THE EMMAUS WALK PRESENTS:

Excerpt of "Can These Bones Live?"

by David Pett,

With Pro-Active Comments by Ronald Ginther

Prefatory Remarks: David Pett's remarkable book cannot be done justice by a mere excerpt, or even by a preface, but this part will at least afford the reader some idea of the approach to America's crisis and what the only genuine solution has to be. But before we give David Pett's "take" on the crisis facing America and Christians particularly, I would like to call attention to the hot button topic among evangelicals, which I will phrase as a question: "Should Christians be engaged in political matters, and should they place any stock in attempts to return America to her foundations?" I have lately heard a leading evangelical, who founded a church, then a Bible school and seminary, and continues on television with weekly broadcasts, scoff at the idea that America ought to return to its foundations. There is no disputing the fact that postmodern, postChristian American society and government has moved far off them. But this man of God vigorously rejected the idea that there can be a return, and he did not recommend activist advocacy of it by Christians either. He cited St. Paul and his admonitions to the Christians of his time. He said the leaders Paul instructed believers to pray for, were probably all corrupt. Yet theyw ere to pray, that the church might be left in peace. That was this man's analogy for today's crisis. Our government and society too, clearly, are corrupt. We, therefore, are to pray, and that is our chief duty, Biblically. Is this a fair application of St. Paul's admonition and his times to ours? It is not, in my view. I base my view on the facts that we are not in the same situation as First Century Christians of Paul's day, simply because we have the vote and they did not. No one except the Senate voted in the Roman Empire (and the Senate was only for show, as the Roman people it supposedly represented had no more voice once the Republic was succeeded by the Imperial administration and the Emperor himself. Julius Caesar was assassinated, because he was trying to make himself too much a supreme leader, even a king, whereas people still wanted the Republic and the rights of the Roman people to prevail. But Octavianus, Caesar Augustus, on ascending to Julius Caesar's position, took the title "First Citizen," which was a smokescreen title, while everyone knew he was Emperor, with absolute powers. "King" or "Emperor" were titles that were not socially acceptable at the time he took supreme power of state to himself. So there was no vote by the time of Paul, who lived through several Roman Emperors's times and died under Emperor. What does mean to us today? Paul knew they had no vote as citizens, so there was no voting, there was only an opportunity to pray for their leaders and place all in the hands of God and His mercy. But today we are Caesar, we are Emperor, due to our combined votes. We decide who will sit on the throne of America. Our vote counts. We have a real say in the governance of America, for good or bad. We pray, yes, but we also vote. That makes us very different from the Christians of Paul's day.

The man I heard on his TV program scoff at the idea that America can be returned to its foundations, belief in the God of Christ, morality, traditional marriage, freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, respect for the sanctity of human life and the unborn, etc., Nero Caesar--he did not say we had no responsibility to vote, he encouraged us to vote. But he placed to real stock in it as a nation-changer. Prayer was his answer to America's crisis, and, I suppose, hope for the best to develop in some dim future time.

This misapplied analogy has some bad effects: 1. it encourages Christians to continue in the apathy and indifference (and shirking of the duty of voting) that characterizes millions of Christians and evangelicals and which got us by large degree into the crisis we are now in, and 2. it spiritualizes our shrinking-backwards position in the area of civic responsibility and renders us passive and irrelevant and even irresponsible in our society, and finally, 3. ghetto-izes us, by making us even more a marginal group, outside the mainstream, outside the public sphere, while maintaining a false image of ourselves as being holy and "prayerful" and "trusting in God to work it all out someday."

Since Providence graciously allowed our Founding Fathers to create a new kind of nation on this earth, one in which the mass of citizens actually could exercise a meaningful vote for their leaders of their choice, leaders who in turn would base their decisions and acts on morality, the moral law of God, the Word of God, and godly precedent, and always in accordance with the restraining Constitution and Bill of Rights and fear of God Almighty, we entered a new era that is only now being overturned and an older era of oppression and imperial subjection of the common man substituted. The old system of autocratic, undemocratic Europe, in other words, is now overturning the new, however nicely it is wrapped by our government leaders speaking for the Left. Too many Christian people of late voted too many times, not for their conscience and for morality and the rights enshrined or acknowledged in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, but for selfish personal gain and welfare--and the new era foundered and then sank, mortally struck on the reef of secular humanism. Also, at the same time, the moral fiber of the mass of people has declined so much, that they voted for an increasingly authoritarian, corrupt leadership, because they themselves had become corrupt, abandoning God and morality. True moral leaders make such backsliders and reprobates feel ill at ease and also do not give them the material things they demand, so they prefer not to vote for righteous leadership. They would rather put a corrupt man into power in order to gain material advantages they really ought to acquire through their own individual hard work and ingenuity and God-given talents, as self-respecting, honest, moral American people did in the past.

Government, with such a corrupt citizenry supporting for it and voting it into power administration after administration, election after election, now is become a big Sugar Daddy, a dispenser of goods and services and money to social parasites, and so they vote for a Big Government that can do what they demand and refuse righteous men a place in government who might reform such a bad system. The Government in turn is seeking its own advantage and confiscates their incomes in taxes (that is, if they are still working for a living and not just receiving checks from the Welfare System) , and since the poor have no money, they tax the rich to give to the poor who are demanding the government take care of them even though they are able to work but refuse to work. The Founding Fathers told us that our free system that promotes life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness could not work with an unrighteous citizenry who refuses responsibility for their lives. And so our Government in America is no longer free, in consequence, as it has grown bigger and bigger, election after election, because always more Big Government-promoting leaders are put in power by this unrighteous voting public, to the point now where we have a Socialist Government being installed and implemented in Congress, along with the Socialist President and his policies.

How can this horrible decline be reversed? Surely, not by the esotericism and withdrawal that is euphemistically called "prayer" by the man of God I cited. We are never encouraged to be monks and retire from the public sphere. The duty of prayer does not ever excuse us from participation in the public arena, which includes voting and running for public offices. Christ never told us to do that. He said, "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's" Christ did not deny one sphere for the other. He acknowledged the existence of both spheres. Then, again, Paul was speaking specifically to First Century Christians when he told them to use prayer, which was truly their only option in dealing with the corrupt and authoritarian Imperial Government of their day. We are not First Century Christians. Must we be reminded of that? It ought to be apparent we are not, but evangelicals seem to think we are not any different, we are the same as the First Century Christians who had no vote whatsoever. We, on the other hand, in total contrast, have a vote, a say in what kind of governance and what kind of leaders we have. Therefore, it behooves us to act on that fact, to be fully engaged in the arena of ideas and debate and governance. We can be. We should be. We must be. Christ himself, who must have been the one who gave us the vote in the first place, using our Founding Fathers to bring it about, holds us responsible. We must not bury our vote, we must exercise it. For this reason no one should be exhorted to hold back. We already did that in America, and lost whole generations, the present generation and their parents, the baby boomer generation. We are now mired in a sickening morass of neo-paganism and heathen worships of all kind--suffering from rapid decline in all areas of society. Disengagement, retirement to spiritual refuges in our high-walled churches and seminaries and Bible schools, preaching only to ourselves and fewer and fewer of our young people while the mainstream of America goes straight to hell--that was not what Christ commanded. That is exactly what we brought on ourselves, by ignoring the value of our God-given vote.

Used improperly and not used at all, this vote will be lost, or will become merely a ceremony, as it is in present dictatorships and tyrannies in the Middle East and Iran and Asia and Africa. The voting is all for purposes of show by the dictator. That is what we face here in America, an enormous, octopus-like authoritarian government in charge of everything, intruding its tentacles into all our individual lives with its regulations and agendas, taxing us all to the point where we are all dependent on Government to take care of us, while our vote is rendered meaningless by Government-sponsored candidates in the various scheduled "elections".

Again, what is the answer to the crisis in America? It certainly is not withdrawal from the public sphere--just the opposite! Christians have abandoned the public schools, a system that Christians founded! They have therefore abandoned the whole generation of students and future citizens and leaders of society to secular humanism and its values. Education must be made Christian in its world-view once again, or America will surely perish forever, drowned in the swamps and slimepits of secular humanism and godlessness. There is no education of any value that can be achieved by secular humanism--it has to regard for truth of any absolute kind and so anything is acceptable, as long as people choose it, that is the only justification: choice. It does not matter if it a thing is true or not, or verifiable, it merely has to be somebody's choice, and one person's choice, or truth, is just as good as another's. You cannot run a society, much less build a car or airplane that will work, on such a basis. Education, then, becomes choice-driven, choice-oriented, but a meaningless exercise in futility and nonsense. Society will sooner or later collapse, since it no longer bears any sustaining relation to reality. We all know what happened to the poor Dodo bird of the South

A large, tasty, flightless bird, it had not faced enemies on the islands where it lived, and never imagined there would ever come such to its islands, so that it put up no defense and made no attempt to flee the new predator when it finally came ashore in the shape of a seafaring explorer.

The Dodo-birds's plight is exactly what we are going to bring upon ourselves: extinction. We are set on the road to extinction by choosing what is essentially unreal or sheer fantasy. The death of our culture and civilization as a once Christian nation is inevitable, if we do not change and return to a responsible, positive, active Christian faith in response to the degenerate, secular humanist human society around us. But let David Pett tell us what he believes is the answer, for it complements what I have said, and confirms exactly what I believe to be the remainder of the answer--spiritual rebirth and regeneration by the Holy Spirit, transforming individuals by the untold thousands and, consequently, resulting in the saving and reformation of an entire society from moral and spiritual decline. We saw this happen in 18th century England, under the ministries of the Wesley brothers. Others followed in their wake who continued the revival, regeneration, and transformation. And England rose to be the greatest power on Earth, with the Bible, the Word of God, as its great, guiding Light.

England was arguably no whit worse, no more corrupt and degenerate than we are now in America, but God raised up deliverers, and He is the same delivering God today, is he not? I do not know about you, friend, but I prefer to believe that God changeth not, and He is still Almighty and can still do things that are impossible for men to do.--Ronald Ginther

"Dr. Benjamin Rush [1745-1813] was a physician and signer of the Declaration of Independence. He was also the "father of public schools" and a leading promoter of the American Sunday School Union. He established the first free medical clinic and also founded the first anti-slavery society in America. Dr. Rush said: "The only foundation for a republic is to be laid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican government." Rush also wrote: "The perfect morality of the Gospel rests upon...the vicarious life and death of the Son of God." It is not possible to be educated unto proper actions and attitudes without Christian scriptures, the very thing rejected by the wise men of this world!

Preachers in Colonial America never worried about an ACLU-type lawsuit. They taught the Bible, knowing that Government, Society, the Church, and God, was on their side. Of course, they had no cause to fear [for] the whole culture had a Christian world-view, though not all were born-again believers. There were none, howevewr, to challenge the teaching of Biblical morals, the life and death of Jesus Christ, and forgiveness of sin through faith in Him. The teacher taught these truths [in the public schools] and still had time to terach reading, writing, and arithmetic, for spiritual lessons were incorporated in all academic studies. The student who was thus educated was morally upright and a good citizen; well-equipped inwardly to live a self-governed life.

To be restored to what we should be--educationally, we must have things in their proper order. At the present it is impossible to simply change the laws, allowing the teaching of Creation, a respect for God and Jesus Christ, acknowledging a place for Bible study in public schools, a respect for the Flag and the Pledge of Allegiance, etc. Something else must take place first--and that is a general and Great Awakening of the citizenry to spiritual things. If there is no interest in spiritual things, any attempt to enforce spirituality through laws is useless. The present laws reflect what we are, our morals, attitudes, and desires in life. The void we are drifting into is a godless void, adopted from France and the Enlightenment that exalted man above God.

The Great Awakening came before the Battle for Independence, before the Declaration of Independence, before the Constitution, before the Bill of Rights.

[Prayer of David Pett's:]

Lord Jesus Christ, in the midst of our confusion and lostness as a nation, send us another Great Awakening, for we have forgotten you, the Giver of every good and perfect gift, the Grantee of our Inalienable Rights, the rightful Center of our culture. Give us insight to know where we are with you, so that we walk no more in darkness--for in Thy Light so we see Light. Lord, breathe on these dry bones!"

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