What’s Going On?

John H. Stoll, Ph.D.
Executive Director, ASK, Inc.
ASK Newsletter - 2nd Quarter 1999

Recently, the nation was shocked at the massacre of high school young people in Colorado. It was the latest in a series of shootings in schools across the country. As we watched the news on television, and listened to officials and reporters, the common thread through it all was, what’s going on? Most invoked prayer and God’s help at that time, even though we have squeezed God out of most every aspect of our society. Yet, in times of distress, we revert to His help. How ironic and ludicrous.

In order to adequately answer the question, it is imperative that we go to the source of all understanding about the nature of mankind, that is, the Bible. First of all, the Bible says, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can fathom it?" (Jeremiah 17:9). One talk show hostess even ventured the thought that there might be evil in people. The bottom line is that, "Out of the heart proceeds evil thoughts,murders, etc." (Matthew 15;19). In Ecclesiastes 8:11 it tells us that the "Heart of mankind is fully set in him to do evil". Therefore, what else are we to expect.

When our country was established, the founding Fathers understood the above passages of Scripture, and thus wrote our Constitution, with understanding of the nature of mankind. The checks and balances in our system of government, were so designed as to thwart the basic sinful nature, so that we could have a country established on law and order. We never had a distinctly Christian country, but a pluralistic one. However, even though our founding fathers were not all Christians, they did adhere to Biblical principles, and the Ten Commandments. This is what has made our country great. Today, we are living on that heritage, even though our behaviors have succumbed to the lowest level of human nature. How much longer we can survive as a nation, with current behavior, is only known by a sovereign God.

The Old Testament Prophets, in speaking of the coming judgment of Israel, are also speaking to us today, in a similar fashion, because of our wickedness. In Jeremiah 17:5,7, the Prophet warns us against trusting in mankind to solve our problems; rather to trust in the Lord. In Isaiah 29:13, the Prophet stated that Israel’s acknowledgment of God was, "Learned by rote". Today, we also recognize God in our country only on our money, in our pledge of allegiance, and by the Chaplains we have in our governing bodies. Otherwise, we have squeezed God out of our schools, and everywhere else we can, through civil liberty organizations, designed to help oppression, but have been used to suppress even that which is good. We have removed the Ten Commandments, teachers can’t say anything about God or the Bible, and even students can’t read their own Bible in class.

In Israel’s time of judgment, in Ezekiel 16:49,50, the Prophet noted that their iniquity was they were "arrogant, overfed, and unconcerned - - they were haughty, and did detestable things, therefore I did away with them". And, all these things are evidential in our society today. Lest we think that our country is above the judgment of God, or that we are invincible, we just need to note what God’s opinion of nations is, including the United States, as seen in Isaiah 40:15,17, where it states that God counts, "The nations as a drop in the bucket, and are counted as the small dust on the scales. All nations before Him are as nothing, they are regarded by Him as worthless, and less than nothing". This is God’s evaluation of the nations of the world. And, today, we are ripe for judgment. It was Plato who described the last stages of democracy, when all restraints break down and nihilism is both preached and practiced. Our country is very close to that, now.

The problems we see in our youth of today, are a result of the lack of proper learned behaviors in their formative years, in their families of origin. Coupled with that, is the violence on TV, demonically inspired rock musicians, Hollywood’s humanistic and materialistic philosophy, along with a watered down religiosity in our country that no longer teaches, "This saith the Lord", and lack of role models that exemplify integrity, honesty, and virtue to our youth. Is it any wonder we see massacres in our schools, when our youth have no hope, and when all is black before them. Death is the only escape from their bondage.

Today, as never before, Christians need to stand for what is right, according to Biblical principles, to proclaim the truth of God’s Word, and to live exemplary lives, as people of the truth, integrity, and virtue. We need to "Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ" (II Peter 3:18). We need to exemplify the admonition given to us in Galatians 5:16-25 and I Thessalonians 4:3-7. And, we need to constantly trust in the sovereignty of an almighty God, who someday will bring judgment upon the wickedness in the world, and usher in an eternity of righteousness and peace (II Peter 3:10-14).

Book Review

The Case for Christ: Lee Strobel, Zondervan Publishing House, 1998, pb. $5.99

As a young attorney, and legal editor for the Chicago Tribune newspaper, as well as an avowed atheist, Lee Strobel was married to an agnostic, who was led to Christ through a friend. As his wife’s life changed, it made an impact on her husband, but being an analytical, logical attorney, he had to empirically test out the Biblical testimony to Jesus Christ.

For two years he thoroughly examined not only the Biblical account, but traveled around the country interviewing knowledgeable individuals, to evaluate the trustworthiness of the Bible. Not only did this lead him to the Lord, but he found three significant elements that proved to him that Jesus was the Christ, the Savior of the world: 1) The empty tomb, 2) The eyewitnesses, and 3) The early parchments substantiating the record.

As a result of his research and findings, Strobel has written this book, journaling his search, and bearing personal witness to God’s grace, in transforming an atheist to become a follower of Jesus Christ. Today, he is the teaching minister at Willowcreek Community Church, outside Chicago. For an affirmation of the truths of the Bible, as well as for any questioning individual, this book is must reading.