God is over the nations of the world, but people still rebel against Him, especially His revelation in Scripture. Today’s culture would like God to be more inclusive and progressive. Pastor Lutzer expresses how our view of God is what’s most important about us. What happens when God Himself is eclipsed in our culture?
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Transcript: Welcome to “5 Minutes with Pastor Lutzer.” I’m so glad that you joined us as we begin a very critical new series, entitled, “The Eclipse of God in American Culture.” I’ve done many different series on “5 Minutes…” but I have to tell you this, perhaps none is more critical. Because at the end of the day, our view of God is what is most important about us and when a nation abandons God, there are certain dominoes that fall. C.S. Lewis made this statement. He said, “I believe in Christianity as I believe in the sun, not only because it has risen…” he says, “—but because by it I see everything else.” But what happens when the sun is eclipsed? Well, you and I know that that happens when the moon gets between the sun and the earth. And the earth then can get pretty dark. Now the sun continues to shine in all of its brightness and strength but it is not seen on the earth. And I’d like to suggest that in America today what we have is, indeed, the eclipse of God.
I was motivated to do this [series] because about a year ago, early in 2022, there was an article in the economist, entitled, “Nearer My God to Me.” The author was Catherine Nixey from Great Britain. And in this article she said that God is becoming (notice that word) — God is becoming more liberal. She goes on to talk about the smiting God of the Old Testament. And now let me quote her directly.
“Smiting used to be so simple. God smote the people and they trembled. Sometimes they died. He smote the rebellious Israelites and tens of thousands died, and Philistines, they got hemorrhoids. The Sodomites suffered a particularly striking smiting. In Genesis the men of Sodom are wicked sinners before the Lord exceedingly. So God rained brimstone and fire upon Sodom. Well, God doesn’t do that anymore. God doesn’t smite anyone. Few in Britain celebrate a smitey almighty.”
She goes on to say that Methodists in Britain voted, after prayerful consideration, to allow same-sex marriages. She points out that this is not consistent with the book of Leviticus, because God is becoming more liberal. He is changing. He is being more tolerant, more inclusive.
I want to say this about this series that we have begun today. It is very critical and I want you to know that it is important to listen to each segment because in some sense each builds upon the other. Of course, every one of these episodes is independent. People can get in at any point but it would certainly help for you to be able to follow through along with us as we take this journey. We’re going to be discussing issues such as: Is God more tolerant than He used to be? I mean in the Old Testament you have all of these severe judgments. You have things like the wiping out of the Canaanites. Well, we don’t stone false prophets today, do we? How should we interpret that? Is the portrait of God in the Old Testament the same as the portrait of God in the New? Is it safer to sin under grace than it was under law? And how do we relate to God who is supposedly over the nations of the world, but the nations of the world are very rebellious? And how do we fit in?
You know what the Bible says? It actually talks about the fact that, indeed, God is eclipsed in a nation that forgets Him. I’m reading from Isaiah 59. “Behold the Lord’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save nor His ear dull that it cannot hear but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.” Your sins have hidden His face from you. The eclipse of God.
Because this series is so critical, I want to remind you that this is an opportunity for you to subscribe, to follow us, and, of course, very importantly share this with your friends. You can even get on the phone and encourage them to listen. Encourage them to become a part of this journey. Because we’re going to be going through some deep weeds. Some very difficult to reign but by God’s grace we’ll have a better understanding of God and His relationship to our culture when we are finished. I want to thank you so much for joining me today and, by the way, we talked about God hiding His face from people because of their iniquity. But if you’re a believer in Jesus, I pray that His face will be turned upon you as it says in the book of Numbers 6, that His face will be turned upon you. You will experience blessing. Seek His face continually. We have that opportunity because we are His.
Thanks for joining us and next time I’m going to be introducing you to Nietzsche, a very important philosopher. We’ll talk about what he said, why he said it, and the implications for American culture but as for today, well, you just go with God.