Onward, Christian Soldiers
America is going to Hades in a handbasket. A large portion of Americans agree we’re headed in the wrong direction. But when Christians try to get more involved in the culture and in politics, they are often told to cease and desist—sometimes even by fellow professing Christians.
In fact, if a pastor were to preach on today’s moral issues, he might be accused of “preaching politics.”
But Dr. D. James Kennedy once observed that in recent times, abortion has come to be viewed as a “political” issue. So if a minister speaks out on abortion, he is accused of supposedly “preaching politics.”
But, he noted, the Church of Jesus Christ has, from the beginning, been opposed to abortion and has provided loving alternatives to it through the centuries.
John Stemberger of the Florida Family Policy Council says “Everything has become political. The weather’s political. Covid is political. There’s no area of life that has not been politicized in some way, and the church has been trained wrongly.”
He explains, “The scripture speaks to all areas of life. Now, admittedly, it speaks to some areas more clearly and prophetically than others. And where it does speak that clearly, pastors need to be equally clear about life, about the nature of marriage, human sexuality, gender, and all these things that are up for grabs….It’s not politics, it’s ministry. It’s teaching the Bible, and it’s what pastors should be doing.”
As Tony Perkins, the head of the Family Research Council notes, “Surrounded by evil, with your own children at stake, there is no retreat.”
Some well-meaning Christians accuse those wanting to see American renewal as embracing “Christian Nationalism”—by which they mean putting America above (or on an equal footing with) Jesus. That is something no true Christian could do—but it doesn’t follow that we should abandon attempts to renew the country.
A classic hymn of the 19th century is “Onward, Christian Soldiers.” The music of that hymn was written by Arthur Sullivan, as in Gilbert and Sullivan.
It’s interesting to note that “Onward, Christians Soldiers” has actually been removed from some church hymnals because it’s viewed as too jingoistic.
Of course, this is a metaphor and not in any way an endorsement of real violence, which is against the teaching of Jesus, who said we should love even our enemies.
Recently, I got to speak on a radio segment with Cheryl Chumley of the Washington Times, who wrote a book called, Socialists Don’t Sleep: Christians Must Rise or America Will Fall. The very last words of her book are, “Onward, Christian Soldiers.”
Cheryl told our listeners, “It’s my premise that Christians are facing some dark times right now, largely because those who know best about freedom, those who understand God-given liberties, who understand God and read the Bible—the Christian community—have failed to speak up, as we’re supposed to do.”
She added that Christian silence and inaction has left a vacuum—which is then filled by large government. She told me, “Socialism comes when government grows bigger. So what happens is, as we move further and further away from the idea of light coming from God, which is a natural consequence of America’s turning away from God and forgetting God. That leaves a void for government to enter. And that’s where we’re at right now.”
Chumley also noted, “It’s no coincidence, therefore, that government is growing bigger because it picks up where God leaves off. When people don’t turn to God for solutions and provision, they turn to government for that. And that’s how socialism, communism, Marxism, collectivism creeps in.”
How different was the vision of America’s founders on this point. George Washington famously said in his Farewell Address that religion and morality are “indispensable supports to our political prosperity.”
Dr. Peter Lillback, the founding president of Providence Forum, for which I serve as the executive director, says, “Christianity is the leavening force, the moral influence, the guiding star, the spiritual zeitgeist, the essential moral compass, the spiritual compass of a nation that intends to have ordered liberty.”
He adds, “This means that Christianity provides the sense of human dignity, the principle of transcendent law, the idea of limited government, the standard of universal justice and equity, all under a common law, with the duty to seek to fulfill the Golden Rule of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Indeed, Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
So, Onward, Christian soldiers.
Dr. Jerry Newcombe is the executive director of Providence Forum, a division of D. James Kennedy Ministries, where Jerry also serves as senior producer and an on-air contributor. He has written/co-written 33 books, including (with D. James Kennedy), What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? and (with Dr. Peter Lillback), George Washington’s Sacred Fire.