In 1971, Dr. Tom Malone, chancellor of Midwestern Baptist College in Pontiac, Michigan, and pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church, preached a sermon titled, Can American Survive? What follows is an excerpt from Malone’s sermon:
I have a question: Can America survive her awful diseases? Can America live as America lives today and last until the turn of the century?
I have often tried to imagine what it would be like. Suppose the Lord tarries another few years: What will America be like? If one can discern the symptoms and trends of today, God pity the people if 2000 ever comes on God’s calendar. Can America survive? “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” – Proverb 14:34. I would like for you to notice four facts dealt with in my introduction.
We speak much about the sins of individuals, but the Bible speaks much also about the sins of nations. There is such a thing as a national sin.
For instance, just imagine the various besetting sins of certain sections of the world, and go around this encircled globe – you find great besetting sins in different parts of the world. In fact, the most prominent sin of the English-speaking world is probably that of drunkenness. England, with her pubs; America, with her bars. The English-speaking people are the drunken nations of the world. God pronounces woe upon those who look upon the wine when it is red. The English-speaking world has the sin of drunkenness and, of course, as a result of that, a multiplicity of sins follow.
In the Eastern world, there is the awful sin of idolatry. In the Western nations of the world, men have made with their hands gods of wood and stone and silver, to replace the one true God.
A great part of the world is characterized by another great besetting sin, that of infidelity, which is in the communistic world today. The nations in communism say that the Bible is not true, that Jesus is not divine, that there is no efficacy in the cross, that there is nothing to Christianity. So, the Bible plainly teaches that there is such a thing as national sin.
We do not interpret the Bible in the light of history; we interpret history in the light of the Bible. If one studies the Word of God and meditates in it, he sees history written before it ever happens. And the Bible plainly teaches the reality of national decay.
As you travel throughout many parts of the world, you see what are called the Roman columns. These columns were erected all over the known world, because Rome ruled the world. They called Rome the Imperial City, built on seven hills and surrounding the Tiber River. Rome had a vast empire. A great stone in one of the buildings of Rome – it is there today – is called, “the marking stone” or “the milestone”, and every road had distances on it, meaning it is so many miles to the heart of the Imperial City.
Today these columns are broken and the buildings have come to ruin. Fifty-five million people live in Italy today as a common power and as a small nation that has no great significance in the world. Listen! God brings nations to ruin and decay. If this Bible be true, it says that “righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.”
God has brought that proud nation into the dust. Let us think of our forefathers. I do not mean on this continent, but rather our forefathers who came mostly from Great Britain. Great Britain was a world power, the greatest colonial power the world had ever known. Out from England went missionaries to all the world. God blessed England. She brought civilization to many countries.
But England today is a common power. Her great colonial system is nothing now but a dream. It has all been washed away under the judgment of God. Oh, yes, “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.”. We have reached an hour that no Christian one hundred years ago would have believed. We have reached an hour when we are sending missionaries to Great Britain.
The land of the Wesleys, Whitefield and Spurgeon is a land of infidelity. They say that only two percent of the people there ever darken the doors of the house of God.
Much that is destroying America came from England. In your time and mine, from England have come the hippies, the long hair, the loose morals in high politics. God has brought that nation to its knees. “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” God has done it in the past. If this is a divine principle of the Word of God, can America survive? What will America be like if Jesus tarries until the year 2000? I am talking to you today about the absolute destruction of a democracy and I will be able, with the Word of God, to prove that today.
The first one that I would like to deal with needs not one part of a sermon but many sermons to fully deal with it – liberalism in professed Christianity. Departure from the revealed truth of the Word of God always has and always will bring about the destruction and ruin of any nation. Liberalism in professed Christianity.
Something has happened in Christianity that the Lord Jesus said would happen. The Lord told seven parables about the kingdom of Heaven. The church is not the kingdom of Heaven. There is a distinct difference. We will not be technical about that. But the Lord established some principles so we could know what it is always going to be like in professed Christianity.
We find in America today blind leaders of the blind, that is, men who profess to be called of God, men who profess to be prophets, teachers, leaders in the truth. But Jesus spoke of them in Matthew 15:14: “Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.”. We have these two things: many millions of unsaved amidst professed Christianity, and many leaders who are blind. My guess would be that there are more unsaved religious leaders than there are saved. If you doubt that, go to some of the pastors of your city and ask them point blank, ”Have you been born again? Are you sure today that you are on your way to Heaven?” I am talking about liberalism in Christianity. A Compromise of Truth
We have seen in our lifetime the capitulation of Christian schools and colleges. I know of a preacher, now in Heaven, whole son came home from a religious school and said, “Now Dad, if Jesus was the Son of God, why so-and-so?”. The preacher took his son, got into his automobile and drove out a ways. It was in the days of the old-fashioned running boards. They got down on their knees out in the woods and placed the old Bible on the running board of the car and made out of it a mourner’s bench. It is said that that preacher lifted his hands toward God and, with tears streaming down his face, cried, “O God, I would rather be dead than to have an ‘if’ in the belief of my boy! O God, take all the doubts out of the mind of my son as to who Jesus is.” And God did it that day.
We need to make every chair, every couch, every seat, every square foot of our environment an old-fashioned mourner’s bench and come back to God before it is too late. I am talking to you today about liberalism in professed Christianity, which is definitely a ruination of any country. How can you have righteousness without the truth? How can you have righteousness without a firm belief in the inspiration of the Bible?
Folks, worldliness and coldness have come even into the true churches. You see it in the imitation of the world. First, I mention immodest dress. God knows the women of America are helping to send this country to Hell. Women, God bless you! We love you and we want to respect you, but for God’s sake, dress like a Christian. Paul wrote in 1st Timothy 2:9 and 10: “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.” Why wouldn’t a Christian woman want to dress modestly? Some of you don’t like it, and you will whisper back and forth at the dinner table. But some of you want to be like the world. The people around you are going to Hell because you are no different from the world There are coldness and worldliness even in the church.
Let me tell you something else and I say it in love. You may say, “You don’t love men with long hair.”. Oh yes I do! But the Bible says in 1st Corinthians 11:14, “Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?”. And the word “nature” there is “instinct”. What the verse is saying is, “Does not even instinct itself teach us it is a shame for a man to have long hair?”. That chapter is dealing with the fact that a lady ought to have long hair and that her covering before God is her hair. The same chapter says that instinct teaches us that it is a shame for a man to have hair like a woman. This long hair on men and short skirts on women are not pleasing to God.
We need to clean up. Don’t give me this old line, “Jesus had long hair”. All you have seen are pictures not more than two or three hundred years old, some artist’s conception of what Jesus looked like. Don’t give me that line. We don’t know whether Jesus had long hair, or sideburns, or what! but the Bible says it is a shame for a man to have long hair. While talking to someone the other day about the discipline and dress code in our school, this one said, “You mean people will put up with that?”. I said, “Put up with what?” “Put up with what you put them through.” I said, “We are not going to put them through anything but a happiness mill. They are happy that way.”. The most miserable people in the world are these folks who go around crabbing about the establishment because they want to be different. If you want to be different, get saved, get an old-fashioned revival in your heart, get a Bible under your arm and some tracts in your pocket and start soul winning and going to church. Folks will say, “Well boy, that fellow sure is different, isn’t he? In fact, I believe he is a little nutty!” Then you will really be enjoying it, right up to the hilt!
Another thing is the fear of emotionalism. I am still talking about coldness and worldliness even in true churches. Some folks are so scared that someone is going to get stirred up, while I am so scared that they are not. I pray all the time, “O God, stir people up.”. Listen, if a man says “Amen,” then he ought to live an “Amen”. But there is coldness and deadness in the church. Some folks are scared they are going to weep. You know, preachers see some things that you folks never see. I have seen someone about to get blessed; then all of a sudden he realizes what is happening and he doesn’t want it to happen. I have seen them nearly choke to death to get those tears out of the way. “Oh, no! This happen to me? Get blessed and shed some tears? Oh, no!” The Bible says, “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.”. It says, “He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psalm 126:5, 6). Someone has said, “If the church were on fire, the world would come to see it burn.” O God, help us to get it on fire! Help us to see the fire of God come upon the church of the Lord Jesus. God, stir our hearts. As I look at my daughter and my sweet grandchildren, I can hardly keep from weeping. After I am gone, they are still going to be here. What will it be like?
If any thinking person will study the trends that are in America today and think a few years beyond this present moment, he is bound to admit that we are headed for chaos and trouble. God’s Word is true: “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” There is absolutely no national righteousness in America today – from the White House to the poorhouse. We as a nation are void of national righteousness. This country does not deserve to be called a Christian nation in any sense of the word. It does not have any of the characteristics of a Christian nation. “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.”
A few decades ago a few people called themselves atheists, saying, “There is no such person as God.” They were a distinct class of people. They would stand on the street corners. They were the soapbox speakers. They would gather crowds in the parks and talk about atheism. These were led by such men as Bob Ingersoll and others. You don’t find that so much today. A more sophisticated type of atheism is abroad in the world. It finds its hotbed and its seeds of propagation in the schools and colleges of America. The psalmist has said, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God” (Psalm 14:1). I used to hear a great man of God say, “Only a fool would be capable of making such a statement.”
Now there are many fools (using God’s definition and terminology). Instead of a few people on soapboxes and street corners, literally thousands of educated, intellectual people in the colleges of America would tell you flat out, “There is no God”. Atheism runs rampant is America. “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.” Now I am not an authority on Hebrew nor Greek, but in the verse where it says, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.” two words are in italics – “There is.” The literal rendering is, “The fool hath said in his heart, No God.” Notice what he said: “No God for me.” The fool said in his heart, “I don’t need any God. I don’t want any God. I don’t believe there is any God.” Notice where he says it: In his depraved heart. He does not come to an intellectual conclusion that there is no God. No one ever has. No one ever could. It is not an intellectual conclusion. It is a condition of a wicked, sinful, dirty heart that says, “I do not want any God. As far as my mind is concerned, there is no God.” Why does he say it? Because he knows if there is a God, he is headed for Hell and for trouble.
Today we have a sophisticated type of atheism across this land. Some sixty years ago atheism began to reach its prominence in a most subtle way in America. It started out with a great battle over whether evolution is a fact or a theory. Evolution has been taught in the schools of this country for the last sixty years – from the wee grades of elementary school right on through college.
You cannot be an evolutionist and a believer of the Word of God at the same time. Evolution is not just a theory; it is a wicked attack against the Bible. More than that, it is a wicked, personal attack against the very person of God Himself.
For example, the Bible says, “Let us make man in our own image.”. The Bible says that God made him out of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and he became a living soul. Now evolution says that man came from a lower form of animal. God says, “I made him, and I made him like I am, a trinity – soul, body, spirit.” The spirit never dies, the soul is God-consciousness, and the body is physical. God made him that way. When a person teaches evolution and claims that evolution is a fact, he is making a personal attack on God Himself and against the Bible. That in the past brought ruination to nations.
First, there is an abnormal sexuality in America. Call it what you will. You would not believe how many homosexuals there are in America. Some are in high places. Some are in politics. Some are millionaires. The whole human structure of society is shot through with an abnormal, godless, wicked sexuality that God abominates.
Think of the drug traffic in America. Who would have thought fifteen years ago that we would have come to the place in the use of drugs – from elementary school children on up – that we have come to.
Live-in Marriages Our country is filled today with what is called common law or live-in marriages, when a boy and girl start living together without a marriage ceremony. I know some people who have raised a family and have grandchildren who have never been married. Such people have called me who have heard me on the radio and said, “Preacher, can you marry us? We want to get our lives straightened out. We have never been married.”. When people have no respect for the institution of marriage, it is only a matter of time until that nation disintegrates.
What is the Answer?
You say to me, “Preacher, is there an answer?” Yes, thank God, there is.
A Biblical Home Life
First of all, we need a Biblical home life. God knows that perhaps all of us parents have failed in some measure.
There are four things about the American home today that are ruining it.
1. The lack of male leadership. God ordained that the man be the head of the home. A man who is a man ought to be the head of his home.
2. Women working outside the home. Now some of you, God bless you, are as good women as ever walked in a pair of shoes. But the Bible says, “Let the women be keepers at home.”
3. Discipline. Our children today run wild. They have no rules, no discipline.
4. We need in the homes of America some influence. We need influence toward Christ! We need godliness on the part of mother and father. We need family altars.
A lot of members of this church seldom darken its doors. So don’t be surprised when your children become drug addicts and criminals. That is what it leads to. So, first, the answer to the problem is a Biblical home.
Secondly, the answer is an old-fashioned revival from Heaven. II Chronicles 7:14 says:
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
God knows we need a revival. I am not talking about a meeting with some high-powered personality who operates in the energy of the flesh. I am talking about a revival that comes from God, causing people to quake in His presence and search their hearts and confess their sins and set out to evangelize the world. We need THAT kind of revival.
We need a personal devotion on the part of all who honor His name, that makes us good Christians.
If you haven’t heard Tom Malone preach before, the following video is typical of Malone’s preaching.
I attended Midwestern Baptist College from 1976-79. During this time, I attended Emmanuel Baptist Church, hearing Tom Malone preach hundreds of times. I also played basketball with “Doc” on Sunday evenings after church. He was a man’s man. I learned a lot about life, the ministry, and preaching from Malone — good, bad, and indifferent. I can trace the formation of my ministerial career back to a handful of men: Bruce Turner (please see Dear Bruce Turner), James Dennis (The Family Patriarch is Dead: My Life With James Dennis), Rolfe Barnard, and Tom Malone. These preachers left a lasting imprint upon my life. That said, I refuse to lionize these men, praising only their positive influences on my life while ignoring their negative effects on my life. I used to participate in a Facebook group for former Midwestern students. Malone was treated like royalty. There was no place for criticizing the man or suggesting that he was a flawed man (as I witnessed firsthand). I prefer gods with clay feet. When it comes time for me to die, I want Polly, our children, and grandchildren to remember me in the fullness of the man I was. When my memorial is held on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, I want my family and friends to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about their husband, father, grandfather, brother, and friend. Unfortunately, this kind of thinking was not modeled to me in the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church movement. Instead, broken, frail, fallible men were deified, glorified, and sanitized.
Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.
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