Skip to main content

America's Solution - Faith in the Truth [John W. Robbins]

[N.B. I'm currently working on a Biblical refutation of the tabula rasa doctrine. It's taking more time than I thought, but I should be done soon, Lord willing. As I write, I'm also reading quite a bit. One of the key works I'm going through, and which I highly recommend to anyone interested in the subject of the soul (a much hated and attacked doctrine in our day), is John Flavel's book Pneumatologia: A Treatise of the Soul of Man. For my side reading, I have just begun delving into Gordon H. Clark's book Essays on Ethics and Politics. Below is the foreword to the book, written by John W. Robbins. The essays in this book, and the book itself, were written/compiled several decades ago, and yet are as relevant to our day, if not more so, than many current publications. I think Robbins' words here are true and weighty.  -Hiram R. Diaz III]


The evening news and the daily paper testify to the collapse of morality in America. The alarming statistics on crime, abortion, taxation, and debt; the vociferous homosexual, feminist, environmentalist, and socialist movements; the lewd and violent television programs, movies, and books; the growing numbers of illegitimate births, homosexual marriages, unjustified divorces, and deaths by drunken drivers—all these things are evidence that America is caught in a moral maelstrom and may soon disappear beneath the flood.

How has this happened? How did a nation founded by Pilgrims, Puritans, and Presbyterians come to be dominated by impuritans? It did not happen overnight. It has not been only in the last two or three decades that the problem began; it has been a long time coming.

The story begins, as all stories do, with theology. America lost her ethics because she first lost her religion. Of course, there have always been unbelievers in America and they have usually been in the majority. But in the nineteenth century something new happened. Clergymen and the churches, whose duty it is to defend the truth against unbelief, not only failed to do so, they, too, became unbelievers and they began to attack the truth. The treason of the clerics became blatant in the twentieth century. Central to that betrayal was their rejection of the Bible as the infallible revelation of God. If the Bible is an untrustworthy book, a book not to be believed, all the other doctrines of Christianity— including its system of ethics—cannot stand. Gone are the promise of eternal life, the final judgment, the deity of Christ, the threat of hell, and the sovereignty of God. Gone, too, are the Ten Commandments. The prologue to the Ten Commandments states the ground of their authority: “I am the Lord.” Theology, not ethics, is of fundamental importance; once an individual or a nation rejects Christian theology, he has no basis for maintaining Christian ethics. The validity of the Ten Commandments depends upon the fact that their author is indeed the Lord. Were that not the case, the Commandments would have no authority to require anyone’s obedience.

Once the clerics and the churches abandoned Christianity, the moral decline of America was a foregone conclusion. Instead of churches being the salt of the earth, they became its fertilizer. We ought not be surprised that the weeds of crime, violence, greed, lust, and envy are flourishing: The churches and the clerics, by their unbelief, are feeding, watering, and cultivating them.

All of this has one rather obvious implication: If America, if the world, is to be pulled from the cesspool, it will not be accomplished by legislation, no matter how good, nor by repeated exhortations to traditional morality, nor even by preaching obedience to the moral law, no matter how vigorously. America has lost her way because she first lost her faith. And if that faith is to be recovered, it will be only through the preaching of the Gospel —the Biblical Gospel, not the various perversions taught in both liberal and conservative, Protestant and Catholic, modernist and evangelical churches today. No man or nation can save itself. No individual and no people can earn eternal or temporal salvation by good works. The Gospel alone is the power of God, and through its accurate preaching and publication, many will be granted faith.

Ironically, the cure for America’s immorality is not more law, but more belief in the truth. Faith—belief—correct theology is fundamental. Anything else is treating the symptoms, not the cause, of our present condition. The ideas expressed so often in advertising and in popular culture must be rejected and replaced by Christian ideas: Atheism: “You only go ’round once, so grab all the gusto you can get.” Irrationalism: “Why ask why?” “Turn on, tune in, drop out.” Self-indulgence: “Gotta have it.” “Buy now, pay later.” Hedonism: “Try it, you’ll like it.” “If it feels good, do it.” Our job as Christians is to replace those slogans and ideas with Christian ideas. Once people know who God is, we will have no major problems with ethics.

Dr. Gordon H. Clark was perhaps the greatest Christian philosopher and theologian America has produced. Over the course of his life he wrote hundreds of articles and essays, some of which directly concern ethics and politics. This collection of forty-three essays is a major statement of Christian ethics. In them he refutes the arguments of both secular and religious thinkers who attempt to construct ethical systems apart from revelation. He shows that there is no possibility of ethical knowledge or action apart from the Bible. The Bible alone is the source of truth: neither tradition, nor church, nor natural law, nor human opinion can provide us with the information we need to tell right from wrong.

Clark also shows that the Bible is a package deal: One cannot consistently accept the Eighth Commandment—You shall not steal—without also accepting the first—I am the Lord your God; you shall have no other gods before me. Ethics depends on theology; theology does not depend on ethics. If we pray for a recovery of Christian morality in the world, we must first pray for a recovery of Christian belief. God’s law is fine, but it is inadequate: God’s truth comes first.

-John W. Robbins