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A Warning for the American Church

In 1967, Dr. John Walvoord authored a book entitled “The Nations in Prophecy.” It was the last in a three book series. The preceding two books were; “Israel in Prophecy” and “The Church in Prophecy.”  The last chapter of “The Nations in Prophecy” is entitled; America in Prophecy and it is interesting to see Dr. Walvoord’s thoughts on the topic from nearly 50 years ago, and how relevant they are to today’s world. In a nutshell Dr. Walvoord believed the United States will not be a significant player in end time prophetic events, and he lays out a number of reasons. His observations are interesting and show a deep and thoughtful search of Scripture. But, as much as it talks about America as a nation, I find the last chapter of the book contains warnings which the American church should take to heart today, a half century after the observations were first penned.

Dr. Walvoord notes that history records many great nations, of unusual power and influence, which rose and declined because of internal corruption or international complications. Walvoord puts the US into that class. Looking over the past 50 years, an argument can be made that the US is no longer at the zenith of international power, influence, and status as the nation once was. Although still a military superpower, our economic prowess is being challenged by others and we no longer hold the sway of international influence which we once did. One can and should argue that we are a nation in decline. The question Walvoord raises, and answers as he sees it, is not whether the US deserves judgment, but why divine judgment has been held back for so long. One can wonder why we haven’t felt God’s wrath yet as we look at how this nation openly defies God more and more each day. For most of our past as a nation, the American church held a privileged and protected place within it.  The current state of the American church is one of less than obedient belief in the God of the Bible. A significant portion of the church now holds to and promotes outwardly, positions that are not sound from a biblical perspective. For the past year, our blog articles have chronicled the growing apostasy within the church, and the implications of that growing disobedience and defiance. Due to that, we can also ask why, like the American nation, the American church hasn’t yet felt the wrath of God. One can see the possibility of God’s wrath beginning to manifest itself as we witness an ever increasing severity of persecution of Christians within our country. Many have talked about this, many believe it is beginning to occur, but the plain fact is that compared to the church in many other parts of the world, the American church still holds a relatively privileged position still today. But it may be that this will quickly change, and it may not be long before it does.

Look at the reasons Walvoord gives for the delay in divine judgment for America as a nation and see if the reasons still fit the American church today:

“…a source of major Christian testimony in the world and has done more to promote the missionary cause in terms of money and men than any other nation.”

Yes these activities are still going on, but increasingly Christians in other countries view the US as a mission field. If the American church isn’t viewed as the dominant leader in these areas anymore, not only will the impact and influence of the American church wane internationally, but the divine blessing that comes with obedience to God will not fall on us as abundantly, if at all. We may not earn a failing grade in this area today, but I am not sure we are any longer on the honor roll.

“…the Abrahamic promise concerning his seed, ‘I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee’ (Genesis 12:3). The United States for the most has been kind to the Jew.”  

A look at this country’s positions and policies in the Middle East shows a stance that is growing less kind to the Jew daily. Within the American church, those who are embracing concepts like Christian Palestinianism and/or denouncing the actions of Israel, are growing daily. The American church is not praying for the nation of Israel and for the Jewish people to turn to Christ as their Messiah as it once did. Again, possibly not a failing grade, but no high honors evident here.

The future of the American nation and the American church are intertwined. Christian beliefs were a source of strength both in the founding of the nation, and in its growth in the past.  The faith and obedient belief of the American church brought forth the blessings God bestowed upon the United States. Sad that both the nation and the church are so visibly showing signs of internal corruption, and falling away from godly values at the same time. The nation without a godly church underpinning it, will certainly fall even further. As American society grows more hostile to Christianity, the American church finds itself in a grievous situation because it does not seem to have the backbone to stand up to society, and be the shining light which brings the nation back closer to God. It is sad that when things are less than good, and a bold and faithful church is most needed, it is sliding away from the role it should play, and is following the foul tide of the world itself.

The Bible calls for obedience which brings blessing while disobedience brings the curse and wrath of God. Both the American nation and the American church need to understand one simple fact: God needs neither of them to fulfill His plans and purposes. Quite to the contrary, both need Jesus Christ to enjoy the richness and blessings the Lord wishes to give His children.

If divine judgment could be seen as ripe 50 years ago, how much the more today? If the reasons for delay were thought valid 50 years ago, can the same be said with equal assurance now? Is the place America holds in end time prophecy indicative of the lack of strength the American church is exhibiting currently? Such failure may be a most self-fulfilling prophecy.