by Joseph HarrisTerrorism in the
September 11 is now a day etched permanently in the minds of all Americans. We who are removed from the disaster geographically can never fully understand the impact of this act. We watched on a two-dimensional screen, but could not smell the smoke and taste the soot, nor hear the background cries of horror. Yet we will never be the same.
The honest response from God's people in any terror, devastation, or mishap should be one of introspection. Since God could have prevented this horror but did not, we should look inward and examine ourselves, for God can speak through every situation. Individually, there are godly people in this nation who fear God and submit to Him daily. Nationally, however, the picture is very different. Society sanctions murder and calls it abortion. Homosexuality is endorsed and called an alternate lifestyle. Immorality and divorce are common and child abuse and molestation are found even in many Christian families.
It is not my job or intention to call this tragedy a judgment from God. I do believe, however, it is a wake-up call and professing Christians need to wake up, straighten up, and pray up-for if the judgment of God against ungodliness has not begun, it may be knocking on the door.
The fabric of America has many holes in it. When something has holes, it must either be repaired or discarded, unless it is a sieve. I pray we will patch the holes, rather than wait for the discarding.
First, look at the political holes. America is still great in many respects. Concerning our form of government as a free republic, it is the greatest in the history of the world. But politically, we are riddled with corruption. There is great opportunity to become corrupt in the political system. Among our lawmakers immorality, greed, dishonesty, and lying are rampant. The "Great Society" of liberalism promises total care for all, from the cradle to the grave, and especially for those who do not contribute financially. A good work ethic, with self-reliance and independent thinking, is discouraged by this liberal philosophy. But these are just a few of the political holes that need mending.
Second, there are societal holes. Society in general is guided by an extreme multicultural view of relativism. No act by any individual is viewed as either right or wrong. Situational ethics says that what is wrong for one individual may not be wrong for another. Homosexuality is tolerated and viewed as a personal lifestyle choice with no moral implications. The modern public school system is vehemently anti-God with a campaign to sweep all vestiges of God and religion from its presence. Christian teachers in these institutions face serious challenges in the future and will have to eventually compromise or get out. Mark my words.
Third, there are theological holes. More and more, there is a tendency to de-emphasize the personal accountability and total depravity of man. Every human is personally accountable to God and must one day face Him. The New Age teaching of the divinity of man is becoming more prevalent. This teaching states that within every person lies a divine spark, and when fanned, it will burst into a fire of goodness-despite the fact that Jeremiah the prophet said that man was rotten from the top of his head to the sole of his foot. This New Age teaching complements the false doctrine of salvation by works, via church membership, baptism, inward goodness, and reformation of lifestyle. But salvation is still a divine work of God, initiated, perpetuated, and completed by the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.
And fourth, there are holes in the family. Someone once said, "As the family goes, so goes the church, nation, and every other institution." Husbands and wives make a one-inch commitment at the altar of marriage and shortly end their marriage in divorce. Most marriages end in bitterness and blame-placing, and the children are usually scarred emotionally for life. Do not be deceived: divorce hurts everyone involved. Where families do stay together, some do not have the strong father and husband that is needed to lead the family emotionally, spiritually, and financially. Leading a family is an awesome responsibility for which each father and husband will be held accountable by God.
I do not believe the fabric is so full of holes it must be discarded, at least not yet. There is still hope, and this hope is strongest while we yet have the freedom to seek God publicly. Is the terrorist attack in New York and Washington, DC, judgment from God? It's not for anyone to say definitely it is or is not. I do believe it is clear, however, that the attack is a call to seek God. On this, all Christians should agree.
Joseph Harris is chairman of biblical studies at Southeastern Baptist College. This article was a "Mini Edition" email published by Joseph Harris. To receive Mini Edition, email firstname.lastname@example.org with ADD and email address in subject line.