Calls to repentance

Posted: September 29, 2008 by joelmartin in Social Issues
Tags: ,

It seems to me that due to:

1. 9/11

2. The Iraq War

3. The desolation of New Orleans

4. Our financial collapse

There should be calls to repentance going out in every church in our land. Judging by the history of the Church, when manifold judgments like this strike us we should proclaim a fast and repent to God for our sin and seek His face for direction. I don’t see that happening which perhaps is another indication of how asleep at the wheel we all are.

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Comments
  1. Heidi says:

    Wow, that is a pretty bold statement. I’d like to know WHY you think those events are caused by our sin, as a nation.

  2. joelmartin says:

    Heidi, I base this thought on a few strands of thought:
    1. In Amos, the prophet says “Does disaster come to a city, unless the Lord has done it?”
    2. In Romans 1 we see that a society which embraces homosexual sex as good is under God’s judgement. When people do not see fit to acknowledge God he “gives them up to a debased mind.” Homosexuality does not bring God’s judgement, it IS God’s judgement. Let me quickly point out that divorce, adultery and manifold other sins are just as heinous and that we all need God’s grace equally.
    3. The church in America has exemplified pride, lust, laziness, love of riches, division and confusion. The society reflects the problems of the Church.
    Since I believe in God’s providence over all of life and history, I offer an interpretation that sees an escalating series of disasters as the Hand of God upon us. I’m not a prophet so my opinion isn’t sacrosanct. I just think it would be wise for the church to do what she used to do and beg God for direction, cleansing, and hope.

  3. Joel, you are not likening the USA to Israel and viewing such judgments within a paradigm of theocratic judgment upon a favored nation, or are you?

    I am a providentialist in how I read history and do see God’s hand in the affairs of all nations. I think it is dangerous to fully dismiss events as having nothing to do with God on one end, and equally dangerous to emphatically declare certain events as being a direct judgment from God in response to a particular vice. For example, I found it repugnant for Jerry Falwell to suggest that 9/11 was a direct judgement on homosexuality. One can’t speak with such exact certainty today…although I would also say that it would be erroneous to state that God had nothing to do with 9/11, Katrina, etc.

    We must repent nonetheless that such tragedy doesn’t befall any of us. This was Jesus’ response to tragedy…paraphrasing, “Repent so that a tower doesn’t fall on you as well”. Essentially, we are ALL deserving of wrath, and all need to repent…we deserve no grace or mercy whatsoever. It is only because of God’s grace that He doesn’t send a global Katrina. God is relenting from judgment so that all of His sheep will hear the voice of their Shepherd and repent.

  4. joelmartin says:

    No Rick, I detest the ‘favored nation’ idea, and incidentally you can find it throughout history in the Netherlands, the UK, Russia, and countless other countries. The Dutch Reformed explicitly thought that they were the new Israel. I see the Church as the “Israel of God.” I do think the Church falls under particular judgments and you see that in the letters to the seven churches in Revelation.

    Regarding nations however: they are particular corporate bodies, and they are not amorphous blobs. They are clearly thought of corporately by God as you can see again and again in the Bible. As bodies, states, nations or whatever you want to call them they receive blessing and cursing from God. Just think of Sodom, Lot could have said ‘hey I’m just an individual in the middle of a wicked city, why should I be punished for what *they* do?’ But God judged a corporate entity – a city – and poured out his wrath on them corporately. I’m sure Christians died on 9/11 right next to adulterers and fornicators.

    You are correct in saying that we all deserve God’s wrath but that does not exclude how he acts with regard to particular nations, cities and other bodies. And I do not think that we can draw one to one conclusions about what is going on without an explicit statement from God about what he is doing. But it seems to me that the nation should have repented after 9/11, but it didn’t. It’s almost as if God tried again with Katrina and nothing happened. So now he is hitting us where it hurts – our finances. And yet the response of most is to curse God and continue in sin.

    America suffers judgment just like China or any other nation – but it does suffer judgment. And I believe that ‘to whom much is given, much is required.’ In terms of doctrine, knowledge and churches, America has been given MUCH. We are swimming in an ocean of (largely unread) Bibles. And so while I do not think that we are some sort of favored nation, we are a nation that in our past have been abundantly blessed with knowledge. To the extent that the Church know embraces heresy and invents new gospels, and to the extent that our nation enshrines evil in law, we will bring God’s particular wrath. If you look at history, our fathers in the Church would call a fast, call for repentance, call on people to mourn their sins. I don’t see that anymore.

  5. I agree with JM, that the call to fasting and repentance should be going out at the level of the local church. It is actually going out by various national church ministries that are recognized as prayer leaders such as Frances Frangipane, and others. There is The Call and a forty day fast, prior to the election, in California and also in the D.C. area where stadiums will conceivably be filled with intercessors crying out to God for mercy in the midst of judgment.

    If we had pastors who were serious about repentance, revival and prayer, we would have churches which were serious about repentance, revival and prayer.

    Instead, we have pastors and churches facing off with the IRS about being allowed to endorse candidates from the pulpit and maintain their 501C3 status. Strangely, they believe that getting enough votes for the right candidate will save us; they do not realize that our political system from the beginning has been the biggest crap shoot on earth.

    For the most part, the majority of churches seem unfamiliar with the concept of prayer and repentance as a nation, or unwilling to admit the church is in need.

    Jesus faced the same problems in His earthly ministry. He laid the burden of responsibility not on political leaders, but on religious leaders.

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