychology and psychiatry. Freud argued that humans are basically autonomous and therefore do not need to know God. Instead, we need to know and understand ourselves since our problems stem from those secret things that have evolved in our lives from our past.

A fifth person is John Dewey (1859-1952). He is the founder of modern education and published his first work, The School and Society, in 1899. John Dewey was also one of the co-signers of the Humanist Manifesto in 1933.

Dewey, like Darwin and Freud, believed that humans are autonomous. They don’t need to have an authority above them but can evolve their our own system of education. Thus the very foundation of modern education is anti-supernatural.

Ideas have consequences, and false ideas can bring down a nation. The theories of these five men are having devastating consequences in our nation and world. Unless we return to biblical absolutes, our nation will continue its decline.
Spiritual Decline

The decline and fall of nations is usually due to internal factors rather than external threats. Even though some may have fallen to barbarians, their demise ultimately came because of moral and spiritual weakness which manifested itself as military weakness. Historians have listed the stages in the decline of a nation. These should not be too surprising to any student of the Old Testament. The stages of decline parallel the stages through which the nation of Israel passed.

But neither should they surprise a student of the New Testament. In the opening chapter of the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Rome, he traces a similar progression. In fact, Romans 1 shows the decline of a civilization from a societal perspective. Looking at the Hellenistic world of his time, he reflects on the progression of sin in a nation.

The first stage is when people turn from God to idolatry. Although God has revealed Himself in nature to all men so that they are without excuse, they nevertheless worship the creation instead of the Creator. This is idolatry. In the past, this took the form of actual idol worship. In our day, it takes the form of the worship of money or the worship of self. In either case, it is idolatry. A further example of this is a general lack of thankfulness. Although they have been prospered by God, they are ungrateful. And when they are no longer looking to God for wisdom and guidance, they become vain and futile and empty in their imaginations. They no longer honor God, so their foolish hearts become darkened. In professing to be wise, they have become fools.

The second stage is when men and women exchange their natural use of sex for unnatural uses. Here the Apostle Paul says those four sobering words, “God gave them over.” In a society where lust- driven sensuality and sexual perversion dominate, God gives them over to their degrading passions and unnatural desires.

The third stage is anarchy. Once a society has rejected God’s revelation, it is on its own. Moral and social anarchy is the natural result. At this point God has given the sinners over to a depraved mind and so they do things which are not proper. This results in a society which is without understanding,untrustworthy, unloving, and unmerciful.

The final stage is judgment. God’s judgment rightly falls upon those who practice idolatry and immorality. Certainly an eternal judgment awaits those who are guilty, but a social judgment occurs when God gives a nation over to its sinful practices.

Notice that this progression is not unique to the Hellenistic world the Apostle Paul was living in. The progression from idolatry to sexual perversion to anarchy to judgment is found throughout history.

In the times of Noah and Lot, there was the idolatry of greed, there was sexual perversion and promiscuity, there was anarchy and violence, and finally there was judgment. Throughout the history of the nation of Israel there was idolatry, sexual perversion, anarchy (in which each person did what was right in his own eyes), and finally judgment.

This progression happened throughout the Bible and to Greece, to Persia, to Babylon, and to Rome. And if it happened to these nations, then it can happen today. Unless we return to God’s principles, decline and destruction are inevitable.

Read Full Post »

The worst mistake that I see Christians doing is publicly endorsing Trump and encouraging other Christians to not only vote for him but to publicly support him! And the reasons that many Christians give for this is out of a sense of fear of what is coming on America, and they separate out Christian living from actively supporting Trump!

from The Resurgent:

You really have to read this to believe it. It is by a preacher’s wife who is so courageous she writes anonymously. I notice a lot of Christians who vote for Trump have such courage in their convictions that they are anonymous.

One point I see a lot of Christians make about supporting Trump that I find to be unbelievably shallow is this one:

I would first ask you to remember that we are NOT electing Trump to a sacred or ecclesiastical office. We are electing him to a political office. If this was a question of placing Trump in charge of my church or Christian organization, you would have to hogtie and hold me down in order to get me to vote for him. I am not arguing for Trump’s morality here.

We see it here too.

“Is Donald Trump able to lead anyone’s congregation? Absolutely not,” said Pastor Mark Burns, a South Carolina-based minister who delivered a prayer at last month’s Republican convention. “Is Donald Trump the Bible-totin’, scripture-quotin’ Christian? To me, that’s irrelevant. We’re not voting for the next pastor of the United States, we’re voting for the next president … [Trump] himself knows that he has not been the churchgoing choirboy, and he admits to his former lifestyle.”

Now read Paul in 1 Corinthians 5:9-11.

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.

Compare what Paul wrote to what Wayne Grudem writes about Trump.

He is egotistical, bombastic, and brash. He often lacks nuance in his statements. Sometimes he blurts out mistaken ideas (such as bombing the families of terrorists) that he later must abandon. He insults people. He can be vindictive when people attack him. He has been slow to disown and rebuke the wrongful words and actions of some angry fringe supporters. He has been married three times and claims to have been unfaithful in his marriages. These are certainly flaws, but I don’t think they are disqualifying flaws in this election.

Paul specifically tells us that if someone holds himself out as a Christian, but “is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler” we are to disassociate from such a person until that person repents. Trump has said repeatedly he has never had a need to repent.

So the rationalization that this pastor’s wife makes along with people like Wayne Grudem, Ralph Reed, Mark Burns and others is that we’re talking about the Presidency, not the church.

But Christians are Christians seven days a week inside and outside the church. These Christians are arguing that we should put our American citizenship ahead of our citizenship in the kingdom, or that we can bifurcate them and firewall ourselves between being American and being Christian. Frankly, we find ourselves in moral collapse as a country because a lot of well meaning Christians have behaved like a Christian on Sunday and then a non-Christian for the other six days.

For a Christian to say, “I know this guy is a really terrible person, but he’s not running for church office,” is a cop out to license immorality.

If Trump is really God’s chosen candidate, God can put Trump in office without Christians advocating for him. There is not an instance in the Bible where God, his prophets, or Christ Jesus himself encourages the faithful to support an immoral person to advance the kingdom. No one was encouraged to hold open the gates of Jerusalem for Nebuchadnezzar. No one was encouraged to cheer on Judas to accomplish God’s redemptive plan. And no one was encouraged to cheer on Herod as he slaughtered the children. In all ways, these people accomplished God’s will, but God did not ask his people to support them.

What this pastor’s wife, Wayne Grudem, Ralph Reed, Mark Burns, and others are asking us to do is be a little less holy and principled to “make America great again.” We make America great again by being better Christians, not telling Christians to get off their high horse and support someone who is “egotistical, bombastic, and brash [who] lacks nuance in his statements…sometimes blurts out mistaken ideas (such as bombing the families of terrorists) that he later must abandon [and who] insults people [and who] can be vindictive when people attack him [and who] has been slow to disown and rebuke the wrongful words and actions of some angry fringe supporters [and who] has been married three times and claims to have been unfaithful in his marriages.”

Just read the conclusion of this pastor’s wife:

If you do not vote for Trump and therefore vote for Hillary, don’t tell me you were being self sacrificial and that you did it “for your country.” Because you didn’t. You did it for yourself.

I am not arguing that Trump is a great man.

I am not even arguing that Trump is a good man.

I am arguing that in the words of Christ Himself, God can use an individual that is “not one of us” to further His purposes and protect His people.

So she is not arguing that Trump is great or good, but that God can use Trump. So let God do it. God never asked his people to support the evil and wicked even when God used them to accomplish his purpose.

And I’m not doing this “for [my] country.” I’m doing this because my God tells me that I should not associate with any unrepentant person who claims to be a Christian but is guilty of Trump’s sins. And God is not just talking about on Sunday, but everyday.

This pastor’s wife and the others want to be a Christian on Sunday and an American every other day. I’m a Christian first. So I cannot vote for what I think is immoral. If God wants Trump in office, God is big enough to do it without me. He does not need you or me or the church to be an instrument to prop up an immoral man.

How then can we witness in faith and truth telling others we supported an unrepentant adulterer who swindled the old and single mothers out of money because he wasn’t running for preacher, justPresident of the United States of America?

This pastor’s wife has a shallow faith and is worshiping the idol America.

Let God’s will be done. But don’t collaborate in immorality thinking you’re helping God. You aren’t.

Read Full Post »

And how convenient! Just in time for the Republican Convention and the Presidential Elections! Pfffftttt! I think Jame Dobson just showed that he is very ignorant and has ZERO Godly Discernment or Wisdom!

From the New York Times:

Has Donald J. Trump become a born-again Christian?

That is the suggestion of James C. Dobson, one of America’s leading evangelicals, who said Mr. Trump had recently come “to accept a relationship with Christ” and was now “a baby Christian.”

Dr. Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family and one of the country’s most prominent social conservatives, gave his account at a meeting Mr. Trump had in New York on Tuesday with hundreds of Christian conservatives.

In an interview recorded at the event by a Pennsylvania pastor, the Rev. Michael Anthony, Dr. Dobson said he knew the person who had led Mr. Trump to Christ, though he did not name him.

“I don’t know when it was, but it has not been long,” Dr. Dobson said. “I believe he really made a commitment, but he’s a baby Christian.

Mr. Anthony posted the interview to his blog on Friday. Dr. Dobson could not be reached on Saturday, and Hope Hicks, the Trump campaign spokeswoman, did not respond Saturday to a request for details.

Mr. Trump stumbled at times last year when speaking about faith. At one point he said that he had never asked for God’s forgiveness. And after repeating on the campaign trail that the Bible was his favorite book, ahead of his own “Art of the Deal,” Mr. Trump declined to name a favorite verse. “The Bible means a lot to me, but I don’t want to get into specifics,” he told Bloomberg Television.

Mr. Trump, a Presbyterian, questioned the faith of Hillary Clinton, a Methodist, at a meeting with a smaller group of evangelical leaders on Tuesday, saying, “We don’t know anything about Hillary in terms of religion.”

During the New York meeting, Mr. Trump made no mention of being born again. It is a possibility certain to cause chortles in some corners, but it could also open doors in others for the thrice-married presumptive Republican nominee for president.

For evangelicals, “accepting Christ” is at the heart of becoming a genuine Christian, and refers to acknowledging sin and declaring the need for Jesus Christ as savior.

“The expectation evangelicals have is of a radical change, a 180-degree turn from the life of sin to following Christ,” said Kedron Bardwell, a political science professor at Simpson College in Iowa, who is the son of an evangelical pastor.

With new believers, this is often done in prayer with another Christian, which may have been what Dr. Dobson was referring to when he said that he knew the person who had “led him to Christ.”

Mr. Trump won a majority of evangelical voters in the Republican primaries, though some prominent conservative Christian leaders kept their distance. Dr. Dobson endorsed Senator Ted Cruz.

Since Mr. Trump clinched the nomination in May, some of those leaders have rallied to him, including Ralph Reed.

In his interview, Dr. Dobson conceded that Mr. Trump did not exactly fit the typical mold of an evangelical.

“He used the word ‘hell’ four or five times,” he said. “He doesn’t know our language.” He added that Mr. Trump “refers a lot to religion and not much to faith and belief.”

For evangelicals, the heart of Christianity is a faith-based dependence on God. They often contrast this with what they characterize as merely “religion,” which they view as more rules and rituals-based.

Dr. Dobson joked that Christians should take it easy on Mr. Trump for what some might perceive as slip-ups.

“You got to cut him some slack,” Dr. Dobson said. “He didn’t grow up like we did.”

Mr. Anthony referred to the Damascus-road conversion of Saul, a zealous Pharisee, who later became the Apostle Paul: “He didn’t know the language either.”

Dr. Dobson agreed.

“I think there’s hope for him,” Dr. Dobson said. “And I think there’s hope for us.”

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: