Hello, Church! America’s Fate Is in Your Hands

Written by Steve Pauwels on July 7, 2014

Two Sundays past, my church participated in “Call2Fall” — Family Research Council’s annual event which encourages Christian assemblies across America to devote five minutes on their knees in corporate prayer for their land. We directed fully half of our service to that end — and a bracing period of repentance for the United States’ manifold sins and intercession for her restoration resulted. 

At some point during our exercise, it once again occurred to me — something considered axiomatic to millions of God-revering, church-going Americans of another time but too frequently shunned in our spiritually lazy, secularly correct, separation-of-church-and-state age: the fate of this nation turns chiefly upon what happens within her churches. 

Jesus dubbed His people “salt and light” — the preservational force, the illuminating  guide of human society. He said that; not power-hungry ecclesiastics, not rabid members of the oft-dreaded “religious right” — the Son of God uncorked that commission. 

Heavy stuff. 

Call2Fall is a fine idea, but barely scratches the surface of the church’s assignment. And by my lights, an awful lot regarding this Republic’s future,  in ways portentous indeed, hinges on the degree to which God’s “house” — what the apostle also calls “the pillar and ground of truth” (1 Tim 3:15) — discharges her heaven-endowed, terrestrially fulfilled responsibility. Yes, God is sovereign. Ultimately only His Spirit can accomplish anything of eternal value. But, inscrutably, the Scriptures make clear He’s chosen to operate meaningfully through His children. Recall, “Christ in you [is] the hope of glory” (Col 1:27).

As Bible teacher Derek Prince poetically put it: “Bend the church, bow the world”. The ekklesia of believers Jesus came to raise up has a duty to guarantee the nations yield to His ways and wisdom. 

Certainly, Christ’s followers ought to count their prime “citizenship…in heaven” (Phil 3:20). Yet, there remains an obligation to the spiritual and temporal well-being of wherever it is we call our earthly home. While they dwelt in fearsome Babylon, exiled and harassed Israel was enjoined to seek the good of that city (Jer 29:7). Paul charged Pastor Timothy to pray “for all men … and all who are in authority” (1:Tim 2:1-4). The first, archetypal man was created to ” fill the earth and subdue it” (Gen 1:28**). 

Biblically speaking, and contrary to the colossally wrong-headed but regrettably popular aphorism, to be “heavenly minded” really is to be the most “earthly good”. 

This “stewardship” is gravely entrusted to the residents of God’s Kingdom: to serve, uphold in righteousness, care for the world, and specifically, the nation in which they find themselves. In case I’m being too nuanced: for the “American” disciple of Jesus that means he/she carries a duty to see His incomparable will accomplished in every sliver of American life. It’s a sacred fealty, to be prosecuted consistently, over a lifetime, in the most practicable ways here on red-white-and-blue terra firma

They’ll be ways so unsparingly practicable as, at times, to seem nearly mundane; but they’re anything but that:

– Disciplining yourself to pray, pray, pray. Either God saves this Republic, or we’re cooked.

— Putting in effort to be sufficiently informed  to respond with discernment concerning laws, policies and regulations which will shape individuals and, eventually, the culture of communities, states, a country. 

— Whenever the opportunity presents itself, voting in alignment with God’s priorities. Imagine! Investing a few moments to check a box, to cast a ballot, and by that simple step doing our part promoting light and pushing back darkness.  

Revolutionary War leader Sam Adams adjured, “Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is … executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.”

President Calvin Coolidge similarly urged each patriot to “approach the ballot box in the spirit that they would approach a sacrament”. 

— Graciously but unabashedly making known the Divine perspective — Scriptural truth for every corner of life — to elected officials, public servants and the guy in the cubicle beside you or living next door. 

As I heard Sen. Ted Cruz’s father Rafael  recently remind a roomful of pastors: the Christian’s job description is not to preach “just the Gospel”, ie, confining himself to tutoring sinners on how to get into heaven. It comprises making clear “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27); for this age and that to come; as the Apostle Peter phrased it, “all that pertains to life and godliness” (2 Pet 1:3).

— Perhaps standing for office oneself?  At some juncture, men and women purposefully committed to godliness must step into strategic leadership roles if a society is to operate according to God’s design. In demand right now? Twenty-first century versions of problem-solving Joseph in Egypt, Daniel serving in Nebuchadnezzar’s court, Esther, Mordecai, Nehemiah functioning in high places. 

Make no mistake,  the “salt-and-light” mandate will require stepping out of what many would  call their “comfort zone”.  It can get challenging, costly — even a little scary?

Some twenty years ago I was sitting in a local Dunkin’ Donuts when swept in one of our then-Congressmen who was running for re-election. He was a Republican, but a social liberal — in today’s argot, a consummate “RINO” squish. I wincingly remember feeling God’s searaching, “Well-waddya-gonna-do?” gaze boring into the back of my skull. 

Contrary to my bluff and opinionated personality, I’ve never relished personal confrontation. But that coffee-shop moment was my hands-on opportunity to be “salt and light” to someone whose decisions could potentially make a real difference. So, lump in my throat, I approached him and politely let him know he couldn’t count on my support — and why. 

I suppose I passed that test. Of course, there’ll be many others — for me, for every believer, for the church corporately. The Judge of the Universe has his eyes fixed on us all and He’s asking, “I’ve put America in your hands — what will you do with her?” We’ll provide an acceptable answer to that question now — or answer for failing to do so on that day we stand before Him. 

**Emphases in Scripture references added.

Image Courtesy of: http://www.flickr.com/photos/alonsoinostrosa/3330133274/

Steve Pauwels is pastor of Church of the King, Londonderry, NH and host of Striker Radio with Steve Pauwels on the Red State Talk Radio Network. He's also husband to the lovely Maureen and proud father of three fine sons: Mike, Sam and Jake.