Print Sermon

These sermon manuscripts and videos now go out to about 1,500,000 computers in over 215 countries every year at www.sermonsfortheworld.com. Hundreds of others watch the videos on YouTube, but they soon leave YouTube and come to our website. YouTube feeds people to our website. The sermon manuscripts are given in 35 languages to about 120,000 computers each month. The sermon manuscripts are not copyrighted, so preachers can use them without our permission. Please click here to learn how you can make a monthly donation to help us in this great work of spreading the Gospel to the whole world, including the Muslim and Hindu nations.

Whenever you write to Dr. Hymers always tell him what country you live in, or he cannot answer you. Dr. Hymers’ e-mail is rlhymersjr@sbcglobal.net.




THE ROOTS OF THE CULTURE WAR

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord’s Day Morning, September 14, 2008
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (II Timothy 3:16-17).


You don’t have to go any farther than an election to see the culture war in action. The term “culture war” was coined by Pat Buchanan in a speech he gave at the Republican National Convention in 1992. I don’t agree with a lot of things he says, but that was a good phrase. It’s a “culture war.” The secular media went into a frenzy when he said that, but it is now a commonly accepted phrase. It is used to explain what divides Americans on so many issues.

There are various names used to describe the two sides of the division – liberals and conservatives, secular humanists and traditionalists, and so on. But I think the best way to represent the two sides of the culture war is what Alexander Solzhenitsyn called the “rationalistic humanists” on the one hand and the Bible-believers on the other. I will explain both terms, and show how they apply to various subjects and events. First I will explain “rationalistic humanism” and apply it; then I will explain and apply what it means to be a Bible-believer.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn spent many years in a Soviet concentration camp for his belief in God. He used the term “rationalistic humanism” in a famous speech at Harvard University in 1978. Solzhenitsyn said this was the worldview of the universities and the elite liberal mentality of the Western world. What he was actually describing is the view that truth is relative, that each individual has the right to determine for himself what is right and what is wrong. This view is commonly expressed by the phrase, “whatever is right for you.” It is exemplified in the social arena by the phrase, “a woman’s right to choose.” Each woman has the so-called “right” to choose life or death for another human being. Up to this point in time, “a woman’s right to choose” is the ultimate expression of rationalistic humanism.

But this viewpoint breaks down because it is based on the idea that human beings are rational and, therefore, can decide what is, in actuality, right and wrong. They think that the standard of right and wrong is in each person’s mind, that each person is capable of deciding for himself. But what if that’s not true? What if people are incapable of deciding? What if their very hearts and minds are so wrong, so twisted and warped, that they cannot make correct decisions? What if their empirical and rational judgments flow out of the fallen mind of a totally depraved being?

What if rationalistic humanism, stating that it gives liberty, actually ends in thought control? Isn’t that exactly what has happened in the secular universities? Ben Stein said “yes” in his documentary film, “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.” The DVD can be ordered from Amazon.com after October 21, 2008.

The Mallard Fillmore comic strip has Mallard saying, “The only religion allowed [in] my high school was relativism.” Then the liberal teacher says, “The worst thing you can be is judgmental. I’m [much] better than those judgmental people” (“Mallard Fillmore” by Bruce Tinsley, Los Angeles Daily News, September 9, 2008, p. L6). As Christians attending secular colleges soon find out, there is no one more judgmental than a person who says you shouldn’t be judgmental! Those who say they are open to all ideas are the most closed-minded of all! And those who say they want “choice” actually want to stifle the voice of anyone who chooses to oppose them! They don’t really want choice at all! That’s why they have never let us vote for it! That’s right. They have never allowed the American people to “choose” in the voting booth. It is always handed down to us from a liberal court. Why? Because “rational humanism” always leads to mind control. Ask any student who dares to quote a Bible verse in a secular college classroom! I well remember receiving a “C” in a class where I made an “A” on the midterm and an “A” on the final – simply because I quoted a couple of Bible verses and raised my hand a few times to express a different thought from that of the humanistic professor.

Here is a paragraph I underlined with a black pen in my textbook on philosophy, a book required by the college. Listen to the irony of it. Here is a “rationalistic humanist” author describing himself and his own college without realizing it! He said,

Over a century ago John Stuart Mill in his classic essay entitled “Liberty” deplored the tendency toward thought control that exists even in a democratic society when the majority attempt to suppress thinking they fear is subversive and detrimental to the public welfare as they interpret it. In such a situation the majority assume that they are infallible, but too often time reveals that the alleged infallibility of any individual or group proves only to have been a cloak for ignorance (Paul A. Reeder, Ph.D., Introduction to Philosophy, Lucas Brothers Publishers, 1964, p. 98).

That is exactly the tendency we see today in the public high schools and colleges and in most of the secular media, “when the majority attempt to suppress thinking they fear is subversive and detrimental to the public welfare as they interpret it” (ibid.).

The main problem with “rationalistic humanism” is that it has no basis for its judgments outside of the human mind. The U.S. Supreme Court declared that rational humanism is the basis for liberty when the humanistic majority said,

“At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning of the universe, and of the mystery of life” (quoted in Christianity Today, August 2008, p. 64).

That is where rationalistic humanism has led many people in the Western world – to the idea that each person has “the right” to define his “own concept of existence, of [the] meaning of the universe, and of…human life.” That means there are no moral absolutes. Nothing is objectively right or wrong. The majority of the liberal humanists of the Supreme Court thus gave a clear representation of what Solzhenitsyn called “rationalistic humanism.” This has led to the moral breakdown of our culture and the horrors that have followed. A woman has the “right” to determine whether or not to kill a baby in her womb. This has led to the death of more than 51 million children in America. Four out of every seven African-American children die as a result. An individual has the “right” to determine for himself what is ethical and what is immoral. And in the case of Terri Schiavo an individual (her husband) had the “right” to starve his crippled wife to death. And the worst is yet to come. Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer said,

Humanists have been determined to beat to death the knowledge of God and the knowledge that God has not been silent, but has spoken in the Bible and through Christ…We see two effects of our loss of meaning and values. The first is degeneracy…decadence, depravity, a love of violence for violence’s sake. If we look, we see it…But we must notice that there is a second result of modern man’s loss of meaning and values which is more ominous, and which many people do not see. This second result is that the elite will exist. Society cannot stand chaos. Some people or group will fill the vacuum. An elite [the self-proclaimed “best group”] will offer us arbitrary absolutes and who will stand in the way? (Francis A. Schaeffer, D.D., How Should We Then Live?, Crossway Books, 1979 reprint, pp. 226-227).

More likely than having a dictator imposed, it is probable that we will vote an authoritarian regime into office out of the fear of losing personal peace and prosperity. The universal health care and other “poison candy” the humanists offer, will only ensure that all Americans will receive equally poor medical care. Britain and Canada are proof of what may happen here as well. The middle class will be taxed out of existence (this is already in progress), and there will only be two groups of people in the country – the very poor and the very rich. This is occurring right now. In the end the very rich elite will impose an authoritarian regime upon the very poor. The number of things that are regulated now will vastly multiply. The banishment of cigarette smoking in public places “by law,” is one of the harbingers of the authoritarian socialist state that I believe will one day control America. First the cigarettes go, then the Big Macs will become illegal, because the elite will say they are unsafe for human consumption. Steaks, eggs, whole milk, and many commodities we take for granted, will be unavailable except on the black market, where they will be obtained only at very high prices and certain risks. These are not fantasies. Things like that have already happened in the Soviet Union, Hitler’s Germany, and the People’s Republic of China. For instance, the Chinese were told by the Communists that a one-child policy was best, but later they made it inflexible law. Today women are dragged by the legs from their homes to have the baby cut out of their stomachs by Communist officials – even into the ninth month of pregnancy. America was not far behind with its “partial birth abortions” of eight- and nine-month-old babies, where the babies were extracted, all but the head, and then their little arms and legs were cut off while the struggling child screamed in the womb of its mother. This was only recently outlawed by a slim majority of the Supreme Court. A government that makes no attempt to stop such horrors is a state that is swiftly moving into totalitarianism, where the government makes up the mind of the people. When life and death are controlled by a secular Supreme Court (or politicians) the people no longer have a right to speak out, and those who do speak up are severely treated.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008) was put in a Soviet prison from 1945 to 1975, when he was expelled from the Soviet Union for writing about the unspeakable prison system, where millions died, many of them for saying a politically incorrect word or two in private concerning the downside of Communism. Solzhenitsyn spoke to the Western academia at Harvard University in 1978. They applauded him at first, until they realized that he was criticizing them for promoting the “rationalistic humanism” that ruined his own country of Russia. There was little applause or admiration for him in the West after that speech. He said that the humanistic elite in America are leading this nation into a totalitarian socialist state, just as they did in Russia in the early part of the twentieth century.

While Solzhenitsyn was in prison he converted to Orthodox Christianity from atheism. Late in life he said, “My religion is the foundation of my life.” So Dr. Francis Schaeffer and Alexander Solzhenitsyn were essentially the same in their view that our liberal schools and media will one day lead to an authoritarian state.

My personal belief is that our country will keep the same names and outward forms that we have always had (President, Senate, Congress, states, counties, courts, and songs about freedom) but become more and more controlling and socialist in actual function, to where almost everything is regulated by the government for the public good. In this way socialist authoritarianism will come by the back door, controlling our lives in the name of what is good, while all the time appearing to stand for the American values of freedom and justice for all.

Remember that the professors in your college and the young people who agree with them, will one day view you as a very dangerous person, as they did Solzhenitsyn in Russia and Richard Wurmbrand in Romania. It is then, in the not too distant future, that I think it will be a crime to be a Bible-believing Christian. Dr. Schaeffer believed that the minority that are Bible-believing Christians in this country will one day be considered enemies of this country because they refuse to believe the unbiblical presuppositions of the state – such as, “It is more important to save a small animal like an ermine than to save a baby,” “It is more important to save a tree than an old man in a rest home,” “It is more important to save a small species of ‘jumping mouse’ than to save a woman dying from starvation like Terri Schiavo,” whose husband told the court she must die because she was not fit to live. That sounds as though his argument was based on Darwin’s “survival of the fittest,” doesn’t it? It should. That’s where the humanists got the idea in the first place!

But the real safety and liberty of our society rests on the principles and words of the Bible. Never forget that. The “culture war” is between those who want to control “the masses,” words taken right out of the Communist Manifesto. Christians should not forget that rationalistic humanism is the enemy of Christianity – because we believe in the absolutes contained in the Bible, and we do not trust the whims of humanism because we know that they rise out of human depravity rather than God’s revelation in Scripture.

The difference is simple. They believe that they have a better plan for us than the Bible does. But we believe that the Bible is the Word of God, given to us by the Creator to govern our behavior and guide us through life, and into eternity beyond. That is what our opening text of Scripture plainly says.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (II Timothy 3:16-17).

Our lives as Christians should be governed by God in Christ, and by God’s commandments in the Bible rather than the social whims of the humanists.

The Bible is the Christian’s sole source of information concerning right and wrong. Things that are different are not the same. Either the Bible is right or the humanists are right. They can’t both be right for three reasons:

1.  First, man is a fallen creature and cannot, therefore, determine right and wrong for himself, because he fell morally, spiritually and mentally when Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden.

2.  Second, the Bible gives us what God thinks, not what we ourselves believe to be right.

3.  Third, this puts you in a position where you must choose between what you think and what God says in Scripture.

a.  Is it right or wrong to live your life for pleasure and material gain?

b.  Is it right or wrong to believe and obey the Bible, or reject it?

c.  Is it right or wrong to submit your life to God in Christ?

d.  Is it right or wrong to become a part of a New Testament church and stay in it?

e.  Is it right or wrong to obey the Great Commission and engage in evangelism, as Christ commanded in Matthew 28:19-20?

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:19-20).

The answers to these questions are based on authority. Does your authority depend on your own opinion, or is it based on the God-given words of the Bible?

The Declaration of Independence is the foundation of our nation. It was signed by men who believed the Bible. It speaks of “nature’s God” and goes on to say,

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Those thoughts came directly from the Bible. If we forget them, or reject them, we “will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of a perverted science” (Winston S. Churchill, speech to the House of Commons, June 18, 1940, quoted in Finest Hour: Winston S. Churchill 1939-1941, by Martin Gilbert, William Heinemann, Ltd., 1983, pp. 570-571). Those are the words of Churchill. They are as true today as they were when he first said them at the beginning of World War II. Without the Bible, we “will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of a perverted science.”

Let every person here this morning stand by the Bible and reject the sinister and poisonous propaganda of what Solzhenitsyn called “rationalistic humanism.”

And if you want to be on the Biblical side in the culture war, make sure you are truly converted to Christ. Make sure that you have submitted your life to Him. Make sure you believe in Him who died on the Cross for your sins and rose again for your justification. And be sure you get into a Bible-believing church and attend it every time the door is open. Then, no matter what happens in this evil world, you will be safe and secure in God’s eternal kingdom. May that be your experience and your hope.

And one more thing. We have been criticized for evangelizing lost young people as we do. A man who was once a leader in our church told many people that the evangelizing we do is not necessary. People who left our church in years gone by have said that evangelism and soul winning are not necessary, that we should give it up. They have viciously attacked us for doing evangelism as a result of their “rationalistic humanist” mind set.

Even “campus ministry” people, who claim to be Christians, have done all they could to stop us – primarily because they say we should not evangelize college young people and bring them into the warmth and fellowship of our church. We have found such “campus” Christians antagonistic to the Baptist local church approach to evangelism. We have been thrown off of college campuses and driven away from other places where we evangelize, because self-important little “security guards” or “campus Christians” think it is their duty to stop us from winning the lost.

We must realize that these people have been influenced, whether they know it or not, by the socialist police-state mentality produced by “rationalistic humanism.” What are we to do? Will we listen to them and stop bringing people to our church to hear the Gospel and have a meal and a party afterwards? Should we eat with publicans and sinners as Jesus did? Or should we leave them to die in their sins and never try to reach them for Christ, and bring them into our church?

I think you know the answer. Jesus said,

“Compel them to come in, that my house may be filled”
      (Luke 14:23).

When the Apostles were arrested by the rulers and the high priest, these authoritarian leaders threatened them, then they called them in before their council and,

“commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus” (Acts 4:18).

But Peter and John said,

“We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20).

Again, a few days later, they were arrested and told to stop evangelizing. At this time the authoritarian leadership

“took counsel to slay them” (Acts 5:33).

But Peter and the other Apostles had answered them by saying,

“We ought to obey God rather than men” when it comes to evangelizing the lost (Acts 5:29).

And then the Apostles went right back to evangelize the lost, bringing them into the local church at Jerusalem.

The Apostles are our examples. “We ought to obey God rather than men” and go right on evangelizing the lost no matter what the self-imposed “authoritarians” say. The Apostles are our examples. We should follow them, and obey Christ’s Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) rather than obeying an agent of the humanistic state, or a self-important security guard who is probably ignorant of the great principles of freedom of speech and freedom of religion, guaranteed in the American Constitution.

Pay no attention to these “guards,” or “campus ministries” who are critics of Baptist local church evangelism, so much like the “authoritarians” who tried to stop the Apostles from evangelizing. Go on! Obey God rather than men! Never let them stop you from obeying Christ and bringing in the lost to hear the Gospel of Christ, His Blood atonement, His resurrection, and their need to be saved by Him from the penalty of sin by His Blood, shed on the Cross. Go on – and let nothing stop you from obeying Christ, who said,

“Compel them to come in, that my house may be filled”
      (Luke 14:23).

When they drive you away from where you are evangelizing, go around the block and come in another way – and do what Christ commanded again! Don’t talk back. Don’t be mean, but go back and obey Christ and don’t let them stop you! And whatever you do, don’t let some member of a “campus ministry” group stop you. Strangely, they are often the ones most affected by “rationalistic humanism.” Obey the higher law of Christ! Don’t talk back. Be kind and sweet, but go back and evangelize for Jesus and don’t let them stop you! We are Baptists. We believe in the local church. Keep on doing Baptist local church evangelism, and don’t let any new-evangelical “campus ministry” stop you!

Please stand and sing both stanzas of Dr. Oswald J. Smith’s song, “Evangelize! Evangelize!”

Give us a watchword for the hour, A thrilling word, a word of power,
A battle cry, a flaming breath That calls to conquest or to death.
A word to rouse the church from rest, To heed the Master’s strong request.
The call is given, Ye hosts, arise, Our watchword is, evangelize!

The glad evangel now proclaim, Through all the earth, in Jesus’ name;
This word is ringing through the skies: Evangelize! Evangelize!
To dying men, a fallen race, Make known the gift of Gospel grace;
The world that now in darkness lies, Evangelize! Evangelize!
   (“Evangelize! Evangelize!” by Dr. Oswald J. Smith, 1889-1986;
      to the tune of “And Can It Be?” by Charles Wesley, 1707-1788).

May God help you to obey Him rather those whose hearts are blinded by the foul principles of “rationalistic humanism.” May God fill you with zeal as you go out to evangelize the lost this afternoon. This we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.realconversion.com. Click on “Sermon Manuscripts.”

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: II Timothy 3:12-17.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Faith of Our Fathers” (by Frederick W. Faber, 1814-1863).