THE TEARS WERE NOT EXPECTED

Late last night, I was overcome with grief. The tears were not expected.

It is impossible to digest properly all that happened yesterday. As I write in my forthcoming book Stuck in the Present, we need the longer view of history for that, so I am heeding my own counsel.

Over the years, I have heard warnings to not take the American experiment in democracy for granted. It is sturdy in one sense, but still fragile. I remember hearing that each generation of Americans must commit to it. I thought it was good to issue such a warning but was never too worried. No longer.

Have things been this bad before in America? An argument can certainly be made for that and the antebellum period is the one historians typically mention.

Are our cluster of present problems unique to the more modern period of American history? Again, I think the 1960s offers another example of serious strife and deep division.

My deepest sadness, however, is not over our country’s present chaos and strife.

My deepest sadness is over the state of the Christian faith in America.

For many decades I have witnessed Christians who are apathetic about knowing God’s Word, loving one’s enemies, an unwillingness to suffer for Christ in the most modest of ways, prayerlessness, and much more. 

Most Christians are poorly prepared for times of crisis. We love the church programs that meet our insatiable desires. We adore our celebrity pastors. We are biblically and historically illiterate, but more than willing to offer our superficial opinions on the most vexing issues of the day.  

This sad state of affairs is due to a lack of making long-term discipleship and serious grounding in the Christian faith our priorities. These simply do not take place in many churches (or parachurches for that matter). We have sown the wind and are reaping the whirlwind. We should not be surprised where we find ourselves.

Things are not going to be any better by avoiding these realities. Things also might not be any better if we face these realities but at least we will have been faithful.

I pray for God’s mercy, but I do not find myself too sanguine. My lack of “optimism” is not because the culture is so bad. Rather, it is because many of us Americans claiming the name of Christ have become dull of hearing.

God’s Word makes it clear that Christians can lose their influence (Mt. 5:13; Rev. 2:4,5). We are kidding ourselves if we think this is not happening right now.

All of us who claim the name of Christ need to ponder and consider Peter’s dire warning:

Indeed, none of you should suffer as a murderer or thief or wrongdoer, or even as a meddler. But if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but glorify God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who disobey the gospel of God?… (I Peter 4:15-17)

I added this in the reply link, but will also add it here:

Again, to underscore the biggest point of the post: Yes, shock over the events of yesterday, but I am much more worried about the state of Christianity in America. And my concerns go way back before Trump or any other politician.

We must look at ourselves!

 

 

17 thoughts on “THE TEARS WERE NOT EXPECTED

  1. Jeannie Love

    Amen! I have had the same concern about the church–becoming a believer in Jesus in my late twenties and now that I am in my early seventies, I have seen first-hand, as you have, of the lack of thorough Biblical teaching; therefore, there are many who have attended weekly worship services and various activities and they “don’t know that they don’t know”…I appreciate your sharing your thoughts…deeply.

    Reply
  2. Gib Giblin

    Dave thanks – sad- people are afraid rather than turning in trust to Our Lord.

    There are good things happening too! We are working on houses that were flooded last year. Our goal is 80+ homes. We have completed 27. Many, many believers trusting God for the impact of their love and efforts. check out the work at https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipNrjCOy60qGigpKmBKROB-cilqI-bwxcWlfk26hVg4RriCKKrK82NAXzxJ0RwtKHw?key=RThzQWI1UjVMaWtXcGhpX0lrZVYtcnZHaU5vaDN3

    Reply
    1. Dave Post author

      Hi Gib,

      Yes, much good is taking place for sure. Like you, I know many faithful believers and am inspired by their witness.

      Reply
  3. Diann Marley

    Based on Ronald Reagan’s Inagural Address (1967), he captures the essence of the fickle Christian human mind and lackadaisical Christian attitude when he quotes, ” Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again.”

    Reply
    1. Dave Post author

      Yes, indeed. Now we need pastors and Christian leaders to remind us that our Christian witness can also be lost!

      Reply
  4. Chris

    Thanks for the post, Dave. I too am saddened to the point of despair because of the events of the last year (at least). One thing that constantly gets under my skin is this: educated people suggesting that the “great American experiment” was ever one in Democracy. It . . . was . . . not. There is a fundamental difference between a Democracy (mob rule) and a Republic. The fall of America began when, with educated people leading the way, we failed to see the difference and shifted from the latter to the former. (See the 17th Amendment)

    So the allegory goes, when asked by a bystander what the Founding Fathers had given us, Ben Franklin responded “a Republic (not a Democracy), Ma’am, if you can keep it.” Through Alinsky-esque public education, wholesale infiltration of the media, and mob-rule elections of every facet of the government, the grand experiment is now in the death-throes and, short of God’s intervention, can’t be saved.

    Now, indeed, our children and grand-children will reap the whirlwind of our own ignorance and suffer mightily for our sins.

    Blessings,
    Chris

    Reply
  5. Steve Carr

    I think we lose our credibility as Christians when at one point we say we are voting based on the person, and at the next moment, when the next person demonstrates a character and behavior far more egregious than the previous, we all of a sudden are voting for policies and against “socialism”, and apparently couldn’t care less about the person. Those watching do not look favorably on this type of hypocrisy. Yesterday’s events show just how important the person is!

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  6. Mike Field

    Thank you, Dave. I heartily agree.

    “Things are not going to be any better by avoiding these realities. Things also might not be any better if we face these realities but at least we will have been faithful.”

    Yesterday, I decided that although I lack a “pulpit” of someone like you, I can do my part by countering falsehoods, e.g., in blogs such as at Christian Post, as well as in dialogue with family and friends. “Things might not be any better” for such meager efforts, but I “will have been faithful.”

    “Without trust there is no trust. Without trust there is no democracy.” Ironically, this was said by one of the people in Congress trying to overturn the result of the 2020 election – John Kennedy (R-LA).

    Reply
  7. Dave Post author

    Again, to underscore the biggest point of the post: Yes, shock over the events of yesterday, but I am much more worried about the state of Christianity in America. And my concerns go way back before Trump or any other politician.

    We must look at ourselves!

    Reply
    1. Bob D.

      Yes. YES!! We probably should be mourning the increased velocity at which our American liberties are receding, but that pales in comparison to the significance of the loss we are experiencing as a church and Christian community. Gone are the study groups around the works of Francis Schaeffer, RC Sproul and others. Gone, indeed, are the study groups organized around serious Bible study skills. There is no ballast.

      Reply
  8. Brooke

    I too was overwhelmed with grief, not so much by the events at the Capital building, although the images are burned into my brain, but by the responses from believers before, during and after the events. I am grieved by the many who seem to have bought into the heresy of “Christian” nationalism. So many seem to believe that “America first” has Biblical grounding and that President Trump will lead us to the Promised Land. Where is the weeping for the lost and a commitment to live sacrificially to honour and please our Savior by loving our neighbours and even our enemies? Admittedly I often fall short in these ways. But how often are we being called by those in the pulpit to submit to the Lordship of Jesus and forsake our desire to live comfortable, “safe” lives?

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  9. mark daymon cotnam

    Christianity in America has been morphing into a strange chimera which, though based on Christian principals and an idealized idea of what America was supposed to be, is not very Biblically Christian nor anything like what the United States were supposed to be. Many of those fallacies were laid bare during these past four years. The United States of America is no shining beacon of liberty or freedom and hasn’t been since its inception. It was supposed to be. The founding fathers had great ideas, many based on Biblical principals, codified in an amazing document, the Constitution. But, instead of making those ideas a reality, they enslaved a race of human beings, slaughtered another race who had the misfortune of being in the land first and on and on. America’s split personality has been exposed like never before. What will we do about it?

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  10. David McCoy

    We Christians unfortunately must bear a large part of the responsibility for the events of the last few days. After the results of the 2014 election showed that an overwhelming majority of white evangelicals had supported Donald Trump, I wrongly assumed that the main reason was over the issue of abortion. Then the results of an exit poll were published in Christianity Today magazine. Abortion was roughly the tenth most important reason given by white evangelicals for their votes. The more important reasons could be summarized into two categories: greed and fear. If someone can point to biblical passages proving that these are proper driving forces for Christians’ actions, maybe I can understand my fellow believers’ motives better.

    Reply
  11. Jared Stallones

    Nicely done, Dave. I would add to the grief over that state of the Church our cowardice in leaning into our prophetic role in society, especially when it comes to political, social, and economic issues. If we cannot stand apart from our culture and view it critically, who can? If we do not, we are the salt that has lost its saltiness.

    Reply

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