In our lifetime the term “separation of church and state” has been used in increasing measure to push God out of our public life. All of us are familiar with the battles over prayer in school and the Ten Commandments displayed in courthouses. Many other battles have been waged over the past 50 years and have grown in increasing measure.
Some Christians have even begun to embrace such views of separation. Consider, though, what J. C. Ryle, bishop of Liverpool, England, said in the late 1800s:
Scripture teaches plainly that God rules everything in this world, that He deals with nations as they deal with Him, that national prosperity and national decline are ordered by Him, and that without His blessing no nation can prosper. Whether men like to see it or not, I believe it is the first duty of a state to honor and recognize the true God. The sinews of a nation’s strength are truthfulness, honesty, sobriety, purity, temperance, economy, diligence, brotherly kindness, charity among its inhabitants. Let those deny this who dare. And will any man say that there is any surer way of producing these characteristics in a people than by encouraging and fostering and spreading and teaching pure scriptural Christianity. The man who says there is must be an infidel.
God is the originator and sustainer of individuals, families, and nations. We look around us now and see society in rebellion and sin, in ways our forefathers could never have imagined.
Whether by neglect or impotence, the church has been far too silent on such “political” issues. After all, we know better than to “mix religion and politics.”
Consider once again what Ryle wrote in expressing his burden for his beloved country:
In what manner God would punish England if English governments cast off all connection with religion; I cannot tell. Whether He would punish us by some sudden blow such as a defeat in war and the occupation of our territory by a foreign power, whether He would waste us away gradually and slowly by placing a worm at the root of our commercial prosperity, whether He would break us to pieces by letting fools rule over us and allowing parliaments to obey them and permitting us like the Midianites to destroy one another, whether He would ruin us by sending a dearth of wise statesmen in the upper ranks and giving the reins of power to communists, socialists, and mob leaders. All these are points which I have no prophetical eye to see, and I do not pretend to determine God’s sorest judgments, which the ancients said are like millstones, they grind very slowly, but they grind very fine. The thing I fear most for my country is gradual, insensible, dry rot and decay. But of one thing I am very sure, the state that begins by sowing the seed of national neglect of God will sooner or later reap a harvest of national disaster and national ruin.
Our great country and church may now well be reaping “a harvest of national disaster and national ruin.” There is a sense of this all across our nation. I have asked churches all across the U.S. if they believe we are under the judgment of God. I would estimate that 80 to 90% of every church I have polled said yes.
Now we must make the connection between our sin and rejection of God in society with the growing ruin we see around us. The only thing that can reverse such a huge problem and prepare us for the difficult days ahead is a general revival and spiritual awakening.
Rarely has God so moved where there were not individuals and churches seeking His face and crying out for His presence. May He continue to call His people to extraordinary prayer for revival and awakening. Join us!