Christians are unpopular folks today. I mean by that, anyone who takes seriously biblical truth and biblical principles will find himself on the sharp end of angry stares if we dare speak the truth in the midst of today’s national crisis. To what do I refer?
America has all of the sudden gotten very religious. There are vigils and candlelight prayer services on every corner. People who hadn’t said “God” except in profanity for years are all of a sudden very pious and reflective. Radio personalities who were focused upon tax cuts or some other political issue on Monday, September 10th are now mulling over the role of “evil” in our world. The past week has turned the landscape upside down in many ways, to be sure.
Lest anyone think this new religiosity is a reason for rejoicing for Christians, it most surely is not. Oh yes, we are hearing old Christian hymns being sung. Ostensibly Christian churches were full this past Lord’s day. But there is no such thing as “partial Christianity,” nor is there any such thing as a Christianity that stands side by side with Islam, or Judaism, or Buddhism, and says, “We worship one God under many names.” And surely, there is no Christianity that does not speak of repentance from sin. The new religiosity of America has two basic foundational pillars: there is one God, unknown, but addressable under any variety of religious epithets, who has revealed absolutely nothing of objective value regarding His will regarding worship or human behavior; and second, this God has no wrath; knows nothing of sin or judgment; and hence, any person who dares to say that God would punish a person, or a nation, is a glowing heretic to the new American religiosity.
The problem is easily seen: Christians believe, fundamentally, of necessity, that there is one true God. This true God is not Allah. This true God is not Krishna. This true God is not the god of Joseph Smith or Buddha or the Sikhs or the Bahais. Our God went to great lengths to differentiate Himself from all the gods of the peoples and religions that surrounded His ancient people, and that for a purpose He Himself proclaimed: He seeks true worship, worship based upon a knowledge of who He is in reality, based upon His revelation to man. He does not grant to man the freedom to make images of Him, to worship Him in a manner that pleases the creature rather than the Creator. God is particular about His worship. His worship is intimately, vitally connected to truth. Without truth, there is no worship of the Christian God.
And the truth revealed by the Christian God in the Scriptures is without question when it comes to the matter of His law, sin, rebellion, punishment, wrath, and judgment. One of the most amazing things to observe is the willingness shown by “evangelicals” to jump right onto the “we shall never utter a word about wrath or sin or punishment” bandwagon. Is the remnant so small that almost no voices will be raised to cry out against this foolishness? To withhold the truth about sin and judgment out of fear of man’s opinions and feelings is to make the cross of Jesus Christ a travesty! There is no cross, there is no sacrifice, where there is no sin, no offense that demands forgiveness be wrought through His perfect sacrifice! The person who refrains from speaking of sin and judgment to “win” a person over is doing so through unfaithfulness to the very gospel itself! And to what has such a person been won over? Where is the gospel when there is no sin to be forgiven at Calvary?
But it is right here that the new American religiosity clamps its hands over its ears and refuses to hear. America wants God’s blessing. America wants God to protect us from more horrific visions of airliners flying purposefully, relentlessly into our national monuments. We want God to be near us as we board our aircraft. We want Him to protect us from the horror of thinking about what it was like when the towers collapsed. We want Him to guide our military and allow us to flex our muscle and launch our missiles with impunity. We want a blessing God, a caring God, who simply panders to our wants and whims. This is the “God” of the new American religiosity.
But what America does not want is a God who is holy, who is just, and who has revealed His will concerning how we, His creatures, are to live. America is a land soaked in blood. We glory in violence. We are so selfish, so bound in our avarice, fornication, and sexual lust, that we murder our own offspring in the womb (or at birth as in partial-birth infanticide). Our hands are covered in blood, and yet we think lighting a candle and lifting them up while mumbling “God Bless America” is going to bring God’s favor? Listen to the words of God to another nation that likewise was “religious” but refused to hear the word of repentance:
“So when you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you; Yes, even though you multiply prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are covered with blood.” (Isaiah 1:15).
Is America so arrogant, so utterly self-absorbed, so diseased by religious liberalism and philosophical subjectivism, that she thinks she can ignore all of history itself and demand from God blessings when she refuses to repent of her evils? Do we really need to be reminded that Planned Parenthood has killed more little children in our land in the week since the attacks than died in the attacks themselves? Are we so blind?
Surely the scourge of abortion would be enough to warrant the unleashing of the wrath of God, but there is so much more! We are a nation on a crusade–a crusade to wipe from our history books every vestige of our former religious past. The religion of scientism, with its chief idol in the person of Darwin, has become enshrined in our very governmental policies. There is no creator, we are told, to express His law for us in the first place. We want to banish God and His law from our courtrooms, our schools, our every public institution. If God says it is wrong, we celebrate it. Every form of sexual debauchery is found in the land. The airwaves are filled with programs that exalt fornication and adultery. Major film stars are lauded for the most sinful lifestyles. Homosexuality is not only turned into an acceptable “lifestyle,” it is made a political right, a political force, a test-case for being properly “tolerant.” The list goes on and on and on. The widow and orphan is oppressed, while the nation indulges in every creature comfort, sits back in its luxury, looks about upon the bounty of the land, and says, “Ah, what the labor of my own hands, my own intelligence, my own insight, has accomplished.”
Religious liberals may mock our “literalistic” reading of the Bible at this point, preferring to simply label us “fundamentalists” and ignorant, but the fact of the matter is, they know they could never win a scholarly debate on whether the Bible actually teaches that these things are sins which must, inevitably, bring God’s judgment upon a people. They know that is exactly what the Bible teaches. They are just embarrassed by it, and hence seek to suppress that truth.
As I said, Christians who believe the Bible are an unpopular lot today. If they speak in accordance with the Word they may well find themselves being called “unpatriotic” and “judgmental.” In fact, given that the new orthodoxy demands of us the confession “Everyone is God’s child” over against such clear biblical teaching as John 1:12 (remember how Christians refused to say “Caesar is lord” and died as a result?), we must be ready to “count the cost” in engaging in formal, cultural “heresy” by speaking the truth. We need to realize: this new American religiosity can take on the same kind of fanatic zeal that kept the hi-jackers’ hands steady all the way to their end. May God grant His people the strength to proclaim loudly God’s demands upon a wicked nation, and may He be pleased to bring repentance and revival in a land where darkness reigns.
[The Dividing Lines of September 15 & 22, 2001 touched on all these issues as well. You can listen to these programs below.