Posts Tagged ‘Great Awakening’

Praise and Worship for the Modern Age vs Church Growth
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American Revolutionaries

Before we look into the genesis and influence of liberalism, we must begin by understanding that liberalism and its resultant hostility towards Christianity hasn’t always been the norm in America. In fact, America was firmly founded upon the Christian worldview. As detailed in Francis Schaeffer’s book, How Should We Then Live, the success of the American Revolution, and the freedoms based upon the law that came out of it were established on a dominant Christian base. Indeed this great movement in America was directly founded upon the First Great Awakening around magnificent biblical teachers such as George Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards.

Though from England, Whitefield’s greatest work was in America. From 1738-1770, he made three preaching tours in the colonies. Numerous times this “Billy Graham” spoke to as many as 20,000 people at one time. Through his efforts, thousands were saved and many more other spirits were quickened.

Possibly the greatest preacherAmerica has ever produced was Jonathan Edwards. In 1727, he became the minister of the Congregational Church inNorth Ampton,Massachusetts. Then in 1734, he preached a series of messages on justification by faith alone. “By December,” the pastor penned, “the Spirit of God began extraordinarily to set in. Revival grew and souls did, as it were, come by floods to Christ.”

Edward’s infamous sermon, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, was so powerful that he had to stop and request silence because the weeping was so loud. The moral tone of New England was lifted to a higher tone than it ever had before. Out of a population of 300,000 people, between 25,000 and 50,000 people were added to the churches.

So profound was the impact of the Great Awakening on American society, that Ben Franklin wrote, “It was wonderful to see the change soon made in the manners of our inhabitants. From being thoughtless and indifferent about religion, it seemed as if all the world were growing religious, so that one could not walk through the town in an evening without hearing psalms sung in different families of every street.”

It was in the wake of the Great Awakening that the American Revolution arose. Consequently the Christian foundation that underpinned the colonies can easily be seen in the celebrated document that was created during this important moment in American history. This was the Declaration of Independence, which bore on parchment the justification for the revolution. Though its author Thomas Jefferson procured his ideas regarding inalienable rights from John Locke, it was the Christian minister, Samuel Rutherford who first developed the concept. The Christian base of our law and society is also clearly evident in the Constitution, the Federalists Papers and the multitudes of statements ushered by the Founders themselves.

In 1837 John Adams maintained, “Is it not that, in the chain of events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? . . . Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission? That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity and gave to the world the first irrevocable pledge of the fulfillment of the prophecies announced directly from Heaven at the birth of the Savior and predicted by the greatest of the Hebrew prophets 600 years before?”

George Washington declared, “No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the people of theUnited   States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.”

Patrick Henry stated, “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians, not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Ben Franklin, concluded, “He who shall introduce the principles of Christianity will change the face of the world.” And indeed America did just that to produce the greatest system of law and the highest level of freedom that the world has ever known.

It is no wonder, therefore, that after the Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville visited Americain the 1830’s, he concluded that “there is no country in the world where the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America.”

There can be no doubt that the American Revolution was firmly established in the Christian faith. This Christian foundation is exactly what the Counterculture movement sought to destroy. For during the ‘60s, even as many in the church had already departed from their biblical roots for the sake of theological liberalism, a ban of Height Ashbury hippies decided they would rebel against culture itself to discover a whole new way of living. “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (II Thess 2: 10-12 KJV)

The hippies revolted against the American Revolution and everything that came out of that historic Christian uprising. This is ironic. For in spite of the fact that the counterculturalists turned their backs on Christianity, the freedoms that allowed these rebels to dissent were a direct result of America’s Christian heritage.

In spite of this outright display of hypocrisy, the entire liberal movement in America now bows before the decadence of the ‘60s revolution. Hence biblical Christianity is the one faith that modern liberals spend all of their waking hours attempting to undermine.

 

Stay tuned for more!

The preceeding blog is an exerpt from Don Wigton’s book “Holy Wars.” Click here to purchase: http://www.authorhouse.com/BookStore/BookDetail.aspx?Book=267348

For free praise music, charts and study helps go to the Wigtune Praise and Worship Sitehttp//www.praisesong.net

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Praise and Worship for the Modern Age vs Church Growth
Click to Purchase

The Narrow Gate

 

There are two kids of churchgoers today – those who gather under the “big tent” of their own making, and those who enter into the Kingdomof Heavenby the narrow gate. The first group interprets the Bible according to their various social, political and humanistic agendas. Since New Age tolerance is the theme of the day, then New Age tolerance is what these liberal Christians will see in their Bibles. The second group is comprised of biblical Christians who base their thinking, way of life and the way they run their churches on the unchangeable decrees of the Bible. These conservative Christians do not fit in well with society’s ever-so-popular “big tent” tolerance motif. [1]

But now we find the Church Growth Movement calling Christians to emulate the Liberal Church. Growth consultants are currently roaming around the country urging Conservatives to relate to the same humanistic society that the Liberal Church has catered to for decades. The Liberal Church became the Liberal Church because it sought to relate to its surrounding culture. Those who chose to copy these liberals will become liberals as well. And socialistic New Age tolerance is the end game of all liberalism.

However, the Bible instructs the people of God to detach themselves from the ways of the world. Jesus talked about separating the sheep from the goats, truth from falsehood and the saved from the unsaved. (Matt 25:31-43) And to the goats he will say ”’Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’” (Matt 25:41b MKJV)

Indeed, this is a very intolerant message. But salvation is a matter of life and death and Christians are obligated to proclaim this truth to an unbelieving world. Thus, though Christians are called to be tolerant of people, they are likewise commanded to be intolerant with regard to matters of truth. In other words, from an intellectual standpoint, Christians are intolerant of any truth system other than that which is prescribed in the Bible. That means they are not willing to accept other notions of God, morality or ways to salvation. By the very nature of their faith Christians must follow the words of Jesus that declare: “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.” (Matt 713 MKJV) Biblical Christians, therefore, see only one way to go. They are absolutists rather than relativists.

When you think of religious dogmatism such as this, perhaps the tension between the different Muslim sects in the Middle East come to mind. To many in our society today, holding to a specific belief system is an affront to their “all you need is love” agenda and thus the cause of civil strife and even war. Yet Christian dogmatism is the very agent of love. Contrary to the teaching of the Koran, the Bible tells believers to “love your enemies” and “pray for those who persecute you.” (Matt5:44) So, even as Christians fight against untruth, they are called love the person they are contending against. The idea is to love the sinner, but hate the sin. It is a concept unique to the Christian faith.

Biblical Christians, therefore, though intolerant to sin should always be the first to extend the hand of Christian love to everyone. And many times this love necessitates speaking out against the very intolerable behavior that our society today is calling on us to tolerate. Tough love is what the proclamation of the Gospel is all about.


[1] In order to indict “narrow minded” and “intolerant” Christians it is common to point to eras in Church history where the Church persecuted individuals or chased after bizarre pursuits such as the Crusades. This is especially evident in the Church of the Middle Ages. However, as we will discover later in this book, that entire religious system was more pagan than Christian. And the paganizing of that church was a direct result of the conscious and formulated attempt to relate to the surrounding Roman culture! The supposed injustices regarding the Indian wars that occurred during the westward expansion of the United States is often cited as an indictment against Christianity. However, a journalist named John Louis O’Sullivan rather than the Church penned the phrase “Manifest Destiny,” which became the rationale for America’s Westward growth. And there has been no evidence offered that the Church sought to mistreat American Indians.

The truth is that biblical Christians have consistently brought virtue into society. For example in Europe the influence of the Reformation was instrumental in breaking down the oppressive feudal system that kept so many serfs in the bondage of poverty. In America the First Great Awakening was founded upon a return to biblical teachings and was very consequential with regard to bringing America into an awareness of the inalienable rights of people. The Second Great Awakening that arose in the years before the Civil War also turned the church’s heart back to the Word of God. Consequently, it was the Evangelical Church in the Northern states that first opened the discussion on the evils of slavery. Lincoln was a northern Evangelical and quoted the Bible throughout his entire adult life in order to malign that despicable institution. In contrast it was the backslidden Church in the Southern States that improperly quoted Scriptures such as “Servants, obey in all things your masters” (Col 22a) to rationalize the propagation of the institution of slavery in the name of relating to their culture.

And so, as we see in the Medieval Church and the Southern Church before the Civil War, it is when Christians attempt to relate to society that they get into mischief. Biblical Christians generally stand out not only as the ones who benefit society, but also the ones who have been the object of the most intense persecution in world history. In our New Age of tolerance, the persecution of Christians is generally left out. You can look high and low in our society today without finding a memorial to the many Christians throughout the centuries who have died for their faith. Yet in spite of the fact that the media is silent with regard to the persecution of Christians, when you look at Western History you will find that there is no faith that has come under more persecution than the Christian faith.

In ancient Rome you found widespread persecution of Christians. And like today, tolerance in the Roman Empire had to do with tolerance towards any faith other than Christianity. Therefore biblical Christians today should be very wary of doctrines of so-called tolerance promoted in America that prescribe tolerance towards every belief system other than their own.

Hitler’s rationalization for persecution in Nazi Germany was firmly based on humanistic Social Darwinism as the concept of survival of the fittest was applied to society. From this you wound up with the “superior Arian race” who felt that they had the right to exterminate those they felt were inferior. And Hitler feared the Jews and the faithful few in the Church who were critical of him. It is true that the vast majority of the Church in Germany, in their efforts to conform to society, failed to speak out against the sin that surrounded them. Nonetheless there were countless dissenting Christians, such as Corrie Ten Boom, who were sent to concentration camps. And there was the Lutheran Detrich Bonhaufer who left America during the war to return to Germany to speak out against Hitler’s atrocities. Two months before the end of WWII he was executed as a martyr at the age of 39.

The Inquisition of the Middle Ages was all about torturing and killing Christian dissenters. Many died for their faith. Then you have the Armenian genocide, which was one of the most gruesome persecutions of Christians in history. The Muslims during the expansion of the Ottoman Empire persecuted countless Christians. Even in our contemporary society you see that Christians throughout the world are suffering under tremendous persecution. In Northern Africa they are being sold into slavery. In China they are likewise feeling the sting of atheistic hatred. In America’s schools and in the workplace Christians are being persecuted for their faith. And so we see that those Christians who have remained intolerant to non-truth are the very ones who have fallen under the sword of oppression.

Stay tuned for more!

The preceeding blog is an exerpt from Don Wigton’s book “Holy Wars.” Click here to purchase: http://www.authorhouse.com/BookStore/BookDetail.aspx?Book=267348

For free praise music, charts and study helps go to the Wigtune Praise and Worship Sitehttp//www.praisesong.net