How God sees America in 2022

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How God sees America in 2022

October 17, 2022 -

The Denison Forum Podcast discusses timely news and relevant topics with biblical insight. Hosted by Dr. Mark Turman and featuring Dr. Jim Denison, plus guests on occasion, this weekly, discussion-oriented podcast will help Christians further develop a biblical worldview on current events, equipping them to be salt and light for Christ.

The Denison Forum Podcast discusses timely news and relevant topics with biblical insight. Hosted by Dr. Mark Turman and featuring Dr. Jim Denison, plus guests on occasion, this weekly, discussion-oriented podcast will help Christians further develop a biblical worldview on current events, equipping them to be salt and light for Christ.

The Denison Forum Podcast discusses timely news and relevant topics with biblical insight. Hosted by Dr. Mark Turman and featuring Dr. Jim Denison, plus guests on occasion, this weekly, discussion-oriented podcast will help Christians further develop a biblical worldview on current events, equipping them to be salt and light for Christ.

Dr. Jim Denison and Dr. Mark Turman discuss how God sees America, our culture’s individualism, midterm politics, whether God is judging America, and whether people can be moral without God.

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Show notes:

Dr. Mark Turman and Dr. Jim Denison discuss the Bible’s understanding of the nations, as well as the difference between individualism and collectivism (1:36). They talk about the unity of the individual and community in the Bible (9:37). Dr. Turman asks about the different political issues to consider in the 2022 midterm elections (16:36). They talk about God’s passive and active punishment of cultures, then consider if America is in that process of judgment (23:09). They talk to what extent Christians should isolate themselves from the culture (39:18). They talk about whether we can be moral without God (50:38). They end by challenging whether a nation can be “Christian” at all (54:41).

Resources and further reading:

About the hosts

Jim Denison, Ph.D., is an author, speaker, and the CEO of Denison Ministries, which is transforming 6.8 million lives through meaningful digital content.

Dr. Mark Turman is the executive director of Denison Forum. He received his DMin from Truett at Baylor and previously served as lead pastor of Crosspoint Church.


Transcribed by

Mark Turman  00:10

Welcome to the Denison and Forum Podcast. I’m Dr. Mark Turman. Sitting down again with Dr. Jim Denison, our cultural apologist and theologian. How are you today Jim? Doing well, Mark, how are you sir? Doing great looking forward to another conversation with you. It’s the fall, and my wife so it necessarily don’t know any topic releases Texas, you don’t know it.


Jim Denison  00:30

That’s right, it was fall for about two days.


Mark Turman  00:31

But but fall will certainly soon pass by us in short order. And it will be in short order. But hopefully, you know, things will get a little bit more mild and leaves will turn football will continue. And football, football. They used to play it on a professional level yesterday. But not in a while. But we’re grateful for that. That means things like Halloween, we did a podcast together about Halloween. And that means fall also brings elections periodically. And this time will be the midterm elections, those sort of those are coming up and very much dominating the news media and other things. But as we talk today, we want to take up a subject that actually is a title to a book that you wrote, which is an interesting, if not challenging title. It’s called How does God see America? Which even to raise the question and the question is okay, but to make an attempt to answer that question, did that, that sober you up a little bit bother you a little bit on several


Jim Denison  01:36

levels? You know, the first thing to do is to who am I to speak for God? Right? Who am I to say how God thinks about anything what God sees with anything, or even how God sees me or period? Yeah, yeah. And so very quickly, we decide to really the best question is, what would the Bible say about what God says about America? So when you measure American culture through the lens of the 10 commandments, and through the lens of revealed scripture, then you can get to an answer that isn’t so presumptuous as to say that I myself can speak for God, I certainly wouldn’t ever claim that, but God’s Word does, what we can do it in the context of biblical truth and biblical authority, right,


Mark Turman  02:09

and try to take that like said, Take that truth, take that lens and, and apply that to us as a nation is a pretty, pretty powerful, but pretty daunting thing as well. Because as scripture talks about this, you know, just even today looked up how many times the word nation appears in the book of Psalms, both in a positive and in a negative light. One of the positive expressions of that many people will probably recognize Psalm 33, which talks about the greatness of God, God is the Creator of all things, the source of all things. Psalm 3312, I hear many preachers use it on the Fourth of July, happiest the nation whose God is the Lord, the people, he has chosen to be His own possession. Talk a little bit before we get too far into this conversation about how you understand God sees and relates to us as a group, as a nation, because we tend in our hyper individualistic society to just think about, well, it’s just me and God. And he just deals with us in completely exclusively individualistic ways. When you think about God, relating to us, as a family or a congregation or as a country, how do you think about that?


Jim Denison  03:25

Well, it’s a great question. The word translated nations is typically in the Greek the word ethanol says, you know, people groups, we could say, not so much nations and geopolitical context, necessarily that wasn’t so much in play in the ancient world, as it is today, this idea of distinct nations with lines on maps and all those sorts of things quite so much. We’re typically in Empires. It’s the Babylonian Empire, the Assyrian Empire, the Greek Empire, you know, what we think of as nations today were parts of a larger collective in that sense. But there’s a larger dominant narrative, I think, behind your question, and that is that God does while he sees us as individuals, certainly, well, there’s no question we’re each created individually in His image and his likeness. While there’s no question we must individually trust Christ as Savior and Lord. God has no grandchildren, as they say, right, we must all independently individually make a decision to trust Christ, but where to live out this Christian life and a collective, every image of the Church of the New Testaments, a collective image, it’s a body with many members. It’s a vine with many branches, no solos in the book of Revelation, you take the coal out of the fire, and it goes out, keep it in the fire and it stays lit. Right. God understands that we’re to live our lives in this collective this body of Christ, where you are hands on, I’m fee to your eyes, and I’m yours and all of us together are what none of us can individually separately be. So we were made for that we were made to need each other. When the Lord said of Adam, it is not good for the man to be alone. I think he meant that not just in the context of marriage, but in the context of accountable community. And that community is what the church provides no place else can that be found in the culture.


Mark Turman  04:56

So and we talked about this in other podcasts that in history and even Today there are different cultures from ours where we tend to gravitate way down this continuum toward individualism. There are other cultures that emphasize the community. And that your value, your significance is only important as it relates to the community. Right?


Jim Denison  05:17

That’s something to understand, especially in the geopolitics of the day. You’re right, we’ve come out of a Western existentialism, we would say that says it’s all about you, Socrates says Know thyself, right. And from that we get this idea of the individual and the state exists as a means to Iran, in the communistic culture, its exact opposite. In the Chinese culture, its exact opposite, the individual is a means to the state. So the state can then bless the individual is the idea here. So some years ago, for example, the government decided to wanted to build a dam wanted to dam up a river and flood a valley to create a lake. Well, they had to display something like 250,000 people from that valley to do so. And they did it. They didn’t need to be voted into that they didn’t need the permission of the people that they have to ask, they didn’t ask for permission, right? They simply moved them, they built whole new cities, and moved more than a quarter million people without their permission out of a valley. Because it was the items to lose the ethos of the day, though, the meta narrative of the day that the state is at the end of the day, what knows best about the individual. And if in fact, we will, we will submit to the state will come out the better for it. So the kind of crazy calculus here is, is that the Hindu individual serves the states of the state conserve the individual setting, at least how it’s supposed to work.


Mark Turman  06:32

So kind of a contrast to that. So here in the Dallas area, in the part where I live, we’re just now filling a new reservoir that has taken decades of conversation. And there’s they’re not anywhere close to 250,000 people living in this area, where this river is being dammed and this reservoir is being built, okay. And there. But they have taken decades to talk about this, to study this to consider every worm and bird and animal that might be affected. This was this was not the government just walked in and said, We’re doing this, we don’t really care what the rest of you think about it. That’s the difference in our country compared to something that might happen in China.


Jim Denison  07:17

And that’s what the Chinese would point to in saying that their system is superior to ours. They speak of it as managed capitalism, they would say that their response to COVID has been superior dyers, I think you can dispute that. But that would be their claim, they could say that their response to the Great Recession, back in 2009, was superior to ours, because they have the state run capitalistic system. Now I’ve been to China enough. And I’ve known enough Chinese leaders here to know that the way I’m describing it is seldom the way they’re experiencing it, that one of the major challenges always with socialism and communism is it overlooks original sin, it overlooks the simple fact of sinful humanity. One of the things the founders understood when they established our democracy is that we needed to rule ourselves not because we’re worthy of self rule, but because no one of us can be trusted with power over the rest of us. So they created checks and balances. They said, We can’t trust the power of a king or an emperor or a General Secretary of the Communist Party, because they’re just as fallen as we are. So we need checks and balances and equal branches of government and no one person having undue authority over others and then a consensual morality that would bind all of that together. Well, the Chinese system overlooks that. That’s why there’s so much corruption. That’s why there’s so much graft. When I was there. Some years ago, I was asked to do a series of discussions of business ethics. And so in the conversation early on, as well, what would you like to discuss, and they said, We need to talk about corruption, because his corruption is absolutely rife all through our system here. It’s all about bribery. It’s all about the right official that you bribe to get this done to get this done. And the outside world looks at it as a managed economy. But inside our context, it is not. It’s as chaotic as anything you see over where you are something doesn’t work that way, because we’re all fallen human beings. But back to your original point, it is a very different meta narrative that would at least claim that the collective is the means of raising the individual if the individual serve the collective, we have the opposite over here that says the collective is a means to the end of the individual. Only so far as the individual wishes it to be so well, the kingdom of God has that third option that says we’re all part of a body that is ruled by ahead. And Jesus is the head, not you, not me, if we’ll submit to Him, we will experience individual and collective in the in the healthiest manner. It’s like putting a chair in the room and everybody at the walls, the closer they get to the chair closer they get to each other. And that’s how Jesus I think intends this riddle to be solved.


Mark Turman  09:37

So because that was gonna be my question next, which when we come as Christians to read the Bible, should we enter into it from an interpretive standpoint, understanding that it is more presenting itself as a presentation to us in community or as a communal expression or in an individualistic kind of way? Or would you say that the Bible Well perfectly balances these two things.


Jim Denison  10:02

And I’d say the answer is yes, you know that it’s both. So when we think let’s say, for instance, about Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he wrote that letter not to individuals so that they could download it on their iPhones and read it individually, but so that it would be read orally to the congregation as they are gathered together, we have to understand it in that context, I didn’t have chapters and verses, as you know, for centuries to come after that. It’s a single manuscript that somebody is standing up and reading to the church


Mark Turman  10:27

as a letter as a letter, but not a letter to an individual. That’s right.


Jim Denison  10:30

That’s why it’s to the Philippians. Now, we also have letters to Timothy and Titus and Philemon with individual letters as well. But most of the letters were written to the collective, the gospels were written to the collective to accomplish a collective purpose. And so I’m going to read them individually, of course, but I’m going to read them in the context and the accountability of the collective. So the balance here is on the one side, I interpret Scripture, according to accepted principles of hermeneutics of biblical interpretation. I look at grammar at history at theology and practice their ways that the Holy Spirit will guide me to interpret scripture. But then I’m to submit my interpretation of Scripture to the collective as well. I’m to see if the collective agrees of this is what Christian tradition would say, No, I don’t want to go so far as to make tradition on equal authority with scripture. That’s what’s been done, at least in the medieval Catholic, right. That was his concept that God gave the Bible through the church. So the church is the means by which the Bible’s to be interpreted. So it’s the ex cathedra statements that the Pope but it’s the Creed’s, and all of that that are equal with Scripture and the means by which scripture to be interpreted. I don’t want to say that, but neither do I want to be this existentialist over here, who says, I need to pay no attention to church tradition in history as though history started with me. So there’s a balance here, I read Philippians itself was written to me, but I read in the context of the family of God, the body of Christ, as it’s written to us. That’s why preaching scripture happens in the collective. That’s why the collective reading the Bible together in Sunday school classes, and Bible study fellowships, is so important. We do it together and individually. And the Holy Spirit speaks to me and the Holy Spirit speaks to us. And all that works together in his problem,


Mark Turman  12:07

because it’s important for us to realize, especially again, in our highly individualistic society, that we talk about one of the cultural shifts, that is a real problem for for our culture, is that we have this idea that all truth is personal and subjective. And if you apply that too far, as a Christian, you can say, Well, my my Christian truth, my Biblical understanding, is whatever I make it out to be. And that’s where the the Bible comes in with this collective idea. That no, we help each other, encourage each other and even hold each other accountable by coming to Scripture together, and realizing that it’s a relatively new thing in the long run of have faith in church history, that you could have the Bible on your phones right or in your hand even available to you to hold. That’s right. You know, most Christians that have lived throughout 2000 years of history record, they had to go to the gathering tried to hear the letter there wasn’t there weren’t ready copies being made for everybody to take home and study.


Jim Denison  13:10

Now the Gutenberg Press changed a lot, didn’t it? But even then, when the Gutenberg Press made it possible to have a printed copy, they were so expensive, that most people couldn’t afford one, even if they were able with the technology of the day to have one. I’ve loved going to Oxford University. I’ve been several times over the years to teach doctoral seminars for Dallas Baptist University, and on occasional getting the Bodleian Library. There’s a part of the Bodleian Library where they have their oldest manuscripts that are in the library. Some of them are 1000 years old. They’re phenomenal to see and just be in the prisons. They are chained to the shelves, just to make doubly certain no one is able to take them out of the room. Well, back in the day, there was a thing called the Chained Bible. It was one of the first English translations of Scripture. It had to be chained to the pulpit, because people wanted so desperately to have it for themselves, that there was a there was the threat of theft, and they literally had to chain it to the pulpit. I wish we were there again. I wish we were in a day where people wanted God’s Word so desperately that it had to be chained to a pulpit. I will always remember I was in Malaysia doing mission work in 1979. They gave us paperback, Malay new testaments to pass out. A lot of the folks in these churches had never had a New Testament in their language that was theirs. So this first church we were, where we were serving, we were handing these out, there was an elderly lady at the end of the line, she made her way to the front, I handed her this paperback, New Testament in her language, she took it in her hands, her hands trembled, tears came to her eyes, and she held it to her heart. And I thought about all my Bibles at home gathering dust, you know, so there ought to be that reverence for the word but but more to your point. It’s a recent phenomenon that you even could have a paperback, Malay New Testament, in your language to put in your hands. And so this idea that I can interpret this as though it were only written for me, with no context and this is just my truth and I I have my truth and you have your truth is absolutely counter to what Christians have thought for 20 centuries and Jews for 35 to 40 centuries before that, for me as one example, to come forward and say, Look, we now know that Paul is a homophobe, I heard a bishop once actually say that, we now know that. So we therefore can disregard or reinterpret Paul statements relative to same sex relationships is me coming forward and saying history starts with me. And 40 centuries of tradition has been wrong. And I alone know the truth here, because this is my truth. And you have no right to finally come to me and me alone. I hope you never tried that in medicine, right? I hope you’ve never tried that in engineering. I help those who are building rockets never decide that their truth is the truth when it comes to breaking laws of engineering and physics. In no other context, would we say that you wouldn’t say that with food preparation. You wouldn’t say that in any other dimension of your life, that I have my truth, and I can impose it on you. And the history is wrong. And history starts with me. But in this area, tragically, we have this lie that has taught us there’s no such thing as a lie. And that unfortunately has has been such an issue that this kind of conversation is important in balancing that against the collective in a way that doesn’t make the collective replace scripture, but the means by which scripture is to be interpreted together, we talk a lot about the priesthood of all believers. And we sometimes think of that in the individual. I think it ought to be understood in the collective as well, the priesthood, not just of every believer, but the priesthood of all believers, together, together, we are priests with each other, as well as individually, and holding that balance is really important.


Mark Turman  16:36

Yeah, so lots of lots of great applications that we could take out of this. One of those is, is this is a great reason why you need to be in a local congregation, and you need to be in a small group within that local congregation, so that you are listening to your pastor, and and doing as the Bereans did, who went back and said, okay, is is they searched the scriptures that says, to make sure that what they were hearing, aligned with the Word of God, my favorite church in the New Testament, and then get into a live group and said, talk about what you have engaged in with Scripture and with the spirit on on an individual basis, but then come together, and have these conversations so that you’re again helping each other. Rather than claiming in a very prideful way. Oh, God has given me in me alone, this, this unique and correct, understanding that the nobody else. There’s a lot of problems with that. So rather, well. Let’s go back to a little bit more aligned with our topic. How does God see America we were talking as a team in recent days about the upcoming midterm election and the conversation kind of moved to well, what are people going to be voting on? What will what will be driving their decision when they go to vote. And because of what’s happened in recent years, more people are likely to vote, more people are likely to vote in a midterm than perhaps ever. And so we were talking about that we kind of centered on about five topics, I want to get your initial reaction, we’re not going to chase these out. But you may want to rearrange them or add to them. So when I think, okay, what are we going to vote on in a couple of weeks? I think these are probably going to be the things that are top of mind, just this broad category, all things Donald Trump in just, he is a figure within political American life that cannot be ignored. And as I wrote recently, whether you love him or hate him, he’s a factor to be contended with no doubt. And that will be something on people’s minds election integrity that we’ve actually been talking about for almost a year. This whole idea, can we trust this process,


Jim Denison  18:43

and on both sides, and on both sides, that’s not just Republican election deniers when Brian Kemp was elected governor in Georgia, there were a number of people that denying the authenticity of his election right there the credibility of his election. We’ve seen this for a long period of time now. And a lot of that is because the elections are so close. There was a period of time when you have what were called landslide elections or elections were beyond any margin of error. You know, at least the national elections were now we’re at a place where we’re so divided, there’s such divisive pneus. And it’s so easy to believe any way that the technology can be hijacked inside all this why every day are hearing of servers being hacked and technology being compromised, that sort of thing, that it’s not hard to believe that it’s so close anyway, that just a few votes would have made the difference here or there. And so we are seeing that on both sides, and I’m afraid we’ll continue to,


Mark Turman  19:29

like I said, it is a big, big issue for our form of government and for the safety of our republic. So all things Trump election integrity, the economy, I remember the very first time I ever voted in election, I heard this phrase, it’s the economy stupid James Carville said that he was always the economy. Right? And with inflation being what it’s been and that’s always top of mind. I think foreign affairs are much more on people’s minds because the pandemic has made us aware of just how close Post global issues are now that anything that happens anywhere else in the world can reach back to us. I can remember when the pandemic was first becoming something we were aware of, I saw a picture a satellite picture, where people were wondering what’s going on in China, they’re looking at all these machines, they’re building something in rapid fashion. And we found out they were building a hospital as fast as they could put it up. And we knew that because of radar or satellite technology, and so now we know, a microscopic virus and a whole lot of other things can happen way far on the other side of the world and still affect us in a way quicker than


Jim Denison  20:42

Well, energy prices, gas prices, because of Putin invading Ukraine. No, you know, and the degree to which that’s affecting the global economy. And we’ll continue to do so. And so that’s how those two things come together the economic and the geopolitical to be sure.


Mark Turman  20:55

Right. So we’re aware of that. And then I think, because of the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade, in the dobs decision, that’s very much whether the media is driving that more than they should, we could talk about that or argue about that. But it’s still top of mind, we no doubt when you come to election, so those, and I even put them in order, and you may not agree with my order, you may want to add different things to the list all things Trump election integrity, the economy, foreign affairs, and abortion rights. Do you think that’s what this election is going to be pretty much about?


Jim Denison  21:28

I think you’re right, I can’t add anything to the list, I think that wouldn’t really be on that same level. From a national point of view. The only point I would make and you’d already know this, of course, is you’d rearrange that order, depending on where you are. You know, there are parts of the country where abortion rights are more important than there are others in terms of the geopolitics of that area, the cultural ethos of that area, where you’re seeing that rise and significance are places where economic issues are more oppressive than there are other places in the country. And there are places where election integrity is less an issue than it is in other states. And so it will depend on where you are as to the order of those, but I certainly think those five are going to be on the ballot on one level or another, either because that’s the desire of those who are behind them, or the other side is using them to accomplish their own purpose as they see it.


Chris Elkins  22:17

How would the world change if Christians led the way and civility? Can we learn to disagree agreeably with those who don’t share our faith? Can we speak the truth in love without sacrificing either? Cultural theologian Jim Dennison discusses these topics and more into books were releasing in our let’s be civil book bundle for a limited time and for your donation of $50 or more, you may request this bundle of an updated print edition of how does God see America and an immediate digital download of respectfully I disagree how to be a civil person in an uncivil time. You may also request only the printed edition of how does God see America for a donation of $10 or more, visit daily today to request your books.


Mark Turman  23:09

Right. So Dennison forum is very diligently, nonpartisan, so that’s right. We’re not advocating for a candidate or slate of candidates or anything like that. We’re just trying to help people think through these are the things that are on our minds, and how do we think biblically about them? So in the book that you wrote, how does God see America, one thing you take up is this idea of God’s judgment, both God’s passive judgment, God’s active judgment is the terminology that you use for that. So we have all these issues, economy, political divisiveness, partisanship, wars on the European continent and in other places. How can we tell the difference? Do you think between bad things happening because they are actively or directly God’s judgment, and versus they are just the outworking of the natural consequences of sin? Explore unpack this idea of God’s passive judgment that like said, he just set the world up in such a way that sin is going to result in certain consequences. And then this idea of a more active kind of judgment from God, can you kind of unpack that for the


Jim Denison  24:18

glad to try to do that and actually would add a third category? If I could decide that as well. I would say a first category would be of sin of suffering. Let’s say that if you want to put evil and suffering in three categories, the first one would simply be living in a fallen world. The law of gravity exists apart from human agency apart from morality, you know, the fella did my dissertation on Julian Victor Lambie casually said, Amanda jumps out of a 10 storey window doesn’t break the law of gravity illustrates it. Well, that may or may not be a moral issue that he fell out of the 10th story, you know, and gravity is nonetheless a reality in his life. So we live in a natural world we live in a world where there is the consequence of natural law that is often experienced as evil and suffering apart from moral agency or I would say that judgment of GOD per se, then now we get to a second category, the pass of judgment of God. And this is for God allows the consequences of our wrong choices, where God doesn’t intervene in those spaces. But God allows that if we don’t repent of them, God will allow us to experience the consequence of them. This is a parent who tries to shield their child from the consequences of the wrong choices, to the degree that we can, but sometimes realize is, look, they’re not going to learn from this, unless they experienced this, I’m never going to allow my four year old the consequence of jumping out on a street with cars coming, I’m just not going to allow them to experience that consequence. Right, right. But I might allow him to experience the consequence of let’s say not, I’d say he’s a first grader and he just blows off his homework, and get scolded the next day at school. And I could do the homework for him, I could keep reminding him day by day to get his homework done. Or I can decide to let him pay the price at school, in a belief that he may not learn from this until he asked us over the consequence of


Mark Turman  25:54

like the 12 year old who doesn’t do his homework and gets a zero but but a parent goes up there and tries to right, intervene and convince the teacher to give him more time or to let him have some other direction so as to make up for this.


Jim Denison  26:09

There’s oftentimes I think, more so when we get into heaven, I think we’ll see much more than we can on earth, all the times God has protected us from ourselves. All the times his angels have intervened all the times that His providence have stepped in and kept us from the consequence of our decisions. But if we won’t repent of them, then my logic in this passive judgment of God is that God will then have to teach us repentance by allowing us the consequences of our choices. And I think that’s clearly where America is today. That’s a Romans one sort of thing where God gave them over to the results of their improper loss and their improper sin, all the decisions that we’re making God allowed them to have the consequence of that as Romans one.


Mark Turman  26:48

Okay, so let me let me interject right there and just ask you a question. Oftentimes, when I’ve read Romans one, I’ve wondered, that phrase God gave them over is that, would you say that that is like God, like totally abandoning a person or a group of people or like an even an entire culture, just completely abandoning them forever? Or simply to allow them to experience the consequences of their choices? For a season of time? It’s


Jim Denison  27:16

a great question. And I think it’s a sliding scale. Years ago, I heard someone say, God deals with us as gently as he can, or as harshly as he must. And I really think that’s right. So in this context, when God gave them over, I think that can mean God allowed them to experience consequence of their sin, and they repented and they came back. But if they won’t repent, then he goes further down the road and further down the road and further down the road. I don’t think he ever abandons individuals so fully that he simply gives up on us. I don’t think God ever gives up we give up on him. I don’t think he gives up on us. But I do think that we have seen all through geopolitical history, places where it would appear anyway, that God allowed an entire nation to fall allowed a consequence of their sin, there is no Soviet Union, today, the USSR does not exist. Germany under the Third Reich does not exist, you can make that argument that God will allow the consequence of your choices, even to a place that a nation could ultimately fall as a result.


Mark Turman  28:13

And as you’re thinking about that, I’m just thinking, jumped into my mind, biblically, the story of Jonah and in the Ninevites sure that that’s a pot both a positive and later negative example, right? That’s right, there’s there are no more Ninevites that we know about. But in the story of Jonah, they actually God is ready and announcing to them that he has turned them over to their sin. And they do what we would hope would happen in any culture, including ours now, which is they repent, to Jonah’s absolute dismay, they repent, and God does show them grace and mercy, as he always will. And then later, they this group, this same group of people and their ancestors, decide to go back away from God. That’s right. And they experience the judgment of God


Jim Denison  29:03

is that and that’s, again, that sliding scale, I think, you know, and all of that still within the passive. I think judgment of God can be seen in that way. I see it in the context of consequences for behavior. If I’m asking, Okay, how do I know this is the passive as opposed to the active judgment of God? I think the passive is I can draw a direct causal line between this behavior and that consequence, I’m smoking and I got lung cancer, I got drunk and I smashed my car, I can see consequence of behavior that God allows so as to bring me to repentance. You know, that would be all that category of, of passive judgment, I think, where there’s a sin factor, whereas in that first category, it’s gravity. It’s natural law that can produce suffering apart from moral agency, you know, the second category would be passive. Well, if that doesn’t work, if consequences of sin do not cause me to stop sinning, then we may step into that third category of the act of judgment of God. And now you see God going beyond consequences of behavior to introducing acts of God Each moment, you’re thinking about the Exodus, for instance, and God bringing hailstones that had never been seen before in human history and God bringing natural disaster that was certainly not a simple consequence of Pharaoh’s heart and heart and of the sins of the people. Revelation is filled with absolute clear act of judgment of God. I’m thinking of King Herod in Acts chapter 12, who when the people proclaimed to him, this is the voice of a God, not of men, it says he was eaten by worms and died. Well, that wasn’t an direct line consequence of his pride. That was a direct, I think, intervention of God, that would be that act of judgment of God, where he introduces punishment, that is not simply a consequence of wrong choice. That would be that third category of act of judgment, I think.


Mark Turman  30:48

So do you see indications yet that we have moved into this phase or this form of active judgment?


Jim Denison  30:59

That’s always the question. It really isn’t there. Again, as I said earlier, in writing the book, how does God see America, you want to be so careful not to commit the sin of presumption that I know the mind of God and I can somehow speak for him apart from biblical revelation. But I do think there’s a biblical pattern that helps answer the question. In Scripture, when I see God, stepping into that active space, especially he warns the people first, he sends the prophets, he sends Jonah 40 days and Nineveh shall be destroyed. Jesus warning Jerusalem, this temple is going to be destroyed. You see, Jeremiah warning, the Babylonians are coming, the Babylonians are coming. You see God raising a prophetic word, to warn people of consequence of their deliberate decisions of their deliberate sin. I’m not as aware of that, in the categories we think of in this context today. I’m not aware, for instance, that you can draw a line from the Coronavirus pandemic to specific human sin. Now, you could make that argument relative to a lab in China if you want to go that direction. But I mean, in terms of me getting the virus because I sinned, and this is a consequence, right? The same way smoking can cause lung cancer, I don’t, I don’t see it any kind of causality. There


Mark Turman  32:06

are people tried to draw that line in the 80s. During the AIDS epidemic, which was a horrific,


Jim Denison  32:11

tragic thing to do. Far more heterosexuals died of AIDS and homosexuals, dead children dying of AIDS because of blood transfusions. And so this idea that AIDS is God’s judgment on homosexuals would only fit into that category of hearing eating by worms. If aids only came to homosexuals, if there had been the active prophetic warning first, if you don’t repent, this is going to happen. And if after repenting, it didn’t happen, they repented in Nineveh, and they were spared, right. Well, none of that obviously applies to the AIDS epidemic, then or today, you saw the same thing with Hurricane Katrina. And people saying that’s God’s sin, a God’s judgment on the sins of New Orleans, where you’ve got to make the same argument when hurricanes attack any place on any coast, if you’re going to make it there in New Orleans, and they’re not doing that they’re being very selective as they’re speaking for God. That’s a presumption we want to be very careful about.


Mark Turman  33:03

Yeah, so a lot of very significant thinking that needs to be applied here and, and not be flippant. That’s right, in trying to answer some


Jim Denison  33:13

wise as serpents harmless as doves. And we have to keep both of those together. Right.


Mark Turman  33:16

So part of what you talked about in the book, our categories of evaluation, they categories could be summarized in this way. Do people respect God’s truth? Do people respect each other? And do people respect God of those three? Is there one area in particular where you think America is doing well? Is there one of these that you think we’re most in violation of?


Jim Denison  33:42

It’s great question. I think we’ve gone too far, almost in respecting each other, to a place now where individual radical autonomy has come to a place where if I declare myself to be female, I’m allowed to swim against other biological females. And nobody dare challenge their challenge that because if you do, you’re being as bigoted and prejudiced as a kk k member burning crosses in front yards. And that analogy, that direct analogy is being drawn by the Senate these days. And so that would be a place where respecting the individual has come at the expense of the collective. And we’re seeing that more and more as one example, that’d be a place where radical autonomy has gone so far, that it’s ascending, as you could say, against the other two categories against truth and against the God of truth. The reason I think that our greatest sin is against God, even more than against his word, is because if we respect God will automatically respect his word. It’s because we’ve lost any awe of God. We’ve lost any sense of the vertical in our culture. No one is terrified of God. No one’s afraid of dying and going to hell. I think I saw a survey the other day where 2% of Americans were afraid they might be in hell. Somebody did a survey after Mother Teresa died if I’m remembering right 78% of Americans thought Mother Teresa was in heaven, but 87% On that same survey thought they would go to heaven. And so we’re in a culture that’s absolutely lost any fear of hell? any fear of condemnation or domination and really any fear of God. And when we don’t fear God, then we don’t hear his word. If we don’t trust him, we don’t trust His Word. And I think we’ve gotten so horizontal in our commitment to individuals, that we’ve lost any concept of the vertical.


Mark Turman  35:16

I think there was a book by this title, you probably remember if there was whatever became of sin crawl manager, yeah, that we’ve that we’ve just basically wanted to eliminate this category. Right? Because of the accountability that it would put in front of us.


Jim Denison  35:32

That’s right. And the objective moral standard, it requires, right that I absolutely want to project as existing.


Mark Turman  35:37

And what goes out, one of the things that grows out of that is chaos, the kind of increasing levels of chaos that we see. See growing out of that my


Jim Denison  35:46

son Ryan and I were talking about that this morning, on my way up here to the office. So his backgrounds in church history, he has a PhD in church history. And we were talking about the awakenings in American history, and the degree to which and had never thought about this before he said it I’m really encouraged him to write this, the degree to which the French Revolution impacted the founders of the American Revolution. And the French Revolution, Ryan was making the argument he’s exactly right about this, what she saw was democracy without morality. What you saw was an absolute commitment to radical state run democracy, that is not only removing the royalty by guillotine and other means, but dethroning the church and enthroning reason. And you saw the blood on the streets, you saw the absolute chaos that resulted. And in Ryan’s belief, a lot of the founding fathers in America became far more committed to consensual morality, as time went on, you didn’t see it in the 1770s, nearly as much as the 1780s. In the 1790s. You didn’t see George Washington making the same statements earlier in his leadership, as you do in his farewell address in 1796, democracy morale of all the priests, predispositions essential to democracy, religion, morality, are indispensable supports. So Ryan’s putting that together and suggesting that maybe even the founders saw what happens when you have democracy without morality in France,


Mark Turman  37:06

because you could see how that would play out in history, right, in the sense that the French come to help the colonists right in their stuff, and we would not be the one without their help without their intervention, or, you know, we, as Americans, sometimes, you know, turn our nose up at the French these days. But we need to remember our history there. And we were in this struggle for independence with, with our relatives, basically, the superpower in the world that the biggest superpower in the world at this time, and, you know, all this experience that we’ve had with the queen recently, and mesmerized by that, it was the French who came and said, We’re gonna stand with you. I tried. And, and you have to wonder, over those couple of decades, particularly, as you have the Declaration of Independence, and then the Constitution and the government’s being formed, and this experiment is getting underway, you have to wonder about the back and forth communication going on between George Washington and many others. Thomas Jefferson, Ambassador to France, Benjamin Franklin, right? You know, we know that. And you you’re very well read when it comes to Thomas Jefferson, he loved a different fluent in French, love the French people, and you have to wonder how they were watching these things play out, and they’re like, Okay, well, we don’t want that kind of demands,


Jim Denison  38:25

right? And the French looking at us and saying, We can do that without the church. We’re gonna do they’re better than you. Yeah. Cuz in their culture, they saw the oppressiveness. And I mean, this unkindly, but they thought the Catholic Church to be extremely oppressive in their culture, even more so than the Church of England was the Anglican Church, in the British context. And so they said, we want the same democracy you’re doing but we don’t want the church to be any part of it. And now the founders are looking at that, and seeing what happens when you have democracy without morality. And my point to Ryan is he was connecting those dots for me this morning was to say, you know, that’s a great way of asking the answering the question, what’s the future of American democracy without morality? If we don’t have a great awakening? What’s our future look like? Well, if you look at what’s happened in recent years, the blood in the streets, the riots, the street riots, anarchy, all of that, that looks a lot like the French Revolution. I hadn’t thought about it till today. But you could see how that past could on some level predict the future of the democracy without morality today,


Mark Turman  39:18

and we’ve maybe paused it for a couple of centuries. But now there are pressures and movements and people who are saying, No, we need to move more toward that idea that the French pursuit That’s right. Yeah. Which is interesting, interesting and scary. Frightening. Yes. And leads me to my next question, which is, Christians ought to be the most hopeful people anywhere, because, well, we have all kinds of reasons for hope and for joy, regardless of what the cultural context is that we’re living in. Now, obviously, we can be more happy when circumstances are more favorable, more biblical, but there are many, many within the Christian family that would say, you know, our culture in America and maybe even Western Europe is just too far gone. And what we need to do is we need to withdraw, we need to circle the wagons, we need to huddle up. And we need to just let it burn itself out and, and just kind of protect ourselves and like, again, circle the wagons because they don’t want us around anyway. What would you say to people that that’s their mentality, let’s let’s just they don’t want us to let’s just withdrawal let them go do their thing. And when they finally get burned out enough or burned down enough or desperate enough, if they ask for help, we’ll come back?


Jim Denison  40:40

It’s a great question. It really is. And it’s a thing that you can understand. And there’s some truth in that model. There really is. When rod Dreher wrote his book, The Benedict option, some years ago, he was making an argument like you’re describing, not so much that we need to withdraw from the culture just because the culture doesn’t want us. But for the sake of protecting the witness that we have, let’s not assume that our kids won’t go the direction the culture is going. Just because they go to church on Sunday doesn’t mean they’re not going to school on Monday. And so he would make the argument back to Benedict in the monastic movement, that for the sake of preserving the Christian environment, the Christian community, we need to pull back from the secular and preserve this movement for the day when this movement can thrive again, or like otherwise it will pressure us into compromise, and then we’ll lose it entirely. And we will have no way like the monastics have moved out to the desert to preserve their faith and preserve their church and then one day they could go back into the culture. Well, that’s an idea that he’s moving toward and a lot of people that are adopting that you’d see it in expressed in the homeschooling movement, you’d see it expressed in Christians gathering in community, I mean, physical community, Christians coming together, I’m seeing this happening more and more, and deciding, you know, we’re just going to live with


Mark Turman  41:42

each other here. It’s like x building neighborhoods, or building a town or exactly buying property together, doing communal


Jim Denison  41:48

gardens together, doing communal insurance together, doing communal health care together an ancient education together with the homeschool and decide where you know, we’re going to be a collective unto itself. We’re going to do this for the sake of our kids and our grandkids. And we’re going to do this for a missional purpose of preserving the gospel for the day when it can be welcomed to the culture again, there’s some argument for that. There’s some truth in that. I mean, there were times Jesus withdrew, went to a lonely place to pray. When Jesus went up on the mountainside and prayed all night, there’s an impulse there that we ought not forget, John Stott was asked the basic discipline of a spiritual life. And he said, it was an hour a day, a day, a week and a week, a year, that he had to spend alone with God. Well, he did not marry. And that made it made it easier for him to do it quite like that, because he didn’t have family responsibilities. But that’s part of the answer to the question is to endorse that idea that we need to make certain that we spend those times unto ourselves with just the Lord or with just our family, so that we don’t lose the faith before. It’s too late would be one answer. But on the other side of it, and this is where the Dreier kind of Benedict option troubles me just a bit. And I’m going further than he meant to go with this, if we’re not careful, we’ll keep the salt in the salt shaker will keep the light under the basket, we’ll assume God’s providence for ourselves, will make the decision. Look, the Great Commission doesn’t apply to us acts when it doesn’t apply to us. We here decide the culture so far gone, the culture is so broken, it’s so doesn’t want us that we’ll just let it go. We’ll let it run itself into the ground. And in fact, we’re preventing it from the consequences of its decisions back to our earlier discussion. We’re getting in the way of God’s judgment here. And until they learn that if you wouldn’t drag the prodigal home, he’d go right back to the field the next day. So we really have to just pull back and let them have the consequences of their decisions. And that will teach them the lesson that will turn them back kind of like the prodigal who comes to himself, well, I don’t get to make that decision for God. I don’t get to decide when I’m no longer salt, and I’m no longer light. I can trust God’s providence with that. And so I believe it’s a both and the whole on the one side, Mike in a cannibal community, as we were saying earlier, is more important than it’s ever been having times to pull aside from the culture are more important. Fasting is a discipline we need to apply not just to food, but technology, and to culture and to popular culture and social media, and all of that, I’d say that’s more important than it’s ever been. But that’s also for the sake of preserving the salt so it can be more effective out of the salt shaker and refining the light. So it can be even stronger when you get it out from under that basket. So it’s a both and it’s a breathing into breathe out. It’s a receiving to give. And I believe we have to keep both of those in balance, intention and trust the results to God. I remember hearing about the time that Mother Teresa was opening an orphanage in New York City. And a press conference broke out as so often happened around here and someone one of the reporters shouted at her the question, how will you measure the success of this? And that tiny Albanian nun forefeet 11, I think, stared into the glare of the cameras and smiled and said, Our Lord never spoke of success. He spoke only of faithfulness and love. And I believe she’s right about that. So let’s make certain that our hearts are with our Lord and then let’s express those hearts to the culture and trust what happens to the consequences up to God. What we don’t want to adopt, I think is the kind of eschatology that says the world has to get worse of the Lord will return. That, especially in the 80s was a pretty popular kind of way of understanding. Remember? Well, that, again, is me getting in the way of God’s providence, I think I need to trust God with that, with what the future will be how that will work. And I just want to make certain that when I stand before God, he says, Well done good and faithful servant.


Mark Turman  45:19

So be careful about adopting an extreme position of Well, would you we’ll just hunker down together, yes, until this all burns up, or the Lord comes, not on us, because that was always that that was always an option for Jesus and His, and his immediate follow, it was an option for the church, we could just try to withdraw and, and protect ourselves away from this. And like you said, there’s an element in a practice of that many different practices that we can develop around that so as to be renewed and made strong. But But taking that to an extreme is not ever what the gospel causes. That’s


Jim Denison  45:57

right. It violates a great commission. And quite frankly, in this day and time, it doesn’t even really work. I mean, if your kids have a cell phone, how far can you get them away from the culture? Right? If we don’t teach them how to engage the culture, the culture will, one of the reasons my wife founded the brand that would call Christian parenting is because she believes so strongly that if we don’t teach our kids, the culture will, if we don’t raise them, they will. They’re only too happy to do the job appearance for parents. Well,


Mark Turman  46:23

and we’re seeing that, as we’ve talked before, we have some research out on our website, Denson, talking about Gen Z, and just astounding numbers, in probably, I would suspect if we went back and looked, every new technology has some aspect of this. And we could say that having a smartphone in your pocket with access to the internet and social media. This generation that has now been labeled Gen Z is the first one to have that kind of access not to have the internet for the first time. But to have it readily in their pocket Mobley on that level. Yes, haven’t mobile and accessible Apple lives. They don’t remember a day when that wasn’t right. And and we’re seeing some extremes with them that the average Gen Z person between the ages of 10 and 25, will spend four to eight hours on their mobile device every day, not related to anything regarding school, or work or anything else. four to eight hours a day some someone called them screenagers. Yeah, because of this. And I heard another person say they are being discipled by their phone. And by all that comes through their phone, which is part of the reason we have the ministry that we have at Denison forum and adenosine Ministries is to try to take this technology and to turn it into a discipling tool through and for the gospel as part of what we’re trying to help the church with. That’s right. But there’s a lot for us to learn from this. And a lot. One things we stumbled upon in our research is that parents sometimes are more cautious and overly concerned about their children’s physical safety, and are sometimes fitting the the description of being helicopter parents about letting their children go outside or be involved out in their neighborhoods, that type of thing. They’re very concerned about their physical safety, but they are under concerned about their technological safety. When in fact, most of the threats some of the most serious threats, if not the most serious threats to children are actually coming through technology now, not out in the physical world. It’s a great point. And that’s just one of the gleanings of, of why we need to be walking this, both and that you talk about, of pulling away from the culture, but also being salt and light to the


Jim Denison  48:47

culture and the technology. If we reframe that as an opportunity gives us a chance to do that, you know, you and I are in this. We’re having this conversation in the studio of my office, on the second floor of this building where I come every day to work, you could say, Well, man, the salts on the salt shaker here. I’m not going to see any last people today unless I run into them in the halls out there, you know, in what sense am I out there and yet everybody that hears this conversation is I hope I pray, hearing God’s word through our conversation wherever that goes. And so there’s a both end here where I don’t have to expose my family, to the worst excesses of the culture, to nonetheless be reaching the culture through the very technology that could otherwise disciple my kids. When I was in seminary years ago, my major professor in a doctoral work was Dr. John Newport, the most brilliant man I’ve ever known. And he would often just emphasize this the simple idea, we must immerse our people in the Word of God. immerse them in biblical thinking, immerse them in biblical worldview. One day a week isn’t enough, one hour a week is not enough. Don’t check the box that came to the building. Therefore that’s our responsibility is when they walk out. If they’re not immersed in the in the church, they’ll be immersed in the culture. I remember years ago, Ed Young down at second Houston, Second Baptist Houston He was one of the first people I knew of any way to put a bowling alley in the church, on the church campus, even a barber shop at the church campus. And he would say, Look, I know you have to work in the world, but we want you to live in the church. And a lot of us were really critical of that not of him specifically, but of the idea that we’re going to kind of pull people out of the world and make them kind of live over here. But the impulse, I think, was the right impulse, we want to build community here. We want to build relationship here, not to the exclusion of reaching the culture, but I can’t give what I don’t have, right, I can’t lead or I’m not willing to go at the end of the day of my wall is dry, I have no water for you. So there’s this balance in there isn’t there and the Holy Spirit will show us what that looks like. For us


Mark Turman  50:38

that idea of building a city on a hill. That’s right, that a church in any community might be that. And we’re everybody not as an exclusive club, but as a welcoming, to D an invite for anybody that might want to come and to and to experience life in a different way. Right. That’s the invitation we offer, which which leads me to what maybe as we get close to time here our last question, which is in your book, you talk about people apart from God, and how they have the capacity to do good and to experience good, but they are not going to experience everything they could experience if they were connected in a right relationship with God. Talking about that a little bit. I what comes to mind when I think about this is when I’ve been asked to do weddings or to do premarital counseling. And I may be talking to people who have little to no faith. And part of a question. Because I say to them, if you really want to experience the fullness of what marriage is, you have to invite Christ in. That this is a relationship between man, woman and Christ through the Holy Spirit. That’s the only way that you’re ever going to get to the biblical idea of covenant marriage with each other. Now that so what they typically ask me is as well, if we don’t do what you’re saying, Are you saying we’re our marriage is doomed to fail from the beginning? What I say to them is, is I don’t know if it will last or not, I just know it will never be all that it could be and that you’re dreaming of it being if you don’t invite Christ in is that is that where you’re going with this? On a scale relative to our country?


Jim Denison  52:14

Absolutely. And it’s a way of trying to crack a nut that’s really been out there for a long time. Can you be good without God? Can you be moral without God? Can atheists be moral? Well, it depends on what you mean by moral depends on your definition.


Mark Turman  52:26

The first thing that’s what do you mean by moral? Exactly? And then Is it achievable by


Jim Denison  52:29

then then we measure on that category? Right? Can an atheist obey the speed limit? Of course? Can an atheist choose not to have an affair? Of course they can? Can they do the things that humans have within their capacity to do? Of course they can’t. They can do that apart from their spirit of God,


Mark Turman  52:43

they can be good people, as we generally toss that term, or as the secular


Jim Denison  52:47

culture measures good in secular terms. Of course they can, they can do anything other humans can do. And humans have the ability on some level to act in a basic sense of morality. They don’t have to commit murder, they don’t have to do horrible things. They have that capacity, God is even in our fallenness given us that ability to live in a basic sense of morality. And that’s the only reason we can live with each other. We’re apart from a relationship with Christ. Now, can they experience the fullness of what that morality could look like? No, none of us can, to your point without the power of the Holy Spirit working in and through us. An analogy that comes to mind is this. I have had a back issue I’ve dealt with for a number of years now. And I’ve had physical therapy several times, I’m in physical therapy right now in the aftermath of surgery. And one of the things that I’ve discovered in this is, I can do a lot of PT myself at home, there are things I can learn online, there are books I can read, there are things I can do. And there are ways that I can, I hope, help myself at home with PT, but when I’m with a physical therapist, there are things he knows, I just don’t know. He has expertise I’ll never have, he can coach me to a level I hope I trust, a physical health I could never get to on my own. Could I get better without him? I hope so I would think so. Can I get as good as I could be without him? No, to get to my highest level of health, I need the help of an expert that I don’t have myself. And to me that’s kind of where we are in this moral cannot be good without God? Well, depends on what you mean by good. At the end of the day, you can’t be the best you can be. Without God, I can be good. But it can’t be best. Without the one who made me who uniquely knows me, who will empower me by the Holy Spirit, or my analogy with my PT breaks down is God is offering not only to be my coach, but to live in me to be the actual power of Christ in me by the Holy Spirit has made me the temple of the Holy Spirit. And so I have His power not only to help me be my best by coaching me, but by empowering me as well. And that’s something no one outside of Christ can claim.


Mark Turman  54:41

And if we go with me for just a second here, if we expand that out to the frame of our country, as a nation, not sure how or if we should ever apply this term America as a Christian nation, but the only way that we would ever get anywhere close As to being able to say that that would be true is if there is a renewed awakening that brings a much larger number of people living that way, living their life in pursuit of Christ, and wholly committed in honor, as you say, and so often say on a daily basis, saying, Lord, I want you to be truly Lord and leader of my life. And if we have a majority of people doing that, maybe in some sense, we would say we’re a Christian nation. But there’s trouble with that terminology, right?


Jim Denison  55:32

Yeah, that’s a challenge. It really is. And I understand the lot of conversation around that these days, isn’t there? My response would be to say, first of all, nations can’t be Christians, only individuals can be Christians. A Christian is a person who has a personal saving relationship with Christ. It’s not a geopolitical construct. A Christian is not is not a category a Christian is not an economy a Christian, there’s not a certain politic. Christianity is not analogous to or synonymous with democracy versus socialism versus communism, or whatever else you might think about. We’re misusing category. It’s a it’s a category mistake. It’s like asking how much to seven way or what color is three Dask. If any nation America, any nation, I’m not being unpatriotic to say this. No nation can be Christian, a nation can’t get saved. It’s not what a nation does. A nation is a geopolitical entity with lines on a map, and all the things that go with that reality and that is not capable of salvation. So really the better way I think to couch it would be to say, Can America be a nation led by Christians? Can America’s morality be in a conceptual sense more aligned with Christian that’s the direction you’re going. The more of us follow Christ as Savior and Lord, the more our nation will begin to reflect Christian values biblical truth, the more we will begin to treat love our neighbor as ourselves, the more will begin to bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ, the more we will begin to flee temptation and flee fornication, the more we will decide that lust is adultery and that hatred is murder, the more will begin living out the sermon on the mount and the more our culture will be changed as a result. In the fourth grade awakening in Wales, the saloons shut down because they had no business. The police made barbershop quartets to sing in churches because they had nobody to arrest. My favorite illustration of this. I use it all the time. The coal mines shut down for a time because the coal miners all got converted stop using obscene language, and the mules couldn’t understand their commands. Isn’t that awesome? It just isn’t that great. So there are social consequences to people following Christ does that mean whales woke up one day and it was a Christian nation? No, because a nation can’t get saved? Was the nation in the collective for that period of time more following biblical truth you would say so. And that’s really the goal we’re aiming for here in the context of trying to build a Christian nation, per se, a nation of Christians is perhaps a better way to say


Mark Turman  57:55

And that’s and that’s where, if that can happen in larger scale, in terms of an awakening, I was thinking about this this morning that redemption happens when an individual accepts Christ into their life. Restoration, you might say happens when a Christian realigns their life to Christ if they’ve been walking in sin. And awakening is when that happens. Or as you said before, a revival is when that happens in a congregation and awakening is when it happens in a generation, right? That’s right, the entire culture is affected in some land and and at that scale, we start to experience perhaps with the psalmist was talking about when he says, Happy is the nation whose God is the Lord. And, and that’s what we’re hoping for. We’re hoping we’re hoping for that to happen in any individual who hears this podcast. But we were hoping that would happen in your family in your church, we would hope it would happen in our generation. That’s right. And that’s what we’re praying for. And we hope this conversation has been useful to that in and to understanding just how God is at work among us. Jim, thank you for the conversation today. It’s been helpful and we hope people will grow from it. And if you like and enjoy what you hear here at the Denison Forum Podcast, please rate us and review us and share us with others. You can find more of our resources at Denison including the book, how does God see America and other resources that will help you understand our culture and walk with Christ as salt in life. Have a great day


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