If all seems great, in America, now, perhaps we need to recall how in Noah’s time, before he boarded the ark, it was likewise.
A time of celebration. A time of merriment and revelry. Release. Here are the passages: “For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark” (Matthew 24); however, “God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways” (Genesis 5).
And so there are parallels, and also to Sodom. In Scripture are those many other passages about worshiping idols.
In our day, idols — objects of worship and veneration — include money, commodities, property, and in general things; materialism; and worship of them can be observed in those who spend more time staring at stock portfolios or properties than looking up to the Lord.
They are mesmerized as pagans who stared in reverence at the golden calf — which has grown up to be that bull on Wall Street.
Arguably, idolatry has never been more rampant.
“Mark this,” says 2 James 3. “There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive,disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.”)
Are we heeding this — or are we following prosperity ministers who now flood the American stage, with enticements (and idolatry of self)?
Notes one Evangelical who rails against materialistic preachers, “It’s been going on for decades, of course. I’m talking about America’s pastors. For the most part, they have become little more than glorified errand boys for corporatism, elitism, legalism, and statism.
“Supposed men of God and students of the scriptures should know that America’s real problems are spiritual, not political. They should know that America’s remedies are spiritual, not political. They should know that NO politician or political party can ever provide salvation–not even temporal salvation.”
The issue is not capitalism but worldliness (i.e., capitalism, without God).
“We are at the end of Christendom,” Archbishop Fulton Sheen once said. “Not Christianity, not the Church, but [Christendom]. What is Christendom? Christendom is economic, political, social life as inspired by Christian principles. We’re seeing it die. Look at the symptoms. Break up of the family, divorce. Abortion. Immorality. General dishonesty. About fifty years ago, in one of the big Protestant churches in New York, a Mrs. Vanderbilt came into this church after her divorce and all the Protestant people turned their backs on her. That would not happen today. There are two kinds of barbarians. The active barbarians from without and the passive barbarians from within. We are not in as much danger from the active ones as the passive ones. Anyone who has left this country for five years and then come back is shocked by what he sees.
“We get used to things. The air that we breathe, the press that we read, the television that we see, in no instance is inspired by Christian principles. There is a tendency to go down to meet the world, not to lift the world up. We are afraid to be unpopular. We are at the end of Christendom.
“What is the attack on the Church today? It’s the world. The spirit of the world. Today we have to conform to the world or we are abandoned. Our Lord said ‘I have taken you out of the world’ and we say, ‘No, we have to win the world. To win it, you have to be one with it.’ Our Lord said, ‘I pray not for the world.’ He’s praying for the spirit of the world. And this is the easiest way to fall off the log. It’s so simple. And it’s justified by a thousand reasons. The Vatican Council said we have to go into the world. Indeed — but not to be worldly, which is quite a different matter.
“This is our attack today. There are three classes of people today: wise men, knaves, and fools. Wise men mean to do good and they do it. Knaves mean to do evil and they do it. The fools will do right or wrong depending on which is the more popular. And they are divided into white fools and black fools. The white fools would rather do right but will do wrong if it’s popular. And the black fools would rather do wrong but will do right if that’s the more popular. Now this is the situation we’re in today and this is one of the basic causes of our degeneration. We’re dying.”
Fulton Sheen spoke last in the 1970s. What he would say today?
[In 1979 Fulton John Sheen received his greatest accolade when Pope John Paul II embraced him at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. The Holy Father said to him, “You have written and spoken well of the Lord Jesus. You are a loyal son of the Church.” With that last acknowledgment, Fulton Sheen passed into eternal life just two months later on December 9, 1979.]
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