America in decline

What We Christians Must Do: Final Blog in series 'America: The Cause of Our Decline and a Clarion Call for Christians'

As Christians in today’s America we are living in the midst of an unbelieving, perverted culture. So, what should we do? Head to the hills and hide? Wave the white flag and give in to the culture’s toxic influence? By no means! Each one of us has been created ‘for such a time as this’, and God’s word gives us our marching orders for how we can be used by Him to impact the culture for His kingdom purposes. These are days of great opportunity for those who are kingdom-minded to shine forth as bright lights in the midst of the darkness and to be used to draw others to Jesus, the Source of our Light and Life!

To live victoriously in these latter days, however, it is essential that we set our eyes, hearts, and minds upon Jesus and ‘things above’ to ensure that we are focused upon what is ‘truly real’, eternally significant, and so we will remain steadfast in our faith in a culture that opposes our Christian beliefs.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV (emphasis added)

 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  Colossians 3:1-2 ESV (emphasis added)

 It is easy to get distracted by and  ‘sucked into’ the things that our culture esteems unless we intentionally make it a priority to keep God the focus of our lives. Knowing about Jesus is not enough to empower us to remain steadfast in the days ahead; we must know Him and worship Him ‘in spirit and in truth’ (John 4:24), which we do by spending time in His Presence through reading His Word; communing with Him in prayer; and gathering together with other believers. It is in His Presence that there truly is ‘fullness of joy’ (Psalm 16:11)-- the kind of joy that will serve as our strength in the storms and sorrows of this life (Nehemiah 8:10). Yes, we are to be like the Sons of Issachar who understand the times in which we are living (1 Chronicles 12:32), but we also must be careful to guard and protect our hearts and minds so that the moral decline in a world that increasingly rejects God does not rob us of our joy or cause unbelief in us.

It is imperative that we daily renew our minds by reading and meditating upon God’s Word, which is the truth. His Word will give us the knowledge, understanding, guidance, and encouragement that are vital for living in these ‘latter days’. It is also essential that we set aside time every day for prayer. Prayer is our lifeline to God and what allows us to be intimately connected to Him. During our prayer time we have the opportunity to ‘pour our hearts out before the Lord’ (Psalm 62:8), to get our eyes fixed upon Him as we worship Him for Who He is, as we thank Him for all that He has done for us, and very importantly—for us to hear His voice speaking words over us that calm us because of His amazing love (Zephaniah 3:17). Another important thing we must do for victorious living in these days is to gather together with other believers (Hebrews 10:25) so that we can worship the Lord together, and teach, admonish, and encourage one another (Colossians 3:17) to ‘hold fast to our confession of faith’ (Hebrews 10-23).

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In order to keep our eyes on Jesus we also may need to eliminate from our lives those things that cause us to take our gaze off of Jesus. For example, we must be willing to stop watching the nightly news if it instills debilitating fear in us; or to get rid of a hobby-- or even quit our job—if they consume our time to the point of being our ‘first love’; or discontinue a friendships that has a negative impact upon our relationship with Jesus.

When we set our eyes on ‘things above’ we will be in a better position to understand that the real enemy at work in our culture is Satan, who is always at work to ‘rob, steal, kill and destroy’ (John 10:10), and that as the ‘father of lies’ (John 8:44) he often comes ‘disguised as an angel of light’ (2nd Corinthians 11:14). We are not to be ignorant of Satan’s schemes, but to expose them. Keeping our focus on Jesus will remind us that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but it is “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:11), and we will realize that for victorious living we must ‘dress’ like Jesus, putting on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:12-17) and praying on all occasions.

Keeping our eyes on Jesus also will encourage us to know that the victory has already been won at the cross! Satan is a defeated foe, and we have everything we need for victorious living because we have the Holy Spirit living in us-- the very same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead! In other words, we have ‘resurrection power’ to sustain us in these days. And just like on the first Good Friday, it may appear that Satan is winning in our culture, but we can know that things are not as they appear---they aren’t ‘falling apart, they are coming together’ according to God’s perfect will!

Keeping our focus on Jesus is also necessary if we are to remain faithful and persevere to the end. God encourages us not to grow weary in well doing (Galatians 6:9), and to be full of courage, knowing that God is for us, with us, and mighty to save (Joshua 1:9)! Jesus was able to endure the cross for our sake because He kept His focus upon His Heavenly Father and doing His will; He calls and commands us to do the same.

And the will of our Heavenly Father is that those who are living rebellious, perverted lives in this ‘wicked and perverse’ generation would come to know and believe in Jesus, the only One Who can save and deliver them out of the ‘pit’ they are in that leads to death and destruction. When God is our focus—our very life—His desires will become our desires; and He is “not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance”(2nd Peter 3:9). He has called us to be ‘ambassadors of reconciliation’ (2nd Corinthians 5:20) who will proclaim His praises (1st Peter 2:9) and who will ‘go and make disciples’ (Matthew 28:19-20) by speaking His truth in love, calling unbelievers ‘to repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand’. (Matthew 3:2) Now is the not the time to throw in the towel or to head for the hills—now is the perfect time for us to share the good news of the gospel because it is more evident than ever that people are desperate for the hope that can be found in Christ alone!

Like Jonah before us, we may recoil at sharing the message of repentance with those in our world who have scorned the Lord, but if we keep our focus on Jesus, we will realize afresh that we too were once lost and have been saved only because of God’s loving kindness that He demonstrated to us ‘while we were yet sinners’ (Romans 5:8). We are to respond to the  ‘sinners’ in our culture as Jesus did to those who nailed Him to the cross. He did not revile His enemies but instead He loved, prayed for, and forgave them. It is only by the power of the Holy Spirit at work in us and by keeping our focus on Our Lord that we will be able to respond in the same way to our enemies, and to remain faithful to Him when we are persecuted for being aligned with Him and His will. By fixing our eyes upon Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, I believe we even will be able to rejoice when the world hates us, knowing that Jesus, Who is ‘Faithful and True’ and cannot lie, promised us that we are blessed and ‘great will be your reward in heaven’ when you suffer for the sake of righteousness. May you and I-- and all who come behind us-- be found faithful to the glory of His Great Name for He is worthy of ‘our all’ and ‘utmost’!

Written by Julie Van Gorp

To read the first 3 blogs in the series entitled ‘America: Cause of Our Decline and a Clarion Call to Christians’ go to https://www.trueviewministries.org/blog/

 

 

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'America: The Cause of Our Decline and a Clarion Call for Christians' Part 2

America has been the envy of the world’s population for most of its history because of the freedoms it guarantees its citizens through its constitution, freedoms derived because of our founding father’s recognition that we were created with inalienable rights given to us by our Creator God.

Many have compared America to a second Israel, and for good reason because like Israel, we are the only other nation that has looked to God with reverence for guidance and direction and based our laws upon His Word. Moses shared with the people of Israel what made them a great nation:

 Look, I have taught you statutes and judgments just as the Lord my God has commanded me, so that you may do them in the land which you are entering to possess. So keep and do them, for that is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’  For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the Lord our God [is to us] whenever we call on Him? Or what great nation has statutes and judgments so righteous (upright, just) as this whole law which I am placing before you today? Deuteronomy 4:5-8 AMP

Like Israel, the world recognized America’s greatness was due to its relationship with God, as evidenced by the quote below from Alexis de Tocqueville, the French diplomat and historian who toured America in the 1830’s and wrote the following in his famed ‘Democracy in America’:

“I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers – and it was not there . . . in her fertile fields and boundless forests and it was not there . . . in her rich mines and her vast world commerce – and it was not there . . . in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution – and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.” 
― Alexis de TocquevilleDemocracy in America

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The Lord through Moses warned the people of Israel that they not forget Him, the source of their greatness and goodness. He gave the Israelites the following instructions; wise words of counsel and warning that are applicable for us in America today:

“Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one [the only God]! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and with all your soul and with all your strength [your entire being]. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be [written] on your heart and mind. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children [impressing God’s precepts on their minds and penetrating their hearts with His truths] and shall speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road and when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 6:4-7 AMP (See also Deuteronomy 4:9)

America’s decline is because we have forgotten God, the Source of our greatness, and we have failed to instruct the next generation in the truth of His commands. God warns us that the nation that forsakes Him, He will in turn forsake. (Isaiah 1:28; 2 Chronicles 24:18  Ezekiel 14:13-14  Judges 10:13

 Our forsaking God is the reason we are experiencing the internal decline in our nation, as well as why we are losing the world’s respect that we enjoyed when we operated under the rule of God-inspired laws rather than laws based upon the dictates of man.

Not only was Israel’s eventual decline and the scattering of its people due to their forgetting God and His faithfulness, but it was also due to its embracing idolatry in place of God. Like Israel, we have committed two evils: we have turned our back on God and His commands, and we have embraced a false belief system that posits that man can control his own destiny apart from God. These words God spoke to Israel are true for us in America today:

 “…for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” Jeremiah 2:13 ESV

Yes, there have been and are grave consequences for our removal of prayer and Biblical teaching from our public schools, the institutions where the majority of the next generation is being educated. And there are also grave consequences for teaching a false belief system —Humanism—that we have substituted in place of God’s truth.  Humanism (also known as secular humanism) assumes that there is no God, no spiritual dimension to life, and therefore no revealed absolute truth or moral code. It posits that human beings are capable of being ethical and moral without religion or God; that man is capable of determining what is good based upon his own judgment; and that scientific and technological advancements will enable mankind to make wiser decisions that will improve the conditions for humanity.

“Humanism is a democratic and ethical life stance, which affirms that human beings have the right and responsibility to give meaning and shape to their own lives. It stands for the building of a more humane society through an ethic based on human and other natural values in the spirit of reason and free inquiry through human capabilities. It is not theistic, and it does not accept supernatural views of reality. “ The Minimum Statement on Humanism from the Amsterdam Declaration 2002 that represents the official defining statement of World Humanism

Since it does not accept that there is a God, it obviously opposes Creationism and embraces the teaching of evolution. The following is taken from a statement made by the 1977 manifesto of the American Humanist Association:

There are no alternatives to the principle of evolution, with its "tree of life" pattern, that any competent biologist of today takes seriously....Evolution is therefore the only view that should be expounded in public-school courses on science.*

The removal of the teaching of Creationism and the widespread teaching of the theory of evolution has dramatically impacted the beliefs of the citizens of our nation. Creationism lets students know that they are uniquely designed by their Creator; each person has significance, purpose, and is accountable to his Creator for what he does with his life. Evolutionary theory does not provide the same sense of meaning, direction, or accountability nor does it give the same hope in an afterlife to the adherents of its belief system.  

Just a few of the secular humanists that have influenced our educational system and culture include:

  • Mary Calderone: American physician and a public health advocate for sexual education
  • Richard Dawkins: ethologist, evolutionary biologist and author
  • John Dewey: leading psychologist of the 20th century and educational reformer
  • Joseph Fletcher: American professor who founded the theory of situational ethics in the 1960s; leading academic involved in the topic of abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, eugenics and cloning
  • Sigmund Freud: Austrian neurologist who founded the discipline of psychoanalysis.
  • Betty Friedan:  American writer, activist, and feminist. A leading figure in the Women's Movement in the United States
  • Aldous Huxley: English writer best known for his novel Brave New World
  • Abraham Maslow: American professor of psychology who created Maslow's hierarchy of needs
  • Bill Nye: American science educator
  • Carl Rogers: American psychologist and among the founders of the humanistic approach to psychology
  • Margaret Sanger: American sex educator, nurse, and birth control activist who established Planned Parenthood 
  • B. F. Skinner: American behaviorist, author, inventor, social philosopher and poet 
  • Benjamin Spock: American pediatrician whose book Baby and Child Care, published in 1946, is one of the biggest best-sellers of all time and hugely influenced child-rearing
  • Gloria Steinem: feminist, journalist, social activist and spokeswoman for the feminist movement
  • Gore Vidal: American author, playwright, essayist, screenwriter, and political activist
  • Kurt Vonnegut: American author and satirist 
  • Walt Whitman: American poet, essayist and journalist

Secular humanism beliefs infiltrated our educational system in the 1930’s and now permeate our public educational system and our culture as a whole. Through our public schools, our nation’s children are being indoctrinated in a set of beliefs, values, and behaviors that are sharply contrary to the teachings of the Bible. As God warns us in His Word, there are consequences for forsaking the truth and embracing false teaching. We are, as God’s Word instructs us, reaping what we have sown.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked [He will not allow Himself to be ridiculed, nor treated with contempt nor allow His precepts to be scornfully set aside]; for whatever a man sows, this and this only is what he will reap. For the one who sows to his flesh [his sinful capacity, his worldliness, his disgraceful impulses] will reap from the flesh ruin and destruction, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Galatians 6:7-8 AMP

If we liken our children’s minds to fertile soil, our schools have removed the ‘good seed’ that was being sown—Biblical truth-- and replaced it with ‘bad seed’—secular humanism. The bad seed, like weeds, has taken over and ‘invaded’ the minds of our vulnerable children. We as a nation have been deceived into thinking that we will not pay the consequences for what we have been teaching our children for almost the past century. Over the years, students trained in our schools have risen to positions of influence in journalism, social media, entertainment, politics, government, the military, businesses, institutions of higher learning—including many seminaries—as well as parents in our homes—and they in turn are teaching the next generation the secular humanism worldview they were taught. Christians and non-Christians alike are commenting that our nation seems to be ‘going to hell in a hand basket’. School shootings; students consumed with ‘doing whatever feels good’ without regard to others; rampant promiscuity, homosexuality, and gender identity confusion; a lack of respect for authority; and epidemic drug addiction, depression and suicides are just some of the ‘fruit’ produced by our nation’s forsaking God and His laws and embracing secular humanism.

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In general, our educational system-- which used to be based upon absolute truths derived from a biblical worldview, is now teaching that truth and morals are relative and can be determined by man, which clearly impacts how one looks at everything-- from math problems, to social issues, to even one’s gender.

Why is it essential that we know this influence in our culture? Because there is a consequence for our lack of knowledge.

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge [of My law, where I reveal My will].
Because you [the priestly nation] have rejected knowledge,
I will also reject you from being My priest.
Since you have forgotten the law of your God,
I will also forget your children. Hosea 6:4 AMP

What we fill our minds with is important because our thoughts influence our beliefs; our beliefs impact our actions and shape our character; and they ultimately affect our eternity.

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…” Proverbs 23:7 KJV

Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” John 6:28-29

 When I think of Humanism which assumes that man alone apart from God has the answers to the big questions of life—the following verse comes to my mind:

 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. Proverbs 14:12 ESV

God instructs us on how to keep away from self-deception:

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2 ESV

May we be found faithful to renew our minds by studying God’s Word and spending time in prayer and communion with Jesus, the Living Word, so that we will know the Truth that alone can set us free from deception, sin, and death, and free to enjoy the abundant and eternal life He offers! (John 8:32)

*American Humanist Association, "A Statement Affirming Evolution as a Principle of Science," The Humanist, January-February 1977, Vol. XXXVII, p. 4

This is Part 2 in a series on America: The Cause of Our Decline and a Clarion Call for Christians

There will be additional articles posted in this series; to read Part 1: go to https://www.trueviewministries.org/blog/2018/3/15/america-the-cause-of-our-decline-and-a-clarion-call-for-christians-part-1

Written by Julie Van Gorp

 

 

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‘America: The Cause of Our Decline and a Clarion Call for Christians’ Part 1

As I was talking with Jamie this morning, she shared with me that she had been invited to be a guest speaker at her son Zach’s public high school class on entrepreneurship. Once she got to his school, the teacher took her aside and nervously informed her that when she was invited to speak he hadn’t realized that the non-profit she represented was a Christian ministry.  He made it clear that she needed to be careful not to mention the name ‘Jesus’ in the classroom, since being in a school setting they had to be considerate of all of the other religions that might be represented and to make sure not to offend anyone.

As Jamie shared this, my heart was overwhelmed with grief that our culture puts a premium on not offending people, and yet gives little or no thought to how often we offend God--both by our silence, as well as by our words and actions. I have come to realize that it is difficult---if not totally impossible—to not offend others. Even Jesus, who was perfect, ‘offended many’ (Matthew 13:57; John 6:66). The question we must ask is, ‘Are we offending God or man? And, if we are offending man, is it because of our sinful nature, or because we are aligning ourselves with God and His Word-- which can be offensive to those who don’t know Him?

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I also was grieved because I believe that Zach’s teacher represents so many in our educational system and our society at large who seem blind to the correlation between the downward spiral of our culture and our nation choosing to turn its back on God. We think that creating laws to control the purchasing of guns is the answer to school shootings and ignore the reality that our problem is not that we need more laws on the books; we need to have hearts that love God and obey the laws that He has given to us to protect us in His Book, the bible. We in fact have created a culture where such violence is to be expected since we have removed teaching on God and His Word from our schools and other public institutions.

Our culture took a significant turn on the road toward the moral degradation we are experiencing today when the Supreme Court voted to remove prayer from schools in 1962; voted to remove Bible reading in 1963; and chose during that same decade to include the teaching of the theory of evolution in essence ‘as fact’ in every public school. The 10 commandments, including the command to not commit murder-- which used to adorn classrooms and were taught as the moral code for conduct—also became taboo in our schools and in our public square. Why? This was done under the guise of making sure schools adhered to the establishment clause of the 1st amendment, what’s usually referred to as ‘separation of church and state,’ a phrase most people don’t realize doesn’t even appear in the U. S. Constitution. Perhaps that ignorance is because the powers that be also determined that civic courses---formally a requirement for high school graduates-- are no longer necessary and the majority of high schools in our nation do not teach it.

Most students would be surprised to learn that for the first 355 years of our nation’s history—from 1607 to 1962-- children prayed and read the Bible in schools. They knew that a Biblically literate population would be a great asset to our nation and necessary to insure the moral fiber of the electorate. Just a few of the many quotes that support this assertion are:

“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable.”
– George Washington

 Let the children…be carefully instructed in the principles and obligations of the Christian religion. This is the most essential part of education.
– Benjamin Rush

Education is useless without the Bible. The Bible was America’s basic textbook in all fields. God’s Word, contained in the Bible, has furnished all necessary rules to direct our conduct.
– Noah Webster

“We have staked the whole future of our new nation, not upon the power of government; far from it. We have staked the future of all our political constitutions upon the capacity of each of ourselves to govern ourselves according to the moral principles of the Ten Commandments.”
– James Madison

“The Congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools.”
– United States Congress 1782

“Cursed be all that learning that is contrary to the cross of Christ.”
– James Madison

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It is essential that we know the truth that this nation was founded by Christians who knew that it was essential that future generations also would venerate the Word of God and look to Him for instruction and guidance. The woes we are experiencing in our schools and nation today are directly attributable to us turning our back on God and forsaking the truth, truth that our founding fathers knew was essential for the prosperity of this nation and its constituents. As I read the quotes above and consider the state of our nation today, the following scripture immediately comes to my mind that was given as a warning to the Church of Ephesus and I believe is so applicable to our nation today:

…But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. Revelation 2:4-5

 Questions to ponder: What is lost when people do not know there is a God? What is lost when the truth  of God and His Word is no longer being taught in our public schools and His truth is no longer recognized in our public institutions? What is lost when the truth of God and His commands is no longer taught in our homes? 

This is the first in a series entitled 'America: The Cause of Our Decline and a Clarion Call to Christians

Written by Julie Van Gorp

Are you curious to know how much fear, worry and anxiety is impacting your life? Take our free quiz to learn how fearful, worried and anxious you really are?