The last two posts asserted that God can’t bless America because America has not acknowledged that its blessings are from Him and also because America has become a very wicked nation.
Perhaps a natural response is to ask, “Well, can’t God bless America because of the evangelical church in this nation?” Since American has a sizable, biblically based church, doesn’t that provide a basis for God to bless our nation.
Let me respond to that thought this way. Five or six decades ago evangelical Christianity in America took this position. Lost people were under the judgment of God because of their sin. God in His goodness provided a means of salvation through Jesus Christ. To receive Him they needed to repent of their sin and submit themselves to His authority, which is the essence of saving faith. Consequently, receiving Christ included leaving behind the old sinful lifestyle and commitment to a life of righteousness.
It was further believed that a person who did not maintain a godly lifestyle was not a genuine believer. Arminians contended that he may have been saved but had lost his salvation. Calvinists believed that the person had never been saved. This is not to suggest that Christians were not expected to sin, but it was also expected that the Christian would confess and forsake his sin and return to a pattern of godliness.
This emphasis on righteousness prompted pastors to preach against sin and prompted churches to deal with those of their number living in sin. This did not result in perfect people or perfect churches by any means, but it did produce Christians whose lives for the most part reflected a pattern of righteousness.
I believe that the perspective described above is solidly rooted in Scripture and that substantial scriptural evidence can be marshaled to support it.
Beginning in the 60s and beyond, all that changed. The emphasis on unbelievers being under the judgment of God and headed toward an eternal hell started to become scoffed as a “turn or burn” gospel, being replaced by a “God loves you” message. This in turn altered the necessary response from repentance to receiving God’s unconditional love. This perspective of the gospel has led to the belief that “performance” is not a factor in the believer’s ongoing relationship with the Lord but rather that when God looks on the believer He does not see his sinfulness but the righteousness of Christ. Therefore, the believer’s lifestyle does not in any way affect his relationship with the Lord.
This perspective of the gospel and of the Christian life means that a person can be saved without any intent to change his lifestyle and can live the Christian life receiving God’s acceptance without changing his lifestyle. A cohabiting couple can be saved without any intention of abandoning their life of fornication, and they can continue to practice that lifestyle receiving God’s favor.
This has resulted in the proliferation of wickedness within evangelical Christianity. A large segment of the evangelical community views entertainment that includes nudity with little or no concern about God’s displeasure. They can likewise watch other types of ungodly programming with the same sense of impunity. Viewing pornography exists in epidemic proportions among evangelicals. Those some seek to assert that the divorce rate is not all that high among evangelicals, I believe a careful analysis of the data indicates otherwise. Cohabitation has become accepted and in recent months more evangelicals express belief that a loving homosexual relationship is not sinful. It seems that not a week goes by without hearing about a pastor being caught in infidelity.
But that’s okay, because his sins, past, present, and future have been forgiven. There is nothing he can do to make God love him more and nothing he can to make God loves him less. After all, Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven. And you should be patient, because God isn’t finished with him yet. When God looks on him, he does not see his dirt but the righteousness of Christ.
I’m wondering if those buying into all these unbiblical clichés, this erroneous bumper sticker theology, believe that when God looks on this adulterous pastor He is also blinded to the tremendous heartbreak of a wife who has committed her whole life to this man only to find it ruined. I’m wondering if God is blinded to children who bear the embarrassment and the loss of a loving home, who believed that their father represented Jesus Christ and therefore his infidelity shakes their faith; children who will be far more likely to suffer from depression, alcoholism, academic problems, and other liabilities of life.
Do we really believe that God doesn’t see our sin, that it makes no difference in His attitude toward us, in His blessing of us? There must be hundreds of passages of Scripture that call this position a lie.
Can God bless a church that promotes this gospel and lifestyle? Can God bless a church that reflects many of the same sinful patterns as our wicked secular society? Can God bless a church that misrepresents Him so badly? Can God bless a church that ignores His Word, instead making up their own theory that caters to its lusts and conforms to the secular lifestyle?
On this Fourth of July, the cry of my heart is to see God bring His church in America to repentance and righteousness so that it can again function as salt and light in this nation, so that we can again pray, “God bless America.”