Has God Abandoned America?

I was driving to the market late tonight when I heard a very familiar voice on the radi0 – Dr. John MacArthur. I immediately thought, “Alright, it’s about time we’re getting him on the radio here in Sioux Falls.” But as I listened more, I was deeply drawn into the message that my ears were glued to the radio and I could not get out of the car. What was even more surprising was that this message was airing from the Focus on the Family program! Apparently, Dr. MacArthur preached this message (“A Nation Abandoned by God”) last month at the National Day of Prayer meeting in Colorado. And apparently this message moved so many folks including Dobson that he and the Focus on the Family want many people to listen to this two part message; and I don’t blame them. It is powerful and you too must listen to it. Click it here to listen Part 1 and here for Part 2, and pass it on.

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9 thoughts on “Has God Abandoned America?

  1. I, too, listened to the program and, like you, was glued to the radio…missed the first few minutes in the first part but definitely got the full meaning of what Dr. MacArthur was saying. It takes more people like him to stand up and tell it like it is and, more importantly, tell it like it should be told, if that makes sense. (Thank God for programs like Focus and for people like Dr. Dobson, also) And it takes more people, hopefully like those of us who listened, to carry the ball and do our part in getting this across to others. But many times, when I, my husband, and others, look at today’s world and its condition, we feel discouraged and wonder where to start. With the person next to us (after ourselves), prayer, influence in right living, etc. May God grant us all mercy and strength as we strive to do His will…

  2. I heard it and it was extremely legalistic and moralistic. What is moralism? Moralism is legalism taken outside of the Church (our leading export, it seems). It judges others solely based on specific behaviors (particularly sexual mores), much like the Pharisees judged others. It typically condemns rather than reaches out. It expects unbelievers to act as righteous as believers (or even more so). In addition to the tendency of feeding self-righteousness, one of the key dangers of moralism is that it can cause us to miss the bigger picture.

    As Christians, by not deeply believing the Gospel and trying to earn God’s acceptance, individually or as a nation, in our daily lives is the main cause of fear and pride in our hearts (moralism and legalism)because we act on the idea of “I obey therefore I am accepted” (religion) rather than “I am accepted so I obey” (Gospel).

    Did anyone feel set free by this message? Did it liberate you like the Gospel does or did it make you feel like you needed to do some sin management and work really hard to please God or He would punish us? Freedom is the Gospel (Jesus) the other one is religion (pharisees).

    • God is going to send people to hell for their unbelief and sin. It’s high time people were told what is coming. People like you think it’s wrong to “judge” others. God is going to punish people for eternity. In your attempt to not judge people you are misleading them and letting them die in their sins. We should have fear in our hearts – it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. I’m sorry if you didn’t feel “liberated” seriously? You are a confused individual who needs to spend a little more time reading the Word of God and a little less time “judging” pastor MacArthur. I mean – that’s what you are doing – judging him and his motives. I heard his message and it’s spot on with the word of God – and that is the standard by which we are to judge.

  3. Here is something from Desiring God and John Piper on the Gospel vs. Moralism from the 2006 Desiring God Conference

    Tim Keller on the Gospel:

    The gospel is: you are more sinful and flawed than you ever dared believe yet you can be more accepted and loved than you ever dared hope at the same time because Jesus Christ lived and died in your place. . . .

    “True faith saith not: ‘What have I done? . . . What do I deserve?’ But it saith: ‘what hath Christ done? What doth he deserve?’ . . . Therefore he that apprehendeth Christ by faith . . . may be bold to glory that he is righteous. How? Even by that precious jewel, Christ Jesus, which he possesseth by faith.” (Martin Luther, Commentary on Galatians)

    Irreligious people seek to be their own saviors and lords through irreligion, “worldly” pride. (“No one tells me how to live or what to do, so I determine what is right and wrong for me!”) But moral and religious people seek to be their own saviors and lords through religion, “religious” pride. . . . Both irreligion and religion are forms of self salvation.

    To “get the gospel” is to turn from self-justification and rely on Jesus’ record for a relationship with God. The irreligious don’t repent at all, and the religious only repent of sins. But Christians also repent of their righteousness. That is the distinction between the three groups—Christians, moralists (religious), and pragmatists (irreligious).

    “Lay your deadly doing down, down at Jesus’ feet.
    Stand in Him, in Him alone—gloriously complete.” (Unknown)
    (Partnership, June 1996: “Redeemer: The Centrality of the Gospel”)

    Eager to listen with you,

    Pastor John

  4. The gospel is: “I am accepted through Christ, therefore I obey.” Religion is: “I obey, therefore I am accepted.” So the gospel differs from both religion and irreligion.

    You can seek to be your own “lord and savior” by breaking the law of God. But you can also do so by keeping the law in order to earn your Salvation or trying to earn favor with God…blessings… a good life etc.

    The gospel is not just the minimum required doctrine necessary to enter the kingdom, but the way we make all progress in the kingdom.

    We are not justified by the gospel and then sanctified by obedience, but the gospel is the way we grow (Gal.3:1-3) and are renewed (Col.1:6). It is the solution to each problem, the key to each closed door, the power through every barrier (Rom.1:16-17).

    It is very common in the church to think as follows. “The gospel is for non-Christians. One needs it to be saved. But once saved, you grow through hard work and obedience.” But Col.1:6 shows that this is a mistake.

    How does moralism/religion steal joy and power? Moralism is the view that you are acceptable (to God, the world, others, yourself) through your attainments. (Moralists do not have to be religious, but often are.)

    Whether the moralist ends up smug and superior or crushed and guilty just depends on how high the standards are and on a person’s natural advantages (such as family, intelligence, looks, willpower). Moralistic people can be deeply religious–but there is no transforming joy or power.

    Moralists and religious people seek to be their own saviors and lords through religion, “religious” pride. (“I am more moral and spiritual than other people, so God owes me to listen to my prayers and take me to heaven. God cannot let just anything happen to me–he owes me a happy life. I’ve earned it!”).

    But Christians are those who have adopted a whole new system of approach to God. They may have had both religious phases and irreligious phases in their lives. But they have come to see that their entire reason for both their irreligion and their religion was essentially the same and essentially wrong!

    Christians come to see that both their sins and their best deeds have all really been ways of avoiding Jesus as savior (self-righteousness) They come to see that Christianity is not fundamentally an invitation to get more religious. A Christian comes to say: “though I have often failed to obey the moral law, the deeper problem was why I was trying to obey it! Even my efforts to obey it has been just a way of seeking to be my own savior. In that mindset, even if I obey or ask for forgiveness, I am really resisting the gospel and setting myself up as Savior.” To “get the gospel” is turn from self-justification and rely on Jesus’ record for a relationship with God.

    Jonathan Edwards points out that “true virtue” is only possible for those who have experienced the grace of the gospel. Any person who is trying to earn their salvation does “the right thing” in order to get into heaven, or in order to better their self-esteem (etc.). In other words, the ultimate motive is self-interest.

    But persons who know they are totally accepted already do “the right thing” out of sheer delight in righteousness for its own sake. Only in the gospel do you obey God for God’s sake, and not for what God will give you. Only in the gospel do you love people for their sake (not yours), do good for its own sake (not yours), and obey God for his sake (not yours). Only the gospel makes “doing the right thing” a joy and delight, not a burden or a means to an end.

  5. MacArthur us not moralistic. Him and Piper are fellow laboers. You quoted Pipers website he also very often pkeaks of Gods wrath. From sermon on romans 1 “The sinking degradation of human behavior reveals the wrath of God.

    So the first way God’s wrath is revealed against ungodliness and unrighteousness is in universal human death. The second way is in the futility and misery and suffering of creation. The third is the one most immediately in Paul’s mind here in Romans 1, namely, the sinking degradation of human thinking and behavior. You see this three times in Romans 1:24-28.

    After describing the ungodliness and unrighteousness of man in Romans 1:19-23 Paul says in verse 24, “Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.” In other words, God reveals his wrath against sin by giving people up to be more sinful. Again in verse 26: “For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions.” And again in verse 28: “And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper.”

    So these are three of the ways that the wrath of God is being revealed now in this age against the universal (3:9) ungodliness and unrighteousness of man. He has consigned all to death, he has subjected all to futility, and he has given many over to the degradation of their own minds and hearts.”

    God’s mercy is not seen as clearly with out God’s wrath. We must face the truth we are in need of a waking up. Could it not be that MacArthurs preaching of God’s judgement could be a means of God’s grace to wake us up especially Gods elect to repent as Ninevah did when Jonah preached. My dear brother I respect your thoughts but listen to the whole message again and consider what is being said. I grew up it leagalistic holiness pentecostalism and this was not legalistic preaching this was bibilical call to repentance.

  6. Repentance to what? What does Macarthur call us to do in his sermon? I listened to the whole thing.

    But who is he talking to? Christians or non? Macarthur calls us to follow the rules. What he calls people to in this sermon is something we can accomplish on our own volition. We can be very moral people to get things from God.

    Is that what everyone is saying Romans is all about? Romans 1 is also attached to the rest of the book.

    Read my last post on that.

  7. I wholeheartedly agree with your statements on legalism & moralism but this is in no way the character of Dr Macarthur’s ministry. He calls us to “Pray that the word would have free course…that people would hear believe & be saved and obey” Being a Calvinist I know he doesn’t believe we can just pull our own selves up by our bootstraps. Regardless though it doesnt really matter what you think what you think of MacArthur but what you think of Christ Jesus and you expressed that beautifully.
    Everything you said is true about only trusting Christ. This message did not make me “feel” set free but it did cause me to look away from politics for hope and look to God for the salvation of my family & neighbors and realize the seriousness of the hour that we are living in.
    Our hope is not in America our hope is in Christ. I really think you & I would agree, from what Ive read of your writings, on 99.9% I think we just took this message in different ways. I appreciate your sensitivity to the glory of Christ & his completely underserved mercy & grace- God bless!

  8. Hi Jim,
    Having read most of what John Mac. has written over the years, the charge [Ignat’s comments] of him teaching moralism and legalism is nearly absurd.
    God does hold unbelievers accountable to glorify Him (Rom 1:21), as He does believers (1Cor 10:31). Glorifying God is something people will do either actively in obedience or passively through their punishment for disobedience.
    Unbelievers are unable and unwilling to believe God (John 10:26; also see apeitheo) and unable and unwilling to obey God (Rom 8:7). Unbelievers do experience God’s wrath for their refusal to believe and for their behavior (John 3:36; Eph 5:3-6; Col 3:5, 6).
    Has God abandoned America? The question appears to naively assume America was once chosen by Him. Perhaps a better question would be: is God allowing America to go her own way, receiving the just deserts for her refusal to believe and obey?

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