America was founded on Christian principles. Many of its earliest leaders were men steeped in religious conviction and the church has been vital to the development of any community. Therefore, it seems there has always been a direct correlation between the country’s health and that of the church’s. Until the present, this hasn’t been an issue as the church has been strong and vibrant. Unfortunately, today, that might not be the case any longer.
One of the biggest issues facing the American christian community today is the fact that many members are no longer taking moral stands. Case in point, the leadership of the Episcopal Church met earlier this month in Houston, Texas. In this meeting, they decided that within their diocese, same-sex couples should enjoy the benefits of a wedding ceremony. This means that all bishops within the denomination will have to perform same-sex ceremonies, even if they themselves are morally opposed. This is a substantial ruling, because previously eight of the 101 Episcopal dioceses remained opposed to such unions and ceremonies and refused to hold them. An Anglican program director for the Institute on Religion & Democracy, Jeff Walton, said the following about the change:
“I think this is going to perpetuate the Episcopal Church’s decline that has already been underway for close to 20 years now, and we’ll probably see some people walking away from the Episcopal Church as a result of this.”
In Hosea chapter 4, a similar situation to what is going on in America is described. Within this chapter, the prophet Hosea proclaims that God has “a case against” Israel. He says, there was, “no truth, no faithful love, and no knowledge of God in the land.” It was also described as a land where stealing, murder, lying, cursing and sexual immorality was rampant, which of course, sounds eerily similar to America.
Within this chapter, God placed much of the blame for the moral depravity within the land squarely at the feet of the prophets and priests of that time. He said they were failing to teach the people “knowledge” about sinfulness. In other words, God was expecting the religious leaders to guide the people and they were failing. Again, this sounds all too familiar.
Just as in Hosea’s time, today’s religious leaders also seem hesitant to call a spade a spade — or sin, sin in this case. A recent Facebook post created by a minister shows a video clip where another prominent preacher claims the church’s “mandate is not political, it’s not social and its’ not economic.” In other words, this man believes the church has no business “judging” sin, the government, or anything not completely related to salvation. Thankfully, not all ministers, evangelists or religious leaders feel this way. Gary DeMar, who is an author and former president of American Vision, said the following in response to this minister’s shocking video:
“Very poor reasoning. [The preacher] mentions economics. You shall not steal. Does this mean Christians are to remain silent when theft is taking place? If the government decides to tax us at 80 percent, we shouldn’t get involved and say no to theft? We should remain silent when the government neglects the sixth commandment when it legalized the murder of unborn babies? Christians should have remained silent when men and women were kidnapped and sold into slavery? What should Christians do when they see unrighteousness? Would you intervene if you saw someone stealing from your neighbor, kidnapping your neighbor? But if a government did these things, you would remain silent and not get involved?”
The gospel itself is supposed to be offensive. In order to accept its message, people first have to realize they are sinners on their way to hell if they don’t repent and ask forgiveness. To tell everyone they are okay, not take a stand on moral or political issues, not be set apart morally from the rest of the population, is a slippery slope for many congregations. After all, without churches taking a stand, who else will?
When the culture slides down closer and closer to moral depravity, so does the country. This is a scary reality because as it says in Proverbs 29:18, “Where there is no vision (moral conviction or leadership, Biblical direction), the people perish.”
Christian churches have a unique responsibility to repair this cultural damage, and too many are failing to understand this.
~ 1776 Christian