Two words jumped out at me in listening to the President’s State of the Union address, and the Republican response: “collapse” and “implode.” Did they strike you, too?
“In 2008, the house of cards collapsed,” President Obama told the nation. “We learned that mortgages had been sold to people who couldn’t afford or understand them. Banks had made huge bets and bonuses with other people’s money. Regulators had looked the other way, or didn’t have the authority to stop the bad behavior. It was wrong. It was irresponsible. And it plunged our economy into a crisis that put millions out of work, saddled us with more debt, and left innocent, hardworking Americans holding the bag.” The President did not use the occassion to offer a plan to reform Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid, or end deficits of $1 trillion or more, or deal with the $65 trillion of unfunded liabilities hurtling towards us. Yet he vigorously made the case that ”the state of our Union is getting stronger.”
Is the President right? Are things improving significantly enough to avoid another — and possibly far worse — collapse of the American economy? Not according to Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels. In his response to the President, Daniels argued that “the mortal enemies of Social Security and Medicare are those who, in contempt of the plain arithmetic, continue to mislead Americans that we should change nothing. Listening to them much longer will mean that these proud programs implode, and take the American economy with them. It will mean that coming generations are denied the jobs they need in their youth and the protection they deserve in their later years.” He added: “On these evenings, Presidents naturally seek to find the sunny side of our national condition. But when President Obama claims that the state of our union is anything but grave, he must know in his heart that this is not true. The President did not cause the economic and fiscal crises that continue in America tonight. But he was elected on a promise to fix them, and he cannot claim that the last three years have made things anything but worse: the percentage of Americans with a job is at the lowest in decades. One in five men of prime working age, and nearly half of all persons under 30, did not go to work today. In three short years, an unprecedented explosion of spending, with borrowed money, has added trillions to an already unaffordable national debt. And yet, the President has put us on a course to make it radically worse in the years ahead.”
Setting partisan politics aside for the moment, this is a discussion Americans urgently need to have: When it comes to our spiritual, moral and economic health, is America slowly and steadily improving and therefore should stay on our current course? Or are we in grave danger of moral, spiritual and economic collapse – at growing risk of imploding — and thus in need of a dramatic course correction before it is too late? These are the very questions at the heart of my new non-fiction book that will release on June 12th, Implosion: Can America Recover From Its Economic and Spiritual Challenges In Time? But given the high stakes, I don’t feel comfortable waiting for the book to release to begin engaging people in these issues. Lord willing, I will begin an effort to engage the American Church this coming weekend at a national pastors conference in Jacksonville, Florida. I’m really looking forward to this. There are some wonderful pastors addressing the event, including David Platt (author of the fantastic book, Radical: Taking Your Faith Back From The American Dream), Erwin Lutzer, Jim Cymbala, Tommy Nelson and our host, Mac Brunson. I’ve been asked to speak on “The Pastor and the Future,” and plan to focus on the enormous threats facing the United States and Israel and how the Church should respond in light of Bible prophecy. Washington and Wall Street bear much blame for the mess we are in, but doesn’t the Church as well? If the American Church was healthy and strong — faithfully walking with Jesus Christ, obeying the Scriptures, preaching the Gospel, and making disciples — wouldn’t the American society be stronger and healthier? Can we really hope that the 2012 elections will solve our problems and rescue our nation, or ought we start praying and fasting for a Third Great Awakening? To help seed the conversation, and to encourage churches throughout the country to start discussing such issues, each pastor at the conference will receive a sneak preview of the first three chapters of my book. We’ll also have a time of Q&A. Soon, we’ll post a sneak preview online at www.joelrosenberg.com so you process the same material and share it with your family and friends. I’d be grateful for your prayers as I head to Jacksonville tomorrow. Please pray that I can communicate clearly and effectively the gravity of the threats we face. Please pray, too, that I can communicate the power of our great God to save us and heal our land if we will humble ourselves and pray and seek God’s face and turn from our wicked ways, according to 2 Chronicles 7:14. Thanks so much.
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