Morality in America
When studying the founding of the United States, you can’t help but encounter the faith of the nation’s forefathers. Time and again they recognized God’s hand in the shaping of America. You will find Him repeatedly mentioned in their words and documents. And you will find Him having an active, vibrant role in the country’s early history.
Today, God continues His work in America – but it’s in a nation that has clearly lost its moral compass. Every week, “Morality in America” will address the myriad of moral concerns facing the United States and undermining its Godly heritage. After you read, remember to intercede in prayer for America – that this nation will return to the Christian standards that once defined it.
Cultural Indifference and More
Is it happening in your church?
By Linda Gilden
The church in America is living with “cultural indifference or derision or exclusion or hostility.”
That’s the view of theologian John Piper, in a recent address at the Bethlehem 2016 Conference for Pastors and Church Leaders in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
There is no church across America that cannot attest to the truth of this statement. What does it really mean? In some ways, the quote itself creates a timeline, a progression of the thought process of some contemporary Christians. According to the Pew Research Center for Religion and Public Life survey taken in 2012, the number of Americans with no religious affiliation has grown by 25 percent. How has this happened? Many who were in the first category, culturally indifferent, moved down this line to derision or mockery, exclusion, or even hostility toward Christians. They were nominal believers, people who claimed to be Christians in name but did not live according to biblical principles.
Take Josiah and Saralee. They both grew up in Christian homes and went to church most Sundays. Once they married, they became very committed to their careers and social lives and their priorities became skewed. Then they had children. They tried to get to church on Christmas and Easter and when they went home for Mother’s Day, they sat with their mothers in church. When the children got a little older and played sports on Sundays, the couple was too tired to go to worship at night. Eventually, Josiah and Saralee dropped out of church altogether and became indifferent to their Christian faith. In their hearts, they knew they should return to their Christian upbringing, but it just seemed too hard to include Christianity among all their other activities.
Josiah and Saralee’s indifference soon gave way to derision. They began to mock and make fun of their friends who made faith a priority. Eventually, they had nothing to do with believing friends and became hostile, talking badly about them to others and criticizing their faith.
Unfortunately, that is the story of many Christians who have let worldly issues draw them away from their foundations of faith. Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research said, “Christianity in America is becoming less nominal, more defined, and more outside of the mainstream of American culture.”
Some might consider this a negative. But as Christians who claimed the name of Christ only as a social or cultural label fall to the wayside, those who are motivated by a strong faith in Jesus Christ band together and connect in stronger ways. The body of Christians is being purified to stand strong against the world.
Piper says, “The worldview and the moral convictions of mainstream American culture are increasingly at odds with the worldview and the moral convictions taught in the Bible.”
That should not surprise students of the Bible. Life in the midst of indifference, derision, exclusion and especially hostility, is not new. First Peter 4:12-19 addresses the suffering and trials Christians should expect from this world and the attitudes that should follow. Peter reminds you that Christ’s suffering was for you and that you ought to follow His example, bearing it in a way that brings glory to God. Verse 14 states, “If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.”
There is no question this country needs prayer. But perhaps when you pray, you don’t think about the churches and other Christians needing to be the object of much prayer, as well.
This week pray for:
- Christians who have become indifferent, derisive, exclusive, and hostile. Ask God to put something or someone in their paths to point them back to Him.
- Churches who are struggling to present a biblical worldview in a world that is becoming less welcoming to the Gospel.
- Couples like Josiah and Saralee to get their priorities in order and put God at the top of their lists.
- The biblical worldview to speak to the hearts of those caught in the mainstream American worldview.
Thank God that you can trust Him in the midst of any trial, circumstance, or suffering. “Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.” (1 Peter 4:19)
Linda Gilden is director of writing programs for a popular Christian communication organization. She not only writes full time but also directs two writing conferences, speaks, edits, and enjoys encouraging writers to fulfill their writing dreams.
The following expressions and comments are from our members and do not necessarily represent or reflect the biblical, world views or opinions of the Presidential Prayer Team
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