Why the Influence of Christianity Has Eroded by Mark Beliles and Stephen McDowell PDF Print E-mail
Covenantal Families

 

COVENANTAL FAMILIES

Why the Influence of Christianity Has Eroded pages 248-255 from America’s Providential History by Mark Beliles and Stephen McDowell

 

“The Father of American Geography, Dr. Jedidiah Morse, was a clergyman. He preached an insightful Election Sermon in 1799 from Biblical text: ‘If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?’ (Psalm 11:3). He said: ‘To the kindly influence of Christianity we owe that degree of civil freedom, and political and social happiness which mankind now enjoys. In proportion as the genuine effects of Christianity are diminished in any nation, either through unbelief or the corruption of its doctrine, or the neglect of its institutions; in the same proportion will the people of that nation recede from the blessings of genuine freedom, and approximate the miseries of complete despotism. I hold this to be a truth confirmed by experience. If so, it flows, that all efforts made to destroy the foundations of our holy religions, ultimately tend to the subversion also of our political freedom and happiness. Whenever the pillars of Christianity shall be overthrown, our present republican forms of government, and all the blessings which flow from them, must fall with them.’

 

The doctrines that, when corrupted or neglected results eventually in the decline of Christianity in society, were understood well by the apostles and even our Founding Fathers generation. These are articulated well in a sermon by Paul the apostle in Acts 17:24-28: ‘The God who made the world and all things in it since He is Lord of heaven and earth does not dwell in temples made with hands; neither is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all life and breath and all things; and He made from one, every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times, and the boundaries of their habitation, that they should seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist.’

 

Four primary doctrines that have practical implications on how we view the world, as mentioned here: 1. Creation-God made the world. 2. Lordship-He is the Lord of heaven and earth. 3. Providence-He Himself gives to all life and breath and all things; for in Him we live and move and exist. 4. Sovereignty-He made…every nation...having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation.

 

1. Creation-God made the world. This doctrine began to be neglected in our public schools in the late 1800’s. It was no longer being taught in a reasonable way, for Christians began to neglect the field of science...This neglect left a void for a competing ideology-Evolution… Today the tables are being turned, as Creation Scientists are restoring solid reasoning for Christians to articulate rather than simply saying ‘The Lord made the earth.’

 

2. Lordship-He is Lord of Heaven and earth. This means He is absolute Master and final authority to whom all must give allegiance. As this doctrine has been neglected, so another competing ideology has gained ascendancy—humanism. Humanism says that man is the measure of all things and the one who determines right and wrong for himself. Since 1961 when the Supreme Court recognized humanism as a religion, it has been systematically replacing Christianity as the United States’ unofficially established or recognized religion.

 

3. Providence-‘He Himself gives to all life and breath and all things…For in Him we live and move and exist.’ Truly God is the source of every man’s provisions, to Whom each man and woman must look. As this doctrine has been neglected, so the competing ideology of socialism has prospered. Karl Marx’s book, written in 1844, never had much influence in America until we had backslid from Christian principles of economics, and greed and materialism grew…Marshall Foster writes that ‘in the loft above Peck’s restaurant at 140 Fulton Street in lower Manhattan, a group of young men met to plan the overthrow of the predominantly Christian world-view that still pervaded America. At this first meeting five men were present: Upton Sinclair, a writer and a socialist; Jack London, writer; Thomas Wentworth Higginson, a Unitarian minister; J. G. Phelps Stokes, husband of a socialist leader, and Clarence Darrow, a lawyer. Their organization was called the Intercollegiate Socialist Society. Their purpose was “to promote an intelligent interest in socialism among college men and women.” These men were ready to become the exponents of an idea passed on to them by an obscure writer named Karl Marx—a man who never tried to be self-supporting but was supported by a wealthy industrialist who, inexplicably, believed in his theory of “the dictatorship of the proletariat.” Although a small group in the beginning, these adherents of socialism more than succeeded in their task.

 

By using the proven method of gradualism…these men and others…slowly infiltrated the public schools of our nation. By 1912 there were chapters in 44 colleges. By 1917 there were 61 chapters of student study groups of the League of Industrial Democracy. At that time John Dewey, the godfather of progressive education, was the vice-president of the league. By 1941 Dewey had become president.

 

The loss of Christian character and responsibility led to the failure of many state banks in the early 1900’s. In an effort to remedy this situation, power was granted to a centralized Federal Reserve Board in 1913. But this unbiblical economic structure and lack of character produced even greater problems. Within 20 years the stock market had crashed, and America was in the midst of the Great Depression. With the propagation of socialism, people were ready for the “New Deal” of Franklin Roosevelt. Programs such as Social Security, and other welfare agencies, set up the State as provider rather than God.

 

Another corrupting event occurred in 1913. In that year a federal income tax amendment was passed which paved the way for deficit spending, inflation and financing of ungodly nations and causes.’

 

4. Sovereignty-‘He made…every nation…having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation.’ Our Founders and all preceding generations of Americans were unified and motivated by this basic truth, but it was neglected in our schools little by little until replaced by a new ideology—Existentialism. Existentialists believe history is meaningless and the future unpredictable and therefore to plan and work for goals is hopeless. Instead their philosophy is ‘Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die.’ It is totally present-orientated and hedonistic. Marshall Foster warns: ‘Many Christians have subconsciously adopted the existential view of history. They de-emphasize their importance in a God-ordained historical chain of Christianity and see themselves simply as individuals God has plucked out of an evil world who are now just awaiting heaven. Their sense of responsibility for the past and their hope and planning for the building of the future are lost in the “now generation” where they are called to focus on self-improvement. This attitude covers the burden of guilt that lays heavily on the head of American Christians, but it does not alleviate their responsibility for our nation’s crisis…Until the Christian comes to grips with his historical duties denouncing his existential perspective and reaffirming the providential view of history, the renewal of our nation will be impossible.’

 

In colonial America the God of the Bible was seen as sovereign over men and their property, reflecting the ‘Biblical worldview’ of the Reformation. But in the past 100 years, a disarming doctrine, which sees Satan as the sovereign of this world, has been accepted by man in Christian circles. Many Bible teachers today see Jesus as an absentee king who is concerned exclusively with building and maintaining His church until He returns to earth. They see Jesus as having the authority and right to rule, but as having given over powers to subjugate the world temporarily to Satan.

 

The world-view of the reformers was diametrically opposite to this view. Jesus Christ is the ruler of the earth (1 Timothy 6:16; Hebrews 2:14) and Satan, a defeated foe (John 12:3, Colossians 2:15).

 

One’s attitude toward the sovereignty issue is of paramount importance because it affects what is done in every area of life.

 

Here is the contrast:

 

If you see God ruling the earth:

 

1.     Your commission is to subdue the earth and build godly nations through evangelizing and discipleship.

2.     You see Christian culture as leavening all areas of life; replenishing the earth, and blessing all mankind.

3.     All of God’s world is His and every activity, to be seen as a spiritual work of God.

4.     Reformation is expected if a nation is obedient to God’s Word.

 

If you see Satan ruling the earth:

 

1.     Your commission is just to concentrate on saving souls from this evil world.

2.     You see Christian culture as a counter-culture, an isolated, persecuted minority in an evil world.

3.     Church activity is primary and spiritual, while world pursuits are secular and to be dealt with only as a necessity.

4.     Reformation is impossible since things must get worse because Satan is in control.

 

The above contrasts illustrate the importance of ideas in determining consequences, because to the degree Christians have abdicated their leadership role and denied the ‘crown rights to Jesus Christ,’ to that degree the humanists have filled the void.

 

As Christians commit themselves once again to being the ‘salt of the earth,’ corruption shall subside, ‘the righteous will be in authority,’ and ‘the people will rejoice’ (Proverbs 29:2). ‘Righteousness exalts a nation’ (Proverbs 14:34).

 

Our Enemy Has Already Been Defeated

 

Mark 3:27; Luke 11:20; Revelation 20:6; Hebrews 2:14; Colossians 2:15; Revelation 12:7-9; Luke 10:18; Daniel 7 Revelation 12:12; Romans 16:20; Colossians 1:13; 1 John 5:18; 1 John 3:8; John 14:30; James 4:7; Mark 1:27; Mark 6:7; Luke 9:1; Luke 10:19; 1 John 4:4; Jude 6.”