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Retaking Our Land

by Kim Harrington

 

    Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance.

Psalm 33:12

    The United States of America was founded by Christian people. The Pilgrims and Puritans arrived in the 1600s to plant the foundations of a nation that would be a lighthouse of God to the world, a city set on a hill that could not be hidden. Subsequent settlers also sought out religious freedom, something denied them in the Old World, dominated, as it was, by state churches and overbearing governments. Over the course of our brief history, revivals have sprung up, keeping that original fire burning: Jonathan Edwards and the Great Awakening, Charles Finney and the revivals of the 19th Century, and many many more who have done their part in our country's spiritual history.

    These men and women of old have bequeathed to us the Protestant work ethic, a deep sense of justice and fair play, a solid belief in Christian ethics and values, and a profound respect for the God of the Bible. Don't get me wrong; America has never been a Christian nation in the sense that the majority of her people were truly born-again citizens of heaven. But the Judeo-Christian value system is perhaps our greatest inheritance, and even some of the church's most outspoken opponents have still operated by the same sense of justice and honesty that the Bible teaches, simply because the values of the Bible have been the prevailing philosophy of our culture, the defining element of what it means to be an American.

 

God Under Attack

    Over the past thirty years--throughout most of the Twentieth Century, in fact-- this religious heritage has been under attack. The powers that be--government, the media and the educational system--have embarked on a systematic course to erode America's faith. It isn't a conspiracy, for it's being done out in the open, in broad daylight, on the front pages of our newspapers and in our courts. It is nothing less than an organized attempt to trivialize God, to relegate Him to our past, something to be remembered in order to understand our roots as a people, but no longer to be taken seriously.

    The Christian community is treated with open hostility in the land that once stood united and indivisible under God. They've stripped away the right to pray in schools, or to have any public expression of God on public lands. The Ten Commandments no longer hang in our classrooms, and manger scenes are not allowed on public property. The right to pray before a football game or commencement exercises has been removed in the past few weeks by the Supreme Court. The press and the media continually attack and ridicule the church, and broadly paint all those who believe the Bible as ignorant and bigoted, full of hate and hypocrisy.

    The issue isn't religion itself, as Christianity seems to be the only religion under attack. Buddhism, Islam, and Hinduism are still treated with respect, lest the feelings of those communities be bruised, but no such courtesy exists for the followers of Jesus Christ, especially those that adhere closest to the Bible.

    In the wake of David Koresh and his followers in Waco, and other widely publicized cults, Congress has attempted to clarify just what constitutes a real religion. In other words, if they succeed, only state-sanctioned religions will be allowed to operate legally in our land. It doesn't take a whole lot of foresight to see where this sort of legislation could go in the future. Any unpopular movement, any politically incorrect group of people could be outlawed. Isn't it ironic that as the powers-that-be struggle to keep anything remotely Christian out of politics, schools and the rest of the public sector--all in the name of separation of church and state--that they're ready to commit the very actions that prompted the fathers of our nation to come up with the concept of separation of church and state in the first place, namely a state-sponsored, state-sanctioned religion that allowed the persecution of politically incorrect or unpopular spiritual movements?

    Have you noticed that we'll send young American boys into war when nominal Serbian Christians oppress Kosovar Muslims, but totally ignore the two million Sudanese Christians that have been killed in the last decade by Muslims, or the thousands of believers that have died in recent weeks by Muslims in Indonesia? Who makes the rules about what concerns us as a nation and what doesn't? Who decides what is important enough to stand against, and what should be ignored? It's not a matter of economics or oil, or national interests. At the risk of sounding like a rabble-rousing sensationalist (something I feel has done the church a great deal of harm), I suggest that the powers-that-be have an agenda, and it is to resist Christianity in any form. Hollywood doesn't make money on some of their ungodly, Christ-bashing films--the Last Temptation of Christ lost millions--yet they continue to produce them. It's a matter of conviction, the deeply-held belief that the United States of America has had enough of the God of the Bible, and needs to replace Him with something more in keeping with the philosophy they're trying to promote.

    Enter the "New Age," a mish-mash smorgasbord of various eastern religions, brightly packaged and cleaned up to appeal to the undiscerning American, now spiritually starved as a result of the removal of God from his life. Never mind that these philosophies and practices haven't worked for those nations who've embraced them for hundreds of years, and that Christian ethics have made us the most powerful and prosperous land on the planet. Never mind that Hinduism and Buddhism in their purest, most common forms usually boil down to bowing before a huge penis, hanging garlands of marigolds upon it, and anointing it with fragrant oils (that's how it's done in India, Thailand and other lands who follow these religions in their more unadulterated forms).

   Christ is ridiculed and attacked--the pure, fresh, reasonable waters of the gospel are cast aside, labeled as ignorant, bigoted, and not suitable for a pluralistic society like our own, and the muddy, defiled sap of Hinduism is portrayed as noble. God forgive this nation for calling good evil and evil good. God help us to retake this land for You.

 

The Family Under Attack

    The traditional family is especially under attack, for it is God's dearest and first institution. Amazing that the Communists, and now the architects of our new American society both see the family and the church as the greatest roadblocks to their goals. So they attempt to discredit and destroy them. Today's freedom fighters, instead of defending the rights of slaves, or demanding the right to worship according to one's conscience, advocate the right to kill an unborn child in the womb, or the granting of special rights to homosexuals. (Gay people, by the way, are no worse than anybody else who engages in a destructive ungodly lifestyle--like the rest of us, they are sinners that need to be set straight, cleansed by the blood of Christ and set free to live happy and fulfilling lives.)

    Issues that once appeared very clear-cut have become confusing. How difficult is it to determine that a baby inside the womb is just as human as one outside it? As for homosexuality, and the idea that some people are born with certain leanings, a simple glance at birth forever answers the question of "is it a boy or a girl!" The waters have been purposely muddied to destroy the American family.

    Our government public assistance programs encourage unwed mothers, while imposing fines upon those who get married by taking away their benefits and taxing them. Senior citizens who would never have dreamed of Living in sin are shacking up together outside of the bonds of matrimony for the same reasons. Meanwhile, the government is trying to determine just what constitutes a family--two gay parents, perhaps--oh yes, the first gay marriage took place in Vermont recently, and it's amazing--they have all the rights of married people under the law, but aren't encumbered with the "fines." Makes you see just where the political clout is, and the fact that there is indeed an agenda.

    The government has determined how we should raise our children: whether or not to spank them; how much education they need and who is qualified to administer it, and what standards must be met to qualify for high-school graduation. Aren't these the prerogatives of the parent? If that statement made you stop and think for a second, it's because you've been conditioned to believe that only the government really knows what's best when it comes to education and child-rearing. Personally I don't like Big Brother running my life--I have a mandate to raise my family in the fear of God, whether Jesse Ventura thinks I'm weak-minded or not. (I'm from Minnesota, where our governor has made some outrageous comments about Christianity as a whole, and has made us the only state in the union which will not proclaim a national day of prayer each May.)

 

The Rewriting of Our History

    One of the most insidious, dishonest moves in this attack on Christianity has been the rewriting of our history in order to minimize the impact of the Christian faith, and make our heroes seem just as faulty as the inferior breed of leaders we have today. You'd expect this sort of thing from Islamic fundamentalists and Communists--every new leader of the Soviet Union wrote his predecessor out of the picture--but somehow you expected a little more integrity from "the land of the free and home of the brave."

    The Pilgrims are no longer a religious minority, persecuted for their faith, seeking a place to worship in freedom. In today's textbooks the religious element is played down and they've become mere political dissidents. Many of the things we "baby boomers" took for granted about our nation's history have been totally redefined. Older generations will tell you that the schools of the Fifties and Sixties were already receiving a watered-down version of the faith of our fathers, for the attack on the Christian roots of our country didn't begin in the Sixties and Seventies, but much earlier, at the turn of the Twentieth Century, when John Dewey successfully pushed his educational reforms upon our nation's educational institutions.

    Columbus has become a slaver and a rapist instead of a godly man with a dream--he never did the evil things attributed to him, by the way. Washington and the other fathers of our land are no longer honest, hard-working men to be emulated and imitated, but adulterers, remade much in the same image as our leaders today.

    Of course, the most attacked individual has been Jesus Himself. The Jesus Seminar, numerous books and television documentaries like the "Search for Jesus" have treated the Bible as folklore, in spite of all the convincing evidence to the contrary, and turned the Lord of glory into a fumbling, bumbling, frustrated would-be reformer who had an ongoing affair with Mary Magdalene.

    As a result, today's young people do not know who Jesus was, and do not know the accurate history of their own land. The Boomers foolishly toyed around with radical ideas, but still had some foundation--the next generations know only the propaganda they've been fed for the last thirty years.

 

Action is Called For

    Many are now disgusted, frustrated, and not a little afraid of the way our nation seems to be heading. A recent poll (July, 2000) found that 43% of our Americans felt we were heading in the wrong direction as a nation (another 43% approve of the present trends, illustrating the dichotomy that now exists). The liberal agenda, and the growing feeling of helplessness against a system gone crazy, have spawned a weird assortment of dissidents, from cults who commit suicide to survivalists and para-military groups who are ready to fight the United States of America if need be. (By the way, though I disagree with the latter, they are well within their rights as the founding fathers of our land understood it. The right to bear arms, guaranteed by our constitution, was originally a measure that would enable the common man to fight against an unjust government.)

    Jesus said His kingdom is not of this world, and his followers do not bear arms against governments, good or evil, so that cannot be our approach as Christians. But "turn the other cheek" does not mean we should lie down as a doormat while our families and nation are being destroyed before our eyes. Turn the other cheek means don't stoop to the petty, vengeful, tit-for-tat level of our adversaries, but resist them on a higher plane.

    We can turn around our nation and take it back for the Lord. The Christian community is best-positioned to institute the needed reforms, for in spite of all the attacks upon us, we're still the largest group of people in the land, and potentially the most powerful. Of course, that's why the powers-that-be have targeted us--we're potentially the most threatening to their agenda. We are well able to alter the cultural, political, and especially the spiritual landscape.

Consider the following four suggestions...

 

1. We Need to Pray for Our Land

    "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14

    What an outstanding promise given in the Word of God. If God's people (that is, the Christians, the citizens of His kingdom) humble themselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from their wicked ways... He promises to heal our land. Folks, our land is desperately sick, and in need of spiritual healing. Let's humble ourselves and pray toward that end.

    Paul told Timothy and the Ephesian church that "supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." (1 Tim 2:1-4)

    God answers prayers that are made on behalf on the people and nations among which we live. It doesn't matter that the majority of people are evil--if God's people would just call upon Him in prayer, He would turn things around for righteousness in their land. He doesn't want to destroy America or see us flee before our enemies, as some prophets have taught. He'd much rather extend mercy, and see folks saved. He wants everybody to get saved--it says so in the verses we just read.

    Prayer accesses the powers of heaven and puts them to work on the issues in front of us on earth. Don't think I'm merely offering a pious platitude or an over-used, cliched answer to serious problems. Prayer is real, it works, it's a serious solution. It must be followed up by action, however, and that brings us to the next points...

 

2. Live the Life--Be a Shining Testimony of True Christianity

    You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law? For "The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you," as it is written.

Romans 2:23-24

    How many times have you started to share your faith with someone, only to hear that they already know a Christian, who goes to such-and-such a church, and is all messed up... if that's Christianity, I'm not interested...? You see, the name of God has been blasphemed, not by His enemies, but by those who claim to be His followers, because of the ungodliness and hypocrisy in their lives.

    I don't know how many people have brought up the subject of Jimmy Swaggart or Jim Baker to me. Now I honestly believe that these men were good brothers who fell into the snare of the devil (and who were prime targets of the devil because of their exposure and influence) -- and that they've repented and are still serving God, but look at the damage a high profile believer can inflict! You can be just as detrimental in your own circle of acquaintances when you fail to live up to the standards of the Bible.

    Sometimes it's not sin, but it's an ugly legalistic attitude that mars our testimony for the Lord. "There's that grouchy old witch who doesn't like anybody... she preaches Jesus all the time, but boy don't cross her... she's about the unhappiest individual I've ever seen... she hands out tracts instead of candy on Halloween, and yells at the teenagers...." It could be that your good is spoken evil of because you're such a poor testimony--remember they shall know us by our love, not by our doctrinal correctness or how much we seem to hate all the sinners around us!

    Live the life and people will be attracted to you instead of repelled by you. They'll seek you out when they have problems, because they know they'll find a sincere, loving person who is willing to listen, and who is successful enough in his own life to help somebody else.

 

3. Share the Gospel

    And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.

Mark 16:15

    Obey Jesus and preach the Word. Quit being a wimp and start doing the stuff. If you're bored with your Christian life, it's because you aren't living it, you're not sinking your teeth into the meat of it. If you're too afraid to share your faith, you ought to be afraid of God instead, and start obeying the prime directive of the church, the Great Commission: Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.

    Most Christians are waiting for the professionals to do it, and full-time evangelists and pastors sometimes play into that by saying things like, "You may not be able to go, but you can send me..." Most of it is about fund-raising. The truth is, you can go into the highways and byways of your own community, and further than that, too, and win some souls to Jesus. The great majority of active Christians today (over 80%) were won to the Lord by a friend or relative. Only one percent came into the church through an evangelist. Conclusion: if you don't do the stuff, it won't get done.

    So establish some relationships. Invite the neighbors over for a barbecue or a cup of coffee. Join a gym or health club. If your kids are in public school get involved in the PTA and be a force for good in that place, while meeting folks you can eventually witness to. Get involved in sports--you and your kids--or some other community activity--my family does Irish dancing, and we've seen considerable fruit there. Just walk around the block with a friendly look on your face. Somehow, some way, go into your world and start winning it for Jesus.

    The church has tried political means to convert our land to more godly ways, and it's backfired on us: the presidents we helped elect turned around and appointed Supreme Court justices who have reaffirmed the right of abortion and resisted any effort to curb it at all; and now declared it unconstitutional to pray at high school graduations. The world hates us more than ever, because we tried to fight a spiritual battle with carnal means. Do it a a grassroots level instead--winning people over one by one to King Jesus.

 

4. Engage in Long-Term Propaganda & Education

    My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge...

Hosea 4:6

    Propaganda is usually seen as a negative word, but all it really means is the dissemination of information designed to change people's minds and opinions over a period of time. That's how we got to this present evil place in our country's history--the enemies of the faith conquered our land through the patient use of long-term propaganda. They infiltrated the most influential sectors of our society--the universities, the media and the government--and began to disseminate their opinions and ideas into the mainstream. The young people swung aboard first, and gradually even older people were intimidated into joining the new order rather than being seen as irrelevant and old fashioned, completely irrelevant.

    Christians can reverse this process by engaging in a little propaganda of our own. We are not the ridiculous, unreasonable people that the opposition has painted us to be. Yet that's the only view most unchurched Americans have heard. We need to get our views out there, we need to educate the people of the United States, refamiliarize them with their God. We need to get the message out of the four walls of the church and into the mainstream of American life.

    The German nation knew something fishy was going on with the Jews, gypsies and the mentally retarded people back in the days of Hitler, but they never imagined the horrors of the concentration camps. The government thought it best to keep them in ignorance.

    Today doctors think it best to keep abortion candidates ignorant--not telling her that a fetus has his own heartbeat and fingerprints, and is capable of feeling pain and fear very early on in the pregnancy. The child is dehumanized by referring to it as mere tissue.

    We need to get on the airwaves, internet, televisions, and into the bookstores of the land and start educating people. Who are Christians and what do they really believe? Are science and religion compatible--what about the Genesis account? How about some facts on abortion? What did our founding fathers have in mind when they advocated a government that didn't promote a particular religion?

    We can also engage in positive propaganda by destroying the stereotypes through our good works--letting folks see what our values are by entering into the needy places in our society and helping out. Food shelves, shelter and job-training for the homeless... how about helping out in the struggle against AIDS--wouldn't that shatter the caricature most unchurched people have of conservative Christians? Works speak louder than words, and are good long-term investments in our communities.

    We can do it--we may be the last generation that is able to. We can save our land and keep millions of souls from being consigned to the fires of hell. Personally, I'm going to be strategizing and working towards this end from now on. It's a cause worth living for. Down with lazy, self-centered Christians and ministries who aren't doing the stuff! Rise up, church of Jesus Christ, and take this land for the Lord!

 

Copyright 2000 Kim Harrington, Masterbuilder Ministries. All rights reserved.

 

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