There is a simple principle I have been repeating lately: if you are headed in a certain direction, eventually you will get there. If I am driving on I-95 North, eventually I will arrive in Richmond, then Washington D.C., then Baltimore, and so on. If I want to go to Atlanta, it is not going to happen unless I turn around and go the other way. Very simple, right?
For many years I violated this principle with my opinion of the future of America. I could see she was headed in the wrong direction, towards more sinfulness and depravity, and that ultimately, this would bring the judgment of God. But I just could not believe that this would be America’s future. I was convinced that something would happen and things would change. I was told about how society undergoes changes in 40 year cycles. I thought after 40 years, America would start to turn back to God, abortion would be outlawed, and the gay agenda would lose its steam. I also saw a principle in Scripture that the devil tends to overplay his hand. Unable to exercise self-control, when he gets a free hand to wreak havoc in a nation or in the world, he ends up going too far too fast and meets his demise. This could be seen in Napolean’s invasion of Russia, and in Hitler’s decision to wage war on three fronts, so I figured the devil would overplay his hand in promoting the gay agenda and suppressing the voice of truth, and when he does, America will see how wrong this is and turn the other way.
I no longer think this way. I now adhere to the very simple principle that if a nation is heading toward disaster, then eventually she will get there. Of course, something dramatic could happen to reverse the trend, but the dramatic reversal is not automatic, as if every 40 years something invisible forces a turning of the tables, or as if God forces the devil to go too far, resulting in the end of his short-lived reign of evil. It simply does not happen that way. Radical change does occur, and God is happy to bring it, but it does not come automatically. It comes because people assault heaven with prayers of desperation, but it does not come because a nation is too important for God to let it be destroyed. No nation is that important, except of course, Israel. America is rapidly spiraling downward, and it is following a pattern that the Apostle Paul described in the first chapter of Romans.
In Romans 1:18-32 Paul describes the downward spiral of a people under the wrath of God. It begins with refusing to acknowledge God as creator, and failing to worship him and give thanks (20-21). This brings about the downward spiral that includes idolatry (22-23), sexual impurity (24-25), homosexuality (26-27), and eventually, a godless society (28-32). This pattern is not meant to be an exact blueprint of the demise of a nation, but America has digressed in the last 100 years in a way astonishingly similar to what Paul describes.
The refusal to acknowledge God as creator came about when the nation embraced evolution theory and began teaching it in the classrooms of public schools. Paul said, “since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities…have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made” (Rom 1:20). Today most scientists deny that God created the earth, arguing that the universe came into being apart from any divine being. Whereas early in the 20th century creation was taught in all U.S. public schools, by the end of the twentieth century, many local school districts required the teaching of evolution, and theories of creationism and intelligent design were banned (“Scopes,” NWE). The result is a nation that no longer regards God as creator, and that no longer gives thanks to God. When a nation’s children stop acknowledging God, that nation begins to fall.
Idolatry does not exist in America in the same form as it did in ancient times because modern man has replaced it with humanism and atheism. Since it is now taught that man was formed from lesser life forms, those lesser life forms now receive the glory that belongs to God. Since these lower forms have “evolved” into man, it is only natural that man would become his own god, superior to all other forms of life. No wonder young people faint at the sight of Elvis or the Beatles or, heaven forbid, Justin Bieber. It also is no surprise that one of the most popular TV programs of the last decade is called American Idol.
The Kinsey Reports came out between 1948 and 1953, leading to the sexual revolution of the 1960s and ’70s. The Stonewall riots of 1969 birthed the gay rights movement and today Republican politicians and conservative pastors are capitulating to the trend toward gay marriage at an alarming rate. The only thing left for America is to become godless by removing the presence of God from the nation altogether. Let us take a look at how America has followed the pattern laid out by Paul.
Romans 1 20th-21st century America
Refuse to thank God the creator Rise of evolution theory
Idolatry Humanism and exaltation of man
Sexual impurity Sexual revolution
Homosexuality Gay rights movement
Godless society ???
Can anyone really doubt that the next step for America is a godless society? An atheist agenda is already in place in America and the voice of those who believe in God is already beginning to be silenced. If we are heading in that direction, eventually we will get there. That means we will eventually see an America where Christians will be fined or even arrested for quoting from the Bible, where the Bible might even be banned as a document of intolerant hate speech, and where anyone who opposes homosexual practice will be treated like neo-nazis and racists. Overt, government sponsored persecution of the church is inevitable, unless God does something to turn it around.
We need a Jesus revolution
Considering the state of the nation, it is not rational to think that a local church revival will turn America around. Nothing short of a national awakening will save America. In the early 1700s England was in a similar state of moral depravity, but God used John Wesley to spark a grass roots spiritual revolution in the country. Wesley did not petition Parliament to change laws or seek and audience with the king to try to turn the nation around. He simply preached a non-compromised gospel message. He preached to poor people who had no influence on national affairs. But this preaching of a simple gospel message to the poor, uneducated masses produced one of the greatest spiritual turnarounds in Christian history.
The same can happen today in America. And it will happen in much the same way as it did in 18th century England, through the preaching of a simple gospel message to anyone who will hear. With so much controversy over gay marriage and abortion, with court cases being tried and the Supreme Court making decisions on these matters, it is easy to get caught up in arguments and debates and forget the simple gospel message. We need people who can speak intelligently about the negative social effects of gay marriage and the long term damage that abortions cause to women, and who can argue in court about why laws should or should not be changed, but these are not the things that change a nation. The simple gospel message can change a nation. Sharing the love of Jesus with the least important people in the nation can spark a spiritual revolution that will result in laws being changed and the judgment of God being averted.
The description Paul gives in Romans 1 about the downward spiral of a godless society begins with the statement that the wrath of God is being poured out against such people as these (Rom 1:18). If America really is following the pattern described by Paul, then it is already suffering the wrath of God, and the only thing that will stop its continuance is repentance on a massive scale. That was Paul’s remedy in the 1st century and it is still the only remedy today. This is what America needs, and this is what the American church needs to pray for, because nothing less will save this nation from suffering the wrath of God. But I believe it is coming. God wants to move in a mighty way in this nation. Rather than be discouraged by the sinfulness surrounding you, be encouraged to know that there has never been a better time in American history than now for God to send a great awakening. Will you join me in praying earnestly for a national awakening to come to America?
Source: “Scopes Trial.” New World Encyclopedia online article. http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Scopes_Trial, last accessed April 18, 2013.