“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand,” said Jesus Christ.
Lincoln quoted Jesus in 1858 while running for senator of Illinois. The speech goes on talking about the evils of slavery and the need to abolish it. Lincoln said in the speech, “I do not expect the Union to be dissolved – I do not expect the house to fall – but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other.”
Those around Lincoln did not want him to give the “house divided” speech. They felt that if Lincoln talked of a division, he would doom his chances of becoming a senator. Lincoln believed what he was saying was the truth and therefore, should be said. Many of his colleagues also thought the country was divided, but they also felt winning the election was impossible if Lincoln pointed out the divide. Lincoln’s Senate race and his debates against Stephen A. Douglas are still famous, but most people forget the results of the election – Lincoln lost.
Except for the presidential election of 1860 with Lincoln’s victory, when states left the Union and the commencement of the Civil War, America has never seen so much division because of a national election.
The division in our nation seemed to explode when Donald Trump was elected president. Has it exploded or has it been a simmering pot that finally hit its boiling point and overflowed?
Roman 1:20-32 reveals the heart attitudes involved in the decline of an individual; apply these principles to a group or a nation, and you can see the downward spiral of a nation.
One of the items on the list is, “changed the truth of God into a lie” (Romans 1:25). We kicked the Bible out of schools and started telling children before kindergarten that the universe evolved over billions of years, instead of being created by God in six days. By doing this, we have changed the truth of God into a lie. The same passage says in verse 22, “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,” tie that in with Psalm 14:1 and Psalm 53:1, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. ...” Take God out of something, and all that remains are a bunch of wise fools.
Some might say a tiny minority did the removal of the Bible from schools. If this is true, then why have the vast majority – if those against the Bible were a tiny minority, it only stands to reason those in favor of the Bible were a vast majority – not been able to change it in the more than half a century that has passed?
The truth is the majority – not a vast majority yet, I hope – of Americans are on the downward slope of Romans chapter one.
Before I get letters about the Electoral College for what I am about to say, let me say this. I understand the Electoral College, I know why we have it, and I am 100 percent in favor of it. The following illustration is only to show that liberalism, not conservatism, is the opinion of the majority of Americans.
Since the beginning of the century, only one of the presidential elections has the more conservative candidate won the popular vote. In 2000, Gore won the popular vote, but Bush won the Electoral College. Obama won the popular vote in 2008 and 2012. Last year, Hilary Clinton won the popular vote, but Trump is president because he won the Electoral College. Only in 2004 with Bush’s victory has the more conservative choice won the popular vote. Also, if you go back to the 20th century, Bill Clinton won in 1992 and 1996. Except for Bush winning in 2004, you have to go back to 1988 for a conservative victory in the popular vote; nearly 30 years.
The third step, the last step, in the decline of a people as described by God starts with the phrase, “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge.” Think of the general condition of America; does that phrase fit?
Below is step three of the three downward spirals.
“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them,” Romans 1:28-32.
Preacher Tim Johnson is pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Ind. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit preacherjohnson.com.