Vol. 8, No. 2
~ Page 14 ~
Back in the 1960's, American Protestantism became totally confused when T.J.J. Altizer of Emory University announced that God is dead. Many Evangelicals around the nation went ballistic and responded in all kinds of ways, some honorable and some strange. Having read Dr. Altizer's book, we are not so sure he meant what people thought he meant. However, whatever he meant, Americans, for the most part, are now living as if God were dead. One regularly reads articles from the hands of various Evangelicals in which they call their own churches, or other churches, to task for not being what they once were. They throw charges and counter charges at one another regarding the inspiration of the Scriptures, ordaining homosexual ministers, of both sexes and many other issues that seem to be tearing them apart rather than giving them solidarity.
In the 1960s, at the behest of certain immoral gurus, American youth turned to Zen, drugs, sex and New Age to take the place of God, and these things have now done that to the point that we have reared a generation of people who practice, what one observer called "anonymous Christianity," which resulted in many church buildings that were once packed with worshipers now stand mostly empty, trying all sorts of bizarre things to attract people who are no longer interested, because for them, God is dead.
In the place of the Gospel of Christ, men have substituted a social welfare Gospel trying to build new houses, new neighborhoods and things of this nature. None of these efforts have contributed a whit to the rebuilding of once thriving congregations of people who were ready to stand firm for their faith while they helped the needy. Others have gone off to serve in such things as the Peace Corp, and some spend their time begging money from the American public for their save the children campaigns. Again, none of these things have resulted in a renewal of worship and service in the churches of America, and for all intents and purposes, God is dead. Even the Roman Catholic Church, known for centuries for her power to draw her people to worship, find their chapels, churches, cathedrals and basilicas standing empty due to the fact that there is a great deal of confusion about God, who he is and what he wants from man. Recently, a Roman Catholic philosopher wrote, "I do not understand God, nor the way in which he works. If, occasionally, I raise my heart in prayer, it is to no God I can see, or hear, or feel. It is to a God in as cold and obscure a polar night as any non-believer has known." It would be our guess that to this gentleman, God is dead!
Yet this theologian-philosopher is not alone. Legion are the meetinghouses in which people are no longer taught of the God of the Bible, but instead are entertained by rock "Christian" music, funny stories told by stand-up comics who call themselves clergy people. They have not turned to studying the Bible and telling people what they really want to know about God, but have turned, in some instances, to almost carnival-like shows to entertain, but never edify. The tragedy of all this is that it says to the world, "We too, believe God is dead."
There is so little Bible knowledge among many today that rather than attempt to find the truth from the Bible on any matter, they have turned to the, "if that is what you believe is right, it is right," mentality. The word of the last half century is "tolerance." The idea is that biblical truth is no longer worth seeking, let us all just tolerate beliefs no matter how bizarre. "After all," they quip, "who are you to say what is right for me?" For these people, God is dead. They are not interested in finding his will and doing it; they are interested in feeling good, being undisturbed about any matter and everyone be right. It is as it was in the days of the Judges of the Old Testament; "In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes." Friends, this kind of weak and insipid approach to God is simply unacceptable. America will either return to the Bible and the God of it, or accept completely the Satan-inspired myth that God is dead!