Dr. D. James Kennedy: "Four thousand die daily and 300,000 pulpits are silent."
American society has deteriorated spectacularly in the last 60 years, almost to the point where conscience is dead. Cruel talk drives horrific physical violence: out-of-control people of all ages causing mayhem. We have cheapened one another, and life itself.
I was born in the early 50s. I know what decency, kindness, and goodness look like. They are rarely seen anymore. Institutions that once promoted virtue no peddle demoralization. Generalized meanness and debauchery mark our age. Mock Norman Rockwell all you like, he nonetheless captures what de Tocqueville described in the 1830s traveling throughout our young nation. He said America was great because her people were good, and her people were good because of leather-lunged preachers fearlessly proclaimed God's love, judgment, and wisdom.
The Judeo-Christian Scripture teaches that the beginning of wisdom, only the beginning, is the fear of the Lord: reverential awe, respect, and fear. That fear has great restraining power, as does the love of the Holy Spirit. The beginning of wisdom, respecting the power of the King of the universe, starts an individual on the path of selflessness, learning, common courtesy, good judgment, goodness, charity, and restraint, the building blocks of virtue.
Can anyone say we exemplify healthy restraint these days? Demoralization rules: government is lawless, politics is war, art is pornography, music is noise, education is propaganda, incivility reigns.
The truth is wisdom comes down from the Father of lights, but we celebrate 'intellectuals' like Richard Dawkins, calling him wise, even as he denies God, ridiculing faith. Dawkins is not satisfied with mere ridicule. He actively encourages his disciples to persecute people of faith. Those who seek the source of wisdom, by faith, Dawkins calls ignorant, deserving condemnation. Dawkins, a god unto himself, heads the pack reconstructing the Coliseum, his soul-starved lions eager for the Circus.
Yet Dawkins and his kind are not the problem. The God haters have always been in the majority, working to the destruction of goodness, deceived into thinking they promote it. The real problem resides with those who possess truth, but ignore it.
For centuries leading up to the Civil War, the conscience of the country was birthed and sustained in the pulpit. We were inspired to confront tyranny and overthrow it thanks to the preaching by revolutionary pastors who shouted "We have no King but Jesus!" Do we hear shouts from the pulpit today, or whimpering, or silence?
When people agree that great power must come to our aid to elevate us above our fallen station, when they believe all people are created in God's image, that God is the essence of love, the creator of all things, and when they therefore believe life is sacred and each individual bears responsibility to respect and sustain life, goodness flows, decency flourishes, the captives are set free, and there is peace and contentment.
Today however, people who claim to believe these things too often sit on their hands and bite their tongues. Their 'faith' has no life, produces no fruit, reveals no good works.
For centuries Christians were willing to take a stand and testify to the truth, even if it meant suffering torture and death. Overseas this is still the case. Christians are being killed for their faith in greater and greater numbers in foreign lands around the world.
In America we don't risk torture or death. We can't even be bothered to vote.
"Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act."
-- Theologian and pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, hanged by the Nazis for plotting to assassinate Hitler