Ichabod explores the Age of Apostasy, predicted in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, with an emphasis on UOJ, Church Growth, and Emergent Church heresies. The antidote to these poisons is trusting the efficacious Word in the Means of Grace. John 16:8. Most readers are WELS, LCMS, ELS, or ELCA. This blog also covers the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, and the mainline denominations.
The Glory Has Departed
Lutheran book boxes sent to three African seminaries -
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4
What’s wrong with America? What changed the nation’s course and led us down a path which makes our nation — our society — almost unrecognizable to those of us who still remember another America?
People answer these questions a number of different ways. Many point to our nation’s ills — to things like abortion, euthanasia, sexual aberrations, lack of self-esteem and respect for others and drug and alcohol abuse. But these are only the symptoms and result of a far deeper cause. And so, we need to look deeper if we are to find out and understand the reason for what’s wrong with America and what has changed the course of a whole nation and people.
If we look back on our nation and the principles upon which it was founded, we see an entirely different way of thinking — a different world view. Our founding fathers, even though not all were Christian, held to a Christian (or Judeo-Christian) world view. They believed that the world and all mankind were the creation of an almighty God, to whom all are responsible and to whom all must one day give account. They also believed that people have certain rights given to them by their Creator — rights which men and governments have no authority to take away.
The Declaration of Independence sets forth this common belief in the well-known words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
How things have changed! Rather than believing in an almighty creator God who has given us life and all things, the view of modern society — the view taught in our public schools and espoused by our nation’s government and courts — is one of a chance existence: life and the world as we know it are the result of “natural” laws relating to mass and energy in the universe with man being the highest known form of evolving life.
Thus, instead of man being a creation of God — a person endowed with life, liberty and the freedom to own property and carry out godly pursuits before he stands before his Maker — man is now viewed as an insignificant speck on the face of the universe who is here today and gone tomorrow. His only significance and meaning in life is in the existential now, and his only moral guide is himself and the views of society’s influential and ruling elite.
Is it any wonder, then, that our nation’s highest court could legalize abortion and grant protections to same-sex marriages in all 50 states with sweeping rulings? Should we be surprised that euthanasia has been practiced and is now being legalized in a number of states? After all, modern laws are no longer based on the moral absolute of God’s Ten Commandments and the Bible; they are based on the opinions and desires of people and society. If society determines it is okay to murder unborn babies for the convenience of the mothers, it becomes the law of the land. If society thinks it is acceptable to terminate life when it becomes “unmeaningful” or “unuseful,” then it becomes the law of the land. If society determines that alternative lifestyles and same-sex marriages are acceptable, the law is used to protect these aberrations. If society determines that it is okay to have sex outside of marriage, to produce and view pornography, to allow no-fault divorces, that lotteries and other forms of gambling are for the common good, they become legal and lawful. And the list goes on!
Of course, what has happened is not new. It has just taken another form. In the Garden of Eden, the devil’s temptation was to doubt God’s Word and to become like gods, knowing good and evil (Genesis 3). Instead of listening to God and His Word, Adam and Eve made their own moral judgment and did what seemed good for them at the moment: “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat” (v. 6).
Adam and Eve erred in the Garden and we err today when we seek to be our own gods and put in place of God’s Word our own views of what is good and evil, right and wrong. When we determine our own moral values, our values are neither moral nor absolute. They change from situation to situation and become further and further removed from the foundation of God’s truth.
Sadly, we may not have seen the worst yet in America. If a ruling party determines it to be good to exterminate people of a certain race or religious or political view, it could become law — it did in Nazi Germany. If a ruling party determines that churches be closed, presses be shut down or censored and that dissenters be sent to mental wards or labor camps, it could become law — it did in the old Soviet Union. If a ruling party determines what our children are to be taught in schools, who will receive health care and how, what is socially and morally acceptable and what is not, which religious speech and displays are permissible and which are not, it will become the law of the land — it’s already happening in America.
This is the direction America is taking today: God and His Word are becoming outlawed; man’s opinions and views are becoming the law of the land. Our nation is becoming another fulfillment of Psalm 2: “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against His Anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.”
And so, what is my point? It is just this: It will do little good to complain about the symptoms if we don’t address the root problem. We must do more than oppose abortion, euthanasia, sexual immorality and other symptoms of a humanistic, man-centered nation and society. We need to focus on restoring a world view based on the God of the Bible and His absolute and unerring Word.
That cannot be done through war or bloodshed. It cannot be accomplished through political might or gaining the upper hand at election time. It won’t be accomplished through marches on the nation’s capitol. Church programs and membership drives will prove futile. And though I often write columns political in nature, they will be of little effect.
There is only one way to change America’s world view, and that is by preaching and teaching the Word of God — the Bible — with a goal of reaching one person at a time. Only when people again read and hear God’s absolute truth will they be reminded that they are not gods. There is only one true God and He sits in the heavens and laughs at our foolishness in thinking that we can cast off all ties with Him and with His Anointed — the Lord Jesus Christ.
Only when we, by the working of God’s Holy Spirit through His Word, individually acknowledge that God is God and humble ourselves before Him, trusting the promises of His Word which assure us that God desires to be merciful to us, forgive us and accept us for the sake of the eternal Son of God and our Savior, Jesus Christ, will our way of thinking change. And if, by the grace of God, enough people hear the Word of God and believe its message, America, as a nation, may also change its world view and let God be God again, before it is too late.