They Hijacked Christianity

By: Jim O'Brien 

Hi Friend,

Few men are living whose intelligence equals that of Victor Davis Hanson. He knows American history, and his grasp of our culture’s unique attributes is profound. This country, founded on biblical principles, may account for the strong parallel between the state of the nation and the current state of Christianity.

About America, Victor Davis Hanson said that if we "reject the inheritance of past generations we will commit social and cultural suicide." That is a sobering statement. Hanson points out that a nation must school its citizens with a civic education. "They have to know what the constitution is. They have to know what the 1st Amendment is." We must know our Founding Fathers and why they established this country. Our children "don’t know who Lincoln was; don’t know who Andrew Jackson was."

Then Hanson makes the insightful statement, "If you don’t have models of your past, you’re going to forget it. We’re living in a country that has no resemblance to the visions of our founding fathers in the first 200 years of our history." What a sad statement about the condition of our country and the prognosis for the future. Hanson said, "If you lose the idea of citizenship then you don’t have a country."

Who are the people shaping the mind set of our country at this time in history? Hanson says it is the pop stars of the entertainment and sports worlds and the wealthy elite of major corporations. The danger is that "these people do not believe in the American Experiment." They deny the values that provided the foundation for their success.

Hanson believes that these people have "hijacked our country." Those are strong words—these icons of our day have stolen our heritage, but worse, they have erased the bright future for our children. Such words from the brilliant mind of a studied historian are shattering. But they are true.

A few years ago, John Lennon, of the Beetles fame, said, "Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue with that; I’m right and I will be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now." The arrogance of his statement incensed many people, but it revealed a severe flaw among Christian teachers. They have denied the history of God dealing with His people just like modern education ignores the truth of America’s founding fathers.

Ask a young person about Abraham, Moses, or Elijah; you may get a blank look. Many young people today do not know Noah or why he is important. Ask them to name the Ten Commandments or the covenant God made with Abraham, and they will think you are from another planet. To paraphrase Hanson’s words, if you don’t have the past models, you will lose the meaning of your faith. We’re living in a Christian culture that has no resemblance to the visions of our Patriarchs, such as Abraham and Moses.

You may hear ministers talk about the need to return to our beginnings, but they are talking about returning to Martin Luther, John Calvin, or the days of Constantine. Let us return to the days of Moses and Elijah. After all, Jesus promised that a man would rise up in the end to prepare the way for His return. He will be in the spirit of Elijah. What did Elijah teach? Whatever he taught, there is coming a man in the future who will preach the same message.

One of the most astounding miracles of the New Testament occurred when Jesus took a select few disciples to a remote place where Moses and Elijah appeared to them. These two Old Testament Prophets talked with Jesus, which rattled the mind of Peter. Later, the disciples reflecting on this extraordinary experience—a face-to-face conversation with Elijah—were inspired to ask why the teachers of the law taught that Elijah would precede the return of the Messiah. "Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things’" (Matthew 17:11). It’s startling enough to know that a man like Elijah will come to speak to Christians, but the phrase "will restore all things" is a telling statement. It says that Christianity has lost something. Today’s Christians do not resemble Elijah or Moses.

If our country is destroyed by denying the vision of the Founding Fathers, what will happen to our churches that deny the vision of the Prophets? God has a vision for the future that He shared with Abraham. It was passed on to Isaac, then Jacob and then Moses and the Prophets. Finally, that same vision was preached by Jesus Christ. But the message was hijacked.

Thankfully, Jesus promised that a group of people at the end time would hear Elijah’s message and respond. They are called the "elect," and Jesus said that "for the elect’s sake," the world will be saved (Matthew 24:22).

Until next time,

Jim O’Brien

November 17, 2023

Pastor, Church of God Cincinnati

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