The religion pages in the newspapers are usually sad reading. On Saturday, January 3, 1998 The Stockton [California] Record (p. D6) had three pastors write briefly on "Religion and The Family." The minister of a "Spiritual Truth Center" insisted, in answer to the question, "What are your faith's rules for forming families?", that Jesus "was not interested in the rules." The pastor of the Christian Life Center also held, "I don't think we have any particular rules concerning forming families." This in spite of the fact that four of the Ten Commandments are family-centered! The Roman Catholic priest (St. Luke's Catholic Church) did not like the word "rules" either, but he at least spoke of the family "as a call to a vocation."
These men have gone beyond, as have most of an erring clergy, using the word "law"; now they choke on rules!
Insight magazine, January 5, 1998, p. 5, tells us that "Pollsters Find God in American Hearts." The results are similar to those reported for at least half a century. Some 95% of those responding to a recent Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll declared they believed in God; 63% believe there is a devil; (59% of Democrats believe there is a devil but 60% of Republicans do, whatever that means); 84% believe in miracles; and 88% believe in heaven.
But this means little or nothing. I have never been to Mexico, but I know that it exists some 400 plus miles south of me. Believing that makes no difference to my life. Similarly, to believe in a God who has no rules or laws makes no difference to people's lives, and all too many church members are lawless in any Biblical sense. I have heard people insist that they abstain from adultery, not because it is God's law, but because they respect or love their spouse. In so saying, they have denied God and enthroned their love.
We have become an antinomian people, and, before we blame politicians and criminals for our problems, we had better see how the churches, with their antinomianism, have led the way into lawlessness.
A god without law is no god at all. He has been dethroned and replaced by man. We are a lawless people because we have religiously chosen to be so.
I have become used to people lying about what I believe. In speaking and writing, I have stressed our goal not as coercion but conversion, not revolution but regeneration, and no reporter has ever quoted me on that, nor any religious leader. But when they misrepresent the word of God, it is nothing for them to represent falsely a man's word!
When we dethrone God in our vain imagination, all of the offenses are simple and commonplace. I was a young man when the meaning of Isaiah 56:10 first struck me with horror: God speaks of his watchmen and shepherds as "all dumb dogs, that cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber." Now at age 82, my horror is no less.
But man's work is vain. God is not dethroned: he reigns in majesty; let his enemies repent and tremble.