The Current Scene
The average man of the street has some excuse for his skepticism. He discovers deceit where common honesty could at least be expected. Isaiah lamented at the times when a “standard bearer” would faint. We observe them today falling. When one preacher proves to be a hypocrite, or a politician is discovered to be a “phony,” he can bring reproach upon his colleagues and profession.
The Lord Jesus stated a principle that holds good in both the spiritual and secular realms. He said, “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required; and to whom men have committed much, of him will they ask the more (Luke 12:48).
We write in this vein because of an unusual breakdown in morality where integrity is of major importance. Earlier in the year a young black reporter for the prestigious Washington Post wrote a feature describing her witnessing a black boy of eight being injected with heroin by his mother’s boyfriend. The author of this poignant story, Janet Cooke, won the Pulitzer Prize for her work. The story was so sensational that Washington’s chief of police demanded more information. The paper was plagued with requests for further disclosures. After a thorough investigation the story proved to be a fabrication.
Commenting on the journalistic let-down, James A. Michener, himself a Pulitzer Prize winner, wrote, “A major newspaper was humiliated and one of the most necessary professions in the world was made to look shoddy.” He added, “A woman reporter of extraordinary talent was disgraced, bringing ridicule upon two minorities which had long battled for good jobs in journalism — women and blacks.” The matter is even more serious when those in Christian leadership fail in their trust. The measure of the sin offering in Leviticus 4 was not the nature of the sin but the position of the one who sinned. The sin of a priest was a different matter than a sin of the common people. Janet Cooke was ambitious and out to win even if it meant deliberate lying. James in his epistle warns against striving for recognition in the church. He writes, “Be not many teachers, knowing that we shall have the more severe judgment.”
Recently morality received a sore wound when a celebrity in the advertising world left her husband, with their four children. Anita Bryant symbolized wholesomeness, and she often appeared on TV advertising Florida orange juice, as well as being pictured with her family, suggesting America and family life at its best. Anita further enhanced her righteous image by leading a successful campaign prohibiting gays from the teaching profession in Southern Florida. With all of this there were Christian connections. How are the mighty fallen! All this but adds to the cynicism so often encountered today. A like occasion may have led David to say, “I said in my haste, all men are liars” (Psa. 116:11). Let us always remember that God has his faithful ones who have not kissed Baal.
The sports world is no exception; horses are doped, stars haggle for contracts that run into millions of dollars. The women’s tennis star, Billy Jean King, now surfaces as having had a lesbian affair with her secretary. A news reporter writes, “It is no secret that all professional sports, male and female, have a certain incidence of homosexuality.” Of all the perversions of sex, this is the most detestable. The Bible calls it sodomy. The name is derived from a city whose moral *** tu.pitude eventually called for fire and brimstone from heaven to remove every vestige of it from the earth. It is alarmingly significant that when our Lord cites a sign to remind the faithful of his near return He says, “Likewise as it was in the days of Lot, even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed” (Luke 17:28-29). The little epistle of Jude, verse 7, has a solemn word for those who have abandoned the natural use of their bodies: “Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” The fire and brimstone that consumed their bodies is not to be confused with the Sodomites’ souls enduring “eternal fire.” Notice also that they are an example for this present lustful age. Paul is very specific about this particular perversion, “Be not deceived, effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, shall inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9-10). As another has said, “If more Hell were preached in the pulpit there would be less practiced in the community.”
In the “Lady of the Lake” a motley crowd is seen cheering the king who appraises their acclaim with, “Thou many-headed monster thing, who would wish to be thy king?” The Bible says the wicked “are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest” (Isa. 58:20).
The chief priests and elders had little trouble turning the crowd from shouting Hosanna to crying, “Let Him be crucified.” Modem society has not changed. Moods and situations can change the temperament of the herd instinct that resides in most of mankind.
Two years ago cars were lined up at gas stations for refueling. An energy shortage that could have brought on a crisis became a natural forecast. The beginning of the end of oil. Now there is an oil glut. A valuable lesson has been learned, or has it been learned, that it can happen again? This Damocles sword hangs over the nation as long as we are dependent upon modern oil. How quickly a warning signal can be forgotten! In spiritual matters too, “He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall be suddenly destroyed, and that, without remedy” (Prov. 29:1).
The lull in the Middle East following the Camp David accord has now been rudely broken. Syria has planted Russian deadly anti-aircraft missiles in Lebanon, and Israel has destroyed a nuclear reactor outside of Baghdad. Arab tempers are so frayed that they could initiate a world war to appease their repeated humiliations from the hands of Israel. The little nation of Israel surrounded by millions who would delight in nothing more than to repeat Hitler’s fury, with even more added zeal and thoroughness, is a marvel in the world’s eyes. The premillennialist sees God behind the scenes.
A new gimmick has caught on among malcontents with the present order of things — hunger strikes. Those who die becomes martyrs to their cause. Bobby Sands ascends to martyrdom and has reinvigorated the cause of the outlawed Irish Republican Army. He has set an example for Polish activists and some Vietnam Veterans here. It’s amazing what one man or a few can do to influence a large segment of public opinion. Says Solomon, “One sinner destroyeth much good.” We are unaware of the character of the other protestors. Sands was a convicted criminal apart from his political sympathies. The world will choose a Barabbas regardless, if he can promote its interests. The coming antichrist is going to ride on a tremendous acclaim, “and all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him” (Rev. 13:8).