Christian America: Reform or Die

By Ramon Arias

Millions of Americans believe that America continues to be unique and also uniquely successful. America is the most powerful nation in the world; it has the greatest armed forces, the greatest wealth. It remains the leading nation in the sciences and technology, it has the most renowned universities of the world and it shines as a beacon for democracy and liberty.  It dominates the world of entertainment; it is the most generous nation in the world and is known for its capacity to respond to world disaster by the outpouring of manpower and billions of dollars in relief.  America is a nation that sends out more missionaries and finances for the spreading of the Gospel than any other. Millions of people from all over the world make their way to this land, be it legal or illegal, because they believe America remains the land of opportunities and that it continues to offer unparalleled life and liberty to all. However,” Whether America continues to be unique and also uniquely successful, is the most urgent question.  And, before answering, we must consider the nation’s condition today.

American society at the beginning of the 21st Century must not ignore the magnitude of her problems in spite of her material progress. Since the middle of the 20th Century the nation has undergone dramatic and traumatic social changes. The majority of Americans have learned to adjust their lives by ignoring all the good moral and political ground that has been lost. But, ignoring the facts has never helped anyone much less improve life. Facts are facts and those facts reveal that the nation is in serious trouble. Unless something radical takes place to change the downward spiral we now find ourselves in, the destruction of the American way of life, as we know it is imminent. Am I a pessimist? No, but I dare not ignore the lessons history has to offer by revealing the reasons why past civilizations and nations were destroyed. We would do well to heed Thomas Jefferson’s warning: 

“God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.”[1]

America does not necessarily need to fear terrorism or an invasion from foreign enemy armies coming to her shores by parachuting from the air, or by any other sophisticated approaches of invasion. America’s enemies are within her own borders and working feverishly to destroy her. In 1994, Jim Nelson Black wrote a book “When Nations Die.” He deals with ten warning signs of a culture in crisis: in the chapter on Social Decay he covers the crisis of lawlessness, loss of economic discipline and rising bureaucracy. In the chapter on Cultural Decay he analyzes the decline of education, the weakening of cultural foundations, the loss of respect for tradition and increase in materialism. In the area of Moral Decay he covers the rise of immorality, the decay of religious belief and the devaluating of human life. Black quotes Alexis de Tocqueville who wrote “Democracy in America” which left a stern warning:

“Because Roman civilization perished through barbarian invasions, we are perhaps too much inclined to think that that is the only way a civilization can die. If the lights that guide us ever go out, they will fade little by little, as of their own accord... We therefore should not console ourselves by thinking that the barbarians are still a long way off. Some people may let the torch be snatched from their hands, but others stamp it out themselves.”[2]

The symptoms Black described over a decade ago have become chronic as we see them unfold before our eyes. The landscape of America increases with adult violent crimes, juvenile violent crimes, increase in the prison population and drug abuse. Families are in deep trouble as witnessed by the increase in out of wedlock births, marriage problems, the redefinition of family, the gay agenda, single parent families, cohabitation, divorce, welfare and abortion. We also see a failure of the public school system. There is an increase of problems in youth behavior, out-of-wedlock teenage births, teenage abortion, teenage suicide and teenage drug and alcohol abuse. Everyday more and more Americans become depressed and lack purpose in their lives. The list of ills is much longer than the ones mentioned here. We know for a fact that plants, animals and human beings eventually will die; however, it doesn’t have to happen to a nation and yet nations do die and America, whether we acknowledge it or not, is dying.

Who is to blame for America’s destruction?

Finding culprits is the name of the game in today’s society as we see it and hear it in the news media or read it in magazines and books or on the Internet. There are those who point their finger at Hollywood, the gay and lesbian agenda, the world of arts and entertainment, the pornography industry, gangs, drug lords, the corporate world, corrupt politicians and government officials, the judicial system, the military establishment, police forces, evolution, humanists, liberals, Socialists, Communists, occult religions, conservatives, far right-wingers, humanist schools, legal and illegal immigrants, and myriad others. Then there are those who point their finger at Christians. Each one of these groups has their own beliefs and values that shape their worldview and their mindset and they saturate our culture with their ideas for better or for worse. Nonetheless, the question remains, who is to blame for America’s destruction? 

In 1996, Tony Evans wrote a book with the title posed as a question: “Are Christians Destroying America?”  Several years later that title should read: “Christians Are Destroying America!” Surprised by the answer?  We shouldn’t be if we consider why this nation was founded, who founded it, and their original intentions for their generation and future generations. 

The Puritans who migrated and came to colonialize this land were Protestant Christians who fled political and religious persecution in England. Cotton Mather who wrote extensively the history of the first 50 years of New England best describes what they did. In his masterpiece “Magnalia Christi Americana (The Great Achievement of Christ in America)” he wrote:

“I write the wonders of the Christian religion, flying from the depravations of Europe, to the American strand: and, assisted by the Holy Author of that religion, I do, with all conscience of truth, required therein by Him, who is the Truth itself, report the wonderful displays of His infinite power, wisdom, goodness, and faithfulness, wherewith his Divine Providence hath irradiated an Indian wilderness.”[3] 

He went on to say:

“The sum of the matter is that from the beginning of the Reformation in the English nation, there had always been a generation of godly men, desirous to pursue the reformation of religion, according to the Word of God....[though resisted by individuals with] power...in their hands...not only to stop the progress of the desired reformation but also, with innumerable vexation, to persecute those that heartily wish well unto it....[The Puritans were] driven to seek a place for the exercise of the Protestant religion, according to the light of conscience, in the deserts of America.”[4]

There we have it, the Founders of the United States of America were Protestant Christians and Reformers, immigrants whose vision was to build a nation upon the biblical foundation of God’s Word. They did it by their expectations of transforming the Colonies through the preaching and teaching of the gospel and the application of God’s Word to every area of life. It was that vision that prompted them to take up arms to fight the motherland, which was at the time the greatest military power of the world, in order to retain their freedom to pursue life and liberty.  Were they perfect? No, but they along with other Christians from Europe who came to the shores were the pillars that gave greatness to this nation like none other before or after. Since 1620 Christian America has gone through many changes some have been for greater good and some for greater evil.

Twenty-first Century Christianity in America is far from the original vision of its Founders and of God’s intentions for this nation. That is why it should not come as a surprise that Christians in America in many areas of public life are under persecution because they willingly forfeited the ongoing Reformation by taking a back seat and giving the driver’s seat to those who do not know God’s absolutes or to those who reject them.

Yes, it is true that approximately 80 percent of Americans profess faith in God. Urban America almost has a church on every corner.  There are Christian radio and television stations that broadcast 24 hours a day; there are thousands upon thousands of Christian bookstores with all kinds of book titles to help people grow in their faith; there are thousands of Christian schools, universities, theological seminaries and Bible schools.   Billions of dollars are spent at home and abroad to spread the Gospel and to make life much better for millions upon millions of people. With all this and much more that can be said one thing is obvious, God is not impressed and America is dying because Christian America is under God’s judgment.

Let us not overlook the historical fact that God’s judgment always begins with His people when they depart from the centrality of His Word. It is God who establishes by what standard His people should live and every time man wants to change that standard it only brings damnation. Satan wanted to change that standard in heaven, and a great number of angels believed him and they lost their place in heaven. Adam and Eve rejected God’s standards and not only lost paradise but also brought great destruction upon the human race. Every time the chosen nation of Israel changed God’s standards great destruction was brought upon that nation; it was only when they went back to God’s standards did they have true peace and prosperity. God never negotiates with His Word nor does He make any concessions. Jesus condemned the hypocrisy and leadership of the Pharisees and scribes because they put their traditions above God’s commandments and by teaching doctrines and precepts of men (Matthew 15:1-9). Jesus told them how God was going to take away His kingdom from them and give it to a people who would produce the fruits of God’s will on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 21:43). We need to be reminded that God never changes and that He will always remain the same. 

An in-depth evaluation of every Christian doctrine that we have in the marketplace today that verifies what is from man and what is from God is long overdue. We need to seriously question the reason why we have so many contradictory interpretations of any given subject. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit is here, to lead us into all the truth; therefore, it is impossible for the Holy Spirit to contradict himself on any subject of Gods Word no matter how difficult that subject may be. It is every Christian’s responsibility to become like the early Christians at Berea; receiving the Word with great eagerness, and every day examining the Scriptures to verify with Scriptures the veracity of each message and teaching (Acts 17:10-15). 

Christian America needs to remember that every time Christianity has corrupted God’s ways it is only through a true reformation that things have changed for the better. The Reformation of the 16th century brought a cultural transformation and gave birth to great changes throughout the world of science, technology, humanities, commerce and education. If America is to have a brighter future and greater life, and wants to continue being unique and also uniquely successful, it must move forward with the reformation that God so desires without having to apologize to anyone.

What is needed to set a reformation in motion?

Christian America above all must acknowledge her wickedness, “If my people…humble themselves…turn from their wicked ways.”  (2 Chronicles 7:14).   We must return to the centrality of God’s Word and apply it to every area of life and accept God’s absolutes in ethics and morals in order to build true family life, stronger churches, social stability, and sustainable progress.  Once again politicians, academia, and the entertainment field will honor God’s Word.  People who migrate to this land will assimilate into the true American dream as they embrace the beliefs and values that made America unique.  Christianity will regain the respect it has lost in the eyes of the world. But, if America refuses then she must go to her grave like many other great nations and civilizations before her.

Notes:

[1] Jefferson, Thomas. 1781, in his Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XVIII, 1781, 1782, p. 237. Paul Leicester Ford, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, the Knickerbocker Press, 1894), 3:267. 

[2] Black, Jim Nelson, When Nations Die. America On the Brink: Ten Warning Signs of a Culture in Crisis. (Colorado Springs: Alive Communications, 1994), p. vii.

[3] Mather, Cotton, 1702, Cotton Mather, Magnalia Christi Americana, (The Great Achievement of Christ in America), 2 vols. (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1702, 1978), 1:26.

[4] Ibid