By Ada Brownell
Those who keep track of faith in the United States tell us an enemy scrambled over the crumbling walls surrounding the American church, snatching faith and carrying away hostages.
Nehemiah saw a similar situation in Old Testament Days. Years before, enemies sacked Jerusalem until the 22-foot-thick stone walls surrounding the city were turned to rubble and the gates burned with fire (Nehemiah 1:3). Many Jews who escaped exile still lived outside the walls in trouble and disgrace.
Nehemiah had an important job as cupbearer for King Artaxerxes in Persia. When he got the news about the sorry state of his people in Jerusalem, Nehemiah wept. He fasted and prayed. He praised the Lord for his awesome power. Then he repented of his sins and Israel’s sins.
Seeing his grief, King Artaxerxes gave Nehemiah a leave of absence, so Nehemiah went to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls.
Nehemiah was not a carpenter or a stonemason. He’d never been a supervisor. But he saw a need and knew although Israel had sinned and been scattered over the nations, if they would return to the Lord and obey His Words, the Lord would bring them back to the land where God chose for His name to be honored.
Like Jerusalem in Nehemiah’s time, the enemy of our souls has broken down the walls of the U.S. church so that we're losing too many of our youth. Some churches don’t have enough young people to survive another decade.
Yet, there is hope.
Not long before his death, I interviewed the Rev. Thomas Zimmerman, a dynamic 20th Century Christian leader. I asked Zimmerman if he expected the American church to pass faith to the next generation.
“It will,” he said, enthusiastically. “But the church of tomorrow won’t do things exactly the way our generation did.”
I've found that to be true. We have wonderful new worship songs, churches with multiple satellites and powerful services on Saturday and Sunday that reach thousands of young adults. But still the enemy is at work. More and more Christian parents and grandparents deal with teens in rebellion who live an immoral lifestyle, and some admit they are atheists.
I notice how schools, universities, and government are changing the way we think. I received my degree after age 40 from a state university and shuddered at how different the youth came in, but how similar when they went out. In the classroom belief in God and Christianity were ridiculed, immorality expected, and America criticized. Most students graduated talking alike, thinking alike, believing the same. They resembled a line of toy soldiers where it was difficult to distinguish one from another.
I think they were brainwashed with ungodly propaganda carefully framed to change the individual. They began with a little truth.
“For a long time propagandists have recognized lying must be avoided,” says Jacques Ellul, author of “Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes”. “In propaganda, truth pays off.”
Where propaganda goes to work to change minds is in the “interpretation” of the truth, or twisting the truth. In today’s terms—spin.
Ellul told how the Communist Party in France made progress between 1921 and 1936 because of election propaganda. The same was true in other countries in the 20th Century.
Mao Tse-tung said propaganda can “force” people to become Marxist. His first techniques failed, but then he went to public discussion, criticism, persuasion and Marxist education, especially for children, and he turned China to his way of thinking.
This in spite of Mao executing an estimated two to five million people and several million were sent to labor camps.
To have the greatest effect, propaganda must base its self on existing tendencies, Ellul said. Instead of going against what you believe, it gives you something else to believe--using your own desires and needs as a basis.
IMAGINE THE FUTURE YOU
FREE JAN. 25-26
Faith in God stripped away by secular educational systems and the media is why I wrote the motivational Bible study for youth, Imagine the Future You. Reviewers say the study, complete with questions and answers, is a great source for family discussion. It's also good for parents to read, so they'll know how to approach children before their faith is gone.
Now is the time to get the book. The e-book will be free of charge on Amazon on Jan. 25-26. Amazon Ada Brownell author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001KJ2C06
©Ada Brownell January 15, 2014