Decline and Fall of the American Family
By Chuck Missler
America is engaged in a civil war. The battle lines are drawn, the strategies
are in place, the casualties are mounting. And the winner takes all.
From the shattering of families to a staggering rate of crime and lawlessness,
the secular assault on the moral fabric of this country is unraveling every
facet of life as we have known it. Even our most basic liberties, including our
freedom to worship God without government interference and censorship,
are now threatened.
It almost seems redundant to consider once again the statistics that, by now,
have become familiar to most of us. On every side, in almost every place, we
are beset with child abuse, rape, abortion that occurs at the rate of one per
minute, drug abuse, senseless violence, sexual perversion, pornography,
divorce, gang warfare, and finally, teenagers who are committing suicide at
the rate of one every 90 minutes. No wonder.
It is not so much a situation in which Americans are merely breaking the law;
it is more grave than that. It is a situation where people have actually
overturned the law. God issued a severe warning to Israel in Isaiah 5:20:
"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for
light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!"
Boards of education across America sanction the teaching of homosexuality
as an acceptable lifestyle, but the Supreme Court has banned them from
using any reference to the word "God" in their official writings. We seem to
have lost the standard, and there is no longer any consensus of what is true
and what is honorable.
Ten years ago, we were shocked at revelations of declining moral values in
America. Today, the shocking thing is that nothing shocks us anymore. We
have seen it and heard it so many times that we have almost become
desensitized. But as Christians accountable to God, we must wrestle with
serious questions: How did this happen to our once great nation? What do
we do and where do we go from here?
For those of us engaged in the study of end-time prophecies, there is a
subtle danger in all of this. We read 2 Timothy 3:1-5, and we know that, in the
latter days, men are destined to become selfish, proud, disobedient to
parents, without natural affection, despisers of those that are good, and
lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.
We debate the conspicuous absence of the United States in the final biblical
scenario, and we somehow conclude that maybe America's decay is just a
predestined prelude to the return of our Saviour. And so we become passive.
But if our Lord did return today, what would we have left to give Him from
the wreckage of our rich spiritual heritage and the incredible blessings that
He has bestowed on this country? We know from the parable of the talents
that God expects a return on the truth that He has invested in us. How many
talents would we have to offer?
When Jesus pronounced sentence against Judas, He made an interesting
point. Personal responsibility for sin is never excused on the basis of the
inevitability of events. "For the Son of Man is going as it has been
determined, but woe to that one by whom he is betrayed!" (Luke
Whatever God chooses to do with the United States, we as Christians are
still responsible for our stewardship of the liberties and the freedoms that He
has given us. Jesus will not return in order to rescue us from a corrupt
situation. He will return when His work on earth, through His church, is
completed. The hope of His imminent return should compel us all the more to
strive toward restoring the character of our country and the honor of His
That is where the going gets tough. Christian leaders everywhere are
sounding the call to arms. We're challenged to fill the voting booths, call our
congressmen, boycott the offenders, change the school systems, impeach
our leaders. Frustrated Americans are proposing everything from a military
takeover in Washington to secession from the union.
We are told to pray for revival and to stand up for God's Word. But it is on
this last point that we come face to face with a very tough reality. We are
trying to hold a nation of people accountable to God's Word when, in fact, a
significant number of them no longer believe that God even exists.
Saving the Next Generation
It's plausible that the cause of our moral and spiritual dilemma, and the
solution to it, may be something more simple and more profound than we
have considered. Throughout Scripture, there seems to be a plan, ordered by
God, that is designed to keep us corporately in God's blessing. It isn't just the
type of government we set up or the people we elect or even the laws we
institute. It is the simple commandment that we teach our children to keep the
way of the Lord.
The concept goes back as far as Genesis 18:19 when God said of Abraham,
"For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after
him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment. . . ."
In Deuteronomy 4: 10, He states again ". . . and I will make them hear my
words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon
the earth, and that they may teach their children."
'Me powerful impact of teaching children should not surprise us. Our
enemies have understood it well. Communist countries made it policy to
remove children from their homes at an early age in order to educate and
indoctrinate them. Adolf Hitler pronounced that "who controls the youth,
controls the future."
Liberal engineers of social change have made the claim that, given just one
generation, they can radically alter a society. And they have proven their
Psalm 78:5-7 states:
For he established a testimony in Jacob, and pointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That
the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born who should arise and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his
Perhaps we need to consider that God doesn't hold us as accountable for
governments and policies and social orders as much as He does for the
spiritual inheritance that we give to our own children. Perhaps, in His
providential plan, it would be enough if only we would master the task of
safeguarding God's truth from father to child, one generation at a time.
For many Christians, teaching our children God's truth may seem routine. But
therein lies the danger. It doesn't mean that we passively sit back and tell our
children what we believe. It doesn't mean that if they see us going to church
and to Bible studies that they will somehow get the message.
Teaching is not just exhibiting faith but laboring to implant everything that
we know and understand about our God into the hearts and minds of the
next generation. It is teaching God's Word and using every possible
opportunity to demonstrate its validity. It is a labor of love.
Of His Word, God says: "And ye shall teach them to your children, speaking
of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way,
when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.... That your days may be
multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the Lord sware
unto your fathers to give them. . ." (Deut. 11:19-21).
However close our relationship with God, no matter how strong our own
convictions, we need to understand this principle of teaching the next
generation. Otherwise our faith dies with us, and our children are left to
fashion a world of their own choosing.
Where Did America Get Off Track?
The fallout from the takeover of secular humanism in America has been
staggering, and nowhere is it more evident than in the lives of our youth.
When we examine the course of the last couple of decades in this country,
we see a chronicle of what happens to a nation that turns its back on God.
The first chapter of Romans details a progression of sin and rebellion against
God that is stunningly like the progression of life in
America. It begins: "Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him
not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and
their foolish heart was darkened" (Rom. 1:21).
There is no lack of historical evidence that this country was founded on
Christian principles. Document after document confirms an original
commitment to God and to His laws.
Patrick Henry stated, "It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that
this great nation was founded not by religionists but by Christians, not on
religions but on the gospel of Jesus Christ."
If we assume that 200 years ago the majority of people in America were
followers of God, then what happened in the intervening years to bring us to
where we are today? The answer may be that we lost something crucial. We
lost the foundation, the reference point, of our Christian faith. And without
the foundation of God's authoritative Word, we no longer had anything
substantial to pass on to the next generation. So we substituted relativity for
truth, and "values clarification" for God's moral absolutes.
After the Great Depression and the powerful impact of World War 111, a
generation of Americans suddenly found itself in a time of peace and
prosperity. Life was easier, families were stable, and there was a general
sense of order and rule. People trusted each other. Furthermore, they trusted
the government and those in authority, and that proved to be a fatal mistake.
Instead of obeying God's command to teach our children diligently, we
delegated that responsibility to Sunday school teachers and public schools -
to authorities outside the home. At that time, there was no reason to assume
that anything would be lost in the process. But we didn't see that the
foundation was beginning to crumble.
Altering the World View of Life
Ken Ham, a scientist with the Institute for Creation Research, wrote that "the
meaning of anything is related to its origin." Many who agree with that
premise believe that the domination of evolutionary thought in America
probably delivered the first and most extensive blow to the foundation of
Of Genesis, Ham states that "all biblical doctrines are, in one way or another,
founded in this first book of the Bible."' Thus, the evolutionary thought that
undermined the creation of man, effectively undermined the whole authority
of biblical teaching.
Many Christians still do not realize the enormous impact of the
teachings of one man, Charles Darwin, and how he has forever altered the
world view of life.
Public educators took the theory of evolution, which from the beginning was
riddled with unanswered questions and inconsistencies, and presented it to
an entire generation as the factual account of man's origin. With one broad
stroke, they took out the Creator, which eliminated man's personal
accountability, stripped away the value of a human life as having been
created in the image of God, and erased the natural division between man and
In his book, The Long War Against God, Dr. Henry Morris states that:
"Evolutionism and its corollary teachings in the schools have so undermined
the Bible by discrediting its record of creation and divine purpose that the
whole 'Christian experience' has likewise been completely discredited in the
minds of young people. . . ."
It would be impossible to fully assess the amount of damage that the
teaching of evolution has left in its wake. Since man is just a random accident
in the universe, then life itself is of no real value beyond the existential
seeking of momentary pleasure. No life is any more significant than any
other, so there is really nothing and no one worth sacrificing for, and man has
no more right to the earth's resources than the lowest animals.
In the words of Dr. David Jeremiah, "Abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia
are logical behaviors for those who have so easily disposed of the image of
God in the eternal soul of man."' Evolution effectively takes God out of the
picture and allows man to justify anything and everything that he deems is a
means to his own.
We could hardly have sent a more devastating message to our children.
Instead of teaching them that they were uniquely designed by a loving and
compassionate Creator, in His image, with value and purpose, we set them
adrift into a world of futility and meaninglessness.
One of the intriguing things about the theory of evolution is that we
embraced it so fully in the academic world when it was still suspect in the
scientific world. In the book, Origin of Species Revisited, the author quotes a
noted biochemist, that 100 years ago, ".. . even Darwin himself had increasing
doubts as to the validity of his views.... His general theory, that all life on
earth had originated and evolved by a gradual successive accumulation of
fortuitous mutations, is still, as it was in Darwin's time, a highly speculative
hypothesis entirely without direct factual support. . . ."
Yet the theory of evolution was brought full-scale into the classrooms of
America, even to the exclusion of the theory of creation. Evolution was
introduced not so much as a scientific doctrine, but as a social doctrine that
would completely redesign our view of life.
Dr. Morris goes so far as to state that "evolutionary thought is basically
responsible for the lethally ominous political developments and the chaotic
moral and social disintegration that has been accelerating everywhere in
Again, we find in Romans a reference to these engineers of social change:
"Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the
creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen" (Rom. 1:25).
Abandoning the Places of the Heart
The progression of rebellion against God as outlined in Romans I denotes
three areas where God "gave them up," or gave men over, to suffer the logical
consequences of their own sin. First, He gave over their hearts to
uncleanness (verse 24), then He gave over their bodies to "vile affections"
(verse 26), and finally He gave them over to a reprobate mind (verse 28). We
see around us today the same consequences in the lives of those who reject
God, and in the life of our nation as a whole.
When we began to reject God, we first felt the damage in the "places of the
heart." After the foundation was sufficiently weakened, the first major
casualty of the war against God was the family. Every weapon that could be
used to break down family structure was employed.
Once Americans achieved a high standard of living and the money supply
was tightened, the pressure was on to reconcile the two. Many researchers
report that financial pressure within a marriage is the number one cause of
divorce. Many women were forced to enter the workplace in order to provide
a second income, and at the same time, the new left began to denigrate the
role of full-time mothers and homemakers.
Neil Postman, a professor at New York University and a secular author,
discusses this shift in his book, The Disappearance of Childhood. Although
he basically commends the women's liberation movement as one that
"deserves the full support of enlightened people," he nevertheless sees it as
"devastating to the power of the family."
Postman concludes: ". . . it cannot be denied that as women find their place in
business, in the arts, in industry, and in the professions, there must be a
serious decline in the strength and meaning of traditional patterns of child
care.... Thus, as parents of both sexes make their way in the world, children
become something of a burden, and, increasingly, it is deemed best that their
childhood end as early as possible .
Marie Winn, who writes for the New York Times magazine, continues this
same line of thought, also from a secular perspective, in her book, Children
Without Childhood. Her indictment states: "Instead of being willing as a
society to sacrifice for children, to consider their care a primary duty, adults
have transformed the very image of childhood from one that deserves
protection and nurture to one that justifies their own sometimes monstrous
abandonment of children .
The sexual revolution also left its scars on the family in terms of infidelity.
Therapists, however, reassured us that, no matter what we did, it was most
likely someone else's fault. The concepts of sin and personal accountability
became more or less obsolete. Increased selfesteem became the new goal,
and it didn't matter what it took to achieve it.
The ideas of sacrifice and commitment, to anyone or anything, were quickly
set aside if they interfered with the ultimate fulfillment of individual potential.
As we mastered the art of putting "self' first, the divorce rate skyrocketed.
And millions of pregnancies ended in abortion because we were unwilling to
make a place in our world for the children we conceived.
And all the time, our children were watching us.
Since 1960, the teenage suicide rate has tripled. A recent interview on CNN
"Headline News" featured a counselor who works with children affected by
divorce. He described the impact on the child as being something similar to a
drive-by shooting. "He is sitting there, minding his own business, when
suddenly, out of nowhere, he takes a direct hit."
Josiah Gilbert Holland once wrote, "No nation can be destroyed while it
possesses a good home life."
With the disintegration of the family, we do not yet know where America's
youth will end up in the final analysis. But we know a lot.
Give Kids a Benchmark
While the hearts of the children were at risk on the home front,
their minds were being attacked on a different front. "And even as they did
not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate
mind. . ." (Rom. 1:28).
Behavioral psychologists and secular forces began to infiltrate the public
education system. Their influence gradually extended beyond academics and
into the moral and philosophical realm.
Along with evolution, secularists brought with them the philosophy of
humanism as set forth in two humanist manifestos, signed in 1933 and 1973.
They introduced naturalism and supported it through the teaching of
evolution. They replaced moral absolutes with relative values and situational
ethics. And in 1962 they succeeded in persuading the Supreme Court to
outlaw prayer and later, Bible reading, in the classroom. Quite an agenda for
Since that pivotal Supreme Court decision, teenage pregnancies have risen
556 percent, venereal disease is up 226 percent, divorce, which had declined
for 15 years, has tripled every year since, and S.A.T. scores, which had
previously been stable, began their remarkable decline, which continues
It stands to reason, however, that the real problem came not because of what
children were being taught in school. The real problem may have been what
they weren't being taught at home.
As a result of entrusting our children to outsiders, Postman notes that:
"Psychologists, social workers, guidance counselors, teachers, and others
representing an institutional point of view invade large areas of parental
authority, mostly by invitation. What this means is that there is a loss in the
intimacy, dependence, and loyalty that traditionally characterize the parent-
Secular teaching succeeded, in large part, because it went unchecked at
home. Over and over, God charges the parents, specifically the father, to
teach children His truth. ". . . the father to the children shall make known thy
truth" (Isa. 38:19). "And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but
bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Eph. 6:4).
God makes no provision for the delegation of that responsibility, even to
Sunday school teachers. It may be part of God's plan that, for children, truth
is intrinsically validated when it comes through the life of the parents.
A poll conducted by U. S. News and World Report in the summer of 1994
found that 60 percent of respondents "say they hold their current religious
beliefs because of their parents' example." Children
who are taught foundational biblical truth will have a benchmark against
which to measure every other doctrine and philosophy, and their minds will
not be such easy prey for the enemies of God.
"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not
depart from it" (Prov. 22:6).
Rebellion and the Sexual Revolution
God gives men authority over in a third area - the physical realm. Nothing so
graphically illustrates rebellion against God as the so-called sexual revolution.
The vast majority of teenagers today are presumed to be sexually active and
are encouraged through school-sponsored programs to practice "safe sex."
This assumption is so predominate that a curriculum teaching abstinence was
ruled to be unconstitutional because the concept of abstinence was deemed
to be "religious" in nature.
As a result of secular sex education, however, teenage pregnancies have
skyrocketed, and 35,000 new cases of venereal disease are reported every
day. Many of the pregnancies end in abortion, and there is continuing debate
over the right of a minor to obtain an abortion without parental knowledge or
consent. In addition to sexual promiscuity, the market for pornography, including child
pornography, is widespread.
Before his execution, confessed murderer Ted Bundy stated, in an interview
with Dr. James Dobson, that one of the most powerful influences in his life of
perversion was that of pornography. There is an end result of this
progression in Romans - unclean hearts, vile affections, and reprobate minds -
and it is a portrait of a people who have rebelled against God.
Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication,
wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy,
murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters,
haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil
things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding,
covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable,
unmerciful (Rom. 1:29-31).
Verses 26 and 27 deal with homosexuality, and the consequence of men ". . .
receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet."
The homosexual lobby is one of the strongest forces in American politics today and is openly advanced by the current President and his
administration, despite the fact that homosexuals reportedly represent only
one percent of the entire population. At the same time, AIDS continues to
defy any vaccines or cures, all the while claiming thousands and thousands
of lives every year. In the last year alone, the number of estimated AIDS
cases has risen 60 percent, to almost 4 million people worldwide.
On August 6, 1994, Dr. George Lundberg, editor of the Journal of the American
Medical Association, addressed the 10th International Conference on AIDS with
a particularly somber prediction: that by the end of the next century "no
successful method of treatment or prevention will have been fully
implemented ... and AIDS will still be a serious endemic disease throughout
What happens when a group of people rejects the God of the universe and
finds itself in this category? And what happens to the children of the
generation that turns away?
The Journey from Light into Darkness
Frank Peretti, a well-known Christian author, once made a presentation in
which he related the transition of life in America to a somewhat obscure verse
in the Bible: "For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft . . ." (I Sam. 15:23). His
premise is that there is a progression of sin beginning with rebellion against
God that, when it runs its course, ends up in the realm of the occult.
There may be some interesting parallels to what we see around us today. One
of the intriguing recurrent themes in Scripture is the contrast between light
and darkness. Writing of Jesus, the Gospel of John proclaims, "In him was
life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in the darkness;
and the darkness comprehended it not" (John 1:4-5).
Jesus marks His own identity with references to the light:
I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but
shall have the light of life" (John 8:12). "Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a
little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness
come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he
goeth" (John 12:35).
According to Scripture, light represents the kingdom of God and His revealed
truth, and darkness represents the realm of Satan. It is logical, then, that when
we traverse outside the boundaries of God's truth, we run the risk of crossing
over a type of spiritual boundary into the domain of darkness, or the occult.
Jesus said He came: "To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to
light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive
forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by
faith that is in me" (Acts 26:18).
Man was created with an inherently spiritual nature. When twentieth-century
scientists and behavioral psychologists tried to strip away the basic
foundation of Judeo-Christian thought, what they left in its place was a
spiritual vacuum. And into that vacuum, we are seeing the rush of New Age
religions, the occult, eastern philosophies, and a wide range of teaching that
seeks to replace the light with the dark.
When we took away from future generations the underpinnings of Judeo-
Christian faith, they turned to find a faith of their own, and there was no
shortage of leadership to help guide them in their search for spiritual
Old Enticements for a New Age
While it is true that Christianity is no longer allowed in the public school
system, we would be very wrong to assume that religion has been removed
from our schools. Secular humanism, once defined by the courts as a
religion, is now giving way to more aggressive New Age precepts and
doctrines. In almost every school subject, children are taught holistic
education, values clarification, and transpersonal psychology. No longer is
the major emphasis on academics as much as it is on behavioral and social
strategies that will prepare the coming generation to be good global citizens.
But the New Age isn't really new at all. A blending of religions and doctrines
that are rooted in Hinduism, including hedonism, pantheism, and humanism,
it is as ancient as time itself.
In the garden, Satan tempted Eve with two enticements. First, he said that it
was possible to be like God. Then he reassured her that "ye shall not surely
die." These two concepts are the basic tenets of New Age thought, and the
reason why it is so attractive to a nation without God. The idea that man can
achieve "godhood" is to be found everywhere in New Age thought.
Stephanie Herzog wrote a book titled, Joy in the Classroom, claiming that
every student can achieve personal inner fulfillment and strength through
consciousness-raising exercise that put him in touch with "his true God-
In a December 1987 article in Time magazine, Robert J. L. Burrows stated:
"You can see the rise of the New Age as a barometer
of the disintegration of American culture. Dostoyevsky said that anything is
permissible if there is no God. But anything is also permissible if everything
(or everyone) is God."
Synonymous with the idea of godhood is the availability of power. The
media is saturated with this idea of supernatural power, from "the Force" of
Star Wars to Field of Dreams to Dungeons and Dragons, and beyond.
The latest example of this quest is the card game, "Magic: The Gathering,"
that has sold more than 10 million cards and continues to sell out before the
game even hits the shelves. The game, created by Wizards of the Coast,
deals with building up property, which is your manna," and accumulating
cards in order to acquire "the power" that each card carries.
The other facet of New Age comes from Satan's promise that "ye shall not
surely die." The biblical understanding of death is that it is an integral part of
man's redemption. God prevented Adam and Eve from eating of the tree of
life so that they should not "eat, and live forever," which would have left
them in their sinful, separated state of existence.
Jesus Christ triumphed over death when He rose from the grave, and in so
doing, He robbed Satan of his most powerful weapon. It is no wonder then
that Satan should try to negate the power of Christ's victory by convincing
man that there is no death. Reincarnation allows New Age followers to live
forever, and it takes out the uncomfortable specter of "accountability to a
The Beautiful Face of Evil
Why is New Age teaching so easily pervading the American mainstream?
And what does it have to do with the fall of the American culture? Isaiah 2:6
states, "Thou hast forsaken thy people the house of Jacob, because they be
replenished from the East, and are soothsayers like the Philistines..."
We know from I Samuel 6:2 that the Philistines practiced the art of divination.
That practice, which is forbidden by God's Word, seeks to achieve power,
control, and a knowledge of the future through the intercession of spirit
beings or demons. What God denounced in Israel more than 2,500 years ago
is no different from the trends that are sweeping through American culture
The eastern mystical religions have always been antithetical to God and to
His revealed plan for mankind. Their influence has been called the beautiful
face of evil. "And no marvel; for Satan himself is
transformed into an angel of light" (2 Cor. 11: 14).
Many scholars believe that, as we draw near to the return of Jesus Christ, it
is only natural that those within the dominion of Satan will become more and
more aggressive as they approach the final battlefield. New Age thinking is
in perfect harmony with the end-time prophecies of a one-world global
society under the leadership of one man, and the concurrent one-world
religion that accompanies his rise to power.
That is why, when we decided we would no longer impose our system of
spiritual values on our children, Satan was more than happy to impose his.
How to Change the World
It appears that as a nation we have traveled the full spectrum from the loss of
our Christian foundation to open rebellion against God's moral truth, which
had led many into the realm of occultic beliefs and practices.
How do we begin to turn an entire nation around and to reclaim the godly
heritage that once was ours? We begin one person at a time.
One of the enigmas of Christianity is that ever since Jesus chose a handful
of men to change the course of history, God has carried on His master plan
for the ages through the transformation of one life at a time. We are not
asked to perform supernatural feats or to overthrow principalities. We
change America the same way we change our families. Lives are turned
around, when one on one, we are willing to be used by God to make known
the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The real challenge to us as Christians is to run the hard race. We need to
measure our lives against the standard of God's Word and be willing to make
changes where there are discrepancies. We need to alter our priorities, take a
stand, teach our children, make the tough choices, and seek God's face.
We need to give our children a sure foundation, a certain knowledge of
absolute truth that will transcend governments and philosophies and powers
The greatest thing that we can do for America is to fight the good fight,
finish the course, and keep the faith. Then possibly God will be able to use
us in the way that He used John the Baptist 2,000 years ago: ". . . to turn the
hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of
the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord" (Luke 1: 17).