Reversing the "Spin-Doctors"

"One Nation Under God"?

Stan Cox


Prologue: In this issue of Watchman Magazine, you can read an article written by H. John Rogers, an ordained Methodist minister and practicing lawyer, entitled Starr's Church of Christ. The articles written by Larry Ray Hafley, Dan R. Vess and myself, may seem to some to be overkill in response to this article. It is not intended as such. But Mr. Rogers' article allows us to examine both his ridiculous assertions, and the larger issue of present societal attitudes toward sin. I will leave the step by step answering of Rogers' article in the capable hands of brother Hafley. He does a fine job of answering the absurd claims made about the church by Mr. Rogers, and exposing both the falseness of the Methodist religion, and Mr. Rogers' own inconsistencies. Dan's article, entitled Don't Blame the Messenger, stands on its own as well.

My desire in this article is to note the societal trends that would not only allow a man such as Bill Clinton to occupy the office of President, but also would allow him to stay, with an astounding measure of personal popularity, despite his rather public shortcomings. Such societal attitudes are expressed very clearly by Mr. Rogers, in his article. Two short phrases from his article sum it up well. He writes, "Unfortunately for President Clinton, his sexual peccadillos were committed during the reign of a spiritual descendant of Oliver Cromwell." In another place in the article, Rogers' writes, "It is the President's great misfortune that his inquisitor is a man who considers a little hanky-panky and its natural by-product (the covering lie), the equivalent of treason and bribery." Such words are, to say the least, a great concern to those who advocate an adherence to God's moral standard as revealed in scripture. How can we as a society continue when our attitudes and actions rise as a continual insult before the Almighty God?


The United States of America is a nation conceived in liberty, and based upon a heritage of righteousness. European immigrants came to this land in search of freedom from religious oppression. The various religions expressed in the liberty of those early days found their base in the Judeo-Christian ethic established in the writings of the Bible. Regardless of modern attempts to rewrite history, this is our heritage. It is summed up well in the pledge of allegiance we proclaim to our flag and country. "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America; and to the Republic for which it stands; One nation, Under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

The sentiments of that pledge have been distorted in our time. The concept of justice (what is just, or right) is strangely lacking in our day. The path of Liberty, if not accompanied by Justice, is the way of the Libertine. We today have many who are like those libertines who lived during an ungodly time in Israel. "In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes" (Judges 17:6). Today there is no king in America. There is also no President, at least not as envisioned by the founding fathers. There is no man who stands in the "bully pulpit" of the Presidency, leading the nation with integrity, honesty, and morality. Instead we have an aging playboy, with no morals, no decency and no integrity, and our nation suffers from his example.

God is Sovereign

Although society has forgotten God, it must be remembered that He still is sovereign in the universe. In times of old, He judged nations because of their evil. Examples of His judgment, like Sodom and Gomorrah (cf. Genesis 19) pepper the Old Testament. His sovereignty over the nations continues even today. The apostle Paul made this clear in both his sermons (cf, Acts 17:26, "And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings") and his writings (cf. Romans 13:1, "Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God"). Rest assured that God considers carefully the good old USA, and will treat us (as a nation) in exactly the way we deserve to be treated.

The Sins of Today

It is truly appalling to note the state of moral decay that presently characterizes our nation. A partial list of particulars: (abortion, pornography, adultery, fornication, immodesty, greed, superstition, murder, drug abuse, gambling, drunkenness) is remarkably similar to the inspired list of fleshly lusts given by Paul in Galatians 5. "adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like" (19-21). It might be appropriate to note here that this ungodliness evident in society has had a discernible effect upon the attitudes of some of God's people. Paul noted the truth of that when he addressed the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 5. He upbraided the brethren for their toleration of sin, and explained that they should have no part in that ungodliness, nor the support of same. "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God" (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Some Christians today try to give a rationale for the support of such ungodliness as social drinking, gambling, immodest dress, and dancing. In so doing, they show just how much they have allowed an ungodly society to color their thinking. Can we not instead recognize that we, as the Corinthians, have been "washed", "sanctified" and "justified"? Can we not recognize the import of Paul's statement to Titus when he said, "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works." (Titus 2:11-14)?

Clinton As Example

President Clinton can truthfully be said to be a product of his times, as well as a causal factor in the continued decline of our nation's morals. At any time an immoral man may occupy the office of President. It is possible for a hypocrite, an evil man, to ascend to the office by deceiving the people. What is so very disturbing about Clinton's ascendency, and his ability to remain as President is that he has deceived no one, (at least with regard to his moral character). The initial campaign for the office had as a central theme the catch phrase, "Character Doesn't Matter." Truly we have sown the wind and are now reaping the whirlwind! All were aware of Clinton's moral failings, his lack of character. He was voted in as President despite this. Four years later his re-election campaign was likewise successful. He has been impeached, the tawdry affair and perjurious testimony have been exposed, and yet he remains as popular as ever. It is a shocking display of how very far our societal mores have degraded in a very short time.

It is remarkable that no attempt is made to defend the President's behavior. The term exculpatory has been drummed into our heads in recent weeks. As in, "The President has not introduced any exculpatory evidence regarding the accusations made against him." The term in its root (exculpate) means to "free from blame, declare or prove guiltless." Even his most ardent defenders recognize that he is guilty of unseemly sexual behavior, and that he has lied under oath. So, how do they deal with the issue of his guilt?

Societal Rationalization

  1. Not Impeachable! How many times have we heard that the President's behavior does not rise to the level of an impeachable offense. Thus we have people defending the continued rule of a man who is a liar; guilty of a felony, or two (perjury, abuse of power); and who has been unfaithful to his wife. They say, (while patting their pocketbooks), "Go ahead and put him on trial after he leaves the office, but for now leave him in office because he is doing a good job." Isn't it horrible that we have a nation willing to overlook just about any action, no matter how illegal and ungodly, so long as there is financial prosperity? It reminds one of the merchant's unholy, incestuous relationship with the great whore of Babylon (cf. Revelation 18:3).

  2. Blame the Messenger! One of the primary tactics of the President's supporters is to attack those who question his fitness for rule. This is the message of Rogers' Starr's Church of Christ. Kenneth Starr, and the other "enemies" of the President are vindictive, immoral and hateful. Note that apologists for the President do not dispute the messenger's message, but by vilifying the man they seek to undermine the effect of the facts. The President is guilty! (Note: Dan Vess does a fine job of dealing with this tactic in his article, elsewhere in this issue.)

  3. Equivocation! It is amazing just how disingenuous people can be. The President did not lie, he misled. He did not have sex, he had an "inappropriate" relationship. After all, "It depends upon what your meaning of the word 'is' is." Again, society mirrors this attitude as people call homosexuality / "an alternate lifestyle"; drunkenness / "alcoholism"; murder / "abortion"; and adultery / "an affair". But, renaming sin does not change its essential nature. As it is said, "A rose is a rose is a rose." Or, "If it looks, walks, and talks like a duck, it is a duck."

  4. False Repentance! The President's supporters have said again and again that the President has apologized. And he has made a great show of contrition. However, he has yet to admit to lying under oath, and he has yet to admit to sex. Hardly a mea culpa. This is the first President to ever ask Congress to censure him, and then make demands as to what that censure should include! To say he is audacious in his sin is an understatement. True repentance demands humility, and the complete acceptance of responsibility. Perhaps our President could learn from the penitent Publican of Luke 18, "And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner!'" (vs. 13).

  5. Hypocrisy of Others! And finally, the "feet of clay" of some Republicans have been exposed. There are men who have accused the President who are themselves guilty of lies and sexual indiscretions. These men are without excuse, and should be ashamed of themselves. I have no patience for any who attempt to excuse their actions while holding the President accountable. I recognize the difference between lying, and lying under oath. However, no man who is guilty of violating the covenant of marriage has any business trying to govern. But, exposing such hypocrisy in no way excuses the action of the President. To say that he should not be impeached because everyone is doing it is a weak argument indeed. First of all, not everyone is doing it. And secondly, if everyone is, then throw them all out and get men and women of integrity in, who are able to govern our nation as leaders in righteousness, not leaders in degradation and corruption.

When all is said and done, the President is guilty of grave evil. He is unworthy of ruling this nation, and should be removed from office. But it is not going to be done. Why? Simply because the people (society) do not care. He retains great popularity. People are doing well economically, and are unwilling to risk their pocketbooks for the sake of principle. As such they are as guilty as the pagans of first century Rome. Note what the great Apostle Paul said of them:

Note Paul's phrase, "...approve of those who practice them." In this list of sins, the President is guilty of "unrighteousness", "sexual immorality", "wickedness", "covetousness" (of power), "maliciousness" (in treatment of "enemies"), "deceit", "evil-mindedness", "proud", "inventors of evil things", "untrustworthy", "unloving", and "unmerciful." But, his approval rating ("approve of those who practice them"), remains very high. This ought not to be so.

Conclusion

What to do? Very simple:

  1. As a nation, Repent! God still is sovereign. A nation that continues down a path of degradation ultimately pays the full price for sin. But, repentance can save a nation. Remember the city of Nineveh, who at the behest of their king, repented of their evil in sackcloth and ashes? Their king said, "Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; do not let them eat, or drink water. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God; yes, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish?" (Jonah 3:7b-9). The people repented, and God spared the city.

  2. As Christians, Preach the Word! Society looks for quick, easy fixes. However, what ails our world today will not go away easily. The only answer is the word of God. Only it can change the hearts of men. May we have the same attitude toward the good news as that expressed by the Apostle Paul. "So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek" (Romans 1:15-16).

Standing for what is right will lead to much criticism in today's moral climate. Satan's influence to evil has had such effect that even those who claim to be children of God are taken in by his propaganda. But, God is sovereign, and we can be victorious in the end if we will maintain our allegiance to him. "Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:37-39).


e-mail this author at stancox@watchmanmag.com

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