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[Nigel Hannaford] As it fights the same old challenges, church must remember Who wins in the end

Opinion
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Nations once considered free, democratic and Christian, are walking away from God.

VIDEO: [Business Insider] Animated map shows how Christianity spread around the world over the past 2,000 years. [Aug. 14, 2015]


Digital technology now enables governments to know – if they wish – far more about us, and know it more easily, than ever the most oppressive twentieth century police states could.

And the church in our supposedly Christian countries?

Some say church leadership is part of the problem.

That may be so. But, so is a lot of church membership.

Leaders: Last week, TheChristians.com featured an article about the tepid response of Christian pastors as they yield ground in the spiritual battles of our age.

“Over the last few decades, Americans have seen the destruction of the institution of marriage between a man and a woman, the removal of God’s Word in several areas and the blatant murdering of millions of babies,” wrote California pastor Shane Idleman. “This is an indictment against America, and the pulpit is partially responsible – our silence speaks volumes.”

Idleman is not a lone voice. A quick internet scan will turn up plenty of blame for pastors who are as Idleman puts it, “exchanging truth for passivity, boldness for cowardliness, and conviction for comfort; they are not aflame with righteousness…. (what’s needed is) “more men filled with the Spirit of God.”

Sadly, what Idleman says about America today is all too true north of the border.

Indeed, in relegating God to the servants’ quarters, we have gone further than our American cousins. In most of the U.S., euthanasia remains illegal: In Canada since 2015, it’s been a Charter right.

Anyone who remembers Canada from fifty years ago, knows that things have changed here beyond recognition.

Meanwhile, in both our countries, the same old spirit of antichrist that undermined the ancient nation of Israel – focused largely although not exclusively on sexuality and human sacrifice – has gained the upper hand over the consensus that prevailed in our years of national formation.

That is to say, in 1776 and 1867 people may not all have obeyed the Ten Commandments. For the most part however, they accepted them.

Today, many Christians seem confused. This is especially so regarding sexuality and marriage but to some degree also on abortion – if performed for a supposedly ‘good’ reason: Rape, incest or to get rid of a less-than-perfect baby.

Here is the confusion. Who would not unhesitatingly condemn any person who today proposed to sacrifice a child to a pagan idol as was done in ancient Israel… And intervene to prevent the horror and the suffering and the consummate cruelty?

Yet in our ‘enlightened’ age, in the nation’s hospitals and abortion clinics, Canadians countenance every year 100,000 sacrifices to the idol of ‘choice.’

It’s the same thing. Either way a child dies. (Horribly.) All that differs is the robes worn by those officiating, and the narrative we tell ourselves to justify the unconscionable.

That’s the confusion that happens when people turn away from God and try to figure out right and wrong for themselves.

Pastors don’t have to wear the blame for that.

It gets worse. These things once were government policy, and so they continue today.

The sacrifice of infants to Moloch referenced in 2 Chronicles 28 was the initiative of Ahaz and Manasseh, kings of Judah. In other words, the government of the day.

These human sacrifices included their own children, probably in the belief that it would be good for crops and fertility, as was the case with the pagan nations among which the kingdoms of Israel and Judah were situated. (In those days, it certainly wouldn’t have been for the sake of a woman’s right to control her own body.)

Whatever the reason, manifestly there was a strong enough lobby that thought it was a good idea, that it was done.

Today in the U.S.? Several states, including bellwethers New York and Virginia, have passed or about to pass legislation permitting abortion to the moment of birth. Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia, a medical doctor, last week appeared to countenance infanticide, when he spoke of allowing babies who survived abortion to die, as long as they were ‘made comfortable.’

Meanwhile in Canada, the leader of the government party will not sign the nomination papers for a candidate who will not support abortion on demand. And, there is a powerful voting bloc that’s pleased about that, too.

When our government smiles upon the death of our children, we cannot expect that God will long keep our land ‘glorious and free.’

How did Christians let this happen?

Is the problem really weak leadership?

Yes, but not just.

It’s also some of the people in the pews. We are encouraged to be alert to the signs of the times, but not to keep our heads down and hope to be raptured before the tribulation starts.

Many pastors will tell you to stay out of public life, as well as folks who would be just as happy if Christians did keep quiet. Too many Christians, receive that message too readily.

For it doesn’t sound like anything Jesus said.

He, after all, has already won the battle and His last words to the disciples were to go make disciples of all nations.

His children therefore, are to be about the work of His kingdom.

We are to be engaged with the society in which we live, to share the hope that we have and to proclaim the gospel. We are not to live in despair, dreading the triumph of evil. We are to work in the spirit of our victory-seeking forebears who over the centuries relieved the poor, set up schools and hospitals, freed the slaves and won justice for the truly downtrodden.

We are to work for victory. And although we are also to expect suffering and persecution, we are also to expect that victory.

The times may indeed be troubling.

Some pastors may indeed be weak.

But, too many Christians have said too little, for too long. While none of us are responsible for the state of the world, we certainly are responsible for speaking into it and this we need to do.

Ours was never a church that was resigned to defeat… The bunker mentality that’s common today, is an aberration and a fruit of abundance and an unwillingness to risk all for God. We have not been ordered to set up and defend a rearguard.

We need to encourage our pastors.

We need to be salt in the political world if necessary, and stand by those who have received that calling. It is harder work than you can possibly imagine.

We must be brave wisely as we go forward.

And above all, remember always Who it is who wins in the end.

As Editor of thechristians.com I hope in the years to come, to provide you with facts and arguments that will help you in that effort.

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