Being Salt And Light In An Unsavory And Dark Age: The Christian And Politics -- By: Richard Land

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 11:4 (Winter 2007)
Article: Being Salt And Light In An Unsavory And Dark Age: The Christian And Politics
Author: Richard Land


Being Salt And Light In An Unsavory And Dark Age: The Christian And Politics

Richard Land

Barrett Duke

The great revival preacher Charles Finney declared, “Politics are a part of religion in such a country as this, and Christians must do their duty to the country as part of their duty to God.”1 Considering that Charles Finney is renowned as a revival preacher, not a political activist, his assertion may surprise those who consider it inappropriate to mix religion and politics, but Finney was also a strong proponent of Christian cultural engagement. It was during Finney’s time that God stirred in the Northern states once again with such power that hundreds of thousands of conversions were recorded in the churches. The entire Northern United States was changed. Out of this great spiritual awakening a potent political movement emerged which greatly aided the anti-slavery cause and ultimately changed the course of our nation through the election of Abraham Lincoln as President. Had that spiritual awakening not occurred, and had leaders like Charles Finney not encouraged those converted to turn their attention to the culture, it is very possible that Lincoln would not have been elected. Because he was elected, our nation finally settled the greatest moral issue of the day—slavery.

Once again, our nation finds itself at a pivotal moment. It will either continue its downward slide or some great movement will come along and sweep it up to new heights. It is likely that the direction our nation takes in the first part of this century will set the country’s course for at least a generation to come. As He did in the early nineteenth century, so today God can use Christians to make a real difference in our nation’s moral direction. We say it will require Christian involvement because the source of our nation’s decline is not political or economic. It is moral relativism. Moral relativism reigns supreme in most of the culture-molding sectors of our nation. In much of academia the very concept of absolute truth is held in derision. Even the general populace speaks of individual truth and individual values rather than universal norms. Our nation is quickly losing the ability to espouse universal moral values or to insist that such standards define socially acceptable and affirmed behavior. The result is a vapid culture in rapid decay, where behavior that was considered reprehensible just a couple of decades ago is now allowed, and even applauded, in many culture-defining venues.

Many of those involved in the decline of our culture state that they are personally opposed to much of what is happening, but they do not believe they have the right to tell others how they should conduct their persona...

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