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What Luther Says

'God Has Abandoned America!' Really?

Oh, the things I believed and taught as "Biblical truth" when I was an Evangelical!

As someone who used to be a big believer in anything and everything that John "Johnny Mac" MacArthur from Grace To You Ministries taught as Biblical truth, and who almost caused "shipwreck" (1 Timothy 1:19) to my faith because of some of those false teachings, I wanted to provide others who are like I was with a powerful antidote to the common viewpoint out there today that says that "God has abandoned America!" (a very American Evangelical sentiment no doubt) when, in fact, it is we who have abandoned Him.

Now, he's not the only one trying to sell this idea -- not by a long shot! But he is credited with being the most prominent and well-respected of the Calvinist-Reformed-Non Denominational camp of preachers out there who is waving the banner for this rather banal belief.

If you have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about or what I mean by any of this, then here's a brief email that one person wrote to the team of Pastors at Worldview Everlasting that could've been written by me or any one of you...

Dear Pastors,

Someone quoted John MacArthur as saying that God has "abandoned America." I took umbrage and offense to that claim. I asked, "When did this happen and where did He go!?!" If anything, many have abandoned God, especially among our government and decision makers. The people arguing the abandonment position never answered my questions and just blew me off as a kook and non-Christian. They were actually mad at me. Could you give me some good Scriptures to use in this case?

*- S

That belief is so common today, isn't it? But is it actually Biblical?

I know there was a time when I certainly believed that it was. What I didn't know was that I was wrong. What I've learned recently is how such an erroneous belief is actually rooted in Pietism too.

And so our media assault on Pietism continues today! Yes, I know there's no way you've had a chance to go through all 6-parts of Dr. Dan Voorhis' lecture series on Pietism that we published yesterday, but for those of you who are gearing up for a weekend of "binge" watching and listening (or those of you who have already seen that video presentation) here's another related group of lectures on the subject.

This is yet another phenomenal series of lectures and podcasts on Orthodoxy, Pietism, and Christianity in America, which comes to us courtesy of Worldview Everlasting which brought them all together into one place.

It will take some time to work your way through them, but it will be well worth it (it was for me!). This series of Bible study lectures presented by Dr. van Voorhis at Faith Lutheran Church in Capistrano Beach, CA were played by Chris Rosebrough on his Fighting For The Faith radio program.

In that sense, it's a bit redundant, but it includes commentary from Chris Rosebrough as he presents Dr. van Voorhis' lectures. The links to all of the audio files in this newest series are below. Please note that it will be important to listen to them in the listed order since the first set provides the foundation for the second.

Orthodoxy And Pietism -- Part 1

Orthodoxy And Pietism -- Part 2

Orthodoxy And Pietism -- Part 3

Orthodoxy And Pietism -- Part 4

Christianity In America -- Part 1

Christianity In America -- Part 2

Christianity In America -- Part 3

Christianity In America -- Part 4

Christianity In America -- Part 5

At first glance, you might assume that the titles of the above lectures might not seem to have anything to do with this "God has abandoned America!" business, but trust me when I say that each one of them will have something very important to say about this popular perspective as well as its eschatological and pietistic roots and tendencies.

If you're looking to put good, confessional, orthodox Christianity side-by-side with contemporary, mainstream, popular American Christianity (or what is really Pietism dressed up as Evangelicalism), then this entire series will effectively do that for you. However, be ready to have your presuppositions challenged particularly if you're coming at this from an Evangelical (or non-Confessional Lutheran) perspective.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, God hasn't abandoned America, because it is we who have abandoned Him, and we prove this each and every time we put our faith and trust in anyone or anything except Jesus Christ, the Word, and the Sacraments.

NOTE: As you know, I am a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is not consistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and point us back to) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray. Finally, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote on this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that category since I was a Lutheran-In-Name-Only at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a "Book of Concord" containing our Confessions even existed. In addition, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by common Evangelical concerns/criticisms that perhaps wouldn't be too big a deal for us Lutherans. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because we now have this disclaimer and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Finally, please know that any time we engage in interpreting a specific portion of Scripture exegetically, it will always follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible unless otherwise noted. Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Grace and peace to you and yours!


About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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