Dateline: 24 April 2008
As I see it, a properly lived life is one in which Jesus Christ is acknowledged as sovereign Lord, wisdom and righteousness are pursued with humility, love and forgiveness are manifested, and the Bible is looked to as the first and final authority on all matters.
In “theory” such a statement would probably be accepted by most modern Christians. But, in practice, many who consider themselves Christians do not really believe all of that.
People who actually do believe what I stated in my second paragraph, and then act on their beliefs, are looked upon by other so-called Christians, and the predominant antichrist culture, as simpletons and fools at best, or dangerous threats to “freedom” at worst.
I know this from casual conversations about current events and religious subjects that I’ve been a part of with small groups of co-workers over the past eight years. When I voice my opinions in such groups, based on my Biblical worldview, the response ranges from dead silence, to laughter, to outright anger. People are astonished that I am so narrow-minded.
Though there are other men in the room who would categorize themselves as Christian (based, I suppose on a childhood church experience or occasional adult church attendance), not one of them actually accepts God’s word as total authority.
To speak up as a committed Christian believer in a group of worldly unbelievers about matters of morality (i.e., abortion) or religion (i.e., the inerrancy of the Bible), or any number of social issues, is an invitation to be verbally stoned by the crowd. Or maybe it is akin to Daniel in the lion’s den. Whatever the case, if you have been there, you know what I mean. It can be a real eye-opener. There is a lot of hostility in this nation towards any kind of Christianity that truly believes what Christianity teaches.
I am, by God’s grace, secure enough in my faith that I can handle the verbal slings and arrows. It is, after all, to be expected. But, frankly, there are times when I am astonished at what some people believe and defend. After numerous instances where I have been the lone crazy Christian, totally out of step with the mainstream opinion, I started to consider the biblical admonition about throwing pearls before swine.
Such confrontations of theological antithesis—man-centered theology vs Christ-centered theology—underscore something I do not like to think about, but which I nevertheless do think about...
My country is not at all what it once was.
Any honest examination of early American history will clearly reveal that America was founded on Biblical principles by people who held a Christian worldview. In other words, we were a Christian nation. That’s one of those statements that will get a group of unbelievers agitated (I know this from experience). But it is true. The preponderance of evidence is overwhelming.
Not all people who lived here in the founding years were Christians. But within the culture at large, the Bible was accepted and honored as a reliable standard of truth. And God’s law was accepted as a just foundation for American jurisprudence, even by the few founders who were not devoted Christians.
We were not a Baptist, or Methodist, or Episcopal, or Unitarian, or Presbyterian nation (though Presbyterianism was a powerful force). We were a monotheistic Christian nation. We were not a Muslim, or Hindu, or Buddhist, or Jewish, or Wiccan, or even a secular humanist nation. We were a Christian nation.
But that is no longer the case. Now we are a post-Christian nation. Christianity is acceptable as long as it doesn’t get in the way. Christians are okay as long as they conform, as long as they fall into step with the new polytheistic, secularized America.
And, thus, we who call ourselves Christians and live out our beliefs, have become strangers in a foreign land.
It is worth noting that he decline of Biblical worldview and of effective Christian witness, along with the rise of Christ-denying secularization, has paralleled the decline of agrarianism and the rise of corporate-industrial urbanization. Christian America is a thing of the past. Agrarian America is a thing of the past. This is no coincidence.
Christianity has always blossomed within the agrarian paradigm
”Where Christianity has existed in an agrarian culture, it has thrived and produced ample fruit. Where it has existed nominally in a non-agrarian culture it has proved to produce no fruit at all except apostasy. Examples abound. Christianity was born “outside the camp” in the rural areas of Israel and it found its greatest movement and growth once it scattered out of urban Jerusalem after the stoning of Stephen. It has been hunted down and persecuted by the great harlot city of Rome, while it thrived in the valleys and mountains of the Alps. It found Reformation in Germany, Switzerland, England, and Scotland only to suffocate again when it became the state religion in the great cities of those lands. It fled Europe for the wilds of Puritan America and thrived in the fertile soils of the New World, only to be choked out once again by the stony ground of northern industrialism and the growing urban state. Christianity is not just theology, and the sooner we realize and accept that, the faster we will grow into maturity.”
(excerpted from the essay, Towards a Biblical/Agrarian Culture by Michael Bunker)
As America has “freed” itself from the influences of Christianity and God’s Laws, we have become more and more like a ship with no anchor and no rudder. The map by which we can judge where we are and where we need to go has been discarded. We are adrift.
But those who run the ship assure us everything will be okay. After all, we are technologically advanced, and our scientific experts will solve the most pressing problems—just in time. Our financial experts will intervene and prevent any serious problems. Prosperity is our birthright. Our military is superior to any other. We are unbeatable. Our bloated and “benevolent” government will not only protect us from all enemies, foreign and domestic, it will also provide for We its subjects in our times of need. After all, that is part of what government is supposed to do, or so Americans have come to believe.
The “benevolence” of America extends to the entire world. We “bless” the nations of the world with our largesse. Yet we stick our noses into the affairs of other countries and we position our military forces in so many nations of the world. Most of the world hates us for it, and I don’t blame them.
We “The Haughty Empire” are a shining example of what every other nation can be if they embrace our ungodly way of life...
If the rest of the world would follow our example, they could be well-educated and materially successful heathens too. They could have WalMarts and McDonalds too. They would be able to buy more and more unnecessary stuff too. They could have big screen televisions and fancy cars too. They could have all the feculent trappings of an “advanced” civilization that has lost its bearings.
Like Esau, who squandered his birthright for a mess of pottage, America has squandered its rich and wise Christian heritage for a warped understanding of what freedom is, and what prosperity should be.
Let there be no mistake: the great ship of The Haughty Empire is doomed. Even now, deep in the bowels of the vessel, the engineers are worried. The engines are faltering. Cracks are forming in the hull. A storm is on the horizon.
No nation can turn its back on God, ignore His laws, and continue to enjoy His blessings of prosperity, safety, and peace. No nation can exalt itself against Him and survive. None. When a once-godly people depart from paths of righteousness, God will judge. And His judgment is not coming someday. It is happening now. America is in decline. The handwriting is on the wall.
But, thankfully, there is hope.
The hope isn’t that America as it is will survive and thrive for centuries to come. That option is out of the question for anyone who sees and understands the reality of who God is and how He has dealt with rebellious nations throughout history.
Rather, hope lies, first, within individuals—within those people who fear God, who understand that He is holy and they are not. Hope lies within people who understand they can never on their own meet God’s standards of righteousness and who understand that they are sinners, and who, then, by faith, embrace God’s gift of redemption and salvation through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Hope lies within those who repent (turn away) from their sins.
The holiness of God, the sinfulness of mankind, the shed blood of Christ, and repentance are unpopular topics with the masses of modern heathen Americans. And, sadly, such things are unpopular with many who call themselves Christians. They are more concerned with reality television programs, or Hollywood stars, or politics, or the stock market, or sports, or _________ (fill in the blank).
But when an individual seeks righteousness and finds it in Christ, then there is peace. There is also an eternal hope that, regardless of outward circumstances, can not be taken away. That has been my experience. That is what I know. And let me be perfectly clear here: this unearned grace, this unwarranted mercy, this unmerited salvation is available to all.
That is the beginning of hope. Even in the midst of God’s judgment, such hope can and will sustain those who trust in it. But there is another possibility for hope in the midst of judgment. It is a fresh cultural hope for the future. It is a vision for restoration of Christian culture in America.
This vision, this hope, begins first with the awareness that modern Christianity and modern Christians are too much like the ungodly culture they live in.
Far too many modern Christians have the same career-oriented, mammon-grubbing focus as the ungodly. Far too many modern Christian men are as self-absorbed and irresponsible as the ungodly. Far too many modern Christians willingly enslave themselves to the ungodly bondage of monetary debt. Far too many modern Christians immerse themselves in ungodly forms of entertainment and amusements. Far too many modern Christians give their children to the secular education system for indoctrination. Far too many Christian women willingly choose a secular job—choose to be the helpmeet of men other than their husbands—choose to put their children in daycare. I could go on. In short, there is precious little difference between modern Christians and modern heathens.
And to make matters worse, far too many modern Christians are almost totally dependent on a world system that acts contrary to God’s laws and that hates what Christianity believes.
Christianity in the midst of secular, industrialized civilization has compromised and blended with the materialistic aspirations and vain imaginings of the ungodly culture to such an extent that it has emasculated itself. Modern Christians are not a peculiar people. The salt of modern Christianity has lost its savor.
Scripture makes it perfectly clear that Christians are not to be partakers of the ungodly world system:
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing;..."II Corinthians 6:17
For a new hope to rise in the midst of judgment, this awareness I speak of must permeate the thinking of all Christians who take their faith seriously. And when the awareness becomes clear, the question arises: How then should God’s people live in the midst of the “foreign land” they now find themselves in?
Well, the simple answer to that question might well be to look at how the secular world lives, and do the exact opposite. Look at what the ungodly value most, and reject it.
As I see it, the only way for this to happen is to return to the old path of Christian agrarianism.
Christian agrarianism is a vibrant and radical antithesis.
I have written of the Christian agrarian worldview here before. I invite you to read some past essays in the archive section of this blog. I have written of Christian agrarianism in the book, Writings of a Deliberate Agrarian. There are other Christian men who are blogging about this quiet but profound movement of the Lord (links to some are on the sidebar at right).
Many Christians will not agree with my conclusions here. Some may not totally understand what I’m saying. Some are comfortable with the status quo. A few will want to argue. That is to be expected.
My objective is not to say you must think as I do, or to declare that all Christians should act a certain way or go to a certain church. And my desire is not to argue.
My only intention with this essay, and others like it, is to declare that wisdom and hope for the future can be found in the old paths of righteousness and the old paradigms for living the Christian life.
The vision is long term. But the time is short.