"The Great Awakenings in America," A Review, by Ronald Ginther


"The Great Awakenings in America"

A Review,

By Ronald Ginther

PART I: What is the Biblical Meaning of "Awakening" Versus "Enlightenment," "Sleep," "Revival," and "Death"?

Why should we take a look at the two Great Awakenings? Like most Christians, I am ignorant of what took place, when and how, in the so-called first Great Awakening. After that there occurred a second Great Awakening, and I am ignorant of that too. That is not necessarily my fault, as I never encountered anyone--teacher, student, professor, pastor--who was at all interested in the Awakenings to the degree they could tell me anything about them. Since they were not treated as really significant events despite the "great" usually added to their names--I did not feel obliged to look into them. This is not a good excuse for anyone's ignorance, perhaps, but it is probably one that fits most of us, if we are honest. What society esteems or deems important, we usually give attention to it--and the obverse is also the case.

The term "Great Awakening" is interesting. I suppose "revival" is the more modern term for the same thing, except that we have not experienced revivals on such a national scale. To be awakened, you must first have been asleep or comatose. How does a nation, and its churches, sleep? It is hard to explain "sleep" spiritually, though the Bible talks about death as sleep (Jesus referred to Lazarus his friend as "sleeping" instead of being dead in the grave. He also said that about a little girl whom He raised from the dead, if I recall it rightly. So "sleep" in a spiritual, Biblical sense is not a positive thing, it is death. Now death is an absolute, there is no degree to it that is meaningful. By its definition, it is a final and complete end of life, an utter cessation of all the processes of life in the body. The body decays, decomposes, and dissolves--its life, and the living person with it, is utterly gone! Even if the corpse looks lifelike, try talking to it! What response will you get? Of course, there is no response whatsoever! This is death--an absolute--and how we hate absolutes in this society and deny their existence. But we cannot get rid of this absolute, death, by denying it. It gets to us all, "in the end."

Can we not apply this absolutist definition to the churches of America, or to the Body of Christ in America? Yes, we certainly can--though it hurts a bit, or humbles our pride, to use it. I am just trying to look at our condition in the Biblical sense of the term. We are dead--not to a degree--but wholly, absolutely dead if we are "sleeping." The good news is that Jesus raises from the dead! There is hope for us--the dead Body of Christ in America.

I hate the term, "history." History implies that something happened, it is over, and that is the end of it--it is a dead-something, in other words. That is how we Americans mentally grasp the term, "history." To us if something is past, it is dead--and out of sight, out of mind, and out of our lives! To most Americans "history" is a graveyard of relics that don't mean much or anything to us these days--though for the sake of grades or getting a degree we do give it some reluctant attention in our educational systems. "History Channel" on TV is one of the few educationally valuable programs on television, yet most Americans, riding their remotes, probably pass it by on their way to violence, pornography, off-color comedy, "survival" theatrics, game shows, and the like. You might as well call it "Cemetery," or, more to the point, "Stinking Corpse," as far as most Americans are concerned. It has no relevance to them--having understood historical events in the way they were taught or conditioned since childhood. History? Americans, if they are honest, will say "ugh!"

Yet "history" or past events are nothing what they have been supposed to be. They are still live things--as they form what we are today, and make up the infrastructure we enjoy, and also comprise the intellectual, artistic, and religious institutions and fabric of our nation. That doesn't sound like anything dead to me! Granted, you do not see Colonial Americans with their tricorn hats and their knickers and knee-high stockings and high, lacey collars and other colonial fashions in the streets of America, but we are the products and offspring of those people to some considerable degree. We may not be their lineal descendants or have them in our bloodlines, but we have become grafted in to their family lines culturally and even religiously. They still live in us, in other words. This is a reality. We have just been denying it, or been grossly ignorant of this basic fact about life.

Just because an event has "passed," does not mean it is dead. It is still alive, very much alive, but in a different form, or it has been covered by another event that takes our attention. But we cannot stop with Colonial Americans. Ancient Romans still live--in us! Ancient Greeks still live--in us--systemically! We do not speak Latin or Greek (though, if you take out all the Latinate and Greek words from our English language, you would not have much left) but we could not get along without their still living cultures and the things they achieved--we are very much Roman, very much Greek--regardless of our ethnicities and backgrounds. Black Americans are very much Roman and Greek--if they are Americans, which they certainly are. They also are sons and daughters of the Colonialists. The Irish are very much Roman and Greek--the longer they live in America (though Ireland was never part of the Roman empire, it drew from Roman civilization many things and ceased to be purely Celtic).

I could give more good reasons why the Biblical terms are best, and why "Awakening" is a better description for a spiritual renewal than revival (you "revive" what has fainted or fallen into a low state of energy--that is not death). Sleep and death are synonymous in the view of Christ and the Bible. We are definitely "asleep" (dead) in the American church. And we need to wake up (come alive)!

I can resort to a regular history textbook, called "Out of Many--A History of the American People," Combined Edition, or Third Edition, by John Mack Faragher, Mari Jo Buhle, Daniel Czitrom, and Susan H. Armitage, Prentice Hall, N.J., 2000.

It describes these Awakenings on pages 123-129, and there is enough information to give me an idea what transpired on both occasions to earn the description, "Awakening."

That term in itself is meritorious and rather startling to see applied by secular humanist historians to America (for generally, they see nothing meritorious about America, though they would take it as an insult if you suggested they move to another country if they don't like this one.). You do not see it applied to any political movement, even to Civil Rights movements and achievements--unless I have missed it. What art movements, or legislative bodies, have earned that term? None--if I am correct. Yet out of the simple faith of Christians in this nation came a movement that rocked the country, to the degree the nation was "awakening." Before that time, the nation, or at least the elites or top echelons, was "enlightened"--which is not to say at the same time that it was improved substantially. The Awakenings, on the other hand, were generally perceived then (and even now) to have not only bettered, or improved, the national life, they transormed it. Before and after an Awakening, you saw two different Americas--that is how radical this phenomenon was. Perhaps we could learn something for today by examining these Awakenings?

According to the text, there is a time period that can be identified. It is recorded history, after all. The revival and transformation of America's Christians and thousands of others not Christian before the Awakening first took place in the 1730s. Prior to the Great Awakening in America, "backsliding," or a cooling down of religious fervency, had set in. Perhaps, many churches were still well attended, but the degree of faith had fallen and there was no real life in the meetings, so that people were attending more because it was an established custom or tradition rather than because it was their life to do so. For instance, if church-going had become a social necessity instead of a natural outgrowth of your faith in God, you would still go to church services because you didn't want people whose opinion of yourself you valued to look at your absence as proof you were a heathen or less than a respectable Christian. To be regarded as respectable, to be considered a Christian, to be well-thought of, you continued your attendance at church, even if you had no desire for it any more.

What could be the causes of this disaffection and falling away in the American churches before the First Great Awakening? You could not find a more fervent, dedicated, sacrificial people of God than the Pilgrims, or even the presently much maligned Puritans (due chiefly to Arthur Miller's play dramatizing the Salem witchcraft trials, The Crucible, and its continual revivals on the state or in the theater, not to mention its being featured in every American literature textbook in high schools and colleges).

Whatever their faults--sectarianism, intolerance toward witches, exclusiveness, theological rigidity--they truly loved God with all their hearts, souls, and minds. God honored them with in turn with the wisdom and guidance, with miracles of deliverance in the Revolutionary War, and with the successful founding of an entirely new nation, the United States of America, founded on the Word of God and Biblical principles. This nation rose to greatness in a very short time compared with other nations--and within a few generations Europeans like Alexis de Tocqueville were touring America to try to discover the reasons why America had become so great. America, despite horrendous problems of crime, blighted inner cities, racial issues, and high taxes, remains the nation most people want to be a part of--despite all the anti-American bias of detractors born, bred, educated, and blessed as citizens of the United States.

The loss of a once burning religious fervor and faith so early on, however, threatened to undo the bright future ahead for American society. If "clothes make the man," so does the mind form the character and life and acts of a man. As a man thinks, so he lives. It is vital what goes into a man's mind--a virtually forgotten truth today. You cannot establish a good, productive life on the basis of a proud, lustful, selfish, self-centered mind. A nation, similarly, cannot be founded well on slipshod ideas and bad philosophy. For instance: you cannot found a lasting society on infanticide (called euphemistically, "abortion," based on the extra-constitutional, Supreme Court decreed "right to "privacy," that is, the legalized choice to kill your unborn child anytime, for any reason you like). If you do that, individuals will suffer, families wills suffer, and the whole society ultimately will suffer and decline and self-destruct, maybe in as little as two generations.

We see this process going full-steam ahead in Scandinavian countries (right now they are further down the road on which we have already started, in other words). Years before the idea got started here and was framed into law in a couple states, the Scandinavian countries made same-sex marriage equal to traditional marriage. Now the generation produced by the parents who passed this law do not marry their "significant others", because they feel their parents and the society place no value on marriage--and why enter into a union that is no longer held respectable or special by society? Once the Scandinavians were encouraged to indulge in premarital sex in order to see if they would make compatible mates before they entered into the binding union of marriage. But that is no longer holding. They simply do not take the second step any more, even if they decide after premarital sex (often with more than one "partner" and sometimes in groups, going "round robin" from bed to bed), that they are compatible (actually, studies show that premarital sex is a bad way to begin a lasting relationship!). The consequence is children are born out of wedlock, and there are hundreds of thousands or millions of unwed couples in Scandinavia. Traditional marriage has been thrown out, and social chaos is the deadly fruit.

Intellectualism, Enlightenment by Reason, Scientific Inquiry that together ignore scriptural revelation and light, is a bad philosophical base for human life that leads utltimately to disorder, meaninglessness, and destruction.

The classic example--the negative example not to follow but to take a sobering lesson from--is France. This is the same nation that horrified (and fascinated) our nation's Founders. France once was pre-eminent in Europe. It was flourishing and glorious. It was pre-eminent in literature, art, philosophy, science, education, manners, architecture, fashion, armanents, fortifications, the military--whatever category you could name, France stood at the head of all that was thought great. Colonial America was barbaric, France was civilized, in the view of many educated people of the times. France should be pre-eminent now, but for the choice it made to hitch its star of destiny to Reason and Science, the two horses of Intellectualism devoid of God. France once was the center of a great European realm, the Carolingian Empire founded by Charlesmagne.

France, under Napoleon, tried to restore that empire and its glory once again on the Continent, but, following that megalomaniac and military genius, undermined by Intellectualism and Atheism, was humiliatingly defeated by Britain and her allies.

From the highest place among the nations, France declined since that time, becoming less than equal to its powerful neighbor, Germany, which rose to rival France and even to defeat France in a number of savage, very humiliating wars.

France fought many wars too with Great Britain, and even while establishing an empire overseas, could not hold it, losing wars to the British time after time. Despite all its strengths of a beautiful, productive land and a hard-working citizenry, France continued its slow decline. It has managed with ample resources of good farm land and factories and thrift, despite the decline, to maintain a certain high level of luxurious living and sophistication, but millions in France are "dirt poor," and are hopeless, seeing no way to improve their lots in live. Fertile, resource-rich France has rich people with their gorgeous palaces, villas, yachts, town houses, and estates that put a gloss over the national life, but it also has many poor and landless people, who have little or nothing but their shabby room or two for rent and on a low-paid job can expect to continue the same. France would have lost World War I without American intervention, and did lose World War II (and again America fought for France and defeated the invader and occupier of France, Germany). France, nevertheless, remained proud, and when prosperity returned to the land, and the ruins of war were rebuilt, farms put back into production, and factories set humming again (thanks to the large infusions of American aid money), the nation stubbornly continued its godless and atheistic lifestyle, with hedonism and selfishness ruling French society as before.

Along with its high abortion rate and its very low birthrate, this is a nation that cannot long endure. It may have survived from the time of Charlemagne, but it has done so only because of the intervention of other nations, again and again. If America had not come forward in World War I and II, France would have been finished--it would no longer exist. It remains to be seen how much longer this failed nation will continue independent and sovereign--for it has not changed its ill-fated course.

France took the path of Reason and Intellectualism and Englightenment exclusive of the eternal, life-sustaining Word of God. France declined, and is still declining since the 18th century. This is all to show the context in which our Founding Fathers learned a great lesson. Because of this lesson--the negative example of France-- America chose a different road, for the Founding Fathers were well aware of the debacle of France and deliberately chose not to exclude God and the Bible from public life and endeavor. Yet, inn the century before their foundational work, the Christian faith was declining into barely warm ashes in the grates of religious institutions, churches, schools, seminaries, and missions. Were we too going the way of France, even before our Nation could be founded? What a disaster that would have been!

It must have seemed inevitable--that we would go the way of France. Europe and then colonial American societies were swept by the exciting philosophical ideas known as the Enlightenment--a rationalistic, naturalistic philosophy which sought to center and ground man and society in the findings of the new science bassed on man's Reason and Logic and Scientific Method. Descartes' "Cogito, ergo sum: "I think, therefore, I am," was the basis. Man the Promethean Thinker had discovered a world of power within himself. With his innate faculty of scientific Reason and Rationality, man had discovered the means to achieve mastery of the Universe and his own destiny. By reason and science, man could liberate himself from the darkness of traditional, religionist herd's blind belief and superstition and become "enlightened" men, freed from the shackles of religion and custom, forging out beyond the old restraints, even surpassing the commandments of God or the very idea of His existence.

The proponents of the Enlightenment and the New Man appealed to Reason and the natural laws governing the universe, and argued that they could form a new basis for human life, providing happiness and security of individuals as well as nations.

Reason came to be regarded as the only sure means to apprehend the Universe, reason that was enlightened by science, not the Bible, which was formerly held as the primary authority and foundation for man's reason and his existence. In the Middle Ages, the Chain of Being held the center chair in the world of education and theology. God had made man to fit and function within a divine framework, in which every thing and creature had its divinely-appointed place, rank, use, and destiny. That whole idea of a divinely instituted Chain of Being was ridiculed and thrown out as sheer religious trumpery by a triumphant 18th Century Rationalism.

With reason based on science, Man, it was now presumed, could evolve to desirable higher states of being, and there seemed to end to the process by which mankind could improve itself by the increase of knowledge.

Mystery, faith, divine Providence, creeds--all that began to seem mere mumbo jumbo and humbug to an increasingly number of "enlightened" 18th century philosophers, thinkers, and skeptics. Utopia now seemed close within grasp--a return to the perfection of Eden, but it was a Paradise entirely of man's creation this time, not God's.

Strangely, man's reason, elevated above Christian Faith, God, and the Bible, was now exalted enough to think it had the right to examine, classify, accept or reject the things of religion, or reject religion altogether if that was the reasonable thing to do. At first, few dared that approach (unless you were a thorough, unabashed skeptic and atheist (and notorious libertine!) such as the Frenchman, Voltaire. Many churchman were not put off entirely by Voltaire's personal excesses and thought reason was a good tool to use, so wny not use it on religion?--not realizing what they were doing--joining the likes of Voltaire and making man's Reason the final arbiter of what they believed or did not believe. He was a thorough-going atheist, and they were on the way to becoming the same thing, given enough time.

The Bible never once exalts the fallen nature and spirit of man or tells us to trust his mind or reason above the spirit of God and the Word of God--for God knows exactly what is in man, and what God sees there is not good, however reasonable and good it may appears to the man himself. A man, the scripture says, thinks his own way is right--evn when i is not the case at all. The heart of man is also evil and rotten at bottom--and even the faculty of Reason does not escape pollution, contamination and the warping effects of sin. There is no such thing as "Pure Reason" or "Pure Intellect" or "Pure Rationality"--though the first rationalistic thinkers presumed there was such a thing--believing themselves basically good, not basically depraved, as the Bible had pictured fallen man.

So, with rationalism, or "enlightened reasoning," Religion too came under the supposedly dispassionate scrutiny but increasingly gimlet-eyed examination of Reason and Science, and to cope with it, or adjust to it, a new religious thinking came into vogue among clerics and academicians in American who wished to adjust religion to Rationalism, usually at the expense of religion.

"If you can't beat it, join it"--an expression that says quite a lot about human behavior, describes perhaps what happened. Is it not credible that failed religionists and academicians, seeing their once intellectually respectable positions and reputations erode, found motivation enough in expediency to bring religion back, to give it a little credibility in the eyes of the "enlightened," by taking the "road more travelled by"-that is, they took compromise, they took accommodation, they took giving up some of God's truth so that they could still remain in the running with contemporary authorities whose good opinion they valued above what God might think of them?

How, then, could religion be given a fair degree of credibility and respectability in this new age of Enlightenment that every educated man wanted to be a part of? Lies, tricks, false claims, would not do. These were respectable religionists--pastors, churchmen, church officials, religious authorities, writers, philosophers, educators and the like.

No, rather than do anything considered unrespectable or dishonest, they simply absorbed the spirit of the age that was showing itself the great new wave of the future, and they climbed aboard the first raft or navigable log that presented itself.

Exactly how did they do this? Enlightenment by reason and science and its positive view of man's nature and potential lended itself to the idea of Progress ("Progress" remains an integral part of American philosophy and culture). Man was no longer considered quite so "fallen" and "sinful" and "depraved" as traditional religion had taught in Christian churches and schools for centuries.

Consequently, seminaries and colleges began to reflect the new, seemingly positive, progressive views of the Enlightenment, and theological positions on many points of Christian theology were radically modified, toned down, or completely changed. "Positive Thinking" of this kind became the admired mode. Calvin and his ideas about the depravity of man were seen to be outmoded.

In America the new thinking first penetrated the schools and seminaries before it reached the pulpits and classrooms, beginning with Harvard. which was founded to train ministers and preachers. Yale College was established in 1701, when colonists considered Harvard was becoming too liberal. Yale was founded to train ministers, just as Harvard had been; but gradually these fine schools were so influenced by the ideas of the Enlightenment that they turned more and more from theology to mathematics and science and natural philosophy. Traditional views persisted, evenso, at this date.

Cotton Mather, a leading Puritan who authored 450 books, defended the Copernican sun-centric view view of the Solar System and also advocated inoculation against disease while remaining a conservative defender of Christian tenets. But his battle for conservative Christianity was a losing battle--the enemy was in his own camp, and young men were growing up who would not hesitate to take Reason a step further than he did, then another, then another--until they had become thorough-going Voltairian rationalists, with Reason and Science enthroned in their minds, and revealed truth in the Word of God and faith in God relegated to the dusty archives of discarded relics.

Why should they care any longer about Augustinian theology or Calvin's view of sinful man, or Luther's doctrine of justification by faith alone, which he drew from the Book of Romans? For this new generation of educated Americans, reason was sufficient for a man's life, reason would guide him and inform him through scientific inquiry. God was no longer needed. The Church and the Bible had become irrelevant, though he might still attend, as a matter of social decorum and respectable life-style. theology and medieval scholasticism.

Today, 276 years after the first Great Awakening broke out in America, Reason has triumphed once again in post-modern America (though in its triumph it has committed hari kari, by claiming that nothing can really be known, that there are no certainties or absolutes and, therefore, reason cannot be considered the basis for meaning in life or be used to place man in any meaningful universe).

With this triumph of a Godless, Bibleless Reason, there is no longer any acceptance of the existence of "sin" or moral accountability that follows upon the commision of a sin. "Sin" has been replaced by "problem." A drinker used to be an alcoholic, and drinking was accounted a sin. Then drinking came to be called a disease, and the drinker was "chemical-dependent." His addiction was a "problem," not the result of a sin. It was the result of chemical dependency, not his fallen sin nature. Numerous addiction clinics are operating, which state in their ads that addicts to alcohol need feel no guilt whatsoever for their addiction and the havoc and turmoil they have created in the lives of others; they only need to go into the clinic for a few easy procedures and be set free, absolutely without any need to seek forgiveness, without the help of God God, and without the need of the sustaining, enlightening Word of God. They can return to their homes and families without God, and be happy, productive, and worthwhile people once again.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Bible, even God, are irrelevant to the post-modern man of today. The Bible is even considered harmful, retrograde, and backward. The Supreme Court ruled out the Bible and the Ten Comandments from the schools, because psychology deemed them sources of possible psychological harm to children!

Man, without the Bible, without God, can solve his own "problems" of addiction, easily, without guilt--using the techniques developed by man's reason, psychology, and science. Along this line, one of TV's most popular programs is the undaunted Dr. Phil's, which specializes in using reason and therapy to deal with all manner of mental hang-ups and abuse and addictions and destructive behaviors, without ever (or scarcely ever) referring to conscience, sin, the Word of God, and personal accountability to God and the Ten Commandments. Whatever works best for the person to become happy, productive, and socially successful, that is the way to go--and I suppose the Devil can take that happy, well-adjusted, addiction-free but still unregenerate, unsaved person to hell afterwards, without even Dr. Phil shedding a tear. If this seems an exaggeration, compare Dr. Phil's teachings and methodology with St. Paul's teachings and methodology. It is difficult to put them on the same planet, theologically, yet somehow both are considered Christians today by many people. Yes, it is true that both are the same in wanting happiness and productive lives for people, but St. Paul would not elevate those nice things, however individually desirable, or even socially desirable, to the same level as "the stature of the fullness of the maturity of Christ."

We must all grow up in Christ, not grow up by refining our flawed, fallen human natures such as expert jeweler in Amsterdam, Antwerp, London, or Tel Aviv do when they grind and polish a rough gemstone! An ideal human being is not based on "becoming all we are," or "developing all our hidden potential," or "taking control of our own destiny." In Pauline theology the ideal human being is not a refined and gem-cut diamond, it is an entirely new life, a New Creation, based on unconditional surrender of the self to God, to Christ, and God's will.

Christ said, Mark 8:35: "If you insist on saving your life, you will lose it. Only those who throw away their lives for My sake and for the sake of the Good News will ever know what it means to really live." Tell that to your viewers and patients, Dr. Phil! You will soon lose your high ratings and your job! He is the darling of our evangelical and charistmatic televangelists as well, appearing on their programs, where they gush over him! It is acknowledged on such programs that he "cannot" give the Bible to his patients on his program, but he can give them Biblical principles or values. That is hogwash. It simply does not square with the Bible, nor does it square with St. Paul, even if he did tailer his Gospel to fit the particular audience he was dealing with. Yes, Dr. Phil is dealing with a generation that no longer knows God or has ever cracked open a Bible. They wouldn't know a Commandment from a raddish, but he COULD rectify that very simply by sharing the Word of God, with the Bible, if he choose. He might lose his audience, however, and that is his bottom line, so he will never do it. On the other hand, he might not lose his audience. He might lose his sponsors, but perhaps God wants him to go by faith instead of being supported by his wordly sponsors? In any case, how are we to know--he has chosen this path of his, and he has gone far down the road, which I believe is a road of non-Biblical compromise. I am just so glad that St. Paul and later Luther did not do as Dr. Phil has chosen to do! Thank God for men who hold forth the Word of God uncompromisingly, and are not ashamed to quote chapter and verse of the Bible to the perishing!

Throwing away the advantages this word for an honest, unabashed presentation of the Gospel--that seems an extravagant, needless waste to the natural reason of man. Of course, the natural man will cry out in horror and disgust: "What are you saying? Throw away this diamond that I am for Christ? Why do that? What a waste!" That is just the point Paul and Christ would drive home: "Yes, waste it--like the precious ointment of Mary's alabaster box. break that box, lavish that oil of yourself on Christ--and just see what God will make of you! You will see an entirely new life develop, beyond all that you imagined or what you could have achieved on your own! Waste yourself! And you will find rewards far beyond what the personal assets of selfhood you threw away!"

Lilias Trotter, a 19th century Londoner, threw away a diamond, herself, with all her privileges, talents, and wealth, and prospective career as a great artist--threw it all away, wasting it all on a backwater Muslim nation such as Algeria--which was nothing in the world beside powerful, industrial Great Britain. Algeria--no better than the fly-bedeviled rump of a camel or donkey compared to the sleek Rolls Royce of Great Britain!

C.T. Studd threw away the glamorous and highly envied lifestyle he lived as the greatest cricketeer of Great Britain, wasted all his energies on poor nobodies in China, India, and Africa, in the most forsaken, downtrodden, odorous circumstances imaginable! Eric Liddell threw away, wasted the social position and acclaim of winning Olympic gold on poor Chinese--dying in obscurity in a Japanese internment camp in World War II.

The calvalcade of such people is truly impressive--outstanding individuals who rose to the top levels of achievement and fame and wealth, then threw it all away for the sake of winning (and sharing) the fullness of the stature of Christ. And this is precisely what the natural man recoils from and refuses to do--and then what is achieved? Logically, only what the natural man can achieve: ephemeral wealth, ephemeral acclaim, ephemeral happiness and glory. Whereas, Trotter, Studd, and Liddell--their rewards are everlasting, even better than pure gold, even better than diamonds. They form the cadre of Christ's champions of faith that is partially in Hebrews 11.

Jesus Christ, foremost, is one man who willingly laid down his life, wasting it, throwing it away for the sake of his Father's will for him: the Roman Cross. He is the Example that Trotter, Studd, and Liddell and their likes followed. He is the Example the Apostles, including St. Paul, followed to the death. Paul said of himself: "It is not I who lives, but Christ who lives in me." It was true what he said. He was not uttering a pious phrase. He lived every word (and then some). If Dr. Phil does some good--and he does some good, unarguably--it still cannot compare to the riches in glory that are won by anyone who will do as Christ, the Apostles, and the true saints who followed have done. The least Christian can win a glorious inheritance that will never be taken away. There is no comparison between what the natural man and the spiritual man can achieve, as we shall see plainly in eternity, when we stand before Almighty God and our works of a lifetime are examined by the Divine Eye.


Postscript: If you still are not impressed by the negative example of France, consider the figures. France is visited today by more millions (over 66 million tourists), which is twenty more million than visited the U.S. What are they going to France to see and enjoy? It is the virtually cloudless sky and climate of the Riviera, no doubt, but that same sunshine and even better, pure white sand beaches can be found elsewhere in the Mediterranean and in many parts of the world. No, rather than beaches, it is the culture--the cathedrals, castles, palaces, ancient buildings from the Roman past, Napoleonic arches, the Eiffel Tower, the grand boulevards of Paris, the cafes and cafe society, the art museums--mainly, the infrastructure, which is largely the product of past centuries. It is a preserved culture and its carefully preserved artifacts that provides the visual wealth that acts like a magnet to draw uncountable millions to come and spend their time and money. The exciting nightlife, the glamorous clubs, the risque entertainments, the fine cuisine, the elegance, the fashions, the perfumes, the luxuries uncountable--all creating the ambience that Paris is famous for--all this too is superimposed on the ancient heritage of France. It produces an unbeatable allure beyond even what New York City with its towering, colossal skyline can provide.

The statistics do not lie. People would rather go to Paris and France than to New York and America. But this is but a shell: it can collapse overnight. It is collapsing, gradually. That is the deceptive element. Rome too collapsed, gradually, over a period of centuries. To Romans of the First Century, Rome's collapse was unthinkable. But it collapsed and became a ruin, ultimately. So too will man-centric, Godless France, which is founded on Rationalism, Science and Technology alone. It is only a matter of time, as mighty, haughty, elegant, rich, fashionable, exciting, sophisticated, "eternal" Rome once discovered. One day it was ruler of the world, with the most alluring city of all as its capital. Another day dawned to the thunderous tramp of armies of barbarians in Rome's streets, and there was another sound--the crackle of incendiary fires as the barbarians threw torches into the Imperial Archives and other great buildings containing the intellectual assets of the Empire. France is hardly the equal of what Imperial Rome was in her salad days--and she fell into ruins that are still impressive to the post-modernist acquainted with the towers of Manhattan. France, when it falls to dust and ruin, will be a disgrace--people who pass by will say, "That wretched nation forgot its godly foundation and despised God! That nation chose man's selfish pleasures over God's will. That nation chose man's proud, futile reasoning power over simple, humble faith in God. That nation stubbornly refused the repeated warnings of God, and it has perished. That nation missed its true destiny, its true greatness as a land committed to the Gospel of Christ." It is the epitaph of a once great-souled France and its coming, abject humiliation--unless France repents. Once Babylon, the Bible tells us, was the cynosure of the world, but because it forgot the One True God and worshipped idols, because it sank into immorality, Babylon became a heap of ruins, a city that was the world's greatest metropolis, much like New York City is today. Like Babylon, like France, so with America. Someday we may be a heap of ruins, if we continue on this same path they chose to take.


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