FENTON, MI – When we think of our American heritage and especially the early days of our nation, most of us have idyllic conceptions that our country was a deeply spiritual place. We still envision our pre-Revolutionary War community as a very religious and Godly people that reflected the heart and attitude of the first Christian pilgrims that settled on the Eastern coasts of North America. But the fact of the matter is pre-revolutionary America had moved far away from God, and in fact, persecution and demeaning of Christians and the local churches was prevalent.
In the early 1700’s the standards of morality were at their lowest and alcoholism was epidemic. Life was hard and dirty in more ways than one. Lawlessness prevailed and a general atmosphere of decadence spread throughout most of the population. It was in the midst of this melee and mess that God did a deep and reviving work not only in the general population, but also in the Christian community. God used the preaching of men like Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield to bring an entire nation back to God. It was estimated that 50,000 people, out of the colonies’, sparse population of 340,000 were added to the New England churches.
Churches that had been lifeless and in danger of dying out altogether, received new life and vitality. The Awakening, as it has been called, had a lasting impact on the new nation that would soon be birthed. It had a significant influence on the development of American ideals of religious and political liberty. Many of the freedoms that we enjoy today were birthed in that extraordinary decade when the glory of God touched down on our infant nation.
Today our nation seems to reflect and magnify the same decadent atmosphere prevalent in the days before our nation’s birth. Mainstream denominational churches are now condoning that which is specifically condemned in the Bible as sin. Who would have ever thought the great denominations that helped found this nation and themselves were founded on the Word of God would now ordain homosexuals and place them in positions of great power and authority? This is not the place for me to debate the sinfulness of homosexuality. In fact, there is no debate needed, if one believes the Bible. God’s Word is very clear in its condemnation of this destructive and damning sin.
Today there are so many more of us, and the depth of depravity and sin is so severe, is it possible for God to do again what He did for our fledgling nation? Can a people who seem to be caught in the vortex of decay ever be rescued? Is there any hope for America or are we doomed to die a slow and agonizing death? The answer is yes! There is hope and our nation can be saved from self-destruction, but it can only happen when God does what He did for our forefathers. A great spiritual awakening is the only answer, and now is the time.
If anyone is to blame for the moral decay of our nation it is the Christian Community. Far too long, we have been cloistered in our nice and comfortable monasteries that we call churches. Far too long, we have sat silently as opportunity after opportunity to share the Gospel passes us by. As Christians we must stand up for what is right. Speak out for Biblical truth, and kneel down before God and ask for Him to change our complacent and wicked hearts. If we will do this God will do it again.
II Chronicles 7:14 – If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tim Patterson is Executive Director/Treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Elected unanimously in May of 2015, Patterson formerly served for 9 years as pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla. He also served as trustee chair and national mobilizer for the North American Mission Board.