- Religion and Philosophy
Faith and the Decline of America's Christianity
“If there is a decay of conscience, the pulpit is responsible for it.
If the public press lacks moral discernment, the pulpit is responsible for it.
If the church is degenerate and worldly, the pulpit is responsible for it.
If the world loses its interest in Christianity, the pulpit is responsible for it.
If Satan rules in our halls of legislation, the pulpit is responsible for it.
If our politics become so corrupt that the very foundations of our government are ready to fall away, the pulpit is responsible for it.”
~ Rev. Charles Finney,
Minister and Abolitionist said these words back in the mid 1800s.
These are some strong words coming from a minister. Can you imagine if a minister today spoke with such courage and conviction? Can you hear the outcry from the masses? We would hear shouts of “Keep Religion out of our Government!” all across the country. Rev. Charles Finney did not listen to those voices, although I’m sure he heard them. He joined the ranks of ministers throughout history, right here in America, who called upon their congregations to let their voices be heard and to stand up to the oppression that too much government brings. Can anyone deny that those things that Rev. Finney warned against are not happening today?
Where are our Rev. Finneys of today? Where is our Isaiah? Where is our Elijah? Where is our modern day prophet crying from the wilderness? Where are America’s prophets,calling on the citizens of this nation to repent like the days of the Isaiah? Do we even have any? What would they tell us? Would they be as outspoken as Rev. Finney? Who would dare stand up and tell America that she needs to repent? Would they have the strength of character to call on Washington and demand that America adhere to its Christian principles?
One of the last great prophets of our time had the courage to stand up on a national stage and tell all of America, that she was wrong. He had a dream. And for trying to make that dream a reality, Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered. So, who does America turn to when we, as a nation, need guidance? Who out there is America’s barometer? Do we even care that our moral compass is off kilter?
Sure, we have popular ministers. They grow these colossal churches that bring in millions of people with millions of dollars. But in their weekly sermons, they water down their messages from God in order to stay politically correct. Where is their backbone? They hardly have the courage to stand up for what is right and good, let alone condemn the acts of oppression and greed that now besiege our country. Their message is smooth; their message doesn’t ruffle any feathers. Where would Isaiah be without ruffling feathers?
The people begged him, just as they do now,
“Prophecy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceit” (Is 30:10).
We have members in our own Congress who have come out publicly stating that our Constitution and the Bill of Rights are just not as important anymore, as our Founding Fathers intended them to be.
This is unbelievable to me. Despite what they say now, this country was founded on the premise of freedom, religious freedom topping that list. Why? Because that is what was important to the pilgrims. They didn’t come here just for a new farm or to open a new store. They came here because of religious persecution in Europe. There was a price on the heads of these ministers. The ideas that these ministers were teaching their congregations were so outrageous that the government in England tried to stop them by targeting these churches and burning them to the ground. These ministers, known as the Black Robe Brigade because they wore black robes, preached about the individual’s relationship to God. Therefore, it was the individual, not the collective that needed rights.
Never before has there been such an idea. Europe was aghast at the very idea of it. Throughout history, governments have alwaysfashioned the rights of the people in a collective manner. The individual did not matter as much as thecollective. These are the principles that the ministers taught the pilgrims.Their individual rights and responsibilities to God and to their country wereparamount. And it was these sameprinciples that guided our Founding Fathers as they wrote our Constitution and theBill of Rights.
I want to hear these principles taught again. I want to hear ministers preach this from their pulpits. God gave you unalienable rights. These are not given by a government: they are endowed by our Creator.
This kind of thinking was unheard of in those days and most certainly considered seditious against the king. It is precisely these rights that caused a war, thus gaining America her freedom. As we look at our government now, these rights, these precious God-given rights, now seem to be for sale to the highest paying lobbyists.
Oh, the smoothness and deceit that we long to hear. . . . . . . . .What do you think Isaiah would have said on September 12, 2001? Would he cry out for America to repent? Or would he say smooth things?
Gathered together days after 9/11, to honor those that lost their lives during one of the greatest tragedies ever in American history, Rev. Billy Graham had the attention of the entire world. Did he call for America to repent? He did not. Although, I have always liked listening to Rev. Graham, I was deeply disappointed in what I heard him say that day, “I have been asked hundreds of times in my life why God allows tragedy and suffering. I have to confess that I really do not know the answer totally, even to my own satisfaction. I have to accept, by faith, that God is sovereign, and He is a God of love and mercy and compassion in the midst of suffering. The Bible says God is not the author of evil."
Really? He doesn’t know? Didn’t he read the prophets?
He states that the Bible says God is not the author of evil? Well, then maybe he didn’t read them, cause that is not what my Bible says. The Bible very clearly states that God is the author of evil.
“Shall there be evil in the city, and the Lord has not done it ?" (Amos 3:6)
“I make peace, and create evil “(Is 45:6-7).
Rev. Graham stayed smooth and said the things our wounded hearts wanted to hear, the things that made us feel good, the things that soothed our raw emotions. But is that what Isaiah would have said?
What does America really need to hear? Were we taught that almost all of the civil liberties that we enjoy in this country are due to the principles of the Christian religion? How about our children who are our future? Are they being taught that? Of course not. This is not something to be ashamed of. This is genuine Christianity and it is to these principles that we owe our freedom. When we took God out of education, we also denied the religious foundation of this country. So be very aware of what is being stripped away from you, from me and all of us, as individuals, when you hear it said that we are not a Christian nation. To hear that from the podium of the White House shows the brazenness of the attempt to undermine our individual rights for the good of the collective.
Part of me understands the reluctance of our ministers, after seeing what happened to a lone citizen who had the audacity to ask an unpopular question in front of the world. All eyes turned to this man, some with respect but most with derision. Countless hours and a lot of effort were spent devising ways to discredit him. But isn’t that what God calls true prophets to do? To ask the unpopular questions? To take the country to task?
We need ministers who reject the lie that our ideals come from man’s enlightenment. We need these ministers to stand at the pulpit and tell us that our conscience is decaying, that we are lacking discernment and that Satan is playing around in the halls of our legislation. We need an Isaiah to come forward and tell us that the church is too interested in worldly pursuits and that is why the world has lost interest in Christianity. We need an Elijah to show us that our government has become so corrupt because we denied our Lord.
We need ministers who will stand up and pronounce, and for people to believe, that our individual freedoms and our independence stem from one thing and one thing only: the Biblical concept that all men are created in the image of God and because of this, all men are equal.