[From Power Quest, Book Two: The Ascendancy of Antichrist in America]
The Argument for the Decline of America
Since most evangelicals have assumed for years that prophecy teaches America grows weaker by the day, we conclude America already experiences God’s judgment for its moral failures. Whether or not America constitutes a modern-day Babylon, several questions remain, “Is America under God’s judgment now? What are our moral failures? Are our lapses limited to the ‘moral issues’ evangelicals frequently champion when interviewed or cited by the media?”
Author Dr. Mark Hitchcock, pastor of Faith Bible Church in Edmond, Oklahoma, in his book The Late Great United States, represents the usual perspective. Hitchcock points out that Sodom ‘and the cities of the plain’ were judged by God for “their gross sin” (famously, their homosexuality) but moreover, for other reasons too as expounded by the prophet Ezekiel: “Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy. Thus they were haughty and committed abominations before Me. There I removed them when I saw it” (Ezekiel 16-49-50). Hitchcock comments, “As you can see, homosexuality was not the only ‘abomination’ for which God judged Sodom, but it was the final straw.”[i] Hitchcock then lists the reasons why America, like Sodom, Egypt, Israel, and other nations is under judgment already. We are guilty of:
- Widespread acceptance of homosexual sin actively promoted by the gay lobby.
- Abortion and the barbaric practice of partial-birth abortion.
- Pervasive Pornography.
- Epidemic drug use and alcoholism.
- Sexual immorality such as adultery and sexually transmitted disease.
- The unraveling of the family including the national catastrophe of out-of-wedlock birth.
Then Dr. Hitchcock quotes an equally worthy Bible teacher, Herman Hoyt:
Within recent years, conditions within the country and criticism from without have raised the serious question of the continued greatness of this nation. Can this nation long endure with crime, lawlessness, and anarchy threatening from within…? Is this nation dangerously near the point that other great nations reached before they disintegrated and disappeared?[ii]
Dr. Hitchcock concludes: “It may well be that the United States today is at the apex of its power, just as Babylon was in the sixth century BC, prior to its sudden downfall in one night at the hands of the Medes and the Persians”[iii] (see Daniel 5).
Now, I don’t wish to quibble over whether America rightly deserves God’s judgment at the present moment for our national sins—that would contradict the overall argument I make in this book. The list of transgressions deserves judgment. But has judgment time come? Or is the final judgment of America looming a few years ahead? [iv]
Regardless of the answer, I would challenge just how clear the signs are that America diminishes as the world’s sole global power. If America’s economic and military power wanes at the present moment, its capability may only be comparatively weaker than it was ten years ago. Yes, our national debt stands as an enormous worry. True, our moral depravity grows worse daily, coinciding with Paul’s descriptions of how societies devolve into increased decadence and sin (Romans 1:18-32). But America still casts a giant shadow compared to Europe whose failing currencies signal specific sovereign economies verging on collapse (Greece, Spain, Italy to name a few), and whose military appears incapable of mounting any attack to protect European interests (such as the recent assault on Gadhafi’s Libya and its paralysis regarding Syria). Without U.S. armed forces to back it up, Europe seems impotent.
If Antichrist were to appear today as an American leader, could any nation challenge America on the battlefield? The author considers the following verse from Revelation 13:4 to be particularly meaningful in this regard: “And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, ‘Who [is] like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?’”
A major reason for writing Book Two of Power Quest is to recount the serious reasons why America, like Babylon in the sixth century BC, appears inexorably destined for judgment. However, what heralds the final verdict exceeds immorality, pornography, and sexual perversion as odious as these sins are. Truly, our culpability even extends beyond the murder of millions of infants (often dehumanized by proponents who simply classify them as ‘fetuses’) implicitly condoned within our courts’ granting women the right to abortion in virtually any and all situations. Sadly, I argue there are other abhorrent sins which merit judgment that are not at all as familiar as these.
So to what end do I endeavor to reveal these horrific transgressions? For one most important reason: To call our nation to repentance. Once we understand the heinous nature of our actions for which we are responsible as a people, I pray we will be motivated to repent, ask for God’s forgiveness, and chart a new course where we call upon the name of the Lord—before it is too late.
It is important we remember that although the prophet Daniel is one of the very few protagonists in the Bible of which the Bible says nothing negative, Daniel identified with his people. Even though he was a child when the nation of Judah was captured and removed to Babylon—without distancing himself—Daniel prays for God’s forgiveness for his people. He does not attempt to differentiate his standing with God from his brethren’s. He does not remind God, “Of course, God you should recall that they are the sinners and not me. But even though I don’t need to ask for your forgiveness, I will pray for my Hebrew brethren.” Instead, through his prayers Daniel unites with his unrighteous brothers and sisters—although he stands as one of the Bible’s most virtuous men. Like all mediators, he identifies with those he seeks to reconcile to God (Hebrews 5:1-10).
In the same way, we who call ourselves Christians ought to identify with our fellow-Americans, even if they regrettably remain immersed in sin while our sins have been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb. We are called to mediate for America as did Daniel (and Moses too) for the Hebrew nation. We are not to condemn—we are to conciliate. That is what God would have us do. “And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation” (II Cor. 5:18).
The Nature of America’s Sin
It is instructive that when Dr. Hitchcock lists the sins of America he primarily identifies the ‘personal sins’ which are the traditional target of our preaching, even though the Ezekiel passage specifically states Sodom’s judgment was due to much more than sexual immorality. Judgment came, we are told, because Sodom’s arrogance led to the failure of its rich to care for those ‘less fortunate’.
Some have rightly said we can judge a society not by how wealthy is its rich, but by how poverty-ridden is its poor.
Can we contrast Sodom’s actions with our own? Are we confident our society does what it should for the poor and needy? Or are we satisfied that as a nation we deserve God’s continued blessings? Is the growing disparity between the rich and poor in America a sign that our economy is getting back on track? Or is the opposite true?
Now please understand: I don’t mean to single out Dr. Hitchcock. He is a sound voice of biblical theology and no doubt an outstanding pastor. He is on the faculty of a seminary for which I have high regard. He is a fellow Oklahoman (which means a lot in my book!) And he hardly stands alone in cataloguing what constitutes the primary ills of America. Nevertheless, his emblematic view remains short-sighted. All evangelicals (of which I am one) often show forth the same case of blurred vision. As such, we fail to realize just how much corruption and evil has burrowed into America’s institutions over the past 60 years. To bring these sins to light is no small trick—especially if as an author I want you to thoughtfully read the pages following which strive to do just that.
In this author’s opinion, it is our ‘societal sin’—conspicuous by its absence in Hitchcock’s list—which foreshadows America’s inevitable decline. However, this societal sin involves more than what normally falls under the infamous ‘liberal’ banner of ‘social injustice’. It includes the ethical corruption of our nation, the flagrant erosion of individual liberties, and the partiality of our government toward mega-corporations, the financial market manipulators, and the super-rich. Mind you: There is nothing wrong with the profit motive and acquiring wealth provided we do so conscientiously and with regard to others who often lack the means to seek ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’—rights we proclaim God guarantees all humankind. Conservative evangelicals (again, of which I am one) often demonstrate this ‘social sin’ insensitivity. As such, our lapse betrays a flaw in our understanding of Jesus’ message.
When Jesus claimed to his brethren that He was the Messiah, He cited the prophetic passage in Isaiah where the prophet states how Messiah discloses Himself to His people. In the ‘year of the Lord’ the Messiah preaches the good news to the humble and proclaims liberty to the captives: “The Spirit of the Lord GOD [is] upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to [them that are] bound” (Isa. 61:1). These issues surpass personal sexual sin. They speak to those who are repressed and without power to change their circumstances—whether their repression is from abuse within their families, their schools, where they work, or from their government. The haunting horror of abuse and the trauma it inflicts dehumanizes its victims. When Christ speaks of liberation—freeing the captives—he includes all of these situations, even if the captivity is psychological or the sins are societal.
Therefore, we are compelled to ask, “Why are evangelicals so myopic?” Our blind spot likely exists since our conservative political stance applauds free enterprise and frowns upon entitlements. We are wary of ‘government give-away programs’ and welfare for unworthy individuals who refuse to work. As conservative evangelicals, we react strongly against Christian liberalism and its utopian ‘social gospel’. Since nineteenth and twentieth century liberalism identified institutional sin as the primary culprit and dismissed the strong inclination of the individual to commit sin (denying the biblical doctrine of the depravity of humanity), all-too-often we throw out the baby with the bath water.
Balancing these realities demands we recognize human sin to be both personal and social; iniquity is both individual and institutional. God condemns the sins of individuals for their moral lapses—but he condemns societies for their lawlessness and their failure to regard God as the Creator. In essence, it is easy for Americans to recoil in horror at the cultural and societal sins of Hitler’s Germany while we find it difficult admitting our culture and society fall short of the standards to which God holds all nations accountable. Certainly, Hitler’s Germany constituted much more than a mere mote in the eye—yet surely our sin lies in-between a tiny mote and a giant beam! (Matthew 7:3)
Because we have swept our societal sins under the rug (sins of which most Americans remain unaware and unconcerned), America could even spawn the Antichrist. Failure to consciously acknowledge societal evil and injustice will bring judgment upon us just as surely as will our moral failures and our ethical indifference. We must surface these sins, acknowledge them, and ask God to forgive America for our failure to show forth His Truth both within our borders and beyond—to demonstrate to other nations a righteous standard for government for whom many of our nation’s founders (more specifically, those who embraced a biblical perspective) believed we were called.
America should be that “shining city on a hill” envisioned by Ronald Reagan (recalling the words of the pilgrim John Winthrop). Reagan’s speech delivered on January 25th, 1974, remains an inspiring one to this day. I encourage the reader to take the time to read in its entirety. I quote only a select number of passages here:
I know there have been other constitutions; new ones are being drawn today by newly emerging nations. Most of them, even the one of the Soviet Union, contain many of the same guarantees as our own Constitution, and still there is a difference. The difference is so subtle that we often overlook it, but is so great that it tells the whole story. Those other constitutions say, “Government grants you these rights” and ours says, “You are born with these rights, they are yours by the grace of God, and no government on earth can take them from you.”
Lord Acton of England, who once said, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” would say of that document, “They had solved with astonishing ease and unduplicated success two problems which had heretofore baffled the capacity of the most enlightened nations. They had contrived a system of federal government which prodigiously increased national power and yet respected local liberties and authorities, and they had founded it on a principle of equality without surrendering the securities of property or freedom.” Never in any society has the preeminence of the individual been so firmly established and given such a priority…
Standing on the tiny deck of the Arabella in 1630 off the Massachusetts coast, John Winthrop said, “We will be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us, so that if we deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword throughout the world.”[v]
God bless America on this Thanksgiving!
[i] Hitchcock, Mark, The Late Great United States, Colorado Springs, CO., Multnomah Books, 2009, p. 90.
[ii] Ibid., p. 93.
[iv] I believe that America has been experiencing specific judgments since 1991 to the extent we participate and lead the effort to annex the land of Israel and forfeit ‘land for peace’. Author David Brennan, another friend of this author, lays out the case for these judgments in his books, The Israel Omen and The Israel Omen II. With each key meeting or announcement, there has been an immediate ‘judgment’ in the form of earthquakes, hurricanes, massive storms, floods, droughts, and heat waves.
[v] See http://www.originofnations.org/books%2C%20papers/quotes% 20etc/Reagan_The%20Shining%20City%20Upon%20A%20Hill%20speech.htm. Unfortunately, Reagan immediately said, “We have not dealt falsely with God” rather than saying something humbly to the effect, “We must forever strive NOT to deal falsely with God.” Assuming our Nation’s chosen course of action constitutes a righteous path, mirrors the arrogance of Sodom and foreshadows our own downfall.