Can Churches Heal America?
A few years ago the cover to a 1996 edition of U.S. News caught my attention. It asked, “Can Churches Cure America’s Social Ills”? Hmm.
Now, as a Christian my chief allegiance is to God’s holy nation of which I am a citizen (1 Pet. 2:9; Phil. 3:20); but since America is where I reside for now I want to see it do well for if it has peace, I have peace (Jer. 29:7).
As I pondered the question, “Can Churches Heal America?”, I thought of some things churches are going to have to do if they hope to have an impact.
Churches must call people back to the book (the Bible). It’s what America needs more than anything else. Just this morning, my “check engine” light came on. I didn’t know what to do. Of course, I knew to check the engine, but where do I start? I immediately reached into the glove compartment for the owner’s manual. It told me what I needed to know. Friend, that’s what your Bible is. It’s a manual from the Owner who made us all and knows what’s best. No matter how broken down your life is the Bible can fix it. In it, we have all we need (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Why would so many people ignore a book that is so good for us? Too many people just don’t want to be accountable to God. So, they reason Him away and deny the Bible as His word. Someone has said, “The atheist cannot find God for the same reason a thief cannot find a policeman.” He doesn’t want to. America is not the first nation to try to push God out. Jehoiakim, the king of Judah, took God’s word, cut it up with a knife and through it in the fire (Jer. 36:23). Perhaps he thought he had done away with God’s word but he had not because He couldn’t touch its Author. Try as we may to push God’s word out of our lives, it lives and abides forever (1 Pet. 1:22-25). Like an anvil wears its hammers one by one, God’s word has outlasted all its skeptics. Oh, how we need this book!! America’s hope is to come back to the Bible.
Churches must remember the mission of the church. People long before us saw “going to church” very simply. God’s word was highlighted above all. Some have even said that when preachers spoke you could “feel the heat.” How do people see churches now? As people see so many denominations with recreation centers, cafeterias, gymnasiums and the like, are people impressed with the need for the spiritual over the physical? Jesus had to deal with that problem. People came in hoards wanting physical food. When He made it clear that His mission was to provide spiritual food, most of them walked away (Jn. 6:26-27,66-68). A few in the religious world have been willing to admit that without all the physical attractions their numbers would drastically fall off. Jesus didn’t worry about that. He sadly let them walk away. In fact, if you’ll notice, every time crowds began to build, Jesus’ teaching became even more challenging (Lk. 14:25-25). He wanted those who wanted Him. That’s it. The mission of the church is to preach the truth, period (1 Tim. 3:15). Many years ago, a French statesman, Alexis De Toqueville (1805 – 1859) came to America trying to find the secret of its greatness. What he found is interesting. Listen to this!! “I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers – and it was not there… in her fertile fields and boundless forests – and it was not there… in her rich mines and her vast world commerce – and it was not there…in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution – and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” Local churches must remember their mission. Preaching is growing weaker in too many places. Preachers must call sin, sin (Jn. 8:31). Faith comes by hearing God’s word (Rom. 10:17). Without God’s word, America will be faithless.
Churches must encourage members to come home to family. Too many homes hardly have anyone home. Dads must provide (1st Timothy 5:8) but they can be gone far too much in their pursuit of climbing the ladder of success. Moms need to focus their minds on being keepers at home (Titus 2:4-5). Even kids can be away from home too much. We must spend time together. I’ll never forget brother Connie Adams telling of a yard sale at his parent’s home. Reluctantly, they decided to sell the family dinner table he had sat around all of his growing up years. There were so many good memories. For most of the day, it had not sold. Inwardly, Connie was sort of glad. Then…a buyer came, loaded it up and drove away. Connie said as he saw it go away, he cried. I understand. How many families today would have such sentimental thoughts about their table? We just need to come home and build our homes on Christ (Mt. 7:24-27).
Churches must teach members to deny worldliness in their lives (Rom. 2:17-24; Mt. 5:13-16). If we, one-by-one, will let the Lord put our lives together, the world will fall right into place. If you want to heal America, start with you. May God bless the United States of America.