Yesterday’s news was dominated by two major stories: What we can do to stop school shootings like the one in Parkland, Florida, last week and the death of evangelist Billy Graham.
Oh, there was NBC’s coverage of the winter Olympics, but even that network had considerable national and local coverage regarding the other two major events.
In watching and listening at various intervals throughout the day it occurred to me there was quite a striking paradox taking place.
On one hand, there an emotional appeal by parents, students, and educators to stop the violence in our nation’s schools. Cable news televised President’s Trump’s listening session from the White House. It was heart-rending to hear from kids who experienced the horror at Parkland. And agonizing to listen to a father whose 14-year-old daughter was shot and killed.
People are demanding answers. Students are marching. Stageing sit-ins. And lobbying their legislators. What can we do? How can we stop it? What are the solutions? Some believe tougher laws restricting the sale of guns is the answer. Others are calling for arming teachers and staff in schools with weapons to stop a gunman. Better background checks, improved mental health services, and checkpoints to screen those entering schools are all valid suggestions.
Now after a commercial break, our favorite news channel turned to a prepared piece about the life and ministry of Billy Graham. Clips of his revivals ran throughout the day. Every show and every station showed video of Graham highlighting the central theme of his preaching. God loves you. You have sinned. You need to repent. And Jesus Christ is the answer for your sins. Judgment is coming. And there are only two ways: The broad way that leads to destruction. And the narrow way that leads to heaven.
While ThePreachersWord has some theological differences with Billy Graham, the essence of that message is decidedly Biblical. It provides the solution to what ails America today. And for the spiritual sickness of the souls of young and old alike. Yet, it is a message that is largely rejected by the liberal elite in our land today.
We’ve been hearing for years “keep your religion to yourself.” “Don’t talk about Jesus in the public square.” “Your faith should be a private matter.” In a humanistic fervor to separate church and state we’ve eradicated the teaching of morality, virtue and goodness in many of our public schools.
Interestingly in his classic work “The Abolition of Man,” C. S. Lewis takes aim at the educational reformers of the 1940’s and their focus on removing objective values from our educational institutions and replacing them with subjective ideas. “Our culture clamors for honor – – while making character impossible. It is hypocritical to say that nothing defines what is true and noble – – and then ask young people to act in ways that are decent and good.”
“In a sort of ghastly simplicity,” Lewis critiques, “we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.”
Outside of the Christmas season, more was said about Jesus in the media yesterday than you would normally hear in a year of broadcasting. In the past week politicians, pundits and network anchors have offered their “thoughts and prayers” for those affected by the Parkland shooting. In the aftermath of the carnage teams of chaplains have been deployed by the Billy Graham Evangelical Association to provide grief counseling and pray with those affected. Local churches and preachers have been on the scene to offer help. healing and hope.
In a culture that has been on the fast track to moral relativism, when tragedy strikes we turn to God. We offer prayers. We acknowledge that evil exists. And we seek to overcome it with goodness.
In the words of our 30th President Calvin Coolidge, “We do not need more material development, we need more spiritual development. We do not need more intellectual power, we need more moral power. We do not need more knowledge, we need more character. We do not need more government, we need more culture. We do not need more law, we need more religion. We do not need more of the things that are seen, we need more of the things that are unseen.”
To a nation that has lost its way, Jesus confidently affirms, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (Jn. 14:6).
To a doubting generation Jesus emphatically states, “If you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” (Jn 8:24).
To a sinful society, Jesus simply says “repent or perish” (Lk. 11:3)
To a politically correct culture that seeks to suppress faith, Jesus personally challenges, “Whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven” (Matt 10:32.
To a world lost in sin, Jesus boldly preaches, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mk. 16;16).
To hurting and broken-hearted people, Jesus compassionately implores, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt 11:28).
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman