When God created man, He ordained three institutions, and only three, as essential foundations to sustaining mankind’s survival and ensuring mankind’s joy during life on earth. Those institutions, prominent throughout the Bible, are: the family, the church, and the government. When they are honored, nurtured, and protected, societies prosper. When they are dismissed, neglected, and attacked, societies crumble. America is leaning dangerously on a crumbling foundation.
My Pastor, Shawn Barnard, captured my attention in a recent Bible study reviewing the three biblical institutions foundational to the survival and joy of a society or nation. He pointed out the Roman Empire collapsed from within, not from external powers. Eminent Roman Empire historian Edward Gibbons presented five reasons for the Empire’s demise in the fifth century after 500 years of world dominance. The five reasons were:
- Undermining the dignity and sanctity of the home and family
- Higher taxes and frivolous spending
- The mad craze for pleasure
- The building of gigantic armaments
- The decay of religious faith
Each of these causes of Rome’s downfall reflects an abandonment of the three biblical institutions. The family is the most fundamental institution on earth. The health of the church and government depends on the physical, emotional, and spiritual health of the family. In America today, about 45% of marriages end in divorce, 7% of adults are in cohabitation relationships, 40% of all births are from unmarried women, 26% of all children live in single parent households, same-sex marriages have flourished since they became legal in 2015, 66% of families have both spouses working full time to support their lifestyle. All of these statistics have increased dramatically in the last couple of decades.
Rome’s decay of religious faith was from corruption of religion, not from genuine believers. In America today, only 40% of adults attend church at all, and only 18% are in church on any given Sunday. Although 75% “identify” with Christianity, only 37% claim to be highly religious, and 33% say they’re not religious at all. Twenty-two percent read the Bible every day, but 45% seldom or never read it. These statistics, compared to just a decade ago, show a substantial move away from religious commitment in America.
High taxes and unsustainable military buildup were the sources of the financial implosion within Rome’s monarchy. In America today, although our tax burden is comparable to other developed countries, we are first in the size of national debt and 8th in our debt-to-GDP ratio of 106%. This ratio is up from 62% in 2007. In other words, our taxes are relatively reasonable, but we are spending borrowed money like there is no tomorrow. Our government has also been in a free-fall toward Socialism which has little regard for family and church. I am a firm believer in a strong military, but is our defense capability becoming excessive? America’s defense spending is 36% of the world’s total and three times that of second-place China. It is 16% of the total U.S. budget and 54% of discretionary spending.
This abbreviated look at where America stands on its foundational institutions of family, church, and government indicates clearly that we are going the way of Rome. No individual can reverse this course alone. But, each of us can pray for God’s miraculous intervention. I challenge you to do just that each day. Millions of us who love America and want to preserve it for our progeny can recommit ourselves to our families and make needed changes in family priorities. We can be in church every Sunday and become more deeply involved in God’s mission through the church. We can vote for leaders who have a like passion for turning this nation around. We can make our voices heard by our government leaders. We can!
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