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The Scripture Reading: Romans 1:18-32.
The Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag.
The Solo by Benjamin Kincaid Griffith: "Take the World, But Give Me Jesus"

by Fanny J. Crosby (1820-1915).


by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Morning, October 14, 2001

"Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools" (Romans 1:21-22).

On Monday night I heard a CNN television news report that the ACLU has brought a lawsuit against a public school in northern California for displaying the words "God Bless America" on a sign board in front of the school. The ACLU said that the words "God Bless America" "inspire hatred and division." What an absolutely insane statement! And yet many secularists in America agree with it.

Let's untwist the wrong thinking of the ACLU and its supporters. Who is offended by the words "God Bless America"? Certainly not the Christians, either Catholic or Protestant, in any denomination. Certainly not any practicing Jew. After all, the words "God Bless America" come to us directly from the song of that title, written in 1939 by Irving Berlin, a practicing Jew. No mainstream Muslim in America would be offended by these words either, for they profess to believe in one God, whom they call Allah. Nor would a Buddhist or Hindu be offended by these words, since "God" is not defined in the slogan, and so, could be interpreted by them to refer to their deities. Even agnostics should not reasonably be offended by the slogan, since an agnostic merely says that he is not sure whether there is a God or not. He is not against believing in God, but only unsure of His existence. Therefore a reasonable agnostic would not be alarmed at a harmless slogan that merely calls on an unspecified deity to bless his nation in a time of terrorism.

Who then is offended? Only a very small group of militant atheists! They compose less than one percent of the American people! Why should over 99% of our people have to give in to this tiny group? After all, we are supposed to be a democracy, which means (though they don't want us to remember it) that the majority of people are supposed to decide things - not a tiny group of vicious God-haters, backed up by highly paid attorneys! Why don't they let the people vote for things like this?  I think it's because they know that the American people would vote overwhelmingly to put prayer back in the schools if it were put on a ballot and decided democratically.  In the name of tolerance and love, the ACLU tells us that the slogan "God Bless America" causes "hatred and division." I say, poppycock, tomfoolery, "professing themselves to be wise, they became fools" (Romans 1:22).

In case you hadn't noticed, the ACLU and their secularist backers are Hell-bent on removing any mention of God or especially His Son, Jesus, from public life in our nation. And when they have succeeded, then they will go into our churches and tell us what we can or can't say here. Well, I have news for them. This is one Baptist preacher who will never acquiesce to their secular purging of God from this church. They will tell me what to say in this pulpit over my dead body - and in no other way!

They have removed all mention of Christmas and Easter from our public schools - but they strongly allow these same schools to celebrate Halloween, the Devil's birthday. They reject God, and they reject Christ, but they allow every public school child to celebrate the demonic holiday of Halloween. How did such a twisting of religious preference come about in American life? Let us consider that thought carefully this morning.

I. First, we need to remember that America once knew God.

If the public schools taught a little more U.S. History instead of so much sex education, you kids would already know what I'm going to tell you. I don't blame you. It isn't your fault. It's the fault of the secularists, who have removed nearly all mention of our Judeo-Christian heritage from the school books you read.

But I'm here to tell you that America was founded by people who believed the Bible. References to the Bible are all through the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. Our coins have "In God We Trust" imprinted on them. These words are also printed on our paper money. Every President takes his oath of office with his right hand placed on a Bible, and promises to defend the Constitution and the nation with the words, "So help me God." Words of Scripture are written in many places on the walls of the Capitol in Washington, D.C., and on many other public buildings there. A minister opens every session of Congress with prayer. Another chaplain opens every session of the United States Senate with prayer. These traditions go back over two hundred years, to the very beginning of our nation.

Presidents, Congressmen, and Senators begin their work with authorized public prayer. But the ACLU says that our children can't do the same thing, that it "inspires hatred and division" if they do. Yet I clearly remember praying in the third grade in public school in Arizona, when I was a child. I remember participating in a Christmas play, as one of the wise men, in a Los Angeles public school when I was a child - and no one thought anything about it!  We had far less hatred and violence back then, in the 1940s, than we do since God has been banned from the school room!

The secularists now tell us that all of this was "unconstitutional." I have always found it absurd that no one thought of that before the 1960s, including Thomas Jefferson, who took his oath of office as President with his hand on a Bible, and said, "So help me God" - and never once complained anywhere that he did so!  And Thomas Jefferson never said anywhere, even in private conversation, that prayer in a school room was unconstitutional.  Thomas Jefferson was in complete agreement that prayer and Bible study should take place in every school room in America.  If he had said even one word against it, they would be trumpeting it at every opportunity!  It took Madalyn Murray O'Hair to tell us what even Jefferson never said, that kids can't pray in a school room. No one before O'Hair and the ACLU ever thought it was wrong or said so. O'Hair's own son, who she put up in court as a little boy to say he didn't want to pray, has now retracted his statement. He says repeatedly now that his mother was wrong, that she was a Communist sympathizer, and did not correctly interpret our Constitution. I say that her son is right - and the ACLU and his mother were dead wrong! Yes, she is dead. One of her secularist "friends" chopped her to pieces and buried her body parts in a remote area of Texas. That's what she got from the secularist who backed her up in removing God from our public schools!  We have been disintegrating as a nation ever since prayer was banned from the public school rooms.

II. America became vain in its imaginations.

In 1845 millions of Irish immigrants began pouring into the United States as a result of the potato famine in Ireland. This wave of immigration brought millions of Roman Catholics into the great cities of America for the first time. Previously our nation had been overwhelmingly Protestant. Many of the Irish Catholics could have been won at this time, but the Protestants began to retreat from the cities. Instead of winning the lost, they began to withdraw to the countryside.

That has been going on for the past 150 years. In the twentieth century Fundamental Christianity became largely a rural and backwoods religion as a result. For instance, Prattville, Alabama has a population of 28,000 people and has three (3) churches listed in the Baptist Bible Fellowship directory, while Manhattan, New York has zero (0) churches listed. So, in Prattville, Alabama, there is one BBF church for about every 9,000 people, but Manhattan, New York has not one BBF church for two million people! Hutchinson, Kansas has a population of 39,000 and has seven churches listed in the directory. Los Angeles, with a population of four million has two churches listed. Our church, the Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle, is the only BBF church located in the central city of Los Angeles. So, Hutchinson, Kansas has one BBF church for about every 5½ thousand people, while Los Angeles has only two churches for four million people!

When BBF men gather to plan a new church, they target a far-away suburb, way out in Canyon Country, or deep in Orange County. It doesn't seem to enter their minds to start a church among the four million unreached people of Los Angeles. One preacher said to me, "There aren't any people in Los Angeles anymore." What he meant was, "There aren't any white people."

It is the greatest possible hypocrisy that we have "faith promise" and trumpet missions constantly, but have never started a church in Los Angeles! Pacific Coast Baptist Bible College existed in San Dimas, California for about twenty years, but in all that time never once did any of its students start a single church west of the college. Every church they started was east of the college - where the conservative white people live. Not a single student in twenty years cared enough about the lost multitudes in Los Angeles to try to reach them for Christ.  Our church did not start as a BBF church, and neither did the other one.  So the BBFI has never started a new church in Los Angeles in all these years! I am not saying this to attack the BBFI, but as an exhortation. I am exhorting our preachers to send someone to help us reach this city! Every great city in America needs to have "home missionaries." Send some missionaries to our own cities, before we have anarchy in the streets!  It's a terrible shame that wasn't done long ago!  We just haven't done our job!

And that is the story of conservative Protestantism in America. Our churches retreated from Boston, New York, San Francisco and other great cities out into the countryside. We left the cities to be taken over by the Roman Catholics and the cults.

In 1890 evangelist D. L. Moody said, "We must reach the cities if we want a Christian America," but few people listened to him. We kept building churches out in Prattville, Alabama; Berryville, Arkansas; Poppyseed, Kansas; and Pumpville, Texas - while we let the great cities go to Hell, without lifting a finger to save them!

We also retreated from the intellectual life of our nation. We withdrew from running the newspapers and the universities. We allowed atheists, Communists and "free thinkers" to take over the media and entertainment industries. We then sat mindlessly for hours every night in front of our TVs and let them pump their sewage through our brains by the hour.

With the fundamentalist Christians hiding out in Pumpville, Texas, America was overrun with pagan religion and atheism - and no one lifted a finger to reverse the situation.

Oh, they occasionally attended a Billy Graham crusade, or another so-called "evangelistic meeting" where they marched the church kids forward so they could pronounce them "saved" - right before they left the church for good. They then called them "backslidden" when they didn't attend church for thirty years. This was the "decisionist" response to a nation rapidly turning away from God toward atheism.

"Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened"

(Romans 1:21).

And then the next verse says:

"Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools"

(Romans 1:22).

Which brings us to the last point of this sermon.

III. Thirdly, America became a nation of fools.

When people reject the truth of the Bible, the darkness of spiritual falsehood comes in like a flood. Men become fools by believing their own philosophies about God, the universe, and life itself.

The fourth century historian Eusebius reported that the oldest civilizations had no idols. Persia, Rome, Greece, Egypt, and China had no idols when they were founded. But Romans 1:21-32 shows the downward spiral these civilizations took - going from light to darkness. And this is the same path America is taking this morning.

"Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools" (Romans 1:21-22).

America has gone from a nation of Pilgrims and Puritans to a nation of pagans who seldom attend church. We have gone from a nation that started with Thanksgiving to a nation where even the adults dress up like ghouls and demons on Halloween. We have gone from Thanksgiving to God to the worship of Satan in less than two hundred years! We have turned from being a nation where every school child was taught the Bible, to being a nation where the birth of Christ and Easter cannot even be mentioned - but where every school child is encouraged to glorify Satan at Halloween - in the school room! We have become a nation of spiritual fools (cf. Romans 1:22).

Why have we turned away from God and turned to the Satanic idols of Halloween? Why do our people glory in Halloween rather than Jesus Christ? The answer is simple. The Bible says:

"Men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light…"

(John 3:19-20).

People who are evil hate the light of Christmas and Easter. They hate the light of Jesus Christ. They even hate the light of the slogan "God Bless America." These evil people hate the light of the Bible and the Gospel. Why? "Because their deeds [are] evil" (John 3:19).

That's why several of you have parents that don't want you to come back to this church. One teenager told me recently, "They didn't care when I ran out and partied all night. But now they are furious because I want to come to church." Another teenager was kicked out of his home last Sunday for coming to our church. He told his mother, "I need God." But his mother said, "I'm your God!" And she kicked him out of his home!

Parents like that are absolutely evil!

"Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools"

(Romans 1:22).

Tell people I said that - and put it on the Internet!

Listen to me this morning. If you become a real Christian in these evil days, someone is going to be upset with you. Several years ago, when I was pastoring in northern California, a girl came to our church and got saved. She had been a hippie. She had taken drugs and done many other sinful things. But someone brought her to our church and she got saved. When she cleaned up her life and became a Christian, her mother became furious and threatened to kick her out of the home. When I heard about that I went to the woman's house to reason with her. It was an expensive home in a rich neighborhood. The mother invited me in and gave me a chair. She sat down on the sofa, and looked at me with an angry face. Then she said this about her daughter, "When she became a hippie, I could handle it. When she took drugs and ran around with boys, I could handle it. But now she has become a Christian - and I cannot and will not stand for it!" She spewed out the word "Christian" like it was the most horrible, vile thing her daughter could have become! "Now she has become a Christian - and I cannot and will not stand for it!" I couldn't calm her down. As I left the house I could smell hard liquor on the woman's breath. A few days later she did kick the girl out for becoming a Christian. She moved in with some people from the church and grew into a strong Christian woman. The last I heard of this girl, she had gone out as a missionary.

That young girl made the right choice, but it was a hard one for a new Christian to make. It cost her the affection of her mother, and her home, to become a real follower of Christ.

Jesus said:

"He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me" (Matthew 10:37-38).

If you become a true Christian, someone in your family may be very upset. Count the cost. Jesus said that if you become a real Christian, "A man's foes [enemies] shall be they of his own household" (Matthew 10:36).

Is it worth it? You bet it is!Jesus suffered, bled, and died on the Cross to pay for your sins. If you come to know Christ, your sins will be cancelled out - paid for forever. And Christ arose physically from the dead. He is alive, up in Heaven, seated on the right hand of God - praying for you. If you put your trust in Jesus, the Son of God, you will have eternal life. Yes, it is worth whatever it costs you to become a real Christian!

Let the world return to paganism. Let them play with Satan on Halloween! You be in church! Leave the world and come into this local church! Leave Halloween and come to Jesus Christ - the Son of the living God!

Come to Christ wholeheartedly.  Make it the most important thing you do - because it is the most important thing in all of life!  Come into the church.  Come back tonight.  Come back next Sunday.  Turn your life over to Jesus Christ, and His Blood will wash your sins away, and you will live forever in the Kingdom of God!

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at Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."

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or you may write to him at P.O. Box 15308, Los Angeles, CA 90015.
Or phone him at (818)352-0452.

The Scripture Reading: Romans 1:18-32.
The Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag.
The Solo by Benjamin Kincaid Griffith: "Take the World, But Give Me Jesus"

by Fanny J. Crosby (1820-1915).



by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

"Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools" (Romans 1:21-22).

I.   America once knew God, Romans 1:22a.

II.  America became vain in its imaginations, Romans 1:21-22.

III. America became a nation made up largely of fools,
Romans 1:21-22; John 3:19-20; Romans 1:22;
Matthew 10:37-38; Matthew 10:36.