American Christianity Needs a Reality Check and a Backbone
America is clearly in a Civil War — but it’s a battle of words, not weapons. We are divided, tired, frustrated, and fearful. Second Chronicles 15:5-7 seems eerily similar to our situation: “And in those times there was no peace … but great turmoil was on all the inhabitants of the lands.”
Twitter bans Trump but not the Taliban, Facebook “fake-checks” everything that goes against their narrative, YouTube removes opposing views and the majority of the media is owned by those hell-bent on destroying America.
The vaccine mandates are a power-play as New York and Los Angeles restrict and deny choice, unlike anything we’ve seen before. This week the City Council of Los Angeles approved an ordinance that requires proof of vaccination to enter indoor venues such as bars, restaurants, coffee shops, gyms, sporting venues, nail salons and other indoor businesses.
Public schools no longer focus on teaching. Instead, they only care about indoctrinating. Purity has been crushed and steamrolled as many public schools become incubation centers for false ideology and immorality.
There is Only One Solution
According to Barna, nearly 72% of churches don’t look to the Bible as their final source of authority and direction. No wonder America is crumbling from within — the foundation is deteriorating. Although we should be vocal and protest if need be, if we think that angry rants, mean posts and angry looks are going to set us free, we are gravely mistaken.
The reality is that there is only one solution and it has not changed for thousands of years. We must humble ourselves and cry out, “Lord, it is nothing for You to help, whether with many or with those who have no power; help us, O Lord our God, for we rest on You and in Your name we go against this multitude” (cf. 2 Chronicles 14:11).
Sadly, gun safes are full but prayer closets are empty — Costco carts overflow while fasting is rarely considered. We are angry but rarely meek. We are sarcastic and bombastic but rarely humble and broken. We love to quote the verse that offers hope, but we often don’t obey it: If My people humble themselves, pray, cry out, and repent of their sins I will hear and answer (cf. 2 Chronicles 7:14). We must wake up while the alarm clock is still ringing.
Where the Rubber Meets the Road
As I wrote in, Oh God, Would You Please Rip Open the Heavens,
Sadly, many of us (especially men) are too proud to cry out to God. They’ll cry out for entertainment, alcohol and lust to nourish them, but not God. As a result, they never experience a downpour of God’s Spirit.
When a downpour hits, it disrupts everything — our life, our agenda and our relationship with God are all affected at a very deep level. In the same way that sin in the nation of Israel blocked the blessings of God, sin prevents a downpour here as well — instead of open heavens the heavens are slammed shut.
Our lack of courage simply reflects our declining spiritual health. Boldness has a cost, and that cost involves dying to self and seeking God like never before, but the reward far outweighs the cost: “But you, be strong and do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded!” (2 Chronicles 15:7).
Game-changers, Not Just Cheerleaders
I recently quoted Pastor Jason Meyer who said this about today’s pastors, “Some of you are preaching for the absence of criticism rather than the presence of the Holy Spirit.” As much as I love motivation and encouragement, we also desperately need to hear the “voices crying in the wilderness.” As I’ve echoed time and time again, Pastors are not just motivational speakers. We are game-changers, and it’s crystal clear that most are not filled with the boldness of the Spirit.
Bold pastors are nearly extinct because it’s much easier to “play church” rather than challenge false narratives and false theology. The sin of silence from post-pandemic pastors forced me to look deeply and identify key marks of true end-times pastors. All of us should take spiritual inventory based on these scriptural truths.
- Is there deep humility within my heart? Many think that humility means always submitting to the government and not challenging anything, but that is not the definition of humility. Humility is married to boldness. “He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble His way” (Psalm 25:9 ESV).
- Am I balancing boldness with love? Boldness without love will be ineffective. This is why Leonard Ravenhill said that Jesus would weep before He whipped. Tears must precede boldness. Without love and a tender heart, boldness would be better defined as an angry rant. When we “speak the truth in love,” we all grow in Christian maturity (cf. Ephesians 4:15).
- Am I truthful and compassionate? The tendency today is to avoid the truth so we don’t offend others. However, as Oswald Chambers reminds us, “The words of the Lord hurt and offend until there is nothing left to hurt and offend.” The gospel hurts before it helps. It condemns before it releases. To remove everything that offends is to remove the very foundation of the gospel. Jesus was “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
- Am I passionately praying and spending significant time worshiping the Savior? “Without the heartbeat of prayer, the body of Christ will resemble a corpse. The church is dying on her feet because she is not living on her knees” (Al Whittinghill). This statement is so convicting it needs no further commentary.
Who thinks for you? God’s Word or social media? God’s Word or liberal authors? The Holy Spirit or the Hollywood Spirit? Are you so “woke” that you’re asleep to the things of God? Cowardliness remains silent and leaves the battle for our children. That’s a price I’m not willing to pay. Are you?
Special Note: I started a YouTube channel filled with encouraging sermons and podcasts to help in this area of boldness, love, and humility. You can subscribe here.
Shane Idleman is the founder and lead pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship in Southern California and the creator of the WCF Radio Network. His program, Regaining Lost Ground, points us back to God and reminds us that although times change, truth does not. His books, blogs, and sermons can all be found at ShaneIdleman.com.