The Ship of State Flounders While the Ship of Zion Rides the Crest
Rev. D. Earl Cripe Ph.D.
January 20, 2010
I have long-since acknowledged that I am not Soul Brother number one in the world of religious commentators. Even so, my ministry, my media outreach, and my commentary writing keep my finger on the pulse of the trends in modern Christendom. Lately, the responses to my blogs, reactions to articles on Facebook, comments from those who visit this website, in e-mails, over chats, in letters, and on phone calls I have sensed a very distinct development in the Christian community. The rising crescendo of voices is simply too loud to ignore. In pulpits, on radio and TV, on Christian blogs and a host of other outlets for the opinions of church leadership, there is an impassioned and persistent call for a return to personal and meaningful study of the Bible, sincere and continued prayer to God, and a focus on sanctification and commitment in the Church and in individual lives. I am convinced that this trend is real and not an invention for the comments and the points that we wish to make at the moment.
It may well be not the current cultural freefall, as to economics, social issues, intolerance of Orthodox Christianity, and the descent of the visible church into the darkness of religious humanism is behind this renewed conviction. If so, that is not only a good thing but in keeping with the kinds of forces that have most often inspired true revival among the people of God.
In the West we have become hardened and indifferent to momentary recessions and new amoral and situation-ethics trends that threaten traditional Judaic-Christian social behavior. But this time it is different. The outbreak of new-paradigm wars that seemingly cannot be resolved by force or diplomacy, the onset of uncontrollable diseases, devastating natural catastrophes, crumbling of the economic structure, and destruction of the family as the basic unit of society is worldwide, it is pronounced, and there is no real reason for optimism on the natural level. To Historic Orthodox Christianity this is inevitable. It is the direct result of a final decision on the part of Adam's children to reject to God, His person, and His Kingdom. In the Incarnation the only perfect teacher in the world has ever seen or heard came down and sat in the churches and synagogues of the most religious society in human history. With mighty signs and wonders, with tears, with passion, and with dire warnings of judgment He called upon the people to turn from their evil ways and to accept the Kingdom that He was offering them.
But even before this effort was made its failure was projected by the prophets. The children of Adam cannot be reformed. In the Cross of Christ a vehicle was established for destroying them and giving spiritual birth to a new man into the New Creation of the Last Adam. When Jesus stood before the Roman Procurator Pilate, He declared that the effort to reform Adam's children had ended in failure and would never be made again. From that point forward a New Kingdom would emerge that was in this world, but not of it, and it would be inhabited by a new type of citizen who was not born to the family of the first Adam but to the family of Christ the Last Adam. Everywhere in the Bible judgment is pronounced on this world. Satan is the God of this world and the whole world lies in darkness and wickedness. In the last days, said St. Paul the Apostle, evil men and seducers will get worse and worse deceiving others and being themselves deceived. In the third chapter of his second letter, St. Peter says that this world is judged and the day is soon coming when God will send it back to nothingness from whence He fetched. The old creation and all the natural children who are the result of being made from the dust of the ground (and have never been reborn into the infinite and deathless realm of the New Creation) will never exist anymore.
The materialism in our pseudo-Christianity has allowed us to ignore that truth and to stumble forward in a humanistic and misguided blindness to fill our hands and our pockets with the perishing stuff of mortality. But now, to the thinking person, it has become evident that there is no future in this old creation. Like every civilization of the past, blasphemy, perversion and anarchy are bringing us down. Anyone who looks for Christ to come back and bail us out in some future and naturalistic kingdom — where He will give to the children of Adam the kind of kingdom that they wanted when He was here before and he refused to let them have — is functioning in a mental fog and a theological vacuum. The next great prophetic event in human history will be the Second Coming of Christ and the end of the world. It is this awareness that has inspired a desire in the breasts of many Christians just now, to abandon the sinking Ship of State and get on that Old Ship of Zion that is skillfully negotiating the stormy seas, sailing an eternal course and headed for eternal shores.
Like Lot in Sodom, we are vexed from day to day by what we see happening in this godless and perverted society. Even so, our spirits are high as we sense the end of time and history approaching. It is that new-found spiritual awareness that is bringing men back the Bible and to their knees. Praise God! Amen!