where religion and politics meet

Everybody has a worldview. A worldview is what you believe about life: what is true, what is false, what is right, what is wrong, what are the rules, are there any rules, what is the meaning of life, what is important, what is not.

If a worldview includes a god/God, it is called a religion. If a bunch of people have the same religion, they give it a name.

Nations have worldviews too, a prevailing way of looking at life that directs government policies and laws and that contributes significantly to the culture. Politics is the outworking of that worldview in public life.

Our country’s worldview used to be Christianity. Now we are told it is and has always been secularism, which is practical atheism. This issue divides our country, but those who disagree are divided as well on how to respond.

Our country could not have been founded as a secular nation, because a secular country could not guarantee freedom of religion. Secular values would be higher than religious ones, and they would supersede them when there was a conflict. Secularism sees religion only as your personal preferences, like your taste in food, music, or movies. It does not see religion, any religion, as being true.

But God, prayer, the Bible, and the Ten Commandments were always important parts of our public life, including our public schools, until 1963, when the court called supreme ruled them unconstitutional, almost 200 years after our nation’s founding.

Our country also did not envision a multitude of different religions co-existing in one place, because the people, and the government, would then be divided on the basic questions of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Our Constitution, which we fought a war to be able to enact, states, among other things, that our government exists for us to form a more perfect union, ensure domestic tranquility, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. It could not do this unless it had a clear vision of what it considers to be true, a vision shared with the vast majority of the people in this country.

I want to engage the government, the culture, and the people who live here to see life again from a Christian perspective and to show how secularism is both inadequate and just plain wrong.

Because religion deals with things like God, much of its contents is not subject to the scientific method, though the reasons why one chooses to believe in God or a particular religion certainly demand serious investigation, critical thinking, and a hunger for what is true.

Science and education used to be valuable tools in the search for truth, but science has chosen to answer the foundational questions of life without accepting the possibility of any supernatural causes, and education no longer considers the search to be necessary, possible, or worthwhile.

poligion: 1) the proper synthesis of religion and politics 2) the realization, belief, or position that politics and religion cannot be separated or compartmentalized, that a person’s religion invariably affects one’s political decisions and that political decisions invariably stem from one’s worldview, which is what a religion is.

If you are new to this site, I would encourage you to browse through the older articles. They deal with a lot of the more basic issues. Many of the newer articles are shorter responses to partiular problems.

Visit my other websites theimportanceofhealing blogspot.com where I talk about healing and my book of the same name and LarrysBibleStudies.blogspot.com where I am posting all my other Bible studies. Follow this link to my videos on youtube:


If you want to contact me, email is best: lacraig1@sbcglobal.net

Thank you.

Larry Craig

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Decline of America and the Tacit Complicity of the Christians

The Decline of America and the Tacit Complicity of the Christians  

[Reader alert:  This article is written to as well as about Christians.  Some of the language will be lost on those without a strong church background, but enough will be understandable to all of us.  And this certainly applies to all of us.]

If a random sampling of Christians today were transported back in time and replaced the Christians of our colonial period, there would not have been a Revolutionary War, a war for independence.  And if the Christians of that time multiplied and replaced the Christians in our country today, there would be another revolution.

But why am I singling out the Christians for culpability here?  Because I believe they are the sleeping lion in our country, sleeping when they should be up and about, a lion whose roar gets attention and respect.

I believe that many, way too many, Christians have disengaged themselves or stood by watching as our country has gradually lost its way into moral relativism, political correctness, unconscionable debt, moral confusion, social disintegration, political expediency, collective apathy, wanton violence, and godless philosophies.

I believe there are a number of Biblical and theological beliefs that are affecting and limiting the political and social involvement of Christians, if not contributing to our country’s decline, at least aiding and abetting it by not engaging it.

I should note first that there are many varieties of Christians.  The theologically conservative Christians tend to be conservative socially and politically.  The theologically liberal Christians tend to be liberal socially and politically. 

Liberals of all kinds are contributing to our current political and social mess intentionally, conservatives by their uninvolvement.  The word uninvolvement needs some clarification here as well.

There is one issue that Christians have been at the forefront, and that is abortion.  But one problem is that they fight it like they are in Obama’s new military: they can only fight a one front war.  They are often so focused on this one issue that nothing else gets their attention.  And this one issue, taken in isolation from the bigger picture, is drawing too much negative election losing reactions and is also leading to other serious social problems.

If abortion were made not only illegal but actually impossible today, yes, there would be many more children available for adoption, but we would also be overwhelmed with children born to unwed mothers, who in many if not most cases would be raising those children in poverty, dependent on society for financial assistance, which currently means more taxes and debt for everyone else. 

As long as sex is casual and cheap, there will always be way too many unintended pregnancies.  Women are liberated today, and they feel they can be as loose as the men have always been.  We are losing the culture war here.  Saving one’s self for marriage is a quaint notion, but we’re not making a great case for it.

I have identified 8 Biblical, theological, social, political beliefs that I believe are adversely affecting the Christian’s role in our society.

1)              Subjection to the government  Romans 13:

   1  Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.
    2   Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.
    3   For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same;
    4   for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.
    5   Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake.
    6   For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing.

This sounds pretty straightforward.  The government is in charge, and we are supposed to follow its lead, willingly and cheerfully, because God appointed them and because it is God’s will. 

There is one slight problem.  Before the United States came along, nations were run by rulers, kings, monarchs, tyrants, and Caesars.  But our President and Senators and Congressmen, mayors, etc. are not rulers.  They are our representatives. They are to speak for us, not to or at us.  The idea of freedom of speech was primarily for political speech, being able and encouraged to interact with the actions of government to keep it on track.  Not to speak up is like taking down all the walls and doors of your house and allowing whatever and whoever to come in and do what they want with what is yours.

Imagine a household, you and your spouse.  Your parents and children.  Then add all the brothers and sisters.  Their spouses and children.  And in-laws.  And their brothers and sisters etc. 

And the bunch decides on Uncle Bob to organize and pay the bills, the grandparents as arbitrators over all the disputes, and Aunt Sally to provide the curriculum to teach the children.  Now if you didn’t like the way Uncle Bob was spending the money or what Aunt Sally was teaching the children, you would say something.  Because this is your money and your children. 

Well, this is what it means to have a government of the people, by the people, for the people.  It’s your money, your children, your schools, your roads, your jobs.  The fact that the country has grown so large means it’s a little harder to get your voice heard, if you are speaking by yourself.  But not to speak up is not the way our country is meant to run. 

The Decline of America and the Tacit Complicity of the Christians  (Part 2)

I believe that Christians are, can be, should be the greatest force for good in our country.  Yet they have done very little to slow, stop, or otherwise avert the gradual, steady, relentless decline of our country.

I have identified 8 common Biblical, theological, social, political beliefs that I believe are keeping Christians from being that important necessary good for our country.

The second belief is a separation of the secular and the spiritual.  This is based on a saying of Jesus:  “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Mark 12:13–17 (NASB95)
13 Then they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Him [Jesus] in order to trap Him in a statement. 14 They came and said to Him, “Teacher,  . . .   Is it lawful to pay a poll-tax to Caesar, or not? 15 “Shall we pay or shall we not pay?” But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, “Why are you testing Me? Bring Me a denarius [a certain coin] to look at.” 16 They brought one. And He said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” And they said to Him, “Caesar’s.” 17 And Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

For many if not most Christians, this divides the world in half.  There is a secular world, and there is a spiritual world.  They will pay their taxes and vote, and that can pretty much sum up their obligations to Caesar, or the government. 

But, again, as in point 1, in the United States, the government is not a separate entity from the people.  We are the government.  Not to get involved is like leaving your house doors open, your cars unlocked, and your savings in a shoe box under your bed.

But the world is separated into a spiritual life and a secular life.  And the spiritual is infinitely more important than the secular.  There are spiritual activities that require enormous amounts of whatever free time a person has. 

First of all, every Christian needs to spend time every day in personal devotions.  The more the better.  This includes personal Bible study, worship, and prayer, 

More and more churches are also insisting that everyone belong to a small group, where the same activities are repeated but with an added social dynamic.  The group studies the Bible together or another book that is read during the week and discussed.  The group often will meet at other times for projects or fun things just to build relationships.  But every person is strongly encouraged, or pressed, to be actively related to a number of other people to share their personal lives and struggles.

Many Christians will also be a part of another Bible study group during the week, because you simply can’t get enough Bible.  And I am not being facetious here.  These are generally of greater depth than a small group study and require a considerable amount of homework. 

Then, of course, there is church itself.  Most conservative churches used to have three different services a week that the more faithful would never miss under penalty of not being considered a  really committed Christian.  Now many only have the Sunday morning or weekend service that one needs to attend to be in good standing. 

But there are many, many other ways to be involved, and this is a sign of your spiritual maturity.  Every person is encouraged or expected to do something or be a part of another group in the church, whether it is helping out in the nursery, the youth, the nursing home, the soup kitchen, the men’s group, the women’s group, committees, or cleanup.

Not only is every available bit of free time away from your prioritized personal family time accounted for, but also all your available money.  Conservative churches generally teach the tithe with many of them practically making it a requirement or sign of real commitment to the church and God.  The tithe, of course, is giving ten percent of your (gross) income to God, often meaning the local church.  And there are many, many other Christian organizations doing great things that need your contributions. 

The Christian life is a very full one, in every way.  They are exhorted to reach the world for Christ, but often they don’t really have much contact with anyone who is not a Christian outside of work.

But anything outside of strictly religious activities and personal acts of charity is secular and of a much lower value in the scheme of things.  And even if the case is made for their importance, who has the time for one more thing?

The Christian life and culture has become a separate, co-existing culture parallel to a secular culture.  Christians often will mimic some aspect of secular culture to prove its relevance to the world, they will attend the same movies and listen to music that sounds much the same, though with spiritual words, but they live in a parallel universe.  They need to stay closely engaged with other Christians so they don’t become worldly.

But this division between the secular and the spiritual has taken many Christians out of the rest of life in order to live the life they want to live.

They have often been criticized by the world as being judgmental and hypocritical, but I have been amazed constantly by their generosity and acts of compassion to those in need.  But these are personal acts of generosity and personal acts of compassion.  Some one I know is giving her car to a single mom. 

But life outside of the local church, one’s immediate family, and organizations devoted to evangelism or personal charity is deemed pretty much to be secular and markedly less important than that inside.

The Decline of America and the Tacit Complicity of the Christians  (Part 3)

I have read that if you tell the same lie often enough, people will start to believe it.  The lie I have in mind here is the separation of church and state, and that lie is probably the biggest single reason for the decline of the United States

In this article, I am looking at 8 (let’s make that 9) common Biblical, theological, social, political beliefs by which the Christians of our country are tacitly complicit in our country’s decline.

First there was the idea that our government is our ruler to be obeyed like all the governments that existed in Bible times and all other governments prior to ours.

The second belief divided life into secular and sacred areas, so Christians concentrated on the one and left the other areas to the non-Christians, what the Bible calls the ungodly.

Now this third belief, the separation of church and state, slowly fed to an unsuspecting Church gradually like the proverbial camel’s foot in the tent, where the change in any one generation seems livable, but when seen from the perspective of history, a definite constant movement in one direction is clearly evident.

Or, to put it another way, the first belief was in the separation of the government from the people.  The second belief was the separation of the secular from the spiritual.  And the third is the separation of the government from the spiritual. 

This is the only one of the beliefs that was developed outside of the Church, but like a Trojan horse, they bought it when they should have known better.

When our country was founded, there was a major question about whether the country should have an established religion as they did in Europe.  There was the Church of England, Germany had the Lutheran Church, and other countries also had established churches.  Many of the states at the time had a state religion. 

Our country has gone from “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” to public schools not permitting any mention of God at all.  The so-called separation of church and state has morphed into separation of religion and state to separation of God and state.  Where the issue was once whether our country should have an official national church has now become a prohibition for children to invite other children to a church program while on public school property.

All the incremental steps that the Supreme Court, our government, and our society have taken to remove God from public life have been done in plain sight, but because they were just that, incremental, they were accepted.  When I was young, my parents would measure all our heights against the wall post and date them.  We didn’t feel like we were growing.  It was only when measured to our past heights that we saw how much we had changed.

If our Constitution changes with each generation in how it is understood, then there is no point in even having one.  We can just do whatever it is we want anyway.  But it’s only when we keep measuring where we are from what it was in the beginning that we can keep to what our nation was intended to be. 

There are many in our society today who see these changes as good, necessary changes for changing times.  We will talk about that at another time.

But why am I singling out the Church for its tacit complicity in this malfunction of American life? 

They more than anyone else should have known better. 

Christians are a people of the Book.  The book warns God’s people to teach these things diligently unto their children, talking about these things when they sit in their houses and when they walk by the way and when they lie down and when they rise up.   Why?  Lest they forget. 

They were warned that when they were prosperous, it would be easy to forget the God whose blessings made this all possible.

Moses was the man of God who led God’s people to a new life.  When he was old, he asked God to give the nation a leader after him, who was Joshua. 

God told Joshua that this book of the law shall not depart from their mouth, but that they should meditate on it day and night to be careful to do everything written in it, for then they shall make their way prosperous, and then they shall have good success.

The nation followed God through Moses’ life and then through Joshua’s life (with various bumps and bruises).  But after Joshua’s death and the death of their contemporaries, the nation turned away from God and became like all the other nations.

Later that nation attained its highest point of success under King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived.  The very next generation saw the nation split, civil war, and a humiliating defeat in another war.

Christians should know more than anybody the constant vigilance, the careful watching that is needed to stay on the right path, to avoid the innumerable ways that a nation or a people could decline. 

Democracy, or a republic, is a very dangerous, fragile system of government.  Why?  Very early on, our country’s leaders knew that when the people learned that they could vote themselves all kinds of government benefits, the nation was doomed.  Not immediately but inevitably. 

It takes a religious and moral people for this thing to work, so said one of those early leaders.

The history of the Christian Church is filled with revivals and reformations.  Every institution that involves humans loses its way, slowly but surely.  Then when it has gone too far, a leader rises up to lead a reform or a revival.  Usually when the history books are written, one or two names stand out as being instrumental to the reformation, e.g. Martin Luther, Charles Finney, John Wesley.

We can’t wait much longer.

The Decline of America and the Tacit Complicity of the Christians  (Part 4)

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. "

- Edmund Burke

Jesus said that if someone strikes you on the cheek, you should turn the other also.  But what if someone strikes your wife?  Or your children?  Or your neighbor?  Or someone within view you don’t know?

Jesus told a story about a man who came across another man who had been beaten, robbed, and left for dead.  This man took care of the other, brought him to someone who could better care for him, gave the man two days wages for his trouble, and promised more when he came back if he needed it.  And we should go and do likewise.

But what I want to know is what Jesus would have wanted this man, and us, to do if he had come upon this man a half hour earlier while this man was being beaten, robbed, and left for dead.  My best guess is Jesus would have said that the man should first pray: ask God for protection, wisdom, strength, and a miracle.  Then call 911, take his AR-15 out of his camel pack, fire a few warning shots, and try to hold them until the police arrive.  If attacked himself, shoot as many of them as possible.  In love, of course.  And, if necessary, give his life to save the stranger.  But we’ll probably never know.

On another occasion, Jesus told a parable about soil, four kinds of soil.  Seed was sown on the soils, and there were four different results.  These four soils represent people and their responses to the Word of God.  Christians feel a bit of satisfaction that they were the good soil that responded in faith to God’s message.

But what should the Christians do if they are aware of people diverting water from the soil so that the land becomes parched.  Or who dump gravel that smothers the ground or introduce invasive species that crowd out all other vegetation or animals that feed on anything that grows there?

These are influences that occur either through popular culture or political initiatives.  Some say the politics reflects culture.  Well, that too, but politics can shape culture as well.  As I am writing this article, the question of gay marriage is being discussed before the Supreme Court.  If gay marriage becomes the law of the land, your children in public schools will be taught from the first days of kindergarten that homosexuality is every bit as valid as heterosexuality, and your children will be taught how to have safe same sex from their earliest ages.  Their views on homosexuality will probably turn out quite differently from that of their Christian parents.

So be happy that you are the good soil, but do what you can to see that the other soils don’t become more difficult for the Word of God to plant.

We have been looking in these articles at (now) 9 Biblical, theological, social, political beliefs of Christians that I believe are keeping them from being the kind of important world changing positive influence that we need in our country today.  This is the fourth: what I would call submission to evil.

Now Jesus explicitly said not to resist evil.  Matthew 5:38    “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’  39  “But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.   40  “If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also.  41  “Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.  42  “Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you. 43  “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  44      “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

Christians are taught to love their neighbor.  And this is very important.  And if someone sins against them, they are to forgive, and without keeping track of how many times.  But it is one thing to accept evil from another person, but quite another thing when you observe evil being inflicted on someone else and you are able to do something about it.

Christians are to be patient and kind, forbearing and generous, slow to speak and slow to anger.

But the Christian who takes the whole Bible seriously is faced with the fact that the Bible contains a lot of violence, violence by God’s people and at God’s command with His blessing.  God hasn’t changed and doesn’t change.  While Christians believe that times and circumstances have changed since then, the fact that God initiated or endorsed much of this violence indicates that strong measures are not in and of themselves wrong, otherwise God would not have had part in it.

There was a time in the Bible when a foreign nation attacked a city allied to God’s people.  Messengers were sent to seek help.  The Bible says that the Spirit of the Lord came upon Saul mightily, and he became very angry.  He then mustered an army and delivered that city.

Few Christians would associate the Spirit of the Lord with anger.  Anger is considered a sign that you have issues.  At least once anger is attributed to Jesus, and I am not talking about the time He made a whip out of cords, overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and threw them out of the temple.  Some Bible scholars say that happened twice.

‘Turning the cheek’ tells me what to do in personal relationships, how to handle unfair criticism, lies, and even some forms of physical assaults.  It does not tell me what to do if my life is threatened or, better yet, when my family’s life is threatened, or my neighbor’s, or my country’s.

If someone were to offer to sell me drugs on the street, I would decline and continue on.  If this same person were to begin selling drugs outside my son’s school, he would get a very different response.

Christians have been characterized by the public too many times as being angry, hypocritical, and just plain critical.  Christians want to be nice and loving, but at the same time laws and culture are changing our society more and more in ways that are not what we would call right by any means.

For the sake of our children, our grandchildren, for our neighbors and their children and grandchildren.  For the sake of all the people to whom we believe God has called us to give the good news of God’s salvation in Christ, we need to get involved in what is going on in our society and culture

The Decline of America and the Tacit Complicity of the Christians  (Part 5)

Jesus is coming.  Look busy.

Jesus is coming, and, boy, is He angry!
                                                -bumper stickers

All Christians believe that Jesus is coming again.  The more liberal churches don’t make a big deal out of it, but this is very important for the conservative Christians. 

When is He coming back?  Theoretically, it could be at any time.  It could have been at any time in the last 1900 years.

There have been times of heightened expectation, particularly since the reestablishment of the nation of Israel in 1948.  The 1970s saw a surge in interest, and then again in the decade preceding the year 2000, which would have ended about 6,000 years of Biblical history.  Many Christians believe that a thousand year time of peace on the earth will ensue when Jesus returns, so the pattern of 6,000 and 1,000 corresponds to the 6 days of work and 1 day of rest of the creation week, especially since “a day with the Lord is as a thousand years.”

But what does this have to do with the decline of America?

Christians believe that the time immediately preceding Jesus’ return will be a bad time in many respects: politically, morally, spiritually, and especially for the Church with increasing persecution.  Christians in general, while recognizing that persecution is not pleasant, believe that it is often necessary to wake the Church from lethargy and that it has a purifying and energizing effect on it.
I would dispute that assessment.  The Church has indeed often done quite well during times of persecution, but I would say the Church did well in spite of the persecution rather than because of it. 

If persecution always causes the Church to thrive, then I would expect to see thriving churches all throughout the Moslem world.  Apart from Iran and maybe some parts of Indonesia and perhaps Pakistan, the Church throughout the Moslem world is shrinking rapidly, primarily as Christians flee the countries to avoid being killed.

There are many reports of Moslems becoming Christians in high numbers, but this is high only compared to previous rates of conversions from Islam.  This does not seem to be the result of a revival within the Church nor is it even close to the rate of population growth of new Moslems.  Many Moslems are having dreams that lead them to Christ. 

So Christians in general believe we are living in the Last Days, and the Last Days are bleak ones.  We are to be busy about the Master’s business, but we are supposed to be in a losing battle if we expect to see a culture of godliness in our society before Jesus returns to judge the world and set up His Kingdom on earth.

So what’s wrong with this thinking?  Since when should God’s people accept a losing battle as being the will of God?  The history of the Church and the Bible history are filled with stories of deliverance and revival.  If the nation had gone bad, it was because the people, God’s people, had gone bad.  When God’s people repented and sought for God’s mercy and help with tears, God raised up leaders to deliver His people and the nation.

I use the words ‘society’ and ‘culture’ a lot in my writings.  The Church prefers to speak of preaching the gospel and making disciples.  But guess what?

If a society is becoming increasingly ungodly and embracing lifestyles that don’t reflect the Biblical norm, that means that the gospel isn’t being preached effectively and disciples aren’t being made.  What our society calls traditional values, traditional marriage, traditional families, that tradition was Christian values, Christian marriage, Christian families.

Our country used to be a Christian nation.  No, not everybody was Christian, but even the Supreme Court used that expression when rendering decisions. 

If our country is no longer Christian, you can blame politicians and the courts if you want.  And I do and will.  They have removed God from our schools and public life, so a child’s education in public school entirely reflects a naturalistic, un-godly perspective.

In addition, our immigration policies used to favor immigration from countries that reflected the nationalities of those peoples already here, namely, Europeans.  While they were not all genuine Bible believing Christians as Christians understand the phrase, their worldview was Christian, and their countries had state religions that were Christian. 

Now our immigration policy is open to anyone without regard to whether their values or worldviews are similar to those of us who are already here.  This all, of course, contributes to the modern philosophy of post-modernism, which rejects objective truth and promotes acceptance and tolerance for all viewpoints.

So the government has made the work of Christians harder in that fewer people have a Biblical, Christian background and framework and only need to make a personal commitment to Christ, without having to go back to square one and try to prove the truthfulness of the Christian message.

On the other hand, Christians are strong believers in winning the world to Christ, and thanks to our government, the world has been brought to them.   They don’t have to travel thousands of miles to a culture totally unlike ours and spend years just trying to blend in.  They’re all trying to come here.  If we can’t win them here, why should we think we can win them over there?

If we are not winning them over here, I don’t think we should use the idea that the world is supposed to get worse before Jesus returns as our reason.  Our government and our culture and society have indeed made the job harder by making religious talk in the public square as being culturally insensitive and hateful speech to those who don’t agree with them, but it is still the job of the Christian to win the world. 

The Christian uses numbers to measure progress in winning the world: how many people made decisions, how many baptisms, how many people attend church.  But the real measure of Christian success as a Church is how the culture and society and government are changing to reflect Christian values. 

No, you can’t legislate Christianity.  Christians detest abortion, and eliminating abortion would be a good thing.  But if you don’t have families to raise these children, and marriage is not a value in society, other serious problems will ensue. 

And laws can change back to what they were before.  Our country voted to abolish alcohol.  That didn’t last very long.  Why?  The hearts of the people weren’t changed enough.  You could abolish abortion, but that wouldn’t mean that it couldn’t become legal again as people find too many unwanted burdensome children encroaching on and limiting their freedoms of choice and lifestyle.

So if the world and our country are getting worse, even if it were supposed to be that way, the Church would still have to chalk that up as a failure rather than God’s plan for the world.

The Decline of America and the Tacit Complicity of the Christians  (Part 6)

If there is one question that Christians obsess over, it is: what is the will of God?  Yet at the same time, they believe that everything is God’s will.  If something happened, then God permitted it.  If God permitted it, He must have had a reason.  So that means He wanted it to happen, and therefore it was His will.

This reasoning is helpful and reassuring to a point when faced with a personal tragedy, yet when taken to its logical conclusion, something is amiss.

This would mean that every murder, every rape, every war, every molested child, the Holocaust, every terrorist bombing, every evil that has happened since the beginning of time, since God permitted it, God must have wanted it to happen, and therefore it was His will.

The reason why Christians have come to believe this is that they have prayed for things that didn’t happen the way they think it should have, and they need some reason to explain why that is not their fault.  So it had to be God’s will.

We have been looking at nine common Biblical, theological, social, political beliefs which I believe are contributing to our country’s decline.  Number 6 here is the belief in the sovereignty of God.

Now I have no doubt that God is sovereign, but I think we misunderstand and misuse the term.  The word itself means having supreme authority or power, but humans are not puppets on a string, and neither are God and humans the only agents of action in the world.

Many Christians believe that even evil agents in the world are limited by God’s permission, but I don’t think we are really doing God or anyone else a favor when we essentially attribute so much unthinkable evil in the world to God’s will, permissible or otherwise. 

Christians believe in prayer, but prayer used to be thought of as an instrument of change in the world.  Now it is often seen as a form of therapy, where the pray-er is where the change needs to occur rather than the world around him.

The fact is that Christians, like everyone else, often feel powerless to effect any real change in the world.  The government is so large that one voice or one vote is not heard.  As the world has grown larger, the influence of any one person diminishes.  And Christians, perhaps more than anyone else, having a vision of how things should be in a perfect world, feel the pain more intently. 

And pain is hard to live with.  A resolution is needed.  It is found in the consolation that all is well, because in the bigger picture, this is all part of a bigger plan which we don’t understand.

But what they are not understanding is that they are the hands and instruments of God in the world.  When God says that nothing is impossible with Him, He is not just talking about His ability.  He is trying to open people’s eyes to possibilities. 

Jesus told His people to pray that God’s will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  If such was already the case, there would be no need to pray for it.  And I don’t think this is just some emotional exercise in self-acceptance, or world-acceptance.

Christians are taught to pray for things.  Yes, prayer is more than just asking for things.  They are to praise God, thank God, confess their sins, and submit to God’s will, whatever that may be.  But asking is still something that they are expected to do.

The question, of course, is how long do they pray for something before they believe the prayer has been answered.  A week, a month, a year?  At some point, they have to decide if they should keep praying for an answer or if the prayer has already been answered, and the status quo is to continue. 

Well, if prayer was that easy in that things changed constantly before our eyes in answers to our prayers, this world would certainly be a very interesting place to live in.  But it doesn’t.  And Christians need an explanation, a theology to describe the phenomenon.  And this is the sovereignty of God.

In many parts of the world today, the Church is expanding rapidly with new people becoming Christians daily in great numbers.  In the United States, the numbers are stagnant and the Church’s influence in the society is waning. 

God’s will?  I don’t think so. 

What to do about it? 

The first step is to stop calling it God’s will.

The Decline of America and the Tacit Complicity of the Christians  (Part 7)

If you want to write a best selling Christian book, it really helps if you write about fear, anxiety, worry, or joy.  If you can include one of these words in the title, all the better.

While Christians are among the most compassionate and generous people you will ever meet, they are also among the most self-focused.  Their religion emphasizes a personal relationship with God, but they are often fixated on how that relationship is going, often measured by how much emotion they feel, whether positive or negative.  They are also acutely aware of their actions and how they measure on a range of sinfulness.  

Many Christians do not like to think of Christianity as a religion, because they see religion as a body of beliefs and courses of action that a person could assent to and follow for many reasons.  They stress that Christianity is a relationship, a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. 

Unlike most relationships, Christians are constantly monitoring this relationship, being keenly aware of their feelings, emotions, sins, and responsibilities.  All of these either reflect or affect their relationship with God.  They speak of a victorious Christian life, where their emotions are in a positive state pretty much all of the time. 

Now nobody can live anyone else’s life but their own.  So being and becoming the best person you can be is commendable, constructive, and valuable to a society.

In the early days of our country, the Christian influence in our country was very strong.  Public schools taught more religion that many Sunday Schools today, and that Christian.  Public schools were not considered an extension of the federal government or even the state government for that matter.  Schools were local, and clergy were quite a part of it.

But change came to our country.  Gradually.  Gradual change is the worst kind.  Little changes seem harmless, but boundaries are moved.  That new boundary is closer to the next change which is only a little more, but that change is considerable compared with the first boundary.

But the next generation grows up and never knew that first boundary.  To them, things have always been the way they are now.  They haven’t known anything different.  When that next change comes, it’s just a little bit, and Christians are concerned that they look nice and kind, so they don’t want to appear radical, strange, or negative.

The Supreme Court was the primary mover in much of these changes, gradually declaring things unconstitutional which had been common practices for hundreds of years.  Public schools taught the Bible and had prayer from the beginning in the 1600s.  Knowledge of the Bible was considered foundational to a good education, and a good education included instilling of the fear of God and the Christian moral code.

Part of the problem may lie in the fact that somewhere the Supreme Court began capitalizing the word supreme in its title, where in the Constitution the word is not capitalized. 

At that time in our country, many nouns were capitalized. 
 By the 17th century, the practice had extended to titles (Sir, Lady), forms of address (Father, Mistris), and personified nouns (Nature). Emphasized words and phrases would also attract a capital. By the beginning of the 18th century, the influence of Continental books had caused this practice to be extended still further (e.g. to the names of the branches of knowledge), and it was not long before some writers began using a capital for any noun that they felt to be important. Books appeared in which all or most nouns were given an initial capital (as is done systematically in modern German) - perhaps for aesthetic reasons, or perhaps because printers were uncertain about which nouns to capitalize, and so capitalized them all. (italics mine)
                        The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language

So our Constitution talks about “one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.”  The other two times the Supreme Court is mentioned in the Constitution, it is always as the supreme Court.  So ‘supreme’ was not considered as part of the title for that court, just as ‘inferior’ was not part of the titles of the other courts.

So the supreme Court gradually assumed a title not given to it, and everyone bought it.  So when the supreme Court said that common practices of our schools were unconstitutional, Christians, taught to be submissive to our government (see part 1), rolled over and let the Bible and prayer be taken out of our schools.

There were other societal factors that secularized our country.  Post-modernism, which denied ultimate truth and encouraged political correctness, certainly played a part.  The immigration changes in 1965, purportedly as a result of the Civil Rights movement which sought to end white favoritism in our country opened our borders to all the countries of the world, many of whom had little or no Christian background.  This made it easier for secularists to purge our schools and the public square of decidedly Christian expressions, which were deemed hostile to minorities, who were of many different kinds now.

So when our country was essentially Christian, the Christian focus on personal piety was enough.  But they weren’t paying enough attention to what was going on around them.  They couldn’t imagine things any other way.  And like the car rolling downhill with increasing momentum, it was much harder to stop. 

It used to be enough for Christians to just live personal godly lives, and our country did very well.  But our country began pushing Christians to keep it more and more personal and out of the public view and consciousness, and Christians became essentially irrelevant to society as a whole.  They became a sub-culture, strangers in a country they were instrumental in founding.

The Decline of America and the Tacit Complicity of the Christians  (Part 8)

What is the meaning of life?  Why are we here?  Why did God create a human race in the first place? 

Our secular society with its emphasis on evolution as the explanation for everything finds that it can’t really answer that question satisfactorily.  If God did not create the world and human beings in particular, then the only ‘why’ we are here is the presence of water and moderate temperatures.  Any meaning of life is whatever reason you personally might find for continuing your existence, but don’t expect anyone else to share that same meaning with you.  There is No One there to tell us what it is all about.

Christians have a purpose in life.  Several, actually.  The Westminster Shorter Catechism says that the chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.  A little short on details, but it’s a start.

Most Christians would probably see their purpose in the Great Commission: Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, making disciples of all the nations.  I combined the two texts here where this Commission is given. 

Most Christians, at least in the West, would consider themselves inadequate for this task, either intellectually to answer the objections that unbelievers would raise; personally, feeling that their lives are not enough of an example to others that they might want the Christian has; or, spiritually, sensing the power of God in their lives to overcome their fears and to boldly and clearly proclaim the message.

They see the method of making disciples or evangelism, which is strictly the telling of the good news of God’s love and salvation, in strictly personal terms.  Billy Graham used to have city wide rallies where Christians would invite non-Christians to join them while they heard him preach the message of salvation, and an invitation was given for people to personally respond and give their lives to Christ. 

These large mass meeting have pretty much disappeared from the American Christianity landscape,  Individual churches could probably do a better job in this f they provided an opportunity in their weekly services for people to make a commitment to Christ, but for whatever reason few do.

So what is left is the individual conservations that Christians have with non-Christians in whatever little time or opportunity that is left outside of their work and myriad of church activities.

What they are failing to see is how our society and culture not only reflects but also shapes the lives of these same people they are trying to reach.  Jesus told a parable about a man sowing seed on the ground.  The various soils represent the various attitudes people have to the things of God, and thus their various responses to the Word of God, 

So society reflects the cumulative attitudes of its people to the things of God, but its culture is being constantly shaped as well by what happens in day to day life.

Public schools didn’t used to be considered an extension of the government of our country.  They used to teach more Bible than most churches today.  But something changed.  The supreme Court (I intentionally did not capitalize ‘supreme.’  See my last article.) ruled that prayer and teaching the Bible in public schools were unconstitutional, common practices for over three hundred years, long predating the founding of our country and long encouraged after the founding.

This coincided with or helped to precipitate the rise of post-modernism, and voila our culture loses all its moral bearings.  Life becomes cheap, whether to shoot it or abort it. Marriage becomes too much work, but then why bother when you can get all the sex you want for free?  There is no God, so we need a government (just as big) to take care of us.  And there is No One to be accountable to or a universally recognized code of conduct, so people can pretty much do what they can get away with.  And so the rules and regulations from the government multiply and multiply to cover every exigency.

Christians think that if everyone became a Christian, all these problems would be solved, but what they are failing to realize is that all these problems are making their message harder to penetrate. 

Back to Jesus’ parable of the soils.  The soil in our country used to be fertile, when belief in God was common, and fashionable.  In addition to that, science, based on practical atheism and populated by people with little, no, or inadequate religious backgrounds, makes pronouncements with the authority of the Pope that Christians challenge at the risk of being ridiculed. 

Homosexuality is not only determined, it is wonderful.  Life evolved by mindless random, yet purposeful, mutations, and there is Nothing outside of what we can see or measure.  Marriage is a societal contract that we can adjust any way that fits the desires of the contracting parties.

I am reading a book, Democracy in America, written in the 1830s, about life in America.  Christians had a dead lock on this country.  Oh, there were infidels, but the country was united in a moral and spiritual consensus unimagined today. 

So the influence of the Church has gradually and consistently receded in our country until now it is practically invisible.  And when seen, it is often scorned by the media.  Part of this loss is due to internal sources, and part of it is due to societal changes that I believe the Church had a role in by either failing to make its case to the public or letting our country be directed by ungodly people in political office, including the courts. 

The Christians have focused on a mission, reaching the world for Christ, but they missed seeing how other things that they could have had more influence on had made their mission harder, and consequently less successful.

If someone were keeping score, the Church is losing in the United States.

The Decline of America and the Tacit Complicity of the Christians  (Part 9)

In many parts of the world today, the Church is thriving and increasing rapidly.  In the United States, the Church is stagnant and losing influence in society.  There are many individual churches in the States that are growing, but most of their growth is due to Christians changing churches rather than people becoming Christians.  Yes, there are exceptions.  I used to attend one.

So why the difference between the Church in these different parts of the world?  As noted in a previous article, this is often attributed to the fact that much of this growth in Christianity is in countries that persecute Christians.  It was also noted there that if persecution can or does revitalize churches, then Moslem countries should have thriving and growing Christian communities, which is generally not the case.  Christians are fleeing those countries.

Few problems have simple solutions, but this could be one of them.  There is a doctrine that divides the Christian community like few others.  Churches on the one side are seeing rapid growth through people becoming Christians, and on the other side church growth is primarily through people changing churches for those with better preachers, better music, better youth programs, etc.

The doctrine is the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  Part of the problem is simply the way the doctrine is defined.  Most would define it as a post-conversion experience.  I believe it was never intended to be that, but the Church over time modified somewhat the conversion experience itself, so that common practices of the early church were either postponed or done away with altogether.  

This happened for two reasons.  In the highly educated West, we sought for theological precision that eventually required that we define the minimum activity required for a person to receive the gift of eternal life.  Any non-essential action on the part of the potential convert was analyzed and rejected so as not to pollute the conversion process.

And, secondly, as the Church was gradually losing its power to reach people with the gospel, it sought for the easiest, simplest presentation of the gospel to get the highest number of positive responses.

The Bible is not a step by step manual on Christian practices, so the further the Church got from that first generation of Christians and their practices, the more subtle changes in understanding permeated the Church.

Simply put, some Christians believe that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is a defining experience that every Christian should have.  Others believe it is more of a change in status, like when you become a member of an organization.  You are now entitled to certain benefits and responsible for certain obligations, but if you are never informed about what they are, nothing changes in your life. 

Those who have had this defining experience know something has happened in their lives which empowers them to greater boldness, enhanced changes in their personal lives, and increased experiences of miracles.  The Christians in the West most often understand the baptism of the Spirit as something that happens to every Christian but without any outward indications of it.  They need to be told that it happened.

In the late 1960s, early 1970s, there was the beginnings of a spiritual revival in our country.  It was called the charismatic movement.  It forever changed Christian music and the styles of many church services.  The main impetus for this revival was the teaching of the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the accompanying sign of speaking in tongues.

The movement was spreading rapidly around the world, but Christian pastors and teachers in the West spoke often and strongly that this teaching was wrong.  And the Christians in the pews and the classrooms bought it.  Why?  Those who supported the movement didn’t present the case for this teaching convincingly, and those opposed were established leaders and a large majority. 

The Church in many third world countries continued to grow rapidly.  They weren’t as well educated as those in the West, so this growth was attributed to their youthful zeal and innocent faith.  The Church in the West saw its own faith as more mature and perhaps lacking a bit in zeal.  The simple faith of the less educated was often rewarded by the presence of miracles, but this simple faith, while sometimes admired, was still associated with a certain immaturity and doctrinal impurity and naïveté. 

I graduated from a well known Bible school that had been founded in the 1800s.  The founder of that school, its first president, and possibly its second and third presidents would not be able to teach or work in that school today.  They all believed in the baptism of the Spirit in a way that is contrary to the way the school understands and teaches it today. 

Christians believe that there is one God, but that there is a plurality of distinct Persons that make up this one God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Prior to the life of Jesus, the Holy Spirit often came on people to equip or impel them for or to certain tasks.  After Jesus’ death and resurrection, the Holy Spirit was to empower all believers in Jesus. 

The problem was that the experiences of modern Christians wasn’t quite matching up with the experiences of those in the Bible, and they had to figure out the reason why.  The answer they decided on was that the events in the Bible were not meant to be normative. 

Miracles and supernatural manifestations, while always possible, were limited to the lives and generation of the apostles, or they were signs for the Jewish people of the first century, or they were temporary until the Bible was completed in written form.  The doctrine of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, while not synonymous with the idea of miracles, for all practical purposes, goes together with that idea in that the baptism itself is a supernatural event.

I will discuss the doctrine itself in depth in a separate article

The Decline of America and the Tacit Complicity of the Christians  (Part 10 of ten)

We have been looking at the ways I believe the Christian Church has contributed to the decline of America, not by any active intentions on its part but how many of its beliefs and practices enabled the deteriorating forces to advance with little resistance.

Like a David Letterman show, I have identified ten reasons for the Church’s tacit complicity in the decline of America, and today we have the number one reason: in one word, leadership, or, should we say, the lack thereof.

There are two reasons why this has been a problem. 

The first is that they don’t understand the importance of leadership.  Their strategy for changing the world is from the bottom up, one person at a time. 

There are others who want to change the world.  Their methodology is to change the culture, the media, the music, the schools, the role of government, and the laws.  In my lifetime we have gone from being a Christian nation to a secular one, a nation having a common worldview to one that celebrates every single other one more than the Christian one.

The Church is only voice of many, but the society marginalizes the Church even further, because they see it as backward, stupid, bigoted, uneducated, and narrow-minded.  Society has moved on and progressed, but the Church continues to live in the past and believing in things which science has shown to be false.

Through laws and cultural pressure and many of the beliefs I have described in these articles, the Christians have retreated into their own little world where they fill their lives with their small groups, Bible studies, pot luck fellowship dinners, and their Sunday morning worship services where they hear sermons on envy and forgiveness and how the world will continue to get worse and worse before Jesus comes to rescue them and judge all the bad guys.

Church history has many accounts of revivals where church attendance booms, and stories are told how the bars are empty and crime is virtually non-existent. 

Yet revivals to me seem like wining at the casino where you have to line up four or five identical pictures on a spinning device to win.  Christians all pray for revival, but it either depends on getting untold numbers of Christians on the same page or a sovereign work of God whenever He might decide to do it.  Don’t hold your breath here.

The Bible has many accounts of nations, though focused mostly on one, that have either turned away from or toward God.  Turning away from God is the human default mode.  It doesn’t require evil plotters with a multigenerational plan to change our culture, but they do have human nature on their side when they do.

Many times in the Bible the people of God cried out for God to deliver them from their oppressors.  This was also often accompanied by individual acts of repentance.  But Christians today see the changes in our country as either God’s will to accept, as in persecution, or necessary events that presage the end of the world.  But they don’t see them as conditions from which they should pray that God would deliver them or even just change.  God is in control, so buckle up, chin up, man up.  People around the world have it much harder than they, so they shouldn’t complain as the country becomes more anti-God everyday.

In the Bible, God would send a deliverer, a man, or woman, who would lead the people to a military victory over their enemy.  And the people would serve God through the life of that leader and then revert back to their old ways in the next generation.

When the nation had a king, as the king went, so the nation would go.  If the king followed and served God, the people would do the same.  When the king turned from God, the people would follow.  There was always a remnant that didn’t, but they never turned the nation back without having a king who set the course.

In the New Testament, there is the story of Pentecost, where the Holy Spirit did a mighty work in Jerusalem after the resurrection of Jesus.  Thousands of people became Christians, and the Church absolutely flourished throughout the nation.  Did it save the nation, so to speak?  The nation was still considered ungodly enough that the Romans came to destroy it within that generation.  The Christians were told by God to flee the country when they saw certain events taking place.

So the first mistake here is that Christians are trying to win the world one person at a time, while the culture, the government, the public schools, and the media shape the people they are trying to reach and making their job much harder.  Sure it takes the Holy Spirit to bring people to Christ, but Jesus talked about the different kinds of soil which represents the kinds of human hearts and responses to the gospel message.  The culture, the government, the public schools, and the media fertilize that ground with their post-modern, relativistic, multi-cultural,  naturalistic, humanist, ungodly ways of thinking that makes the gospel message seem more like bad news than Good News.

So what kind of Christian leadership is needed here?  In short, it needs to be somebody, or somebodies, who can get the nation’s attention and then give the message of God.  Like Jonah.

But this leads to the second mistake that Christians make about leadership here.  There are two kinds of leaders in this context. 

Moses delivered the people of Israel out from the nation of Egypt.  He got Pharaoh’s attention, and God did a mighty work.  Moses tried earlier to do something about the people’s affliction, but that didn’t go very far.  Then forty years later, God took the initiative, brought him back, and worked great miracles through him.

I am praying for God to do the same again today.  Another Moses.  Someone who can take the message of God right up to the top and back it up with more than just talk.

But I said there are two kinds of leaders here.  Christians are looking for the one kind, where God supernaturally essentially does all the work.  If God doesn’t do anything, there is nothing to do.  Nothing gets done.

The other kind of leader is like Jonathan or David.  Jonathan said that God is not limited by how many soldiers there are, so he went up against a camp of the enemy by himself with his armor bearer.  And the nation rallied behind him, and they won the victory.

On anther occasion, the army was paralyzed for forty days when a giant soldier challenged them to a one-on-one winner-take-all fight.  David, a shepherd boy and not a trained soldier, who just happened to be there, took up the challenge, killed the giant, and rallied the army.

If only all our battles were this easy!  Easy in the sense that you can just kill your enemy and be done with him.  Easy in the sense that you knew what had to be done and could do it in a very short period of time.

But these were cases where people of God saw a situation and instead of sitting down and praying for God to do something, they believed that God would work through them while they stood up and did what needed to be done.

Ten articles on how the Church is failing our nation, and it comes down to this.  Winning the victory back then was (simply) a matter of killing the bad guys.  Now it is not so clear how to proceed.  There are laws, courts, school boards, elections.  A Christian doesn’t know what to do. 

The first step is to tell God: here I am.  Let’s go.  What do you want me to do?  Let’s do this.  We can do this.  We have to do this.  God’s Name, God’s honor is at stake.  The lives and souls of millions of people are affected.  We can rest when we get to heaven.

Nations turning to God have always depended on

Christians, more than perhaps anyone, should know the importance of leadership, especially as it involves the health of a nation.  The Bible history focuses on the nation of Israel, and the spiritual health of that nation in the Old Testament never rose higher than that of the person leading the nation. 

In the New Testament, it might seem that that pattern was broken at Pentecost when the Church was first formed in Jerusalem, but this was not a spiritual awakening among the leaders of the nation so much, and the nation continued down a path of ruin for another generation until the Romans came and destroyed it in 70 A,D.

Do you believe in miracles?   Maybe I need to clarify what I mean. 

What is a miracle?  For most people I would say it is the happening of something impossible.  It is usually for somebody’s benefit, often in answer to a prayer, and almost by definition rare.  If impossible things happened randomly or even frequently, it would upset the laws of science, which is founded on the strict regularity and consistency of the world around us.  A scientist doing an experiment in the United States and a scientist working in Europe would expect to see the same results doing the same experiment in different places.  Many scientists will deny the possibility of miracles, because miracles by definition are impossible.

The Bible uses three different words to cover the concept: miracles, signs, and wonders.  Signs and wonders describe the miracle in terms of its purpose or effect.  A sign would be an act that would confirm something that was said previously.  A wonder is something that gets a person’s attention and makes them realize that God did something.  The word translated as ‘miracle’ is the same word for the word for ‘power.’

A miracle in the Bible is not a breaking of the laws of nature but an exertion of power over nature.  Christians believe that God created the world and is interested and involved in what happens here.  If He can make it, He can certainly make adjustments to it or otherwise interact with the world.

Now all Christians believe that miracles are possible, in that God can do anything.  They differ on how much people can expect to see miracles.  At this point, we need to expand slightly on our understanding of miracles. 

Christians believe in prayer, prayer as in asking God for something, and He answers the prayer, which means that He did something to bring the desired result about.  Sometimes the result will appear as a miracle, a sickness suddenly gone, or events changing that we don’t know what all was involved.

This is starting to sound a little like Part 6 where I noted that Christians too easily accept bad situations because they too readily accept them as being God’s will.  But I believe there is a common teaching of theology that keeps Christians from experiencing or exercising God’s power in the world.  That teaching concerns the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  I will be following this article with one that examines this doctrine in depth biblically, but suffice it here to note the adverse effect this is having on the church in our country.

Freedom never more than one generation from losing it
Ruining the ground

But it will be objected that the United States is no longer a Christian nation simply by demographics.  We now have millions of Muslims and other non-Christians who have immigrated here. 

How convenient!  Our immigration prior to 1965 had always favored immigration from nations like the people who had already come here.  But in 1965, shortly after the removal of prayer and the Bible from public schools and the Civil Rights movement opened up immigration to all the nations on a first come first served basis.

When the public voiced objections, they were told that this would not and was not intended to change the complexion of our country.  Rule number one:  Never believe what you are told by the government.  Look at what they are doing.  Do the math and imagine all the worse consequences, because they will all happen.  Never right away, because the ruse would then be up immediately.

Does the fact that the people in office now are there means that God put them there, and therefore we should accept everything they do as being God’s will?

What happens in society and our schools affects our children as much as if they were physically assaulted, only more so.  We better speak up and get involved.  It's a war as real as the wars of Joshua and Moses, only we can't kill people now.

2)              Separation of secular and spiritual

3)              Separation of church and state
            The church cannot endorse anyone
            The lack of involvement in public matters

4)              Submission to evil  mt 5:39
            The good Samaritan
5)              Surrendering to the inevitable
6)              Sovereignty of God
7)              Stress on personal issues
8)              Salvation of individuals
9)         baptism of the Holy Spirit
10)       leadership

Render unto Caesar  the federal governments are not Caesar

Personal holiness and happiness over public issues, personal acts of charity over public structural forms that regulate how

Conservative Christians it’s all about me, except for winning people to Christ, praying for people’s problems, personal acts of service.  I have never heard in a conservative church about writing a letter to a Congressman.

You can’t say, I am not in debt, my spouse is.  I hope he/she can learn from my example.  No, their debt is your debt.  It is not the government that is in debt.  It’s you, it’s me, it’s everyone else.  It’s like the government has access to your bank accounts and your credit cards.  When they print money, it’s like they are making withdrawals from your savings account.  And when they spend money they don’t  have, which is almost 50% of the time, they are charging things on your credit card.

Now Christians are very concerned about losing their personal happiness, or, as they prefer to call it, joy.  But then who was it who made a whip out of cords, overthrew tables, and drove the moneychangers out of the temple?  Jesus meek and mild, Jesus the Son of God, the Second Adam, the sinless Lamb of God.

I agree, it can be hard to read about the things that are going on in our country and in our government.  I saw a bumper sticker that said, If you are not mad as hell, you are not paying attention.

But if your son or your daughter was stealing your belongings to pay for a drug addiction, you would be very involved and not as concerned that you were constantly smiling.  If someone was pushing drugs outside your child’s classroom, you would be up in arms.  But the poison toxins that our government demands be taught inside the classrooms are just as deadly.  They just work a lot slower

And we do nothing, because we don’t know all that takes place, because we trust our children to people with very different views of right and wrong, what is beneficial and what is needed.

This is the same thing, just much, much bigger.  And only because it has been neglected for so long.  Any problem not addressed only gets bigger. 

Christians are generally a charitable and generous people, but no Christian would give money to support someone’s drug habit.  We have allowed our government to tax the bleep out of us under the guise of a safety net for the less fortunate while they feed their own habit of seeking power through spending your money and giving your money away to people who become dependent on it like any other narcotic.