The Bible tells us "God is not the author of confusion" (1 Cor. 14: 33, NKJV), but He is the revealer of it. The United States of America is in a serious state of confusion, and it is critical that we understand how we got here so we can discover His way out.
Do you recall the 70s song by the Temptations entitled "Ball of Confusion"? Remember the lyrics? "So round 'n' round 'n' round we go/Where the world's headed, nobody knows ... Just a ball of confusion." That's us!
Romans 1 explains how a culture lands in this precarious condition. We started our drift in the late '60s, and today we've officially arrived. Here's the downward spiral outlined in this passage: Reject truth. Lose discernment. Experience moral chaos and confusion. (See Romans 1:18-32.)
It begins when people "suppress the truth" (v. 18). It ends with widespread homosexual behavior and people engaging in all manner of wickedness. The passage says, "Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only continue do them but give approval to those who practice them" (v. 32, ESV). Sound familiar?
Edward Gibbon described the civilizational collapse of Rome as a time when "bizarreness masqueraded as creativity." Surveying the pop culture scene today, does that seem like an apt description of our nation?
Paul's prophetic warning went unheeded by most that lived in Rome. Edward Gibbon's 18th-century classic bookThe Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" outlined the reasons for this superpower's demise. Today there are ominous parallels to developments in that once-shining society, such as:
- Moral decay and a craze for pleasure with brutal violence increasing, even as sport
- An undermining of the dignity and sanctity of the home, along with mushrooming divorce
- Higher and higher taxes
- Rampant, out-of-control spending
- Decay of religion, with faith fading into mere form
How Are We Confused?
We could cite hundreds of examples, but let's consider a few.
Our president spoke to 3,500 people at the National Prayer Breakfast, saying, "The killing of the innocent is ... the ultimate betrayal of God's will." This comes from the most pro-abortion president in history, upon whose watch one life is executed in the womb every 26 seconds and 3,200 babies are aborted daily.
On March 27, Planned Parenthood will present 73-year-old House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a Roman Catholic, with the Margaret Sanger Award for her "outstanding contribution to the reproductive health and rights movement." Planned Parenthood is the No. 1 abortion provider in America, and its founder, Margaret Sanger, advocated for cleansing societies of "inferiors" (Negroes) and spoke at a KKK rally.
Gary Hall, dean of the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., stated in a Sunday sermon, "It is not only just OK to be gay, straight, bisexual or transgender; it is good to be that way because that is the way God has made you."
The front page of USA Today published the results of a national survey on singles in America, revealing that 76 percent of single Americans believe that long-term unmarried partners living together is fine.
As representatives in state legislatures are increasingly promoting marijuana legalization, a marijuana convention was just held in California where the illegal drug was celebrated amidst innovative ways to market, eat and smoke it. One vendor who was giving free samples of huge marijuana hits off his vaporizer exclaimed jubilantly, "It's really crazy!"
A Colorado high school forbade students from celebrating a day honoring America because the administration believed it might offend non-Americans. Their spokesman said, "We do not want to be exclusive to other countries." The school hosts Cinco de Mayo celebrations.
Doesn't it seem like almost daily there are reports, trends and developments like these? We are witnessing the ball of confusion gaining momentum as it steamrolls downhill at frightening speed. Let's stop before legitimate discouragement leads to depression.
How Did We Get Here?
The brilliant actor Philip Seymour Hoffman wrote of "demons "in his diary before dying of a drug overdose. Those same demons follow Satan, who is "filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short" (Rev. 12:12, NIV). Demonic forces are pulling out the stops to try and bring as many as they can into confusion, depression and ultimately eternal damnation.
To understand our nation's rapid cultural decline, we need to rewind the tape to a pivotal time—the '60s—to discover how this freefall started.
During a turbulent time in 1967, scores of young people were deceived by the seductive "Summer of Love" mantra. Naïve youth fell in line behind pied piper Scott McKenzie and grabbed their love beads and drugs and swayed with the wind to some elusive utopian society with his lyrics, "All across the nation/There's a new generation … People in motion, people in motion."
Millions of idealistic young people and hippies believed they were ushering in the long-awaited "Age of Aquarius" with peace symbols, free love and free speech. American psychologist Timothy Leary took LSD and advocated, "Turn on, tune in and drop out!" Woodstock lured cool guys and gals to come, smoke dope, throw off clothes and experience a foretaste of what was coming.
Casting off restraints to protest and launch the gay, women's and black power movements, the sexual revolution and the drug counterculture, everything was groovy. "Make love, not war" was the slogan as hipsters flashed the peace symbol and declared, "Never trust anyone over 30!"
A Crash That Was Ignored
Within a few short years of that development, pop idols Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison were all dead, overdosing on drugs, sex and unrestrained "freedom." Sexually transmitted diseases started breaking out everywhere. AIDS soon followed. Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. were assassinated. Student riots paralyzed Chicago. The Altamont rock festival degenerated into murderous mayhem right before Mick Jagger's bloodshot eyes.
Hippie communes and gay bathhouses started folding like houses of cards as Barry McGuire sang "Eve of Destruction." While demand for abortion intensified in the wake of all the free sex, the years of supposed liberation took their toll and the good times crashed. Would we heed the warning and change or let the ball of confusion keep rolling?
Although God has been long-suffering and merciful, the majority of Americans seem content to keep rolling along into destruction. We are not turning back to God or the principles of morality that served as the underpinnings of our country for almost four centuries. We continue to disregard His Word as "outmoded" and "restrictive," and in its place we've substituted dangerous deceptions that now have gained acceptance. Family advocate Dr. James Dobson identifies six lies that have taken root:
1. Drug use makes great recreational sport.
2. Premarital, extramarital and traditionally abnormal sex are now acceptable.
3. There should be no sanctity of human life in law.
4. God is unnecessary in our enlightened state, so let's systematically "airbrush" Him from society.
5. Divorce offers an easy "escape" from marriage.
6. Marriage should be redefined to include same-sex unions.
Dr. Dobson asks, "Can anyone seriously deny that these ideas have wreaked havoc on our society over the four decades since they gained prominence?"
Here's the Deal
In these turbulent times of unbelievable chaos and confusion, Christians who truly love and serve God must pray, fast and embrace a threefold mandate. These are the three pre-eminent, non-negotiable issues on which we must stand firm:
1. Propagate the truth regarding our heritage and religious freedom. This is the foundation upon which our nation and our history was built. We must have a clear understanding of the origins of America and its Founding Fathers. Any politician, including our president, who disregards our biblical foundations and the rule of law must be held accountable and courageously confronted. Our Constitution states that Congress makes laws, not kings, dictators or leaders issuing unilateral edicts.
2. Protect the sanctity and dignity of human life. This is the thread that connects all issues of justice and the basis on which they all stand: care for the unborn, elderly, poor, disabled, prisoner, AIDS patient, sexually enslaved or any of life's most vulnerable.
3. Preserve the institution of marriage and family life. This is the cornerstone upon which the future of our nation and the family stands. No matter what liberal politicians, popular celebrities, charismatic sports figures or compromising preachers say, we must remain courageous ambassadors for Jesus Christ and His unchanging standards.
To unravel this ball of confusion and see another Great Awakening, we've got to seize the opportunity before it's too late. As President Ronald Reagan prophetically warned us in 1964, "You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness."
Larry Tomczak is a best-selling author and cultural commentator with more than 41 years of trusted ministry experience. His passion is to bring perspective, analysis and insight from a biblical worldview. He loves awakening people to today’s cultural realities and responses needed for a restored, influential church. Please visit LarryTomczak.com.
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