Sunday, July 2, 2017

Is America 'called 2 fall' on our faces as it says in 2 Chronicles?

Today, Sunday, July 2, a nationwide effort is underway to get people/churches to fall on their faces and pray in repentance and for God to heal America. The movement is biblically based, so the organizations says, because the movement is founded on the verse from 2 Chronicles 7:14,

if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.


The movement is titled Call2Fall and the website FAQ is here

From the website:
Q - What's involved?
A - The Call2Fall is not a fancy program or a big show. Simply set aside a definite time during worship on July 2, 2017 when you call your people to get on their knees and faces before the Lord in repentant prayer for God to reshape our lives and renew our land. Click here for free church resources that may be helpful. 
Q - Who can join?
A - Call2Fall on our knees is for every Christ-follower in America. Specifically, there are multiplied millions of believers who realize that America is in trouble and that neither Washington nor Wall Street has the answers. We are hoping that at least 40,000 churches will join in a corporate act of humility, repentance, and desperate prayer on our knees before the Lord.
Q - Why a Call2Fall?
A - First, the Scriptures teach it. The key verse is 2 Chronicles 7:14...
The first requirement on the path to renewal is to "humble ourselves," to fall on our knees and faces before the Lord in repentant prayer. Over and over the Scriptures teach this. Click here for examples.
Second, our history records it. Our founding fathers sensed the need for a Call2Fall in view of the monumental struggle we were engaged in with Britain. The First Continental Congress called for a day of public humiliation, fasting, and prayer throughout the Colonies on July 20th, 1775 just after war broke out.

"Christ-follower" Sigh. Never mind the comment about what our Founding Fathers "sensed." Most of them were either atheists, libertines, or deists who believed in a different Jesus.

Is a call to prayer wrong? No. Is calling the people to repent wrong? No. However, basing a movement such as this on the verse from Chronicles is wrong, because this is one of the most misused, out of context verses in the entire Bible.

The verse that the Call2Fall movement is founded upon is a verse that is aimed directly at Israel, not America.

Here are three men with theological essays explaining what exactly was happening in history before and after the 2 Chronicles 7:14 verse and then explaining the verse correctly. I'd encourage you to click on one or all of the links and read their piece in its entirety.

The second issue is that though we might love where we live, and we are grateful the Lord raised up nations (and puts them down) (Acts 17:26), we are citizens of heaven. Our minds should be trained on the fact that we are part of a global body, an invisible kingdom of which there is a King who reigns. We love America, but please watch out that excessive patriotism hasn't made an idol of the Stars and Stripes. Many nations have come and gone within just my lifetime. Here is a list from Business Insider of 9 countries that ceased to exist in the 20th century. There are tons of countries that have gone away, ceased to exist, changed names, expanded or contracted borders, or simply vanished. Biafra, Bundu, Tibet, Alsace-Lorraine, Bremen, USSR, Yugoslavia, Rhodesia, and many other nations have lived, thrived, and died in the 20th century. How does a former Rhodesian pray the 2 Chronicles prayer? If someone does pray the 2 Chronicles prayer, the answer might be unexpected. The Lord DID heal East Germany, by wiping it from the map and uniting it with West Germany.

America's borders have changed dramatically in just the 241 years of our own existence. What I'm saying is it is not wrong to love your country. It's just that we shouldn't get too attached to it.

Here are some essays explaining the context of the 1Chronicles verse-

Steve Kozar at Pirate Christian Media:
Frequently abused and misused Bible verses
2 Chronicles 7:14 "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land."
Again, this is not a universal promise to all believers in all times. This verse starts in the middle of a sentence-that should give you a clue that it is being taken out of context. This promise is given specifically to God’s covenant people Israel, and it shouldn’t be universally applied to the church, or especially to any nation.

Truthfully, we are blessed much more so in our time, because of Jesus and His sacrifice to atone for our sins-no matter which country we live in, or how much worldly prosperity we have or don't have.

Delivered by Grace, Josh Buice
Butchered Bible Verses

Explanation of how the text is misused-
As we’re getting near the summer, we can expect to hear sermons from preachers who, with good intentions, will cite 2 Chronicles 7:14 or preach an entire message on that single verse while applying it to America. Most of the time it's an attempt to demonstrate the need for repentance in our nation. At times we hear of preachers who use this verse to call out our national position on abortion, and in most recent days, our President’s opinion about homosexual marriage. As we examine the text, it is abundantly clear that 2 Chronicles 7:14 is not speaking about America – the home of the brave!
Explanation of the text
The wrong application of 2 Chronicles 7:14 is to lift it out of its context and apply it to America or any other single nation. Anytime we attach a text of Scripture to America, we must be extremely cautious. Because in that act we are saying this is a reference to God’s promise for America when in reality – it isn’t. The key is found in two specific places in the text.
1. The verse begins by a key reference to "my people." This is not a reference to all people in America or any other nation, because we know that by that phrase the Chronicler was referencing the people of God – specifically of Israel.
2. Within that framework, the people of God were under judgment for sin. This involved pestilence, drought, and exile from their land. It would be wrong to suggest that America is under judgment, as the children of God, and that God is calling us BACK to Him. For the most part, America has never known God, so God isn't calling America to come BACK. If anything, God is commanding unbelievers in America to repent, but they don’t need a rededication card at the end of a service around July 4th, they need a new heart created by the Spirit of God, paid for by the Son of God, and accomplished by the will of God the Father.

Empowered by Christ, Richard Haas
Is 2 Chronicles 7:14 for us today?
As always context must be our rule of thumb when dealing with any verse or group of verses in the Bible. So Let’s take a quick look at the context around this verse. Understand that the construction of the first temple in Jerusalem had just been completed. King Solomon led a massive week-long celebration to dedicate the temple. When the people returned to their homes following the celebration, we read the following:
If you continue reading the remaining verses in 2 Chronicles 7, it becomes abundantly clear that this was a particular promise made by God to the Jewish people during the time of the first temple.
As it can, we see the use of this verse is quite a bit different than Christians using this verse as a promise from God to fix the problems in the United States of America.
I think there are certain principles we can use from 2 Chronicles 7:14. Such as, it is always a good thing for God’s people to humble themselves and pray for their nation. As Christians, we absolutely should and need to pray for our nation; this is biblical. We also can learn from this text that as Christians we should pray for our neighbors, friends, loved ones, and even our politicians–even the ones we don’t agree with (1 Timothy 2:1–4). It would be wonderful if every Christian would humble himself or herself and pray for our nation.

However, we must understand that 2 Chronicles 7:14 is not a divine promise to Christians in the United States today that God will fix our nation. We don't have such a guarantee in Scripture. We must always be careful to make sure we use verses in the proper context. Remember the three rules of proper biblical hermeneutics; Context, Context, and Context.

Here is an explanation of what 2 Chronicles 7:14 means from GotQuestions-

What is the meaning of 2 Chronicles 7:14
The key to understanding any verse of Scripture is context. There is the immediate context—the verses before and after it, as well as the larger context of Scripture—how the verse fits into the overall story....
The immediate context of 2 Chronicles 7:14 shows that the verse is tied up with Israel and the temple and the fact that from time to time God might send judgment upon the land in the form of drought, locusts, or pestilence.
When ancient Israel repented and sought the Lord, they were doing so en masse. The nation as a whole repented. Obviously not every single Israelite repented and prayed, but still it was national repentance. There was never any indication that a small minority of the nation (a righteous remnant) could repent and pray and that the fate of the entire nation would change. God promised deliverance when the entire nation repented.
Here is some food for thought by John MacArthur as to whether the American Revolution was even biblical.

Why Government Can't Save You
Over the past several centuries, people have mistakenly linked democracy and political freedom to Christianity. That’s why many contemporary evangelicals believe the American Revolution was completely justified, both politically and scripturally. They follow the argumentation of the Declaration of Independence, which declares that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are divinely endowed rights. Therefore those believers say such rights are part of a Christian worldview, worth attaining and defending at all costs, including military insurrection at times. But such a position is contrary to the clear teachings and commands of Romans 13:1-7. So the United States was actually born out of a violation of New Testament principles, and any blessings that God has bestowed on America have come in spite of that disobedience by the Founding Fathers.

John MacArthur
The Christian's Responsibility to Government
But Christians, even though they have struggled to answer the question of what is their relationship to government, have not always answered it properly. And throughout the history of the church, there have been revolutions in the name of Christianity where people decided that the Christian thing to do was to revolt militarily against the government that's in power, and demand their rights. There have even been wars in the name of Christianity.
And so Christians have struggled with this, and sometimes they have rightly understood what their role was, and sometimes they have overturned their God-given role and become revolutionary. There has been violation of law in the name of Christianity. I don't know if you realize this, but there have been, even in our own country, certain law violations, civil disobedience, subversive attempts to overthrow the powers that be on a local level, a state level, or a national level that in some cases were led by people who claimed to be Christians, all of this in the name of Christ.

We should fall on our faces not because we're using 2 Chronicles 7:14 out of context, but because Matthew 28:19 says to make disciples of all nations-

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit

Because Acts 1:8 says to make disciples to the ends of the earth-

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

Because Mark 16:15 says we preach the Gospel to every creature-

And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature."

We are not called to fall because we misuse the 2 Chronicles verse but because we love the LORD, because we understand His word in context, and we are mindful of the fleeting nature of nations and boundaries and nations, and because know the eternality of the saved in heaven.



6 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for the study on these verses. It has been my pet peeve how this verse has been misused for a LONG time. It is popular with those who refuse to believe in a literal translation of the Bible...and that view is getting more popular all the time. Since "we" are supposed to be the "new" Israel, it gives them "permission" to hate the Jews. Something is terribly wrong with so much of today's Christianity. Thank you so much for standing for the truth!!

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  2. I don't think the verse is misused at all if it used to apply to the American Church. It's simply this: Romans 15:4 - "For whatever was written previously was written for our instruction, that by endurance and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope."

    What I think is misused are the guesses of the three theologians cited above.

    The Romans 15 verse is addressed to God's people, and the context of the verse is a passage that addresses the church both during the time of Apostles and at the time of being shown a last days eschatological mystery, that we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eyey.

    At the time it was written, the II Chronicles verse applied to the Nation of Israel (not the cults, the real Nation of Israel). At what point can we say that all people of God--even the Church--are not being instructed to humble themselves, pray, seek God's face, turn from our wicked ways? At what point, if people do this, would God break his promise to forgive our sin and health our land?

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    Replies
    1. Hi bloggerjim,

      I don't think it's quite fair to declare that all three theologians are "guessing." I read all three articles in full and the authors showed from scripture.

      Did you read the full articles?

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  3. Yes, I did. And I still have to stick with the Romans 15 principle. Though I respect these men, I see them as saying, well, all of Scripture is not really for our instruction, endurance, and hope. And, I have to again point out that, in these end times, the Church is as much God's people as were the Jewish people of Old Testament times. And, again, I can't see God thinking that, if the people of the American church will humble themselves, and pray, seek His Face, and turn from their wicked ways, that He wouldn't then heal our land. Their exclusionary principle goes against against the grain of all Scripture giving us instruction, encouragement, and hope.

    Thank you for deal with this issue.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading all 3 articles.

      I personally didn't interpret it that all 3 authors were saying that not all of scripture is for our edification and instruction.

      Also, I believe all 3 or most of them alluded to the fact that the principle is retained that could apply to America. Josh Buice wrote:

      "A correct view would be to suggest that in a general sense – if the people of God in America would genuinely seek the face of God and call upon Him, while in a form of genuine repentance, we would see a great revival take place in our land. However, we can’t be promised that it will solve America’s problems. "

      So I disagree that they excluded America from the possibility of God intervening in a positive way if we repent.

      Basing an entire movement on the 2 Chronicles principle and extrapolating it to the US like the Call2Fall people did is unwarranted, especially when there are many other scriptures that can be used in our situation.

      Josh Buice again: "It is not biblically accurate for preachers to stand in pulpits and claim that 2 Chronicles 7:14 is a promise of a total healing of America. Even if the true church in America remains faithful, God may still judge America."

      here's an example, using the 2 Chronicles verse to state with surety that God WILL heal America if we fall on our faces and repent is like saying that God WILL make walls falls down if we march around them 7X and blow a trumpet.

      The upshot:
      --Don't use 2 Chronicles as a scriptural promise to America because it isn't, and other verses better address the character and nature of God in His dealings with humble peoples
      --Don't take verses out of context

      :)

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  4. I totally agree with Elizabeth and MacArthur on this!

    Rick
    Metro Atlanta

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