Part V in a series on politics
Within the last few decades, we have seen the destruction of the institution of marriage between a man and a woman, the removal of God’s Word in several areas, and the aborting of millions of babies. Ironically, many of the men and women who died for our freedoms did not die for what we are becoming today. They understood sacrifice—duty to Country was duty to God. Many gave their lives in order that we would be “one nation under God,” not above God. A Fifth Division graveyard sign in Iwo Jima, Japan, states it well: “When you go home, tell them for us and say, ‘For your tomorrows we gave our today.’” This 4th of July, let’s honor those who gave their lives for the freedoms we now enjoy.
In the words of Father O’Brien who served in World War II: “It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us the freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who gives us the freedom to demonstrate.” O’Brien continues: “It is the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag.”
Let’s be very clear on this: “A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both” (Dwight D. Eisenhower). Historically, and biblically, we know that God judged those nations who continually tolerated sin; wrong choices had devastating consequences. Arnold Toynbee, who completed A Study of History in 1961, said: “Of the 22 civilizations that have appeared in history, 19 of them collapsed when they reached the moral state America is in today.”
This isn’t meant to frighten, but to awaken. We don’t need more “feel-good” messages from the pulpit; we need more faithful leaders preaching repentance. The church is not built with gimmicks, games, and programs; she’s built with brokenness, humility, and prayer. We need men who petition God rather than position themselves; men who plead not posture, contend not complain; men whose chief aim is to be a Lord-pleaser rather than pleasers of men. We need a wake-up call!
Historians realize that a republican democracy, like ours in America, cannot last forever. Eventually, there is a collapse due to moral decay and financial irresponsibility—liberty often leads to abundance; abundance to complacency; complacency to apathy; apathy to a loss of freedom. Based on this, where are we today?
Unfortunately, countless people are confusing God’s patience with His approval. “Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever” (Thomas Jefferson). C.S. Lewis said, “The safest road to hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.” We’re often too smart to take large, deliberate plunges, but we’re easily enticed to take one step at a time. One year, with summer approaching, I stepped into my in-laws’ swimming pool. My immediate reaction to the piercing cold water was to step out, but to avoid embarrassment, I continued down the steps. I stopped when the water reached my knees.
After a few minutes, I continued to move slowly down, stopping for brief periods until I was fully submerged. Each step was shocking, but I gradually became comfortable with the cold water—my body accepted what was initially shocking. In the same way, we’ve become comfortable with sin, and what once alarmed us now amuses us. We continue to hear: “Come on in, it’s not that bad, everyone is doing it!” And we step right in. America has been desensitized one generation at a time, one court decision at a time, one compromise at a time, and we are drowning in a cesspool of relativism. The wicked freely parade and prance about while evil is praised throughout the land (Psalm 12:8). Let is not be said of us today: “And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord” (Judges 2:10). We need a wake-up call!
Back to the question of separation of church and state next week…
This is excerpted from Shane’s upcoming book—Answers for a Confused Church. For more information on Pastor Shane’s books visit www.ShaneIdleman.com. KTLW (88.9FM) in Lancaster also features his radio program at 7am on Saturdays.