[shoulders] SHOULDER TO SHOULDER #25b ---- 7/6/98

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From: lifeunlimited@...
Date: Mon, 6 Jul 1998 22:36:00 -0500
Standing Shoulder To Shoulder in the Trenches,
Encouraging One Another as we "Fight the Good Fight"

TITLE:  Independence Day ---- A Day For Rejoicing or For Repentance?

Part Two, A special issue  continuing from 7/5/98.

The Independence day celebrations are behind us, the president has
returned from China, Kenneth Starr has been reprimanded, Congress is
about to go on official vacation (though some members have been on one
for the year I suspect), ---- and we still are faced with the issues of
fact and fiction, of documentation and interpretation, of truth and

An example is that of our history as a nation. 

 When you look at history, you receive it either from the basis of
straight fact, or from opinionated and preferential interpretation
created in the minds of revisionists and others unsuccessfully resisting

In reading the pure facts, for example, there is no doubt that, as
expressed in his own personal journals, Christopher ("bearer of Christ")
Columbus began his journey of discovery first because the Holy Spirit
clearly "put it in (his) heart" to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the
New World.  Yesterday's letter contained much of his personal entry from
the captain's log.

The pure facts show that, as the pilgrims began arriving,  they
specifically intended to establish a country NOT just for religious
freedom, but also to send the Gospel around the world.  Again, several
quotes were included yesterday.

The pure facts show that founding fathers made sure that no
government-founded and controlled religion would be established, but that
complete religious freedom could be freely enjoyed and expressed. 
Nowhere in early legal documents is there a mention of a "wall of
separation" to keep religious and moral values from properly seasoning
society.  Thomas Jefferson is blamed for such an early concept, but in
reading his comments in context, it just is not true.

Why is there such a need for a return to our roots?  Because from the
discovery of this new continent, through the founding of this nation, to
the Twentieth Century, the necessity of integrity, truth, honesty, and
character were clearly understood.  

Though there were certainly "glitches" of deception, manipulation, and
self interest appearing throughout our history in the political and
economic circles, it was not until after President Eisenhower that such
qualities as character and integrity seem to have been completely
abandoned as a criteria for service in either the public or the private
sector ---- under the guise of "personal rights".  Many believe that
Eisenhower was perhaps the last American president to openly exhibit
integrity and moral character on a consistent basis.

We now suffer the consequences of leaving those moorings.  Because of a
loss of virtue, character, honesty, and integrity, we groan under the
pummeling of disrespect, cheating, deception, abuse, and dishonesty at
every level of society.  No agency, institution, or enterprise is immune
from the presence or consequences of these character flaws.  Perhaps,
rather, we should call them what Scripture calls them ---- SIN!

Rights reign supreme over responsibility.  Liberty has been replaced by
license.  Justice has given way to judicial jeopardy.  The majority is
ruled by the minority in many cases.  The victim mentality has become the
order of the day. Statesmanship has been abandoned in preference for r
political opportunism.  Confidence in government, the media, and the
educational system has been replaced with suspicion, cynicism, and
sarcasm.  Honesty has been substituted with expediency.


What has happened to us?  How is it that we are more often the laughing
stock of the world rather than the respected example we once were?  What
have we done that has led us to this precarious situation of living on
the very edge of the abyss to collapse?

I believe there are several events that have taken place in this Century
which have brought us to where we are today ---- on the verge of
self-destruction and divine judgement.

1.  FINANCIAL FIASCO:  The Abandonment of Biblical principles of Finance.
 Perhaps you have not considered this, but this was, I believe, the first
of several steps taken in Washington, casual and non threatening at
first,  even well intentioned perhaps, which began the journey away from
Judeo-Christian values and principles of life.  

Up until the "New Deal" era, America had operated on a "cash" basis, and,
unknown to many, by Biblical principles.  The government did not incur
debt which could not be easily paid.  Our national debt was minuscule;
today the interest alone, if attempted to be paid, would collapse us ----
and perhaps even the economy of other nations as well ---- Just like
Mexico several years ago, or Japan and other Asian countries today.  

I am not in a position to judge the true motives that led to the "chicken
in every pot" philosophy of that day.  Maybe someone was mad at God
because of the Great Depression, or perhaps he felt he could do a better
job at managing the economy than God could.   It could have been purely
for political gain.  

All I know is that the same guys who were sent to Germany following World
War I to help restore their economy ---- and where, as a result of their
work,  the German Mark was so totally devalued that people literally used
them as wall paper, and inflation was so out of control that goods on the
store shelves were not even marked with price labels but were priced at
the cash register so they could keep up with inflation minute by minute
and increase the prices as people checked out ---- were some of the very
ones called on to get the U.S. out of the Depression.  Talk about
shooting yourself in the foot!

The outcome of this approach led to several things:  First, the idea of
living today on money you have to pay back tomorrow.  (Sounds a little
like one of Jesus' parables.); Second, the emergence of economic "rights"
where everyone has the "right" to everything he needs and wants ---- even
if he doesn't work to get it; Third, ever-increasing massive taxation;
and, Fourth, a spirit of "I've got to have it now because I want it and
deserve it" lifestyle ---- bordering, frankly, at times on hedonism.

Christian economist Larry Burkett, one whom I would clearly call an
expert in the field of economics, according to statements made in past
materials ten to fifteen years ago, sees this as the first of numerous
major political, economic, and moral mistakes made since 1900.  

Think about it for a moment.  What is one of the major pressures of life?
 Money.  Where does much of your family pressure focus?  Money.  Where do
many (perhaps even most) hindrances and barriers to effective church
ministry center?  Around the lack of money!  

How much money do you spend on church debt?  How much of it is interest? 
How long before it will be paid off?

Can you imagine just what you could do in missions and evangelism with
the money you are spending on church debt?

When your eyes are on your poverty, your needs, or your desires rather
than on God, what is your first solution to search out?  Find a way to
get some money ---- even if we have to borrow it ---- or steal it ---- or
hold down another job ---- or put the spouse to work, too.

When we as a nation began to live on borrowed money, we shifted ourselves
from being "free men" to being "slaves" to the lenders.  When you are in
debt, you are under someone else's control and demands.  When you are
under someone else's control, you do whatever is necessary to meet their
demands and not make them angry.  So ---- after you have done everything
morally, legally, and ethically you can, then your only alternatives that
remain are those that are immoral, illegal, and unethical.  And that, my
friend, is the way the game is played today by many in Washington, in
state capitals, and local council rooms.  Tragically, it is also the way
the game is played in some churches.  

Imagine what our country would be like today, if we had not made that
first fatal mistake.  Imagine!

May God forgive us for our errors!

2.  Anti-Christian revisionism of school text books.  While this is an
on-going thing, it began in earnest back in the 1940's.  Darwin's *Origin
Of The Species* written in 1859 and his *The Descent of Man* written in
1871 had blazed the trail into the Twentieth Century and opened the
"enlightened" minds of educational systems to begin inserting godless
philosophies and approaches to life on the one hand, and deleting all
things that smelled "religious" on the other, no matter how much they
were interwoven into the warp and woof of society's fabric.

Add a touch of "Spock" and a smattering of creative writing to the
growing philosophy of "personal freedom and liberation" and let that all
be undergirded by the ruthless rulings of the Warren Supreme Court, and
that little Darwinian Trail was steadily bulldozed into a multi-laned
super highway upon which humanistic philosophies and values of vague
abstractions were shipped in and the clear-cut moral absolutes of
Judeo-Christian principles where  shipped out overnight with "Rush!"
stamped on their disembowelled remains.

I challenge you to go to any library and search out the school textbooks
there.  Sit down and compare the accounts of history in books written
prior to 1948 to those written after, particularly after 1968.  Then tell
me what you see.

The cause was also picked up, as you and I well know,  by the
entertainment industry and the news media.  The Warren baton has been
passed on to one runner after another, now resting in the hands of some
of today's most popular news personalities and entertainment institutions
---- some of whom were at one time close allies to our families and our
Judeo-Christian values.

3.  Failure to deal honestly and humbly with human rights.  So much has
been written and spoken already about human rights.  I would like to
point out, however, that there are three types of human rights ---- 1)
God-given, 2) man-decreed, and 3) Self-originating.

God-given human rights are obvious.  Man-decreed are often not so
obvious, frequently flawed, and generally unnecessary ---- IF we simply
recognize and honor those that are God-given.  When God-given human
rights are not respected or are not recognized, then man-decreed ones are
legislated.  That selcom makes anyone happy, other than a select few who
benefit from them.  And for every one who benefits, there are hundreds
and perhaps thousands who are adversely affected.

Then, as dissention and continued (and sometimes increased) violations
come, people begin to create, identify, and enforce their own personal
human rights which they feel they deserve personally.  Often those take
man-decreed ones to extremes, and most usually outright violate those
that are God-given by either denying them, distorting them, or crossing

Having said all that, I must say that America, since the mid 1800's or
even earlier, has flagrantly abused the God-given human rights of many
people ---- but four groups in particular.  In spite of the fact that our
Bill of Rights identifies and our Constitution guarantees certain
God-given human rights, both our citizenry, our government, our
institutions, and our churches have, individually or corporately abused
the rights of the American Indian, the African American, women, and the
unborn children.

New Zealander John Dawson has written an extraordinary book entitled
*Healing America's Wounds* in which he declares that one of the main
reasons God has taken His hand of protection off our nation is because
the appropriate people have not taken appropriate steps to repent of past
sins against these four groups of special people.  Because national sins
have been committed, he insists that national repentance is called for. 
Those of us who are spiritual leaders in our society can, should, and
must take the initiative in this.

How can we expect God to show favor on a government that stole hundreds
of thousands of acres of land and the related livelihood from the Native

How can we expect God to bless us when there is still so much to be done
in reconciling the races, even in the church?  

How can we expect God to prosper us when we have failed to declare the
lofty position to which He created women, and when we have been satisfied
to let humanistic and worldly efforts be substituted for God's divine and
perfect answers?

How can we even hold our heads up as a nation when we are guilty of
murdering an entire generation of 25 million or more innocent lives over
the past several years?

How can the church hold its own head up when it has, as a whole, been so
blatantly silent and so grossly inactive on these issues?

No wonder we are under God's divine judgement today!

Oh, God, break our hearts over the way we have treated Your most prized
creation ---- the human life!

4.  Removal of Bible reading from the classroom.  Isn't it ironic that
the very institution that originated education in the United States in
the first place, and the very first text book ever used in those schools
are noticeably absent from today's American classroom.  Schools were
begun by the churches, their pastors, and their members.  The first text
book was the Bible.  And, in spite of the guaranteed freedom of
expression, there are still many schools where a child will be removed
from school property if he is found with a Bible in his possession, much
less reading it or talking about it to another student.

Whatever else we may say about progress in growing freedom of religious
expression, you can still point back to the day in the 1950's when the
Bible was no longer included as a part of school curriculum, the ethical
and moral absolutes of scripture were labeled as "relative" and
"irrelevant".  It was at that point in time that the problems in schools
began to change from tardiness, chewing gum, and running in the halls to
sexual promiscuity, vulgarity, and violence.

Forget about the Bible as God's Word.  Just consider it for its moral and
ethical value.  When you remove those absolutes, you remove character
building and restraint ---- and then anything goes, and it goes unchecked
and unpunished.

5.  Removal of school prayer from the classroom.  Contrary to what many
people think, prayer was never removed from the class room.  It was
"forced" or "organized" prayer that was. Now, regardless of which side
you and I are on regarding this matter, we can trace the same trends in
schools and families as we can with the removal of Bible reading. 
Because so much has already been said, let me just identify this event as
one of the main contributing factors to our current plight, and move on.

6.  Roe vs. Wade decision on abortion.  Again, at this point all I can do
is to reiterate what has already been said a thousand times.  Of all the
sins our nations has committed, this is perhaps the most heinous of all
because it snuffs out a human life, and it has become legal to do so!


It is important to point out that these "events" of history did not in
themselves cause the plight we are now in.  They, in  fact, are more
symptomatic than causative.  Action comes out of behavior; behavior
originates from motive; motive is born out of opinion and prejudicial
preference; opinion and prejudice grow from attitude; attitude derives
its make up from character; and, character is established by the content
of the heart.  

It is my personal opinion that, while I fully acknowledge that it all is
ultimately traced back to the Garden of Eden, and actually back to
Lucifer's rebellion against God as recorded in Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14,
it seems to have followed the pilgrims across the sea through the age of
enlightenment, the age of skepticism, and the "higher criticism"

The Apostle Paul, in his great discourse to the Philippians on joy,
insisted that we should concentrate on developing truth, honor,
rightness, purity, beauty, and a good reputation (Phil 4:8) as the
pathway to being at peace with God and with all men.

Likewise, the Apostle Peter (II Pet 1:5-9) declares that, "applying all
diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence (character, virtue), in
your moral excellence, knowledge; and in your knowledge, self-control;
and in yourself-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance,
godliness; and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your 
brotherly kindness, Christian love."

At present, our wonderful country has definitively and successfully 
removed the two fundamental traits of faith and moral excellence from the
list, beginning instead with knowledge ---- "forever learning, but never
coming to the knowledge of the truth".  

That always leads to trouble; it was, in fact, the seed planted in the
soul of man in the Garden of Eden ---- "God knows, and you have a right
to know.  Follow my advice, and you Will know ---- Really know!  You'll
even know Good And Evil!"   (Not good From evil.)

When you do that, the results are devastating.  This is seen at every
level of society ---- political, economic, educational, industrial,
religious, and the family.  When we no longer promote Faith and
Character, we  end up with Arrogance instead of knowledge, License rather
than self-control, Laziness and Slothfulness rather than perseverance,
Sensuality in the place of godliness, Disrespect and Neglect rather than
brotherly kindness, and Selfishness instead of Christian love.  

However, . . .


During any time of disenchantment, angry unrest, and uncertainty, you
have an opportunity to do something about it.  

Wherever you are ---- at work, in the market, at the polls, in your
neighborhood, at school, in church, and IN YOUR HOME ---- by example and
by instruction begin changing your part of your world by living with
character and integrity, and insist that those who lead you and serve you
do the same.  You can insist on that through letters, local involvement,
and taking seriously the duty to vote.

It isn't too late to change the ethical and moral climate of our land. 
It can be done the very same way it was
 "undone" ---- by personal example.  By restoring character, honesty, and

Contrary to what many are saying, personal honesty and integrity are
paramount to how we serve others, for those are the fountains out of
which all other actions spring forth.  If those fountains are dry,
deceptive and perverse consequences will result.  Let's change that!

I know what you are saying ---- "it's too late."  "I can't do enough to
make a difference."  "The Bible predicts it will happen, so why fight it?
 Just endure it until Jesus returns."

Well, my friend, it ISN'T too late.  You CAN make a difference.  Jesus
COMMANDS you to be salt and light, even in the darkest of times.


Instead of being a nay sayer or a doomsday person, become a rebuilder.

Begin by rebuilding character, faith, integrity,compassion, and selfless
service in your own life.

Then do it in your family.

Then in your church.

II Chronicles 7:14 still stands as one of God's choicest of promises.  
"If My PEOPLE will, . . . . then I Will . . .!"

Let's do it!

Let's Humble ourselves!

Let's pray!

Let's turn from OUR wicked ways!

Let's seek GOD's Face!

And then see what happens.

God is still a God who responds compassionately to brokenness,
repentance, confession, and humility.

In Christ's Bond,

Bob Tolliver
Copyright July, 1998.  All rights reserved.

Life Unlimited Ministries
Ph: 417-275-4854.
Fax: 417-275-4855