When Leaders Go Astray!
Many realize that our world is largely what our leaders have made it. In the 1930s, Nazi leaders gained control of Germany. To consolidate their grip on power, they revived ancient pagan rituals, indoctrinated a generation of youth into a cult of the Führer and goaded a modern industrialized nation into military adventures that ended in the ruin of Germany and the devastation of Europe.
A decade or so earlier, atheistic Bolshevik leaders seized power in Russia. They rejected religion, promoted Marxist ideology, and used propaganda and brutal force in their attempt to fundamentally change a nation. Their atheistic communist experiment claimed millions of lives and caused generations of suffering—but ultimately collapsed because it was built on a value system alien to the peoples of Russia.
America, Britain and the nations of their Anglo-Saxon cousins were built on a very different foundation than the failed experiments mentioned above. The Founding Fathers of the United States—like the formative leaders of Britain, Holland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa—were heavily influenced by principles derived from the Bible, principles that have molded major aspects of Western civilization. Though their application was sometimes quite far from what the Bible actually prescribed, this gave their nations a foundation very different from what we see in the many nations that did not even make any attempt to adopt “Christian” principles. These nations’ leaders openly acknowledged their debt to, and even their reliance on, the God of the Bible, and credited Him for the success and prominence of their nations.
Sadly, modern leaders of these same nations that were founded on Christian principles have largely moved away from that original foundation, even as their nations falter. Yet few are willing to “connect the dots.” Most fail to see a connection between this dramatic shift—from a religious to secular worldview, from Christianity to consumerism, from biblical morality to “anything goes”—and the current state of decline, yet the clear parallels are there!
Commonly overlooked today are the prophetic warnings that biblical prophets delivered to the ancestors of the modern Anglo-Saxon peoples. Isaiah warned the prosperous nation of Israel, “O My people! Those who lead you cause you to err, and destroy [confuse] the way of your paths” (Isaiah 3:12), and “The leaders of this people cause them to err, and those who are led by them are destroyed” (Isaiah 9:16). Isaiah also warned, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20). Jeremiah warned the prosperous nation of Judah, “Many rulers have destroyed My vineyard” (Jeremiah 12:10). He also warns in Jeremiah 22:13, “Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness” [scorning the laws of God—Psalm 119:172]. Jeremiah thundered against the misguided leaders of Israel and Judah “who try to make My people forget My name… and cause My people to err by their lies and by their recklessness” (cf. Jeremiah 23:13, 25–27, 32).
Sadly, this has also happened in America, Britain and other Anglo-Saxon countries over the last 50 years—during the same years that have witnessed the dramatic decline of these once-admired nations. Academic institutions that produce future leaders have been gradually taken over by secular activists who promote anti-American ideas, denounce the accomplishments of Western civilization and despise and undermine the biblical moral values that once set their nations apart from the world. The college radicals of the 1960s did not go away; many are now university administrators and tenured professors promoting their radical Marxist-inspired ideas to new generations across the Western world. This phenomenon has been recognized by American and British writers alike; see Peter Hitchens’ The Abolition of Britain for a solid account. It is no surprise that young people who have been programmed to tolerate pornography and accept homosexuality and same-sex marriage as normal, healthy alternative lifestyles will also support political candidates who promote the same messages—in spite of the fact that these unbiblical behaviors are decidedly not healthy or conducive to a healthy society (see “Homosexuality: Some Neglected Concerns,” Journal of American Physicians & Surgeons, Fall 2005, pp. 80–82).
Sadly, many liberal theologians have also bought into these same misguided ideas. It has been primarily the leaders of liberal churches who have championed the acceptance of homosexuality, the ordination of women and homosexual men, and the celebration of same-sex marriages. The consequence of promoting and adopting these modern “progressive” changes has often been acrimonious divisions of church congregations, and a dramatic decline in membership in once-prominent mainline denominations. The example of political leaders who say one thing and do something else, and religious leaders who promote ideas that stand in conflict with the Scripture that supposedly forms the basis for their creeds, has led to a decline in respect for political and religious leaders across the Western world.
The Bible records the powerful influence of leaders—good and bad—on their nations. Jeroboam, the first king of the northern nation of Israel, had a powerful influence on the nation and every king after him. He turned away from God, adopted pagan ways and then led the nation in following his example—permanently! The Bible records that Jeroboam “sinned and who made Israel sin” (1 Kings 12:28–33; 14:16; 2 Kings 17:20–21). Misguided kings of Judah also turned that nation away from God. In spite of reform efforts by kings like Asa, Hezekiah and Josiah, both nations ultimately went into captivity because they followed leaders who turned away from God and His ways.
These Old Testament accounts are not ancient history that we can afford to forget; they are lessons of history recorded for our admonition today (1 Corinthians 10:11). Moses informed the Israelites when they came out of Egypt that if they obeyed God they would be blessed, “but if you do not obey Me… and if you despise My statutes… I will break the pride of your power” (Leviticus 26:14–19). Jeremiah warned the Israelites “you have forsaken the Lord your God… your own wickedness will correct you” (Jeremiah 2:19–20), and again, “Because they have forsaken My law… I will scatter them also among the Gentiles” (Jeremiah 9:13–16). Hosea records that because Israel has “forgotten his Maker” and considered the laws of God “a strange thing” they “sow the wind” and will “reap the whirlwind” and go into captivity among Gentile nations (Hosea 8:7–14). These traumatic events happened to the ancient nations of Israel and Judah, because they followed misguided leaders who “caused them to err” and turn away from God and His ways. Tragically, the Anglo-Saxon peoples, oblivious to the lessons of their own history, are doing the same thing today. Unless they repent and turn to God, the same fate awaits these modern Israelites in the not-too-distant future!