Volume 8, Issue 5: Eschaton
Jack Van Deventer
The cover on the latest issue of a well-known Christian magazine showed an aged and weary-looking farmer in the twilight of his life looking sadly into the sunset. The caption read "Reaping what we've sown: Is this the autumn for traditional values?" The article masterfully identified the cumulative cultural and moral failings of the present generation: drive-by shootings, abortion on demand, rampant crime, runaway litigation, drug abuse, child abuse, parents who murder their children, children who murder their parents, etc. Our level of hatred for God and His ways is evident in the following contrasts: Dan Quayle is lynched by the media for suggesting that two-parent families are better, but Magic Johnson is hailed as a hero for revealing he's HIV-positive after having sex with hundreds of women; a minor needs parental consent for having her ears pierced but not for having an abortion; and it's okay to pass out condoms on the school grounds but not Bibles.
The article rightly identified that we have reaped what we've sown, but failed to identify a biblical solution to the problem. Rather, it parroted the mantra of modern evangelicalism that we need a return to "traditional family values." One is inclined to believe that if we only replaced the Eddie Haskells of the world with Wally and The Beav, the world would be a happy place once more.
The fact is we are a grotesquely sinful nation in desperate need of repentance. Proverbs 14:34 reads, "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people." Confession must begin with the Church (1 Peter 4:17). If forgiveness and healing are to take place on a national scale, it will require humility, prayer, and a turning from wickedness (2 Chr. 7:14).
There are those within Christendom who have already conceded defeat in this fight against evil, believing that the moral decline they've observed in their lifetime is normative and part of God's long-range plan. They extrapolate their negativism back 2,000 years, anticipating the culmination of evil forces in the near future will lead to widespread apostasy, annihilation, Armageddon, and the Antichrist. True revival (outside of our modern pep rallies for Jesus) is not anticipated, much less prayed for. Their only hope, they believe, is to wait for the rapture because this world is a lost cause.
Such fatalism does not square with the Bible, which promises that "the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea" (Is. 11:9). Many other verses echo the same theme: "All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations shall worship before You" (Ps. 22:27). "All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, and shall glorify Your name" (Ps. 86:9). "He shall speak peace to the nations; His dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth" (Zech 9:10).
Those who discount Christ's dominion over the nations must realize that "God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved" (John 3:17). It is a recurring New Testament theme that the world is the object of Christ's redemption: "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29). "And we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world" (John 4:42). "I am the light of the world" (John 8:12). "God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself" (2 Cor. 5:19). "And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world" (1 John 2:2). "And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world" (1 John 4:14).
Having been given all authority in heaven and on earth, Christ commanded that all nations be made His disciples through the preaching of the gospel (Matt. 28:18,19). The expansion of Christ's kingdom is a progressive redemptive act likened both to a tiny mustard seed that grows and grows until it becomes a large tree (Luke 13:19) and to leaven which permeates the whole loaf (Luke 13:21). The successful evangelism of the world will continue to the end of history "for He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet" (1 Cor. 15:25).
The promises of God with respect to His kingdom's expansion and the salvation of the world are at odds with the pessimism of modern evangelicalism. The current moral decline in our nation will likely continue as long as we embrace traditional family values over biblical Christianity. Given Christ's dominion (1 Pet. 4:11) over the world as His rightful inheritance (Ps. 2:8), it is inevitable that revival will occur. Let us confess, repent, and pray that it will be soon.