With the rise of evolution in schools, new sexual ethics, and abortion, our nation’s moral standing has drastically declined. For decades now, Answers in Genesis has offered biblical answers to these troubling trends through articles, documentaries, conferences, books, and more.
Dr. Ted Traylor, who has pastored Olive Baptist Church for 30 years, recognizes these disturbing trends as well and sees only two things that can save us from moral decline: the strength and power of God.
While some use these terms interchangeably, Traylor says they have distinct meanings.
“The strength of God is more external,” he says. The Hebrew word often used to talk about God’s strength in the Old Testament is zeroa, meaning “arm,” and points to physical demonstrations of might.
“It’s when God shows up,” he adds. “Sometimes we need God's strength in that way.”
God’s power, on the other hand, has a more internal meaning to it.
“That's where a grieving wife who walks by a casket needs the power of God in her life, but she does not need it externally. She needs something internally, peace that passes all understanding. She needs the comfort of God,” Traylor explains. “We need the strength and power of God—both external and internal.”
A Spiritual Remedy for a Spiritual Problem
Traylor says many of the United States’ problems have gone unsolved because the nation has not acknowledged the true solution.
“You cannot fix spiritual problems with administrative tools, and you can’t fix administrative problems with spiritual tools,” he says. “In our nation, we’ve got a spiritual problem, and we’re trying to solve these issues administratively or with some policy.”
As a product of the Jesus Movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Traylor knows firsthand how the power and strength of God can impact a person’s life. While hundreds of thousands of people were reveling at Woodstock, God was at work around the nation transforming lives with the power of the gospel.
“We were in a mess, much like we are in right now—people revolting, and we had all of these protests and things going on. But the power of God fell on a young hippie generation, and I was a part of it,” he says. “God changed us from the inside out. And now here I am, a generation later. And we need that kind of move again.”
One Crucial Ingredient to Revival
What will it take for the nation to acknowledge God’s power and strength on a large scale? While many say it starts with repentance across the land, Traylor believes it instead starts with repentance in the church.
“The gospel goes out when repentance begins in the pew,” he says.
As God’s people, young and old, turn away from the world’s way of thinking and embrace the Word of God, we will see genuine repentance. That’s the repentance that leads to life and leaves no regret (see 2 Corinthians 7:10), and it’s the only way to reverse the moral decline we see today.
But Traylor warns against trying to muster up a man-made movement and calling it revival.
“Awakening is sovereign,” he explains. “You can't make it happen. But each of us has all of God that we want. God may cause that revival to sovereignly spread like wildfire. But if we begin to do in our own circle what we know to do, God in His sovereignty will bring that on a larger scale.”
Traylor is hoping and believing that God will do that kind of sovereign work wherever Christians gather—including the upcoming 40 Days & Nights of Gospel Music event at the Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Kentucky.
“I hope there's great joy in the event, first of all, because if there's anything that people need in the church, it’s joy, a renewal within our own hearts,” he says. “And I think that will come from the spoken Word and from people singing the gospel.”