By Chuck McCoy
Well, after the commercial was over, they came back...
and guess what they decided the cause of this 30-year decline had been since the early '60's. Well, JFK's assassination and the Vietnam War just kind of gave us a sense of melancholy and a loss of authority. Do you realize that something else happened in the early '60's? In 1962 & '63, two decisions came through the Supreme Court which removed the Bible and prayer to Almighty God from the public education system. In place of God's truth, the public began to hear about the sexual revolution and the NEW morality. I got a little inside comment for you; you know what the NEW immorality is? That's just a new label on the OLD immorality. Is there anything new?
There isn't anything new. You can read about just about every sin people are committing back in the Law. They were doing it then; there's nothing new. We get fooled into that. I'm going to tell you where that comes from in a minute.
Between 1961 and 1966, a group of theologians, Thomas Altheiser (I say, theologians, ha!), William Hamilton, Gabriel Vahanien, and Paul Van Buren published books in which they affirmed what Friedrich Nietzsche had said earlier, "God is dead." And I can remember in 1966 when it came on the evening news, and I sat there and watched that. They had a choir in the background singing, "God is dead." I didn't know that! I didn't see an obituary notice anywhere. They thought they were signing one.
Have any of you seen David Barton's video "America's Godly Heritage?" If you haven't, you ought to see it. He shows with some charts some other things that happened at the exact same time that God was removed from our official American world view. ACT scores began to drop dramatically. Violent crime began to rise. Teenage pregnancies began to sky-rocket. And I waited to see if Connie Chung and her folks were gonna have that figured out. No, you see, they completely missed the spiritual dimension to what's happening in life. Their world view is lacking a very important element.
You want to know why there's no fear of God in the land? There no longer is a remembrance of God! Proverbs 1:7 says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, and I tell you right now, if you take God out of your education system, you'd better believe that foundations crumble, and what's above it is gonna start shaking! And that's exactly what we've seen. It's happened before.
Now, I want you to know, I love this country. I'm glad I was born in America. There are a lot of blessings here. But I am not hitching my hope to the United States of America. I have hitched my hope to the Kingdom of God, and it's never going out of business! I'll do what I can for the principles that made this country great, but I have a greater loyalty. And that's to One Who died for me.
"If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?" we find in Psalm 11:3. I'll tell you what you'd better do; you'd better hang on to the King. "Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it. Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain." With God and His unchanging truth out of the way and Einstein's Theory of Relativity universalized and expanded wa-a-ay beyond what he intended with it, we began to hear college professors in the 1960's say, "There ARE no absolutes!" I remember sitting there listening to them in their state-subsidized pulpits. It didn't occur to me at the time, but they said it very absolutely. I now like to point that out. Do you realize that there isn't anybody more dogmatic than a liberal? There isn't anybody more dogmatic than a "politically correctness" advocate!
I remember when a book came out years ago called "Real Men Don't Eat Quiche." Do you remember that? I'm Scottish and I come from a warrior people, but I was raised kinda soft. As I learn more about my heritage, I realize now where my terrible temper came from. My first reaction to that book was "real men don't listen to kooks telling them what they can and can't eat." Unless God says I can't, I'll eat quiche if I want to. Occasionally I do.
Why do I say these things, brethren? We need to get our heads in the ball game, realize what people are doing, and turn it right back on them. When somebody says, "You know, you Christians are pretty dogmatic." We ought to look them right in the eye and say, "And you sound pretty much the same way." Because they are. That's just being honest. Aren't we supposed to use iron to sharpen iron? Are we supposed to give it back as we receive? I really believe that a lot of Christians are intellectual wimps. And I don't say that because I've got 18 degrees. I say that because I've learned that as I've encountered things, I've got to be ready for the next one.
I remember the night I encountered a girl that told me she had all the powers of an apostle. What!!! I wasn't ready for that. I was ready for people that I disagreed with, but I wasn't ready for people that are absolutely stupid. I asked her that if she had all the powers of an apostle, did that mean that she could pick up a poisonous snake and it bite her and it not hurt her? She said, "Yeah." "You could go to the hospital and just clean it out?" "Yeah." "Have you ever tried that?" She said, "Oh, no. That would be testing God." That's what she said!
I want you to know, I was still pretty young in the ministry, and I had tried to prepare in a lot of ways biblically, but you had never heard every response. But, brethren, I want to issue you this challenge and a word of hope, every time you get in a situation and it's a failure, just use it as a learning experience for the next time. I went home that night defeated! I mean I just sat on the edge of the bed and said, "What am I preaching for?" I graduated at the top of my class! I didn't know what to do! I didn't have an answer.
I went to bed, and my wife, who's very good at encouraging me and helping me share the burden said, "Why don't you just sleep on it?" The next morning I woke up and I was hot! I said, "Oh, why didn't I say this? Or why didn't I say that?" I was ready for the next time!
Even learn from your failures; don't be afraid to fail. It's one of the greatest places we learn from. But let's get our heads in the game!
In the 1980's, the courts ruled that even the Ten Commandments had to be removed from the public school walls because of the constitutional principle of separation of church and state (and, by the way, that is not in the constitution). And it's been exactly reversed from Thomas Jefferson's original intention of it. A wall was erected to protect the church from the government. But now, that's been lost.
We now live in a secular nation. But I thought it was real interesting the way they reasoned this decision. They said that if the Ten Commandments are hanging on the walls, they might be seen. And if they're seen they might be read. And if they're read, they might be understood. And if they're understood, people MIGHT change their behavior. And we can't have anybody influenced by "religious material" in the public setting. What kinds of things are protected under the constitution - freedom of speech? Pornography; very vulgar speech (that's art nowadays). And yet those things that would enhance godliness have been shoved off the public scene. That's one of the places, brethren, where the church was asleep. In 1962 and 1963, the church should have gone ballistic. And in the 1980's, we should have gone ballistic. Why do we hold back? Why do we not flood our congressmen with letters? Why do we not respond to the baloney that sometimes appears in the editorial page? I got into a letter-writing thing with a couple of atheists in Norfolk a couple of years ago. Those guys were writing letters; they were calling my house. A lady and another gentlemen and I were responding to them, you know, when the Waco thing burned up. An atheist wrote in the paper, "that if they had all been atheists, they'd still be alive." That was more than I could hack. I came back and said, "Hey, the death rate for atheists is 100%, too!"
We need to know what they're thinking; we need to be ready to respond. And you know why I got into that? I didn't think I was going to change any of them. Some of those atheists are the hardest-headed knuckleheads you ever encountered. I mean, you can stop them and rather than stop and consider, they'll just go right on. But you know why I got involved in that? Because the whole town was reading. And one of them, after reading my letter said he appreciated that there were some intelligent Christians. Now, I'm not the only one. But where are they? There's over 40 churches in that town. There was not one other preacher (although I teach in the Bible college, I'm a preacher) who engaged that discussion. Are they too busy trying to keep all the scattered ideas in their congregations happy, so they don't want to get into anything controversial? I think a lot of preachers are sissies! I tell you, we find ourselves living at a crazy time. There are times, I admit, that I wish I was Captain Kirk and I could get on a communicator and say, "Beam me up, Scotty. There's no intelligent life here!"
So where'd all this come from? Let me give you a little background. I want to tell you where the liberals and the modernists came from. Between 1689 and 1789, there were some men who began to appear on the scene. You ever hear of Spinoza [1632-1677] or Descartes [1596-1650]? There was a whole stream of them that followed. And this "enlightenment period", that century, turned in the modern era, which has been with us, I'd say all the way up into the 1960's. And it was built on three horrible presuppositions. Now, I don't think the church, for 200-300 years, recognized it because the denominations were still too busy fighting with each other in Europe. But they didn't see the real enemy.
Here are those three presuppositions: 1) Nature is ALL that exists. Now, you stop and think about that. What is the inference about the supernatural? It doesn't exist! It's not even there! You see, if you can sell a presupposition, you have already won all of the conclusions that are going to be drawn from it. That's why I really advise all of you, if you want to have meaningful discussion with people of other backgrounds, don't argue about your various conclusions, because your conclusions make as much sense based on where you start your thinking as theirs do to them. If you really want to make some ground, find out what their presuppositions are, and work on those. "Nature is ALL that exists." The church should have stood up and said, "Prove it!" Instead, that presupposition just kind of won over.
Let me tell you some of the ways that has exhibited itself. Now, I come from a scientist family. My dad has a PhD in entomology, that's the study of insects. He was a biology department head at a state college in Michigan, and I grew up learning about God, but also hearing a lot about evolution. He encountered liberal denominational Christianity and got tired of it and quit. He never gave up on the existence of God. But he was really caught between some bad ideas.
Have you all heard the definition of science that is now showing up? There's a good noble one. It's the objective study of evidence that wherever it leads you, using the scientific method. That's not bad. Don't be anti-science. Just be sure you divide it from the philosophical baloney that's affixed itself to it.
Alexander Campbell used a scientific method of studying the scriptures. He gathered all that he could find on a topic and then drew his conclusions. And that is a good method for studying scripture. Grab yourself a concordance and find everything you can. There was a guy that I met in northern Michigan. His name was Norm Sheppie. He weighed about 300 pounds. He'd been involved with organized crime in Detroit. He had a sixth grade education; he had a Bible and a Nave's Topical Bible and we'd pick a topic, and he'd spend a week on that. And after a week, he knew about as much about the Bible as I did. You know why? Because he'd simply collect everything the Bible said about it and draw his conclusions. That's a scientific method for studying the scriptures. It's a good method.
That's the definition we hear, but this is the definition that's beginning to appear. In the 1987 Louisiana Creation Case, the friend of the court argument submitted by the influential National Academy of the Sciences argued that creation science was NOT science on the basis of their own philosophically-loaded definition, and catch what it is. "Creation science fails to display the most basic characteristic of science." Now, most of us would think that's objectivity, collecting all the evidence, using the scientific method. Oh, no! Let me finish the quote: "It fails to display the most basic characteristic of science, reliance upon naturalistic explanations." You know why there's no place for God in modern science, at least from the evolutionist's viewpoint? They have so defined science that there isn't any room for Him, even if the evidence does lead that way! And it is. There's a guy named Michael Behe who's a biochemist at Lehigh University. He's written a book called Darwin's Black Box, and he says that the evidence indicates that the cell was designed!
Phillip Johnson is another name you ought to investigate. He wrote a book called Darwin on Trial, Reason in the Balance, and he's just come out with a new one Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds. [All available from ARK.] And brethren, if you want to have meaningful conversation with people who've been misled by some bad presuppositions, there is good material available -- If you want to get your head in the ball game.
Any of you who saw Carl Sagan's Cosmos Series on television or read the book were also presented with this same doctrine of naturalism presented as science when Carl made his famous statement, "The cosmos is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be." Now what's cute about that definition and Carl Sagan's comment is you'll find in the scientific literature that the concept of God is outside the realm of science. And science can say nothing about God. Now, how do you put those two together? Defining science so that nature is all there is, and the cosmos is all there is. Now, of course, we're not saying anything about God. Well, it's obviously double talk. It needs to be identified as double talk.
The second presupposition: The universe inherently progresses. In other words, the way you understand history, human nature, human history, human culture, is like that. And I would love to share with you (but I'm not going to) the evidences of ancient technologies and ancient wisdom. My Bible tells me that man was created in God's image, and he had tremendous intelligence from the beginning. And the evidence that I know about is that man was very intelligent from the beginning. There's evidence of great technology. Did you know that 2000 years ago, the Iraqis were using electrical batteries? Do you know there was a city on the Indus River, five hundred years before the time of Abraham, that had underground plumbing linking every house. Every house had brick toilets linked underground to a central sewage system. They had a 40 foot community swimming pool and a community grain storage elevator system. That's 500 years before Abraham! I didn't think they could do stuff like that! That's right, because we've been given a very bad progress story about history. The Bible is right!
By the way, that's where hostile Bible critizism came from, same three presuppositions. Progress, so they went back and rewrote Israel's history, etc.
The third presupposition: Human reason is the only source of knowledge. Now just think about what that means. If human reason is the only source of knowledge, what's that say about the Bible? Then it must be the production of fraudulent men weaving myths and legends together.
Israel shows us the same example. Please turn to Deut. 8. You know that this is the chapter where God explains to Israel that He had humbled them. Their clothes had not worn out during the time of wandering in the wilderness. Deut. 8:7-18, "For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills; A land of wheat and barley, vines, fig trees, pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; A land where you shall eat food without scarcity and you shall not lack anything; a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you can dig copper. When you have eaten and are satisfied, you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you. But beware lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments and His ordinances and His statutes which I am commanding you today lest when you have eaten and are satisfied and have built good houses and lived in them, and when your herds and your flocks multiply and your silver and your gold multiply and all that you have multiplies and then your heart becomes proud and you forget the Lord your God who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. He led you through the great and terrible wilderness with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water. He brought water for you out of the rock of flint. In the wilderness, He fed you manna which your fathers did not know that He might humble you and that He might test you to do good for you in the end. Otherwise, you might say in your heart, my power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth. But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He Who is giving you the power to make wealth that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers as it is to this day."
Essentially, what God was warning Israel was, ...