This blog is the combined effort of four senior pastors of different churches. Their desire is to point you toward living a God-centered, gospel-focused, Christian life.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A New Domino Theory



When I was a kid, I felt the Soviet menace. Nuclear annihilation was a real threat. I recall our children’s prayer meetings on Wednesday nights where a man named Jack Barrett, tears pouring down his face, would lead us kids in praying for the salvation of Nikita Krushchev. Only those who lived through it would be able to understand the chilling nature of Krushchev’s threats (“We will bury you!”) and atheism (he boldly proclaimed to a Soviet youth conference after Gargarin’s orbit of the earth, “Why should you clutch at God? Here is Gagarin who flew into space but saw no God there.”)

Many people during the Cold War were concerned that a domino effect was possible in the advancement of communism. That is, if one state in a region fell under communism, surrounding countries would fall under its influence like one domino knocking over another. In my teen years, how one felt about the war in Vietnam was very much linked to how one felt about this domino theory. That is, if one believed the domino theory, the war in Vietnam was a worthy fight to stop the advancement of communism. If one did not believe it, the war was not a worthy fight and an interference with Vietnamese self-determination.

All of this would be just a fascinating bit of history except that we are on a moral battlefield in our nation today which is more fearful than nuclear annihilation. The battle is such that if it is lost, other moral pillars of our civilization will fall in successively rapid fashion. Indeed, I wish to propose a new domino theory. It is a domino theory of moral collapse.

What is the leading domino? What domino is it that, if it falls, will lead to the moral annihilation of American culture? While it is based on the loss of biblical authority, for the larger culture, which has always included non-Christians, I believe that domino is the sanctity of marriage. Marriage is under siege today . . . from many corners. The homosexual marriage issue gets the headlines, but I think that dilution of marriage began with the liberalization of divorce laws in the 60s. The downward spiral can be traced thusly:

--Marriage becomes a source of pain which people believe ought to be relieved;

--Divorce laws are liberalized;

-- Divorce rates among every religious and economic strata skyrocket;

--Millions of children are scarred; their sexual identity confused; emotional pain is overwhelming, and reticence to marry and have children grows among the young;

--Meanwhile, people remarry and perhaps carry the cycle around a few times;

--Or, hesitant to marry and with the introduction of birth control, vast numbers of people either live together, or just “hook up.”

--Now, the only people anxious for marriage are those who see it as the forbidden fruit, namely, homosexuals;

--The society at large does not really see much value in the institution of marriage and feels a bit guilty at denying anyone anything. The societal guilt here perhaps is driven by the guilt felt by parents who see their children damaged by divorce and the guilt children feel that their parents’ divorce was their fault. So, the trend moves increasingly toward legitimizing gay marriage.

--One cannot ignore the influence of the media on these counts. Consider the ways that the entertainment industry portrays the real nuclear family versus the way it portrays more "diverse" families. They want us to accept divorce so they make us laugh at it; they want us to accept remarriage, living together, casual sexual encounters, homosexuality, gay marriage, etc. so they make us laugh at it. More importantly, the stupid ones are always those bigots who think that one man/one woman for as long as they live is the way to go. What idiots those folks are!

--So now, people are threatened, even for suggesting that sexually immoral behavior is sinful. People can lose their jobs over a simple statement that affirms the biblical position.

Do you see? The dominoes have already fallen! It is not that our culture is on the verge of collapse; in many ways, it already has collapsed. Meanwhile, all polls indicate that “the economy” is the most important issue in the upcoming election. We want our affluent lifestyle—give us our bread and circuses! The prophet Amos thunders these words from the Lord,

“Woe to those who are at ease in Zion,
and to those who feel secure on the mountain of Samaria,
the notable men of the first of the nations,
to whom the house of Israel comes!
2 Pass over to Calneh, and see,
and from there go to Hamath the great;
then go down to Gath of the Philistines.
Are you better than these kingdoms?
Or is their territory greater than your territory,
3 O you who put far away the day of disaster
and bring near the seat of violence?

4 “Woe to those who lie on beds of ivory
and stretch themselves out on their couches,
and eat lambs from the flock
and calves from the midst of the stall,
5 who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp
and like David invent for themselves instruments of music,
6 who drink wine in bowls
and anoint themselves with the finest oils,
but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph!
7 Therefore they shall now be the first of those who go into exile,
and the revelry of those who stretch themselves out shall pass away.” (Amos 6)

During the Republican primary, Rick Santorum was castigated for suggesting that legalizing homosexual marriage would lead to a further degradation of our culture and, in fact, would lead to further redefinitions of marriage. Santorum was either misunderstood or purposefully reinterpreted, as the pundits decried his “homophobia.” They accused Santorum of equating homosexual behavior with other (currently unacceptable) behavior. Meghan McCain, John McCain’s daughter, expressed this bit of incisive analysis, “I mean it's so dated and it's so gross.” In fact, Santorum was simply expressing the idea that knocking over the leading domino of marriage will cause further moral degradation.

In early July, a bill was introduced in California proposing what is already law in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maine. This bill provides for children to be able to have more than two parents. See: http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2012/07/02/california-children-could-have-more-than-2-parents-under-bill/ One sentence in this article stood out to me, “Supporters cited several examples where the law could be applied, including a lesbian couple that conceived a child with the help of a sperm donor who has been involved as a parent, or a man who married a woman while she was pregnant with another man’s child, who also maintained his role as father.” Can we see that these “complexities” of modern family life are only because we have departed from one man married to one woman for as long as they live? The further we depart from that, the more “complex” family life will be. What kind of families will we have when the number of parents is subject to court order? We’ve replaced the God of the universe with the local circuit court judge as the authority for the family. Those so cynical of Rick Santorum last February for suggesting that these kinds of things would happen are not lining up to apologize.

All of this makes me wish for the simpler days when all we worried about was nuclear annihilation. Will you be a Jack Barrett for the 21st century? Will you pray? Will you seek to make your own marriages (each one is a mini-civilization) an expression of the beauty of Jesus Christ’s church? Will you stand for God’s definition of the family and not just on issues that don’t personally affect you? The hour is late. We do not know if we live in a time like Hezekiah (where God miraculously rescued at the final hour) or a time like Jeremiah (where the destruction was certain). Too many dominoes may have already fallen, or we might yet see revival. I choose to live with knowledge (not pretending things are better than they are). BUT I also choose to proclaim hope in repentance. May we humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand and not be ashamed of our Lord.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for this article.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Check out Andy Stanley's new series on the family, i was encouraged.

    ReplyDelete