Fight for America

July 1, 2011

Here we go: round three of Patriot Week here on the blog.

On Monday, I asked you if “under God” really needed to be in the Pledge of Allegiance.  Though opinions varied, the consensus slanted toward “No,” “I only pledge allegiance to God,” or “We have more important fights to fight.”

On Wednesday, when asked if God is cursing America, the comments slanted toward, “Probably not,” “If He is, oh well, since we don’t pledge allegiance to America anyway,” and “Pat Robertson is an idiot.”

I expected many of the comments to go this way.  Additionally, several people unknowingly brought up today’s topic:

America is under attack.

Well, more specifically, Christian America is under attack.  Wherever you look, Christianity is being attacked, censored and restricted on all sides.  All this, while Christian ethics and values are abandoned and America goes to hell, just when there’s a shortage of handbaskets.

Well, if you were part of the consensus of the last two days, today’s post is the inevitable conclusion you have to make about your duty to fight for Christian American values.

Christian America Under Attack

Some of you felt on Monday that we have bigger fish to fry than argue over the words “under God.”  But what are the hills that are really worth dying on?

If you think Christianity is under attack, then perhaps you do think the pledge is a fight worth fighting.  To others, Christmas is worth going to war over.  For other Christians, fighting gay marriage is a must.

Virtually every Christian has some righteous cause to fight for.  And even if we actually hear the voice of God telling us to go and fight for a cause, most of the time, those causes are in some way linked to defending some kind of ideal “America,” (even if we don’t admit it.)  We’re going to fight for “traditional American” families and values.  We’re going to try to save a nostalgic memory of Christian America that we feel is being attacked.

Winning the Battle, Losing the War

The problem is that when a minority tries to save a society from itself, it never works.

A hundred years ago, a few crusty old Christians tried to save America (and other nations) from its sins of excessive drinking.  Surely, alcohol and all the fun it caused were a blight on society that must be eliminated to avoid God’s righteous judgement.  It was the hill to die on to “take back America.”

Of course, you know the end of the story.  The righteous Christian victory over booze resulted in the biggest explosion of sin and debauchery and organized crime our culture had ever seen.  Everyone would’ve been much better off if Christians had minded their own business.

That’s the way the story goes every time Christians try to force people into their way of life.  We end up looking like a bunch of backwards thinking hillbillies who cause more problems than we solve.  It was true for prohibition.  It will be true for any cultural movement we fight today.

Put Down Your Arms

Like a majority of you said: you don’t pledge allegiance to America, God’s probably not cursing America, and if America goes down, it’s okay because we have the Kingdom of God…or something like that.

Then you know what you have to do, right?

We have to stop fighting everyone.

We have to stop making enemies of everyone.  It isn’t going to do any good.  We can’t keep trying to make people say “Christmas” and “under God.”  We can’t keep trying to pry gays apart from one another.  We have to stop being so obsessed with others’ behavior.

If you don’t believe God is cursing us, then what are you trying to save us from?  If you don’t pledge allegiance to America, then what do you care if God is cursing it?  Jesus spent virtually all of his attention on the wrongs within the religious community, with no attention given to the wrongs the Romans were committing.

We don’t have to like anything people do.  But we aren’t going to stop them by telling them they can’t do it. We can’t stop them by telling them God’s gonna curse them, because we saw Wednesday that never works either.  We have to reach them personally and show them an alternative that’s actually better than what they’ve got.

Well, what say you?  Are we in a fight for our future, and the enemy is the secular progressives?  Or do we win the fight by laying down our arms?  Or do we just stop caring about what everyone else does?

39 responses to Fight for America

  1. If anything, we don’t fight against flesh and blood, but against powers, authorities, and forces in the heavenly realms. And the way to attack those powers isn’t through attacking flesh and blood, but arming ourselves with things like truth and righteousness, salvation and faith, feet that are quick to spread the good news of Christ, and prayer for the saints.

    If we’re fighting anything else in any other way, we’re being misguided. It’s a sad and fruitless way to live.

  2. Hi Again Matt,
    I just wrote an long, impassioned response to your questions.
    I pushed the button.
    The computer swallowed my words of wisdom and they disappeared into the ethernet.
    Could it be that God does not value my opinion?
    John

    • No, it doesn’t mean God doesn’t value your opinion. It means you should consider writing your comments in a word document, or right-click copy your comment before you hit send. I do that all the time to avoid that kind of thing, because it happens to me too. :) I’ll just imagine a brilliant comment from you.

    • I use a Chrome extension called Lazarus. It remembers everything you type in the last text box in which you wrote, so that in case of a cataclysmic internet black hole, your text can be recovered.

  3. Agree with Jo. We don’t fight against flesh and blood… but…

    Think of the US as your home. Would allow in any sort of thinking? Any sort of sin? Any sort of books? I doubt it. Heck most Christians wouldn’t want a stinky alcoholic homeless guy in their house. We try to have boundaries. Whatever boundaries that laws of the land had are being eroded.

    If we know anything about biblical eschatology, society grows more evil and then the end comes. When I don’t know (ask Pat Robertson). We are on a course for the second coming of Jesus whatever you think that looks like. If you believe that, then all this makes sense. If not, of course its a joke.

    At one time our nation could easily be characterized as Christian. Even after the influx of millions of immigrants, most were Christian. It is simply a fact. What brand of Christian they were is another story. In our quest for enlightenment, and education, freedom (without moral responsibility), and the quest for whatever we think we are now heading for, its changed.

    My point is this. The Gospel has power to change lives, and biblical principals bear fruit regardless of whether the people using (or preaching) them have faith. Trust me, anyone casting out demons in Jesus’ name who does not know him, they are in trouble. The demons, however; come out. Jesus rebuked the disciples because they were complaining about “others’ preaching the Gospel that did not know him. He said let it happen.

    America needs a revival, not a form godliness without power. That is supposed to happen in the church. Then, when the power of God is moving, people are repenting, getting healed, and demons cast out, people will notice. Until then, it a war of words: “I think” vs “they think.” But when God shows up on Mt Carmel, it will all change.

    There is a battle worth fighting for. it is won with real love and power, not words and blather. Our weapons are spirit=led ministry, not logical programs.

    I never really cared what anyone else did.

    Good blog, Matt!

    • Amen, David! America needs a revival…not more political battles.

    • (I’m hoping the comment nests properly- I’m replying to David)

      I see it less as a “but” and more of an “and,” or maybe a “so.” We don’t fight flesh and blood, SO we pray for revival. We put on the armor of God AND in doing so, we strengthen our churches. Let’s try to fix the wrongs in our own hearts and churches before we try to straighten everyone else’s morals out.

      We might be saying the same thing in different ways, but I just wanted to clarify. :)

  4. “America needs a revival.” The Church is seeing a revival around the world, just not in America where our closest experience to actual persecution is being limited in whom we can boss around. Why does revival have to be linked with a grasp for power, and what Scripture or snippet of church history comes close to supporting that? If you want revival pray, be God’s hands and feet, and seek God with your hearts in community. Guess what? You don’t even need to hide to do these things, and that’s more than a lot of people can say.

    • I agree, Matt, that the church is revival in many other places. I have done missions work, and it isn’t really the same here in the US. However; in some of the revivals, IE: Welch and Argentinean revivals, The government was completely transformed – well, at least for a season. True revival changes communities, cities and countries, not just add members to a church. It is not bout power grabbing (at least for me), but bringing a country to Jesus.

      • David, I totally misread your comment the first time. I apologize for that. We’re actually saying the same thing and I should have realized that. Can I play the “just woke up” card?

        God bless,

        Matt

        • LOL – I am pretty used to opening a can of worms up here and there. So, I am with you. I am back to work after 3 months of a heart related illness, so I am little sleepy myself.

          I want to see a transforming revival – in fact I would love to be apart of it! I like renewal too, maybe we need to see one in the church first; then we’ll see the real thing.

          God bless you too!

          BTW – you might enjoy my series on the Top 10 Stupidest Things Christians Do over at http://www.fireandgrace.com. Well, at least you might get a chuckle.

  5. It’s always been a surprise to me that so many Christians expect those who aren’t Christian to act and live like Christians. If we spent less time complaining about the way non-Christians lived and actually spent time loving them, we would see a difference.

    • That was going to be the gist of my reply, Ben – that we should stop expecting non-believers to act like believers.

      We won’t change lives by picketing things. We won’t change lives by getting up at arms with Glenn Beck or anyone else (sorry – don’t know his liberal counterpart).

      The fact of the matter is _nothing_ we do or say will change lives. Only the Holy Spirit can change lives. Our job is obedience – to love God and our neighbor (i.e., the one in need – physical, spiritual, emotional, etc.), to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly – and thereby make disciples among all nations.

      • I wish that more Christians would understand that concept.

      • “The fact of the matter is _nothing_ we do or say will change lives. Only the Holy Spirit can change lives. Our job is obedience – to love God and our neighbor”

        couldn’t have said it better myself….

        • I agree with you all…nothing is going to get better if all we do is show that we’re intolerant idiots who aren’t espousing the true love of God. Jesus hung out with the social outcasts of his time. He considered them friends, loved them, ministered to them. While there are certainly things going on here in America that I don’t like, which I vehemently disagree with, things that break the heart of God, the bigger issue to me is not so much being a bleating noise saying “No, no, must stop!” but to turn around and love my neighbor anyway. Otherwise, the rest of the world will go on believing that Christians are nothing but a bunch of legalistic hacks who can’t follow their own rules but try to jam them down others’ throats. I really don’t think that the Gospel is effectively communicated that way.

  6. I’ve often said (probably because I stole it from someone else) that if we want to protect and champion traditional marriage, then our own marriages need to be amazing.

    If we want to lower abortion rates, we need to be adopting children like crazy.

    If we want peace, then we need to get out there and love the people we hate and the people who hate us.

    Good post Matt.

    • Amen to the marriages! Right now, many Christians aren’t exactly effective evangelists for marriage. People look at unhappy marriages between people who don’t try to make it work, and we expect them to say, “Sign me up for that!”

  7. “We have to stop making enemies of everyone. It isn’t going to do any good. We can’t keep trying to make people say “Christmas” and “under God.” We can’t keep trying to pry gays apart from one another. We have to stop being so obsessed with others’ behavior.”

    I think I just cried a litte….that was awesome!

  8. Great blog today and I agree with the fact that we need to stop worrying about the behavior of others. We cannot change them. I have a tough time with that myself! It can be difficult for Christians to deal with laws that aren’t necessarily Christian – abortion rights, marriage etc. While we can spend our time picketing and fighting about whether those laws are good, bad etc, wouldn’t we be better off living our lives in such a way that our actions bring glory to Him? Wouldn’t we be better of having marriages that we will fight for rather than walk away from at the first sign of touble?

  9. As you put it, “Reaching people personally and showing them the alternative” is the solution to all these problems, the warring, the factions, the accusations from one Christian to another, “You aren’t a true Christian if you don’t fight the battle against…” and so on. We were adjured by Christ to preach the good news of salvation, not to fight some battle in a social or cultural arena. Let’s quit irritating the hell out of people and try to show them the love of Christ in our lives. God helping us, of course.

  10. We have to listen to the watchmen to know what God is doing.

    I live in Vancouver, where the terrible riots occured after the Stanley Cup. It was a huge upset to the city and a stain on our pubic image but I believe it was far greater than a few protestors.

    Hearing the prophetic voices around Vancouver after the fact is sobering. The watchers weren’t watching and no one was listening.

    The group that started the riots were hell-bent on rioting whether the Canucks won or lost, they were the same group that tried to start something during the Olympics but you know why no one around the world heard about it during the Olympics? Because so many people were praying. The rioters tried to start something but it quickly fizzled because people around the world were praying for Vancouver and the city during the Olympics.

    During the Stanley Cup, not so many people prayed and evil flourished. We have revival starting in the Pacific Northwest, you can feel it as soon as you step over the border into Canada, the environment is different. God is at work and the enemy is trying very hard to kill the movement.

    I take 2 Chronicles 20 very seriously – praise God and see what he will do to win the battles.

    Great blog.

    • Andrea, I have to admit, I did not expect a comment like that. Really interesting perspective. But I have to ask because your comment begs the question – how do you know that the “same group” tried to start something, but were warded off by prayer? And how do you know that not many people were praying during the Stanley Cup?

      • The riots were organized. They have them on tape, same group that were arrested and watched during the Olympics, so say the police.

        The lack of prayer is evidence by the destruction and evil that permeated throughout the city.

        People from around the world were praying for and during the Olympics but not as many people cared about the Stanley Cup – that is, except for David and me. :)

  11. I totally agree with you, Matt. As our pastor frequently says, “Don’t be surprised… sinners sin. It’s what they do.”

    I’m so tired of Christians being identified with all the things we’re against. Rather, would we be able to say with Paul, “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”

    And on another tangent, often revival goes hand in hand with persecution. China is a great example. If we pray for revival, we must be prepared for any means God might choose to use to bring it about. Christian America may be under attack now, but it’s a pretty wimpy attack compared to what our brothers and sisters overseas deal with.

  12. I just finished reading Oswald Chambers devotion for the day and I think it’s an appropriate response to your blog. It is written to receive personally, but I also believe it applies corporately:

    He urged you to come to judgement right away when he convicted you but you did not; the inevitable process began to work and now you are in prison and you will only get out when you have paid the uttermost farthing. “Is this a God of mercy, and of love?” you say. Seen from God’s side, it a glorious ministry of love. God is going to bring you out pure and spotless and undefiled; but he wants you to recognize the disposition you were showing – the disposition of your right to yourself. The moment you are willing that God should alter your disposition, his re-creating forces will begin to work.

    Selah

  13. Love. As Christians, we should be loving to those who disagree with us and our values, not indignant. I have some work to do in this area, so I don’t mean to be chastising anyone. I’m just saying that fighting back only causes more fighting back from the opposition. My daddy used to tell a joke with the punch line “Your honor, it all started when he hit me back!”

    Love, however, is disarming.

  14. Oh thank you for this! This is exactly my thoughts but I have not been able to put them into clear words.

    I am not comfortable with witnessing, for the most part. I know that nothing I say or do will bring a non-believer to Christ – only the Spirit can do that. But I may be used by the Spirit as a tool in doing so. It is up to me then, to keep my focus on God, my eyes on the face of Christ, my feet walking the path He has laid out for me. My job is to be obedient, to follow Scripture and, as much as I can – and I am really bad at this, let Jesus take the wheel.

    I can’t even think of my Christian walk as an example to others. I do it out of obedience to Christ. If the Spirit uses my walk to inspire others, so be it.

    Meanwhile, I do have opinions, based on what the Bible says to me. I speak when asked, and sometimes when not asked :-). I declare the Word not to convince others, but to state that is what guides my life. For instance, on the subject of gay marriage and gay rights, Romans 1:32 is where I come from. I will love on and pray for my gay friends, colleagues and family members, but I will never condone their sexual behavior. Likewise, I will not condone the heterosexual couple that lives together, sans marriage. But I still love, and I still pray.

    As Christians, we have done ourselves a huge disservice by trying to bend others to our way of life, by outwardly condemning sinful lifestyles, beliefs and behaviors. Yet at the same time, we willfully fail to keep our own houses clean. Hypocrite much? Oh yes indeed.

    (Yes, I know I’m rambling … this is why I don’t write much on my own blog anymore. I inflict myself on others via comments like this … but I’m almost done. Sort of … )

    What is breaking my heart now is how I am seeing churches that were once well-grounded in the Word stray away from that, with the intention to be less “offensive” to non-believers and seekers. We have stopped attending our church because of this. They are preaching the gospel of prosperity (if your faith is good enough and you pray just right, you shall prosper … ) and have had some teachings that are not Scripturally correct. It is a church under deception and we feel helpless to do anything. But it is not our place to do anything … but still, it is sad, frustrating and scary too. So, we’re people with no church.

    OK, enough rambling. My stepdaughter is in early labor … I have better thing to do than bore you guys with my crazy thoughts.

    • Thanks for the comment! Yes, I feel its probably often the case that a church that has fallen under the spell of prosperity preaching will remain that way for some time. Prosperity is addictive, and people have to realize (which doesn’t happen often or quickly) that it is a gospel of diminishing returns and broken promises.

  15. I know that when I came to know God it was because I was in a really sad, tough place and God touching my heart felt like a hug. When I am facing hard things, He is always a warm, loving, accepting place to go. If that’s how I got to know Him, why in the world would I suddenly think that what everyone else needs is a kick in the head to suddenly grasp the love of Jesus?

    There are those called to preach tough messages, I’m sure, but to me it comes down to Christ. If someone is indulging in sin and they don’t know Christ, my chief duty is to help them see Him because it’s not about what they’re doing, it’s the relationship. If someone is indulging in sin and is a believer, I can be a little more forthright depending on the situation, but actual discipline is up to God, not to me. There is no situation where it seems bilbically correct for me to judge either of these groups’ in the way we’re talking about.

    Just one example: a lot of women who seek abortions are not doing it because they didn’t realize babies are alive, they do it because they feel trapped and can’t find a way out. We need to provide those ways out, love them, and show them a Father who loves them even more. This is just one example of why I won’t be standing somewhere with a verse on a sign when the most needed thing is much more personal, and much more costly.

  16. Great post! Ironically, on the heels of all the opinion blogs posting about the NY gay marriage bill and the video game bill, I’m currently writing on the same topic. I think basically people want to hold government responsible for our moral standards to aleviate guilt that comes with taking personal responsibility for immoral actions. I think we need to not worry about what our country thinks is acceptable or will allow to be legal, and start taking responsibility for our own actions and those of the believers around us based solely on the word of God.

  17. For me, the issue is that as a Christian you don’t turn off your faith when you walk into the voting booth. You can’t turn off your faith when discussing politics. If you do, then I question if you’re really a follower of Christ. If we follow Christ then it should be all of who we are.

    So when I see groups fighting gay marriage, they’re standing up for the Biblical standard of a man and woman in marriage. It shouldn’t matter if America’s not a “Christian nation.” If you’re a Christian, it’s your vote. The people who hate Christians have no trouble voting for their beliefs. Why are Christians expected to give up their beliefs?

    I’m not saying we go looking for a fight but I don’t think we should cower in fear and run when people who despise Christians try to push their agenda in the government. We have a voice, we have a vote and we have every right to let our Christian faith guide both.

    • I’m sure this is true for many. What I find insincere, though, are the hills we choose to fight on. How many people fight to the point of bitterness about gay marriage, but they are not fighting to make divorce illegal? Or premarital sex. Or adultery. God said He *hates* divorce, which is much stronger language than He uses for most other sins. It’s the fact that we as a group seem to pick and choose the beliefs we hold dear enough to fight for, and they very often seem to concern the sins that other people are more likely to be doing. I don’t think most people expect Christians to give up their beliefs, but we (again, as a group) don’t seem to do so well at living them which should predate voting them. Maybe if we started there, it wouldn’t be so shocking when we voted our consciences. As it is, it looks a lot like finger pointing.

  18. Here is somewhat rhetorical question: Some people believe that Christians are portrayed as only being against something, not FOR something. So is it TRUE that we are only against something or is it how we are being PORTRAYED in the media? Could the media, with its worldy viewpoint, be handpicking stories to tell that portray us as stupid rubes who are uncompassionate pharisees/hypocrites? When a disaster strikes, how many news stories show Christians in the front lines offering help? And yet, I am sure most of us are aware that organizations like World Vision, Compassion International, and others as well as hundreds of churches work hard to provide material, emotional and spiritual relief for the people involved. Instead, the media chooses to focus on Pat Robertson, who immediately claims that the disaster is a judgement on the nation so that Christians can appear to be angry, uncompassionate people. They showed Christians protesting abortion clinics, when that was the strategy, but do they now show Christians having silent prayer vigils in front of aboritons? Do they talk about all the post-abortion counseling that Christians have set up to help women deal with the emotional pain of having an abortion? NO! And they aren’t going to either, becuase that might give us favor in the world’s eyes.

    Here is another thought. Stephen preached the gospel. He was stoned to death. Paul preached the gospel. He was stoned several times, beaten, imprisoned and eventually beheaded. John, who wrote a lot about love, had boiling oil poured on him and was exiled. And you, Matt, in Wednesday’s blog talked about all the prophets who were rejected because people didn’t like their message. Our Children’s church has been focusing on the Beatitudes, spoken by Jesus. He says “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all sorts of evil things against you FALSELY on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.” (Matthew 5:11-12) So, we should fight the good fight, for America, for our friends, family and neighbors.

    I really liked your series of posts this week.

  19. matt satans kingdoms are divided against each other and will eventually destroy each other, that was the reason for Jesus so that those who were to be saved would know that we are part of a kingdom that is eternal and not of this world.

  20. I recently saw a film along these same lines called “Agenda: Grinding America Down.” (http://agendadocumentary.com/) It’s main line of thought was that Communist members were intentionally driving out Christian values from our country because they present a direct opposition to the fundamentals of socialism. While there was quite a bit of conspiracy theory involved, their solutions were on the right track – first of all pray and second, stay involved/informed on what is actually happening. I don’t think we can win any “war” without starting there.

  21. “Jesus spent virtually all of his attention on the wrongs within the religious community, with no attention given to the wrongs the Romans were committing.”

    This.

    You can say this all day and I still don’t think most Christians would understand that. We INSIST on telling every one else what they’re doing wrong, and how they’re sinning. Usually these people we are badgering are not claiming to be Christians, and really don’t want anything to do with us. There’s no reason for us to be fighting those fights. If someone explicitly asks you your opinion, you should feel free to express it, and do so with confidence. However, I disagree with people who choose non-Christian groups to attack and try to “outlaw.” In that case, Christians are just doing with some non-Christians are doing- trying to outlaw and demonize the other! It’s not going to put God in a good light and it won’t help bring anyone to Christ. Prayer (in private, not big publicized prayer meetings) and showing love to others is what we should be focusing on.

  22. Outstanding article! I’ve been a Christian for quite awhile, and if being a Christian and living in the Northeastern U.S. while daily rubbing shoulders with the Godless has taught me anything, it’s that my actions speak wayyyyyyyyy louder than my words. People are sick and tired of “Evangelical” Christians who’s goal is to convert them. Yes, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit we need to share our faith, but we need to do it only once we’ve “Earned the Rigth to Be Heard” … otherwise, it backfires. I’m afraid that the attack that has grown more and more intense is partly because of the church’s obsession with trying to “Change the world” for Christ without accepting that the “Road to Destruction is Wide” and therefore, 95 people out of 100 won’t accept the gospel even when it’s shared appropriately.