Leaders come and go and nations come and go. God can use both for his purposes. Think of a Moses, or the judges (as in the book of Judges), or Esther, or even a pagan king like Cyrus of Persia who allowed the Jews to return to their homeland. God providentially raises up people and leaders for crucial times in world history.
He certainly did this often in Old Testament times, and I believe he is still doing so today, even when we may not be fully aware of what God is doing behind the scenes. I have often mentioned for example that I believe God providentially raised up three mighty leaders during one of the West’s darkest hours: the Cold War. As I wrote elsewhere:
I believe without a shadow of a doubt that God in his gracious providence raised up three extraordinary leaders back then to help bring about the end of that hideous failed experiment of Soviet Communism. These three were of course, US President Ronald Reagan (1911-2004), English Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013), and Karol Józef Wojty?a (Pope John Paul II – 1920-2005). These three monumental leaders did as much as anyone to help bring the Soviet system to its knees, and to help bring back freedom to the godless hellholes of the USSR and Eastern Europe.
I often recommend that if you want to get the full picture on these three giants and their contributions to modern history, you pick up John O’Sullivan’s terrific 2006 volume, The President, the Pope, and the Prime Minister (Regnery). Rightly did he subtitle this book, Three Who Changed the World. And they most certainly did.
The threat of godless communism was endangering the entire world, and these three giants were raised up to meet the challenge head on. And they succeeded, by God’s grace. In the same way a few decades earlier the challenge of Nazism was threatening the planet, and great leadership was required to meet this danger.
One of the key players to turn the tide was of course the indomitable Winston Churchill. And Churchill had a very clear sense of destiny, of providence, of divine calling. This is made crystal clear in a brand new book which you all should grab: God & Churchill: How the Great Leader’s Sense of Divine Destiny Changed His Troubled World and Offers Hope for Ours by Jonathan Sandys and Wallace Henley (Tyndale House, 2015).
It is often assumed that Churchill was basically a secular, non-religious character. Here a great grandson of Churchill (Sandys) and Christian columnist (Henley) make it clear, as the subtitle states, that he had an unmistakeable sense of divine destiny from a very early age, and this sense of purpose and mission sustained him and helped to keep the West free from tyranny – both from Hitler and from Stalin.
The authors say this at the end of their important volume:
Churchill understood himself as an instrument of God’s intervention, which is why he sensed a mission to save “Christian civilization” from the threat of Nazism. Here, then is our hope for the cataclysmic time in which we live: The same God who brought forth Winston Churchill (and other deliverers) still rules over history, and he has a deliverer – or deliverers – for our season as well.
It might even be the ultimate Deliverer.
Nazism and communism were two mega-threats to the West and the free world. We of course have another major threat on our hands today. Islam is making the same menacing inroads as the other two political ideologies did, and is just as dangerous.
I was just alerted to a piece from Barnabas Fund, an organisation devoted to helping persecuted Christians. The title of the piece is this: “The survival of Western countries depends on embracing their Judaeo-Christian heritage”. That was certainly Churchill’s view, and Reagan’s, etc.
They all knew that without the sure foundation of the Judeo-Christian worldview, the West cannot stand against its many adversaries. An interesting historical fact is found at the end of this article and is worth sharing here:
Secondly, during the Second World War the Western world faced an ideological threat of a similar magnitude to radical Islamism from Nazi ideology. In the UK the government of Winston Churchill recognised that it was not enough to defeat Nazism militarily, it must also provide a counter narrative. Churchill in fact, spoke of it as a battle for the survival of those Judaeo-Christian values which he termed “Christian civilisation”, famously declaring in 1940 on the eve of the battle of Britain “Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilisation.” One small, but significant step his government took was to pass an Education Act in 1944 requiring all children to be taught Christianity in order to prevent any ideology similar to Nazism ever taking root in the UK. Similarly, Konrad Adenauer, Germany’s first post-war chancellor, facing an even greater challenge of rebuilding a destroyed country while de-Nazifying an entire generation, consciously sought to rebuild Germany on the basis of Christian values.
The West is slowly waking up to what the Islamist agenda really is, but on the whole is failing to construct a counter narrative. It must reassert its Judaeo-Christian values if it is to do so. At the moment its failure to do so is not only leaving it vulnerable to Islamism, but as we have seen in the case of Nigeria, is also making it difficult for Western governments to fully recognise the suffering that the enforcement of sharia and other aspects of classical Islam such as jihad and dhimmi status create for Christians in many Muslim-majority contexts.
Yes a secularised and demoralised West is no match for militant Islam. But that Education Act really got my attention. I was not aware of this Act, so I did a bit of research on it. All that the Wikipedia article on the Act says about the religious aspect is this:
The Act also introduced compulsory prayer into all state-funded schools on a daily basis. This clause was amended by the Education Reform Act 1988, which specified that the act of worship should be of a ‘broadly Christian nature’ unless such a message was deemed to be inappropriate for a particular school or group of children. The amendment also specified that the act of worship could now take place in classes, rather than the previous system of conducting worship in assemblies. The Act was repealed on 1 November 1996 by the Education Act 1996.
A Christian education site offers more detail:
The 1944 Education Act stated that ‘the school day in every county school and every voluntary school shall begin with collective worship on the part of all the pupils in attendance’. In accordance with Britain’s traditional respect for religious freedom, the 1944 Act also gave parents the right to withdraw their child, perhaps in favour of separate arrangements.
By the time the 1988 Education Reform Act was going through Parliament, Britain had become a much more diverse nation. As a result of moves within the state educational establishment, either to ignore the legal requirements for daily worship altogether, or to lump all religions together into a multi-faith, multi-cultural mish mash, many felt it was necessary to reinforce the position of Christianity as the main, traditional religion of this country. Consequently, the Education Reform Act 1988 reaffirms that ‘all pupils in attendance at a maintained school shall in each school day take part in an act of collective worship’ (though parental rights to withdraw their child are retained).
It should also be noted that legal opinion suggests that ‘mainly of a broadly Christian character’ does not mean that other faiths can be mixed in with Christianity – that would be multi-faith or syncretist worship, which the law is intended to prevent. Nor is the law intended to force any child, whose faith is not Christian, to attend Christian acts of worship against parental wishes.
The law clearly says that acts of worship may be for all the pupils or for separate groups within the school. Exactly like the 1944 Act, this allows schools with pupils whose religion may be other than Christianity to make provision for these pupils to have their own separate act of worship in their own faith group.
Imagine a leader today advocating anything like this: worship and prayer in our schools, especially to help deal with an international crisis. I don’t think many Western leaders today would dare to try it. But Churchill saw it as a fully appropriate action in those very dark days. This is another indication of how Churchill was providentially raised up during this critical period.
So God can and does raise up people to fulfil his purposes, especially at strategic periods in human history. I am wondering if America may not be at such a place – indeed, at a tipping point. After eight years of Obama trying his best to destroy America, it is crucial that no more destructive Democrats get in. And either Clinton or Sanders would be utterly disastrous for the nation.
With six Republican contenders left, only three of whom are real conservatives, we must pray like never before that God has mercy on this once great nation and allows one of the three to make it into the White House. For what it is worth, my choices would be (in order of preference): Cruz, Carson, Rubio.
No one man can save America. And politics alone cannot turn around the mega-mess the US is in. But who knows, God may again raise up a leader who can at least stop the rot and allow some room to move there. America is on the ropes and does not seem to have long to last, unless some radical changes take place.
A genuine conservative and Christian leader will be a big help. We must pray and work for that to occur. But unless God’s people get on their faces before Almighty God and repent, and seek his face, and decide to stop playing games and start getting serious with him, the nation is basically lost.
Please God, raise up a deliverer. We need one, and soon.