In the aftermath of 9/11, I was interviewed by a number of reporters who asked how something so horrible, so unthinkable, could take place in the United States. They couldn't comprehend the capacity of someone who would kill thousands of people and lose their own lives in the process. I reminded them that not only was there a God, but there was also a devil. I told them that humanity was not basically good, as we often hear, but it is basically bad. I said the Bible teaches we are sinful to the very core. Many of them seemed shocked to hear this.
In the weeks following that horrific September day, our churches were packed as never before. Services at Harvest Christian Fellowship on the Sunday following 9/11 had the largest attendance in the history of our church. It was also the greatest response on the part of those making decisions for Christ. It was my hope and prayer that this renewed interest in God would ultimately lead to a nationwide revival. But that has not happened. In fact, something quite the opposite has occurred: a resurgence of moral relativism.
Moral relativism can be defined as a lack of moral absolutes. It is the belief that just because something is true to you doesn't necessarily mean that it is true to me. Moral relativism teaches that we are all products of the evolutionary process. There is no evil, there is no devil, and there is no God. Moral relativism teaches that we are all basically good, and if we do something bad, it is because we are victims, the result of our upbringing or environment. Moral relativism teaches freedom from all restraint. But the irony is that if you disagree with these things, then you are insensitive. If you have the audacity to say you believe there is right and wrong and good and evil, then you are classified as insensitive, intolerant, bigoted, and narrow-minded. If you dare to quote the Bible and say it is the source of truth, then you will be accused of pushing your puritanical belief system on others.
Yet biblical Christianity teaches that Jesus Christ is the only way to God. When someone says he or she believes in God, but that Jesus isn't necessarily the only way, I can assure you, on the authority of Scripture, that such a person cannot be a Christian and believe this. If you truly are a Christian, then you must believe what the Bible says. You cannot make up the rules as you go. I cannot get into my car today and say, "I have made up a new rule. I think it is OK for me to drive 120 miles per hour." I cannot walk into a store and say, "I believe it is OK for me to take whatever I want. It is mine for the taking." Of course, I can choose to believe these things, but I will have a new prison ministry very soon. There are rules. There are absolutes. Whether I believe in them or not, those absolutes are still true.
Therefore, when it comes to the Bible, we cannot pick and choose what we will believe and what we will not. It's a package deal. We take it the way God gave it. Yet we have removed God's absolutes from our culture. We have done our best to take God out of the classroom, out of the courtroom, and out of everything we can. Then we are amazed to see chaos breaking out as a result.
But this should not surprise us, because the basis of morality is belief. The basis of belief is the Bible, which gives us the absolute truth on which we can base our faith. When we say there is no right and wrong, when we do not have this belief, then the result will be chaos.
We have to get back to what God says. Solomon, after sampling everything this world had to offer, said, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man's all" (Ecclesiastes 12:13 NKJV). If anyone could ever say they had been there, done that, and bought the T-shirt, it would be Solomon. He had violated many of God's commandments. Yet after all was said and done, Solomon concluded, "Fear God and keep His commandments." God has given us His commandments for our own good: to show us how to live our lives.
Out of their long and painful journey has come a really helpful survival guide, so to speak. It’s a book called Suffer Strong: How to Survive Anything by Redefining Everything. It’s not just an inspiring story of triumph through trials but a how-to book for accepting God’s plan and recognizing His providence even when it feels like your world is shattered.