A few years ago I read a report on the annual conference of one of our country's atheistic organizations. A speaker had addressed a problem that many atheists experience: nagging doubts about their beliefs. They wonder, What if there is a God? What if there is life after death? What if there are moral absolutes? What if my soul is lost?
Imagine it! Atheists struggling with doubts! Many others who have followed anti-Christian philosophies are also struggling with serious doubts. That situation presents believers with an open door for witness.
Have the great idols been failing? Socialism arose in the nineteenth century as an economic and political substitute for the gospel. After rejecting the preaching of human depravity, blood atonement and evangelical salvation, men worked hard to explain the evil in society without finding it in man. Socialism blamed society's ills and individual vices on the economic system. Many of its followers believed the world would be a paradise if some form of collective economy were established. Socialism has failed to produce the salvation it promised! The French Revolution gave its people a socialism that produced despotism and misery instead of the liberty, equality and fraternity it promised. The Russian Revolution forced a type of socialism on Russia, which not only failed to produce a workers' paradise, but also collapsed in such a grand way that every Leftist should blush!
American socialism has also failed, but its followers continue to push socialistic policies on us. While our conversion to socialism has not been as radical or as uncomfortable as the changeover experienced by other nations, our experience with socialism has also amounted to failure. Poverty has not been eliminated; equality has not been achieved; and the Great Society has not been built. Instead, socialism has given us more poverty, more racial tension, more taxes, more public debt and more bureaucratic government. The American people groan under socialism and cry for deliverance from it. Many Americans are ready to repent not only of Clintonism and Carterism, but also of the Great Society and even of the New Deal! People who once were convinced by the socialists at the universities are asking, "What went wrong?" More importantly, many of those people are questioning, "Were we wrong?" Doubts about human nature and human need have opened the door for believers to reach unbelievers effectively.
The chief idol of modern thought has been evolution, but that abomination is beginning to crumble. Many Americans reject that revered theory in spite of the educational system's influence. The evidence against evolution is mounting and is not being ignored as it once was. People are asking, "If evolution is not true, what did happen?" The door stands wide open for the gospel.
"Social work," practiced for thirty years in the fields of criminal corrections, behavior modification and psychological treatment, is increasingly evaluated as a failure.
Freud, Rogers and Skinner have preached the theories of man, which have been exposed as false doctrines. Our nation has spent a trillion dollars to apply the theories of humanism to the great human problems. But addicts have not recovered; criminals are not rehabilitated; the mentally ill remain unwell; the family is crumbling; and Americans are despairing. Many frustrated people involved in counseling and correcting others in political correctness are wondering what went wrong.
The fact is that everything has gone wrong with the application of the anti-Biblical ideas our nation began adopting at the turn of the century. Things have gone wrong because those ideas are wrong. The Bible is right, as our ancestors knew, and is proved over and over again. Those of us who have personal proof that the Bible tells the truth have a ripe opportunity to minister that truth to the multiplying host of doubters. They see that their idols have failed. Let us point them to the true and living God!
The attention America gave to Pastor and Mrs. Scott Willis after six of their children were killed in a fiery traffic accident last November is a sign of the times. People asked, "How can they have such peace when such a terrible thing has happened?" In several national periodicals, Pastor Willis explained that their secret is their personal relationship with God. Americans today hunger for the peace that passes understanding. Their idols have failed them. They are ready to learn of the God that never fails.
Biblical Christians should be writing books that answer the problems our country is facing: family unity, substance abuse, crime, economics and education. Americans who doubt their unbelief are looking for answers in those areas. The few traveling lecturers who talk about those subjects from a Biblical viewpoint are receiving tremendous acceptance. If there were more of them, we could see an intellectual revolution in our land and the conversion of thousands of souls. Believers should give lectures and write books to satisfy the current hunger for truth.
Bible-believing churches should rise to the occasion and sweep the nation with the gospel before the end of the century! Churches should support evangelists of conviction, courage and character so that they can hold area-wide crusades in large public auditoriums. The approach to evangelism should remain focused and Christ-exalting, avoiding the compromises of the times. We need evangelists of the old stripe, and we need to get behind them.
We also need to cover our communities with door-to-door evangelism. People are ready for an honest, caring and accurate presentation of the gospel. People are ready to hear that the Bible is true and to listen to its doctrine explained. Their idols have failed them. People hope that there is a true God and that there are genuine Christians who really know Him. "Every man shall kiss his lips that giveth a right answer," wrote King Solomon (Prov. 24:26).
The right answers about life, about marriage, about society, about crime-about everything-are the answers God gave us in the Bible. You know it. I know it. But millions of our fellow citizens do not know it, and they would love to know it. The collapse of the whole structure of liberalism in America opens the door for the witnessing opportunities we have prayed for. We stand at the threshold. Let us not fail to enter it unhesitatingly and confidently.
First published in Frontline May/June 1995 Vol 5 N 3
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