|Bruce K. Waltke [born August 30, 1930] is acknowledged as one of the outstanding contemporary Old Testament scholars on the wisdom literature of the Old Testament. His latest book, Proverbs: A Shorter Commentary1, is an abridged and revised version of his masterful two-volume Proverbs Commentary published by The New International Commentary on the Old Testament in 2004.
It was Dr. Waltke’s Palm Sunday sermon that caught our attention. “It seems to me,” he said, “the Church is heading into persecution and we need to be nerved for that persecution. I have lived long enough to see American culture turned on its head.”
There is no neutrality about religion; to believe in God or not to believe in God, both are a religious belief. Including the Bible in public education, as per America’s Founders, was a religious decision, just as 8 secular Warren Court liberals made religious rulings by deciding to ban prayer and Bible reading in 1962 and 1963.
Over the last century, as American Christendom deserted the public square, Christians essentially turned civil government and “the making, enforcement, and adjudication of laws over to Satan and to those who serve him.”2
From a Biblical perspective, present-day America is an unmitigated disaster, brought about by secularism’s toxic ideology infiltrating the culture through newsrooms, public education, professional sports, arts and entertainment, diversity-centered government, and Fortune 500’s latest flight of fancy that “profit is secondary to diversity.”
This is guaranteed not to end well, in particular because American Christendom, over the last 100 years, has hidden her light under the bushel and behind the four walls of the church building.
The Church’s recent model of butts, budgets, and buildings is opposite to Jesus’ Kingdom assignment to His disciples in Matthew 16:18, where it says that His ekklesia was to be positioned in the rough and tumble of the public square. Consequently, freedom is now in peril as secularists have altered the values, views, politics, and laws of the people of the United States.3
Where do we go from here?
Since politics is downstream from culture, Christians must move Jesus’ ekklesia into the culture. The time for measuring the temperature of American Christendom by market research firms polling, studying and reporting on religious beliefs and behavior of American Christians in all likeliness has passed.
If we are to make it through, Christians must now start influencing the temperature by entering the public square in order to regulate the spiritual climate all over America.
First of all, pastor-led prayer must be reestablished in America’s churches, and secondly, pastors, ministry leaders, and congregants need to campaign and get elected to state, regional, county, municipal, district, and judicial offices across America. All this in keeping with the Kingdom assignment to “occupy until I come,” as Jesus instructs in Luke 19:13.
The spiritual battle to retake the cultural mountains of influence shall be like having a tiger by the tail. By entering the public square, Rahabs and Gideons can demonstrate their love of Christ and their resistance to the destructive plague devastating America. In the words of A.W. Tozer, they would bear witness of their love for “Christ and the souls of men to the point of willingness to die for the glory of the One and the salvation of the other. But they will fear nothing that breathes with mortal breath.”
This brings us to Angola State Prison in Louisiana, which provides the model for the way out.
Once the most dangerous place in America, Angola averaged 40 killings per year inside the prison. But a transformation took place that caused inmate violence to be reduced by 80%. What caused the bloodiest and most violent prison in America to transform is something of a providential miracle.
It came about due to a shift in the religious arena. The new, incoming warden opened a branch of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary inside Angola Prison. Prisoners came to Christ, graduated with advanced degrees in Hebrew and Greek, and began pastoring His sheep inside the prison, where inmates have now built eight churches on the prison ground with private money.
We took nationally syndicated radio talk show host and columnist Dennis Prager and his wife, Sue, to Angola Prison in 2014. After a full day and upon departure, Prager was asked, “What’s your takeaway from today?”
“I’m angry,” he replied. “Here you have someone who has found the cure to cancer, and no oncologist in America will come to get the cure because it has to do with moral rehabilitation. It makes me angry.” theamericanrenewalproject.org/2013/12/angola/
The 17th and 18th-century Founders fully understood that “moral rehabilitation” is the pivotal link to freedom and liberty. And that liberty, as they likewise understood, cannot long be preserved “in the absence of virtue among the people and their representatives.”4
In his sermon on Palm Sunday, March 28, 2021, Pastor John MacArthur, like Bruce K. Waltke, spoke of the storm clouds gathering on America’s horizon. “How do you know when a nation passes the point where salvation is possible for a people? Well, Romans 1 talks about it … God gave them over to sexual immorality. God gave them over to homosexuality. God gave them over to a reprobate mind – a non-functioning mind.
“So when you see a nation deep in sexual sin, pervasively affirming of homosexuality, and the insanity of a reprobate mind where they make laws to criminalize righteousness and to legalize gross evil, you know that nation is under judgment.” protestia.com/2021/03/30/its-too-late-for-this-nation-says-john-macarthur-in-fiery-sermon/
Pastor MacArthur’s words would have been taken to heart in 17th and 18th century America. But with current Christians having abandoned America’s public square, where important issues are debated and decided, there are now none or too few to follow up on these words.
Regarding the recent issue of allowing transgender athletes to participate in women’s sports, for instance, Christian absence from the public square is why CNN seems to get away with such blatant brainlessness and outright absurdity as that “It is not possible to know a person’s gender identity at birth and there is no consensus criterion for assigning sex at birth.”5
One with God is a majority.
By the grace of God, Gideons and Rahabs are entering the public square at this eleventh hour.
American Renewal Project