Written by Jeff Lukens
We live in and age of unbelief. We live with America in decline. We are no longer the America of our founders, or even the America that existed twenty years ago. Collectively, we are more secular, with ever-increasing faith in government, and decreasing faith in God. The consequences of which are already showing. The culture must change. We need a spiritual revival. We need a Third Great Awakening.
No education? No problem. The government will take care of you. Having a baby out of wedlock? No problem there either. Forty percent of babies are born that way. Gay marriage? Hey, who cares what the Bibles says. Victimhood trumps success. Nothing is right or wrong, because that might suggest a standard by which right and wrong would be defined. Personal choice is the new standard, which is no standard at all.
Freedom should be an easy sell. So why are conservatives and the people of faith who proclaim freedom are the ones who are insulted and mocked? We are seen as the deniers of freedom. What so many are missing is morality, a self-governing limit to behavior. As the left sees it, they do not have to accept responsibility. They call it emancipation and enlightenment. Freedom means no obstacles on the road to what our grandparents called depravity.
Culturally, the nation is already broken. The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut is only the most recent example. We have reached a majority of people who do not think citizens should be personally responsible. In a clear choice of right and wrong in the 2012 elections, the voters chose wrong. With the Debt Clock ticking ever higher by more than a trillion dollars a year, it is a mathematical certainty collapse is coming. The government alone cannot fix it.
What's needed is profound national revival. May God in his grace and mercy allow the American people to experience a Great Awakening. It is our only hope.
Two revivals were such game-changing events in American history that Christian historians where compelled to call them Great Awakenings. The first occurred in the early to mid 1700s, and the Second Great Awakening in the early to mid 1800s. Ministers proclaimed the Gospel with great care, passion, and conviction. These included Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, John Wesley and Charles Wesley. With their aid, people realized they needed to repent and get right with God.
In time, this national yearning for spiritual expression and moral leadership led to the desire for the nation to rid itself from the tyranny of King George III. While not every Founding Father was a devout Christian, many of them were, and they sought to establish a free society based on Judeo-Christian principles.
The First Great Awakening that created the moral climate for the Declaration of Independence and the founding of a new country, conceived in liberty, which would truly become a light to the nations. No country in human history has done more to liberate other people economically, politically, or spiritually than the United States.
The Second Great Awakening was even more powerful in the mid-19th century then the First Great Awakening had been in the 18th century. In his book, Implosion, Joel Rosenberg explains:
One piece of observable evidence in this regard is the explosive growth in the number of church congregations that were established in the wake of both Great Awakenings. At the same time, Christians during this period sought to put their faith into action to improve their neighborhoods and communities and the nation as a whole. They persuaded millions of children to enroll in Sunday school programs to learn about the Bible and pray for their nation. They opened orphanages and soup kitchens to care for the poor and needy. They started clinics and hospitals to care for the sick, elderly and infirm. They founded elementary and secondary schools for girls as well as boys. They established colleges and universities dedicated to teaching both the Scriptures and the sciences. They led social campaigns to persuade Americans to stop drinking so much alcohol and to abolish the evil of slavery. These Christians didn't expect the government to take care of them. They believed it was the Church's job to show the love of Christ to their neighbors in real and practical ways. They were right, and they made America a better place as a result – not perfect, but better.
This was not about collective salvation. One by one, people must accept Christ into their heart to receive salvation. But the people believed the church's job was to show the love of Christ and to care for their fellow man. The Second Great Awakening culminated with Abraham Lincoln and the abolition of slavery.
Should people give up and say America, as passed down to us by previous generations, is no more? That was President Obama's goal when he promised to fundamentally transform America. He's been doing as he promised, and now a majority of people are happy to let him do it for another term.
Both government programs and charities can feed the hungry and clothe the naked. Government welfare, nevertheless, cannot reach people's hearts. Christian charities can. Serving the needy in a loving Christian way serves the ultimate purpose of reaching the heart where the will for change takes place. Christ can only enter the heart of the humble. And we know enough changed hearts lead to a changed culture.
Abiding faith is unfashionable, and is considered an oddity. If you are going to exercise your faith with authenticity and courage, you will receive mockery, ridicule, and rejection. For patriots, it is the price that must be paid to save the nation.
The Bible says, "If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:14) Only a Third Great Awakening can save us now.
Jeff Lukens writes engaging opinion columns from a fresh, conservative point of view. He likes to explore the enduring cultural aspects of life from a moral and historical perspective. He writes about the traditional and Christian values upon which America was founded, and how these values define us as individuals and as a nation.