A Letter To the Stockton Record December 23, 1984 Salvation Solution To Woes Found In One Place
by Carlton Pruitt
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Here is a rather long letter I wrote to my local newspaper which was almost printed in its entirety. I was a hot shot conservative Republican in my mid twenties with enough zeal to whip up a dust cloud around my enemies if dust were the stuff of war. I suppose the editor, most likely a liberal, found some merit in its contents because of my interest and addressing of social concerns from a somewhat different religious perspective than perhaps he was accustomed to meeting. I was deeply influenced in my thinking by some intensely profound Christian scholarship and yet looking back I do not think I was a true convert to the Lord Jesus Christ. Why? Because Jesus said "Why call me Lord and do not the things I say?" We can have a great zeal and intellectual knowledge and fall short of salvation.
Salvation Solution to Woes Found In One Place
This letter comes at the end of the year with the Reagan "feel goodism" re-election over. Things might seem all merry rosy with the arrival of the Christmas spirit but it just isn't so, at least in Washington. Our Federal budget and trade deficit are spelling economic disaster. Centralized tyranny is still as cruel a taskmaster as ever. Although Orwell's 1984 didn't arrive as he envisaged it, don't discount the possibility of a late arrival. This country will face some very serious problems over the four to eight years. It'll be interesting to see how they're handled.
We must not have a blind faith in the president and his policies nor a looking to science and technology as a god to save us from all our woes. The answers are much deeper. They are religious in nature. They are theological and philosophical. When our theology and philosophy are in harmony with the Scriptures then our economics, history, science, politics, etc will be- or rather should be- in harmony with the creation. Then and only then will we be able to answer our problems correctly.
How many times have you heard echoed from the pulpit, TV, or radio that the Bible has the answers or that Christianity is a life changing religion? I believe these two statements are true but how many Christians really believe it? How many of these identified with a local church believe it? It might draw a lot of attention to submit a postcard, stating in bold letters the Bible has the answers to Ripley's Believe It Or Not. It would probably be promptly returned stating, " I don't believe it."
The best selling books that pastors and layman are reading these days don't seem to present much of a challenge to the fundamental presuppositions of mankind. Pious devotionals which only relegate salvation to the sphere of the soul, do not fulfill the great commission. Consider the best selling author Charles Swindoll. Two of his books entitled "Strengthening Your Grip" and Improving Your Serve," (at first I thought these were about tennis) are but the result of a pessimistic dispensational eschatology. They offer no substantial solutions for man's problems in the 20th century.
Back in the 1970s, Hal Lindsey's books "The Late Great Planet Earth" and "Satan Is Alive and Well On the Planet Earth" predicted the future in a dismal premillennial fashion offering no Biblical solutions for todays existential man. Lindsey created a fanciful scenery of cars smashing head on and airplanes toppling skyscrapers as the Christian drivers and pilots disappeared in an imaginative "secret rapture," leaving billions of people on earth. The anti-Christ, supposedly a one world dictator, would rule from Jerusalem and put to death anyone a 666 on his/her hand or forehead. This rapture fever mentality is still with us unfortunately and is alive and well in many churches. Its thinking has been summed up in the words of one famous radio preacher, "you don't polish brass on a sinking ship."
Before I appear too critical or pessimistic myself, let us look at how the Bible and orthodox Christianity can be applied to a few areas of life.
One of the most basic philosophical problems down through the ages has been the attempt to reconcile the one and the many, unity and diversity. Is unity or diversity the ultimate truth about being? The proper structure of government, the role of the individual in society, and the source of law are all related to the problem of the one and the many. If, as Plato believed, the one is ultimate then the logical consequence will be Totalitarianism because the many or individuals will be sacrificed and subordinated to the group. On the other hand, if the many be made ultimate then unity is sacrificed to diversity or individuals and anarchy prevails. While the problem of the one and the many may not be familiar to most readers, because it is seldom discussed in churches, or colleges, nevertheless, its importance can not be mitigated. The answer to this philosophical problem is found only in the orthodox Christian doctrine of the ontological trinity. The Eternal One and many are equally ultimate because the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all co-eternal and correlative. The Father is not greater than the Son or Holy Spirit nor is the Son greater than the Holy Spirit or Father. The same is true of the Holy Spirit. All are infinite, absolute and unchangeable. There is no subordination in their being.
Mohammedanism, because of its Unitarianism, is a statist religion. It denies the Christian doctrine of the trinity. Because the Bible is God's infallible revelation to man, we can solve this seemingly impossible enigma. We can reconstruct society in terms of this wonderful Trinitarian solution and provide a balance and authority between various institutions like the church, the state, school, economy, ad infinitum.
The church has been remiss in exercising her duty of dominion over the creation. It recognizes certain problems like poverty in Third World countries and sometimes tries to solve them with ungodly and unbiblical solutions. For example, Liberation Theology has been used by the Socialists and the Marxists to feed on the institutional church like a pack of parasites. Ronald Sider and his ilk are seriously mistaken when they advocate Robinhood economics via the progressive income tax and other compulsory wealth redistribution programs are nothing but a system of legalized theft touted by master guilty manipulators.
Another area where Christians have been deceived is in psychology. Environmentalism and behaviorism are two forms of humanism which flows through the currents of many intellectual streams. Environmentalism constantly attributes evil to the "apple," that is, the environment. Its creed is what Flip Wilson use to say on his TV show "the Devil made me do it."
Behaviorism, one variant, says essentially the same thing that man is nothing but a reflex action responding to various stimuli inherent in the world. Both of these ideas miss the mark because they blame the environment for all mans problems instead of mans sin. Man is not seen as inherently evil but as inherently good. He becomes evil or corrupted by his environment or society. Mans salvation is then sought in the environment instead of Jesus Christ. Instead of the criminal making restitution, which is the Biblical system of justice, society will make restitution in the form of taxation by paying for the criminal's imprisonment. The criminal's responsibility is removed and shifts to society.
A Biblical psychology of man gives us a very different picture than that of the modern psychologist. From a Biblical perspective man is seen as basically evil, totally depraved, that is, depraved in all his faculties; heart, mind, will, conscience, etc. Man, who is created in the image of God, is a responsible creature who is commanded to love and obey his creator. Man is not a law unto himself to do what is right in his own eyes. He is finite and gets his source of authority from God and his law word not from his autonomous reason. As John Wycliffe once wrote, "The Bible is for the government of the people, by the people, and for the people."
Its time for the pastors and church members of Stockton to wake up and start taking seriously God's word. Christ said, "You are the salt of the earth" and "You are the light of the world." The fundamentalists and the Charismatics are too busy hold prophecy meetings or "eating, meeting and retreating" to be of any earthly good. Rolling in the aisles and speaking jibberish every few Sundays is not what Christianity is about. Once the hyped up emotionalism is over you must still face a world inundated by crisis.
What is needed as we start the New Year off is a vision (without which the people perish) centered around the application of God's law to every area of life and thought. Begin to study the Bible diligently, attend church faithfully, pray often and fervently, develop a reading program consisting of thought provoking books from various fields but not the secularist coercive Utopian mythologies so prevalent today. Subscribe to at least a few conservative newsletters or magazines to keep informed of current events.
Carlton Pruitt ministers the gospel to the Los Angeles area. Formerly a Hollywood actor (SAG member)and junk removal expert he now spends most of his time studying the scriptures, writing articles, hymns and poems and doing street preaching.
See his videos on http://www.youtube.com Type LAStreetPreacher in the search bar. CONTACT at Carlton2061@gmail.
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Wow Carlton....your article gave me pause. You wrote 'why do you call me Lord and not do the things I say'- I'm assuming as a barometer of your own salvation almost 30 years ago. Yet your letter in all appearances seemed to be from a born again believer. Again giving pause for self reflection...