ASK Newsletter 3rd Quarter 1996



John H. Stoll, Ph.D.
Executive Director, ASK, Inc.

With all the concern in the media, as well as among people, as to the problems we face in our world today, when it seems as if all we hear is bad news, what does one think as to the future? On any given evening the news on TV tells of a majority of negative things going on in the world. Commentators go to great lengths to assess why we are in such a mess. No one seems to know. Is there an answer, what is it, and where do we find it?

It is no wonder society is in a state of confusion and upheaval in every aspect of life. We have given up on the basic elements that made our country strong, i.e. the Biblical foundation of principles, which produced strong families, and constructed individual lives on moral, ethical, and spiritual precepts, which in turn permeated every element of society, and produced a vibrant nation. The antithesis of these truths, i.e. the movies, TV, ridiculing Christianity, eliminating God from our schools, and the fracturing of family values, have all constituted the moral morass in which we struggle to maintain existence. The constant bombardment of these forces, especially on our youth, are producing what we see accelerating in society today. The continuation of this decline could signal the end of society as we have known it, and bring in a totalitarian state, or worse yet, elimination of mankind.

A bright light in the midst of the encroaching darkness has been the awakening of the Church. In previous generations the common opinion among Christians has been to shy away from involvement in politics, public education, or anything that would be construed as part of the world. The mission was to evangelize, exclusively. Fortunately, this has been changing, and the church has awakened to the realization that for Christians to do nothing, is to let the world pursue its sinful, humanistic course, with its detrimental impact upon all, including the Christian community.

For the past fifty years of my ministry, I believe there have been two factors that have been most detrimental to our being "salt & light" in the world: Legalism and Lethargy. Evangelical Christians in a legalistic way have been more concerned with making sure other Christians live right, than ministering the grace of God and allowing the Holy Spirit to convict sin in others, while at the same time rather lethargically turning away from the encroaching sin in society, and doing little to stop it. We have let the genie out of the bottle, i.e. rampant sin, and now we will be hard put to bottle it up.

Many times I have been asked if I believe we will have another spiritual "awakening", similar to those in the past, that have turned the nation back to God. Certainly with God all things are possible, and it is true that God's purpose in society is to bring everyone to repentance and commit themselves to Him (II Peter 3:9; I Tim. 2:4). However, Jesus Christ, stated in Matthew 24 concerning conditions that would be in existence just prior to His return. If one reflects upon all these, it is evident that everyone of these conditions are operative in the world today.

In Luke 21:28, Jesus said, "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, for your redemption is drawing near". In previous generations wickedness was never as all pervasive as it is today, compounded by TV, movies, explicit lyrics in rock music which is controlling the youth of today, etc. Our eliminating the idea of God in society, schools, public forums, etc. have all contributed to an almost total breakdown of society as we have known it. No, I believe mankind has gone too far; only the judgment of God awaits us.

What should Christians do, given the inevitable condemnation of God on society? Our response should be to continue faithful to our commission (Matt. 28:19,20), to be even more the "salt & light" that we should be, and personally "grow in grace, and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ" (II Peter 3:18).

Given the fact that "Christian bashing" is "in" today, even when much is heard as to being tolerant, and paradoxically that which is sinful is not only tolerated but exulted (note: Isa. 5:20), it just may be that the Lord Jesus Christ will return and catch up the Church into Heaven just before a "Christian Holocaust". What a wonderful contemplation.