Articles From the July 1994 Unification News
Book Reviews, "The Family Under Siege" and "Gods Of This Age Or...God Of The Ages?"
Reviewed by Haven Bradford Gow, columnist, The Christian News, Arlington Heights, Ill.
The Family Under Siege by George Grant. Minneapolis, MN :Bethany House Publishers, 1994. 287 pp.
Gods Of This Age Or...God Of The Ages? by Carl Henry. Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1994. 323 pp.
In 1960, violent crime happened at the rate of 16 per 10,000; today, though, the rate is 75 per 10,000. During the past three decades, median prison time for serious crimes has dropped from 22 days to 8 days.
In 1972, the teen pregnancy rate was 49 per 1,000; in 1990, though, the figure increased to 99 per 1,000. In 1960, 5% of all births were to unmarried women, but by 1990 the figure had increased to 28%.
In 1960, the teen suicide rate was 3.6 per 100,000; by 1990, the figure had jumped to 11.3 per 100,000.
According to historian George Grant, author of The Family Under Siege, such disconcerting figures reflect the breakdown of the traditional family and the systematic destruction of Judeo-Christian moral standards. Mr. Grant observes that "those institutions that have traditionally provided stability, strength, and solace to families in times of crisis-our churches, private associations, and community organizations-have been systematically undermined. Their values have been attacked, their methods have been challenged, and their reputations have been distorted.... National greatness is a function of (good) character. When a nation becomes righteous, she becomes great. When a nation begins to display biblical character traits, she begins to achieve greatness-but only then."
Dr. Carl Henry, a Protestant theologian and author of Gods of this Age or...God of the Ages?, likewise insists that our moral and spiritual disorder emanates from the widespread rejection and destruction of Judeo-Christian moral standards. Dr. Henry points out that "we must cope with the fact that the definition of proper beliefs and behavior is undergoing great change in modern society.... Traditional immoralities emerge as new moral alternatives. Confusion multiplies over what is ethically permanent and what is culturally conditioned." Dr. Henry notes that, in America today, "Crime has soared to record levels, and Washington, D.C. is now a national murder and drug capital. Fully 83% of Americans or their family members now living are likely to be victims of violent crime at some time."
Moreover, "Sex education for minors in public schools is championed as the right to informed choice. Prostitution is approved as one's right of privacy. The time has come when many of the cultural despisers of traditional religion assume a six-month fetus should have no more legal status than a wart. The case for abortion on demand keeps edging toward a case for euthanasia on demand." Dr. Henry adds: "The implications for a cohesive society are stupendous. Without obligatory beliefs and behavior, no society can long survive. Moral communities, if they are to endure, require boundaries as well as tolerances."
Certainly the United States is in a state of moral and spiritual decline and disorder. America's moral and spiritual crisis emanates not simply from the widespread transgression but also in the repudiation of extrapersonal and extralegal moral standards. It is one thing to engage in stealing, slander, racial and religious hatred and bigotry, adultery, rape and murder, but it is a wholly different matter to contend that the Decalogue should have nothing to say regarding such activities. It is one thing to abort an innocent unborn child, which in itself is alarming and immoral enough; but when there is an attempt to condone such conduct by denying that a right to life exists superior to our desire for personal and economic convenience, when we seek to justify abortion by denigrating the reverence for the sacredness of human life, then this is a wholly different matter.
Clearly, then, America is suffering from moral and spiritual bankruptcy, even as Rome suffered from its decadence. And the only way to rectify this tragic and alarming state of affairs is through a resuscitation of the human spirit that emanates from the renewal of religious faith and commitment.
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