America's Unfinished Task

By Francis Frangipane

The awesome solemnity of the role of the USA in the post-"cold war" world is only now beginning to dawn on many. -Patrick Johnstone

To perceive America's future, we must appreciate its past. Without stepping into pride or blind nationalism, we need to esteem how God has used the United States, especially since the 1940s. Indeed, just as the Lord commanded Israel to recall their blessings and honor Him for their victories so, with humility, we should call to mind God's mighty hand upon this nation.

Let us not forget how, during World War II, the Almighty empowered the U.S. to defeat Nazism and Japanese imperialism. Then, for the next forty-five years, the Lord manifested His resolve to arrest the advance of Soviet communism, ultimately using the spiritual, economic and military strength of America to topple this stronghold of atheism.
For more than sixty years, God Himself has maximized the global influence of the U.S. Beneath the shelter of American benevolence, and economic and military strength, Christianity has spread exponentially to many nations. It was God's hand upon this nation which played a significant role in opening the world for the sake of the gospel.

You say, "God doesn't need America. He could have snapped His fingers and immediately these evil empires would have crumbled." That's true. God could have used plagues, meteors, angels or other nations; He could have opened the ground and swallowed Germany, Japan and Russia in a heartbeat. Psalms 115:3 tells us that our "God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases." The Almighty can do anything He pleases in any way He pleases. Therefore, since He obviously chose to use America to defeat these demonic strongholds, we must conclude America was His first choice and using America is what pleased Him most.

Recent History
One of the most significant consequences of World War II was that the number of nations leading the world dropped from five: Great Britain, Germany, Japan, Soviet Union and the United States, to two: the Soviet Union and the United States.

The Soviet bloc of nations covered one-sixth of the earth's land mass. For nearly fifty years, these two remaining superpowers competed with each other to possess the future of the world. Each nation reinforced its ideological position by continually increasing their military strength; every event on the world stage was an opportunity to advance international propaganda.

Eye to eye and weapon for weapon, neither nation would flinch or allow itself room to publicly lose face. Nuclear war was the unthinkable option: a dread specter in the world's subconsciousness. The threats and counter-threats of nuclear conflagration were not without substance: the U.S. had dropped two atomic bombs on Japan. Ever escalating their destructive capabilities, weaponry was measured in a frighteningly insane calculation: the number of times each could destroy the other with its arsenal.

Not since the days of Noah was mankind closer to destruction; never was the planet itself closer to annihilation. For almost fifty years, the American Eagle and the Russian Bear circled each other in a ring of death, each nation facing its foe in an unrelenting confrontation. The Cold War drained economies, people and patience.

It was difficult to imagine that there could ever be another way of life or a different, more rational world order. For those who are too young to remember, the Cold War was a time of abiding oppression upon all nations. There existed no solution, no wisdom, and no hope of resolution and reconciliation. From the ongoing confrontation in Berlin to the terrifying Cuban missile crisis, to the thousands of nuclear warheads poised in readiness to obliterate all life on planet earth, the only strategy was deterrence. Only the guarantee of nuclear retaliation and mutual annihilation kept the world from nuclear war.

Then, inexplicably and without warning, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics began to unravel. Almost before our eyes, the nation disintegrated. Its fall was unprecedented. Never had so great and formidable a nation simply ceased to exist without either an assassination of its leadership or a sweeping civil war or revolt. Truly, there were no clearly observable outward signs of turmoil that indicated such drastic change was at hand.

The FBI and CIA were stunned; the news media were astounded; the prophetic teachers of Christendom, dumbfounded. Everyone had the USSR pegged; everyone was wrong. The sudden fall of the second most powerful nation in history was perfectly inconceivable. Yet it happened.

While military theorists, philosophers and politicians debate the various explanations on how the USSR collapsed, there were two results of its fall that were actually partial fulfillments of Scripture. First, the demise of the Soviet empire was orchestrated by the Lord to release the Russian Jews "from the land of the north" and restore them "to their own land" (Jer 16:14-16). Second, He desired to break the power of godless communism and thus open the Russian peoples to the gospel of Jesus Christ (Matt 24:14).

One Superpower Under God
There was a third outcome to the fall of the USSR which most of us, as Christians, have been slow to recognize or value. Simply, the death of the Soviet Union left one nation standing as leader of the world: the United States. America was not a battered foe, but triumphant; it had not been weakened by the conflict but, in many ways, actually strengthened.

Previously, at the end of WWII, Winston Churchill made an astute observation. He predicted that the world would follow "America's stride" into the future; increasingly, now, it is so.

It is important to remember: America is not an atheistic country, communistic, Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic or pagan; it has not descended into a "post-Christian" era, as have its European allies (though the standards of a large minority of U.S. Christians have slid). For whatever is wrong with America, it must be noted that the sole remaining superpower-the leading nation of the world-is also the most openly Christian.

In fact, in spite of its sin and obvious moral failures, since WWII America has remained the bastion of evangelical Christianity. This nation has been the primary launching pad of the most aggressive missionary outreach in the history of the world.

Let me quote Patrick Johnstone of the United Kingdom. He is considered by many to be the most respected compiler of statistical information on prayer and evangelism in Christianity. In his comprehensive resource book, Operation World, as an Englishman, he writes of America: "No state in the world has been so strongly influenced by biblical Christianity."

Spiritual War
I do not believe that the Cold War between the U.S. and Soviet Union was merely a military or cultural battle; at its deepest levels, it was a spiritual conflict. It was a war between a nation that recognized, to some degree, the influence and sovereignty of Christ versus a system whose "state religion" was atheism, which vehemently opposed the very idea of God.

Indeed, America's national motto, though tested, remains In God We Trust. Every time there is a cash transaction in this nation, there is a witness to our spiritual heritage. For those with living faith, our motto remains an attainable vision for our future.

Atheists have challenged this motto often, taking it to the Supreme Court. Every time, their challenge has been unanimously rejected by both liberal and conservative judges alike.

A motto, according to Webster's dictionary, is a "guiding principle . . . a phrase expressing the spirit or purpose of an organization." A motto is an ideal more than an attainment. It's the standard toward which an organization charts its future, even while falling short of it.

More than half of all Americans sincerely consider the phrase, In God We Trust, as a true statement, reflective of their own lives. The trust expressed may not be a moment-by-moment reliance that the deeply spiritual possess; it may be true only in times of trouble, yet in times of trouble, eighty-five percent of Americans turn to God.

This maxim abides at the center of America's spiritual consciousness. Whether that ideal is wrapped in Methodist, Baptist or Pentecostal garments; whether it is expressed through high church liturgy or an inner city storefront, it is the guiding principle of the majority of Americans. We may disagree concerning how to worship, but most Christians in America agree concerning Whom we worship: We pay homage to the God of the Bible. To a large majority of Americans, the Lord is not only "God," but He is "Father" as well. He is the Supreme Being revealed in the New Testament, who sent His Son to die for our sins, to whom the majority of Americans look to in prayer.

You say, "Wait, the church in America is carnal, worldly. It's not New Testament Christianity." The first century church was far from perfect. They had divisions (see 1 Cor 1:11-12; Acts 15:37-39); immorality (see 1 Cor 5:1; Rev 2:18-21); leadership scandals (see 2 Tim 4:10); false doctrines (see Rev 2:14, 2:20); and dead churches (see Rev 3:1). Everything that we consider wrong with the church today was wrong then. They were imperfect Christians who turned their world upside down. God used flawed Christians then, and He is still doing so today.

I was born in 1946 and grew up during the Cold War. I still can recall times when, during the Sunday service, prayer was offered to God for Russia. It was ungarnished prayer, but sincere; simple, yet serious. Millions of average Americans were looking earnestly to God in prayer. I am fully convinced that when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, it was an answer to the countless moments of intercession that were offered to God from ordinary American people.

Yes, I'm sure people from many nations were also praying, including Russia itself. However, the essence of this conflict was between America, a nation whose motto was In God We Trust, versus a nation who categorically denied the existence of God, the USSR. The fact that Mikhail Gorbachev announced the dissolution of the Communist Party on December 25, 1991-the day we celebrate Christ's birth-is a profound witness that God was in America supporting His cause against atheism.

I am also convinced that when the USSR fell, a demonic stronghold that influenced much of the world also crumbled. In a real way, the dark "powers of the heavens" were beginning to experience the first of God's mighty end-time shakings (see Heb 12:26-27; Matt 24:29). As further evidence of this truth, consider: Since the fall of the Soviet empire, Christianity has harvested more souls worldwide than the sum of all previous centuries combined! The fact is, since America became the last remaining superpower, the harvest of the nations has begun on a scale unprecedented in world history!

Workers From Every Nation
I do not mean to imply that American Christianity has alone harvested these souls. No. In fact, in a few places Americans were not even involved. Men and women from many nations, together with the 60,000+ missionaries from the United States, have been sent by God to the uttermost parts of the world. Additionally, much of the harvest is occurring through the labors of Christian nationals, converts in foreign lands, whom the Holy Spirit has empowered to win their nations for Christ. We, in America, are participants with many others in the spreading of the gospel.

Still, the Lord has used the U.S., through its influence as world leader, to keep the nations open toward the biblical concepts of freedom, human rights and justice. This is not a little thing.

Before the fall of Soviet communism, the activity of the living church in Russia was small and embattled. Afterward, literally millions of people made confessions of faith and began their journey into salvation. Yes, the number of Christians can still increase during persecution, but it is also true that there are times when God must simply say, "Let My people go" (Ex 5:1), and the controlling powers of darkness are henceforth restrained from hindering the gospel.

This War Is Not Over
We said earlier that if America did not exist during World War II, we would be under the influence of Nazism. Furthermore, if America had not existed since World War II, Soviet communism (atheism) would have expanded virtually unchecked throughout the world. In both cases, it was primarily America (in league with its allies) that stood against these demonic philosophies. This, in turn, has increasingly opened the world for the spread of the gospel.

However, there are some who think American culture itself is a threat to the gospel. Certainly, in some ways, I agree. We have demonic strongholds in our own land that are a menace and must be brought down. If "freedom" is our virtue, it has also become our vice. For freedom has, for many, degenerated into lawlessness and license. As I mentioned in the preface, we have many things wrong with us as American Christians.

But, the idea that the U.S. must be destroyed so a purer Christianity can emerge is unfair for several reasons. First, condemning the United States is fatalistic and unbelieving in nature. Indeed, whatever is not of faith is sin (see Rom 14:23). Such thinking conveniently excuses the church from having to love, pray, fast, witness, and be involved as salt and light in the earth. Generally speaking, the attitude that America must be destroyed is the opinion of those whose love has grown cold (Matt 24:12); it is not the cry of those who care for America and are interceding for it.

In spite of predictions that America will spiritually and socially decline into irreversible darkness, the opposite is actually occurring. The incredible reduction of the crime rate (lowest since statistics began) reveals that something is happening in the United States as an answer to prayer. Abortion rates, divorce, teen pregnancies and people oppressed by poverty are all significantly dropping as well. Indeed, revival and renewal conditions, like the first drops of a summer thunderstorm, are breaking out in a number of churches.

We live in a time when ministries such as Mission America are bringing together large segments of the body of Christ for prayer. Scores of denominations and hundreds of prayer ministries are uniting, seeking God with fasting and prayer for revival in North America. Perhaps, for the first time in centuries, the church is not dividing, but is actually uniting around the Person of Christ.

I do not believe that Christ has inspired America's prayer movement only to ignore the prayers and then destroy us. There are millions of people praying fervently for the United States. A profound number of Christians are humbling themselves, praying and seeking the face of God like never before. So, even while we must acknowledge that America has major strongholds of sin, we have the encouragement from God Himself that He who began this good work will perfect it unto the day of Christ Jesus.

Yet, there is one more reason why, I believe, the United States is not about to be destroyed: America's role as the defender of freedom is not over. True, we no longer need to stand against Nazism or Soviet atheism, although the threat of communism is far from over. However, let us consider a future without the United States: In the hour of America's demise, radical Islamic extremists would begin their long-awaited Muslim holy war, Jihad, against all non-Muslims. In Asia the "Red Dragon," communist China, would begin the assimilation of the far east; and every ambitious, militaristic dictator would begin the brutalization of its weaker neighbor nations.

God's task for America is far from finished. In truth, it is just beginning. If the church continues to embrace Christlike intercession, not only will the Lord continue to reduce lawlessness in our cities, He will transform the soul of the United States and use this nation for the most glorious period of its history. Today, America does not stand at the brink of destruction, but at the threshold of its destiny.