Is America's Problem the Ballot Booth or the Pulpit?
- 2008 6 Nov
I was a little apprehensive about waking up on Wednesday morning. After all, America had willingly elected the most liberal president in our history. As I opened one eye, I turned to my wife who was slightly more awake than I was and said, “Well, honey, we just elected a proud socialist as president and the sun still came up!” I was being a little facetious—but only a little.
For months there will be endless and minute examinations of what went wrong in this election. Conservatives will find numerous targets of blame and there will be enough people thrown under the proverbial “bus” to keep the ride bumpy for a long, long time. All of that is proper and necessary. Indeed, something went terribly wrong in the election. While continuing to vote for the sanctity of marriage in several key contests, Americans elected a president who will enthusiastically undermine that sacred union. While waving American flags and singing the national anthem—they elected someone who will probably undermine the flag and freedoms our national anthem praises. But the sun still came up. While I am deeply concerned about the future of America under the leadership of an Obama administration, I am far more concerned about another institution.
A friend of mine reminded me recently of an extremely important Biblical principle. When studying the history of God’s people you cannot escape one glaring truth—God’s people often survived poor and even evil kings. Jump into your time machine and open the door at just about any time you desire and you will find God’s people under the rule of a less than desirable government. Israel endured one evil king after another. The early church not only endured but flourished under the rule of a totally pagan and corrupt Roman civil government. Of course there was suffering and sacrifice during those regimes but God’s people survived. Here is what they could not survive: weak preaching and weak preachers! Israel suffered but survived the bad kings, but they totally self-destructed when the prophets and preachers compromised their message.
In my regular readings, I recently came across again the warnings God issued to the “shepherds” of Israel in Ezekiel 34. God reserves some of the harshest language in scripture for His prophets who compromised the message He had given them. “Thus saith the Lord God; behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand…” (v.10). God dealt with the kings (“the king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord” Prov. 21:1) and put one up and put another down. God reserved his most severe criticism for the preachers of the day, the pulpit.
As this election is diced, sliced and dissected, don’t underestimate the role of America’s pulpits in the outcome. Within the last four years the “evangelical left” has risen meteorically to a place of influence and prominence. Where evangelicals were once known for principle and conviction, under the influence of Jim Wallis and other emergent leaders—the evangelical community succumbed to compromise and a sort of “justice” that no one can define.
Pulpits that once held high the banner of the gospel, standing strong for life and the family, started preaching equality and “common good”. The Kool-Aid of “Social-Justice” was dispensed freely from fountains installed in Evangelical churches across America. The result? Hundreds of thousands of evangelical Christians marched into voting booths and pulled the lever for increased abortions, homosexual unions, socialism, loss of religious freedom and Marxism because the pulpit told them that it was okay because in doing so they would be ending poverty, homelessness and AIDS—not to mention the end of racial division and the beginning of world peace! How could Christians be so easily deceived when it is abundantly clear that socialism has never delivered anything it has promised? Look no further than the pulpit.
America can survive a bad president. America cannot survive continued compromise in her pulpits. The solution to America’s greatest need is not in the next election—but in next Sunday’s sermon.
Bob Burney is Salem Communications’ award-winning host of “Bob Burney Live,” heard weekday afternoons on WRFD-AM 880 in Columbus, Ohio. Contact Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org.