Last Sunday as I was preparing for my Sunday School class on 2 Timothy 3, God put it on my heart to write a devotional series on righteousness. Normally Karen and I attend first service, but Karen was substituting in daycare, so we went to second service. My daughter Tiffany 'Harlan' Schreffler texted me during then (thinking I was already home) telling me I had to hear her pastor's message from that morning.
Karen and I just listened to it. Understand this young pastor is no more than 41 or 42. His name is Dr. Stephen Rummage and he is the senior pastor of Bells Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon, Fl, just east of Tampa. Dr. Rummage is the product of solid seminary teaching that came about after the Conservative Resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention.
Pastor Rummage's sermon dovetails nicely with what I wrote about this past week. Please share it far and wide.
Listen to sermon
We are a people without national virtue.
We are a people who have come to accept as the norm the postmodern thinking of “what is right for you is not necessarily right for me”; meaning there is no absolute truth. Without absolute truth, there is no morality ruler. In Understanding Evangelicals: A Guide to Jesusland this writer wrote:
It’s really quite a simple concept. When you have and agree with a fundamental standard to live by, outside of your personal opinion, you can actually determine whether something is right or wrong. Why? Because…absolute truth is something that is true at all times, to all people, everywhere. It’s like having a morality ruler; you can measure truth with it.
If there is no absolute truth then there is no chance for virtue. Random House Dictionary defines virtue as “moral excellence; goodness; righteousness.” Can America be a virtuous nation if we cannot agree on moral excellence, goodness, and righteousness? Without virtue America cannot last as its Founders envisioned.
President John Adams, while addressing the military, stated:
We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
Historians would be hard-pressed to find a time when avarice, ambition, or revenge were more misguided and unabated than today. Some would say that is the outcome of the free market system. The free market system is no more responsible for the societal greed than your television set is responsible for the filth it displays. To blame America’s greed on the capitalist system is the same tortuous logic that says guns are responsible for criminals and murderers using guns.
So where is the problem? It is with the citizen. We the People are the problem. While Barack Obama tried to tell America that “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for”, in actuality we are the problem we are trying to fix.
In the never-ending assault on religion and morality, primarily Christianity, America has set itself so far off course that it is almost impossible to imagine the country ever righting itself.