Posts Tagged ‘Church in America’

Whom Do We Serve?

May 23, 2020

James F. Gauss, Ph.D.

May 22, 2020

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.  Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.

Romans 13:1-2

There you have it: “Submit to the governing authorities.” Our excuse not to be bold and courageous and to be submissive to secular rule. I am tired of this scripture being thrown in the faces of Christians every time Christian leadership is too hesitant to do what God commands them to do.

This admonition by Paul to the new Christians in Rome has nothing to do with the church submitting to ungodly authority. It is an instruction for individuals to be good citizens and follow just laws.

Regardless of your own interpretation of Paul’s words, my question to pastors as one of Christ’s shepherds is: Who is the head of your church? Christ or the government? You know the answer, so I will refrain from providing it.

As a World War II baby I grew up in segregated America. Although we lived in a multi-racial, multi-ethnic rural neighborhood in the northeast of the nation, I was pretty much oblivious to racial injustice. That all changed with a rude awakening when I decided to attend college in the deep south in 1960. As a friendly, naïve northerner, my inclination was to make friends with anyone, no matter what their station in life or skin color. That got me in trouble real quick. Hold on, there’s a point to this diversion.

The school was, of course, lily white and mostly born and bred southerners. All the menial jobs on campus and elsewhere were performed by black men and women who were paid a token 50-cents per hour (minimum wage was $1.00). I cringed at the way I saw my fellow southern students treat the black workers. They were repeatedly offensive, disrespectful and always playing pranks on these hard working people. Partly as a result, I befriended a number of the workers. Largely to let them know that not everyone thought ill of them or saw them as subhuman, not deserving of respect. And, I paid a small price, as southern students in my dorm pulled pranks on me to show their displeasure. However, that did not deter me, and I showed the same respect to blacks off campus too.

I write this, not to elevate myself, but to illustrate a forthcoming point. This was the “civil rights” era of Martin Luther King, Jr., Medgar Evers and many more black and white civil rights leaders. They emerged from their churches to fight for justice for all under the U.S. Constitution. During the spring semester of my freshman year, a young black man from South Carolina, Harvey Gantt (look him up), wanted to attend my school’s acclaimed architectural school. At the time, I was taking a class on U.S. government. One day the professor stood before the class and proclaimed, that if this “nigger” tried to integrate the school, they would lynch him. Needless to say, it was the only course I ever failed, because I withdrew the next day.

There are many stories I could share, but my point is this: Where would America and black Americans be today, if pastors and Christians, continued to obey the segregated “law” of the South and ignored the unjust treatment of fellow Americans and brothers and sisters in Christ? For Freedom Fighters of that era, there was no question, no hesitation for them, “on what would Jesus do?” Jesus would defy unjust authority, just like He did with the Pharisees who sought to kill Him.

How many followers of Christ were persecuted, tortured and brutally killed during the first century of the Church because they refused to submit to the authorities? Despite the constant threats from multiple sources they continued to meet, pray corporately and preach the Gospel and minister to the saints of Christ.

Throughout the centuries, hundreds of millions of Christ followers have lost their lives because they refused to deny Christ or stop practicing their faith. Fast forward to today. Around the world, in such oppressive environments as China, SE Asia, Iran, the Middle East, parts of Africa and elsewhere, bold and courageous warriors for Christ daily defy the powers to be and risk their lives to meet, pray, worship, testify, break bread, study God’s word, etc.

What can we say; what can you say to these brothers and sisters in Christ who risk everything for the cause of Christ, while we humbly submit to our local and state “lord and masters?” Pastors and congregants, who controls your church? The government or Christ and His body of believers?

Yes, I get all the health concerns of this “pandemic.” I also know that it now has been proven that it was grossly overblown. There was absolutely no need to shut down America’s economy and certainly no need to shutter our churches. Yes, I know, the church is not the building, I fully understand that. This whole mess, as far as I’m concerned, shows just how weak the church is in America. The church has always had the ability and willingness to take care of its own, including the infirm and needy. It does not need the permission or instructions from the state or other “authorities.” I would submit that each church and each pastor knows how to protect and minister to their vulnerable members without the dictates from the state.

Think about it, pastors. What will you do next time, you are told to shut down your church? And, there will be a next time. After all, the authorities found out just how easy it was to scare you into submission. What stand will you take and with whom will you stand? As a reminder, the church is to be God’s “salt” and “light” under any conditions, and at all times. It is to show the way, not be told which way to go by godless authority. Before COVID-19, other than for weather related reasons, when was the last time you shuttered your church because somebody told you to? When will be the next time?

What if, instead of fully closing down, non-vulnerable and willing church members came together in corporate prayer and fasting, confessing their sins and the sins of the country, repenting and calling upon God’s mercy and seeking His intervention on behalf of their loved ones and the country. Would we be in a different and better place today? Yes, I know thousands of Christians were doing that on their own, but the power of the corporate prayer of the Body of Christ cannot be understated. This would have been an excellent time for churches across America to have been praying for much needed revival throughout our nation.

And He called the twelve to Himself, and began to send them out two by two,

and gave them power over unclean spirits.

Mark 6:7

America in Crisis

September 28, 2014

At the beginning of America’s Revolutionary War with England, a new Englishman immigrant to the American colonies, Thomas Paine, began to write a series of 16 articles on The American Crisis.  Prior to arriving in Philadelphia on November 30, 1774, Paine had never visited the New World called America.  However, he quickly became a staunch ally of the colonists in their quest for independence from the British crown.

In his first article, published on December 23, 1776, he started with the now famous line: These are the times that try men’s souls. He followed that with, The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.

The fledgling country of America was in deep trouble.  Suffering under the oppressive and tyrannical rule of England, the majority of colonists felt they had no choice but to fight against King George III and his military might for their freedom.  While their heart and spirit was resolute, the young, developing nation faced daunting, if not impossible issues.  Leadership in the country was not completely unified and was still evolving and maturing.  The military was practically non-existent, made up of a rag-tag bunch of farmers and merchants and was seriously out-gunned and unprepared to go up against the superior forces of the British regulars and Hessian (German) mercenaries.  America’s military leadership was unproven and Congress had to “settle” on young George Washington who had never won a military campaign.  America had no navy to go up against the best navy in the world at the time.  The financial condition of the country was poor, with little or no central financial resources to finance the huge and costly undertaking.  By all observations and assessments, America was doomed to failure in this often ill-advised venture called “independence”.

Once again, America stands emerged in a crisis, a crisis like no other and no less to its survival than that of the American Revolution.  Only this time America is dealing with a multitude of crises from within as well as from outside.  At the heart of America’s crises is inept and unwilling leadership, both in politics and the church—past and present.

Some say that what America needs is another “revolution” to restore its fundamental foundations and greatness.  Even Thomas Jefferson believed that, The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure (Thomas Jefferson’s letter to William Stephens Smith on November 13, 1787).  Whether a true revolution will be needed in America, time will tell, but time is getting short.

The United States of America has been on the slippery slope of decay for many decades.  However, the acceleration of the decline has intensified over the last six years—yes, during the Obama administration.

Morally.  America is morally bankrupt.  Her moral decay started long ago but has accelerated at warp speed under a president who strongly opposes “traditional” marriage and has become a forceful advocate for perverted sexual unions.  America is now the largest exporter of online pornography in the world, dispensing 60 percent or 428 million pages of perversion, with 66 percent coming from one state, California.  In the latest survey, 48 percent of America’s “first-born” children are born outside of a marriage union.  Since the passage of Roe vs. Wade abortion legislation in 1973, America has willfully killed over 56 million potential citizens and exported this heinous crime worldwide.  For more information, see these two links, here and here.

Financially.  America’s national debt is unsustainable and approaching $18 trillion with around $125 trillion in “unfunded” liabilities.  Obama and his Federal Reserve method of dealing with this has been to pack on another nearly $10 trillion during his six years in office with trillions more to come before he leaves office and tens of trillions more after he is long gone. Under Obama, America’s “debt to government revenue” has soared to 656%, the highest in the world.  Compare that to near bankrupt Greece which had a debt to government revenue of 351%, while the average for all 27 Eurozone countries was 40%.  See this link here for more information.

Economically.  Instead of trying to cut the deficit, Obama authorized the Fed to print money at the rate of $85 billion/month.  Obama’s economic policies have been and will continue to be proven to be disastrous.   While the stock market has mushroomed due to all the easy money printed by the Fed, middle-class families are falling behind financially and the ranks of the poor and those on the government dole have skyrocketed.   America’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth from 2008-2012 was one of the lowest in the Western Hemisphere.  Full time, family supporting jobs have evaporated with millions of new college graduates working at low wage jobs or not working at all in their chosen field of study.  For more information, see this link here.

Militarily.   Since taking office in early 2009, President Obama has been intent on deconstructing the U.S. military, downsizing and weakening it at a time when America’s traditional and surging new adversaries are growing and strengthening.  During his tenure, America has been overtly threatened by North Korea, China, Russia, Iran and an ever-growing array of Islamic terrorist groups and armies.  Yet, he has the audacity to proclaim that under his administration the world has never been safer.  Over two hundred high ranking military leaders have been fired by Obama and another 500 or more career officers have received “pink slips”.  Under his “command” the military has not only been severely weakened but has become demoralized and seriously unprepared for major battle.  For more information, see this link here.

Politically.   Unfortunately, at a time when America needs a strong leader of unprecedented character, it has a two-term self-absorbed, narcissistic leader who cannot and will not lead—but will never turn down an opportunity to golf, vacation or fund raise at the expense of the taxpayer.  Obama is a leader who refuses to listen to his military advisors or any other advisors unless they agree with his destructive, socialistic and tyrannical policies.  He is one who has been the most divisive and constitutionally defying leaders the country has ever had; flaunting and abusing the rule of law anywhere he is allowed.  He refuses to secure America’s borders and has freely invited illegals into the country along with assorted criminals, drug lords and terrorists.  His democratic cohorts and assorted “czars” have wrecked havoc with America’s judicial system and laws, creating one unresolved scandal after another—anyone of which would have led to the impeachment of previous presidents.  See this link here for more information.

Spiritually. (chap 19 link)  The Judeo-Christian faith has been under relentless attack in America for many decades, partly because the church in America has grown weak, worldly and complacent.  Because of the addiction to “tax exempt” status, the majority of churches and their leaders would rather preach the gospel of compliance than the Gospel of God’s truth and righteousness.  Under the current administration the attacks on free speech and religious freedom have accelerated at a time when atheists and an assortment of “rights” groups have successfully denied the Judeo-Christian community of faith their God-given rights.  For more information, see this link here. 

America’s people who believe in God have one choice and one choice only when it comes to redeeming their lives, their family and their nation—they must turn from their wicked ways, repent and return to God.  Non-believers will scoff at this, convinced that they have the answers to America’s problems, but will only take the country further into the abyss.   “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).

America stands at the proverbial fork in the road and once again she must chose whether to follow the heathen, Baal or God.  But “a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom,” warned John Adams in a letter to his wife, Abigail, on July 17, 1775, “can never be restored.  Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.” (From Revelation 18 and the fate of America, p. 354).

Prayer for Revolution

For more information and understanding of where America has been, is currently and where it is headed, read Revelation 18 and the fate of AmericaYou might also want to read Islam & Christianity: A Revealing Contrast and We the People: Birth of a Nation.