Saturday, February 18, 2012

Forward Christian Soldiers

Polarization. That's the condition of a civilization that hit its apogee in the 20th Century, our country. Our country? Whose? There was a time when we had a shared idea of existence and thus goals. Not everyone was a Christian or righteous. But there was respect for a common morality and mode of behavior. Until these latter decades the majority still had a sense of that, enabling us to struggle toward things better. But finally the long festering influences of secularism have dominated our educational, governmental, and educational systems so that such is quickly fading. What used to be a "melting pot," blending people into some respectful commonness, is eroding with astonishing acceleration. A Balkanization is replacing commonality of purposes and goals. That term refers to the Balkan area of Europe where the indigenous peoples are so divisively oriented that they lack common distinction, the resulting animosities keeping them in conflict. Likely that is coming here. Instead of "united" states, people may begin to gel into distinct groups. There will be those who want to live in the midst of "traditional" morality. Others will prefer existence with no moral restraints. If this should become geographic, and already there are parts of the country where one or the other prevails, divisiveness can lead to physical conflict and violence. Disintegration.

It was no coincidence that the previous paragraph began with "polarization" and ended with "disintegration," and thus greatness lost. So what shall we do about it? I can see what is attempted, even among Christians. There is great political concern and expression thereof. Militant articles and anecdotes inundate the Internet with great fervor and intensity, extolling the merits of one political view and excoriating the other. If one thinks I am opposed to dissemination of principled positions and discussing them he is going to miss the point, which is: I am wondering what would happen if we spent equivalent time, passion, and opportunity to spread the gospel. I am wondering if we are exercising more emphasis on salvaging human government, than in extending the kingdom of God in the hearts of men. Would I like to see a change in moral, political, judicial, and educational direction? Yes. I would love to live in a nation where virtue was agreed upon and the morals of Christ respected. But the hearts of people must be changed and politics will not do that. So what is going to change hearts, short of a severe destructive judgment for our sins? And given the growing darkness the latter is inevitable. God's "judgments are in the earth...ascribe unto the Lord the glory due his name" (I Chron. 16:14, 29). Ignoring that truth and that urging has eventually brought down every great civilization that has existed on this earth. We apparently are on the same trajectory.

Jesus said, "I am the light of the world, he who follows me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life" (Jn. 8:12). Heralding his world altering gospel will change hearts and save men, as we serve as "lights in the world, holding forth the word of life" (Phil 2:15-16). That is our mission, brethren. And we can pray. Prayer can and has changed the course of history. Anguished persecuted saints prayed and God brought down an empire (Rev. 8:3-5). We have something to offer even a world of darkness, and it is "mighty to the casting down of strongholds," as God is "in readiness to avenge all disobedience, when your obedience is made full" (II Cor. 10:3-6). When our obedience is made full! Forward, Christian soldiers.
Dale Smelser

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