WHY IS LAWLESSNESS ERUPTING IN THE USA?

The Barna Cultural Research Centre report found that only 6% of Americans adhere to a biblical worldview. 

Sixty percent of Americans do not believe that human life is inherently “sacred”. The word “sacred” is defined by the researchers as “having unconditional, intrinsic worth.” However, more than two-thirds believe human beings are “basically good.”

We would argue that seeing humans as “basically good” runs “counter to the foundational biblical teaching that human beings are created by God and made in His image but are fallen and in need of redemption.

George Barna, who founded the Barna Group, said in a statement that the view of mankind being “basically good” is negatively influencing current debates over law enforcement and systemic racism. “A movement to defund police departments might make sense if people are innately good. People with a humanistic worldview argue that crime and violence happen because of poverty, bad parenting, systemic discrimination, and other external forces,” stated Barna. “Yet crime statistics, political tensions, tendencies toward anger and hatred, and America’s moral deterioration and confusion suggest that we are neither innately good nor that emotional responses to empirical challenges will solve the problems.” Barna went on to argue that one “cannot change the hearts of people by outlawing racism.

Riots in USA cities

“You will not create peace by passing laws and forcing compliance,” Barna contended. Every society can benefit from specific systemic changes, but any systemic changes designed to transform the culture will be short-lived unless the hearts and minds of the people who populate that system are transformed first with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

JESUS TRANSFORMS PRISON IN EL SALVADOR

J Lee Grady (Fire In My Bones, Charisma Magazine) stood in front of 600 male inmates at a prison in Izalco, El Salvador. The men were dressed in white T-shirts and white drawstring pants, and many of them sported tattoos on their faces and necks. All the men were members of violent gangs when they were incarcerated. About 20% of them were affiliated with the MS-13 gang—a group known for horrific attacks on women, children and police officers.

Yet he felt no fear as he looked out over the crowd and shared a message from Luke 15 about the prodigal son. Most of the men were carrying Bibles, and when he announced his text, they immediately turned to the passage. They yelled, “Amen,” or “Gloria a Dios,” when Grady stressed an important point. And they clapped and cheered when he reminded them that the kosher Jewish father in the story welcomed his wayward son home even though the boy smelled like pigs.

Almost every prisoner in this huge group became a Christian after arriving at the Izalco prison. Two churches now operate inside the facility, pastored by men who were once tough criminals. All the men now gather for Bible study every day, they hold prayer and fasting vigils, and they are helping each other to grow spiritually.

When the men worshipped on Monday, six guys used plastic paint tubs for drums while an inmate with a huge smile led the praise choruses. The men sang louder and with more passion you would see in most churches in the outside world.

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!Jesucristo vive dentro de esta prisión!” (“Jesus Christ lives inside this prison!”

“Our government is encouraging this movement,” says Oscar David Benavides, director of the prison. He says in 2016 he was allowed to encourage evangelism among inmates. When men experienced conversions, he intentionally moved them into buildings where there were non-Christian inmates.

Faith was never forced on anyone, but more and more men began to find Jesus in a chain reaction of grace. The new converts changed dramatically. They were no longer angry and depressed. They became cooperative and friendly. Their frowns turned to smiles.

Today, El Salvador’s government leaders see evidence that Christianity is good for violent offenders.

No serious crimes have occurred inside the Izalco facility since the prison revival began. The inmates treat each other with respect, even though they were affiliated with rival gangs. “The transformation is an obvious miracle,” Oscar Benavides says.

In the United States, Grady said, “We are skittish about mixing government and religion. We don’t want prayer in schools. We don’t want the Bible to influence public policy. And yet our prisons are so dangerous they are like hell on earth. A report released last year by The New Republic said 428 inmates died in Florida’s prisons in 2017, hundreds have died in prisons in Oregon and Washington since 2008, and the rate of prisoner-on-prisoner violence has doubled in Alabama in the past five years.

Grady said, “he is not going to hold his breath until America’s prison officials try El Salvador’s method of reform – JESUS”. But asks, “Why wouldn’t we?” In this tiny Central American nation—the only country in the world named after Jesus Christ—a true miracle has happened. We are foolish to ignore it.”