In Question 88 we discussed the idea that a nation cannot be Christian. Systems cannot be Christians. A Christian is a person who has a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. A Government cannot be a Christian unless all its members are Christians. If the majority of the elected representatives of a Government are Christians then it might be said that this Government advocates freedom for its citizens and follows Christian principles. However, even non-Christians may decide to base the principles of their Government on the teaching of Jesus Christ and the Ten Commandments and in that respect the Government could reflect Christian principles. Even in a country like South Korea where twenty five per cent of the population are Christians many are Christian by name only. They are second, third and fourth generation Christians of parents and grandparents who became Christians from atheist or Buddhist backgrounds. Without a personal relationship with Christ and the experience of the power of the Holy Spirit, people are sinners and do sinful things. Even Christians commit sin but the work of the Holy Spirit is to convict them of their sin, and if they obey the prompting of the Holy Spirit they can repent of their sin and seek to live a holy life. In the history of the world even the nations with the highest number of Christians have only attained less than 50% of their population as Christians with a personal relationship with Christ and that occurred after a significant revival or outpourings of the Holy Spirit’s power.
The Bible states in Proverbs 14 verse 34 that ‘righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace (shame) to any people.’ (NASB)
Most Western nations have emphasised the sinful practice of individualism, and independence which is a form of rebellion, in their cultural values, and this has produced a society of proud independent thinking people who have difficulty uniting together for a cause. This lack of communal unity (community) is costly. It has created social welfare systems that have become a huge tax burden on the middle and lower classes to pay for this breakdown in socially cohesive relationships. The western model of social welfare is unsustainable when the majority of the population continue to live self- centred, sinful and corrupt lifestyles.
The intention of the Holy Spirit in creating the Church or Body of Christ, as a community of believers who are disciples of Jesus Christ, was the creation of a strong Christian community that would be an example to the nation, and the world of what the Kingdom of God would look like on earth. Sadly, most western Christians live more like the pattern of their culture than the teaching of Jesus in the Gospels. This is because the Church adopted a structure that only gave it input into people’s lives once a week. Consequently their adherence to the values of independence and individualism within the context of a free society severely limited the expression of the compassion and mercy of Christ. The teaching of Jesus was studied so infrequently that it made little or no impact on the way Christians lived. Westerners developed a lifestyle based on a dichotomy rather than holism. Christians failed to integrate their faith into all aspects of their life. They developed a belief that the activities of Church and State should be separate. This has produced a culture of freedom without responsibility and a lack of compassion for the marginalised and broken. The use of usury (lending money for high interest rates) has restricted the distribution of capital. The rich (most of whom have inherited wealth) live off income from usury and support the political parties who will advocate the protection of the exploitive industries such as alcohol and cigarette production and money lending at high interest rates. The stock market has produced an elite class with capital who don’t have to work for their earnings and this gives them time to lobby the political systems to ensure that their corrupt interests are perpetuated. Capital is power in the western world. Jesus taught that savings or capital should be lent to the poor at no interest to transform their economic livelihood. This is called economic discipleship. Most of the parables of Jesus dealt with principles of land rights, ministry to the poor, and social and economic transformation through discipleship.
Higher education has become expensive and only accessible to the rich. The Churches in most countries tend to cater for the middle class and have only a token interest in the plight of the poor. This has led to the exploitation of the poor. The Church has in many countries lost its prophetic voice to speak out against the evils of a corrupt society. This has happened where the Christians have compromised their high standards of holiness and participated in the corrupt, immoral and profane practices of the society. They are no longer salt and light in the community.
Post modern theology has gained a deeply entrenched foothold in most western churches and this has effectively silenced the prophetic voices needed to transform the immorality and corruption in society and the Church. The profane has infiltrated the Church without it being discerned and stopped. In western history the Church that was revived by the Holy Spirit was the conscience of the nation to transform corrupt, oppressive and profane practices. 2 Chronicles chapter 7 verse 14 is still the blueprint for the transformation of western societies and the restoration of their moral strength in the world as God’s voice to the nations. This verse states: ‘And 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, forgive their sin, and heal their land.’
Much of the western church is like the church in Laodicea spoken about in the vision of John in Revelation 3 verses 14-22. It states: ‘To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’