Editor's note: The following column has been adapted from a presentation by David Lane at the San Diego Pastors and Pews event on September 13, 2018.
In his Gleanings from Genesis, Arthur W. Pink said: "It would indeed be strange if we apprehended how that on the one hand Canaan was a free gift unto Israel, which they entered by grace alone; and on the other, that they had to fight for every inch of it!"
Although the American founders walked by faith, "they did not retreat from involvement in society and politics. They did not turn civil government, the making, enforcement and adjudication of laws, over to Satan and those who serve him. They did not surrender the ministry of civil government to those who are in rebellion against God." These are the words of Archie P. Jones in the new Foreword to Benjamin F. Morris' monumental work, The Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States, published in 1864.
Thirty-five years ago, I was one of the wildest men imaginable: drugs, wine, women and song. I deserved judgment, I got mercy.
"An excellent wife is the crown of her husband," it says in Proverbs 12:4 (NASB). It couldn't have been better said of my wife, Cindy. The word "excellent" in Hebrew stands for "virtuous and noble." The godliest adornment on a man is his godly wife. It isn't her physical beauty, although Cindy is beautiful; it is her steadfast, rock-steady character.
Anyone who thinks that what's happening in America has anything to do with Republican vs. Democrat is very confused. It is a spiritual war. Two distinct religions, Christianity and secularism, are vying for control over the public square in America. The immutable former and the ever-changing latter cannot coexist. One will ultimately go down as a consequence of the elevation of the other.
It would be naive to believe that a once-a-year "election sermon" will affect the culture to any larger degree than an evangelistic crusade without follow-up would affect the community. Evangelical pastors and pews will have to take our civic game to the next level if America is to survive.
If America is going to be resurrected, spiritually, it will have to be done by other means than any of those now employed. A Sunday sermon is not a denomination of political currency; mustering and marshaling parishioners to the public square is. The largest denominations of political currency are, first, how many votes can you bring to the table, and second, how much money can you bring that brings votes to the table?
I am an elder at Calvary Chapel Thousand Oaks. If you know anything about Calvary Chapels, you'll know that the main thing is teaching the Word. The main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing. That said, no one I know believes that the kingdom of God will arrive on Air Force One, to paraphrase Chuck Colson.
Evangelicals have been playing checkers over the last 75 years when the game is chess. For both games, the same board is used, but it is played with completely different pieces and strategies. The difference between the two approaches is the difference between, say, "lightning bolt" and "lightning bug." Press conferences, press releases and getting a shout-out on Fox News are not denominations of political currency. And if they would be, they're like a nickel on a dollar.
Let's put it in perspective. There are an estimated 65 to 80 million evangelicals in America. Half of those are not registered to vote; and 50 percent of that half don't vote during a presidential election year, while again 50 percent of that 50 percent won't vote during an off-year election as it will be this year in 2018. Only 12 to 15 percent of California evangelicals will vote in 2018, unless we do something about it.
To put this in yet another light, there are an estimated 10 million union members in America. Two or three times a year their members' households receive a call, asking whether anyone turned 18. That's how unions keep enlarging their base. Yet, the 65 to 80 million evangelicals would still dwarf their numbers.
Let's take an even closer look. Did you know that there are more evangelicals in California than in any other state of the Union, with the exception of Texas? California counts 7 million evangelicals. If 30 percent or 40 percent of them would move on Election Day in 2018, it'd be all over for the left. Biblical conservatives would be elected left, right and center.
Spiritual men and women must come to the fore if America is to survive. America needs Gideons and Rahabs to rise and stand. This leads us to Issachar training, to the men and women of Issachar. Since 2015, some 3,000 pastors have participated in Issachar training. In 2016, two hundred pastors ran for local office, including city council, school board, parks and recreation and so forth. This year, three hundred or so are running for office across the nation.
With Gideons and Rahabs now running for local office and entering the public square, there will be, 20 to 30 years from now, a spiritual resurrection in America. I'm absolutely sure of it.
David Lane founded the America Renewal Project in 2005. Twenty thousand pastors, plus spouses, have participated in the Pastors and Pews events across the nation—free of charge. Follow on Twitter @AmRenewalProj
David Lane is the founder of American Renewal Project.
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