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Yeast Wars: Rebuilding an American Christian Consensus

It isn’t hard to find examples of decreased Christian influence on American society. But something about this is commonly missed. In order for there to be decreased influence, there first must have been a lot of Christian influence.

Christian influence in society doesn’t happen magically. It comes about through a long period of faithfulness to God. When God’s people believe Him then the good news is preached. God ensures that people are convinced and converted. In short, good things happen when we evangelize with optimism and fervor.

God’s kingdom is meant to act like yeast, affecting every corner of society (Matthew 13:33). But if God’s people won’t do their job, other people will spread their own influence, their “bad yeast,” to shape society to their own ends. Perhaps these are the “Yeast Wars.” When we believe God, spreading the news of His kingship, then our being good yeast routs the bad yeast.

God’s church shapes every part of society

God wants His people to influence society. The Great Commission instructs us to “make disciples of all the nations… teaching them to observe all that I commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). We are to personally obey God, and gain new recruits that are also convinced to obey God. This is a conquering attitude, not one of meekness.

Jesus likens His people to light:

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)

God’s people are a lamp because their words and deeds illuminate how different God’s ways are from those of the fallen world.[1] God ensures that this light is out in the open, so that nobody can say they didn’t see its witness.

Jesus also likened His elect to yeast:

The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened. (Matthew 13:33)

God will see that His people, along with their ideas and deeds, will be spread throughout society. No part of society will be exempt from His people’s influence, for all of the world belongs to God alone (Psalm 24:1).

American society is designed for Christian participation

In American society every adult is expected to participate in public life. Our society was obviously designed with Christianity in mind. Consider:

  • Settlers came from all over Europe, with the dominant group of them from Great Britain. They all came from more-or-less Christian cultures.
  • The legal system they implemented is an extension of English common law, itself an expression of applied Christianity.
  • Many settlers, such as the Puritans, had expressly intentional Christian practices.
  • The public documents invoked God’s blessings on their undertakings.

Our legal and legislative institutions are designed to uphold and maintain a Christian culture. They even scream for Christian participation, whether as voters, government representatives, or jurists. After all, would you expect an atheist or a Moslem to understand Christian culture, much less be willing to uphold it?

President John Adams insisted that we need honest, astute, and religious people to be representatives. He wrote this to a gathering of Massachusetts militia:

While our Country remains untainted with the Principles and manners, which are now producing desolation in so many Parts of the World: while she continues Sincere and incapable of insidious and impious Policy: We shall have the Strongest Reason to rejoice in the local destination assigned Us by Providence. But should the People of America, once become capable of that deep simulation towards one another and towards foreign nations, which assumes the Language of Justice and moderation while it is practicing Iniquity and Extravagance … and displays in the most captivating manner the charming Pictures of Candour frankness & sincerity while it is rioting in rapine and Insolence: this Country will be the most miserable Habitation in the World. Because We have no Government armed with Power capable of contending with human Passions unbridled by morality and Religion. Avarice, Ambition, … Revenge or Galantry, would break the strongest Cords of our Constitution as a Whale goes through a Net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.[2]

In summary, America was founded as a Christian society. Its laws and Constitution are suited for its governance according to Christian ideas of justice and righteousness. Who better than Christians to guide such a society?

The church has become a dim lamp

For over a hundred years the American church hasn’t been evangelizing society as it ought. On its own volition it pulled back from being culturally relevant, redefining its role to be only soul salvation. Cultural outreach is left to whoever wants to do it.

Some have claimed that it is useless to try to redeem, or even improve, a broken world. For example:

The church is not in the business of taking anything away from Satan but the souls of men. The world is a sinking Titanic ripe for judgment, not Garden of Eden perfection. Jesus will take dominion of the cleansed earth. For men to speak of doing that before the judgment of this earth is spiritually arrogant. I encourage you to flee such false teachers. [3]

Those who hate Christ encourage this line of thinking. For example:

These so called “religious leaders” should all take a page out of Billy Graham’s book and get out of the political game.[4]

The bad guys also act like yeast

Depending on the circumstance, the Bible describes yeast as a good or bad thing. Regarding God’s kingdom, like yeast comparison is a good thing (Matthew 13:33). But yeast is also thought of as threating the holiness of God’s chosen people.

  • Jesus warned of the yeast of the Pharisees (Matthew 16:5-12), how their teaching would lead you astray.
  • When the Jews prepare for the Passover feast each household is supposed to rid their home of yeast, a symbolic task when renewing their commitment to God.[5]
  • The Apostle Paul tells the Corinthians to remove the yeast of bad influences from their lives (I Corinthians 5:6-8).

Maybe this battle for influence should be called the Yeast Wars. Christians are to influence the world while not being corrupted or conforming to the unredeemed culture about them.

God’s enemies evangelize, too

American society accepts a consensus about what our culture is supposed to be. Suppose that this consensus disappears. For example, what if all of those college kids get their way, and convince a plurality of us to vote for socialism and its promises of free stuff? A major outcome of that would be a “fundamental transformation” of American society.[6] We would adopt very different laws and morals than at present.

Christians are behaving as if they’re unsure about their commission to redeem all corners of society. But other groups of people aren’t shy at all about evangelizing. If they convince enough people then their activities could very well result in that cultural sea change. Let’s divide these groups into two thought categories:

  • Mass divinity: Communal mankind is as good as it gets. There is no God, or other authority, that we must answer to. Everyone is obligated to work for the common good.
  • Individual divinity: I’m godlike, defining right and wrong, creating my own interpretation of reality. You don’t have the right or authority to say I’m wrong. You must affirm my decrees.

Both of these categories come from Adam’s original sin (Genesis 3:1-7). In choosing the forbidden fruit Adam declared that he was as God, deciding for himself what was right and wrong. They repeat Adam’s sin. They either set up the idol of Mankind as their own god, cutting out God altogether (“mass divinity”), or repeat Adam’s personal assertion of godhood (“individual divinity”).

Mankind is divine: Socialism and its kin

These proponents insist that we must think about mankind primarily in a global sense. We must unite to achieve some goal, such as fighting global warming. But their solutions always seem to mean mandatory global socialism.

Much conversation about socialism revolves around tax cuts and whether capitalists should exist. But socialism is actually a religion.[7] Its bad idea for society is that there is no God, but only the material world. And if there is no God, then mankind has no external moral restraints. They claim that mankind’s purpose is to create a maximum of material comfort for everybody. [8]

In socialism all of us are to be devoted to pleasing the State, all the time. There is no room for families, and certainly not for marriage.[9] Everyone is to participate, even children from the earliest age.[10] There will be no shirkers, or doubting about the new ordering of society. Nor will there be any secret hiding places for Christians or other resisters.[11]

Each individual is divine: Never mind reality, defer to me

A person acts like divinity when he or she can assert some outrageous thing and successfully enlist you to make it come true. Three steps define this pattern:

  1. Make a statement that is observably false, but which the speaker insists is true anyway. For example, claiming that a person with male genitals is really a woman.
  2. Denounce all criticism of this assertion. By establishing moral ascendancy over your critics, you prove that you must be taken seriously.
  3. Demand that society immediately change to treat your assertion as its “new normal.” Concluding the example, society must now punish anyone who disagrees with your fluid concept of gender identity.

In a commonsense world such nonsense is dismissed as childish, selfish, fantasy. But our society, rejecting God’s authority, is no longer sure where to go for truth. We collectively wonder if these statements are right and true, and force ourselves to ignore reality and implement their demands. Here are examples of such godlike proclamations.

  • My pronoun is ‘they.’ A Nike employee is suing the company.[12] She’s unhappy that her fellow employees aren’t calling her a “they” (yes, it’s a plural) like she wants them to. This godlike being insists that everyone around her fully participate in her word game.

She’s not alone with this fantastic concept. For example, a man from Wales (Great Britain) said:

“At university people have refused to refer to me with the proper pronouns because they ‘don’t see me as a woman’ despite me fully presenting myself as such.”[13]

That is, everybody must treat the guy as a woman just because.

  • Math theory is racist, and oppresses ethnic communities. The Seattle public school system will teach students that math can be “manipulated to allow inequality and oppression to persist.” [14] The godlike administrators think, in summary, “Math is a racist tool the white man uses to oppress ‘people of color.’”[15] But which is more fantastic? To claim that the answer to 2 + 2 depends on your ethnic group? Or that the public will pay to have Seattle students to learn this mathematic innumeracy?
  • Don’t offend me with your opposing view. The college crowd have invented “microaggressions,” the concept of being offended by every little thing. So if you:
    • Display an American flag.
    • Are pro-life, or have some other opinion someone might dislike.
    • Write “#Trump2016” on a bulletin board.

then you’re unspeakably hateful and must be punished.[16] These micro-gods command that you “don’t confront me with something that might offend me.” The world must exist only for them, and not for you.

Ganging up to upend American society

Being godlike, and issuing decrees, can also be a team game. Banding together for political strength is how you get bad ideas like H.R. 5, the “Equality Act.”[17] This bill amends the Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation, etc. If made into law, doing something like banning a “gender fluid” male from the womens’ locker room would violate his civil rights, and he could drag you to court. Of this bill The Federalist says:

To be clear, this bill would create a protected class based on belief alone while providing the federal government the power to punish disbelief.[18]

If these groups do succeed in dominating American culture, it will be grimly interesting to see how the authoritarian “only mankind” groups and “godlike rebels” get along.

Repairing America’s Christian consensus

In the Great Commission Jesus tells His church to evangelize, making disciples of all nations. However, our failure to be diligent at this task has encouraged others of ungodly intent, who seek to shape us into a notably un-Christian culture. But just as our culture has been driven away from a solid American Christian consensus, it can be driven back to it again. This can happen if the American people want it to.

How do we regain this Christian consensus? Through individuals of the church, His people, renewing their dedication to God. If we again act as a transforming agent upon America, instead of being transformed by a fallen culture, we will again live in an illuminatingly different manner. That is, we do the living and God does the converting. He makes the yeast of our faithfulness more effective than their yeast.

This advice isn’t asking us to repeat and repeat failed policies, hoping that this time it works. Rather, we’re encouraged to resume doing what originally worked (Revelation 2:2-5). God asks us to repent, accept His mercy, and carry on. Look at these encouragements:

  • From Hebrews 12:12-13:

“Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.”

This encouragement has us giving up behaviors and vices learned from this fallen society.

  • From Luke 12:42-43:

“And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and sensible steward, whom his master will put in charge of his servants, to give them their rations at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master finds doing so when he comes.”

This is part of an extended passage (vs. 35-48) explaining that we never know when our own time is up, or when the Lord will return. Society is always looking to God’s people for guidance, as a lamp, whether we know they’re watching or not.

  • After God chastises Israel, and they repent, He promises to receive them back again, restoring them and healing their land (Deuteronomy 30:1-3; 2 Chronicles 7:12-14). He even accepts repentance of foreign lands (Jonah 3:6-10, 4:11). We’re not perfect – that’s why we need mercy in the first place.

Christians need to take a long view on redemption. Seeing significant results might take years and years. For example, if close to 40% of polled adults,[19] and more than 50% of college age youth,[20] look longingly for a socialist society, then America has a problem, and a long row to hoe.

Who is teaching these sorts of useless things? One author is surprised that his students aren’t schooled in our cultural basics, such as knowing about the parable of the Good Samaritan.[21] This, and other testimonies, hint that a lot of retraining, a lot of character change, is needed. We’re told that it took hundreds of years of preaching against envy to enable a society that lets us keep and enjoy material blessings:

[Helmut] Schoeck recognized that envy was one of the medieval church’s seven deadly sins. He believed that generations of preaching against envy was one of the pillars of Western economic growth — one that has not been widely recognized.

For well over a thousand years, the church preached against the sin of envy. This preaching had a positive effect wherever it took hold in people’s thinking. Listeners were hesitant to indulge in the sin of envy. They had been warned of coming judgment against the envious. [22]

We must believe that God purposes His people for good. We aren’t guaranteed wealth, health, or even a long life. But we are guaranteed, by having the Holy Spirit, who is the first fruit of the harvest to come, that He loves us and has good things for us. Our accepting His plan is just what the Apostle Paul hoped for, when he wrote:

… I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; in no way alarmed by your opponents – which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God (Philippians 1:27-28).

When His church is faithful, it witnesses to God’s victory. This terrifies His enemies – why else are they concerned that we must cover for them, to bless and affirm and participate in their evil behaviors – and tells them that their time is short.

Guarding your family against society’s ungodly yeast

In raising your children, you have two large aims. First, you teach them to be God-fearing youth. Second, you shield them from getting assimilated by society. As far as avoiding society’s yeast, there are many things that need monitoring, such as their access to television, movies, and internet content. But this section concentrates on monitoring their education.

You send a child to a particular school to get the education, the curricula, it offers. If a private school perfectly matches your educational intent then you’ve got it made. But for whatever reasons – time, money, convenience – most people settle for public schools, and get what education it chooses to offer. As currently constituted, the public schools are not your friends. For example, here is what the teacher union thinks of parental involvement:

The schools cannot allow parents to influence the kinds of values-education their children receive in school…that is what is wrong with those who say there is a universal system of values. Our goals are incompatible with theirs. We must change their values.[23]

The public schools teach what their union likes, what they learned in teaching college, and what the state says they must. For example, in Illinois the schools must now teach how homosexuals contributed to U.S. history. [24] And none of this is 100% transparent to observers. Schools are known to hide controversial lessons from the parents.[25]

It is the parents’ responsibility to discover what their children are exposed to in school, whether public or private. Then they have a chance to do something to shield their children.

  • Sometimes you can intervene, such as getting the child excused from some obnoxious lesson.
  • Sometimes you can inoculate the child against what the classroom is trying to teach. That means introducing the child to the obnoxious topic before the school does, but from a Christian perspective. After that, the child understands the school’s lessons as attempts to undercut God’s, and the parents’, testimony.

Support your children when they want to stand up for what they believe. They don’t lose their rights simply because they’ve passed through the schoolroom doors.

Being a good yeast in your community

You may not have any local friends, and drive 10 miles to attend church each Sunday. But that doesn’t mean you can ignore the community where you live, where you keep your stuff and your car. You and your neighbors already share similar material values, and probably already watch out for each other’s children. They see how you live, and what affect Jesus has on the ordinary things you do.

But a good community witness also includes protecting against bad influences. How can you help your community reject the introduction of bad ideas, or of bad people? An obvious way is to stay observant, and keep in contact with other watchers. As possible examples:

  • Are those new residents trying to set up a street gang?
  • Are your schools, or even your library, bringing in dress-wearing men to promote the transgender lifestyle to small children? [26]
  • Has an off-track gambling parlor been slated for your shopping center?

These things represent “bad yeast.” They’ll tend to make people act worse, tempt the neighborhood into ugly habits, and decrease your quality of life. So forewarned is forearmed.

Christians ought to be the first to call out evil plans. The community is probably waiting for our first move, before they themselves join us in condemnation. After all, if the Christians won’t condemn something then maybe it isn’t that bad after all. An aspect of being light to the world is to expose darkness, so that people can see the difference and have a chance to do the right thing.

Witnessing righteousness to our politicians

If you want to talk to your mayor about your concerns, it’s just a short trip across town. But reviewing what your state legislature does is a major time commitment. You don’t have the time or energy to review the thousands of bills, or hundreds of regulations, that pass through the legislature each year.

What you want are your very own lobbyists. You need trusted people to review these laws and regulations with the Bible in mind, evaluating them for their effects on religious liberties. They can see if the bills reflect pro-life, and pro-family, concerns. You want people who can coax legislators to vote for what is right by God.

Please realize that even good legislators are swamped with paperwork. There are so many laws before them that they don’t have time to read what they’re supposed to vote on. They use others to tell them what to do. Sometimes they get good advice, and sometimes merely self-serving advice.

Look at Illinois, and its General Assembly. We already have plenty of well-funded lobbyists for anti-Christian causes, but precious few for pro-life or pro-family issues. A state this size could easily use a dozen or more advocates for God’s people, speaking “truth to power.”

If you aren’t already supporting someone, consider supporting Illinois’ Pro Family Alliance. This group sends Ralph Rivera and Molly Malone to do battle on biblical, pro-family issues. Ralph and Molly have an amazingly large beat:

  • Intensely work on over 10 bills each year that directly affect family issues and our liberties to raise our children. They testify in committees why the bills are good, or bad. And they work representatives, gently nudging them into doing the right thing.
  • Review over 6000 bills introduced each year, along with hundreds of amendments.
  • Monitor the Illinois Register, where each state agency publishes hundreds of new or revised regulatory rules each year. These rules can affect us as much as laws that get passed, so watching them is vital.

Ralph and Molly are in Springfield every day that the General Assembly is in session. This transcript [27] gives you a little taste of what they are already doing for you. But understand that Ralph was the only non-sponsor who testified on bill HB 246 (teach homosexual history in school).[28] We need them, and so many more lobbyists working expressly for us.

Think of it as paying for insurance, or for a preventative checkup. Paying for our own lobbyists will keep the legislature in line, and pay off with more righteous laws.

Endnotes

  1. Barker, Matt, Light of the World, Sermon Central, August 10, 2008, https://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/light-of-the-world-matt-barker-sermon-on-christian-witness-125576

  2. Adams, John, From John Adams to Massachusetts Militia, 11 October 1798, Founders Online, National Historical Publications & Records Commission, https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Adams/99-02-02-3102

  3. McDurmon, Joel, Do You Polish the Brass on a Sinking Ship?, Free Republic, American Vision (which is it?), October 8, 2010, http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/2603902/posts

  4. Beeson, Katie, The Preacher’s Role, U.S. News and World Report, August 25, 2017, https://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2017-08-25/religious-leaders-should-stay-out-of-politics

  5. Removal of the Leaven, Chosen People Ministries, https://www.chosenpeople.com/site/removal-of-the-leaven/

  6. Kengor, Dr. Paul, How Obama Made Good on His Promise to Fundamentally Transform U.S.A., CNS News, January 26, 2017, https://www.cnsnews.com/commentary/dr-paul-kengor/how-obama-made-good-his-promise-fundamentally-transform-united-states

  7. Perry, Oliver, Socialism is also a religion, Fix This Culture blog, May 31, 2019, https://fixthisculture.com/socialism/socialism-is-also-a-religion/

  8. Perry, Oliver, With Socialism everybody becomes slaves of the state, Fix This Culture blog, June 8, 2019, https://fixthisculture.com/socialism/with-socialism-everybody-becomes-slaves-of-the-state/

  9. Perry, Oliver, With Socialism you no longer have a family, Fix This Culture blog, June 15, 2019, https://fixthisculture.com/socialism/with-socialism-you-no-longer-have-a-family/

  10. Meghany, The communist abolition of the family, Destroy Capitalism Now!, March 26, 2017, https://destroycapitalismnow.wordpress.com/2017/03/26/abolish-the-family/

  11. Perry, Oliver, With Socialism only crazy people believe in God, Fix This Culture blog, June 20, 2019, https://fixthisculture.com/socialism/with-socialism-only-crazy-people-believe-in-god/

  12. Urbanski, Dave, Transgender plaintiff files $1.1 million lawsuit against former employer Nike for exposure to incorrect gender pronouns, The Blaze, December 20, 2019, https://www.theblaze.com/news/transgender-plaintiff-sues-former-employer-nike-for-exposure-to-incorrect-gender-pronouns

  13. Owl, This is why I put my pronouns in my email signature (and you should too), inews.co.uk, March 19, 2018, https://inews.co.uk/opinion/comment/why-i-put-pronouns-in-my-email-signature-and-you-should-too-318944

  14. Airaksinen, Toni, Prof: Algebra, geometry perpetuate white privilege, Campus Reform, October 23, 2017, https://www.campusreform.org/?ID=10005

  15. Kirkwood, R. Cort, Seattle Schools: Math Racist, Oppressed Need Liberation From the Right Answer, New American, October 3, 2019, https://www.thenewamerican.com/culture/education/item/33574-seattle-schools-math-racist-oppressed-need-liberation-from-the-right-answer

  16. Thornton, Bruce, WHAT UNIVERSITY ‘SNOWFLAKES’ ARE REALLY ABOUT, FrontPage Mag, April 6, 2016, https://archives.frontpagemag.com/fpm/what-university-snowflakes-are-really-about-bruce-thornton/

  17. Burke, Monica, 7 Reasons Why the Equality Act Is Anything But, The Daily Signal, March 14, 2019, https://www.dailysignal.com/2019/03/14/7-reasons-why-the-equality-act-is-anything-but/

  18. Greene, Chad Felix, How The So-Called Equality Act Threatens Speech, Religion, And Women’s Rights, The Federalist, April 1, 2019, https://thefederalist.com/2019/04/01/called-equality-act-threatens-freedom-speech-religion-womens-rights/

  19. Younis, Mohamed, Four in 10 Americans Embrace Some Form of Socialism, Gallup, May 20, 2019, https://news.gallup.com/poll/257639/four-americans-embrace-form-socialism.aspx

  20. Elkins, Kathleen, Most young Americans prefer socialism to capitalism, new report finds, CNBC, August 14, 2018, https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/14/fewer-than-half-of-young-americans-are-positive-about-capitalism.html

  21. Dinan, Stephen, Losing our Religion: America becoming ‘pagan’ as Christianity cedes to culture, Washington Times, December 30, 2019, https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/dec/30/faith-in-us-withers-as-apathy-trumps-religion/

  22. North, Gary, Envy and Poverty, Lew Rockwell, July 18, 2007, https://www.lewrockwell.com/2007/07/gary-north/the-evil-of-envy/

  23. Benson, Al Jr., Benson: Socialist Teachers Unions, Metropolis.Café, June 12, 2017, https://metropolis.cafe/2017/06/12/benson-socialist-teachers-unions/

  24. Leone, Hannah, New law requires Illinois schools teach contributions of gay, transgender people, Peoria JournalStar, September 7, 2019, https://www.pjstar.com/news/20190907/new-law-requires-illinois-schools-teach-contributions-of-gay-transgender-people

  25. Bannister, Craig, Tucker Outraged by Reg to Let Schools Decide Whether to Tell Parents Their Kid Changed Gender, CNS News, March 1, 2018, https://www.cnsnews.com/blog/craig-bannister/tucker-outraged-reg-let-schools-decide-whether-tell-parents-their-kid-changed

  26. Chretien, Claire, Public library invites children to watch drag queens ‘strut their stuff’ this summer, Life Site News, June 7, 2018, https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/public-library-invites-all-ages-to-watch-drag-queens-strut-their-stuff-this

  27. Rivera, Ralph, Testimony before Committee on HB 246, February, 6, 2019, https://fixthisculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Ralph-testimony-HB246-before-House-Education-Committee-2019.pdf

  28. Leone, Hannah, New law requires Illinois schools teach contributions of gay, transgender people, Peoria JournalStar, September 7, 2019