During the Republican presidential primary season, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz were not the best of friends. Trump called Cruz "Lyin' Ted," mocked his wife's appearance, and insinuated that his father had associated with the assassin of John F. Kennedy. Cruz denounced Trump as "utterly immoral" and a "pathological liar."
Before last night's Republican convention meeting, everyone wanted to know: what would Cruz say about Trump, now that the latter is the Republican nominee for president?
As it turned out, their standoff continues. Cruz congratulated Trump on his victory but refused to endorse him. Instead, he encouraged Republicans to "vote your conscience." As his speech ended, Trump supporters in the hall began shouting their displeasure. Then Donald Trump entered the hall. Commentators called it the most surreal moment of the convention thus far.
It's been said that "politics are downstream from culture." If that's true, we should not be surprised at the divisiveness of this political season. Nor should we look to political parties to unite themselves, much less the nation.
According to journalist Colin Woodard, the idea of American unity has always been more myth than truth. In American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures in North America, he claims, "There's never been one American culture but rather several Americas. The country was settled, not as a single enterprise, but by entirely separate groups of people founding separate colonial clusters with very different ideals and goals." Woodard believes that we assimilate not to an American culture but to our regional culture.
While that may be true, there was a day when our eleven regional cultures shared a common belief in objective truth and morality. Today, most Americans are convinced that truth is whatever we say it is, that we must tolerate whatever does not harm us personally. We've lost any moral compass or consensus. When the hub of the wheel is gone, the spokes will eventually break.
We're not the first nation to find ourselves in this situation. In Jeremiah 5, the Lord said to his prophet, "Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, look and take note! Search her squares to see if you can find a man, one who does justice and seeks truth, that I may pardon her" (Jeremiah 5:1). The prophet could not find such a person, so the Lord responded: "This people has a stubborn and rebellious heart; they have turned aside and gone away. They do not say in their hearts, 'Let us fear the LORD our God'" (vs. 23–24).
What does God think of our heart condition today?
Here's the only true and lasting source of unity: "Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD" (Psalm 33:12). That's why the Holy Spirit is moving God's people to seek spiritual awakening on a level I have not seen in my four decades of ministry. Christians from across the country gathered in Washington, DC, last weekend to pray for revival. Believers from seventy nations will gather in New York City this fall for Movement Day Global Cities. I am seeing prayer movements in churches across the country. The Spirit of God is stirring the people of God in remarkable ways.
Do you sense the urgent need for moral and spiritual revival? Are you praying for our leaders and our people to choose repentance and humility? Are you praying for our pastors and churches to be catalysts for awakening?
If we are separated from God, we cannot truly be united to each other. But the closer we get to Jesus, the closer we get to each other. The hour is late, and the choice is ours.
NOTE: For more on last night's Republican convention, see Nick Pitts's report on our Facebook page.
Publication date: July 21, 2016
For more from the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture, please visit www.denisonforum.org.
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