I’ll always remember a quote by my old first sergeant, “People don’t change, just the times do.”
Because a nation is a collection of individuals, the rise and fall of any nation can be determined by observing a sampling of its people. That’s why pollsters don’t have to ask everyone to determine the results of an election and why marketers don’t have to demonstrate their product to everyone to know if it will be successful.
What pollsters and marketers do is determine a set of demographics that most accurately reflect those who will vote or use their product and then sample a group of people that match those demographics. Pollsters don’t seek the opinion of children because they can’t vote. Marketers don’t ask people who are allergic to peanuts to test peanut butter.
An oft repeated quote says, “I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers – and it was not there . . . in her fertile fields and boundless forests and it was not there . . . in her rich mines and her vast world commerce – and it was not there . . . in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution – and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.”
The people who attend America’s churches represent the demographic of her moral compass. They are the ones that you test. You don’t test the prison population or the members of criminal organizations for goodness and morality. Church goers are the ones you expect to be good.
Goodness is a reflection of morality. It only makes sense that one finds goodness as a result of righteousness. Jesus said that to love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength was the greatest commandment and to love your neighbor as yourself was like it. These He said were the sum of all of the Law and Prophets. To love God is the root of righteousness and the love of God changes selfish hearts to compassionate and giving ones. To find righteousness in America, one must go to where those who love God gather, and that would be in her churches.
There was a time when the nation of Israel was an example of righteousness. The Temple in Jerusalem was the hub of righteous teaching and true worship. But over the years, something happened. Righteousness was replaced by wickedness, and it happened very quickly. King Hezekiah was known as a good man and the time of his reign was marked with peace and prosperity. But after his death, his son Manasseh was a wicked king who reigned for 55 years. In less than a lifetime, righteous worship was replaced by false idols throughout the kingdom. In the temple, prostitution was practiced as part of worship and sacrificing children to gods was common. Morality plummeted in the nation. People were economically oppressed. Innocent people were put to death by the government.
There was a short period of spiritual and moral recovery under the reign of Josiah, but after his death, the nation became totally depraved. Israel lost her moral compass. God gave Jeremiah this assessment, “An astonishing and horrible thing Has been committed in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, And the priests rule by their own power; And My people love to have it so.”
God’s love is sacrificial. It is stated ever so clearly in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” God loved; He sacrificed. Jesus said all will know we are His disciples if we have love one for another and Paul wrote that in love we should show affection to each other and give preference to one another. Jesus told us we couldn’t serve God and material wealth for we would love one and hate the other. He also told us we were to take His yoke upon us and learn of Him and we are to take up His cross and follow Him.
That message is being replaced in our churches today. Pastors are teaching that if we say the right words in the right way with the right amount of faith, then God is obligated to obey us. They teach we can have it all – that God will freely give us money, health, and happiness. And people flock to these churches. Why? The people love to have it so.
In other churches, love is replaced by fiery messages of hate. And people flock to these churches. Why? The people love to have it so.
Now, there is a Christian labeled website that is committed to physical fitness and the swinger lifestyle. That’s right, they believe in wife swapping. According to news reports, the founders “are unashamed bodybuilding Jesus lovers bringing couples together and introducing them to their wild lifestyle of swapping sex partners and Bible verses.” They are convinced that God is on their side, that it’s morally acceptable, and that it falls into one of the so called “gray areas” in the Bible. More astonishing is their daughter runs their website.
More and more, the moral compass in American churches are pointing to self-satiation. Rather than looking inwardly at our sinful selves, confessing our sins, and repenting; we are being told, “I’m okay. You’re okay. Be happy in your own skin. If there is something unrighteous in your life, it’s other people’s problems if they can’t accept you the way you are. As long as it feels good do it.”
The things which are now done in public, presented on television, and acted out on stage in concerts were unthinkable 40 years ago. What will America be like in another 15 years? What will it be like for your children and your children’s children?
As America’s churches follow that which is not good … as they call evil good and good evil … America continues down the path toward not being good. One day Americans will awaken in a country that is no longer good and will no longer be great.