AMERICA AT THE EDGE OF OBLIVION

FROM THE NEW BOOK, AMERICAN REQUIEM: WHY THE USA FALLS IN THE LAST DAYS.

No one can argue credibly that America today is not an empire.  Militarily, economically, and culturally, the United States wields a hegemonic influence unparalleled in world history.
Jim Garrison, America as Empire:  Global Leader or Rogue Power?
The United States is the only country in the world that is in a position to initiate a change in the world order, to replace the Washington consensus with a global open society.  To do so, we must abandon the unthinking pursuit of narrow self-interest and give some thought to the future of humanity.
George Soros (from Garrison, p. 193)

A Balanced Gospel?

In January, 1934, Ludwig Mueller, Reich Bishop, issued the “Muzzling Order” designed to silence political statements from Germany’s pulpit.  He proclaimed that the churches abstain from any manner of political commentary.  The church service is for “the proclamation of the pure gospel, and for this alone.”

Some Christians would find this injunction acceptable; after all, didn’t Jesus say to “Render therefore unto Caesar those things that are Caesar’s and unto God those things that are God’s”? (Matthew 22:21).  Perhaps when it comes to the political situation, we should keep our mouth shut.  On the other hand, since the 1970s, some evangelicals participate in the “Christian Right” and engage actively in politics. Jerry Falwell (1933-2007), the pastor of the Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia, became the Moral Majority head, a movement for evangelicals that dramatically impacted several presidential elections. From this author’s perspective, the fatal flaw was restricting the Gospel of Christ to ‘moral issues’ only—anti-abortion, anti-gay rights, and pro-family.[1]  The Moral Majority appeared to be little more than the religious wing of the Republican Party.  Christianity and conservatism seemed inextricably linked. This outcome led left-leaning Christian authors such as Chris Hedges, mentioned in the previous chapter, to respond with an angry tirade against the Christian ‘hard-right’ which he paints as “American fascists” who war against America and seek to, in the words of the Los Angeles Times, “turn the United States into a Christian nation.” For Hedges on the far left, a Christian (in a broadly defined sense), this option was unacceptable.

No doubt readers of this book will do a double-take on that summation of Hedges’ thesis, assuming all Christians should be about the business of ‘returning the U.S. to the status of a “Christian nation”’ once more.  Of course, I have forcefully argued that Evangelicals must beware in presuming patriotism and spirituality go hand-in-hand.  Christ stands apart from our country and government—His Word must judge how society conducts itself.  We all stand accountable before Him individually and collectively.  However, unlike the implications of Hedges’ rhetoric, the separation of Church and State protects and secures religious rights—not as judge or guarantor protecting secularism as the religion of the land.

Globalists, like Jim Garrison, once President of The State of the World Forum and author of America as Empire, believed America’s mission is to lead (if not force) the world to a single government. Jim Naisbitt summarizes Garrison’s position as a restatement of the global aspirations of Woodrow Wilson, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Harry S. Truman.  Both Garrison and Naisbitt argue our government institutions should incorporate globalism since the world already acts as a single global consumer—that is, it already implements one financial system.  He exclaims: “Leadership reminiscent of Wilson and Roosevelt is now needed again.”  Naisbitt goes on to explain the ‘enforcer’ role America must play to facilitate the transition:

If (America) attains this level of greatness… then America could be the final empire, for what the next generation of global institutions could bequeath to the world is a democratic and integrated global system in which empire will no longer have a place.  Garrison thus wants America to see itself as a transitional empire, one that uses its power to build mechanisms that will institutionalize America as partner rather than as empire.[2]

Garrison writes critically toward the conclusion of his book in the chapter “America at the Choice Point,” Fundamentalism of all kinds (Jewish, Islam, and Christian) shares an apocalyptic worldview. It attempts to counter the optimism of globalism.  Thus, globalists and ‘prophets’ are at loggerheads. He writes a synopsis of Christian eschatology that demonstrates a thorough knowledge of the principal authors and the standard ‘apocalyptic scenario’ mostly made famous by Hal Lindsey and Tim LaHaye.  And he sees their expressions of apocalyptic fervor detrimental to the future of humankind:

The political ideology fostered by this apocalyptic theology combines a radical pessimism about human nature and current events with an equally radical optimism about God’s plan for the elect.  Quite literally, the worse the world situation becomes, the more expectant these believers become because they believe they are getting closer to Jesus’s coming again and taking them to heaven. They have little regard for the environment because they believe the environment will be destroyed anyway. They have little sympathy for the poor and the dispossessed because they believe that economic dislocation and civil unrest are indicators of human depravity and a signal that the end is nigh. They have little support for the protection of civil liberties because they believe that strong action must be taken against the infidels and potential terrorists.[3]

To the extent we do not possess a ‘balanced gospel’—Garrison’s implied criticism, although exaggerated and unsympathetic, it may nonetheless be on point. Prophetic insights should not soften our willingness to engage in our culture and society.  If the salt isn’t salty, it is worthless and should be tossed out the window. “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness (savor), how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” (Matthew 5:13)

Moreover, keeping the Gospel ‘balanced’ is quintessential to keeping it relevant. Neither the ‘left’ nor the ‘right’ have all the answers and often miss the point. The Lordship of Christ extends to all aspects of our lives—moral, social, economic, political, and everything in between.  To rightly present the gospel means to model the coming Kingdom of God in the way we live our lives in the ‘here and now’ (in Latin, the ‘hic et nunc’— “here at this place, now in this present moment”).

This perspective comprises the eschatological mission of Christians.  Our lives are to serve as a reminder that the judgment of God is coming.  Our distinctiveness is to be not only salt that preserves—but strong medicine that stings when applied.  While American exceptionalism may be no more than bravado and ballyhoo, Christian exceptionalism is equivalent to modeling the Kingdom of God hic et nunc.

As we see, our cities turned into ruins, and our law and order disappear in the name of preserving the rights of the oppressed (whether real or imagined), modeling the Kingdom of God, and engaging in the activities of our civilization has never been more vital to our faith.

This viewpoint was assuredly the position of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), who was martyred—hanged by the Reich with piano wire—for his part in attempting to assassinate Hitler.  Bonhoeffer preached against “cheap grace,” a gospel which suffered (allowed) splitting the realm of human life into more than one sphere, creating a dominion in our society where Christ could not be Lord.  That is what the Muzzling Order did.  The order separated religion into one ‘kingdom’ and human government into another.

Erwin W. Lutzer (b. 1941), an evangelical pastor of the Moody Church in Chicago, whom I have quoted several times before in my books, summarized what Christians should learn from the history of Hitler’s German church: “We will discover that the Nazi era shouts its lessons to the church of America.  It warns us, challenges us, and forecasts what might happen in the days ahead.  Whether we heed its warnings, accept its challenges, and recognize its subtle deceptions is up to us.”[4] Lutzer believes the end times are upon us.  He preaches strong words to prepare his congregation now for hard times ahead—even though he remains a ‘pre-tribulational’ preacher who sees the Rapture of the Church preceding the coming of Antichrist.

“Here in America the phrase ‘separation of church and state’ is given a sinister twist by civil libertarians.  To them, it means that religious people should not be allowed to practice their religion in the realm that belongs to the state.  Religion, we are told, should be practiced privately; the state must be ‘cleansed’ from every vestige of religious influence.  By insisting that the state be ‘free for all religions,’ organizations such as the ACLU in effect make it free for none,” says Lutzer. [5]

Nowadays, the cheering for globalism has quieted as the common man and woman recognize that the global agenda cost the Middle Class in American dearly. But few realize that America’s Elite continue to believe that Christianity is its enemy and must be stifled more than ever. Garrison and the globalists are fundamentally wrong too about most Evangelicals, seeing in those of us who believe in the imminent return of Christ, culprits who are heaven-bent doomsayers who only wish for the worse to happen that we might speed up the process of our redemption.  If we heed the words of Jesus Christ and his proclamation that the Kingdom of God is at hand, we are motivated by an optimism which overwhelms the utopian vision the elites champion.  Instead, we seek a truly redeemed world—one that glistens and shimmers from the glory of Christ, unrestrained by the sin of humankind and its destructive works.  That work begins now, whether we meet heavy resistance or not, and continues into the Parousia when Christ rules with his believers, “with an iron rod.” (Revelation 2:27)

In the picturesque words from the Letter to the Hebrews, we are like Abraham seeking a city that emanates from God. “For here have we no continuing city (meno in the Greek, a place to sojourn or reside continually, and polis, our native town where we are ‘at home’), but we seek one to come.” (Hebrews 13:14) Yes, we do lack optimism regarding the globalist agenda of a utopia with humankind at the center of administration—our faith lies elsewhere, in a godly government with Jesus Christ as King.  Our pessimism rests on 6,000 years of human history, which teaches plainly and convincingly that totalitarianism becomes inevitable when power is fully centralized. Nevertheless, Progressivism and Utopianism go hand in hand. It baffles reason and experience, but in 2020 we see that Marxists still believe Socialism and Communism can bring about Utopia despite the fact almost all Communist regimes in history (e.g., Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot) have transformed “power to the people” into totalitarianism and extreme oppression. This vision fails again and again because the Bible teaches that man is not the measure of all things.

There is an expression, “When the elephants dance, the grass suffers.” The analog in political affairs is this, “When the Elite rule absolutely, the poor suffer unconditionally.”  However, Populism in America has reduced this dance floor’s size and made its shimmering surface slippery. Donald Trump made this happen. But how long will the Elite fail to find a secure footing? Was Trump the only restraint prohibiting America’s ‘business as usual?’ We believe that unless a conservatism based on by biblical principles can catch fire again in the USA, the gains achieved by Trumpism will be short-lived.

Portrait of English lawyer, politician, and writer Thomas More (1478 – 1535), who was made a saint in 1935, as he wears a fur trimmed cloak and holds a document, from a painting by Hans Holbein the Younger, 1527. (Photo by Stock Montage/Getty Images)

Utopian dreams are dreamlike only when they remain dreams.  Such lofty programs, when implemented—always by totalitarian means—oppress the weak and eclipse human rights despite the euphoria springing from idealistic platitudes and speeches.  That is the lesson learned by studying world dictators from Nimrod’s time to the present day. The fact that globalists believe a single government and a single leader would manage humankind’s affairs effectively—guided only by reason and not by the admonitions of the Bible—clearly infers that of all supposedly learned men and women, utopians are the most impoverished students of history.  The French Revolution, starring Madame Guillotine, provides a contrary visual aid to their view. Thomas More, King Henry VIII’s mentor, and advisor, authored Utopia inventing the term and launching its use. Although a staunch Christian, like Plato and Socrates, he championed reason as the means to achieve a perfect world. And Henry still chopped off his head.[6]

NOTES

[1] According to Jim Marrs, “Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, Falwell, on Pat Robertson’s 700 Club TV show, said pagans, abortionists, feminists, gays, lesbians, the ACLU, and everyone else trying to secularize America “helped this happen.” Marrs, The Rise of the Fourth Reich, pp. 293-4.  However well-intentioned Falwell’s explanation for connecting God’s judgment on America with Bin Laden’s terrorist team, the statement convicts the innocent and excuses the perpetrators.  It is true that what evil seeks to achieve, God in fact redeems and uses for His purposes.  God did use Al-Qaida for judgment.  But how the prophet of God presents this message must be done with sensitivity to the victims and with condemnation to those responsible.

[2] Garrison, Jim, America as Empire: Global Leader or Rogue Power? San Francisco, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., 2004, p. ix. Neo-Conservatism follows this line of thought. We should use our military might to force the world into our way of seeing things and aligning with the US.

[3] Ibid., p. 159.

[4] Lutzer, Erwin W., Hitler’s Cross: The Revealing Story of How the Cross of Christ Was Used As a Symbol of the Nazi Agenda, Chicago: Moody Publications, 1995, p. 130.

[5] Lutzer, op. cit., p. 19.

[6] “Thomas More wrote Utopia in 1516, which was the forerunner of the utopian literary genre. More served as an important counselor to King Henry VIII of England, serving as his key counselor in the early 1500s, but after he refused to accept the king as head of the Church of England, he was tried for treason and beheaded (he died in London, England, in 1535). More is noted for coining the word ‘Utopia’ in reference to an ideal political system in which policies are governed by reason.” See https://www.biography.com/scholar/thomas-more.

American Requiem: Why the USA Falls in the Last Days