His watchmen [ are ] blind, they are all ignorant; they [ are ] all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yes, [ they are ] greedy dogs [ which ] never have enough. And they [ are ] shepherds who cannot understand; they all look to their own way, every one for his own gain, from his [ own ] territory.
( Isaiah 56:10 & 11 )
There is a festering problem in many of America's churches today, and this is a problem that, ultimately, only God Himself, through the gentle thrashing of His Holy Spirit, can solve! That problem is the unwillingness, for whatever reason, of our spiritual leaders to 'rock the vote' ( I mean 'boat' ) when it comes to the insidious dangers that our country now faces; the threat of our liberties, granted by our Creator, being wrested from us! Oh sure, there are many pastors out there, who have taken up 'arms', at least within the safe and sacred confines of their beloved 'worship center', or church building, against the more visible threats; pornography and homosexual marriage, to name a few. As long as their speaking out won't disrupt their happy homes, or threaten their exalted position as leader of their particular social club, or of any certain institutional church that offered them the salary that they were looking for.
Fortunately; this is not always the case; there are those out there, as God promised Elijah, 'Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him' ( I Kings 19:18 ); those who, despite, for the most part, their 'favored' 501( c )3 status, are beginning to return to the roots of our country's spiritual leadership ( if they ever left ), and are preaching those good ole' 'fire & brimstone' sermons ( not quite ), and being the 'watchmen' ( Ezekiel 33:1-11 ) that God has called them to be, preaching, and acting, as the preachers they claim to be, searching out and fighting the evil that has pervaded their congregations and pretty much every aspect of society. This invasion, as was pointed out above, includes many of our personal liberties, our God-given rights, which, sad to say, far too many of us, for far too long, have ceded to our federal and state governments, in part based on a faulty interpretation of passages like Romans 13, and a general lack of understanding of our covenantal responsibilities, and yes, even relationship to and before Almighty God!
Covenant Community Church, who meet and worship together at the Education Station in Whitehall, Montana, and with whom I have recently become affiliated, has begun to bring back the 'Election Sermon', which, from 'days gone by', were delivered before elected leaders to remind them of, not only their constitutional oaths and promises, but of their duties and responsibilities before their Creator. We have been doing this, and other related activities, since 2,000 anno domini ( In the Year of Our Lord ). I believe that this extends, as well, to the spiritual leaders of America's churches, who, in many cases, are not much different than those who hold secularly elected office. Although I'm sure there are some ( secular ) politicians out there who sought their office with truly good intent, thinking of more than just a big cushy desk-job ( I'm sure most true politicians would 'take me to task' on that! ), or a comfortable, opulent lifestyle, as there are many pastors out there with the same 'good intent'; many have sought and gotten these exalted and revered positions, seemingly, just so they can afford all the 'things' daddy and granpa never had.
The lack of understanding of our covenant relationship with and responsibility before God is a large part, if not the main factor that has led to the downfall of this once-great nation, beginning, sadly, with individual Americans, but also deposited heavily ( some might say 'heavier' ) on the weakened shoulders of our God-ordained ministers, both in the secular and religious, or spiritual realm. One might question, at this point, whether there is, or should be, any difference!
The passage that was quoted at the beginning of this article, Isaiah 56, verses 10 and 11, seems to apply most readily to our leaders in today's America, does it not? We must remember though, that, although these men ( and women, now ) may 'shoulder' a greater responsibility; we also, as servants of the Most High God, and ministers of the grace which has been bestowed upon us, are stewards of the same Covenant, and have been 'shouldered', not only with our own stewardship, but with calling those leaders to account for their actions ( or lack thereof ). May we always use the grace given us to humbly ( and 'gently', as the case may be ) remind them of their covenantal obligations, whether they look at it that way or not!
Another way in which 'the silence of the dogs' can be marked, concerning the violation of our freedoms, is that great scourge upon the society of what we might call 'the preborn'; abortion. The preborn, more commonly called 'the unborn', or even 'the fetus', have, especially since the infamous Roe v. Wade case, decided in 1973 before the Supreme Court, experienced more of this loss of liberty, particularly, and maybe primarily, when it comes to life itself. This is not an essay on the evils of abortion, so I will go no further than to say that, although ventures like 'Operation Rescue' have been very successful, to one degree or another, in exposing some of the real 'problems' behind abortion, one of them being human nature; all in all, too many watchmen have done nothing further than maybe denouncing it as 'a great evil' in this world, from the pulpit. Here again; we cannot discount human nature itself, because every person has a choice, personal liberty, granted by their Creator, of what to do with their own; not a liberty to do wrong, mind you, but a liberty to do what's right, even if someone tells you it's wrong!
The loss of liberty may be, then, the greatest 'evil' that has ever been unleashed on society, and this has been since the 'genesis' of time, because, really, it is all-encompassing. As Scripture describes liberty, and as I commented on above; it is the freedom to do right, not to do wrong. When the 'serpent' beguiled Eve in the Garden; he took away her right to do good, to obey her Creator, and thus unleashed a 'world' of trouble, that has plagued society ever since! As I said; the loss of liberty is all-encompassing, relevant, when you think about it, to all areas of life. It is this travesty, then, that we as the Body of Christ, must address, not only from the pulpit, but in all walks of life; wherever, and in whatever form, God may grant us a 'pulpit'!
Let us all, through the covenant context of the Revelation of God's Word, begin to act as the 'watchmen' He has called us to be, each and every one of us, and not give this 'evil' one square inch of ground, not one iota of rest, until it has been forever exterminated.
Maybe the question we should be asking, is not, 'who let the dogs out?', but, 'who shut the dogs up?'
Let the 'barking' commence!
Charles Haddon Shank