David Reagan - Reagan on America's Spiritual Crisis, Part 2
When a nation rebels against God, He sends prophetic voices and remedial judgments to call the nation to repentance. God has sent both to this nation during the past 50 years. But we have condemned the prophetic voices and ignored the remedial judgments. We have continued to shake our fist at God, begging Him to pour out His wrath upon us. Is there any hope for our nation? Stay tuned.
David Reagan: Greetings in the name of Jesus, our Blessed Hope, and welcome to Christ in Prophecy. Last week, I began sharing with you the remarks I made at our 2014 annual Bible conference whose theme was “America’s Spiritual Crisis.” In my presentation I attempted to show how far and how quick our rebellion against God and His Word has progressed. If you missed that presentation, you can find it on our ministry’s website at lamblion.com. This week, we are going to pick up where I left off talking about the radical changes that have occurred in our nation over the past 50 years as we have pushed our Christian heritage aside and have embraced secularism and paganism. And we will begin with my remarks about television.
David Reagan: When television began to spread nationwide in the 1950’s–I love that picture, brings back a lot of memories to me. See I was before TV. When television began to spread nationwide in the 1950’s there were strict codes of conduct for the producers of television programs. Over the years since that time, those codes have eroded to the point that almost anything is allowed on television today. The contrast is stunning. When I was growing up, we watched wholesome programs like, The Life of Riley, I Love Lucy, Gunsmoke, Dragnet and Father Knows Best. All these programs, all of them taught basic Judeo-Christian moral values.
Today the channels are flooded with morally depraved reality shows like The Bachelorette. With demented dramatic series like Revenge. With brutally lurid shows like Criminal Minds. With sex-laden situation comedies like Two and a Half Men. With amoral programs like Californication can you imagine such a term? And with programs that are constantly pushing the homosexual agenda. Perhaps the best way to illustrate the stark contrast between the early years of TV and today is to compare two programs about families. The Nelson Family Ozzie and Harriet blessed American TV from 1952 to 1966. The Osbourne Family Ozzy and Sharon polluted the airways from 2002 to 2005. One featured a family, the Nelsons, who were loving and supportive of each other. The other, the Osbournes, focused on a totally dysfunctional family led by a man-child who lived in a drug haze while the rest of the members of the family were at each other’s throats, constantly fighting and cursing each other. The Nelson family showcased moral values. The Osbournes never heard of morality.
Vulgarity is also commonplace in our society today. This growing evil has even been recognized by the secular media. Folks, this is the cover of Time magazine in 1990, 1990. The title says, “Dirty Words: America’s Foulmouthed Pop Culture.” That’s a pagan magazine, in 1990 talking about how we were already completely polluted by filthy words. You know I just want to give you an example of this from just a few days ago. This was in June the 24th, they had the official celebration of the Los Angeles Kings winning the Stanley Cup. The Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, got up at the Staple Center before 18,000 people and made this statement, “There are two long standing rules for politicians, they say never, ever, be pictured with a drink in your hand, and never, ever swear. Well, folks, this is a big f—ing day,” and then he held up a bottle of Bud Light. He said that before 18,000 people at that stadium and before 100,000’s on television including children. This was not some whisper overheard by reporters it was a carefully planned thing on his part and the audience roared, the players stood up, he was given a standing ovation for such an obscenity on television. That is where we are today in this country.
Back in the 1980’s, in the 1980’s Steve Allen the host of the Tonight Show made this comment: “We have become a society where vulgarians are entertaining barbarians.” Albert Mohler, the President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, recently commented on this problem with these insightful words, “The collapse of the barrier between popular culture and decadence has released a toxic mudslide of vulgarity into the nation’s family rooms and just about everywhere else. There is almost no remote corner of this culture that is not marked by the toleration of vulgarity, or the outright celebration of depravity. We have now reached the point that obscene language or innuendo is playing in department stores in public venues. The living room has become the locker room. A culture afraid to repress sexuality in any way is a culture headed for destruction.”
The radical change in our society can perhaps best be illustrated by what has happened to our schools. I started the first grade in 1945 and I completed high school in 1956, 1945-1956. During that time, I was never once ever exposed to any drug. Today kids are confronted with them at the elementary school level.
When I was a kid we began each day in school with Bible readings and prayer, every day we did this. We put on Easter programs, we put on Christmas plays. And our English reader consisted of Bible stories, with a moral taught at the end.
When I graduated from high school in Waco, Texas in 1956 there were about 100 pickup trucks in the parking lot on any given day, and almost every one of them had gun racks that held a deer rifle, a shotgun, and a 22 rifle. Many of them had a gun, had a pistol in the glove compartment and no one was concerned about anyone misusing any of those guns. We had been raised to respect and practice Judeo-Christian morals. But today we have guns in the hands of moral pygmies who are willing to shoot each other over a pair of tennis shoes.
The most dramatic way I can think of to illustrate how rapid the deterioration of society has become in America is to consider the results of a survey, a survey concerning public school discipline problems. The survey was conducted by the Fullerton, California Police Department in conjunction with the California Department of Education. It was conducted in the mid-1940’s and then 40 years later the same survey was conducted in the mid-1980’s. Consider the differing results, and just sit there and weep. Here are the results: Mid-‘40s number one problem in the public schools was talking, Mid-‘80s, 40 years later, drug abuse. Chewing gum versus alcohol abuse. Making noise-pregnancy. Running in the halls-suicide. Getting out of turn in line-rape. Wearing improper clothing-robbery. Not putting paper in waste paper baskets- assault. That was published in “Time Magazine,” in February of 1988. That is how our schools have deteriorated.
Here’s another way to illustrate how quickly our society has become secularized and paganized. I’ll tell you this will just knock you out of your seats. Consider these remarks that were made to Time Magazine in February of 1954 by Earl Warren after he was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court by Eisenhower, this is what he told Time Magazine “I believe no one can read the history of our country without realizing that the Good Book and the Spirit of the Savior have from the beginning been our guiding geniuses. Whether we look to the first charter of Virginia or the Charter of New England or the Charter of Massachusetts Bay or the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut the same objective is present a Christian land governed by Christian principles. I believe the entire Bill of Rights came into being because of the knowledge our forefathers had of the Bible and their belief in it. I like to believe we are living today in the spirit of the Christian religion. I like also to believe that as long as we do so, no great harm can come to our country.”
I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that if our current Chief Justice, John Roberts, were to make such a statement today, there would an immediate effort on the part of Congress to impeach him on the grounds that he had violated the so called “separation of church and state.” There is no doubt that we have jettisoned our Christian heritage in favor of a society dominated by secularism and paganism. And we are reaping the consequences as we witness the moral collapse of our society. I tell you it’s hard to watch your nation dissolved before your eyes on your watch.
I recently heard a presentation by this man Jim Garlow, a former Nazarene pastor in Ft. Worth who now pastors a very large congregation in San Diego. He is considered to be one of Christendom’s foremost experts on Christian history. Some of his presentation on Christian history are just fantastic. In this particular presentation which I heard Pastor Garlow presented a sweeping overview of the relationship between Bible-believing Christians and American society look at this: he said from 1607-1833, 236 years, Bible believing Christians were The Establishment of this nation. From 1833-1918 they were The Predominant Force, a period of 85 years. From 1918-1968, The Sub-dominant Force, 50 years, notice how each of these periods is getting shorter and shorter. 1968-1988 A Sub-culture, 20 years. 1988-1998 A Counter Culture, 10 years. 1998-2008 An Antithetical Culture, which he defines as being in full opposition to the predominant values of the culture. 2008-Present a Persecuted Culture. These are Bible believing Christians. One of the main reasons for this trend is because the number of true Bible-believing Christians in our society has plummeted. Although 85% of Americans claim to be Christians, only about 40% of those claim to be born-again Evangelical Christians, and only 9% of Americans are true Bible-believing Christians as revealed by poll after poll taken by the Barna Research Association. Only 9% are Bible-believing Christians.
The persecution of true, Bible-believing Christians has increased exponentially in the last 10 years. Let me give you some quick examples taken from this book: “Godless America.” “Godless America,” this was written by Todd Starnes, he is a social commentator and he gives 89 examples in this book of Christian persecution. And I want to share just eight with you: A North Carolina pastor was fired from his duties as an honorary chaplain for the state House of Representatives after he refused to stop praying in the name of Jesus. A senior citizens’ center in Port Wentworth, Georgia, told its elderly residents that they could no longer pray over their meals. A federal judge ordered the Medina Valley Independent School District in Texas to prohibit any public prayers at its graduation ceremony. A Massachusetts eight-year-old boy was sent home from school and ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation after he drew a picture of Jesus on a cross. A professor at the University of Kentucky who applied for a job directing the university’s observatory was turned down by the hiring committee when it was discovered that he was a Christian. Bibles and other religious materials were banned from Walter Reed Army Medical Center before a public outcry forced the administrators to reverse their decision.
In San Jose California, a statue was erected in a city park with taxpayer money that celebrated the Aztec god to whom child sacrifices were made. And at the same time, in San Diego, a court ruled that a Cross that had stood in a city park for many years had to be removed. An Aztec god, Yes; a symbol of Christianity. No. A New York public school teacher was ordered to remove inspirational Bible verses from her classroom. The teacher was also told to remove a quote from former President Ronald Reagan. And what was the quote? “If we ever forget that we are one nation under God, then we will be one nation gone under.”
We are literally witnessing the dismantling of the Christian foundation of our society. And the gravity of the situation was recently summed up by Albert Mohler with these words: “We are witnesses to one of the most comprehensive and fast-paced moral revolutions ever experienced by humanity. The velocity and breadth of this revolution are breathtaking, and the consequences are yet incalculable. This society is dismantling the very structures that have allowed for the enjoyment and preservation of human liberty and respect for life. We are engaged in a head-long effort to replace the convictions that gave birth to democracy and ordered liberty with a new set of convictions that will lead to the emergence of a very different culture, society and civilization. We cannot pretend this is not happening. We cannot delude ourselves into believing it will not matter. The word for the process that is driving this shift of worldview in the West is secularization which the Russian prophet, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, explained with four simple words: “Men have forgotten God.”
How are we to respond to this downward spiral of American society and to the increasing Christian persecution? Well one way is to ignore it. Believe it or not, there are Christian spokesmen who say that we as Christians are to focus only on one thing and that is Evangelism. They argue that the collapse of society is not our concern. And you would be amazed at who some of those are. I believe this is a very unbiblical attitude. We are called by Jesus to be salt and light of the world, and the only way we can fulfill that task is to take a stand for righteousness. Other professing Christians have decided to embrace the decline of society by getting in bed with it; by endorsing immorality in the name of tolerance and in the name of Christian love. After all, who are we to judge, shouldn’t we make Christianity as user-friendly as possible, and free of all condemnation?
The well-known pastor, you won’t believe this, Andy Stanley recently said that he believes that Christian businesses should be forced under penalty of law to offer their services for homosexual weddings. He explained his view by saying, “Serving people we don’t see eye to eye with is the essence of Christianity.” This incredible statement is terribly wrong in at least two ways: First, it ignores the fact that the Constitution of the United States in the First Amendment restricts the government from passing any law that prohibits the free exercise of religion. A photographer should have the right to refuse to photograph a homosexual wedding if that is opposed to his viewpoint. And even more important the second problem with this statement is that it is totally unbiblical because it is not the essence of Christianity to help other people commit sins. Furthermore, Pastor Stanley’s reasoning could be used by the courts to force Christian pastors to perform same-sex marriages. I wonder if he would do that.
A third response to the collapse of society, and the biblical one, is to take a stand for righteousness against the tide of filth. A sterling example of a person who is doing that is Franklin Graham, and I really admire this man. Here is what he has to say about same-sex marriage and he pulls no punches, “True followers of Jesus Christ, whose salvation is based entirely upon Gods Word, cannot endorse same-sex marriage, regardless of what our President, the Congress, the Supreme Court, the media or the latest Gallup poll says about the matter. This moral issue has been settled by God Himself and is not subject to man-made revisions or modifications. In the end, I would rather be on the wrong side of public opinion than on the wrong side of Almighty God who established the standard of living for the world He created. Marriage is a biblically moral issue, not a political or theological one. This debate is ultimately about something much more important than the question of same-sex marriage. It is about the authority of Scripture. The Church is on dangerous ground when it departs from the teaching of Christ and attempts to redefine His commands and compromise His truth.” Praise God for Franklin Graham. And he concluded that with these words, “There are many things in Scripture that Christians disagree on, but the Bible is crystal clear about the sanctity of life and marriage. It is also clear that homosexuality is spelled out as a sin, there are no ifs, ands, or buts!”
Every time I speak of standing for righteousness, I think of this man he’s one of my heroes in the faith, Don Wildmon, the head of the American Family Association. He has spoken out boldly for years against the moral decline of our nation. Sadly, he has often said that the greatest detractors, his greatest detractors are pastors who write to him and taunt him. He puts their letters in his magazine all the time. And the usual taunt goes like this, “Don, you are spinning your wheels and wasting your time. Think of it you have been opposing the immorality in our nation for years, and it just keeps getting worse. You are not winning.” His response is this: “God did not call me to win; He called me to stand. We will not win until Jesus returns. But in the meantime, we must stand!”
My friends the bottom line is that if we Christians do not stand for righteousness, no one will. And we are specifically called to do so. Again, in Matthew 5, in His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus called his followers to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. But when we engage that pagan society around us, none of our efforts will be effective unless they are grounded in prayer. We need to pray earnestly for our nation as we have never prayed before. And we need to pray the kind of prayer that Daniel prayed when he prayed for his nation. He prayed, “Father forgive me.” Think of it, he prayed for God to forgive him of the sins of his nation, yet he is referred to in the Scriptures as one of the three most righteous men who had ever lived.
The point, of course, is that all of us are part of the problem. All of us have compromised with the world to one degree or another. Think of it 85% of the people in this nation claim to be Christians. Yet our nation is wallowing in sin and rebellion against God. If professing Christians would stop buying lottery tickets, the lotteries would have to fold. If professing Christians would stop getting abortions, the abortion mills would close. If professing Christians would stop buying pornography, the pornographers would be hard pressed to sell their filth. If professing Christians would stop going to R rated movies, Hollywood would have to start making wholesome films. If professing Christians would stop watching the TV trash shows, the networks would be forced to provide more decent entertainment. And the list goes on and on. All of us need to keep in mind the words of Proverbs 29:2, “When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when a wicked man rules, people groan.”
Meanwhile, we continue to wallow in sinful rebellion against God, He continues in His love and mercy and patience to warn us of impending destruction, continuing to call us to repentance. Since the death of Dave Wilkerson in 2011, God has raised up new prophetic voices whom He has mightily anointed. Let me identify four for you in particular: one is Jonathan Cahn, this is a Messianic-Jewish rabbi from New Jersey. He was invited to speak at the presidential inaugural prayer breakfast which Obama skipped, and in that speech he said: “The city on a hill has grown dark. Its lamp has grown dim. Its glory is fading. For God is not mocked. No nation can war against the very source of its blessings and expect those blessings to remain. And as it was with ancient Israel, the city on the hill now stands under the shadow of judgment.”
A second is Robert Jeffress, the pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas. He has written a powerful indictment of our nation titled, “Twilight’s Last Gleaming.” And he states: “Over the last 50 years our Supreme Court has made four explosive decisions that have so weakened the moral and spiritual structure and foundation of our country that our inevitable collapse is certain. Right now we’re simply living between that time of the explosions that have weakened our basic foundation, and the coming implosion of our society.”
A third prophetic voice is Erwin Lutzer, the Pastor of The Moody Church in Chicago. He has written a powerful book comparing trends in America today to those in Germany that led to the rise of Hitler. And in a recent sermon, he made these comments: “Despite its foundational Christian heritage, America is rapidly degenerating into a godless society. The Church in America, although highly visible and active, appears powerless to redirect the rushing secular currents. Mired in moral and spiritual crisis, America’s only hope is a national revival, like God has graciously bestowed in the past.”
The Fourth prophetic voice I would mention is David Jeremiah. He is the Pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California. He has written this condemning review of our nation’s rebellion against God entitled, “I Never Thought I’d See the Day.” Here is one of his observations: “When I look at the changes that have occurred in the land I love and in the church I love even more just in my lifetime, I have to pinch myself to see if it’s a dream gone bad, the changes are coming so fast and furiously.” He continues, “The truth is, we can echo the words of Pogo in the old Walt Kelly comic strip: ‘We have met the enemy and he is us!’ We have allowed the world to conform us to its image instead of allowing the Holy Spirit and the Word of God to transform us into the image of Christ.”
Of course there are other prophetic voices calling our nation to repentance and warning of imminent disaster, but these four seem to have received a special anointing from the Lord. And to underline and emphasize these prophetic voices, God continues to pour out remedial judgments like natural calamities, economic stagnation, and political confusion.
This brings me to a crucial question: Is there any hope? The answer depends on what you are talking about. If you are asking about our nation, my answer right now at this point and time is, no, there is no hope. And the reason is simple. Our only hope is Jesus, and we have no hope because we have rejected Him. Here’s how I put it in my Prophetic Manifesto: “We have turned our back on the very God who made us great and showered us with blessings. We have forgotten that God’s Word teaches that “to those to whom much is given, much is expected. We have stubbornly set our course. We have determined to live as we please and not as God has dictated. We have chartered a course of self-destruction, and God is going to allow us to have our way.
But there is good news in the midst of the growing spiritual darkness and the consequent decay of our society. That is there is individual hope for those of us who know Jesus as our Lord and Savior. He has promised to walk with us through the fire and high water, comforting us in sufferings and providing our needs. He has promised repeatedly in His Word that He will never forsake us.
Consider Deuteronomy 31:8, “The Lord, Yahweh, is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear, do not be dismayed.” We also have the incredible hope of the Rapture of the Church when true believers will be taken out of this world in the blinking of an eye to be with Jesus forever. There is also hope for those who do not know Jesus. As the darkness deepens, the light of Jesus will shine more brightly, like a diamond ring on a black cloth, and more and more people will be drawn to Him and their hearts will be penetrated by the Gospel. The message of the Holy Spirit for believers in these end times is twofold: Commit your lives to holiness and share the Gospel with as many people as you can, as quickly as you can. The message of the Spirit is, “Jesus is coming soon. He is returning to pour out the wrath of God on those who’ve rejected His grace, mercy and love. Reach out now and receive Him in faith as your Lord and Savior before it is too late.”
Let us remember, that we must keep our eyes focused on Jesus, for He is the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. In summary, we are: To stand for righteousness. We are to pray for courage. We are to commit our lives to holiness. We are to share the Gospel. We are to put our trust in Jesus and in Him alone. And do not forget to cry out daily, “Maranatha, Maranatha, Maranatha! Come quickly, Lord Jesus!” Thank you and God bless you.
David Reagan: Well, folks, that’s our program for this week. I hope it has been a blessing to you. If you would like to secure a complete copy of my presentation, you can do so by ordering our DVD album titled, “The Twilight of America.” In just a moment our announcer will tell you how you can get a copy. Until next week, the Lord willing, this is Dave Reagan speaking for Lamb & Lion Ministries, saying, “Look up, be watchful, for our Redemption is drawing near.”