By Pastor Joseph Mattera
After the tragic (staged) events of January 6th, wherein several hundred protesters (out of hundreds of thousands), stormed the capital building, I observed several important realities.
1.Media spin takes place on both the Left and the Right.
I always attempt to read both liberal and conservative news on every major issue. This habit helps protect me from falling prey to a myopic media bias. As I watched CBS News’ coverage of the Capitol breach, I heard the newscasters and commentators lump all the protestors together. This was in spite of the fact that the vast majority of the tens of thousands who showed up did not participate in any illegal activities. They also blamed all the political leaders and Americans, who believed there was voter fraud, for the violence in Congress. (This was a ridiculous assertion.) After several hours of listening to this, I turned to conservative shows on Fox News and conservative news sites. Consequently, I listened as some Conservative pundits insinuated that the Far-Left group, Antifa, was to blame for the breach. Some Conservatives pointed out that a few busloads of Antifa activists posing as Trump supporters were allegedly identified among the protesters. It becomes discouraging when you understand the fact that we rarely get objective news reporting anymore. It is usually filtered through the propaganda the media is told to report based on their pre-determined narratives.
- The unity of our nation is on the brink of collapse.
Our nation is only held together by a few important things. They are as follows:
- Ideals and principles encapsulated by the U.S. Constitution,
- Local and national elected officials, as well as law enforcement assigned to uphold our Constitutional rights,
- Secure borders that geographically define the nation,
- Local churches and religious entities that produce millions of volunteers who serve their communities, and
- The kindness and courtesy of citizens toward one another.
All of these ideals, entities, and attitudes have been severely tested within the past several decades. This has led many to believe that the nation is on the verge of a cultural collapse. January 6th highlighted the nation’s fragility. However, the only entity that will survive in the long run is the Christ-centered remnant Church, which the “gates of hell” cannot destroy (Matthew 16:16-19).
- The nation is still severely divided by skin color.
I listened to the comments of Black athletes and elected officials who said that if the protesters who breached the capitol were Black, they would have been slaughtered, or at least violently put down. A Black political commentator even said the capitol police were accessories to the breach. Then, I listened to White commentators remind people (while admitting that the Capitol’s breach was horrific) that during the nation’s civil unrest, BLM and Far-Left Antifa protestors burned down communities, robbed stores, and took over part of the city of Portland. They pointed out that while this was being done, liberal mayors, politicians, mainstream media, and even the police often looked the other way while excusing the violence.
Although one can make a case that there is some truth in both positions, the sad reality is that our nation often interprets reality based upon a worldview related to skin color. This is another reason we are the “divided states of America,” instead of the United States of America.
- Staged events will usually fail to undermine local processes.
Although many of those who attended the January 6th protest came to peacefully demonstrate against election fraud, numerous people thought that they were going to “take back the nation.” Others believed that Vice President Pence could deny the electoral vote unilaterally and force a recount.
This illustrates the fact that many people are ignorant of the long-term process of political engagement necessary to bring about systemic change; they are merely looking for a quick fix.
After all, it is much easier to go to a rally and storm a building than get an education, serve as an intern for an elected official, successfully run for office, or get engaged through a community board or local school boards.
The LGBTQ community has demonstrated how a minority of people can shift the culture in just a few decades through the hard work of infiltrating Hollywood (to influence pop culture), getting engaged politically, spending money on lobbying, altering the meaning of keywords, and influencing school boards and education at every level. They didn’t just depend upon “the Stonewall uprising.” Instead, they were committed to the long-term process that often includes a multi-part process. (They initially merely push for toleration, then for equality before the law, which culminates in them becoming community leaders who then help to determine the cultural values, goals, and objectives in family, religion, entertainment, health, business, education, law, and policy.)
- It will take generations to shift the worldview of the nation.
The challenges leading to the bankruptcy of American trust and integrity, culminating in the Capitol breach, did not foment overnight. The United States began to morally decline in the late 19th century when the Protestant Evangelical Church began to abandon culture. Instead of engaging the earth, they began focusing on escaping the earth. This is because they could not cope with urban life’s complexities, the aftermath of the civil war, the rise of higher criticism, mass immigration, and ideologies like Marxism and Darwinism.
Hence, one generation later (in the 1920s), the Church lost societal influence with every institution of higher learning. The result was that we lost the entire culture to another generation, as embodied in the 1960’s sexual revolution. (For more on this, read my book, “The Wineskin of the Kingdom.”) It took three generations to lose the culture, and it will take at least one generation or more to turn it back to the Judeo/Christian worldview.
Without the Church serving as the ground and pillar of the truth for society, cultural ethics will rapidly decline to the default position of human depravity (1 Timothy 3:15).
- The American people need to recover trust in the system.
We have a crisis of trust in this nation. Many Black and Brown people have little trust in law enforcement and the judicial system. This mistrust becomes the catalyst for such movements as Black Lives Matter. Many conservative Trump supporters and perhaps most people in the Republican party have lost trust in the political process because of the alleged massive election fraud.
Also, I have observed through the last several decades of political engagement, many elected officials, both Democrats and Republicans, have been arrested for bribes, corruption, and other misdeeds. Some of them I knew personally. Some form of malfeasance is almost expected because long ago, it became part of the ecosystem of politics. However, character matters. If there is no turnaround, corrupt political systems, and ego-driven leaders will eventually bring down the nation. There are no easy solutions. We need divine intervention!
However, the Church should take the lead in facilitating community-wide dialogue between the police, elected officials, and concerned citizens. The goals should be to find common ground, work together, and to rebuild a culture of trust.
- The prophetic words about Trump were wrong.
It is time for all of the prophetic leaders who prophesied a Trump victory to submit a public apology and admit they were wrong. There is no longer any realistic possibility that Trump will remain in office, even if election fraud is proven before President-Elect Biden is sworn in.
Admitting that they were wrong doesn’t mean they are false prophets, especially since the New Testament teaches us to test all prophetic words. (This means that present-day prophecy is not on the same level as the Old Testament prophets whose prophecies were equal to Scripture (1 Thessalonians 5:20-21).)
This should be a time of real soul searching among these prophetic leaders who, en masse, prophesied a Trump victory. (Many others also missed it when they prophesied COVID would suddenly lift around Passover 2020.) To continue moving forward with integrity in public prophetic ministry, they will need to check their hearts, motives, honestly assess their methodology, and make themselves accountable to mature spiritual leaders. Those who sincerely do this will probably experience a greater unction for ministry upon their lives because God causes “All things to work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
- Mere politics cannot fix the maladies of the nation.
The biggest mistake the conservative Evangelical Church has made in recent years has been to invest too much of their time, energy, and focus on bringing systemic change through political means. (They focused most of their efforts on the political sphere to the neglect of the other spheres of culture.) God and His church should always be the center of our focus and our means to bring systemic change. Jesus calls the Church to operate with the keys of the kingdom, and to bind and loose His will on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 16:16-19). After all, our greatest battle is “not against flesh and blood but the spiritual forces of darkness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). Only the preaching of the Gospel has the power to change lives and shift the culture from the inside out (as opposed to mere politics that attempts to change human behavior by laws and policies). To the extent the gospel permeates culture and reflects the ethos of God’s kingdom, that is, the extent will make the political system work. Without a culture of virtue in a society, no constitution, law, or policy can sustain itself long term.
Dr. Joseph Mattera is an internationally-known author, consultant, and theologian whose mission is to influence leaders who influence culture. He is the founding pastor of Resurrection Church in Brooklyn, and leads several organizations, including The U.S. Coalition Of Apostolic Leaders and Christ Covenant Coalition. To subscribe for a weekly teaching from Joseph Mattera click here.