by Rod D. Martin
August 25, 2018
I was reading today in Jeremiah, and I thought of Russell Moore (and a decent number of his followers).
For Fourth of July (of course), Russell tweeted that II Chronicles 7:14 does not apply to America. This point seems to be cheered pretty heavily by a lot of younger pastors now, who seem to think with Andrew Cuomo that America can’t be great “again” because “it has never been great” to begin with. That sentiment, and the first one, are not the same thought, but they seem to be of the same origin.
To recap, here’s II Chronicles 7:14:
“If My people, who are called by My Name, shall humble themselves and pray, and see My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I shall hear them from Heaven, and forgive their sins, and heal their land.”
Russell et al. say this doesn’t apply to America, because it applies not to any land, but only to the land, which is to say, the specific land of Old Covenant Israel.
But is that actually correct?
Here’s what I read today (as I read around this time every year), in Jeremiah 18:7-8:
“If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it.”
Note the shift from the definite to the indefinite article. Jeremiah (and thus God) is not just talking about Judah and Israel: He’s talking about all kingdoms everywhere.
My immediate thought upon hearing Russell’s absurd statement was that he was suggesting — horribly wrongly — that believers (who are most certainly “My people, who are called by My Name”, regardless of the country in which they live) should not be able to trust in God’s merciful dealing with those who repent.
That seemed somewhat horrifying to me, and contrary to the Gospel, not least because it seemed (and seems) motivated by a not-so-subtle anti-American agenda I find thoroughly misguided, but mostly because it robs believers of legitimate, Biblically-founded hope.
But on second thought, I find it worse than that: it expressly defies Scripture on the national level as well. For God has told us expressly that if any nation should turn from its evil, He will relent and turn from His judgment against it.
So why should our pastors — like Russell — deny this, as to America or anyone else? Why do their politics trump the plainly stated Word of God? They certainly don’t take such a hyper-individualist view of the Gospel when they routinely condemn “the American church”.
I leave the answer to that question to your judgment. But as for me and my house, we shall take seriously the Word of the Lord, and pray that these gentlemen will not make any more such grossly misleading statements in public, where little ones might be deceived.