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Oct 12, 2001

Was Jerry Falwell Right?
Is the Attack on America the "Judgment of God"?

By Eric Barger

Sometimes secular TV personalities seem to go out of their way to prove how ignorant they really are on spiritual matters. Actually, theirs is perhaps just a reflection of how the average person out there knows little to nothing about God and the fact that He is intrinsically intertwined with human affairs. Here in lies the case in point.

In the past few days I have heard Rosy O'Donnell, Bill Marr and Jay Leno and others lampoon Dr. Jerry Falwell for his recent remarks made on the 700 Club (Sept 17, 2001) When asked what he thought had allowed America to sustain such ruthless attacks as we all witnessed on September 11th he pointed out that sinful lifestyles, actions and general corporate endorsements of ungodly activities eventually end up bringing either the wrath of God on a person, a household or yes, even a Nation. Even Bill O'Reilly - of whom I am somewhat a fan for his strong, no-nonsense stands - states that he "does not believe in a vengeful God" and has taken occasion on his Fox News Network program to blast Falwell's statements. Indeed, God is not about vengeance in the carnal sense but He is about justice. Listen up Bill, the God of love is also a God of standards and eventual JUDGEMENT for a person or nation bent on advocating sin! As a professing Catholic, surely you heard that in parochial school didn't you?

Perhaps it is better said that in the case of the United States, sin unchecked and flaunted as normal has and is continuing to cause the protection and blessing of God to dissipate from our midst. In short, we are beginning to experience the price of abortion, sexual sin and greed as the values held dear by our Founders are forgotten and replaced by the god's of lust, corruption and convenience. But are these current awful events actually the "judgment" of God? I don't think so, at least not in the classical biblical sense anyway. But before you disagree, read on.

Judgment vs. the Wrath of Sin

The Bible clearly states that judgment starts with the house of God (I Peter 4:17). God historically starts by judging His own people: first the Israelites and now the Church. Instead, what we are currently seeing in our Nation is the penalty of sin and the peril of living in a fallen creation as we race into the very end of the "end times."

Is that merely my opinion? No. Scripture is clear on how God deals with nations and people. His word is also prophetically clear on just what the end days will look like. He hasn't changed and history bears out that the biblical model is just what the outcome in reality has been throughout time. Yet for the most part man - with all his supposed intelligence - hasn't figured it out - yet.

So, do I think Falwell is right? It is difficult to dogmatically use the word "judgment" in describing what happened on September 11th. The question we should be asking is, "has the hand of God begun lifting off of us as a nation?" Of this I have absolutely no doubt. The idolatry of a man or a nation can cause its demise. And when one considers sin and idolatry America is a prime candidate for disaster. You only have to read the account of the man Achan in Joshua chapter seven to understand that God will allow tragedy to bring righteous repentance in a life, a family a church and yes, in a nation.

As much as we might now second-guess on the timing and phrasing of what Dr. Falwell said on the 700 Club, he is indeed right and 100% biblically accurate in his assessment of the situation - sin incurs wrath. Do I think that the September 11th attack is due only because of the actions of groups like People for the American Way, the A.C.L.U. or the gay and lesbian alliances which Dr. Falwell mentioned in his remarks? No. But if the carnage in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania does not wake America and cause us to run to God for help and spiritual restoration we can expect more of the same - and worse.

Evil in America

Psalm 9:17 states: "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God."

Is that clear? Who puts them in hell? (Literally translated to the word Sheol   or "the grave" - the place the wicked are sent for punishment.) Who allows their destruction? Who is in ultimate charge here? How much clearer does it need to be? Notice also the language here: "all nations that forget God." This obviously means that the "nations" spoken of once knew God and walked away from Him. That's America to a "T". It is absolutely remarkable what has happened since our nation's final arbiter and God-ordained governmental institution - The Supreme Court - forbid our children to first pray and then hear God's word read in our schools. As I mention in the seminar and video "The Rise, Fall and Restoration of America" since that first fateful court decision in 1962 we have seen everything come upon us from the demise of the family to the rise of gangs and from mass killing in our schools to a billion dollar drug problem. We have gotten what our secular politicians, judges and activists wanted and we are going to pay for it.

Hopefully the point is taken by those who are aware of and believe in the absolute finality of Scripture as God's ultimate and complete word to mankind. For the rest of you, listen up. God hates sin and will either allow or directly bring about calamity on those who choose sin instead of righteousness.

You see Leno, Rosy and the rest will occasionally talk about God in some limited fashion but they have no business attempting to comment about something they have no understanding of - even though it is so completely clear in Scripture. And that's what the current uproar concerning Jerry Falwell's comments amounts to doesn't it? People who do NOT know the Word of God making judgments on the statements of those who do.

The God of Love and the God of Justice

The world wants to enjoy the feel-good fuzzy feeling that somehow God is a giant "love" dispenser no matter what the general immoral or perverted condition may be. Thinking that God is only love, not involved in our thoughts and affairs and thus somehow not willing or capable of bringing justice because of our sins, the world cannot equate the reality that sin equals pain and eventual judgment for humankind. In the blindness of liberal, worldly attitudes and lifestyles, unregenerate people cannot admit or simply do not understand that any and all evil - including the acts of crazed terrorists - are either a direct or indirect result of man abandoning God and following the flesh.

God allows evil to exist but God has and is in the painstaking process of dealing with it in His just and righteous manner. The single hope man has is the power of Christ's finished work accomplished on the cross - alleluia! It truly IS the dividing line between victory and defeat. Still, until Jesus' physical return, evil will be allowed to operate unabated in our lives and nation as long as we refuse God's free gift of salvation and it's only condition - repentance from sin.

God and the Terrorists

So, do not be confused. God did NOT arm or inspire the 19 terrorists and their alleged accomplices to carry out the unspeakable acts of September 11th but He did allow it. Why? Because we as a Nation have abandoned the foundation we were built on, choosing trust in ourselves rather than trust in Him and perpetually persisting to practice sin instead of righteousness. Many of us are just now waking up to the stark reality that America is not immune and is receiving no special treatment from God. Evil operates because we choose to please ourselves starting in the Garden of Eden right on through history to the abortion mills of today - all in the name of "choice" and "pleasure". It is simply the sin of rebellion.

I suggest that if we aren't interested in seeing more unfathomable acts on our shores, the church should collectively go about the absolutely imperative task of preaching and living repentance on a national scale, Just hearing the newsmen or politicians repeat "God bless America" isn't enough. We need to burr through the surface of our current condition and pray that God bring powerful conviction of sin on a national scale. But even as much, we need to pray that the conviction of the Holy Spirit results in true repentance.

In days future we'll need to remain focused on the fact that we Christians are not the actual "message" but instead are to be faithful messengers of it, conveying the truth - popular or not - to a lost and dying world. Equating man's unrelenting and ageless corporate sin to evil such as terrorism will obviously NOT be popular. Even the most knowledgeable, zealous Christian could easily consider just shutting up right about now for fear of how the truth might be perceived by those around us. While it is true that we must console the world and share Christ's love we need to be equally vocal and informative as to the root cause of how our Nation has now come to fear attacks on our cities by shadowy, faceless enemies.

Consider that before September 11th anyone proclaiming that there is a corporate price to pay for sin usually got a rousing "amen" in evangelical circles. Why is there now any such debate that just for example the filth-filled entertainment we have habitually invited into our homes for decades may have helped to drive away the blessings and protection of God to the extent that Satan is now able to use those under his control to inflict far greater acts of devastation than ever before? The shock to us is that for the first time since the War of 1812 foreign invades have brought devastation to us. Let's just keep in mind that what we are seeing today is the classic clash of Ishmael and Isaac and until now their feuding had not come home to radically effect us. More over, we are watching as events like the attacks on New York and Washington bring into focus Islam's written and declared vow from the Koran to decimate Western civilization and destroy Israel. Only one force will completely stop this radical Islamic pledge short of the return of Christ and that is the deceptive rule of the AntiChrist.

Did America Get the Message?

As horrid as it has been the past few weeks, it appears it may take more than four hijacked airliners and a few thousand dead American's to wake us up though. The secularists who have risen to prominence around us are still intent on eliminating God from the mix.

- Incredibly, the A.C.L.U. has deemed that the marquee message in from of Breen Elementary School of Rocklin, Ca reading "God Bless America" is "a hurtful divisive message" bound to do grievous harm to poor defenseless schoolchildren. Thankfully, the school officials contend they will not change the sign's message. (Source: NewsMax.com 10/7/01) Similar instances are reported from Illinois and Oklahoma as well.

- The Greensburg, PA City Council has called for the removal of a three piece art work entitled "We Mourn, We Pray, We Respond" because of the word "pray" (Source: Paul Harvey, 10/10/01)

- Madison, WI has announced that school children cannot recite The Pledge of Allegiance" because of the phrase "One Nation Under God."  (Source: Paul Harvey, 10/10/01) Hollywood stars, politicians and others are regularly taking it upon themselves to delete this phrase as they attempt to quote The Pledge these days.

So, are we doomed? Perhaps not but it is in the hands of God's people to define these events and times. Our corporate response right now is crucial. Will we repent as a people or will our nation continue in our godless immorality? The fact that God has used America so mightily to send and fund the Gospel message worldwide bodes well but God does not need us.

Will God use us to decapitate the current array of terrorist cells and leaders and thus save the world? He may. But as I mentioned any peace found now will not be eternal. Still through all that pessimism, we am not without hope. I do NOT personally believe that it is already too late for America. But as I have pointed out through the message "The Rise, Fall and Restoration of America" our only hope is to return to the values and unwavering faith of men like Washington, Adams, John Jay, Thomas Nelson and Noah Webster. If they could speak to us, I am positive they would remind us of these words:

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
(II Chronicles 7:14)

What we need more than anything now is a genuine return to God in this nation and its up to the Church to lead the way! So if you are sitting around waiting on God to rescue us from our current predicament, He is actually waiting on you and I to get serious and follow what the verse above (II Chron. 7:14) instructs us all to do. Therein lies the answer we are all seeking today.

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(c) copyright 2001, Eric Barger