When the Light in America Dimmed, and the Salt Lost Its Flavor

Biblical Citizenship Ministry
You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
- Matthew 5:13
 
 

Meet “Jerry.” He hopes to start a Salt and Light Biblical Citizenship Ministry in his church. His pastor and the pastoral are fully onboard. Some in the congregation, however, are of a different persuasion. They say the Church is to pray and worship God; it’s God’s job to answer those prayers and take care of the greater good. In other words, believers can be socially active in feeding the poor and evangelizing the lost, but must resist involvement in actively seeking governmental and cultural change, seeing that strictly as not being the business of the Church. Or, more pointedly, followers of Christ can be His hands, feet and voice in treating the symptoms of societal breakdown, but when it comes to change at systemic levels of authority, it’s the silent treatment.

As a result, Jerry’s pastor first wants to gain support from the congregation. In the meantime, everything is on hold, as state and national elections grow ever nearer. I hear this story repeatedly, only the reasons vary: You are being too political. This is not what the Church is called to do. What about the separation of Church and state? And, so on.

Long story short, those are excuses. They absolve us from looking at hard facts and release us from the oft-uncomfortable and formidable challenge of beckoning the culture to return to its Judeo-Christian roots. Christians regularly call The Salt & Light Council who, like Jerry, are at first excited to hear we exist, and then, as they share our tools and resources, become increasingly frustrated by resistance they cannot overcome from fellow believers. As a result, these contenders for the faith fade away, or wait it out, as Bible-believing Americans “lay down like the ground to be walked over (Isaiah 51:23), handing the nation–and our children–to the popular and polarizing trends of the day.

But, this laissez-faire, all hands off, attitude does not exemplify the vision of the founders for our nation. Let’s take a quick look at history through their eyes:

In 1620, the Mayflower Compact signers made a Covenant with God and each other, forming the first colony in Virginia “into a civil body politic.” They took action to form a government and bring order to their new enterprise.

In 1776, The Declaration of Independence announced the following truths as self-evident: “That all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with…life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” More than signing a covenant, God’s law was now declared, and it would govern the still-forming nation.

Next, in 1787, the Contract formed our Constitution, which clearly affirms, “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union…and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” This final action has held us together as United States through centuries of internal and external conflict. It was not a humanist manifesto; it was Heaven-ordained.

God first made a covenant with Israel, but America then made a covenant with God; one He has honored and blessed. The Founders made that promise, later declared it before God and the nation, and, subsequentlywrote it out as a binding legal agreement, a Constitutional document, setting in place God’s blessings for “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”—or, as the Founders knew it, virtue.

A stern warning, however, accompanies God’s Divine favor. In Deuteronomy 28:15, God shared with Israel the policy He set in place regarding blessings and curses. “If you will not listen to the voice of Adonai your God, to take care to do all His commands and statues that I am commanding you today, all these curse will come on you and overtake you.” We can see that injunctive at work in the world today, as America tumbles from the grace of God.

The United States stands on the brink of moral disaster—nothing less than social annihilation. While the Bible does not directly decree the fate of America, our generation, as never before, will determine whether our children meet futures of blessing or cursing. Whether, in fact, in the face of the scourge of abortion, they will be born at all. Where in this picture—as the “Jerrys” in congregations across America cry out—where is the Church?

Christian America has sent countless missionaries worldwide. We have evangelized kings, priests and tribal leaders, leading them into the more-excellent way. Yet, we remain surprisingly, and willfully, absent from our own nation’s seats of authority.

As a result, our educational and media structures are quickly spiriting even Christians over cliffs of religious deception. By age 17, our youth have spent 11,000 hours in school, only 2,000 hours with parents, 800 hours in church—if they attend once a week, and 60,000 hours with media.[1] And the winner is…? Well, take a guess by looking at these national statistics:[2]

  • 70% to 75% of high-school graduates leave the Church.
  • Only 9% of American adults hold a basic Biblical worldview. In years past, the percentage was reversed: 90% of the nation had a basic Biblical worldview. Now, the figure has not only flipped, but it is lower than 10%.
  • Less than 20% of Americans regularly attend church.
  • Those skeptical of the Bible doubled in just three years.

This has translated into national statistics that are not only dispiriting; they are absolutely shocking[3]:

  • 83% of boys have seen group sex online.
  • The average age of a child’s first exposure to Internet porn is eight years old.
  • The divorce rate for first marriages is between 40% and 50%—and higher for subsequent marriages.
  • As of 2013, 41% of children were born out of wedlock.
  • 43% of children live in homes without fathers… and, on and on and on.

In his book, Destined for the Throne, Paul Billheimer says: “The only force that is contesting Satan’s total rule in human affairs is the Church of the Living God.”[4] I can think of no more powerful statement. But, where—oh where—did our witness go?

In our next blog, we will explore persuasive responses to some of the most popular excuses Christians make that prevent us from being a societal driving force. This is a must-read for Biblical citizens looking for Scriptural and rational support in restoring our Judeo-Christian heritage as salt and light in American culture.


[1] http://www.reachoutcolumbia.com/articles/dr-ted-baehr-a-culture-warrior/
[2] http://cdn.trivita.com/US/files/PinnacleForumStateofUnion2016.pdf (See pdf for further references and links.)
[3] Ibid.
[4] Paul Billheimer, Destined for the Throne Revised Edition, 1996, Bethany House Publishers, Bloomington, MN, 1975. Page 16.