Has morality in the United States changed over the last few decades?
Dr. Reagan: In my booklet called A Prophetic Manifesto, my message is divided into two parts. The first part deals with the condition and fate of our nation. The second part focuses on the condition of the Church.
For now, I would like to engage in a discussion of the fate of the United States. I’ve invited two Bible prophecy colleagues to be in this part of the discussion. The first is my colleague, Nathan Jones, who serves here at Lamb & Lion Ministries as our Web Minister. The other is Dennis Pollock. He was on our staff for 11 years before he decided to establish a ministry of his own called Spirit of Grace which focuses on outreaches to Africa and India.
As we get into a discussion, I’d like to start off with a statement that Franklin Graham made when we were having the big discussion in this nation about what was the “fiscal cliff.” He said, “I’m more concerned about the moral cliff we’ve already fallen off of than this fiscal cliff.” Let’s just start there. What do you think, Dennis?
View from the 1960’s
Dennis Pollock: Yes, absolutely, I agree with that. The politicians are worried about a lot of economic issues and they are worried to make sure to treat the homosexuals properly, and so forth. And yet, they don’t even consider the problem of offending a Holy God who created us, who has graced us, and blessed us so much.
In getting to the issue of a moral cliff, you are making an assumption, and it’s one that I agree with. A lot of Americans wouldn’t agree that there is such a thing as absolute morality. There are a lot of Americans who would say that the only morality they would hold to is that we should tolerate pretty much anything and everything. Personal lifestyle level requires they don’t tolerate any moral boundaries, and instead tolerate everything that is evil. If they consider you intolerant, then they come down hard on you. But, as long as you tolerate everything, then everything is fine.
Of course, you and I and Nathan and millions of Christians disagree with that worldview strongly. We hold to the Bible as our authoritative guide for morality.
When I was a kid back in the early 60’s, my dad would sit in our easy chair in our living room and read the Bible. He was a tremendous Bible reader. I can remember to this day him practically every night reading the Bible. He eventually grew old, passed away, and went to be with the Lord. Now what he does is what I do. I read the Bible a lot.
Here is what is interesting, when I sit down to read the Bible and let’s say I’m reading the 10 Commandments like, “Have no other god before me.” And, “Don’t make any graven image.” And, “Remember the Sabbath.” I’m reading the exact same words that my dad read 50 years ago. When I read the Sermon on the Mount, it’s the exact same story, other than maybe my father might have read it with some “thee’s” and “thou’s” from the King James. I read a different version. But, it is the exact same thing. When I read the Epistles of Paul, “Paul, an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, grace and peace be multiplied to you.” It’s the exact same Bible. And, if you went back let’s say 500 years to Luther’s day, perhaps let’s say there was a Pollock back then who read the Bible, he and I are still reading the same Scriptures.
What that means is that the morality of those who hold to the integrity and the inspiration of the Scriptures never changes. God wasn’t big on adultery in the Old Testament. He isn’t big on adultery in the New Testament. He wasn’t big on it in Luther’s day. And God, isn’t big on adultery today. God’s moral law doesn’t change.
But, the world’s morality changes drastically. There was a time not all that long ago that if you were a celebrity and mentioned that you were a homosexual, it killed your career. That was the end of it. No longer is that the case. There was time when a divorce was a disgrace and if you had one you were ashamed of it. You wouldn’t say much about it. Nowadays, they hold divorce parties. We have changed so drastically. We have slidden backwards in a moral fashion.
But, those of us who hold to the Scriptures, we just stay with the same thing that Paul wrote and the same thing that Isaiah and all these biblical authors wrote, so our morality doesn’t change. That’s a problem for the tolerance crowd today. We are saying, “Yes, we’ve fallen off a moral cliff,” but the world is saying, “There is no such thing as morality or a moral cliff.”
Dr. Reagan: That reminds me of a statement a pastor made to me recently. He said, “David, have you ever thought about the fact that what you and I believe today, which is mainline Christianity, 30 years ago is today considered to be off in the fringe? It’s considered fringe, almost cultic in nature. That we would still hold to those beliefs that mainline Christianity held 30 years ago is looked at as counter-cultural.”
Dennis Pollock: Yes, the Press loves to use the word “controversial.” If some Christian pastor makes the statement about a cult that it is evil, or that homosexuality is wrong, the Media will say, “This controversial statement that was made.” Well, it wasn’t controversial at all for 1,000’s of years, but suddenly it has become so?!
View from the 1980’s
Dr. Reagan: How about it, Nathan, have we fallen off a moral cliff?
Nathan Jones: Well, not having as many years behind me as Dennis has…
Dr. Reagan: Oh, thanks a lot, Nathan! I’m glad you said that because otherwise people would have assumed that we were the same age.
Nathan Jones: Yes. We are like twins.
But, growing up in the 80’s as I did, I have a different perspective. For someone to say as a nation we’ve fallen off a moral cliff, then we have to pinpoint just at what point in time we fell over the edge. Growing up from the 80’s and onward, I can’t say I’ve seen too much of a change morally. I grew up used to everybody swearing, everybody getting divorced, homosexuality on the rise. So, to me, I have no frame of reference to claim, “Wow! There was a time when it was more moral than it is now.”
I remember in my “old” years of 13 or 14 years old, having a discussion with my mother. She’s a very godly woman and a good Bible prophecy expert. She had said, “Yes, we’ve definitely slid down morally.” She then pointed out that, “When I was a child back in the 50’s, we could get on the bus as little kids and go anywhere. We didn’t have to worry about molesters and people like that.” She went on, “I’ve seen morality and safety drastically go downhill.”
By young response was something like, “No, no, no, it’s all the same.” At an impasse, we went to our pastor and we him, “What do you think?” He was probably in his 70’s or so and had experienced the entire 20th Century. He answered, “I see morality like this: it goes up and down in waves. We have times when we hit real bad morality, like say during the 1920’s, and then there’s a revival of some sort. We’ve seen two Great Awakenings in the United States, so morality ebbs and flows in waves. The problem is that as time goes on, the waves arc at greater and greater heights and depths, to the point that today we are way up there in the immorality arc.”
What our pastor had said was really an eye-opener for me. I’ve always carried that conversation. Now that I’m older and almost 40, I can look back and realize that society has started changing. We are indeed a little worse off now than when I was a kid. My old pastor was absolutely right that we are at the top of an immorality arc.
Morally as a country we are worse than we have ever been. But, there have been times throughout American history when we have gotten bad morally, and then God brings about a great revival. I’m hoping and I’m praying that we as a nation will then have that revival. Certainly we know that one comes after the Rapture as so many as Revelation reports are saved and then martyred.
Dr. Reagan: When I start talking about God judging America, I’ve found that people usually respond very defensively, even Christians. The respond very defensively and immediately start talking about patriotism. What about it? Not repentance, but patriotism.
Dennis Pollock: Right. A lot of Christians have aligned themselves with a certain political idea. It’s conservative, which to me is better than the alternative, but they believe the United States is still wrapped up in the American flag and that we are the great shining city on the hill and the future is bright if only we can just get people thinking a little bit more conservatively.
The answer to our nation’s problems is going to have to be a whole lot bigger than just getting another conservative politician in office. It’s going to have to be Jesus Christ. It’s going to have to involve repentance. I’ve studied revival a lot, Nathan, so I know that revival can bring about a change. The sad thing is, we are seeing no evidence of repentance right now.
Let me say this about the difference between what you described growing up in the 80’s, Nathan. You are saying you don’t see too much differences morally, but I believe there are some significance differences. One example I can think of is from one of our local morning talk shows. It has a meteorologist who is a homosexual. The show recently announced that he was engaged. The first time I saw this they didn’t show who he was engaged to. I had heard before that he was a homosexual, so I thought, “Well, okay, I wonder how far they are going to go with this?” They didn’t show the person he was engaged to, and didn’t mention anything about his sexual orientation, so I thought, “Okay, they are fearful of letting it out that he is homosexual.” But, later they had a show where they actually showed the man that he was engaged to, and they showed them several times and they all gushed about how wonderful it was, how this was making their day, how happy they were for him, and how they were a great couple. I mean, this is a man engaged to another man! To me the thing that was so disturbing was not just that there was a homosexual in show business or a celebrity, as of course there has always been, but that the talk show was making this gay engagement a prominent topic. They were not afraid to show the American people their full support in denying God’s moral law.
View from the 1940’s
Dr. Reagan: I have a much longer perspective as I was born in 1938. I can tell you that the America that exists today is as different as night and day from when I was growing up. The dividing line came in the 1960’s during the Cultural Revolution that occurred then. Nathan, you were born after that. I was born before that, and I can see an America that is as different as black and white.
If you looked at American society today, what would you consider to be one of the strongest symbols of American depravity? I can think of many, but the one that immediately comes to my mind is the fact that the current President of the United States, President Obama, ever since he was elected has every June issued a proclamation celebrating sexual perversion. From the highest office, he says that June will be the month to celebrate lesbianism, homosexuality, bisexual, and transgender. It’s just mind-boggling to think that a President would issue such a proclamation every year on every June. In fact, this last time he did so, I wrote and asked, “Why are you discriminating? Why don’t you include adulterers and fornicators, and pedophiles and prostitutes? I mean, if we’re going to celebrate sexual perversion, let’s celebrate all of it.” Unbelievable!
We have to keep in mind that presidents are politicians, especially in their first term, and they are terrified and petrified of offending the voting public. The only way he could promote something so against the grain of the American people is to go with his general instincts no doubt. Normally in politics, he would have kept supporting homosexuality to himself. He would not have made a public issue of it. The only reason that he can do that is because he must be confident that the general public accepts that, believes that, and has no problem with it.
It reminds me a TV show where I saw an actor who was going on and on about his homosexuality, and at one point he is talking about how America now accepts homosexuality, and the crowd just applauded. I looked around the audience and I couldn’t see anybody who was not applauding. Everybody was. They were not all homosexuals, but they were all going along with celebrating the idea.
I just got through writing an article about the difference in the America I grew with and the America that exists today. The one thing that came to mind was the difference in television since the 1950’s, the decade when television first became available to people, compared to the television of today. The contrast that immediately came to mind was the family that was emphasized in the 50’s — the Nelson’s. The family that is emphasized today is the Osbournes. How different can you get?