Andrew Wilson is the teaching pastor of King’s Church in London and the author of a brilliant new book, Remaking the World: How 1776 Created the Post-Christian West.
In it, he describes Western culture as “Ex-Christian.” To make his point, he portrays his readers who “believe in God and go to church every week” this way:
You distinguish sharply between the sacred and secular, even when trying not to. You probably regard the language of faith as inappropriate in certain contexts: in meetings with clients, in political broadcasts, during sexual intercourse, or whatever it is. You struggle with mystery at both intellectual and emotional levels. You spend a substantial portion of your leisure time consuming media—articles, songs, newspapers, websites, television shows—whose ideology is either post- or anti-Christian.
You accept religious pluralism as a reality in your society. Even when pressing for Christian ethical commitments in the public square, you would be careful not to articulate them using biblical arguments alone. You operate on a secular rather than a religious calendar; your year starts in January and/or September rather than Advent, and your week starts on Monday rather than Sunday. . . .
You live in a universe rather than a cosmos: a disenchanted world of impersonal laws (even if they are occasionally broken) rather than a divinely indwelt temple.
When I read his words, I was sobered by the degree to which they are true for me.
What about you?
“I the Lᴏʀᴅ search the heart”
We know better, of course. We know that none of what Wilson described is consistent with the biblical worldview (as does he, as his book makes clear).
In Scripture, God is a king, not a hobby. He is ruler of every dimension of the universe he created, not just the parts we deem to be “religious.” He makes no distinction between the “spiritual” and the “secular,” considering them both to be under his sovereignty. He sees our thoughts as well as our actions and judges them both: “I the Lᴏʀᴅ search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds” (Jeremiah 17:10).
In the words of Abraham Kuyper:
There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!’”
Why is this issue so vital to our souls and our national future?
The “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Revelation 19:16) must judge any person and nation that rejects his sovereign lordship. For him to do less would be to commit idolatry, allowing someone to usurp his throne and receive the worship due only to him. Such idolatry not only demeans our Lord—it forfeits his best for our lives.
No loving father could bless a child who lives in such self-destructive ways. Nor can the One who “is” love (1 John 4:8).
Apologizing to Sodom and Gomorrah
Consequently, Scripture repeatedly reminds us that God rules the world and holds its inhabitants accountable to his word and will:
- “The Lᴏʀᴅ has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all” (Psalm 103:19).
- “God reigns over the nations; God sits on his holy throne” (Psalm 47:8).
- “He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings” (Daniel 2:21).
- “The Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets it over the lowliest of men” (Daniel 4:17).
- “His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, ‘What have you done?’” (Daniel 4:34–35).
- “Whatever the Lᴏʀᴅ pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps” (Psalm 135:6).
If America does not repent of our “ex-Christian” secularism and turn to the only true king, how can we claim to be exempt from such judgment?
Dr. Billy Graham wrote:
Some years ago, my wife, Ruth, was reading the draft of a book I was writing. When she finished a section describing the terrible downward spiral of our nation’s moral standards and the idolatry of worshiping false gods such as technology and sex, she startled me by exclaiming, “If God doesn’t punish America, he’ll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.”
How to get along with God
If we are to experience God’s best in our churches and for our members, we must reset our cultural compass to its True North once again. What does this mean in practical terms?
- We coronate Christ as king of every part of our lives, not just those we deem spiritual (Ephesians 5:18).
- We seek his will and submit to his lordship in every decision and action of our lives and work (Matthew 6:33).
- We teach our people to understand the ex-Christian nature of our secular society and to resist it by thinking biblically and acting redemptively (2 Corinthians 10:5).
- We speak prophetically to the issues of our day in ways that lead our hearers to conviction of their sins and conversion to Christ (cf. Acts 2:37–41).
I cannot think of a more urgent calling for these critical times.
Here’s today’s point stated as concisely as I can:
To get along with God, stay off his throne.
Who is reigning on the throne of your heart and ministry today?