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Awaken, Church of America, before it’s too late!
Veracity 1623, from Fr. Véracité, from M.L. Veracitatem (nom. veracitas)”truthfulness,” from L. verax (gen.veracis) “truthful,”from verus “true” (see very). [Word origin and history]
Some synonyms of veracity are authenticity, genuineness, impartiality, integrity, sincerity, truthfulness, trustworthiness, correctness, precision, fact.
Interestingly, I thought, one other synonym is gospel. Gospel. When I did a Google search for a definition for gospel the first one which appeared was “The teaching or revelation of Christ”. So, this teaching of Christ should be synonymous with veracity, authenticity, genuineness and the other words I listed above. But is it?
When men today proclaim the Gospel do they proclaim truthfulness? Do they proclaim accurately the teachings of Christ? Genuineness? Truthfulness? If not they are not teaching Christ. They are not teaching anything which other men should listen to. For if information and religion is not authentic and truthful, what value does it have?
In this Presidential election year let me try to connect the importance, indeed, “litmus test” of importance, which we should use in weighing the words and promises the candidates declare about themselves. These promises and goals which they are expressing about themselves are meant to rally support so that the people who vote and support them will see said promises come to fruition. Why haven’t voters been more careful in recording these promises and goals? Why hasn’t there been an accounting? Why haven’t the American people watched those to whom we entrust with our votes to be obliged in following through? How have these elected officials been sidetracked from fulfilling their duties/ promises? How and why do the voters continue to let those elected officials neglect fulfilling their promises? Are Americans today even aware of our responsibility in this? Why not? This is a matter of life and death, yet our whole society behaves as if politics is only fodder for the late night comedians. If it were not so tragic I would joke about our ever expecting to have solutions to our economy, crime, unemployment, school delinquency and inefficiency, health care, name a need of our society. Unless we begin holding our politicians accountable (indeed, let us hold ourselves accountable!) nothing is ever going to change for the better.
In reviewing our American history and the accomplishments we can proudly look back on and then juxtapose and contrast that with what we see now across our American landscape I am appalled and disgusted. Are we actually speaking of the same America? Is such a contrast between people possible? What has happened? How did this happen?
The difference between that textbook America which we have read about in our history books to the America which is now concretely in place is as different as day to night. So different there are those who do not believe such an America ever existed. But it did. Men and women came to America to build a nation where citizens could be free to worship and serve God according to their conscious. This Christian consciousness awakened in the settlers of the 13 Colonies a notion that God had endowed them with a right to live out this conviction of religious freedom separate from the Crown which declared them “Rebels”. With nothing more than the fervor of right which their faith had awakened we declared our independence. Uniting their cause with others of like faith we Americans took up arms to fight for these God given rights. Only God can grant this freedom, and no human government or institution can take it away. Unless those who are governed by irresponsible men permit it to be so.
In reflecting on that word associated with “authenticity”, “truthfulness”, “genuineness” and so on, I wondered at how so little of these qualities do we see today in such important issues as relates to our system of government. Once there were a more direct association between the political process and the Church of America. Once there was an expectation that those seeking to hold office or serve on a court bench also would highly value those Christian principles which authored our American Revolution. Our political freedoms were directly linked to those spiritual freedoms which our Christian Colonials valued so dearly.
Somewhere somehow in our American history this freedom has been usurped and it has nearly been eradicated. Who in America today understand how fortunate and precious this freedom is? How many in America today are aware that that freedom has been exchanged for something of much less value? Rather than watch over our precious freedoms we make jokes about them. Those politicians who steal from us wink at one another as if they are somehow entitled to his filthy lucre. We raise our hands in helplessness at their boldfaced lies and ineptness to act courageously. We smack our foreheads when it is reported that they are making deals obviously against our laws. We do not understand why the Judiciary arm or the law can not prosecute them.
Why not? Could it be that like the politicians in office they, too, have ceased being held accountable? Accountability is sadly lacking from so many areas of our society today. Nobody thinks to ask for explanations. Why? Our journalists used to specialize in asking such questions. In that not the meaning (honestly) of what responsible journalism is supposed to be?
Another factor which greatly influences our citizens are the sources of information and news which Americans today consume. Once these journalists who report to the American people endeavored to be responsive to the cares and concerns of the public who clamored for the information which they provided. In these times “journalists” today aim more to enthrall or sensationalize news for entertainment purposes. The hard questions which we want asked of our government officials are by-passed by politicians who purposely run to keep from being held accountable. How can the citizens of America be informed of the issues if the news we receive are irrelevant to the cares and concerns of those being directly affected? Freedom of the press is an oxymoron if information is not freely disseminated. The information by which responsible citizens may responsibly use to hold accountable irresponsible public servants! Is truth so little valued? Why?
Allow me now to connect the dots with the beginning of this paper about veracity. Remember, truthfulness, genuineness, authenticity, fact? It is a fact, a truth, that at the beginning of the American Republic it was of utmost importance to have responsible men and women who took the oath (another word related to truth and veracity) of public office. The people who voted for them could watch carefully whether or not they used the powers which were entrusted to them. This system of “representative government” was designed to meet the peoples needs (education, fiscal opportunities, law and order, or anything else of concern by the citizenry) as long as each person responsibly lived and abides according to the laws of the land. (Read Constitution and the Bill of Rights). The Constitution and the Bill of Rights are genuine articles of our United States of America. It is a fact of history that there was once a war between Colonial America and Great Britain. The people of America won that war and set up the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to guide our citizens and those who would adjudicate these genuine articles over our society. These were once very important facts for our people. They are not so important these days. These days there is a real and ongoing war between our own government and the people of our land. This war has taken the form of apathy and disinterest and hopelessness between the people of America and our government. Who can deny this fact? How and why has this metamorphosis taken place? Let me submit that it has been allowed to take place because our American Church has failed in informing our people of the importance of and responsibility in keeping our government officials accountable. We have failed in upholding the truths and guiding principles which our country’s fore fathers laid out in our Constitution and Bill of Rights. The laws were written to ensure that the government would not interfere with our religious liberties. It was these liberties, remember, which first gave rise to the whole notion of American Liberty! Gradually, the Church let slip damnable heresies which today actually state that the government has a right and, indeed, an obligation to stifle and silence religious voices from speaking in matters political! We have not rallied to the truth of our great history. We have been lulled into believing the lies of the enemy. Now the whole of America chants the mantra, “separation of church and state”. Even from the church’s pulpits and we defer to voice of the masses. No absolute truths any more. We do not know what to believe. What do the experts say? Balderdash! What saith the Lord!
Early in our American history we can see that the Church of Jesus Christ, or Christians, were often very active and involved in participating in this process of voting and volunteering for public office. Indeed, it were the Christians who first identified the freedoms which later were the cause for our American Revolution. It was a Christian revolution aimed at stopping the tyranny of English law then over Colonial America. A quote by John Adams puts this point succinctly. “But what do we mean by the American Revolution? Do we mean the America War? The Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments, of their duties, and obligations. . . this radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people was the real American Revolution.”
Now turning to truthfulness and accuracy in preaching the Gospel what should men preach or teach about if we are to truthfully proclaim Christ and his commandments? Jesus focus was on the Kingdom of God. He focused on a right relationship to God through faith in him. Jesus taught on the importance of right relationship to the Father by genuine worship from our own spirit. This is what God desires. Jesus focused on sharing God’s love with others. This included putting others needs above our own. He also focused on radical fidelity to himself and the new covenant which he instituted. This covenant is the foundation for his Church. The truths which Christ gave his life for should be the blue prints for how the Church operates today. Christ has not changed through time. He is changeless. How much have that Church which he founded followed his commandments through to today?
All of the preceding is groundwork for examining what and how the Church in America has partnered with God to keep the Gospel relevant for our citizens. Is the Church in America able to address the concerns and needs which we face day to day? Are we (the Church) exposing the dangers facing our land? Are we (the Church) providing answers for the needs which Americans are having to grapple with? How is the Church in America today faring in tearing down the “gates of hell”?
From what I am able to discern the score is not in our favor. God seems as distant and uninvolved with America as he could be. We have no influence apart from business as carried out within the walls of the various and numerous congregations here and there. There is no unity among these congregations or concerted goals which can be identified.
Some of the American history which I want to bring our attention to now are those points in time when the Church was active and vocal in bringing the needs of our American Republic to the fore. I believe it was the Christian Church which led the cause of freeing our slaves. I believe it was the American Church which first sounded the rallying cry for independence from Great Britain. I believe it was the American Church (Martin Luther King, Jr) which led our people to demand equality for the African Americans who were brought here to America as slaves. If we are near to our Savior and Lord the American Church hears first the needs which are so dear to our loving God. I believe that God would have us (the Church) continue to be aware of the needs of our people. God wants his name to be honored. And when the people of God are near to God they will want this as well. This is reality this is our legacy. This is why we sing “God Shed His Grace on Thee”. Or we used to.
Scripture informs us that we have the history of the Old Testament to remind us how God deals with those who he calls to follow him. They are written for our example. What is the legacy of the Hebrew people who were called to follow God? How did they succeed in keeping true to God? What happened when they failed to be true? Now let us look at America. Once we, too, looked to God to provide and protect. Once, we too, made promises, and regularly gave God honor. Once we, too, identified ourselves unashamedly as God’s people. That was the record of those who chose to lead us and govern us. I believe that is the reason we were once a powerful and respected people. What is our primary identifying trait today? When the rest of the world looks at America today what do they see? How are we distinct from others in the world today? What do foreigners say about our people these days?
This treatise or study about genuineness and authenticity, about facts, it is a study on why our American Church needs to change tactics in proclaiming the truth of the Gospel. Once Church leaders openly proclaimed the current crises which our people were dealing with. Once our Church leaders rallied Christians to participate in civic affairs for the good of all. How can we possibly show mercy and love if we sit on our hands and keep silent? Our Lord Jesus openly and loudly identified the hypocrisies of false religious leaders of his day. It may be too late for America because we have lost so much of our influence already. Our voice is hardly even asked for any more. If America falls as it surely seems destined, God is going to ask an accounting from us. What shall we say?
©fjh 4-Given Ministries