As I look back on church history, I read accounts like Polycarp who was led to the stake and burned alive for not recanting his faith. Men like Martin Luther and John Calvin who pushed for reform while fleeing for their lives. Men like John Bunyan who went to prison because he refused to stop preaching. The pilgrims and puritans who came to this country for religious freedom and fought to establish the freedom to worship in America. These men and countless more who faced persecution to obtain religious freedom, to worship, to preach and to evangelize. Today in communist and Muslim countries, Christians are being harassed, tortured and killed because of their faith, and here in America, we have abandoned Jesus and His call. We have given the country to secular humanists, to atheists and to those who would silence the gospel. We no longer can call American a Christian nation; it’s a country that is ruled by secular humanists. We are a pagan nation, worshipping the created and not the creator as Christians have stood by.
You may be thinking of many of the leaders who have been shouting at the top of their lungs, but where are the leaders who are really laying it all on the line? Where are the leaders who are defying the government, praying where they told they cannot pray, preaching where they are told they cannot preaching, reading and teaching the Bible where they are told they cannon preach? We have allowed Godless laws to sideline us, those who have gone before us, those who went to prison for their faith, how we will face them when we get to eternity with them?
I have a few theories of why we have cowardly turned away from the faith and let a few remove prayer and scripture from public life in the name of “separation of church and state”. These aren’t pretty, and they will not make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. The reality is that we have been too busy protecting our own Kingdoms and not at work for His. This is how I see it.
We are too worried about our own authority. To quote Chancelor Palpatine for The Revenge of the Sith, “All those who have power are afraid to lose it.” That applies to government officials, it applies to corporate giants, and to pastors and leaders in the church. I was once called before a leadership committee and lectured about the importance of staying within the chain of command and submitting to leadership because I made a decision that the DOM didn’t like. I thought he was wrong and his decision wasn’t good for the ministry, but it was more important to respect his authority. There is a trickle down effect, and we are afraid if we stand up to the leaders who are forcing these rules upon us, perhaps others won’t listen to us. Certainly if we are punished, sent to jail for our faith, we will not enjoy our positions of power. The Christian leaders in this country have been corrupted with power, just like the Pharisees in the day of Jesus. They are willing to give in to the leaders to keep their positions. The Sanhedrin were afraid of losing the temple, we are afraid of losing our tax exempt status. We have given into an oppressive government to save our skins.
We have bought into the lie that being a good Christian means to be a good American. I have news, the leaders didn’t think Jesus or His disciples were good Jews, the Roman Empire didn’t consider the martyrs to be good Romans, Germany didn’t think Luther or Bonhoffer were good Germans. The Crown in England wasn’t particularly impressed with the patriotism of the Separatists. The reality is, we can no longer be “good Americans” because the country has been taken over by pagans. So often I hear Christians refer to the faith of the Founding Fathers, like it will save us. Reality is, the Constitution of the United States is a living document, interpreted by the courts, and they are making rulings that are not consistent with our faith. They are defining, re-defining and reinterpreting as they see fit. The Wall of Separation between Church and State was built to keep the state out of the church. It has moved to keep the church in and dictate what she can do. It doesn’t matter what Roger Williams meant when he proposed the idea, the modern Atheist doesn’t care.
As Christians, we seem to be content, as long as week can keep our kingdoms in tact until we retire. I am reminded of the story of Hezekiah who showed his entire country to the Babylonians, the army that would eventually take his country into exile. When he was told this by the prophet Isaiah, his response was “The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good.” (2 Kings 20:19) and the text goes on to tell he that he thought “Why not, if there will be peace and security in my days?” We have been just like Hezekiah, watching the peace and security of the church slip away, but as long as we can continue on, then we don’t have to worry. We have given up the church for our own comfort. The atheist, the homosexual, the secular humanist, they are winning the victories. It won’t be long before preaching the gospel is considered a hate crime, yet we have done nothing to turn the tide. We are letting the fight be waged by men like Fred Phelps, who don’t speak for us, don’t represent us, yet he is the one on the march. The lunatics vs the organization fight it out while we sit by and allow it to continue like it will all be ok. News flash, it won’t be ok. It wasn’t OK in North America, where Christianity is all but extinct. It’s not ok in Western Europe where Christianity is a lifeless force. It won’t be ok until we are willing to do the things that cause us hardship and persecution in this country. Until we are willing to wear the title of “rebel” or “zealot” or “martyr”, this will never again be a Christian Nation.