Our nation is in crisis. The source runs far deeper than the current events which are terrible symptoms of a greater problem.
I am sobered and anguished watching the videos from the tragic attack on our nation’s Capitol Building. It is reprehensible. We can point fingers all day long, but we all have allowed anger, hatred, and animosity to boil over to this extent. These extremists disrespected the very fabric of our national heritage through their violent behavior. It is not about what extremist group did it, it is about that things got this far that it happened. This happened here in our nation, an attack on our Capitol.
I want to hear more Americans concerned for what their beliefs could cause in America. The Founding Fathers were consumed with posterity. What would generations hence learn from them, say about them, carry on because of their legacy and sacrifice? They took painstaking efforts to preserve their letters and writings so that we could learn from their wisdom.
We cannot reduce national discourse to Facebook memes. We cannot depend upon social media to the extent that we feel lost and silenced without it. The Founders had no internet. They could not reach the world in an instant with a knee-jerk reaction. They had to meet in a room with no air-conditioning and hash out their differences to work out our most cherished documents, The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution. John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison worked to create a series of essays, known as The Federalist Papers, to run in the New York newspapers to inform the public about the merit of ratifying the Constitution. This took time, deliberation, and thought.
Letters were written by hand, copied by hand, and carried by hand to their recipient. Thought took time to communicate. It was precious, not careless.
Preserving our liberty means preserving honor, history, integrity, civil discourse, robust debate, and conduct befitting men and women created in the image of God.
We have lost trust in the institution of journalism in all its forms. The mainstream media has lost at least half of the public’s trust. It has become indefensible as a source of truth.
Journalists are to be a safeguard against government overreach. They are to investigate and inform as they did in breaking the Watergate Scandal (see the masterful film The Post). When we have lost all trust in the mainstream media, we enter new dangerous grounds. When public institutions fail to serve the people to benefit their own interests, the people look for underground sources.
The guy in his basement with conspiracy theories now becomes the trusted source. What was once considered tabloid news becomes plausible in the eyes of people trying to avoid fake news only to fall squarely into an entrapment of enticing underground news which feeds fears and promotes its own interests in gaining a following of this disillusioned populace.
We must seek truth over and above all else. It is imperative we learn to discern truth. If it is the secret news that only the guy in his basement knows it is unlikely to be truth. If it is the popular statement everyone is parroting, it is also likely to be less than truth. Truth has weight to it. It has sources, details, dates, names. It is not found on websites full of ads, click bate videos, and links. It is not likely that long post you read that you thought your friend wrote until you get to the end and it reads, “copy and paste.”
I remember as a teenager with my first e-mail account – Juno! I loved watching the green bar load across the screen – it would pause each time there was mail coming through – how exciting! I would share all the news that was not fit to print that came to my e-mail requesting I forward it. I thought I had access to special information everyone else needed to know. Several times, my Pastor, who I included on these long forwards, would beg me to stop sharing these false e-mails and perpetuating all these crazy stories which were not real news. The same thing happens a billion times a day on social media. We must filter our feed responsibly.
Our communication also requires a civility often lacking in the social media space.
CIVIL PUBLIC SQUARE
Os Guinness writes extensively on nature of the public square – that space where we convene for discourse on what is going on in our nation. The public square includes all forms of public communication.
What we want to have is a civil public square where freedom governs via self-control that guides our communication.
There are other forms of public squares that a considerably less desirable for good reasons.
The Naked Public Square is a State controlled public square where all forms of media are carefully controlled for the benefit of the government’s worldview to reign unencumbered. The ultimate form of this is seen in China or North Korea.
Then there is the Sacred Public Square where only one religious worldview dominates silencing all other views. We see this in Islamic nations. We also saw this when the Church persecuted Bible translators like Huss and Wycliff or anyone who had what the Church considered a heretical viewpoint.
We do not want a Naked or a Sacred Public Square. We want something more Christian – something that honors the dignity of people to have freedom of conscious, thought, religion, and worldview. Allowing for the plurality of thought does not embrace pluralism as a philosophy, but people as made in the image of God. When we practice civil discourse, respect for those we disagree with, well-researched responses to ideas being promulgated, and humility to possibly be the one thinking wrongly we protect the public square. Protecting the freedom to be wrong, protects the freedom to be right. It protects truth.
When we fail to self-govern, practice disrespect, and rob people of the freedom to think differently than we do, we participate in creating an environment that others will seize the opportunity to shut down.
There are many believers who want to have a Sacred Public Square where only Christian thought is accepted – where only one view of Christian thought is accepted. There are many in governmental positions who think the solution is a State governed Public Square. Or even more disconcerting, there are those Christians who want the State to govern the Public Square for the express purpose of PROTECTING Christian’s rights to free speech against Big Business. But that still puts the State in a position it should not be in. But the new problem on the scene is that Big Business can shut down some forms of communication as private businesses are like private persons who get to say what happens in their own business or home even when that business serves millions of people.
When we argue for the government to stop Mark Zuckerberg or to control the internet space to ensure we get to post what we want we are granting the government too much power over private industry and private businesses. We think it for a good reason, but what if those laws are passed and then the government uses that power to do its own controlling of that space? Or what if you are the business owner and the government is now controlling your freedom to run your business?
What we need is leadership in this nation that serves others instead of their own interest. But that cannot happen because they are forced to through new laws restricting their freedom. Using Facebook or Twitter is like walking into someone’s private retail store where you can be asked to leave if you are not respecting the store’s policy. People can also choose not to shop or consume goods and services where they do not feel the business is responsibly serving their needs. I understand that big business can be a more complicated situation because they have so much pull and controlling interest across the board. But that does not mean we want more government involvement.
You cannot get around the necessity for self-government. We do not want a State run Public Square, nor a Big Business run Public Square, nor a Sacred Public Square. We want a free and civil public square which can only happen with a Christianized people.
Not a Christian dominated people, but a Christian discipled people. John Adams, the second President of the United States, said that the American government was only for a wholly moral and religious people. It will not work in a pagan society.
Discipleship is the answer to our problems.
The solution for national crisis is discipleship of nations. America exists because The Reformation discipled the Europeans who settled here and established The United States of America. The Bible is our heritage. It is the worldview behind our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution, and our Bill of Rights. It is the foundation of our educational institutions. It is why we once had journalistic integrity. While the Bible was misused at times to justify slavery, it is the ONLY worldview that could and did end slavery.
No one came along and stole our Christian heritage from our nation. We abdicated it. Christians believed the myth that truth is common sense. We have come to believe we will know how to be good moral people because we were born human. Some Christians believe we will know and live out being good moral human beings when we receive Christ’s salvation. Those believers believe if we get people saved, they will also be good people and that will fix our nation. That is why they rally and pray for revival. We need more than revival, we need reformation.
Without a doubt we need more of Jesus in our nation. We cannot separate truth from Jesus, He is the Truth. But truth applied requires discipleship in every area of life. We do not know how to have a good marriage simply because we love Jesus. We do not know how to raise and educate children simply because we are saved, sanctified, and delivered. We need all the revelation God provided in His written Word and we need its real-world application in all that we apply ourselves to in life. This is discipleship of nations.
Discipleship is not just being taught spiritual doctrines or Christlikeness. It is being taught about all of life through Christ. When we do this, we begin to see the darkness give way to the light. We see the powerful impact of truth pushing back the decay and revealing the glory of God.
America is not too far gone for truth to work. If that were so, other nations that have never been discipled would never have a chance. The world was dark when Jesus entered. It was dark when the first apostles began to disciple. It was dark when Martin Luther nailed the 95 Thesis to the door of the Wittenberg Church. It was dark when William Wilberforce labored to end the slave trade. But the light came to bare on the darkness and truth shifted the atmosphere. America exists because light changed the darkness and created a free Christianized self-governed people.
Do not lose your Christian hope in these times. Remember history of how the truth has displaced the darkness in the past. We can do so again if we are harbingers of that hope filled truth.
BEING KINGDOM TRUTH AGENTS
A worldview is not complete if it is not able to be practiced at the kitchen table in real life. Here are some ways to participate practically as Kingdom Truth Agents.
- Pause before posting. Think about what you are saying. Take stock of your emotions. Ask yourself good questions: Are you writing with posterity in mind? Are you in a sensible frame of mind or are you punching keys with irritation? Are these words worth memorializing? Is your post true? Are you sure? Has enough time lapsed for accurate facts to have come to the surface? Is the source reliable?
- Turn off the Computer and Television. Remember there are other mediums of communication and learning than your computer screen. Read books. Study our history. Learn more about the worldviews in our nation. Learn why people think as they do. Do not assume their reason is malicious or nefarious.
- Disciple people. You do not need to go to seminary to disciple people. Nor is discipleship limited to teaching doctrine. Discipleship can be as simple as inviting someone over to cook with you and while you bake you talk about the Lord and His ways. Discipleship can be teaching someone to cook. It can be teaching gardening, reading, writing, sewing, history, mathematics, computers, personal life lessons, or reading a chapter of the Bible together and discussing it over Zoom. Discipleship is necessary in every area of life.
- Make Disciple Makers: If you want to do basic Christianity 101 Discipleship get a copy of my husband’s Go Book: Foundations. It is the script for discipleship. It will make the process easy for you. You can even do it over Zoom. It only takes an hour a week and you not only make a disciple, but a disciple maker who makes other disciples. Your one hour a week can multiply exponentially in the lives of those you disciple as they become disciple makers at the end of twelve weeks.
- Remember Life Before Facebook: Maybe we do not need a Facebook replacement, maybe we need real life again. Let us use Facebook as a supplement to real living not a replacement. We are not silenced if we cannot argue on Facebook. The Founders did not have Facebook. They did not even have internet, television, radio, telephones, or the telegraph! Letters could take months to reach people. But they had more time for careful thought and vibrant learning.
- Listen to People: Take time to get to know real people and what they think. Sometimes we go off what other people are telling us about what people think and we do not know any real people who think that way.
- Show Mercy: Be merciful to people who think differently or even perhaps wrongly. Do not be quick to judge those who are in error. We can judge what someone is saying as wrong, without condemning them for their error as if they know they are perpetuating a bold-faced lie designed to hurt people. Most people are not trying to hurt anyone – they are just thinking according to their worldview.
To reform a nation, you need to know what makes a nation truly great. Understanding America’s beginnings creates a pathway forward for all nations. From America’s first President, to the birth of capitalism, to the shaping of its institutions, Karla Perry shows the reader what makes nations flourish.
“Karla has important insights into some of the critical issues of our times. She has the ability to articulate them in an interesting and engaging way that is also practical.”
Rick Joyner, Founder and President, MorningStar Ministries
“An enemy is not needed to destroy a great civilization. It can self-destruct by forgetting the ideas that made its language, literature, family, education, politics, economy, laws and judiciary great. Many feel the need to re-form America that no longer knows what is love, marriage, divorce, male and female, family or nation. In this powerful premier, Karla Perry explains what made America great in the first place and how it can again become a blessing to its citizens and a light to the world.”
Dr. Vishal Mangalwadi, Author of The Book That Made Your World
“At no time in the last five hundred years has the understanding of reformation been so clearly and poignantly captured. Through exploring some of the greatest and most critical turning points of America’s history, Perry brilliantly articulates centuries of complex cultural progression into its simplest form. As leaders we must know and understand the time and season we’re in in order to wisely discern the critical role we can play in the formation of America’s destiny. The Reformation of America is a deep and genuine dive into the ripe landscape on which we now stand; poised for the ultimate fulfillment of a vision now thousands of years old. Though many have been waiting on the next great move of God, there are many who believe that God has been waiting on us. Now is the time for our courageous ‘yes’. We are about to be set as a nation high upon a hill. Perry passionately invites us into this calling.”
Anna Kramer, Founder, Commissioned
The Go Book: Foundations is one of the best discipleship tools for new and existing believers I have seen. It is comprehensive and sound biblically. I highly recommend The Go Book: Foundations for local churches or non-profit ministries who need a solid discipleship process.
OS HILLMAN Author, TGIF Today God Is First and Change Agent