by Brannon Howse
[Emphasis added throughout - Ed.]
I WISH I could tell you otherwise and go happily along with the many Christians who still think we can recapture America, return to our moral and spiritual roots, and revitalize our wayward institutions. But I can't, and someone needs to tell you – loudly and clearly....
We are not going to reclaim the culture in America and return to the days of June and Ward Cleaver. We won't see a majority of the officials in legislative and judicial branches of our government go back to the original intent of America's founding fathers as reflected in the U.S. Constitution and other original documents. We are not going to witness prayer, Bible reading, and posting of the Ten Commandments in public schools again. There will be no drastic decline in divorce, sexually transmitted diseases, abortion, and homosexual "marriage." The United Nations will not be eliminated.
The undermining of our national sovereignty and parental authority will not be reversed. And we will not return to unlimited religious freedom.
Please understand that I am not advocating that Christians retreat from the culture.... We must proclaim Christian values based on Scripture regardless of persecution and despite knowing that America...has passed the point of no return morally. Standing firm is our duty, and the results – whatever they may be – belong to God.
The culture war itself has been merely the symptom of a much more profound conflict – a spiritual battle that most Christians don't understand and are ill-equipped to fight. In fact, our losing the culture war is directly tied to the fact that [the whole Christian community has not done ] an adequate job in understanding what they believe, why they believe it, and proclaiming it from an uncompromising biblical standpoint.... What we must now come to grips with is how to handle the new reality in which we live. The solidly post-Christian culture that Francis Schaeffer warned of more than two decades ago is now here. Conservative commentator Patrick Buchanan describes what has happened:
The European-Christian core of the country that once defined us is shrinking, as Christianity fades, the birth rate falls, and Third World immigration surges. Globalism dissolves the economic bonds, while the cacophony of multiculturalism displaces the old American culture.
The spiritual war rages, and the stakes are much higher because the battle is no longer for our culture but for the souls, hearts, and minds of our [own] children and grandchildren. We must disciple them in biblical truth, or they will be taken spiritual captives.
1 Chronicles 12:32 tells us the tribe of Issachar was called wise because they understood the times and knew what God would have them do. In the New Testament, Jesus criticized the liberal religious leaders [Pharisees] of his day for being able to discern the weather but not the times. He chided, "You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, yet you can't interpret the [spiritual and prophetic] signs of the times?" (Matthew 6:3). God desires that His people understand what is happening around them and respond with biblical leadership.
Ephesians 6:12 tells us that "we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." But, take heart, for Jesus Christ has assured us He is building His Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail (Matthew 16:18).... But, as in any battle, there will be casualties. Yet we should not fear those that can only destroy the body. Rather, we should fear the One that [made] our souls.... As Romans 8:37 declares: "In all these things we are triumphantly victorious due to the one who loved us."
Lies have been cleverly packaged in positive, masking terms, but behind them remains a destructive spiritual agenda. If you're ready for this spiritual battle, you'll stand a better chance of keeping the faith, proclaiming the truth, standing firm for your family and its convictions, and enduring till the end. I'm fairly certain our national future is not bright.... [but] this can also be the greatest hour for the proclamation of the gospel if we understand the times and prepare our family and friends.... The Church can still be God's redemptive vessel in the years to come. And since one arm of attack has been directly through the Church, we can at least remove it from our midst if we act wisely and assertively....
Sadly, most [evangelical] Christians are just as clueless as their non-believing fellow citizens as to what is happening. For the most part, the Church has contributed to the loss of the culture war by surrendering – often in ignorance – to the agendas arrayed against it. That's why we're losing many of our churched youth to aberrant philosophies. We're not preparing children to know what they believe, why they believe it, and how to defend their biblical worldview....
The Church in America has had billions of dollars at its disposal in modern times. In theory, this money has been available to fulfil the Great Commission – making disciples of Jesus Christ.... Yet, with all of its monetary resources, the Church has largely failed. Untold billions have been spent on buildings and entertainment rather than establishing Christians in the faith.... Most churches do not care to do [the] work of creating followers of Jesus Christ. They are too concerned about maintaining and growing a club complete with social activities, entertaining programs, and multi-million dollar buildings.
You may think I'm being too harsh, but in fact, I'm being reserved in my criticism. Yes, some churches are led by godly pastors. But from what I've seen of the congregations of America, these faithful churches represent merely a remnant.... The typical evangelical church prefers, rather, to simply provide people with employment, to make those who show up on Sunday morning feel comfortable, and to provide activities for the kids so they stay out of trouble.... There is no interest in teaching "line upon line and precept upon precept." For those godly pastors who are leading, I am thankful, but we also need lay people to fulfill God's calling for their lives. Above all, we need parents to train and prepare their children for [these increasingly "perilous times"].
Herein lies one of our greatest areas of surrender. The Church may not be interested in instructing our kids, but many others "out there" salivate over the opportunity. Humanist and educator Charles Francis Potter, in his book Humanism: A New Religion, understood the prospects for equipping students to know what they believe and why they believe it:
Education is the most powerful ally of Humanism [atheism], and every American public school is a school of Humanism. What can the theistic Sunday Schools, meeting for an hour once a week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day program of humanistic teaching?
If we have lost the culture war, then who has won?
The winners are the people [a list of prominent new age philosophers, atheists, liberal ideologues and activists].
What most disturbs me is that these people had the terms of surrender spelled out before we even knew the war was under way. The ideas, beliefs, convictions, and values of [the list of persons above] have affected your faith, family, and freedoms.... The transformation of America is happening so fast that each day brings a new revelation of what government, religious, and educational leaders are doing to accomplish their goal of re-making America in very un-American ways.... The speed at which the world is moving toward a "new order" is [simply astonishing.]
The heaviest fighting is yet to come. In the midst of a lost culture, we must stand up for righteousness.... Your first step is to "see to it that no on enslaves you through philosophy and empty deceit according to human tradition, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to the Messiah" (Colossians 2:8, ISV).... We must accept that we are past the point of restoring our culture and focus on how to preserve our families. We must evangelize, disciple, and raise up those who can lead the remnant....
[But] how can we win the battle for the hearts and minds if we do not understand or even know the foundational worldviews and philosophies of the opposition? If the culture war is lost, exactly how did we lose it? What are the goals and tactics of the spiritual battle that continues? Where are we going, and how should we prepare for whatever comes next?
Footnote: See also Christian Institute report on the sidelining of Christians in Britain.
(Author: Brannon Howse)
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