This is the message I preached this past Sunday following the elections in our country. I’ve altered a few things to make it more friendly to being read. I don’t touch on politics from the pulpit that often as I’ve never thought it a worthy subject on that platform but I felt it was time to confront what is happening in our society so we may be better prepared for what is to come and for how we, as Christians, can best approach the task of evangelism today.
This past week our nation did what many of us thought was unthinkable – we reelected our current president and kept the status quo in Washington. It didn’t turn out the way many of us feel it should have – I understand that. I wasn’t any fun to be around when the results were in and I’ve heard I wasn’t alone. I spent a lot of time in prayer about things afterward in search of some peace that can only come from God. Does anyone else need to be reminded right now that God is still on His throne?
In John 14:27 Jesus says, “27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
The ultimate point of this blog is that God is still on His throne and we can still trust Him. His interest is in the people, not the country. With that said, however, I think we need to come to realizations about what is happening in our nation. One thing the elections made clear is that we are now living in a Post-Christian America. That statement needs some explaining and then I want to take a few moments to talk about some other observations that feed into that statement before bringing things back around to our ultimate point.
For most of America’s history we could have been classified as a Christian nation. Our foundations were firmly rooted in Godly principles and, even in times where our face to the outside world didn’t always reflect it, we still lived by basic values found in the Bible. For most of our history it was assumed that everyone went to church somewhere and we didn’t have a lot of trouble talking about God in the public forums, including in our government assemblies. At some point, however, we crossed over a line that finally made something perfectly clear to me this past week. Those same Christian values that drove our fore-fathers to set this nation into motion are no longer welcome in the modern arena of ideologies and philosophies. They are, in fact, barely tolerated and it does us well to wonder how long that will last before those values are expelled completely.
It seems odd to say we live in a Post-Christian America when the majority of Americans still profess to be Christians. I’ll leave those judgments with God where they belong. Instead I just want to say that the assumptions we used to make regarding our Faith’s position in our land are no longer valid. I can no longer assume that the majority of people I come in contact with have a working knowledge of what the Bible says let alone that appealing to the Bible offers any finality in rendering decisions, moral or otherwise. Instead I am better off assuming that the average American I come in contact with has a muddled view of religion that combines all the best aspects from all religion and warm-fuzzy thought as perceived by each individual. In other words, everyone has their own truth and it does no good to appeal to any sense of an absolute truth. This is something we’ve been talking about for years, of course, but the idea that America has reached a tipping point only became clear to me this past week. Until then I’d always felt like we were heading towards the tipping point but not yet there.
We are living in a Post-Christian America. With that said, here are some observations I want to offer up from what we have learned this past week:
1. The moral fabric of American society is most definitely tearing apart. Look no further than the continued rise and acceptance of many of the ballot measures we used to consider too ridiculous to ever pass in a civilized society. Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana for recreational use despite the continued federal ban. Minnesota failed to pass a measure further defining marriage in the traditional sense. Even the issue of doctor-assisted suicide was taken up in at least one state, though it didn’t pass. Many measures along these same lines were attempted and not passed but what does it say about our country that they ever made it as far as a ballot in the first place?
2. We, as Americans, feel we are entitled to things our ancestors never considered. The direction of the overall voting shows a desire by what is now a majority of Americans to take less responsibility for themselves and their own well-being. I know you probably don’t feel that way and it’s not a teaching that comes from the Bible. Here, out west, we tend to be very self-sufficient and less desirous of governmental involvement in our lives. That hasn’t really changed yet but in many places that change has already occurred. So much so that it now encompasses the majority of Americans.
3. America is polarized. We’ve known this for some time, of course, but the point was driven home in the recent elections. When we had the opportunity to change the unacceptable status quo, we reaffirmed it instead. It’s not that nobody wants it to be changed, it’s just that we don’t know how to get past our differences and, for now, we’re holding onto those differences. In this sense, our government is probably a perfect reflection of our nation. It’s important for us to recognize the polarization in our country because it impacts how we reach it for Jesus. We can no longer go around acting as if we live in a Christian nation and those who act differently are somehow going against the grain and are out of place. In fact, we should expect nothing less than counter-Christian actions in the people around us. They have not accepted the foundations we have and we should no longer be surprised at the depravity we are beginning to see around us as God gives our nation over to its desires. Romans 1:18-32 is now a very fitting description of America. I encourage you to read those verses and I think you will be stunned by how much it seems to be pointing the finger of truth at America.
4. The Status Quo is changing. In a political sense change is a necessity. Compromise will happen in Washington and America will move on from its current stand-still. That is inevitable and, given half a chance, our economy will recover and improve once again. It cares less for friendly policies than it does simple and dependable foundations upon which to run. This is one of the reasons I’ve always voted more on principles than on the current troubles of our national policies. I worry less about the economy than I do about issues regarding the value of life and I worry less about foreign policy than I do about protecting those who cannot adequately protect themselves. But the there is a change sweeping through America that has much less to do with politics. In fact, current politics are really just a reflection of the changes that are occurring in the very soul of America. The trend is to explore a brave new world un-shackled by Christian principles. This is nothing new in the world, of course, and history is set to repeat itself yet again. A nation that disregards God will only remain peaceful for so long. Changes are not always good and the current trends in our country are likely to lead to a considerable amount of turmoil both internally and externally.
Things have changed in America and we now live in a Post-Christian Era. So how do we find peace in this time? I think it’s important to be reminded of our place in this world and in this country. We are Christians first, Americans second. It has always been that way. Romans 13:1-7 reminds us to submit to our governmental authorities and we honor God by doing so. Our leaders are responsible to God for what they do with the power He has given them. At the same time, in Acts 5:29, Peter reminds us that we are answerable to God first and that can sometimes cause us to live in civil disobedience.
So what is the Christian’s duty in times like this? It’s the same as it has always been. John 17:15-17 tell us we are to be in the world but not of the world and Matthew 5:13-16 reminds us that we are to be salt and light in this world. The Great Commission, in Matthew 28:18-20, tells us our duty is to make disciples everywhere. These things haven’t changed. We are to be followers of Christ in the good times as well as the bad times. We are Christians not matter what is going on in the world around us. This is our time and these are our problems. In John 16:33 Jesus says to us, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
God is still on His throne and we need to live unapologetically-Christian no matter what comes in the future of our country. We are living in a nation that will no longer be favored by God and probably hasn’t for some time. That should mean that changes are on the horizon for our country that it would do well to fear. Perhaps we are now modern day Jonahs sent to Nineveh to appeal for repentance. Either way, don’t equate what happens to America with God’s love or will. It is no longer a part of it. America is not God’s chosen people and it never has been. God blessed our nation because we stood for Him and His ways. But Christians (that’s us) are still God’s children. While His blessing may not be upon our nation, it is still upon His children. We must continue to live for Him no matter the cost.
I’m not here to be a prophet of doom who is predicting a dismal future. The future is never bleak for those who know Jesus. The outlook for our nation may yet be positive but it may depend much on how the Church in America responds in a post-Christian era. This is a reality I want us to think about: as Christians we are to be worried less about America and its politics than we are about every American soul that does not know Jesus. I’m not saying we need to not worry about politics and our country – in fact, I believe we all need to be more involved than we currently are. I am saying, however, that these things are secondary to changing the world one soul at a time. All this will pass away despite our best efforts – it is the people that will live on past this existence. I’m pretty sure we won’t be electing any presidents in Heaven! Unfortunately, if we do not act and carry out the great commission that Jesus gave us, many of the souls around us won’t be in Heaven to begin with.
The future of America is not set. We may be living now in a Post-Christian Era but that does not mean this era must be defined as an atheistic or non-Christian era. What I am saying is that America was decidedly more Christian in the past and worked and lived by those principles. What America looks like in the future may not be trending in the right direction now but that doesn’t mean it can’t be changed. That’s what we’re here for.
So check your assumptions at the door about how our nation believes. Instead, go and live an unapologetically-Christian life no matter what the cost. Don’t worry about what our nation believes more than you worry about what you believe. God is still on His throne and there is always hope for those who believe in Jesus!