(Read Part 1)
The late Dr. Francis Schaeffer, one of the most able thinkers and writers among evangelicals, says in his book, Death in the City: “It is a horrible thing for a man like myself to look back and see my country and my culture go down the drain in my own lifetime.” He continued to say that 30 to 40 years ago our culture was built on the Christian consensus—and yet now we are in an absolute minority! “Never,” says Schaeffer, “in the history of the world has a nation or a civilization thrown overboard so quickly its Christian heritage.” It took centuries of time for much of Europe to abandon it, but in 30 to 40 years we are throwing over the very things to which we owe our strength and our exalted position in the world!
“Righteousness exalts a nation” (Prov. 14:34); nothing else will! We are coming to the place where our checks are bouncing. We have used up our credit. Somehow we have to call the nation back to make some deposits in the bank of God, or we are through!
The heartbreak—we have survived what we believed was an international communist conspiracy to destroy America. The demise of the Soviet Union after 70 years of atheism and Communism has shown the utter failure of socialism and communism to prosper a nation to meet the needs of their citizens. Having said this, we should be cautious in saying we are now totally secure.
The heartbreak now consists in seeing the increasing decline in our values and a rising hostility to Christianity and Christians. It is ironic to see an America which seems bent on not retaining God in its knowledge (Rom. 1:28) while the Russians are hungry for the gospel and want all the Bibles they can get. It is now a fact that Christian radio and television programs have access to Russia and government approval has been given for Christian programs to be sent over the airwaves. Campus Crusade has been invited to present the JESUS film in all of the 6,500 schools in the Soviet Union and has held a seminar to train 1,000 teachers how to use the film. In that teaching process more than half of these teachers received Christ as Savior.
Showing a religious film in American schools is a virtual impossibility. How amazing to see such a spiritual reversal with Russia opening to the gospel and America becoming more anti-Christian.
The heartbreak is that we have so much blindness among our leadership. I am amazed at how stupid our country has become! We seem unable to recognize our enemies from our friends, and to treat them correspondingly.
We have given the Soviets computers, built them factories, shared with them our technological know-how, given them bread and butter! In turn, they were saved the bother of meeting these kinds of needs, and they poured their money into armaments.
How stupid can we get?
Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord? (2 Chron. 19:2)
Therefore the wrath of the LORD is upon you. (2 Chron. 19:2)
Such a national policy is always paid for, and we are paying for it in some measure already. But the big price is only a little bit down the road unless God graciously intervenes on our behalf.
For behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts,
Takes away from Jerusalem and from JudahThe stock and the store,
The whole supply of bread and the whole supply of water;
The mighty man and the man of war,
The judge and the prophet,
And the diviner and the elder;
The captain of fifty and the honorable man,
The counselor and the skillful artisan,
And the expert enchanter.
“I will give children to be their princes,
And babes shall rule over them.” (Isa. 3:1-4)
There is no small amount of evidence that we already have a sizable number of babies ruling over us.
Righteousness exalts a nation—not statements from our leaders who are soft on premarital sex, drugs and all the rest of it. We do not need to encourage our young people to commit evil in God’s sight—they are encouraged to do that every day of their lives. Every television screen, computer screen, newspaper and magazine is giving them all the enticement toward evil they can cope with. We need restraining influences from the highest places in the land to keep us from going down the road to national judgment!
Then there is the heartbreak of a philosophical outlook which holds that an individual is not really responsible for his economic well-being or moral conduct. Because a person has so many pressures upon him from the social structure in which he lives, he cannot really be blamed for his sin, they say, but the Bible says that just is not so! We sin when our wills say yes to temptation and evil, and no man can excuse himself before God by saying that the environment is responsible, or lack of education, or whatever. That just does not add up at all!
Abraham Lincoln was brought up in abject poverty, but he had a good mother—and an even greater stepmother—who so instilled into him such Christian principles and character that he became known as Honest Abe. If any man had an excuse to lie and cheat and steal, he did; but he had built into him principles and beliefs that kept him going on the right road.
What a different philosophy prevails today. We see our government looked to for handouts on every side, and much is said about equal rights and so little about personal responsibility. Many do not understand our American way of life, and what our founding documents actually promise. Equality of opportunity is the promise, and that is all. After that a man is to go on and climb the ladder.
We live in a day of handouts and government encroachment in everything, and the name of the game is socialism! I do not care what other name you give it; that is exactly what it is. This country would never have made the grade under the principles that now govern our affairs. Those early forbearers believed in minimum government and maximum personal freedom. Granted, our society is much more complex than it was in those days, but the same principles are valid for the new century.
I read recently about a group of clergymen—one of the committees of the National Council of Churches—that met to talk together about the basic injustice of capitalism and the free enterprise system. They apparently ignored the far greater injustices of every other system in the world!
I do not believe it is faultless by any means, and I agree that it needs corrections; but I believe it has produced the greatest degree of liberty and the highest standard of living of any system that has yet been devised.
I also believe that the principles which underlie it are Biblical.
The Word of God emphasizes personal and individual freedom.
Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s . . .
to be sure, but:
. . . to God the things that are God’s. (Matt. 22:21).
The Lord Jesus, in His parables, taught that profit is an honorable thing and that a man has the right to enjoy the fruits of the labors of his own hands. The Lord set down principles that back up a system in which men have maximum freedom and minimum interference from government regulations.
I firmly believe in the Biblical principles that underlie the whole free-enterprise system. In fact, I will go so far as to say that if you were to take a culture that is completely socialist or Marxist and you were to have there, nevertheless, total freedom (unlikely) to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to present the Bible as the inspired authoritative Word of God, a resultant genuine spiritual revival would have as an ultimate result the birth and growth of a free enterprise system!
This is exactly what happened during the great spiritual awakening in the early years of the 16th century. Out of that great movement, in returning to the Bible as the inspired Word of God, there came about great economic changes, and a greater degree of personal and individual freedom. The middle class arose, and the gospel of Christ put the get-up-and-go into them and made them realize that they were personally responsible for their own economic well-being, as well as for their moral conduct. This brought about the greatest system the world has ever known—one which until recent years has been the basic system of the United States.
Dr. Bruce W. Dunn (1919-1993) was a pastor for more than 50 years. After serving churches in Wisconsin, Iowa and Chicago, he held the position of senior pastor at the Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoria, Ill., from 1951 to 1991. From there, he reached out to the world through his weekly radio and television programs called, “Grace Worship Hour.” The broadcasts were among the first in the nation to feature sermons recorded live before a congregation as the basis for a media ministry. Dr. Dunn was known for his clear and bold preaching of God’s Word. A herald of the prophetic Scriptures, he continually warned his flock regarding the growing dangers of these last days. Dr. Dunn authored numerous booklets and was a frequent conference speaker. What a privilege it is to list him as a member of the inaugural class of Revived Classics authors for Dispensational Publishing House.
This article originally appeared as chapter 3 in
How Long, O Lord? How Long?: What To Do While Waiting For the Lord’s Return
(Columbus, GA: Brentwood Christian Press, 2002), pp. 32-44.
Copyright © 2002 Dr. David B. Dunn. All rights reserved.
The article is reprinted here by permission of Dr. David B. Dunn.
For more information regarding Dr. Bruce W. Dunn, go to www.TimelessTruthMedia.org.
Other material copyright © 2017 Dispensational Publishing House, Inc.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®.
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.