Has our government assumed the role of the church? Indeed it has.
Government has not only broadened its role in proclaiming what is moral and proper, but has also constrained the role of the church from proclaiming what is moral and proper. The preservation of morality, faith, and freedom face strong headwinds.
How has this come about?
Most churches today have embraced an excessively broad view of what is political, and, by extension, what is off-limits from discussion and instruction. The government’s enforcement of the 501 c (3) tax exempt status looms large as the hammer keeping churches “in their place” and far away from influencing government policy in moral matters that a hundred years ago were the domain of the church.
“Politics” is a catch-all word that many now use to describe anything they don’t believe the churches should discuss or teach. The word “politics” now encompasses discussion of sexual deviancies and “rights” of gays. It includes discussion of financial responsibility and personal and government frugality. It includes the topic of the threat of Islam and the dangers to Judeo-Christian morality. And it includes the topic of the right to life vs. killing children in the womb of their mother.
Each of these topics have been appropriately in the domain of the church – until recently in US history. Now it appears that most churches, either due to their own timidity, complacency, or desire not to create “controversy” have accepted their place in cultural irrelevancy.
At the same time, government has been emboldened to assert its influence in areas that turn traditional morality on its head. Government is the new church that by fiat allows no “free will” to practice traditional morality. The force of law replaces force of conscience.
Churches need to wake up and take note of how far they have fallen into the realm of extraneous. Laity needs to wake up and demand relevance. Seminaries need to teach how to apply Biblical principles to todays problems – not just personal problems, but national problems, governmental problems, judicial and legislative.
The preachers of the time of the American revolution and America’s founding understood the role of their faith. And they spoke out. They had the courage to apply their Biblical faith to the principles of their foundling government.
Preachers today need to do the same. Recreating the Christian spirit of our founding, today’s Black Robe Regiment mimics the role of the Black Robe Regiment of early America.
There are at least two groups in the US today calling themselves Black Robe Regiment. One is sponsored by David Barton and Wallbuilders here. Another similar group called The Black Robe Regiment can be found here. There is a stirring, a flicker toward relevance in the church today. Let’s pray that the flicker turns into a flame with God’s spirit endowing the pulpit and congregations with relevant Christian principles, unencumbered and not intimidated by the deadening and paralyzing word “politics.”
But I have to say, without some sort of miraculous turning of hearts and minds, the strong trend remains in the direction of continuing decline of morals, faith, and freedom. As economic czar Bernanke applied to our failing economy, “some of these head winds may be stronger or more persistent than we thought.”