By Jerry Rodgers
Civilization is born in poverty, chastity and obedience; it matures in prosperity, marriage and self-government; and it dies in dissipation, promiscuity and anarchy. The death of a great civilization, such as the ancient Greco-Roman civilization, is clearly recognizable from 2,000 years of hindsight. Not many recognized it at the time, however
So today it is not easy to recognize, or to admit, the signs that our own civilization — the “greatest in history” — which was born in the monasteries of Europe, flowered in the Renaissance, and bore fruit in the Reformation and Enlightenment, is crumbling around us, that we are all living today in that time poetically expressed by Shakespeare:
When yellow leaves, or none or few do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
The question on all of our minds, expressed more clearly and urgently with each passing day, is this: How can we save ourselves from the overwhelming catastrophe now bearing down upon us? And the answer, more clearly and urgently evident with each new crisis, is this: We cannot save ourselves. If God does not intervene to save us, we are indeed lost. If there is no God, there is no hope.
Before we can bring ourselves to accept this answer, however, we must disillusion ourselves of the vain hope that there is some other solution to our problems. This is a difficult thing to do. Men (and now women) want to be masters of their own destiny. If they cannot be God themselves (the temptation alluring every son of Adam since the Garden of Eden) they prefer gods they can manufacture or at least manipulate. Before God can save us therefore, He must first shatter our illusions. He is very good at doing this, and He has been doing a very good job of it in our times. Daily and on a grand scale we are seeing our plans thwarted, our hopes blighted, our illusions dissolved.
For the past century or more we labored under the illusion that Science was going to save us. Even today a die-hard rear guard still clings to this bleak hope. But the more clear-eyed among us long ago saw the handwriting on the wall: Science is no savior. It is only a tool — a tool which we are using to destroy ourselves with an efficiency unmatched in previous history.
For most of the last century millions labored and fought under the illusion that Marxist communism was going to save them. They placed their trust in the remorseless drive of Dialectical Materialism to bring them into the promised land of peace, prosperity and universal brotherhood. It was a powerful but pitiful illusion. Just how pitiful can be gauged by the fact that even if all its goals had been achieved and all its promises fulfilled, the Marxist heaven would have endured not for eternity, nor even for a thousand years, but for a mere threescore years and ten. It was the atheist and materialist Paul was describing in his first letter to the Corinthians: “If we have hope only for this life, we are of all men most to be pitied.” (1 Cor. 15:19)
Meanwhile, on this side of the Iron Curtain, we have been celebrating an illusory victory in the Cold War. We proclaimed the triumph of Democratic Capitalism and congratulated ourselves that we had reached the “end of history” (Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man). Within a few short years, however, the end of history is looking more like a tragedy than a triumph. We are having to face the fact that Democratic Capitalism is not going to save us either.
The inescapable fact is that governments are only as good as the governor. A monarchy is no better than its monarch, and a democracy is no better than its people. A benevolent monarchy is better than a venal democracy. This is a fact, the dire consequences of which we in America are beginning to experience with a vengeance.
Venality is a disease — a sickness of the soul. It is like cancer in the body politic, which if not immediately excised invariably proves fatal. We have doctors who can remove cancer from our bodies, but who can operate on our souls? This is the urgent question of our time. It is not so much cancer, or heart disease, or AIDS that is killing us. It is SIN, the AIDS of the soul — Acquired Immoral Deficiency of the Spirit.
The good news is that a cure has been found for this disease. There is a Physician who can operate and who is not afraid of the disease. He has never turned a patient away who wants to he cured. In fact, he is advertising for patients — on TV, radio, the internet, in books, magazines and tracts, by telephone, direct mail, email and word of mouth, at mass rallies in stadiums, great cathedrals, storefront churches, on street corners and in private homes, the message is being delivered: the Savior has come, the Doctor is in. Do you want to be cured of the deadly disease of sin, the AIDS of the spirit, that afflicts you? Come to Jesus, He is able to heal you. He will not turn you away.
Where is this Jesus?
He is in every person who has accepted Christ as his Savior, has been born again of his Holy Spirit, and patterns his life on the Word of God (Col. 1:27). Don’t be put off by the hypocrite and the phony. Everyone knows there are phony Christians, just as everyone knows there are quack doctors. This doesn’t prevent us from going to a doctor if we think we have cancer. Why does it prevent us from going to Christ when we know we have sinned? The Bible tells us that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. It tells us also that the wages of sin is death.
If you never get sick, of course you won’t need a doctor. And if you never die, you won’t need Christ. Most of us get sick at sometime in our life however, and all of us are going to die, whether in bed or a nuclear holocaust. A person who never goes to a doctor for a physical examination therefore is considered foolish by the world, and the Bible tells us that a person who never goes to Christ for a spiritual examination is a fool in God’s eyes (Luke 12:16-21).
Don’t be a fool. God has said, “In the time of my favor I will answer you, and in the day of salvation I will help you” (Isa. 49:8). And since Christ has come He has been saying to everyone who will listen: “Now is the time of God’s favor; now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 5:20–6:2).
Time however is running out. Ecclesiastes tells us there is a time for everything. But time does not stand still, it has a beginning and an end. Today we are closer to the end than we were yesterday. And tomorrow?
Tomorrow may never come.
(Excerpted from The Gospel According to Jerry: Confessions of a Fool for Christ, By Jerry Rodgers, AuthorHouse 2011)
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.