We are too easily drawn into a sense of security. We often lack perspective on the rest of the world, partly because we don't have many of the problems here that face other countries, and partly because we trust too much in American might to put things back together when they fall apart. The only person who can heal the world and set things right is God, and all Christians believe He began that work in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ.
The 21st century seems destined to demonstrate that truth whether Americans are prepared to learn it or not. It's clear that the U.S., while still an important national entity, no longer enjoys the international latitude and respect it once did, and that what began as an Enlightenment project will be shown to be as powerless on its own merits to achieve progress and perfection as any other human enterprise.
A lot of historians, political scientists, and armchair philosophers have tried to show the reasons for America's gradual fall from grace, but most of them leave out the underlying problem: human rebellion against God. A nation can't collectively sin indefinitely without repentance. Whatever its past status might have been, the United States of America in the 20th century was most certainly not a "Christian nation," and much of what its citizens perpetrated in the name of freedom and justice was actually the opposite of those things.
Even so, the 20th century saw the largest missionary efforts in history, many of them begun on American soil and funded by American churches and individuals. Churches have been founded, and though congregations have disbanded, many have remained strong. These things don't happen through human efforts; they evidence the working of God in and among us.
Our study of the 20th (or any other) century must focus on God. He is the ruler of heaven and earth, and the Lord of all that has been and will be; our understanding of history depends first and foremost on our understanding of Him. If we do our best to understand Him, the events of the last 100 years will begin to make sense in a way purely secular systems of thought can never make them.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur.Read more of his reviews here.
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