(This is an excerpt from Jerry Robinson’s best-selling book, Bankruptcy of our Nation, first released in March 2009. Preview the book here.)
“There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit (debt) expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit (debt) expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved.” (Ludwig von Mises)
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” (Isaiah 9:2 NKJV)
OVERVIEW: As the American economic empire enters its final stages of decline, the message that arise will one of sacrifice. This coming era of ‘sacrifice’ will do more than simply reveal the absurdity of America’s immoral financial excesses. It will expose the American church’s reliance upon man-made kingdoms. Instead of focusing their adherents upon the necessity of the coming Kingdom of God, the American church has often misplaced its hope in the earthly kingdoms. When the government is finally forced to demand sacrifice from the living, an American church, inebriated by a false prosperity, may finally awaken to the need for the coming Kingdom of God. Then, various versions of the message of sacrifice will ring loudly across the United States of America. Some will be genuine, but many will not be.
Awakening from the American Dream
What is strangely missing from the majority of today’s churches is solid teaching regarding the most pressing issues of our day. This list would include: the global food crisis, movement towards global political integration, and the threat of worldwide economic collapse. These, and other important issues, are bearing down on our nation. Ignoring these matters does little to reduce their size and their scope. In the midst of the chaos and confusion confronting our world, the church of the Lord Jesus Christ is mysteriously quiet. I am convinced that this silence exists for a number of unfortunate reasons. I will not go into all of those reasons here with the exception of one, which I feel is the most important and relevant to our discussion: The idea of American exceptionalism.
According to the idea of ‘American exceptionalism,’ America is such a unique and special nation that it will not face the same fates as nations and empires that preceded it. Of course, every empire that has existed before America has fallen. However, those who subscribe to the idea of American exceptionalism believe, rather vehemently, that America is a special kind of earthly kingdom. Perhaps, they believe, since America is “special,” it can somehow defy the laws of economics and even of logic itself. In essence, because America is so special, it is somehow viewed as an exception to the rule of history.
It is expected that those who do not view themselves as pilgrims in this earth would perhaps fall for these ideas. But on what basis does the American Church subscribe to these beliefs?
Some in the church have attributed America’s exceptionalism to God’s divine protection due to America’s stance on Israel. They quote God’s words to Abraham in Genesis 12: “I will bless him who blesses you and curse him who curses you,” to defend America’s insulation from the trends of history. I will certainly not debate the merit of this logic from Genesis 12 because I do believe firmly that God has future plans for the nation and people of Israel. Therefore, I believe it is in our nation’s best interests to pray for the peace of Israel. However, to claim that America’s failing economy is due to our stance on Israel is absurd and plainly uninformed. America’s economy is in peril due to same poor monetary policies that have taken down every fiat empire before it. The logic behind this becomes even more suspect when we question it further.
Does America’s support for Israel negate God’s displeasure of America’s obsession with sacrificing 5,000 unborn children every day through abortion in the name of inconvenience?
Does America’s support of Israel mean that God will suspend his disgust with the abomination of our fiat currency system?
Does supporting Israel get our nation off the hook for its unfathomable obsession with, and its exportation of, the most obscene forms of pornography?
Will God turn His head while the American church ignores the poor and the needy simply because of our ‘support’ for Israel?
This thinking is obviously very dangerous. I have heard many Christian leaders and mega-church pastors succumb to this teaching by telling their followers that God will never allow America’s economy to fail as long as our nation supports Israel! Not only are these types of teachings at the pinnacle of arrogance, they are also extremely illogical.
‘God is not an American’
I still remember my first lecture in which I explained that God was not an American, and that God’s throne was not draped in an American flag. Many in the audience that day later informed me that they had never thought about it in that way before. Yet, this concept is important to grasp. America, like all empires before it, views everything through its own special ‘Americanized’ lenses. Simply put, Americans are America-centric. Unfortunately for Americans, the Bible is not. It is Israel-centric. It is Middle Eastern centric.
To many, the logic goes something like this:
Is America facing calamity? It must be a fulfillment of Biblical prophecy!
Did America have a major natural disaster? It must be that God is sending us a special message.
Never mind that many nations around the world are facing severe tribulation today. In Sudan, millions of Christian men, women, and children are facing great tribulation and are suffering in silence. However, this means virtually nothing to the America-centric. Now let’s reverse the roles. Imagine that white American Christians were being physically persecuted for their faith. The church would declare the ‘end of the world’ to be at hand. Yet, the tortures in Sudan simply are a small piece of the “prophetic puzzle” to many with a Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other.
In North Korea, Christians face death camps and horrific persecution for their faith in Christ. But unfortunately, this does not pass the America-centric test.
Christians attending China’s underground churches number into the millions. Each week, these Chinese brothers and sisters meet in secret due to the threat of intense persecution from China’s intolerant communistic regime. However, this is not enough to get the attention of the American-centric mindset.
To the American church, “real” persecution is defined in the following ways:
- Walking into a non-Christian retail store during the Christmas season and being greeted with the words “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”
- Threats and/or the removal of a ten commandments display from a local courthouse.
- Outspoken protests regarding nativity displays during the Christmas holiday season.
- Threats of removing “In God We Trust” from the U.S. currency.
Amazingly, the American church seems to want those, whose minds have not been enlightened to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to at least ‘act’ like Christians. Modern Christianity appears to be extremely concerned about keeping “the outside of the cup” clean.
But should Christians expect those who do not believe in Christ to promote Him?
By attempting to force non-Christians to act like Christians, the American church exposes its own ‘Achilles heel.’ Is not this “acting” what they expect from their own as well?
Missing the Point?
As the American economic empire completely collapses, many will inevitably point to its demise as proof that God is “judging” America for its immorality and other sins. Or perhaps for its lack of support of Israel.
The truth, however, is that the American economic empire will fall due to its faulty foundations.
Because of these flawed foundations, the prosperity that America has enjoyed has in fact been an illusion of paper wealth. Other paper currency empires have enjoyed similar (albeit) smaller periods of prosperity prior to their collapse.
This means that the prosperity that America has enjoyed up to this point has been an illusion of wealth.
The absurdity becomes even clearer as we take this logic further.
Does the Christian God ‘bless’ nations with illusions of prosperity? And will the Christian God threaten to remove this ‘blessing’ of fake prosperity – made possible through deficit spending and fiat currency – depending upon our treatment of Israel?
The fact that some in the American church have misjudged this brings us right to the heart of the matter.
I will submit to you that the American church has bought the ‘illusion of prosperity’ that has been packaged and sold to America, as fact. Do we really believe that God’s ‘blessing’ involves extending our nation’s economic delusion and our debt-based paper money system which has enslaved us – and which He calls an ‘abomination’ in His Word?
“You that trample on the needy, and bring ruin to the poor of the land, saying… We will make the ephah small and the shekel great, and practice deceit with false balances.” (Amos 8:4-5)
How the “Prosperity Gospel” Feeds the “Consumption Gospel”
It should also be noted that the American church’s fascination with ‘prosperity’ has helped create the financial excesses of America itself. In their haste to get rich, ‘in Jesus name,’ many deluded ministers inadvertently taught their flocks to value over-consumption. Some of these “prosperity ministers” teach that Christians should not settle for less and instead, they should expect the best. Bigger houses, bigger cars, more money, etc. In other words, personal spirituality is enhanced through a pursuit of visible blessings. This focus upon mass consumption by many churches has exacerbated the financial problems of millions of their loyal adherents.
Then Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who were selling and buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’; but you are making it a den of robbers.”(Matthew 21:12-13)
But as the U.S. economy begins its all-but-certain chaotic economic descent, how will those who promote the prosperity gospel respond? How will they explain to their congregations that they have promoted a fiat currency as “God’s blessing?” How can they say that the unjust weights and balances that fueled American ‘prosperity’ is ‘God’s best’ when He clearly calls it an ‘abomination’ in His Word? Will they pray for more of the abomination to fill their bank accounts with? How will they explain their lack of wisdom in such evil and perverse days?
While confronting such questions would be the responsible thing to do, it is also the most unlikely. Instead of examining their theology, it is more likely that they will search for new ways to pick the pockets of those who believe their rhetoric. The transformation will occur before our very eyes. Those who once promoted the failed prosperity message will turn to their new message of choice: the message of ‘sacrifice.’
Why the Message of ‘Sacrifice’ is Coming To The American Church
Today, much of the American Church has embraced the economic delusion that will ultimately lead to our nation’s downfall. Unfortunately, this blind trust that has been placed into the American illusion of prosperity has rendered the Church impotent in offering solid Biblical solutions to a clueless public regarding the economic crisis. Undoubtedly, the crisis that is unfolding offers the American Church a strong evangelistic opportunity to expose the modern version of the ‘Tower of Babel’ that America has built upon its economic prowess and political exploits. But while the ‘Tower of America’ stood strong and deceived many, much of the Church instructed its members with shallow teachings on finances that rarely pointed to the futility of man-made kingdoms.
When America needed to hear a strong message of ‘sacrifice’ from the American church, what they got instead was feel-good messages designed to stroke the ego and stoke the fire overconsumption. Besides, in our modern era of ‘positive thinking,’ messages on sacrifice could be taken as “intrusive,” “demeaning,” or just plain “mean.” Obviously, this is no way to grow a church. Teaching on “sacrifice” would be an obstruction to church growth. So the American church continues its fixation ‘growing’ its numbers, building more buildings, and spread the worldly kingdom of Republicanism to the nation.
As the economy moves into a downward spiral over the coming years, it will catch most off guard. Not because they were not warned; but instead, because the severity of the collapse will complicate their lives by ruining the effectiveness of their philosophies. Many of the philosophies that will be most under attack will be financial and theological philosophies. Those who have believed in American exceptionalism and perpetually inclining financial markets will be rudely awakened.
One of the benefits of the coming economic hardships that America will face will be found in our rediscovery of community. Neighbors will once again know each other’s names. Communities will have the chance to rally together in an effort to bring aid to the financially destitute. In the coming era of ‘sacrifice,’ life will consist of more than simply working, consuming, and sleeping. Instead, Americans will have the opportunity to band together in community-organized social networks to solve local challenges.
In a day where Hollywood, the media, and corporations urge Americans to please themselves through mass consumption, the message of sacrifice is coming.
But what about the American Church? Surely while the masses shopped till they dropped and lived above their means, the Church in America was calling for fiscal restraint, right? Haven’t they been urging sacrifice from Americans for decades? Well, perhaps a few. However, we live in an hour where much of the American church has urged its adherents to “live their best life now,” to “love their life,” and to consume ‘big’ as only “the King’s kids” should. It should be noted that the American church’s promotion of unsacrificial living is at the height of irony. This is especially true when one considers that the entire Christian religion is rooted and grounded in the idea of self-sacrifice.
But the real indictment against the American church is their sheer lack of insight into the failed kingdoms of this world. As the false prosperity bubble got bigger, the American church believed it to be real.
In fact, most evangelical Christians unknowingly considered the fiat fueled debt-based economy to be a divine ‘blessing’ from God. Only because America was ‘special’ were they able to possess such a large bubble economy. Even worse, many thought that God might prematurely terminate this fiat-based prosperity if homosexuals were allowed to marry; or if “In God We Trust” were ever removed from the worthless fiat U.S. dollar.
It is important to note that much of the American church’s numerical growth in the twentieth century came from the explosion of interest in the health and wealth gospel. When the growth of this prosperity movement is measured against the growth in American consumption, one finds a curious thing indeed. The growth of the prosperity movement is directly tied to America’s explosion in credit, debt, and money supply.
This means that when the economy goes up, times are good in the prosperity movement. However, when economic conditions become difficult, the prosperity gospel will suffer. The economy’s effect upon the prosperity movement will render it impotent in the face of the coming economic chaos that will strike America. As the economic pain becomes evident to all, those who have promoted the prosperity message will use a new message of ‘sacrifice’ to sustain their ministries. Amazingly, those ministers who had promoted overconsumption to their adherents for decades will discover the ancient principle of sacrifice. But when these former prosperity preachers begin to wax eloquent on their newfound message of sacrifice, it will be far from sincere. Instead, it will be designed to continue the cash flow.
In our current environment, the American evangelical church’s lack of insight have transformed it into a declining subcultural phenomenon; a voting bloc easily manipulated by certain keywords uttered by informed politicians that are designed to elicit the right response.
Until the American Church desires the coming Kingdom of God as desperately as it wants the American kingdom to reflect its own glory, it will remain irrelevant.
But despite their irrelevance, the message of sacrifice is still coming.
The ancient principle of ‘sacrifice’ – proclaimed by Christ himself – will ring throughout this land as America’s sins of excess and immorality become evident through the ‘false weights and balances’ created by its economy. Sacrifice will not be the natural response from a people accustomed to over consumption. However, it will be the only possible response.
Facing the Facts
“How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in scoffing and fools hate knowledge?” (Proverbs 1:22)
What is at the root of the problem in the American church? I submit to you that the root of our problem is the American church’s ignorance to God’s coming Kingdom and ignorance of the greatest issues facing mankind. For decades, the American church has been pillaged due to its lack of knowledge. As it says in the book of Hosea: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” (Hosea 4:6)
“By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches. Wise warriors are mightier than strong ones, and those who have knowledge than those who have strength; for by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory.” (Proverbs 24:3-6)
A loss of strong theological teaching in the American church has breeded a new generation of ‘believers’ that seek self-satisfaction, instead of sound doctrine.
Instead of treating the kingdoms of this world with godly suspicion, many have believed the satanic lie that men can rule men.
Instead of pointing people to the hope of the coming Kingdom of Christ, many churches have been all to willing to promote the counterfeit kingdoms of this world. The result has been disastrous.
“Its officials within it are like wolves tearing the prey, shedding blood, destroying lives to get dishonest gain. Its prophets have smeared whitewash on their behalf, seeing false visions and divining lies for them… The people of the land have practiced extortion and committed robbery; they have oppressed the poor and needy.” (Ezekiel 23, verses 27-29)
In truth, the fiat currency and debt-based economic growth that has fueled America to the stratospheres of this world system were never blessed because they were flawed from the beginning. They were doomed to failure from the start.
Therefore, when the house of cards collapses, it will not be because we stopped supporting Israel, or because same-sex marriage became legal. Instead, the system will collapse because it is a man-made system.
The entire American economic system is laughable in the eyes of God because of its ineffectiveness and unsustainability. Our failed man-made systems are clear testaments to mankind’s need for God’s Kingdom.
Those who seek to blame particular political philosophies, corporate scandals, etc. are completely missing the point.
Their media-inspired focus upon the ‘effects’ have blinded them to the real culprit: the ‘cause.’
The reason that our systems are failing is because man cannot rule man. Sin is taking hold of our society and is choking it before our eyes. This is the gospel, not according to the culture at large, but according to the Bible. Those who are aware are able to view the problems as they truly are. And they realize that these problems are rooted in man’s inherent deficiencies in ruling himself.
Let’s make an important distinction: Awareness is not the equivalent of activism. However, those who favor activism will always have the loudest voices. They are quickly recognized as the ones who insist on re-arranging the furniture on the sinking Titanic. In contrast, the aware recognize the root problem and see God’s Kingdom as the only real solution.
So, Are You An ‘Activist,’ or Are You One of the ‘Aware?’
The activists are biblically aware, but politically motivated.
In contrast, the aware are politically aware, but biblically motivated.
The activists insist that by getting the right political party into office we can “take back America for God.”
In contrast, the aware realize that no matter which political party gets elected, nothing can slow man’s sin problem. They avoid political games knowing their futility.
The activists think that getting prayer back into America’s schools will change the nation.
The aware pray with their children at home and do not expect government-controlled institutions to teach their children spiritual values.
The activists extol the virtues of man’s kingdoms (political platforms) and follow them with a religious fervor.
The aware endure man’s kingdoms all the while praying and longing for God’s Kingdom.
The activists demand ‘Merry Christmas’ be spoken – even in secular settings. The phrase, ‘Happy Holidays,’ is viewed as religious persecution.
The aware do not expect non-Christians to promote Christ.
The activists want “In God We Trust” to be remain plastered on the U.S. fiat currency.
The aware realize that fiat currency systems, such as the U.S. Dollar, are “unjust weights and balances” and therefore are an ‘abomination’ to God.
The activists take their cues from, and measure themselves by, their culture.
The aware know that God will never judge anyone based upon their culture, only based upon God’s Word, the Bible.
(This was an excerpt from Jerry Robinson’s best-selling book, Bankruptcy of our Nation, released in March 2009. Preview the book here.)