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Changing Laws… or Minds… or Hearts

11-27-17

If you have been visiting with this Junior Jeremiah of late, you know that I am persuaded that our problems in America, in the West, in the church, are well nigh intractable. I am afraid that we have slipped down the slippery slope, and probably are close to swirling down the tubes.

God is sovereign, of course; and many of us pray for revival. Fervently. But logic, not to mention Biblical history, argues against spontaneous moral regeneration. Does God impose rectitude on a people who are not so inclined? Is it likely that our culture, en masse, will awake some Monday morning, saying, “OK, enough of several generals of decline! Let’s all return to being moral, polite, just, considerate, chaste, responsible, and religious”?

The Law of Civilization and Decay (posited in the brilliant but largely forgotten book of that title by Brooks Adams, 1895) is unfolding in history’s latest crumbling culture, our post-Christian West. The statistics about our condition are dispositive… and daunting.

Yet as a Christian, if not otherwise an optimist, I do not prescribe resignation. As Christ’s representatives in the world, we will go down, if we do go down, fighting. Christians have already won in the sense that we are joint heirs with Christ to the Eternal Home that is ours. But to fulfill His Great Commission, for the sake of our children, and for the lost souls of the world who need to hear the Truth… we fight on.

The signs of “progress” around us can be mirages. Communism largely has been defeated, but repressive governments have not. We have become a people who brag about liberating people’s minds and bodies, yet millions willingly enslave themselves to drugs and destructive ideologies. Including folks in our very midst.

At home, we have built a society where “sex sells” — libido-drenched imagery in movies, TV, ads, commercials, music, entertainment. And then we should be surprised when people conform their behavior to sexual impulses?

Overseas, our government cuddles up to China, which this week raided yet more Christian churches, jailing worshipers and ordering the installation of portraits of Xi Jingpin. “Acting on American values” — which are…?

The “progress” we applaud is an opiate, calming our sense to the Pentecost of Calamity that is coming in this world.

So. How do we fight these trends?

There is a crisis of the Old Order. We, as citizens – albeit pilgrims and strangers in this world – are stuck with Democracy. Can I mean that? Yes, I choose my words. Democracy in many ways has come to mean a corrupt web of favoritism, corruption, and deceit. Broken promises, cynical use of the System. Secret alliances between Big Money, Big Media, and Big Politics. Running up IOUs to fall upon our children. Consensus-building by pandering.

In the same manner I have also realized that Capitalism has become our enemy, having been transformed into Finance Capitalism, Crony Capitalism. We instead should embrace Free Enterprise, a nice-sounding brand name for our economics, but which scarcely ever has been practiced.

Winston Churchill is supposed to have said that Democracy is the worst form of government… unless you consider the alternatives.

A clever aphorism, but it has the practicality of a sieve when we need to bail the sinking lifeboat. If we recognize that we are in a spiritual crisis, it is a spiritual solution that we need. Political action? God bless activists… but we must look beyond. There are three traditional areas we turn to these days, each more difficult than the next.

The first: CHANGE LAWS. Especially in this system of pandering, of government by propaganda, of Big Lies and False Promises… the cry to “make things right” by new laws is the biggest lie of all. Laws are not magic wands. Prohibition did not work; drug laws are a farce; and gun regulations are chimeras. However, people look to Washington for salvation… in futility.

The second: CHANGE MINDS. Here is where Big Media plays its game. Background players and manipulators control the debate… and, we see increasingly, they monitor, manipulate, and censor internet communication and cell-phone activity. We think we may persuade (and, theoretically, we still can, in small ways) but appeals to reason are merely tolerated, and do not thrive, these days.

The third: CHANGE HEARTS. Aha. The simplest route? Sit down; talk and share; appeal to morality and self-interest; cite ethics and God’s Word. The “hot button” issues – guns, abortion, heresy, homosexuality, war, abuse, divorce, greed, immigration, workplace discrimination, drugs – can’t we all “get along”?

All you have to do in each of these topics is cite a “higher authority”; for Christians it would be the Bible. Secularists would fall back on philosophers. Changing hearts of opponents in such arenas should be the easiest way to begin changing hearts, no? Laws get rusty, and peoples’ minds change. And such remedies are seductive: easy to try, relatively easy to apply, and… very easy to forget. We can wipe our hands, and brush the dust from our sandals, and move on.

No, the hardest of all methods to bring change to our world is to change hearts.

It is the surest way, too. But to change hearts we must be committed, be earnest, be persistent, and be sincere. We must, if necessary, leave some our OWN hearts with those with whom we contend.

Take the current sexual-predator scandals. We can appeal to the Law: “We will make it (more) illegal to do such things.” We can appeal to the Mind: “Wise up! You might get caught!” Or we can appeal to the Heart: “It is wrong. You are harming someone. You disgrace your family. You are displaying a lack of self-respect. You are better than that! It is a sin. Repent, seek forgiveness.”

“Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

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Category: Government, Patriotism, Politics

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2 Responses

  1. Susan Hammond says:

    Well said, Rick. Thank you!

    I think that the Holy Spirit is showing us that time, as we have known it, is running out. My heart is heavy about the condition of our nation and our people too.
    There are glimmers of hope for the unsaved around us, always, because the Lord is not finished until He is finished. My Buddhist neighbor wants to come to church with me next week, and bring her boys. She mentioned the “comforting and warm” sense of Christmas, as her reason why, and she wants her boys to experience that. Please pray for her and her family (she also has a husband who has read Bible stories to his sons!). May their whole family come to faith in Jesus!
    My daughter’s neighbor, though having a “live and let live” worldview, treasures a nativity set she was given by her grandparents. She said if there were a fire in her house, that would be the thing she would grab before anything else. I know that this doesn’t mean that she is open to a personal relationship with Jesus, but there is something in her that clings to that story – something there that stirs in her heart. May she open the door of her heart to receive the King of glory, born in a manger.

    May the Lord give us, who believe in and love Him, more and more opportunities that we are faithful in, to share the beauty, peace, wonder, and joy that is Jesus. May our love for Him, and for our brothers and sisters in Christ, spill over to be an amazing witness of His love for all people. This is the hope for any time of year, but there is a special opening for this witness during the Christmas season that is unlike any other. May there be countless hearts that are touched and changed soon, to the praise and glory of God!

  2. God bless you. Thank you.

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About The Author

... Rick Marschall is the author of 74 books and hundreds of magazine articles in many fields, from popular culture (Bostonia magazine called him "perhaps America's foremost authority on popular culture") to history and criticism; country music; television history; biography; and children's books. He is a former political cartoonist, editor of Marvel Comics, and writer for Disney comics. For 10 years he has been active in the Christian field, writing devotionals and magazine articles; he was co-author of "The Secret Revealed" with Dr Jim Garlow. His biography of Johann Sebastian Bach for the “Christian Encounters” series (Thomas Nelson) was released in April, 2011. Read More