Does the Great Commission still apply to the US?
What happened to evangelization in the US? It seems that the numbers will continue to plummet as numbers fortunately rise elsewhere in the developing world. Does the Great Commission not apply to our own home country? Especially if it had already been Christian, at least culturally?
It seems that both liberal and conservative churches struggle, but probably more so liberal mainline denominations. It seems as if the modern liberal Christian is "outgrowing" their church. Conservative denominations are typically more vibrant, yet smaller and aging rapidly. So what of the Great Commission then?
Is it intended more so for nations and tongues that have yet to ever be at least culturally Christian? Or does it also apply to historically Christian nations who have fallen away as of late? Or is it something else altogether that we're not quite understanding at this time?
I for one have always believed that the Great Commission still applies to us here at home, just as much as it does abroad for those involved in who contribute to that. Although I am somewhat pessimistic in my view of potential for revitalizing the churches of America, I'm not completely without hope. It just turns out to be in another place than I had originally thought and intended to focus my own energies.
You see, over the years I've molded myself as a pragmatic, open minded conservative Christian whose always strived to appeal to liberal nonbelievers; to those who seem to embrace sin in some of the more outward or profane ways (even conservative Christians sin, even if they don't believe it). I've always hung my hat on "judge the sin, not the sinner" and thought I could appeal through this to my liberal neighbors.
After about a decade of this, I've come to a realization. I've been dead wrong all along. I've somewhat gotten through to one good friend of mine I still talk to from my days performing drums in rock bands when I was younger. But I've largely failed at any other attempt to bridge the gap with liberals. What have I missed along the way?
Depending on which denominational view of Predestination one subscribes to, this next thought of mine might rustle some feathers. But I've come to feel less sad for the unsaved in this world. God in scriptures appears to not want us to worry for them, and even often seems to intend that they serve a unique role in His plan, even if it never amounts to anything for them.
I've always struggled with that, but now I think I've come to a realization. For those of you who've ever played role playing board games or video games, you'll understand the term NPC (non-playable character). These characters in stories are simply there to offer a limited, finite bit of info or context to help advance the story along for the main character(s).
Well, I've come to view Predestination much in this way. And sadly, it seems that a very large portion of liberal nonbelievers are exactly that; NPC's within a story that uses and appreciates them, but they otherwise seemingly have no purposeful eternal role beyond the moment. Maybe they were created that way, or developed that way over their lifetime and God saw this and made it what it is. I don't claim to know other than what I feel that I see with my own eyes.
I don't pretend to know all the answers, but I can say one thing with confidence. I've had more success in the past few months at bringing conservative nonbelievers to reconsider, if not completely embrace Christ and the Gospel than I've had with liberals over a decade PLUS of consciously trying. I feel like I'm onto something here.
Trump supporters - the depraved just waiting for harvest?
As a Lutheran myself, I subscribe to the suffering Jesus of the Cross. I don't do happy, self-improvement Jesus, nor do I do social justice warrior Jesus. I don't even do warrior Jesus, although historically this has had a positive role in expanding the faith whether or not liberal Christians like to admit it or not. I find the Lutheran way very much a middle way, even bridging between the traditions of old and the jumble of modernist revisionism.
I believe the conservative non-Christian American is the premier segment that's ripe for evangelization of our day. In particular, the Trump supporting (not neo-Nazis as the media claims) silent majority who feel the despair of our political climate are in need of true salvation. Most seem to already understand that their hope can't hinge upon one man, nor even a political party or ideology as we've seen recently.
These are people who can't get help from the State when they do happen to need it, even though they've been plenty productive and paid into it all their lives. They continue to push ahead in a world that's changing at far too rapid of a pace in too many fundamental ways in the only way they know how based on how they grew up. The depravity that sums up the very need for the Gospel is what defines these folks. It's poetic really.
And for their movement to succeed, they're going to need the blessings of God. Many or maybe even most are already Christian. However, there's a large segment that aren't and they happen to be some of the most vocal or at least most effective at pushing the message forward, especially online.
A while back, I wrote an article on my blog Contrary World titled '8 Historic Battles That Involved Divine Intervention' highlighting how God seems to have intervened directly in favor of Christian nations or peoples who were up against insurmountable odds. And yet they prevailed because God favored their cause and their faith. These include a couple moments from America's fledgling years.
With my blog, I attempt to focus on reaching these people. These are my people, after all, and I am one of them. I know that God has a plan that will eventually manifest in the culmination of the end as depicted in the Book of Revelation. However, I view things as if God's finger is often placed over the leak or hole that ultimately holds back the floodwaters.
I believe that if people turn to God once more, and fight not only for their own nation, but for all that is good and sanctified by Christ in the world - their cause will see victory. And that without that, their cause is likely doomed and the end possibly comes that much sooner. Which is fine, as Christians know they inherit eternity in the process. But more time to live out their faith is more time for other places in the world to be evangelized via the Lord's work that we carry out.
As for liberal non-Christians, I'm not sure what to think anymore to be honest. I hate to belittle anyone, even if they do seem like nothing more than just another NPC. I believe they deserve to be treated as human beings still, but I wonder if evangelizing them is fruitless at this point. Maybe I just don't understand them like others do, even though I was one of them for much of my early adult life.
Perhaps if it comes naturally as it did with my liberal friend from my band years for me, then it's possible. God's grace knows no bounds. Yet the majority seem to be pretty happy playing the part of motivator that spurs conservatives (who wish to keep a small part of the world leaning right as the rest of the world drifts towards the far left under ideas not from God) into necessary action.
For now, I will move forward focusing solely on the non-Christian Trump supporters. Not because it's the "path of least resistance", but because I really do feel that these folks are the salt of the Earth. Jesus at the time of his ministry observed that he wasn't there to save the world, but that of his own house (the Jews). Of course his death and ascension ultimately saved the world (thank God) but I can relate to what he meant about his own house.
I can only worry about my own house at this time. I suppose I could encourage liberal Christians to do the same for their own and hope it all works out one way or another for the better. However, I think they have a much more difficult and unrealistic task on their hands than someone like me does.
May God grant us peace, reconciliation, and the fruit of our labors within these trying times. Even if it must come after societal upheaval, may the Lord grant us another generation to continue doing his work in the world. God doesn't need our help per se, but his elect who don't know it yet do. Not everyone - whether politically left or even right - are all mere NPC's after all.
I encourage positive, thought stimulating feedback. Feel free to comment and offer your thought's on the matter. God bless.
About the author
Kevin Walrath is an aspiring author and blogger who promotes his upcoming SciFi dystopian novel 'A Spider In The Web' at Contrary World. If you would like to read the first chapter of the novel, you can do so by joining his mailing list. Otherwise you can keep up with him on Facebook so long as they don't ban him for writing a book that's basically about how a corporation like them could be the catalyst in bringing about the end times.