The Folly of Warnings Unheeded

If a warning is given about some impending tragedy, disaster or conflict, and those warnings go unheeded, there is a double evil: the evil which occurs, and the evil of not heeding the warnings. It is one thing for tragedy to occur; it is another thing for it to occur needlessly.

It seems one very recent example of this concerns Qantas. It appears that CEO Alan Joyce had been warning Julia Gillard about this for some time, but she ignored the warnings, and even refused to return phone calls about the crisis. This is a small example of the dangers of ignoring the warning signs.

A much more important case of unheeded warnings involves World War II. A TV documentary last night examined one part of this: the situation in France prior to the war. Those in charge in France were basically way out of their depth: whether politicians or generals or others, they almost all were in large part responsible for the fall of France.

They simply failed to heed the many warnings, would not believe the clear reports about the German offensive, and just wanted to believe it would not happen. They also were living in the past, believing that the tactics of the Great War would suffice for any new war.

They basically had their heads in the sand and refused to face reality. Even worse, many wanted to follow a policy of appeasement and even collaboration with the Germans. They actually thought they could somehow just get along with the German invaders as they overran their nation.

Winston Churchill called WWII the “unnecessary war”. And it really was. Many English leaders were just as bad as the French: they too refused to face reality and heed the many warnings. Indeed, the grand example of naive and dangerous appeasement was found in Chamberlain who vainly sought to achieve “peace in our time”.

When you watch a documentary like this you cannot help but get angry at those inept, out of touch, and idiotic French leaders. They should have been doing all they could to protect France, but they instead became a part of the problem, making the downfall of France possible.

Hindsight of course is always superior to foresight, but still, these leaders should have known better, and we have a right to be angry at their sheer incompetence and bloody-mindedness. After all, if the war was largely preventable, then the lives of millions could have been spared, and the Holocaust need not have happened.

Untold suffering, misery and death might have been prevented, if only those in charge had been doing their jobs, and had properly attended to the many warnings given. But they did not. So in the case of France, the Germans took it over in a mere five weeks (May-June 1940), and Europe had to endure five more years of hell as a result.

There are some clear lessons in all this for us today. There are plenty of battles raging today, many of them cultural or social, as opposed to military, but the costs of such warfare can be just as great. The culture wars of today are causing plenty of havoc, misery and destruction.

But the tragic thing is, while people have given warnings about these battles, so few seem to listen. As far as the church goes, most Christian leaders have no clue that these wars are going on, and they refuse to heed any of the warnings about them.

At bottom of course are spiritual powers of darkness, seeking to wreak death and destruction everywhere. But these spiritual battles are manifest in very real ways here on earth. So much of the social, cultural, moral and religious upheavals of our time have as their basis the warfare taking place in the heavenlies.

Consider the various radical social activist groups which have declared war on faith and family. Many of these destructive groups have been quite upfront about their intentions. They have clearly told us what they intend to do. Yet most people seem quite clueless as to the war which has been declared against faith and family values.

Or they choose to ignore or not believe the warnings being given. Some of these voices have been sounding the alarm for decades now, yet most Christians either ignore the trumpet blasts, or decide that there really is nothing to be alarmed about.

Or, as in Europe last century, many think they can actually appease the enemy, and somehow cut a deal with them or strike a truce. They think that those who have openly declared that they want to destroy us can somehow be lived with and gotten along with. Such believers are naive in the extreme.

And as we tragically witnessed in German-occupied France, far too many people in fact became collaborators with the occupiers. They actually got into bed with the Nazis, and sold out their own countrymen. Far too many Christians are doing exactly that today in the culture wars and other battles we find ourselves in.

Instead of standing up against these activist groups and their secular-left agenda, many Christians are in fact siding with them, and bringing them into their churches. They think “peace at any price” is the way to go. They look at any form of conflict as somehow “unChristlike” and think appeasement is their Christian duty.

How many Christian churches have effectually capitulated and gone over to the other side? How many have sold their souls for worldly approval and the praise of men? How many have abandoned the gospel and embraced the wisdom of this world, just to be liked and to get along?

These leaders will one day stand before their Lord and give an account of their treasonous activities, and of all those under them that have been harmed as a result. Just as any remaining French leaders after the war should have faced the music for their negligence and incompetence, so too Christian leaders must face the music for their betrayal of their Lord and the gospel.

In the meantime, we need to keep praying that bold and godly prophets will arise and send clear messages of warning. Too many Christian leaders who are meant to be watchmen on the wall and prophetic voices are not sounding the alarm.

Indeed, as Paul warns in 1 Corinthians 14:8, “If the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle?” We need clear clarion calls today, made by those who do not fear man but only God. Sure, such prophetic voices will always be rejected and opposed, but the duty to sound the alarm remains.

As Ezekiel so clearly warned, the blood will be on our hands if we know of danger ahead but refuse to give the alarm (Ez 3:16-21; 33:1-20). I for one do not want that blood to be on my hands. I will continue to speak out even if everyone laughs at me, mocks me, and spurns me.

I do not want future generations to look back at me – and Christian leaders – and say, “Why in the world did they not warn God’s people? How could they have ignored all the warning signs? How could they have remained silent in the face of so much impending danger and doom? How could they have been so negligent in their duty?”

I got quite angry at those helpless, hopeless French leaders who should have done so much better. They could have kept France free, and they could have prevented much of WWII. Anyone watching that documentary should have felt the same sense of anger and frustration.

We dare not repeat their mistakes, so that future generations of believers look back at us in anger and frustration, amazed that we did not see the dangers, make the warnings, and fight the fight. In so many ways, the church is on the verge of collapse all over the Western world, and so very few can see the dangers or can sound the alarm.

I for one will not allow the collapse of the church to take place on my watch. I hope you will join with me in being that much-needed watchman on the wall.

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18 Replies to “The Folly of Warnings Unheeded”

  1. It is my understanding that the French headquarters communicated with the front lines via courier. That seems pre-American Civil War.
    Hank Halle

  2. Thanks Hank

    Yes according to the doco last night, the generals and other military leaders lived in some fancy place well outside of Paris which had no telephones or telegraph, or any other modern forms of communications. If they wanted to send a message to someone, they did it by means of motorcycle couriers. Talk about gross negligence and inept leadership.

    And when the Germans stormed into France, they simply used the detailed Michelin guides, telling them exactly where to go. The whole thing was a fiasco, and the French leadership should have been given the chop a long time ago.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  3. Another very timely post, Bill, about how a free society can simply collapse, not necessarily because of an enemy’s strength but owing to internal weakness.

    A very distinguished French writer André Maurois was a close observer of the events which led to France’s surprise defeat by Germany in 1940. He concluded at the time that the reasons behind France’s sudden collapse were not primarily military, but moral.

    He enunciated nine principles essential for the defence of freedom. He wrote:

    1) Be strong. A people that is not ready to die for its liberties will lose them.

    2) Act Fast. Ten thousand airplanes built in time are worth more than 50,000 after the battle.

    3) Direct opinion. A leader leads; he does not follow.

    4) Maintain the moral unity of the nation. Political parties are passengers aboard the same ship; if they wreck it, all will perish.

    5) Protect public opinion against the influence of foreign governments. To defend ideas is legitimate; to accept money from abroad for defending them is a crime.

    6) Act instantly against all illegal violence. Provocation to violence is a crime in itself

    7) Protect the young against any teaching designed to weaken the unity of the country. A country that does not seek to preserve its existence commits suicide.

    8 ) Demand upright lives in those who govern. Vice of any sort gives advantage to the enemy.

    9) Believe passionately in the ideas and in the way of life for which one is fighting. It is faith that creates armies, and even arms. Liberty deserves to be served with more passion than tyranny.

    Maurois’s nine principles are as relevant today as when he first wrote them 70 years ago.

    An article on this subject may be found at:

    Thank you again for your piece, Bill.


    John Ballantyne, Melbourne

  4. Thanks Bill
    Yes I got angry to watch such unneeded misery and why? If I can’t do a job, get out the way and let somebody who can. But to veer of slightly, all these mission trips are starting to make me angry as well. Won’t be long before we have no church to go on mission trips from. My opinion only.
    Daniel Kempton

  5. Thanks Bill for being a voice in the darkness sounding the warning trumpet.
    A pastor friend warned me not to believe what “radical far-right wing Christians” such as yourself have to say. His idea is if we love everyone, everything will turn out fine.
    Obviously I ignored his advice.
    Bill, I have learned more about how to fight the good fight as a Christian from you – and many of those who comment on this site – in the last year than I have in the last 25 years attending church.
    I am with you brother.
    Let us not go to sleep at the wheel when there are so many battles to be fought.
    God bless you and your ministry.
    Paul de la Garde, Sydney

  6. Bill,

    Thank you for your article.

    A quick request/suggestion for your consideration. It is very good to encourage Christians to speak up and take action. However, those of us who are average go to work, come home, go to church kind of people – with no great sphere of influence – find ourselves thinking that it is beyond us to make a significant impact.

    There is nothing wrong with us not being history shakers or particularly significant of course, God grants gifts as He will, and the lot of a simple life of work and family is good.

    But the question for us then is ‘how can we meaningfully take a stand from our position?’. We can’t speak to the Church corporate, we don’t have a loud voice. We are just ordinary people.

    I wonder if you might do a series of articles looking at the practical ways in which people like me can take faithful action? at work? at church? in our families? and in other areas. It’s just that reading an article like that makes me think ‘yes, spot on… now what does this look like in my life, what do I need to change? (in God’s grace)’.

    God bless,
    Isaac Overton

  7. Thanks Isaac

    But I too am just an “ordinary” person as you put it. I am not talking about super saints here, just the normal Christian life. Sure, we are not all called to be full time activists or lobbyists, but we are all called to be full-time Christians who put him first in whatever calling we find ourselves in, and be salt and light on a regular basis. It is just Col. 3:17 and I Cor. 10:31 really.

    As to what can a person do, the sky is the limit. Simply pray and ask God what he wants you to do, then do it with all your heart. But I have written about practical tips elsewhere:

    But yes I can write more articles on all this. But start with the one I link to.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  8. As Isaac rightly stated and might i add, said very nicely.
    I’m with you i’ve been wondering this as a mechanic for some time. Here’s what i do.
    1. I bring these topic’s up for discussion were ever i can.
    2. I copy these topic’s and print them and pin them to notice boards and leave them on desks.
    3. I copy and paste them to face book.

    I know it’s not much, but i do feel better.
    Daniel Kempton

  9. Thanks Bill, i’ll be sure to read the link.

    Sorry – I wasn’t trying to imply anything in particular by calling myself ordinary (as you rightly imply, we are all ‘ordinary’ in a sense) – I was trying to get at the fact that some Christians ( a minority) are better placed to fight activist groups and radical politicians – as well as proclaim this important prophetic message to the church – than others.

    I guess discussing the problem on that broader societal level, as well as thinking about what future generations may think of us in years to come, makes me think that many Christians have little say or effect over these matters. Most of us don’t have a voice that will echo down the ages!

    You mention that so few are speaking up and taking a stand, but so few have the ability to get noticed! The good thing is this means that there may be more action occuring than we are aware of – the bad thing of course is that the more people who hear the truth on a larger scale the better!

    I suppose the bottom line is that we must each simply be faithful inasmuch as we have opportunity. I don’t suppose Luther, Calvin or Augustine – or other great names of the faith – suspected the heights to which God would call them. It’s His business as to how He would place each of us! It’s our business to take to our opportunities with fervour and within the limitations of our abilities and giftings.

    Nonetheless, further discussion on action we can take in any area on a more ‘mundane leve’ (for want of a better way of expressing that!) is always welcome!

    God bless you for being faithful with your opportunity Bill!
    Isaac Overton, ACT

  10. Thanks again Isaac

    Yes as I said some are called to a more full-on lobby or activism role, but we are all called to be salt and light and to make a difference in any area of life. Simply being a faithful Christian to your family, friends, neighbours etc makes a huge difference. We don’t need to save the universe, just our immediate sphere of influence. The greens speak about how we should “think globally, act locally’. That is true of us as well.

    Do not underestimate the world-changing, history-making works you can do for him, even just in the workplace or wherever. Every single Christian on the planet can make a tremendous difference for Christ and his Kingdom if we are faithful and sold out to him.

    We all can be world-changers in our own small way. If Graeme does not mind, he just posted a comment under another article, but it seems relevant, so I will post it here as well below.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  11. Do what we did.

    Join a political party. A major party would be preferable as they will be able to influence law. Some hearty Christian souls still support the ALP but get a hard time from most of their colleagues. We (wife and I) joined the LNP in QLD. Wife’s cousin is a friendly local candidate and organiser for FF.

    Get involved in the pre-selection process. Make it clear to candidates that they will have your vote & help if they protect freedom of speech and religion. Specifically mention these issues (and others close to the “Christian heart”). We (and others) have ensured that the 2 LNP candidates in adjoining seats are pro-life, pro-Judeao-Christian on these issues.

    Win. Don’t whinge.

    Graeme Cumming

  12. The problem with joining a major political party is that they humour the Christians to get their vote and their workers – then they cynically outvote them in the party room. Even if a Christian candidate is elected, the Christian can’t point to a Christian mandate because they were in fact elected on the secular platform of the major party – not on a Christian platform.

    The difficulty with minor Christian parties is that they can be seen to be too religious. What they need to do is specify all policies in the pragmatic terms of the practical value of moral and family values up front. Then, in the fine-print insist that all candidates will be vetted for Christian faith and backbone and will be held accountable.

    Family First is not the way to go (even though I have scrutinised for FF). FF backed away from being identified as Christian and soon lost its way. It did not enforce that all candidates be practicing Christian. And it became a one-term wonder because it did not stick to Christian principles but compromised it’s integrity and did a dirty (but ‘successful’) deal by exchanging preferences with The Australian Democrats – a party whose policies were anathema to Christians and to most FF voters.

    More important is revival and so that the population and hence the parties will be reformed by the Gospel.

    Concerning appeasement and history: The Frank Cappa (or is it Capra?) series of WW2 ‘propaganda’ films are an excellent lesson in history. I had no idea that Japan invaded China in the 1930s as the start of it’s well-planned world conquest agenda. But the West did nothing but appease – after all, who cares about China?
    Then Mussolini invaded Ethiopia: but the West did nothing – who cares about Ethiopia? So Hitler had been clearly shown that the West had no moral backbone in its leadership. And he was right – and he almost got away with it.

    Appeasement anyone? When will we ever learn?

    Peter Newland

  13. Talking about warnings a British author wrote a book in the 1920s entitled the Great pacific war and he forecast the exact plans that Japanese would follow. Then there was USARMYAIR CORP General Billy Mitchell, who also thought the Japanese would be America’s next enemy. In both cases the warnings were ignored. I recall reading that John Curtin was given Intelligence about the carrier force heading towards Hawaii days before Pearl Harbor,and he notified he US but again it was ignored. Then there is the warning many still do not heed – that Christ died for sinners, that unless they decide for Him, they will become causalities.
    Wayne Pelling

  14. And what do we say of those who profess to be Christians, even in influential positions, who have known for over 9 months of church leaders in Victoria being involved with picking up aborted babies and disposing of their little broken bodies into their incinerators … and have said nothing?
    Trevor Grace

  15. Man is mostly reactive, not proactive! The warning bells will wildly swinging, and ringing loudly, on mostly deaf ears and blind eyes – until it is “almost” too late.
    And this is the point where people begin to cry loudly for God to get them out of the grand mess of things they have made.

    Dr. Charles Stanley has written an excellent book that best addresses how Christians can change the course of the runaway train of crises. Biblically-based, and a solid read:
    “In Turning the Tide, Dr. Stanley issues a clarion call for you to speak up, stand up, and pray as never before in order to reverse the ungodly trends in our nation.” (written for the USA, but his advice can apply to any nation)

    Monica Craver

  16. One does not need to be a literary artist to write a short but relevant letter to the media. There are numerous opportunities out there in the MSM and the internet, most of which are being ignored.

    In my local paper a letter appeared extolling the virtues of same sex marriage. I replied and it appeared two weeks later. Another rebutted mine with nebulous ideology so I replied again….with facts. My letter was the ONLY ONE to rebut the original.

    I regularly comment about articles in the newspapers on the net. In most cases there is usually two christian comments and about 100 anti christian.

    Both show that the silence of Christians is DEAFENING, so please don’t talk about “what can I do.”

    Roger Marks

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