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Civilization prior to the time of Christ was very different from what it became afterward. The ancient pagan world was a world in which a single individual supported by a small upper class ruled over the great majority of the population. It was rule by man over man with little restraint on the ruler; the common man was reduced to little more than brute servitude.

Christianity introduced an entirely novel concept, Instead of allegiance to a king or an emperor; men were called to obey God, an entirely transcendent being, one that created the world and everything in it, one that was all-powerful and determined all outcomes. As this faith took hold and spread, rulers began to lose their power; they could no longer rule in an openly autocratic manner. The people viewed their rulers as God’s servants and more or less held them to God’s law. When rulers deviated from it, they felt resistance from below and found it more difficult to command obedience. For the first time in history the common man began to have a say in the employment of his labor. For the past two millennia, life in the Christian West was to an increasing degree in the hands of the people, more so where the faith was stronger and less so where it was weaker.

This transfer of ultimate authority from man to God, haphazard and almost trivial as it may seem, has truly transformed the world. The kind of free society the Western World and America in particular has enjoyed for hundreds of years did not exist in antiquity. It cannot be explained other than as a consequence of the widespread faith in God, obedience to His law and the recognition that Christ and not the Caesars of this world was to be obeyed as Lord and Lawgiver.

All this though, is now in the process of disintegration. The Christians of the Christian West have lost their way; rulers are no longer seen as servants of God. The typical Christian now believes that Christ’s lordship is restricted to heaven and man now rules on earth. As a consequence, both freedom and faith are fading and the world is moving back to its pre-Christian, Pagan past.


  1. The faith was never more than a very small fraction of what it could and should have been. Both the numbers of believers and the depth of their understanding and faith never reached anything approaching a critical mass. It is truly amazing that this tiny tincture of Christianity could do what it did. When we consider how much Christians have accomplished in these two millennia and how very far from perfect and, in many ways, how sinful they were, it speaks volumes of what the Christian faith is capable of accomplishing; it boggles the mind to think of the vast potential inherent in the Christian faith.
  2. While man’s great enemy is sin, it is not sin in unbelievers but the sin in God’s chosen and regenerated people that is responsible for both today’s decline and also every past failure. Were Christians not so woefully ignorant of their responsibility for the culture at large, there would be no holding them back; they would be invincible and this world would soon be a Christian world. This power lies dormant, just waiting to be tapped by a faithful generation, one that clearly sees its responsibility and steps out in total faith.
  3. The question before us now is, how long will it be before the faith revives and Christianity once again begins to assert itself. There are many Christians in America today, many that declare their faith but their faith is not the faith of those earlier believers that effectively conquered the world. It is a weak and divided faith that places only a small portion of life under God and gives the greater part to the world. It may by God’s grace lead to life but it does not measure up to His standards and it is utterly impotent to change the world.