After the Capitol riots: Three questions everyone is asking and a biblical path to empowering purpose

Read time: 5 minutes | Read online

In The Daily Article for January 8, 2021

  • Why should I get involved?
  • How did this happen?
  • How can I make a difference?

An ATF police officer cleans up debris and personal belongings strewn across the floor of the Rotunda in the early morning hours of Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021, after protesters stormed the Capitol in Washington, on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

US Capitol Police confirmed late last night the death of one of their officers from injuries suffered when a mob stormed the Capitol two days ago. As the attack on the US Capitol continues to dominate the news, I’d like to do something I’ve not done in the twenty years I’ve been writing the Daily Article: I’d like to preach a sermon.

Actually, I’d like to write the sermon for you that I would preach this Sunday. I am doing so after spending all day Thursday in radio interviews with stations around the country; the questions I was asked are questions everyone seems to be asking today. I hope my “sermon” will help answer them and offer you a path to empowering purpose.

My text is the familiar statement of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount: “You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored?” (Matthew 5:13). Let’s see how this powerful metaphor applies to us and to our nation.

Why should I get involved? 

One question was especially poignant: “In light of the Capitol riots, what would you say to those who are wondering why they should get involved in our broken culture?”

My response was twofold: because God says to, and because seeking to change the culture changes us for the best.

Jesus said to us, “You are the salt of the earth.” However, salt is no help if it stays in the saltshaker. Christianity is an incarnational faith—just as Jesus incarnated himself in his earthly body, so he incarnates himself in us (1 Corinthians 12:27). Now we are commissioned to “go” and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19), beginning in our Jerusalem and continuing to the “end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

Retreating from the challenges of our day is therefore not a biblical option for Christians.

Such engagement is also vital to the abundant life Jesus intends for us (John 10:10). The Holy Spirit empowers us to the degree that we are willing to fulfill God’s purpose as his witnesses (Acts 1:8). To experience our best, most blessed life, we must be most fully obedient to our Lord’s missional call to our culture.

Why did this happen? 

A second question I was asked repeatedly was, “Why did this happen? Can you offer some context?”

My response was that many Americans do not trust the electoral process, their elected leaders, or those with whom they disagree.

After the 2000 election, only 18 percent of Democrats said George W. Bush won fairly. After the 2016 election, 66 percent of Democrats believed that Russia hacked the election. Now 67 percent of Republicans believe the 2020 election was “rigged.”

If we cannot trust the electoral system, it’s hard to trust the leaders it elects. In a day when many have made institutions into platforms for personal celebrity and advancement, servant leaders are in short supply. In a time when social media gives everyone a platform by which to broadcast their opinions while listening only to those with whom they agree, discernment goes missing. In a culture where we see those with whom we disagree as the enemy, forgiveness and grace are scarce.

However, let me be blunt: explaining what apparently drove the rioters is no excuse for their behavior. What we saw Wednesday was abhorrent and sinful. God’s call is clear: “Put away violence and oppression, and execute justice and righteousness” (Ezekiel 45:9). We are told, “Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling” (1 Peter 3:9).

The late Chuck Colson noted: “People who cannot restrain their own baser instincts, who cannot treat one another with civility, are not capable of self-government.” He added: “Without virtue, a society can be ruled only by fear, a truth that tyrants understand all too well.”

How can I make a difference? 

One last question I was asked often: “Can Christians change our broken culture? If so, how?”

I’ll respond with four imperatives from our biblical text.

One: Repent personally. 

Jesus asked, “If the salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored?” Our Lord’s question requires us to ask ourselves: In light of the Capitol riots, what sins should I confess?

Of course, I’m not suggesting that you condoned or participated in what happened in Washington. But are you sinning with regard to our nation and culture in other ways? Have you used social media and other platforms to slander (Psalm 101:5), gossip (Proverbs 16:28), or condemn (James 4:11)? Have you been as proactive in influencing your culture as you should be?

Nehemiah confessed the sins of his people even though he had not committed them personally (Nehemiah 1:4–10). His solidarity with his nation should model our solidarity with ours.

Two: Intercede passionately. 

We are called to pray for our leaders, even (and especially) when we disagree with them (1 Timothy 2:1–2). This was the immediate response of many Christian leaders to the violence in Washington and should be ours as well.

Do you know the names of your governor, mayor, city council, and local school board? Are you praying every day for God to lead, protect, empower, and use them?

Three: Speak graciously. 

Part of getting our “salt” out of the saltshaker is speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). As we noted, slander and gossip are sins. But speaking biblical truth to the issues and souls we encounter is a gift of eternal grace.

Four: Act redemptively. 

As I noted yesterday, I believe that God is calling more Christians into public service than are answering his call. Where can you begin? What difference can you make where you live? What larger mission is the Lord calling you to serve?

The late evangelical theologian Carl F. H. Henry noted, “The gospel is only good news if it gets there in time.”

How will you get the gospel to your culture today?

Dr. Jim Denison is the CVO of Denison Forum

Through The Daily Article email newsletter and podcast,, social media, interviews, and articles across the internet, Denison Forum reaches 1.8 million culture-changing Christians every month.

From Pastor Dewey Moede this morning:

As our Country fell further into the pit of hell this past week, we must realize this fall has been happening for many years. The Church has lost its influence on much of America. Many Christians replaced God with politics and the a lot of the Church fell in love with politics, not taking a Biblical Worldview. Church attendance continues to decline in America in these pandemic days and with government health orders. Too many Pastors put the salt on the shelf and replaced it with the candy dish. America has a Spiritual Problem, Americans are so foolish in saying, “God Bless America” its almost an insult to God…He has blessed us more than any Country in the history of His creation!!, but many have turned their backs on Him. I have said this for years and years, “America!!!!! BLESS GOD!!!!

A lot of Americans have become so very foolish in think there is no wrath of God!!! Only fools think that we are not experiencing the wrath of God for killing His babies! I was thinking this morning , why would God even bless us anymore?

It is horrific that I see many do not even mention that lives were lost on this attacks by those thugs, evil people…..filled with Demons….hell on earth and we make it a political issues??? Politics, politicians do nothing for the people. Politics is killing America. America!!! You got to big for your pwn britches and left God and fell in love with your politics, money, possessions, greed …..EGO!!! Edging God Out!!! That is what America has done….a deep price is being paid.

Every Pastor, Church leader….EVERY CHRISTIAN has got to look itself in the mirror…are you really who God created you to be? Are you really doing what God intended you to do for Him? Are you to comfortable in your world?

I have come to inflict the comfortable and comfort the inflicted.

From Roger Tetro: We live in a time when Satan doesn’t even hide anymore, and people still don’t see him.

Daily Christian Quotes

Billy GrahamPosted: 06 Jan 2021 11:00 PM PST

Ninety-five percent of today’s church activities would continue if the Holy Spirit were removed from us. In the early Church, ninety-five percent of all her activities would have stopped if the Holy Spirit were removed.

Most Do Not Believe in Satan

Against the Night: Living in the New Dark Ages

I Strongly Suggest You Read This Book By The Great Man of God Chuck Colson

Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience

Police Confirm Death Of Officer Injured During Attack On Capitol

How the U.S. Capitol Police were overrun in a ‘monumental’ security failure
In the wake of Wednesday’s seige, Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund planned to resign and congressional lawmakers vowed to investigate.

Read in The Washington Post:

Shared from Apple News

Documents Stolen From Capitol May Contain National Security Risks
January 07, 2021

Read in Newsweek:

Trump faces calls for removal over Capitol riots as officials resign
Democratic congressional leaders called for the president to be removed from office while several top administration officials resigned. Trump acknowledged a new administration will take office Jan. 20 and said the focus is now on the transition of power.

Read in The Wall Street Journal:

Shared from Apple News

Kevin Koop Reminds me of the lyrics of Keith Green’s song: No One Believes in Me Anymore. Here are the lyrics:

Oh, my job keeps getting easier
As time keeps slipping away
I can imitate your brightest light
And make your night look just like day
I put some truth in every lie
To tickle itching ears
You know I’m drawing people just like flies
‘Cause they like what they hear
I’m gaining power by the hour
They’re falling by the score
You know, it’s getting very simple now
‘Cause no one believe in me anymore
Oh, heaven’s just a state of mind
My books read on your shelf
And have you heard that God is dead?
I made that one up myself
They dabble in magic spells
They get their fortunes read
You know they heard the truth
But turned away and followed me instead
I used to have to sneak around
But now they just open their doors
You know, no ones watching for my tricks
Because no one believes in me anymore
Everyone likes a winner
With my help, you’re guaranteed to win
And hey, man, you ain’t no sinner
You’ve got the truth within
And as your life slips by
You believe the lie that you did it on your own
But don’t worry
I’ll be there to help you share our dark eternal home
Oh, my job keeps getting easier
As day slips into day
The magazines, the newspapers
Print every word I say
This world is just my spinning top
It’s all like childs-play
You know, I dream that it will never stop
But I know it’s not that way
Still my work goes on and on
Always stronger than before
I’m gonna make it dark before the dawn
Since no one believes in me anymore
Well, now I used to have to sneak around
But now they just open their doors
You know, no one watches for my tricks
Since no one believes in me anymore
Well I’m gaining power by the hour
They’re falling by the score
You know, it’s getting very easy now
Since no one believes in me anymore
No one believes in me anymore
No one believes in me anymore

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