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THE FIVE GREATEST LIES OF
THE 20TH CENTURY

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Morning, December 16, 2001


"The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed [Jesus], saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us" (Psalm 2:2-3).

In a chapter called, "The Raging Nations," Dr. M. R. DeHaan said this:

We know that the raging of the nations against Christ goes back to Jesus' first coming and will continue till He comes again…The world is against Christ, and if we fully follow Him, we too shall find out that we are not wanted. The nations rage, says David, because they are against Christ, God's anointed one (M. R. DeHaan, M.D., Coming Events in Prophecy, Zondervan, 1962, p. 99).

"…the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed [Jesus], saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us" (Psalm 2:2-3).

And this is exactly what has happened in our time. In his desire to be completely free from God, man has done everything possible to cast out God and live his life in total autonomy - without God or Christ.

That's the way life is in this city. Each person is autonomous. Most people live for themselves - alone.  And this has produced a city of angry, frustrated, and lonely people.

The main philosophy of our age is humanism. Man, himself, is at the center, not God. Humanism is the greatest single error in the mind of men today.

I will list what I consider to be the five greatest errors in man's thinking in the 20th century, the five greatest lies in modern thinking. Every one of these errors of thought is rooted in humanism. Humanism puts man in the place of God. "God isn't going to tell me what to do! I'll do what I think is right!" These are the ideas of humanism. And the five major lies, or errors, of our time are rooted in this false, man-centered philosophy.

I. First, the lie of humanism - the error of human reason
replacing the Bible.

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, most people turned away from the Bible to their own views. Instead of finding out what God thinks in the Bible, they turned to what they, or some other human being thought. People are no longer interested in what God thinks. All they care about is what they, as human beings, think.

Notice that I said this was the major error of the 20th century. Nearly all other false ideas flow out of this error - that you do not need to know what the Bible says, because you can make up your own mind on everything. That is pure, raw humanism - and it permeates nearly every part of our society - and our personal lives as well. The Bible predicted this humanistic age:

"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears, and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables"

(II Timothy 4:3-4).

This passage of Scripture shows us that humanism would infiltrate the churches in the last days. Humanism is basically the view that man's reason is the source of all knowledge. It is a turning away from the Bible as the source of knowledge to human reason as the basis of knowledge. Humanism is exactly what was predicted for our time in II Timothy 4:3, "after their own lusts [i.e. according to their own desires] shall they heap to themselves teachers…" This verse shows that people in our own day would "not endure sound doctrine" but would turn to their own "lusts." That is, they would turn from the Bible to their own desires and ideas. And that's exactly what they have done - people have turned from the Bible to human reason, to humanism.

Isn't that precisely what you hear from non-Christian teachers in your secular high school or college? You hear them attack and belittle the Bible constantly. And you hear them give humanist answers to the great questions of life, answers based purely on human reasoning. Isn't that true?

Now, I believe that the modern idea of replacing the Bible with human thought is the single greatest error of the 20th century. Humanism did not make our world a better place to live. It literally ruined the world in the 20th century. Humanism was directly responsible for producing Hitler and the Holocaust, Lenin and Stalin and their Communist dictatorships, as well as Mao Tse Tung and Ho Chi Minh, and their brutal regimes. Humanism was the philosophy behind World War I, World War II, and most of the other great wars of the 20th century. Humanism produced a disregard for human life in Nazi Germany. Humanism was behind the U.S. Supreme Court decision to exterminate 40 million children in the Abortion Holocaust. And humanism has produced the break-up of the home and the social isolation experienced by millions in our nation today. Humanism has not helped us. In fact, it has nearly destroyed the Western world.

Many young people are lonely. Have you ever been lonely? Most college-age young people experience heartbreaking loneliness, because the social fabric of America has largely been destroyed by humanism.

Do you want to escape from a lonely life? Then I tell you - turn back to the Bible! Turn away from the humanistic ideas of your parents. Come back to God! Come back to the religion of our forefathers! Get into this church - and come back to the Bible, and to Jesus Christ, the Son of God! Human thought cannot replace the Bible without ruining your life!

II. Second, the lie of libertarianism - the error of complete human
autonomy replacing church membership.

Follow my thought carefully here. The word "autonomy" means "without outside control" (Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary). The idea is this: you are completely free as an individual, and you must not be restrained from absolute individual freedom by anything - not even God or the church. This view is called, "libertarianism." Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer pointed out that drugs are the ultimate end of the road in autonomy, because many young people use drugs to "seek truth inside one's own head" (Francis A. Schaeffer, How Should We Then Live?, Revell, 1976, p. 171). Drugs are also used today by young people who are so caught up in their own autonomy, or freedom, that they think nothing matters in life but making themselves "feel good."

The exaggerated importance of autonomy in libertarianism has destroyed the home. Each person in a marriage feels that he or she must be "free" of all restraints to do his or her "own thing." Thus, an exaggerated view of autonomy has destroyed the social fabric of the home and real friendships in our society. If you want to stay married, you have to give up some so-called freedom. Just to have close friends requires giving up some personal desires, and being restrained by the wants and desires of another person.

Absolute freedom, or libertarianism, has produced in your generation great, aching loneliness. The Bible says, "A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly" (Proverbs 18:24). In other words, if you want real, lasting friends you have to give up a little of your own freedom and be kind and dependable to others. You can't ever have real friends without giving up some measure of freedom "to do your own thing," as the old Hippies put it. If you are always doing your own thing, you will always be alone, because no one wants to be close to someone who thinks only about his own personal happiness, without caring about anyone else's feelings. Put it down as a great teaching of life - if you want to be absolutely free - you will end up absolutely alone. Libertarianism produces loneliness.

The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) believed in total autonomy, complete freedom - even from God. He rebelled against his father, who was a pastor, and said, "God is dead." He was the first intellectual to say that. He threw off God and the church. He thought that this made him free. Instead, it drove him insane, alone, lost in a swirling mass of despair. Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer said of Nietzsche, "I am convinced that when Nietzsche came to Switzerland and went insane…it was because he understood that insanity was the only philosophic answer if the infinite-personal God does not exist" (ibid., p. 180).

One fourth of the American people will experience Alzheimer's disease or some other form of dementia before they die. Psychiatrists are now telling us that much of this mental illness is aggravated and intensified by loneliness - which is the result of complete individual "freedom." Alcoholism and drug abuse are also direct results of the loneliness that comes by pursuing complete personal freedom, the total autonomy of libertarianism. Absolute autonomy cuts us off from closeness to others - and leaves us vulnerable to the insanity that Nietzsche experienced.

Loneliness can literally drive you to mental illness, despair, and even suicide. What is God's answer to your loneliness? It is the institution of the local church! That's why we repeatedly say, "Why be lonely? Come home - to church!"

The early Christians are our example in this. The Bible says:

"And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved" (Acts 2:46-47).

That's what God wants you to do! He wants you to be added to this local church! Only a local church like this one can cure your loneliness.

Modern philosophers have noticed that your generation of young people is filled with what they call "angst" - that is, "a gloomy, often neurotic, feeling of generalized anxiety and depression" (Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary: Unabridged). Nearly every college-age young person I talk to has "feelings of anxiety and depression" - and these are rooted in deep feelings of loneliness.

These feelings of "angst" have become common among young people because of the extreme emphasis on autonomy and individual freedom - the libertarianism in our culture. I've just been reading in Time magazine about John Walker Lindh, the twenty-year-old white boy who left his wealthy Marin County home, converted to Islam, and joined the Taliban. He saw Osama bin Laden several times, according to Time. This young person was arrested by the U.S. Army while fighting alongside the Muslims against the USA, in the war in Afghanistan (cf. Time, December 17, 2001, pp. 36-38).

As I read the Time article, I understood fully why this young man turned his back on America and joined the Taliban. He was inspired to convert to Islam by reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X. He rejected the whole phony, politically correct, mindless, loose, totally autonomous, libertarian philosophy of America. He also rejected American materialism. By joining the Taliban, John Walker Lindh was saying, "I reject the American way of life. I reject it so strongly that I will fight against it."

John Walker Lindh is not crazy. I disagree with him, but he is not crazy. It's the American people who have gone crazy!  Tell somebody I said that - and leave it on the Internet!  In fact, as I read the article, he appears more sane than his parents, or the morally bankrupt Americans of San Francisco's Marin County. Kids like this 20-year-old used to become Christians through the "Jesus Movement." But that movement turned into soft charismatism. I believe there are kids in Marin County, and across America, who are looking for a strong, militant, virile, vigorous, masculine Christianity. Kids need churches that are run by men - not committees run by a bunch of women.  No wonder our churches are dying.  We need churches run by men.  Our kids need masculine Christianity.  If we don't give it to them, they will look somewhere else - perhaps to Islam. There could well be an explosion of American conversions to the Muslim religion unless American Christians wake up and give our kids a Christianity with guts - that heals their loneliness and gives them a cause to live for.

I wish I could have had a chance to preach to John Walker Lindh. I wish I could have told him that he was absolutely right to hate the false, materialistic, anything-goes, American way of life. I wish I could have told him that the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ hates the American humanist way of life as much as John does. I wish I could say to John Walker Lindh, and to all the kids who have been cheated by American humanism, "Jesus Christ is the true answer to your search for a better way."

I am bound for the promised land, I am bound for the promised land;
O who will come and go with me, I am bound for the promised land.

("On Jordan's Stormy Banks" by Samuel Stennett, 1727-1795).

John Walker Lindh converted to the Muslim religion. That's fairly easy to do. You grow a beard and pray five times a day, and you're a Muslim. But converting to Christianity is an inward experience. To become a real Christian, you must experience an inward struggle between your sinful nature and God. You must then experience awakening, which makes you see that you are depraved and sinful and hopeless. Then, you must experience the moment of conversion itself - in which you surrender your heart to Jesus Christ. This whole struggle and change is an inward conversion - between you and Jesus Christ. Only when you surrender your heart to Jesus and trust Him alone are you converted and washed from your sins by His Blood. Jesus said, "Except ye be converted…ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3).

This morning we could only touch on the first two major errors of the 20th century - humanism and libertarianism. I am convinced that the free-floating angst - the anxiety, depression and loneliness - of young people today can only be overcome by rejecting outright the ideas of humanism and libertarianism. Reject human reason as the sole source of truth - and come back to the Bible, the revelation of the triune God! Reject libertarianism and come into this local church!

Next Sunday evening I will preach on the three more of the Greatest Lies of the 20th century: Evolution, Decisionism, and Modalism.

But this morning I am asking you to turn away from mere human reason, and turn to the Bible. I am asking you to turn away from the absolute individual freedom of libertarianism - and come into this local church - every Sunday! And then come to Jesus Christ and be cleansed by His Blood, and saved by His life.

"The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed [Jesus], saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us" (Psalm 2:2-3).

They have thrown out the Bible. They have cast away the Scriptures - and have embraced human reason. Young person, you throw out human reasoning - and come back to the Bible!

They have "cast away" the local church and have embraced libertarianist autonomy! Young person, you throw out libertarianism - and come into this local church every Sunday!

And come, believe in Jesus Christ! "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31).

O who will come and go with me,
I am bound for the promised land!

(END OF SERMON)


Scripture Read Before the Sermon: II Timothy 4:1-4.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

"On Jordan's Stormy Banks"

by Samuel Stennett (1727-1795).

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."




THE OUTLINE OF

THE FIVE GREATEST LIES OF
THE 20TH CENTURY

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

"The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed [Jesus], saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us" (Psalm 2:2-3).

I.   The lie of humanism - the error of human reason
replacing the Bible, II Timothy 4:3-4.

II.  The lie of libertarianism - the error of complete human
autonomy replacing church membership, Proverbs 18:24;
Acts 2:46-47; Matthew 18:3; Acts 16:31.