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HOW THE U. S. A. GOT THIS WAY

(A Look at Some Causes of Our Present Great Wickedness)

By Curtis Pugh

Introduction:

All knowledgeable people will agree that these United States as a country was founded upon the moral principles set forth in the Bible. Along with other ancient lawgivers, God's man Moses and God's ten commandments are repeatedly found in statue form even on our Supreme Court building. John Adams, second President of this nation said, Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” The U. S. has failed many times to live up to those standards. She has a history demonstrating that she has not always acted as a moral nation should: that is without question also. But from the earliest days preachers of various groups in this country sounded forth those biblical standards of conduct and influenced many people. Some of these preachers may have been regenerate and obeyed God from the heart while others may have been legalistic works mongers hoping to please God in their flesh. At any rate, we see that a significant number of people in the past adhered to those principles. Baptists especially were a separate people: separated for the most part from wicked living, and certainly separated from the Harlot and her daughters.

But things are vastly different now. Today we see not only the approval and participation in all sorts of immorality and other sins by our countrymen, but also a definite anti-biblical stand by politicians and government. While liberal and compromising Baptists go along with most everything, sound Baptists shall eventually be refugees – pilgrims once again in this world – unless taken out soon - if this preacher sees aright. What is it, according to the Bible, that has caused this departure from good morals that we see all around us? Why are most people in this country living in the cesspool of sin? Without a doubt we have as a country departed from living moral lives.


I: The Cessation of Preaching the God of the Bible With the Consequence that the Populace Ceased Fearing God:

The following quotation includes the KJV marginal note missing from most Bibles. “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. {perish: or, is made naked }” (Proverbs 29:18). (Some disparage the KJV marginal readings, but they have been a part of the translation from its origin). The importance of these marginal renderings in the view of the translators is insisted upon by them in their introductory information to the reader. And just as those men insisted on the importance of these notes, this preacher insists that every serious Bible student ought to have a Bible with both the introduction to the reader and the marginal notes and be familiar with both, (but I am a dying breed it seems). Sadly, some who claim to love the King James Version love only a part of it because they only have a part of what the King James translators left to us.

First of all let us go back to the above text and deal with the meaning of the word “vision.” Pentecostal and charismatic heretics are so popular and their presence so influential on the media that even Baptist folk sometimes are influenced by them. These cultists use the word to mean dreams and that sort of thing. By means of such things they claim to receive added revelations to the Bible. They claim that God speaks to them in this way. On the other hand, some take this word “vision” and speak, for instance, of a pastor's vision for the congregation he serves. Their idea is that if the leader does not have a dream or vision as to what he wants his congregation to become they will not increase whether numerically or spiritually. Surely every pastor ought to want his flock to progress in knowledge, holiness and spiritual maturity, as well as being energetically involved at home and abroad in carrying out the great commission. However, I doubt that God reveals to pastors His foreordained plan for the congregation he serves. If we really believe that revelation ceased with the completion of the Book of Revelation then such “visions” ceased when the old apostle John finished his writing about A. D. 100.

During the Old Testament period from which we have drawn our text, from time to time God had a prophetic ministry. But there were other times when God's preachers were absent from this world! Such a time existed between the Testaments. Those four hundred “silent years” from the completion of the Old Testament until the preaching of John the Baptist were without a public “vision” or preaching ministry. No men were gifted by God with prophecy during this time. The word “prophecy” can mean either or both a “forth-telling” of God's Word as well as a “fore-telling” of future events. Not all books written by the prophets contain revelations about future events. We ought to remember these last two statements when we read the word “prophecy” or “prophesied,” etc., in the Bible whether in the Old or New Testaments.

But let us deal with this word “vision.” Consider the following verses as to the biblical usage of the word. First: Nahum 1:1: “The burden of Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite.” This statement is the prophet Nahum's introduction to his book. He tells us it was a burden because it was a stern message for Nineveh and was on his heart as a heaviness. That city had backslidden after it was spared through the preaching of Jonah. It is a “vision” not because he was transported to heaven and saw unspeakable things, but rather because his “vision” was the message God had given him.

Second: another introductory statement: “The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem...” (Isaiah 1:1). Again the prophet – this time Isaiah – introduces his book calling it a “vision.” It was the message of God to Judah and Jerusalem given to him to proclaim.

Third: Take note of one other such statement: “And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision,” (1 Samuel 3:1). Regarding the last phrase in this statement Barnes says in his commentary: “There was no vision promulgated or published.” He further notes: “The song of Hannah, and the prophecy of the “man of God,” (1Samuel 2:27 ) are the only instances of prophecy since Deborah. Samuel is mentioned as the first of the series of prophets,” (See Acts 3:24). These are the only two instances of any preaching ministry during the entire time of the judges. (See Judges 4:4; 6:8). The word of the Lord was “precious” or rare in that day: seldom heard. Surely these verses are enough to demonstrate without a doubt that the word “vision” as used in them means the preaching of God's message to men.

So let us go back to the first part of our text. “Where there is no vision...” Where there is no open or public preaching of God's message is the meaning of this first phrase. But what of the second phrase? How are we to understand the phrase, “the people perish”? First of all notice the KJV alternative reading: “perish: or, is made naked.” Young's Literal Translation translates the phrase thus: “a people made naked.” Barnes comments saying the phrase means “the people "perish," are let loose, "are left to run wild." Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Commentary says, first of all, “Compare Margin” referring to he KJV marginal note which is furnished above in this article. They go on to say that the phrase “the people perish” means “are deprived of moral restraints.”


II. The Populace Has Thrown Off All Moral Restraint:

Like the children of Israel in Exodus chapter thirty-two. While Moses was upon the mountain receiving the Law the children of Israel threw of all moral restraint. They made themselves naked. It is written: “...the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play,” (Exodus 32:6). God said to Moses, “thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves,” (Exodus 32:7). Why? There was not yet among the Israelites even the Law let alone an open preaching of God's message. So what did the people do in Moses absence? They celebrated Christmas as most of the world does! Well, at least they did the same things that most of the world does not only at Christmas but at all the other pagan celebrations we call “holidays.” They ate and drank and made merry just like pagans and nominal Christians do at Winter Solstice time. Think me wrong? Stephen preached these words: “And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands,” (Acts 7:421). They made the very thing which they danced around and honored. Because there was no open or public preaching of the Word of God the Israelites made merry in singing, lewd dancing, eating and drinking. Theirs was both the spirit and actions of paganism. And they suffered for their actions when Moses returned to the camp, but we have not time or space for that here.

Having established that God said the people had “corrupted themselves,” by engaging in lewdness, drunkenness, feasting, and rejoicing in typical idolatrous worship we ask this: has not the population of the United States done the same? At every “holiday” opportunity are not the people of this nation – the vast majority of them – doing these very things. And have not the majority of God's people – Baptists included joined in the frolic? Are not these things viewed by most people as not only harmless, but even good – especially good fun for the kiddies as well as the adults? Has not paganism been brought into the meeting houses of Baptists? Have we not corrupted generation after generation who are now conditioned to expect and relish these pagan celebrations as a part of “Christianity”? Are not most of our citizens involved in paganism? Are not most of them living immoral lives which is always associated with paganism? Do we think God does not take note of such magnitude of sin? Are there not consequences for sin and especially for such depraved and anti-God things as have in the past and presently are going on in our country? Fanatic! Bigot! Crazy! These and other epithets may be hurled my way – extremest! Hard-line Christian! What else? This preacher cares not for such name-calling if he is faithful in telling the truth whether men hear or whether they forebear.


III: Most of America's Preachers Have Compromised or Are Afraid to Preach the Truth:

A majority of this country's preachers, then, are to blame in large measure for our present condition. If we may allude to Acts 2:23: preachers in this country - although “the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God” was involved as it is in all things – these preachers: men and women have “by wicked hands” prophesied falsely to the harm of their hearers. We do not mean the faithful men of God who preach the burdens laid upon them by God. We do not refer to those who faithfully guard and feed the flock God has given them to serve. We mean the liberals, denominational hacks, mercenary “Reverends,” “Doctors,” motivational speakers, showmen - works-mongers all who pervert the Word of God by substituting a false gospel, entertainment, activities, giveaways and all the other human methods used to gather and keep a crowd.

Our nation's corruption is now found around the world due to “missionaries” from our country. As it was in the days of Jeremiah it is with us. God said to that prophet: “The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?” (Jeremiah 5:31). Are we not in the same situation today here in the United States? Isaiah was told to write these words as a testimonial against Israel: “That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits,” (Isaiah 30:9-10). The majority of preachers are feeding their goats the things that goats find tasty: thorns and briars!

So how did the U .S. A. get this way? Because the preachers have failed in large measure to preach the whole counsel of God. Self-reliant Arminians hold the field. The Protestant daughters of the Harlot and the cultist abominations of the earth are in the majority. Baptists have largely apostatized from the grand old truths they once faithfully proclaimed. Many among those Protestants who claim to preach sovereign grace of God still hold to infant baptism: pillar of Popery as it is.

IV: The Departure of Most Baptists From Biblical Doctrine and Practice:

Furthermore, many among the people called Baptists have been so anxious to see folk saved and baptized that they have resorted to eliciting what they call “a profession of faith” from emotionally immature little children not even yet of independent maturity. This is done without biblical precept or example! (There is not one verse in the New Testament that indicates that children or teenagers were members of the churches of that era!) We mean those so young as to have not given evidence of regeneration. They lack the experience of godly sorrow which works repentance. “Get'em down the aisle and get'em in the water! Get their names on the membership roll! And these little children are so tender as to be easily enticed into professing faith so they can go to Heaven. Oh they claim to “believe,” but most often their kind of “faith” is not the result of an experience of grace. This is demonstrated in many cases of two sorts: (1) in later life many of these “converts” fall away, or (2) they are genuinely converted later in life and repudiate their earlier “profession.” So among most Baptist churches are many unregenerate members not yet fallen away and not yet genuinely converted who, like the children of Israel cry out, “Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits.” Most Baptist churches need to do what Israel did as recorded in Nehemiah 13:3: “Now it came to pass, when they had heard the law, that they separated from Israel all the mixed multitude.” (A multitude of mixed nationalities left Egypt with Israel: Exodus 12:38).

What? The average Baptist cries? Purge our membership rolls? Why we don't even do that when somebody dies.” The reason some organized Baptists can claim such large memberships is because often their people are members of more than one of their churches at the same time. People move to a new place and join another “church” and their previous church either is not notified or for whatever reason keep them on their rolls too. This preacher has observed in more than one instance that obituaries published in the local papers hereabouts will state that a person was the member of more than one church: one a Baptist church and the other something else – often charismatic or “Freewill Baptist.” It is the mixed-multitude within the membership of most churches that cause the problems. It was carnality that caused the problems in the congregation in Corinth and those yet in the flesh today have no interest in spiritual things, being yet dead in their sins, even if they are on the rolls of a Baptist church. We can only conclude that preachers and members alike in the various sorts of “churches” along with the apostasy of most modern Baptists are a great part in the reason the U. S, has come down, down, down morally to where she is today. They may not be solely responsible, but are nevertheless culpable in the matter. The lying prophets were certainly cited by God as the corrupters of Israel and we see a great parallel between them and the ungodly preachers of our day and nation.

V: The Prospect of Spiritual Prosperity for Those Faithful to the Word of God:

But wait! Our text has great hope for us: not for national revival, but for spiritual well being and blessing upon individuals and by extension, faithful congregations of Christ. The last of our text says, “but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” Being mindful that a part of the Old Testament or “law” was all that the writer of our text in Proverbs had in his day, there is surely an application for us today. That application is this: even in times of no “vision” - in times and in places where there is a famine for hearing the Word of God blessing will come to those who treasure, guard and obey the Word of God. Circumstances need not deprive the child of God of blessing and fellowship with his Father! Is there no sound Baptist congregation in your area? You ought to be a member of a sound Baptist church somewhere. You ought to support it financially, attend the preaching of the Word there whenever possible, pray for its pastor and members faithfully, and serve the Lord where you are. You may have been called upon to have a dual testimony: (1) a testimony for the Lord and His salvation and (2) another one against the apostate Baptists, the Harlot and her daughters in your place by having nothing to do with their corrupt organizations. Your unwillingness to participate in false churches will doubtless give you opportunity to speak the truth to others. (We do not say that you ought not to fellowship individually with believers around the Lord as you can so that you might minister to them, but we speak of ecclesiastical and moral separation.)

But you must stay in the Word! Your blessing depends upon it! The “fatness” (well being or health) of your soul depends on it! Your joy must be found in the Lord and in His Word. God's people who lived during times when there was no “vision” (public preaching of God's message) walked with God, served Him and prospered spiritually.

Whether or not you find yourself far from one of the Lord's congregations consider this warning from the Lord Jesus: “And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear,” (Mark 4:24). There are some things that a child of God ought not to hear. There are some ideas he should not even entertain. There are many preachers today of the same class as those of whom Paul wrote. He said, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works,” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). These wolves in sheep's clothing and their dangerous doctrines and practices are to be avoided! Remember the illustration and warning of Paul to Timothy: “But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work,” (2 Timothy 2:20-21). Just because some preacher is a “nice guy” and has a “nice church” and does “nice things” in the community does not mean he has God's endorsement. Probably most of such men who are “nice” and about whom the population has good things to say are in reality Satan's ministers.

Conclusion:

The terrible spiritual and moral condition in which these United States now are shall be remedied, but at what cost! Some of the population will be found to be “vessels of mercy” which God has before prepared for sharing His glory. These shall be taken out of this world for they have escaped judgment through the Lord Jesus Christ. Others – the vast majority – will be found to be “vessels of wrath” “made up” (KJV margin) “to destruction.” (See Romans 9:22-23). God has determined the time – when the cup of iniquity allotted to this nation has become full God will straighten out this corrupt immoral mess. And we the citizenry of this country have made it such a stink hole of corruption that only Christ personally ruling this world shall make things right and pure and holy. For there has come one who is presently in Heaven: “a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron,” (Revelation 12:5). He is our only hope!


Grace Bible Baptist Church
26080 Wax Road
Denham Springs, LA 70726

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