Candidate Donald Trump’s slogan in 2016 was “Make America Great Again.” The words assumed that America was great in the past, but was not so now. Voters seemed to agree and elected Mr. Trump President.
The idea of making America great again begs the answer to two obvious questions:
- If America has been great, what made it so?
- What happened to change that?
French sociologist Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in 1835, “America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.” He made that statement after visiting American churches, saying, “…not until (I) heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power.” In Democracy in America, Tocqueville also said, “Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.”
For years I and many others have been lamenting the moral decline of America and wondering how we had come to this. It is most probable that the secular philosophies of progressivism, relativism, socialism, and a jumble of others coming out of our universities bear a great deal of the responsibility. They determine what is taught and not taught in our schools. It is certain that whatever is perceived as politically correct will make its way into the curriculum.
When prayer, The Ten Commandments, and Christian influence were no longer welcomed in our schools, morality and faith began to decline. Religion became increasingly powerless to confront evil in the culture. The question is: What was really behind it all?
I believe one of the major catalysts was the secularization of the Church. During the middle part of the twentieth century, many Church leaders were being trained in liberal seminaries that had abandoned the doctrine of Divine Inspiration of Scripture. They began to question much of the Bible’s accuracy and authority. This led inevitably toward churches becoming comfortable with popular movements in the culture. Many Christians became more and more undifferentiated from the rest of society.
The church no longer accepted the words of James 4:4 that “friendship with the world is hatred toward God”. Today it seems that many do not even recognize what the term “worldly” means. They don’t know their Bibles. 1 Corinthians 6: 9-10 listed the “sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexual offenders, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, slanderers, and swindlers” among those who would not inherit the kingdom of God. John, the apostle recorded the very words of Jesus, “Outside (of the city where the tree of life is) are those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.” The Bible makes it pretty clear what worldliness involves.
“The Church” was commissioned by Jesus Christ to be salt and light to a sinful world. It was supposed to influence the culture by its righteousness. That is no longer happening as it should in our nation. In far too many ways, America has ceased to be good, and it has lost much of its greatness. If the Church begins to live out its mandate and truly becomes “salt and light” again, it will again change the culture. Only real revival of the Church and a return to biblical righteousness can really Make America Great Again.