The Trumpet Herald is a commentary on certain current events in the light of inspired prophecy.
Christian Coalition in Crisis
Following President Clinton's acquittal by the United States Senate, the Religious Right and other social conservatives have found themselves nursing their wounds. The February 22, 1999 issue of U.S. News & World Report featured an article on the anguish and soul-searching now taking place in these groups, and their long-overdue acknowledgment of the spiritual impotence of politics as a means of curbing moral decay
In a February 17 interview with CNN's "Inside Politics," Moral Majority co-founder Paul Weyrich admittedat long lastthat there really isn't such a thing as a moral majority in America, and that while social conservatives have won many elections in America during the past thirty years, "our culture has been slipping into barbarism."
"If God doesn't deal with America now, then he's going to have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah," declared one Religious Right activist who sat with 12 others around a table in Colorado Springs, bemoaning the failure of the move to impeach the President. The. U.S. News article reported the anger of these folks at a "fat and happy country that has 'sold its soul for materialism'"' (p. 32). Gordon Klingenschmitt, a recent divinity-school graduate who participated in the Colorado discussion group, was even more pointed: "America wants leaders who can lead them into tolerance of their own sins so they don't have to forsake their sins" (p. 34).
Recent power struggles within the Christian Coalition have led some observers to even predict the organization's demise. Political scientist John Green of the University of Akron, Ohio, stated recently: "The Christian Coalition may no longer exist if it fails in the Republican primaries and congresssional elections, as it failed in the 1998 election" (Ibid.).
We can be sure, knowing the prophecies of Inspiration as we do, that rumors of the ebbing right-wing tide are grossly exaggerated. But the remarks of Paul Weyrich and the thoughts of those quoted in the U.S. News article offer poignant evidence of why Scripture warns against the union of church and state, and why resorting to such methods proves the spiritual povertynot the spiritual strengthof those Christians who use them.
The second angel's message declares, "Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication" (Rev. 14:8). God's angel declared to the apostle John that this fornication committed by apostate Christianity will occur with "the kings of the earth" (Rev. 17:2). The Bible calls such a union fornication because civil coercionwhen used in defense of personal moral purityproduces not holiness, but hypocrisy. Biblical righteousness is the result of choice, not force. "Whosoever will," the Bible says, "let him take the water of life freely" (Rev. 22:17).
Gordon Klingenschmitt's comments about America desiring political leaders to accommodate cherished sin are quite right, as are the statements denouncing Americans for their materialism and love of ease. But why has it taken conservative Christians so long to figure this out? Is this something new in the history of our fair land? Why did Christians who take the Bible seriously ever consider themselves a "moral majority," especially in the light of Jesus' declaration: "Narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" (Matt. 7:14)?
We can be sure that when the economy goes sour again, as it will, the Religious Right will gain a wide hearing as it points to adversity as a punishment for the nation's sins, and offers the image to the beast as the ultimate panacea. But when this happens, perhaps we would do well to remind them of their own admission that the political process cannot change hearts.
Labor Unrest Rising
The recent American Airlines strike gave further evidence 0£ the growing power of labor unions, especially sincedespite the facade of prosperityjob insecurity remains high. The conclusion of the airline strike was followed shortly by a declaration from the AFL-CIO executive council, declaring labor's intention to mount an all-out drive to elect candidates friendly to labor's goals in the year 2000.
God's prophet foretold what the power of certain organizations would be in the closing hours of history:
"Men are seeking to bring those engaged in the different trades under bondage to certain unions. This is not God's planning, but the planning of a power that we should in no wise acknowledge. God's Word is fulfilling; the wicked are binding themselves up in bundles ready to be burned" Selected Messages, vol. 2, p. 143).
"Through the working of trusts, and the results of labor unions and strikes, the conditions of life in the city are constantly becoming more and more difficult. Serious troubles are before us; and for many families removal from the cities will become a necessity" (Ministry of Healing, p. 364).
Veneration of Saints
A letter to the editor in the February 22 U.S. News & World Report responded to a recent article in the same magazine regarding the veneration of Catholic saints. The letter praised the article for supposedly refuting the Protestant claim that Catholics worship the saints, insisting, rather, that Catholics only venerate saints while worshipping God only (p. 13).
U.S. News printed four letters in reply to this article, all of which defended the Catholic position. Whether this sampling was representative of the letters received, we cannot know. If in fact this is a representative sample, it offers further evidence of the loss of the Protestant voice.
Regardless of what Catholics claim, the honor they pay to images of the saints is in clear violation of the commands of Scripture, as seen in the twice-repeated command of an angel to the apostle John not to bow before him, but to God only (Rev. 19:10; 22:9). The fact that even the most recent Catholic Catechism (published in 1994) still leaves out the core of the Second Commandment (pp. 498-612) gives further proof that the commands of God's Word are a threat to papal practices.
Again we must bear in mind the modern prophet's warning about the coming union of churches:
"This union will not, however, be effected by a change in Catholicism; for Rome never changes. She claims infallibility. It is Protestantism that will change" (Review and Herald, June l, 1886).