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July 31, 2008

Calling All Americans to Confess

Prayinghands Though we're a hundred or so days out from the election, it's not too early to begin (if you haven't already) an earnest season of prayer for the upcoming election and for our nation. In my mind, that endeavor starts with a call for national repentance, as revealed in a well-known verse, 2 Chronicles 7:14: "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land." 

As Christians, we are daily called to personal repentance and confession, with the astounding and liberating promise that  if we confess our sins, we will find forgiveness and cleansing (1 John 1:9). But the call to confess my country's sins has a different focus.

As I have mediated on this requirement recently, I find myself confessing our fear and anger (I can think of numerous examples from the news that reflect just how fearful and angry we have become, and I'm sure you can too). Fear reflects our lack of faith in a sovereign God's ability to take care of us; anger reflects our failure to obey the second greatest command, to love other people as we love ourselves. 

What other sins do you believe we need to confess as a nation? 

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Comments

Jason Taylor

Confessing a nation's sin, is necessarily confessing other people's sin.

In any case, are the people that so often desire national confession really the sort that find it hard to admit national sin? Aren't they often the kind of people one suspects of disliking their neighbors for not fitting their notion of perfection?

Susannah

I don't feel I have the authority to confess other people's sin.

I've got plenty of my own to confess! :)

Rolley Haggard

Apathy over abortion.

If we honored each of the 50 million human beings in this country who has been aborted (under sanction of federal law) with a single minute of silence, we would remain speechless for over 95 years.

Ironically, that’s pretty much what we’ve done, isn’t it? In our pulpits and our bully pulpits we’ve “honored” these precious people with our silence, bowing to the twin gods of “Political Correctness” and “Not-Wanting-to-Offend”.

I often wonder what would happen if every Sunday in every pulpit in every Christian church across America ministers would devote one minute to decrying the evil of abortion-on-demand. Such universal solidarity within the ranks of leadership, I suspect, would do two things, maybe three. First, it would dispel ambiguity and send a clear signal to every believer that this is a top-line priority with God, not a fine-print codicil. Second, it would foster unanimity amongst all believers – at least on this one all-important issue - and enable us together to render unto God what is God’s (our advocacy for the helpless) while rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar’s (which includes advice and consent of the governed). And third, maybe, just maybe the voice of conscience would become less easy to be ignored by those outside the church and we would see Roe v. Wade overturned -- quickly.

But it’s a big “if”. Ministers, are you listening?

Confession is good, but we need to break our guilty disheveled silence with more than confession. Confession in otherwise respectable people anesthetizes the conscience with the seductive deceit of good intentions. Thirty-five years of good intentions is surely enough. It’s time for repentance.

James, you were right -- faith without works is dead -- fifty million times.

Rebecca Curtis

Rolley,
Your post on Apathy over Abortion is a powerful post. Thank you for writing it.

Rolley Haggard

If we were to infer (as many do) how important something is to God on the basis of how much clear teaching there is in Scripture regarding it, how important would the abortion issue be?

Did we learn nothing from the issue of slavery which, in part due to weak apologetics, exercised such a stranglehold for so long on the evangelical consciousness?

The point is, something may be vitally important to God and yet there be no unequivocal teaching on it, no handy proof texts. What do we conclude from this? That these matters are relatively unimportant?

To our everlasting shame, that is precisely what many otherwise good bible-believers have concluded. And precisely why there is so little solidarity and clear priority within evangelical leadership on the issue of abortion. Sure, we give SOME lip service to decrying this evil. But ever hear of “damning with faint praise”? Is it any wonder then that the evil continues with no prospect of abatement, but instead, with the prospect of further escalation under a new pro-abortion administration?

We evangelicals ought to have learned our lesson by now. Proof texts while good, are not the best weapons in our arsenal. Proof texts often are to truth what muskets and maces are to modern warfare. They may succeed in taking out a few enemies, but no wars will be won by their use.

Principles are better. They are the equivalent of smart bombs and nuclear warheads. They are effective for the “destruction of strong holds and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God.” (2 Corinthians 10:4)

And the principle that ought to govern our actions on behalf of the unborn and the enslaved and the destitute and the suffering and almost any other issue which, frankly, ought to be “self-evident” is this:

People are infinitely important to God.

Proof? In a Word (with a capital W): Calvary.

(And apologies to our Lord and Savior, for I know that I have grossly understated the matter).

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