Dear Friend in Christ:
When facing sickness or disease, how serious is proper and early diagnosis? For many people in many cases, it is matter of life or death. My dear and beautiful wife passed away due to a faulty diagnosis. The true diagnosis came too late at stage 4 cancer. A proper and early diagnosis would have saved her life. So, you understand that this is, to me, a most serious subject!
In the year 2000, I nearly died because I self-diagnosed. I thought my pains were merely “indigestion.” My general practice physician insisted that I see a cardiologist, who after doing a nuclear stress test, told me that I only had a 10% blood supply. That diagnosis resulted in immediate open-heart surgery and a quadruple bypass, which saved my life. He said, “If you had a heart attack, you would have died.” Proper diagnosis saved my life!
My question is this: “Are we properly diagnosing our cultural issues? Are we treating our symptoms or the roots of our problems? Should we dig deeper?” I think so, because things seem not to be improving.
The first humanist manifesto was produced in 1933 by three men and signed by 34 others, including John Dewey (father of American education). That manifesto was entirely secular and in fact, a secular “religion.” The intent of that manifesto was the replacement of traditional religion. It embraced human rationalism as the answer to cultural issues.
The original manifesto was followed by two others that evolved and developed the original premise. World War II had exposed the excessive optimism of the first manifesto but the second and third humanist manifestos continued to rely on human reason, human goodness, and continued to ignore the “God issue.”
In 1848, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels gave the world “The Communist Manifesto.” It proposed to achieve social harmony by eliminating private property and reorganizing society by giving power to the working class as opposed to the “Capitalist” (upper class). Without doing a deep dive into various humanistic proposals, some of which have cost millions of lives and still counting, one could ask, “How is that working out?” False diagnoses are usually based upon optimism and idealism and not reality.
George Hegel (whom I do not often quote) said, “What we learn from history is that we do not learn from history.” That is a true statement; it reflects our tendency to forget so quickly. In the United States, have we forgotten the roots and foundations of our Republic? Too many have!
More and more laws have not solved our problems. Trillions of dollars thrown at more symptoms have not solved our problems. Political solutions can be useful, yet not solve our problems. Religion can be useful, but not solve our problems. I could go on with a litany of “good ideas” that have not solved our cultural issues.
So, what are the real costs of wrong diagnosis? The costs are literally incalculable! Death, disease, wars, necessary insurance, medical costs, prisons, drugs, fatherlessness, orphans, depression, and on and on. The cost cannot be added up! If we cannot diagnose, we cannot cure.
In the United States, our founders understood that our Republic cannot function without a moral people. Our nation’s foundations are built upon a certain kind of morality that is expressed in the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments will not save us, but they tell us what will. Honor God, honor parents, and love neighbors.
The Ten Commandments given to Moses are depicted in stone upon our Supreme Court building. We have the Declaration of Independence and a Constitution which call for equal justice under the law. No, we have not lived up to our ideals, but we were taught the standard. It was our foundation. We have currency which says, “In God We Trust.” Of course, many trust the dollar and not God. Now both God and the dollar are under attack. Our foundations are under attack and Psalm 11:3 warns, “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11 gives us wise counsel as to what we can do. More on that later.)
We have seen in recent history what happens when the foundation of a bridge or building collapses. Lives are lost. Jesus warned us about foundations in Matthew through this parable:
“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall” (Matthew 7:24-27).
Unless we discover the path to a renewal of real morality, nations will collapse into a pile of rubble like empires of the past. Beautiful order will become reprehensible chaos!
When trust in social institutions is lost, there will come revolution and tyranny. Tyranny is the historical answer to chaos. When tyranny ensues, some kind of morality is enforced. “Love your neighbor” becomes “Love your tyrant or else.” Love and morality are no longer the motive; fear and conformity become the motive.
Currently, we have a declining liberty. In some places, there is an idea of liberty without law. Law enforcement has been under attack in favor of lawlessness. Remember our Republic, founded on a moral people, promised liberty within law. Total freedom to do anything we want was never the goal. My freedom ended where yours began. When that concept of “Love your neighbor as yourself” is lost, chaos begins.
The notion that all humans are inherently good – that simply more self-love” and human virtue will somehow cure our culture – is without historical proof or evidence. “Eat this and be as God” is an old and destructive lie of Satan! It is a form of narcissism that got Satan kicked out of heaven and will get him thrown into hell! How about us?
WHO AM I?
I have no doubt that my diagnosis will be questioned, nor do I defend myself. I am not attempting to speak from a lofty platform. As Winston Churchill said of Clement Atlee, “He is a modest man with much to be modest about.” I have a lot to be humble about! As Romans 3:23 says, I too have fallen short – way short! But falling short does not negate the standard. What we have done too often is “pull down the standard” to our level. The problem is that when we do that, others do also. Then no one is safe. I don’t judge the standard, I allow it to judge me, and it does! So, what do I do? I go back to Psalm 11. I urge you to do so as well.
Psalm 11:1 declares, “I put my trust in the Lord.” Those who attempt to keep the standard given by God are now targets. Those who want to ignore God also seek to destroy the foundations. But the God who established the foundations remains in His Holy place. And He is watching. He is testing while He is testing us, He hates the violence. He remains the Judge and He will judge as we go through the fire. He watches our response.
So, I am one of many who still trusts the Lord and not myself. I am one who discovered his own weakness and look to Him for grace and strength. And I am one who prays that we all will do the same, but even better than I have done. I pray that we can be one of those moral constituents who enjoys our liberty within law, upholds the law, and trusts God’s grace and mercy for His guidance.
IS THERE HOPE?
I certainly believe there is hope for those who trust and obey the Lord. Is there hope for our beloved nation here in America? To be honest, I am not sure. My confidence is not in our current trajectory! I see trust on a serious decline. I see a skeptical constituency. I see too much of our educational system in decline. I see too many religious groups compromising the “Good News” in favor of conformity. I could go on with why I struggle to be optimistic at age 86.
However, I do I have hope that has given me endurance through all the negative evidence. I do see many young people, who like me in the 1960s, have made a radical turn toward God. I well remember the violence and upheaval of the 1960s, the assassinations and wars, and then the revival. I do hope to see revival one more time! There is evidence in Psalm 23 that the valley comes before the feast.
My purpose here has not been to preach or cite the relevant scriptures. My purpose has been to give a personal view, a personal diagnosis and opinion. A personal letter if you please. I pray it resonates with you.
So, what do we do? First ask yourself, what is my diagnosis of our culture? Take your time, meditate on it. Ask yourself what do I do? What am I doing? Make it personal. This is not about what others are doing or not doing. I gave you my honest assessment; what is yours? Be as honest as you can, with yourself and with God.
Next, ask yourself, what am I doing to help someone else? What kind of influence do I have and how am I using it? Am I showing love and courage or am I just blending in and going along?
If you believe in God, do you believe God? Those are not the same thing. Has He said anything to you? Did you believe it and are doing it? Do you have a calling, a God-given purpose? Do you pray? Who or what is on your prayer list? Is it just about what you want or is it for blessing others? Are there changes you need to make? Do you have a strategy for that? Are you progressing? I could go on, but I will stop. I do pray that we will see an awakening and not tyranny!
I would like to ask one more thing: would you please keep this ministry in your prayers and in your giving this month? (See card enclosed, giving options below, or visit csmpublishing.org.) Though many people will be on vacation right now, ministry needs and opportunities never take a vacation. This has been a very challenging season for us financially, even as we continue to move forward in serving God and His people across the world and even as we support other ministries.
Our ministry does not believe in hype or high-pressure fundraising antics. But we do sincerely ask you to prayerfully consider how to stand with us this month and in months ahead. I am so thankful for all of you who have stood with us in times past and pray the Lord’s continued provision for you and your loved ones.
Charles Simpson is an internationally-known author, Bible teacher, and pastor, serving in ministry since 1955. He is also Editor-in-Chief of One-to-One Magazine and ministers extensively throughout the United States and the nations.