commentary: A Search for a Singular Truth (Part One)
John W. Ritenbaugh
Given 23-Nov-19; 13 minutes
I've come to the conclusion that of all the possible goals that one might seek in life, that the most important one to search for and find truth. To narrow the subject down a bit more and make it a bit more manageable, it is to search for truth in regard to the manner in which one should live his life as godly as possible.
This is a serious and a difficult goal. This nation, along with all the other nations of the Israelitish ethnic families, are in various stages of turmoil and of cultural turmoil. I do not necessarily believe we Americans are the worst off, but perhaps because we are so well-off economically, more is expected of us than is expected of others.
That aspect, though, is just an aside within the contents of this commentary because, relatively speaking, I believe that all the Israelitish nations are, on a worldwide basis, well-off economically and collectively. As judged against the broad spectrum of nations, the Israelites' various economies are in very high ranking.
But I'm far more interested in our general conduct, in our behavior, socially, politically and personally. It is in this area that we have no excuse because no other group of people on Earth has in its background history that God Himself clearly declares of Amos 3:2,
Amos 3:2 (Amplified Version) You only have I known (chosen, sympathized with, and loved) of all the families of the earth; therefore I will visit upon you all your wickedness and punish you for all your iniquities.
Israel is held guilty by God Himself for not living up to what we should.
This is incredible. The Israelitish people have had advantages in regard to having truth available to us that no other nation on Earth has ever had in all of history. What other nations on Earth have been directly the recipients of the Bible as a gift from our Creator, of of a whole package of truths as to how to live?
In Romans 1:20, in that book, it firmly asserts that in God's judgment, we have no excuse. The Bible clearly shows that God periodically chastens the nations that He's made a covenant with in order to accomplish His goals for them. And when He does, that nation—we—usually become involved in wars, economic downturns, and social confusion.
We need to be more acutely aware to the fact that He is moving events in that direction, I believe, at this time. I believe that we are living within the middle stages of a chastening period of time that is now about 100 years long. Within that period, we've experienced the Civil War, with the worst casualty amounts in the history of this nation. A war between ourselves. Is that a blessing?
In addition, we've had the Spanish-American War. We've had World Wars I and II, the Korean War, followed by the war in Vietnam, and there are major costs in lives and damage to the economy. Are we laughing on our way somewhere?
We've experienced, besides those wars, two major economic depressions, and all the while, the economic indebtedness is building toward a major, major avalanche.
Brethren, what I'm about to say is that there is no escaping the debts that we are accruing in lives or money. They must be paid, or the nation, whoever it is, ceases to exist. That is a reality. The piper is going to have to be paid.
Are you aware that our national debt is approaching $23 trillion? That's unimaginable. And in the first full year of the Trump presidency, our indebtedness increased by $780 billion in just one year.
Do you ever think about history? Whatever happened to Babylon, the richest nation on earth at the time? It was followed by Medo-Persia, then Greece, then Rome. What became of the British Empire? You know, the one the sun "never sets on"? It spent fortunes on military and economic battlefields, all the while virtually ignoring God in their personal conduct, living it up as if there is no piper to be paid. But over a century of time, that empire lost virtually all of their worldwide geographic possessions. Now it's just too small islands. It seems that we haven't learned a thing from our English cousins' fate. We are following the same often-trodden path toward national dissolution. In America, at this stage, even though conditions are obviously drawing more difficult to endure, the worst is clearly yet to come.
I'm going to take you back in Evelyn's and my history just a little bit and share with you something I learned regarding what is causing some of this chaos to build. This occurred sometime between mid-1975 and the end of February 1982 while I was pastoring the Columbia, South Carolina congregation. I do not remember the exact date. I just remember when it occurred. That congregation was listening to a taped Bible study given by Herbert Armstrong a bit earlier in Pasadena, during which he said this:
Most people do not understand this, but a political party has almost all the trappings of a religion—of a church—but they aren't called a church, and therefore they aren't recognized as a church, preaching their doctrines in order to gain the favor of the population to their side. But that's exactly what the political party is doing. They're trying to get adherents to their faith, which is political beliefs and ideas. But that is becoming much more easily seen now.
Having been more than just casually interested in the political scene then, that really registered in my mind, and I agreed almost immediately. As the saying goes, a light went on in my brain. I was almost shocked because to me that was really an insightful perception, because I knew a few of some political parties' tactics and mannerisms.
I bring this up because of what is happening to create much of the turmoil in our nation is being done under the heading of politics between two political parties, but I believe that what we are also really witnessing is, in reality, some fairly intense skirmishing between two false churches, battling for people's loyalties. The one church—the one most clearly identifiable by us, that is—is the secular church, mostly, at this time in the nation's history, operating within the Democratic Party. That group of people wants to change the American government and Constitution. They are about as leftist as you can get. Remember, this is a church in disguise, called a political party. Their doctrines grant to their members almost no rules whatever, except to live by the party's doctrines, which includes that there is no Creator God to answer to. That's what secularists do. They throw God out. But the party and its doctrines must be adhered to in order to maintain membership.
The other religion contains a great number of sincere religious folk who are, at one and the same time, also members of hundreds of various religious organizations. This group is very frequently attacked by the secular group, but it has almost no real political strength because these sincere folks are badly divided by the fact that almost all the religious organizations represented within the membership of the political grouping are badly divided, doctrinally, right from the word "go," as we can easily see. Very many of their varied collection of doctrines are not doctrines authorized by the Creator God. Is God going to back an assembly of people already at odds with Him right from the start?