Where are we, as a nation, going?
Now comes the natural question: “Just why are you asking that question?”
But first, let’s look briefly at what we may learn from history.
According to Today in Christian History (12-17-2018):
“December 17, 1917: Bolsheviks confiscate all property of the Russian Orthodox Church and abolish religious instruction in the schools. Within two decades, at least 45,000 priests were reportedly martyred in the country.”
In the 101 years since that time, some four generations of Russians have grown up without biblical training, or even the slightest bit of instruction regarding biblical Christianity. Why should we be surprised if there is a dearth of adherence to biblical standards of conduct or morality in that nation?
(Let me reassure you with this fact: God has not left Himself without a witness, despite the dark days of the past 101 years in Russia. He still has a remnant of believers who have not “bowed the knee to Baal” [so to speak]. There are yet individuals and families that name the Name of Jesus, the Christ of God. Regretfully, their impact on the spiritual and social life of the Russian people has been greatly diminished by the prevalence of a God-forsaking majority in Russia. Yet there is a light, be it ever so small and hindered in effectiveness.)
Finally, the state of social mores in Russia has become so low that even Russian leaders recognize the lack of spiritual and moral standards. This awareness has led finally to State mandated instruction in religion. Just what that will mean for Evangelical Christian individuals and missions is yet to be seen. Beginning in the 1990s and continued under Putin, the state allowed the teaching of religion in schools (parents are provided with a choice for their children to learn the basics of one of the traditional religions or secular ethics).
However, the situation in Russia is somewhat comparable to that in the Roman world at the time of Christ and the early church.
It is also similar to the days in which we Americans of the 21st Century live. As recently as 75 years ago, it was not uncommon to have the Bible taught in the elementary schools of our land. This author recalls the weekly appearances of the Bible Teacher at our one room school in rural Missouri. The Bible lessons were the basis for instruction in ethical, practical, and even godly living.
However, by the second decade of the 21st Century, in most of the United States, Bible teaching (along with its contribution to courteous, ethical living) has essentially gone “by the wayside.” Common conversations are, often sprinkled liberally with coarse, even lewd, language. Such language had its beginning in the social discourse among groups of young men (or women). It then crept into the presence of children who, given their proclivity to imitation, began using the same terminology.
Today, the language that once would have called for “having one’s mouth washed out with soap” has become so common that, even in places and among people who give leadership to our nation, we see it as being normal.
Cal Thomas (“And now the Boy Scouts” — Dec. 18, 2018 — Peninsula Clarion), speaks:
“The erosion of what many Americans once believed were the foundations of our country continues apace…”. He added: “Some of the alleged abuses go back to the ‘60s, according to The Wall Street Journal, but that is precisely where the rending of American culture began. The cultural decline was facilitated by court rulings banning prayer and Bible reading in public schools and the Playboy philosophy of Hugh Hefner and his counterpart, Helen Gurley Brown, who told female readers of Cosmopolitan magazine they could be as promiscuous as men.”
Baring a return to a society that respects the standards of the Bible (upon which the foundation of our great country stands), we stand to move in the exact direction Russia has gone. Unless there is a return to a respect for, and honor of, our nations foundational principles, we stand to continue at an ever-increasing rate down the path to destruction as a “Nation under God.”
Again, let us listen to Cal Thomas: “Given the lowering of standards in the scouting program [US society], it should be no surprise that the Boy Scouts of America [USA] is headed for the ash heap that has claimed other “morally straight” entities.”
So now , in conclusion, where are we, as a nation, going?
Chuck Thornton is retired from the pastoral ministry at Peninsula Grace Church and lives in Kenai.
• By Chuck Thornton