While men slept, the enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat Part 2
The first part of this article was about our society, which is fast going on the down side with life losing meaning. The daily news is full of horror, the killing of innocent people, and character assassination. It is fast becoming a common occurrence (the norm) for those considered prominent in society and wealthy to commit suicide. Behavior which in the past which was considered demeaning and inappropriate is now being celebrated. Persons who are given the position of trust have betrayed such public trust. A life of integrity is reserved for those who do not seek to be popular or care to be celebrated by the public. Unfortunately, credible analysis does not suggest that better days are to be expected. As a result, many Christians are eagerly looking forward for the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. The objective of this writing is therefore to inform and educate people on why and how the world got to this sorry state. It is also to help the world and lovers of the good life to know what steps to be taken to reduce the pains caused by our past errors. The world is in a huge mess but definitely not out of control for God. The Scripture says, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Mat. 19:26). Those who know and fear God would only need to seize the momentum and thrust the situation into the hands of God. God is a God of second chances.
The enemy, Satan always strategizes and waits for our unguarded hours to strike. The Bible calls Satan an adversary of the human race who moves about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour; and we are advised to be sober and on the alert so as not to be trapped by his ploys. A lack of adequate watch when it matters creates opportunities for Satan to harm the endowments of God in us, resulting in the deterioration of life. Knowing who Satan is and having an understanding of his operations in the world will help us to arrest the deteriorating situation in the world and guide us against a repeat of the past. One of the principal avenues used by Satan to hold our world captive is the corruption of our educational system. Knowledge makes a society, and progress in a society is the function of what kind of knowledge the people are exposed to. King Solomon said, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Prov 1:7). “Gold there is, and rubies in abundance, but lips that speak knowledge are a rare jewel” (Prov 20:15). No knowledge with the exclusion of God has paid off. Secular education and science were productive in the world when they were mixed with the knowledge and fear of God. And God said through the mouth of prophet Hosea: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” (Hosea 4:6). The removal of the Knowledge of God has resulted in the breakdown of godly values in our society. Satan is dominating the system of the world with evil. If people are not adequately equipped with the knowledge of the words of God there is a high likelihood for them to do evil.
Human relationships were corrupted when sin entered into human lives. The people who were created in the image of God and character of God became vile in their behavior. Satan met with Eve and subtly attacked the knowledge of Eve and Adam on the words and instructions of God. “Has God said you shall not eat of the fruit of the garden?” The devil queried (Gen 3:1). The cozy relationship between Adam and Eve and their God was messed up as a result of their disobedience to the words of God. It remains true that any moment we move away from the words of God, we enter into darkness. God provided the Ten Commandments to help humanity to manage their daily interactions, and to make room for orderliness and peace in society. Godly values require that we equip ourselves with the knowledge of God and His words. A society that will succeed must arm its people with a Godly education. The Lord commanded the Jews concerning His laws: “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth” (Deut. 11:18-21). God has continued to remind His people of the necessity for Godly knowledge. When Joshua took over the leadership of Israel, after the death of Moses, God told him: “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” (Joshua 1:8)
The importance of education in society cannot be overemphasized. Past, notable leaders in society recognized the significance of education to our world. Malcom X said, “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” Christine Gregoire simply said, “Education is the foundation upon which we build our future.” The great Black Nationalist, Nelson Mandela, believed that you cannot change society by war, artillery, or rockets but that you can do so through education. He said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Perhaps a most profound and prophetic statement on education was from Allan Bloom who said, “Education is the movement from darkness to light.” Bloom, a Chicago professor, and second- generation Jew in the US, might not realize that his words were prophetic, but today, his words speak to the horror facing the world as true education is being distorted or out rightly destroyed and replaced with evil. The founders of America built the nation on strong godly education because they knew that darkness and ignorance is a destroyer of society. They used the Bible as the major textbook for English instruction, and employed Catechists as school instructors because of their conviction that only Christian values produce light. The Lord Jesus who propounded the Christian faith said, I am the light of the world, and anyone who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12). Huge successes were recorded in all sphere of life in most Western countries because they followed same pattern in building their communities in those early days. The schools were manned by proven people of integrity. They were not just professors, but professors who professed Godly values. All fields of human endeavor were filled with researchers who combined intellectualism and Godly fear in the field of engineering, medicine, pharmacy, economics, education, etc. Curriculums in most of the faculties were designed with God’s intent and they were highly successful. The results of those efforts are part of what the world relies on today.
Also, guidance through Christian education formed the basis for the efforts offered by the early missionaries from Europe and America to other lands including Africa. The efforts recorded huge success as many lives in those parts of the world were transformed and many of them are now blessings to Europe and America. But things dramatically changed over the years in these nations that produced wonderful men of God who gave selflessly for the world. Satan began to attack the foundations of the seemingly successful society. In the United States of America, Satan, through deception, whittled down the voice of God in the educational system, resulting in the collapse of the society’s Godly values. In the 18th century, it was a normal practice in public schools to begin school with Bible reading and prayers. If Children did not have the opportunity of knowing about God at home, they were privileged to receive it at school every morning with the reading of the Bible to hear about God or prayers. But Christians opened the door for the enemy to attack these Godly virtues in America. They fought each other without restraint on church doctrines. American Catholics and Protestants openly fought over doctrines and unadvisedly approach the worldly courts to settle church matters. As a result, they invited those who did not have the knowledge and fear of God to adjudicate for them. Fighting over doctrines that did not add value to the propagation of the gospel and the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ gave the court the opportunity to stop the practice that has been of immense value to the nation. They eventually robbed school children and future American leaders of Godly practices of prayer and reading of God’s words. The future American leaders were left vulnerable to other ungodly practices waiting to occupy them. For example, the Weiss and District Board case of 1890. Engel v. Vitale of 1962 and Abington School District v. Schempp case dealt a big blow to Godly practices in American schools. Since then, Satan has made tremendous progress in getting Godly practices away from our public lives.
The fight among the church folk has not stopped. My recent interactions with some protestant pastors showed that the church has not learned any lessons. Some pastors fight over Bible versions. Some church leaders cannot accommodate any other version of the Bible other than their preference. We continue to fight each other on mundane issues while Satan gets through with his strategies to stop the gospel of Christ for which we are called to defend. Old King James, NIV, NKJV, etc.; so, what? What does it matter? Paul said all he cared about was that the gospel be preached. He said, “It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former, preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice,” (Philippians 1:15-18). Martin Luther King, Jr. said “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
The greatest test to Christian religious freedom in American society is the popular pronouncement of former President Thomas Jefferson, which became part of the nation’s first amendment to the constitution of the United States of America which reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” This has been wildly interpreted as “Separation of Church and State.” Justice Hugo Black used the pronouncement to put a wall between the people and their Godly practice when he ruled in 1947 in the Everson v. Board of Education that: “In the words of Thomas Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect a wall of separation between church and state.” The ruling of Justice Hugo became the useful tool in the hands of Satan to restrict Christian practices in public places in the United States. Ironically, other religious practices do not appear to be restricted by that ruling. Also, the opponents of the church do not care to recognize the ruling of the US Supreme Court in Zorach v. Clauson, that “institutions presuppose a Supreme Being” inferring that the authors of the American Constitution recognized God, and did not intend to prohibit Christian practices in their daily conducts of personal and official businesses. Rather, it is believed that President Jefferson and other early leaders were concerned that a particular Christian denomination or group could foist their opinion on the state, thereby overriding opinions of other denominations. So, it was the issue of the Christian group, and not the Christian church or religion that was being referenced, as they were all a Christian people.
The early Americans wanted to give every citizen the freedom to worship God in a way they chose to do without infringing on the rights of others. Judging from their experience with religious establishments in Europe in which the Catholic church or Church of England (Anglican) were a voice of the state curtailing the freedom of others, the people wanted to be careful not to allow a similar thing to hold in their new system. So, they wanted to make sure no one established denomination was forced on people through the state apparatus. For example, the Georgia Constitution of 1789, as amended in Article IV, Section 10, that “No person within this state shall, upon any pretense, be deprived of the inestimable privilege of worshipping God in any manner agreeable to his own conscience, nor be compelled to attend any place of worship contrary to his own faith and judgement; nor shall he ever be obliged to pay tithes, taxes, or any other rate, for the building or repairing of any place of worship, or for maintenance of any minister or ministry, contrary to what he believes to be right, or had voluntarily engaged to do. No one religious society shall ever be established in this state, in preference to another.” The principle behind this is to give freedom to everyone including those who chose not to believe God. And that was the same emphasis in President Jefferson’s statements. The intention was wildly misinterpreted to mean separating the people’s belief from their lives in private and public places.
In his craftiness, Satan has used the argument of separation of the church and state to hunt down Christian practices in the public systems and has destroyed Godly education and values in America. Satan has also used similar methods in most parts of the world. For example, in Nigeria, where Islamic jihadists are currently decimating Christianity, Christianity became a second fiddle when a military government that rose in 1975 took over the public schools built by Christian missionaries and subtly introduced Islamic religious education into those schools. Today, the original intent of the founders of those schools has been destroyed as subsequent governments dominated by Muslims appear to decree that only Islam religion will be taught in the schools. In addition, schools in developed nations of the world including the United States of America are now full of literature on atheism, and other anti-God ideologies, homosexuality and transgender activities. In my book, “Sheltered through the Storms: the Travail and Ultimate Triumph of the Church,” I pointed out how Islamic nations have devoted huge financial resources to promote Islamic knowledge in the U.S. school curriculum. In most Islamic nations of the world, children are forced to learn the Koran from their early age to prepare them fully for the religious fight prevailing in the world, including terrorism. Many of the American “Christian Parents” are only in support of secular studies dominated by liberal views for their children. They appear not to be concerned about the spiritual lives of their children. Unfortunately, success in secular studies without the knowledge and fear of God produces no strong characters for the nation.
John Dewey, an American philosopher said, “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” The destruction of education by removing God from its process is the reason for mass production of monsters in societies today who unleash mayhem on innocent people. This accounts for why successful engineers, doctors, and professors have messed up their lives and some even ended in suicide despite their achievements in these secular endeavors. An inadequate knowledge of God creates a vacuum in the human heart and is a danger to the body and soul. Ironically, while ungodly groups are busy creating confusion in the minds of the young kids in schools, a portion of our church community is occupied with things that have little or no eternal considerations. We should rather spend our energy, resources, and prayers on the reformation of our education system to accommodate the Bible and God. If we succeed in getting our children to know God early in their lives we would have won the war against iniquity in the land and spare the nation of having a future socialist/communist activist in the White House. It is time for the Church to wake up and contend earnestly for the faith that was once delivered to the Saints (Jude v.3). Finally, a word for my brethren who do not seem to be concerned about the present state of things because of the belief that what is going on in our society today is a fulfilment of Bible prophesies: Christians must take the ministry of the gospel seriously. The fact that the Bible already told us that in these last days, iniquity shall abound and the love of many shall grow cold must not make me comfortable with the way things are, otherwise it could mean my love has also grown cold.
Michael Jolayemi is an author and Bible teacher. He has written two books on social issues: “Saving America: The war we can’t ignore”; and “Sheltered through the storm: the travails and ultimate triumph of the Church.”