“Yes,” say many non-Christian traditionalists, and they seem to have a point. The western church promotes liberalism almost as much as the secularists, and it’s easy for a cynic to see current Christendom as just another part of the Left’s evil empire—with exceptions being sufficiently rare not to alter the overall judgment. And it’s easy for the selfsame cynic to see the liberalism that is dragging us down as a bastardized version—or perhaps even the natural fulfillment—of Christianity.
And if Christianity is responsible for the decline of our homeland and our people, it would seem that we ought to stay away from it.
But the validity of this judgment depends on the referent for the word “Christianity.” Does the word simply refer to the totality of persons, institutions, words and deeds that are conventionally called “Christian?” Or, while conceding the validity of this first meaning, can we see an additional and more fundamental meaning?
Christian Scripture claims that the things of this world do not just happen. They have a divine order, ordained by God. According to the Bible—which is God’s Word and therefore fully trustworthy—the church is not just a human phenomenon. Its existence and progress is ordained by God with the purpose of saving sinners and sanctifying believers through the proclamation of Scripture and the administration of the sacraments. That word “Christianity,” then, refers fundamentally to the preaching of the Word of God (both inside and outside the walls of the church building), worship, prayer, the administration of the sacraments, and the other endeavors that relate to these primary Christian activities. And at an even more basic level, Christianity is God working—generally behind the scenes—to save sinners. At this level, Christianity is fully invisible except to those who believe the life-giving truths that God has told us in the pages of Scripture.
The politically-correct foolishness that occurs within so much of the institutional church, then, is not the proper meaning of “Christianity.”
We must also point out that Scripture frequently warns against false teachers, false gospels, and false Christs. These repeated warnings show, at minimum, that holding to a proper form of Christianity is of vital importance, and that there will be many counterfeits of Christianity, and that it is possible for Christians to recognize the false versions of their religion. Not everything conventionally called “Christian” is wholesome, and it is only to be expected that perversions of Christianity will have toxic results for nations as well as individuals. The situation decried by secular traditionalists was anticipated by Scripture.
Why then is so much of Christendom not doing its God-ordained job, and instead participating in (or at least tolerating) the evil system of the world? No authoritative explanation has been provided to us by God, so we must be content to observe that all human activities are corrupted by sin to at least a certain extent, that poisonous liberalism is nowadays wildly popular and therefore irresistible even to most Christians, and that God has good reasons (known only to Himself) for everything He permits.
So is Christianity in the proper sense of individuals saved from God’s wrath through repentance and faith in Christ, along with prayer, worship, accurate proclamation of the Gospel, and suchlike activities, responsible in any sense for the decline of the West? Clearly not.
At the same time, we Christians must acknowledge that our house is corrupt. We make the assertion that true Christianity is not responsible for the decline of the West, not to avoid judgment, but to keep up our spirits. True Christianity has become something like an ideal that is rarely achieved, but this is no reason to abandon it. On the contrary, it is reason to pursue Christianity more zealously, and to protect it more wholeheartedly once we find it.
One last point, addressed to you non-Christian traditionalists, neo-reactionaries, or whatever you call yourselves. You have enough wisdom to see that your nation is in danger, and you also recognize that there is much foolishness in the Christian church. You are correct on both counts. But do not let the foolishness of the church distract you from an important truth.
You see, I know something about you even though I’ve never met you: You feel guilty.
Nothing personal about that. I feel guilty too. And that’s because you and I are guilty. All men are guilty.
A traditionalist is a man who is perceptive enough to realize that something is seriously wrong with the status quo. And the ultimate problem with the status quo is that man, on account of his sin, is guilty before a holy God. That’s why man erects false systems like the current politically-correct liberalism. He wants to solve his problem of guilt by pretending that the world can be made right through a liberal socio-political order that will make all men free and equal. But the effort must fail, as we traditionalists know.
If there were no God, guilt would be a meaningless concept. But man feels guilt, because he senses correctly.
And only Christianity solves the problem of your guilt. Because of who Jesus Christ is and what he has done, your sins can be forgiven, through your repentance and faith in Christ. This last sentence is, of course, just a summary of a vast lifelong process. But the process begins in an instant when, after learning the truth about Jesus Christ, you come to see him as what he is: your only hope. At that instant you are completely saved, even if the working out of it lasts a lifetime. That’s the good news of true Christianity.