First, it is not my intent to become one more in the long line of Obama–bashers of late, as I feel that our patriotic and spiritual mandate is to pray for our leaders, though we may or may not agree with their decisions.
My reason for writing is to challenge the assumption behind the JFK quote used in our President’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech: “Let us focus on a more practical, more attainable peace, based not on a sudden revolution in human nature but on a gradual evolution in human institutions.” This quote asserts a falsehood on the truths of the Gospel, “Unless a man be born again, he cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” (John 3:3) This truth proclaims the necessity of a radical personal experience!
Seldom among men do we see critical personal change and ensuing leadership impact unless there has been some watershed moment in one’s own personal life. To ever approach the downplay of the huge possibilities that personal life change brings to corporate behaviour is gross error. My reason for writing is that I believe the church has in fact bought into this falsehood.
Rather than preaching the experience that Jesus spoke of as a mandate, we like both the leader quoting and the one quoted have placed our hopes in the slow progressive change of our institutions; that change is slow, if not impossible given that those very attempts at change are being carried out by sinners, for we are all just that! In retrospect, that may be the very point many churches are dodging, attempting only to maintain attendance and sustain their revenue streams?
The irony of our own nation may be that it was founded by men who aspired to “one nation under God”, advocating godliness over the tyranny of those who would limit spiritual freedom. Yet often, those same men who encouraged such lifestyles, also failed. Maybe when we place our hope in institutions alone, we then exhaust our hearts attempting to change those same institutions and even great men fall?
Such has been the case with many a well-meaning preacher and politician. Have we bought into error, and in turn lost our true North, no longer led by the compass of our own souls but rather the wayward condition of our established institutions?
The prophet Zechariah may offer a word to the institutional church, if not all institutions in America, “Come back to the place of safety, all you prisoners, for there is yet hope.” (NLT) “Turn to the stronghold, ye prisoners of hope!” Zechariah 9:12 (KJV)
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves (individually) and repent and turn from their wicked ways, then….” II Chronicles 7:14