This might be a hard pill to swallow for some, but we are now living in a post-Christian nation. For the better part of 50 years, America has been transitioning from that of broad-based, Judeo-Christian culture; to that of a neo-pagan/secular humanistic one.
She is no longer that “Shining city on a hill” because she is abandoning those principles that made her stand out amongst the nations. For the regular readers here, and for those who have a proper working knowledge of bible prophecy, this should come as no surprise.
The cultural slide began in earnest around the mid 1960s, right around the time the Beatles launched their “American Invasion” to the United States. The Beatles were huge, so much so, that John Lennon once stated that they (the Beatles) were more popular than Jesus Christ.
Shortly thereafter, they made a pilgrimage to India to meet the Mahareshi Mahesh Yogi and study advanced Transcendental Meditation. After their perspective stays, the newly Hinduized “Fab Four” began introducing Eastern Mysticism to the culture at large back here in the States.
While the Beatles are not solely to blame for cultural slide into paganism, their rise to fame and fortune came at exactly the right moment when drugs and free “love” were sweeping across the nation. America was embroiled (albeit the early stages) in a long, unpopular war.
The communist slogan “Make Love, Not War” was for all intents and purposes, the slogan of the decade, and placated the people’s desire to voice a protest against an already unpopular, and unnecessary war. As was noted back then by the iconic Bob Dylan…“The times, they are a “changing.”
What free love and psychedelic experiences was to the sixties, political correctness and political angst was to the seventies. In 1973, Roe v. Wadelegalized abortion on demand, and thus institutionalized the idea that a woman has the constitutional right, to murder her unborn child for any reason.
Again, political correctness was the main tool used to dehumanize the unborn from that of a thinking, feeling, growing human baby, to that of a non-feeling, and non-thinking gelatinous fetus. From then until now, we have tolerated the murders of over 50 million babies. A fact no one likes to bring to light, is that abortion is the number one cause of death in the United States.
What political angst and counter revolution was to the seventies, consumerism was to the eighties. Video killed the radio star and thus the MTV generation was born. Ridiculous movies, ridiculous music, and ridiculous trends were all the rage, and America seemed invulnerable and impervious to the growing storm brewing beyond her borders.
The first major sign of trouble, happened on “Black Monday” when reality-based economists began to note that we weren’t ten feet tall and bullet proof, and that if things didn’t change, we could be in a for more financial shocks down the road.
Consumerism was to the eighties, as counter-culture and the tech-rise was to the nineties. Culturally, the youth revolted against popular music to that of grunge and hardcore rap. Economically, the Internet was a new and wide open field that could either be capitalized on, or exploited…or both. The Berlin wall had fallen in 1989, the Soviet Union would collapse in December of 1991, and the U.S. seemingly lost its only major threat, overnight.
Three major events would shake our national confidence: Somalia, World Trade Center (1993), and the Oklahoma City bombing (Alfred P. Murrah Building) in 1995. The Y2K threat loomed large, but the tech boom was creating millionaires overnight so the fears were alleviated by a renewed sense of “good times.” Politically, Clintonian-partisan-cronyism was over the top in its grandiose corruption, and China was on the rise.
Since September 11, 2001, about the only thing that could be said of the 2000s, is that change is the only constant. We have been: technologically, politically, culturally, theologically on this fast-forward track of rapid advancements in how we live, what we watch, where we get our information, and so on. Politicians have perfected the art-form of the “flip-flop” in this age of instantaneous information.
The current regime has mandated a system of management by crisis (global warming, healthcare, guns, immigration, etc.), and has put to shame anything, any former administration had done before it in terms of spending, cronyism, political sloganeering, and dithering. Our last decade was also marked by our two longest military engagements on record. As those engagements have ended, and are ending, we are kind of back to a 1991 time frame when our enemy ceased to have a name and a face.
New threats, and even more daunting and perilous challenges face our nation, and these come in the form of potential pandemics, economic collapse, and terrorist splinter groups. Global warming became climate change. Former enemies turned allies, turned enemies, China and Russia, have risen from their political ashes like a phoenix with a giant chip on its shoulder.
Economically speaking, our financial system is sputtering and whining like a car going uphill and running on fumes. We live in an age of uncertainty and much anticipated calamity with a new global threat just a moment away from bringing the whole global house of cards down.
Jesus took his disciples on a 32 mile field trip up to the area of Caesarea Philippi, which was then THE hotbed of Greek and Roman paganism of the first century. Numerous niches were cut into the mountain face next to the “Gates of Hell” called the “rock of the gods”. Statues and shrines were present to Pan (half man-half goat fertility god), Caesar, Zeus, etc. were all within eyesight when Christ asked His disciples, two pivotal questions…
“…Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?
He said to them…“But who do you say that I am?”
Caesarea Philippi was not the place these Jewish disciples wanted to go, and coming from Galilee, they probably stuck out like backwoods hillbillies amongst the thriving and successful, and modern Gentile community there. Yet, Jesus took them there, and all in the midst of this demonically charged atmosphere, for seemingly only this conversation. They gave various answers (John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, a prophet), but it was to Peter’s response that He confirmed, then told them to remain silent about.
Furthermore, Christ did not evangelize there, performed no miracles there, but seemingly only wanted to present a powerful visual for them, in that pending their responses, in which He Himself would lay the foundation for this newfound creation known as the church.
“Simon Peter answered and said, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’ Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ” (Matt. 16:16-20).
Without the context of knowing what exactly the “Gates of Hell” were, we wouldn’t understand the meaning behind what Christ was actually saying. He was saying, that we aren’t meant to play defense, but offense. We are to take the gospel out to the lost and dying world, and show them the light of Christ.
Jesus wasn’t taking them there to show them how awful and decrepit the pagan Gentiles were, but to show them how lost they were, and how much they were in need of a Savior. It was thought that the Gates of Hell was were the gods entered and exited from, but Christ is saying, that the Gates of Hell would not prevail over His church.
Similarly, we live in a lost and dying world. Each decade seemingly worse than the one before it, and becoming increasingly paganized, and detached from the light of Christ. We aren’t called to simply exist here, or to blend in, but to stand out and declare that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God to people who are enshrouded in darkness, and doomed to an eternal hell.
As believers, we pray for those who hate us, for those who persecute us, who rail against the gospel, and who attack our message. We are to wage spiritual warfare (Eph.6:10) and meet the enemy where he is, not hide in our churches and hide ourselves from the world. We are to be “salt and light” to a world that is spiritually dead and blinded, and we can’t be a light if we are hiding it in a bunker or in the confines of your church building.
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled” (2 Corinthians 10:3-6).
The world is embracing and surrendering itself to the mystery of lawlessness (2 Thess. 2:7-11), and it is getting worse by the day. We can’t hide. We can’t hide our children from the evil that is spreading like a rot across the face of this earth. But we can arm them and ourselves with the knowledge of God through the Holy Spirit, and then declare war, and take the fight to the enemy. For our weapons are powerful, and our God, mighty to save. We see the end approaching, and we see the signs that point to the time known as the Tribulation is already being set.
But it is discouraging to turn on the news as of late. It is discouraging to hear so many who reject the gospel message because their hearts are hardened. I think this is just one of the side-effects of this mystery of lawlessness, in that men’s hearts now are in a process of being hardened. Much as in we see the process between Pharaoh and Moses, his heart began a hardening process, which at a certain point, could not be changed.
I know that it’s discouraging to see the remnant of believers growing smaller, while the luke-warm masses grow larger. The world, and America in particular, relish in the thought of embracing paganism, and secular humanism, as if it’s some new thing…all the while, casting off the ‘shackles’ of the Bible. But we aren’t told to shrink back from that, but like Stephen, be bold until the end, whatever end that may be…comes for us.
We will leave this planet either by death or by Rapture, and then we will step into eternity and forever be in the glorious presence of His light and love. Our lives should grow brighter like a candle in a room that is losing its light. The darker it becomes, the brighter we shine, and in our shining, we will certainly draw attention back to the One who saved us from destruction.
But we don’t shine because of anything we do, but because of who we represent, and in His righteousness, we force the darkness to shrink back from where we stand until that Day comes, and He calls us to come home to where He is. Even so, Amen!
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-26).