Exactly 70 years ago the Japanese launched their surprise attack on Pearl Harbour in Hawaii. In around 3 hours over 2400 people were killed and almost 1300 wounded. Some 18 ships were destroyed or damaged, and around 350 aircraft were destroyed or damaged.
It was a devastating attack, and was indeed, as President Roosevelt said, a date “that will live in infamy”. The tragic thing was, there were plenty of warnings, but they largely went unheeded. It seems the whole affair was a case of military intelligence bungling and incompetence at the highest levels.
Of course for those who follow this closely, they will know that a raging debate has been taking place as to exactly how much FDR and the military leaders knew, how many warnings were available, what the cracked Japanese codes had said, and so on.
So there is debate as to how many actual warnings there were and were ignored, or how much bungling took place by the top brass, and so on. It is not my intention here to rehearse all the arguments, highlight all the books and articles on this, and come to any sort of conclusion.
My point is simply to say that a very high price was paid 70 years ago, and it seems that some bungling and some unheeded warnings did in fact occur big time. Had the warnings been passed along to those who needed them most, or had the warnings been taken a bit more seriously, we might have had a very different outcome indeed on that fateful day.
But I here want to tie this in with some spiritual and biblical realities. The Bible of course is full of warnings, and the question is, do God’s people take them seriously? Consider for example just some New Testament warnings – those having to do with falling away, apostasy, the need for perseverance, and so on:
Matthew 10:22 He that endures to the end shall be saved.
Mark 4:16-17 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.
1 Corinthians 10:11-12: These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!
Galatians 4:8-9 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?
2 Timothy 2:12 if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us;
Hebrews 3:12-14 See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.
Hebrews 12:16-17 See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears.
2 Peter 2:20-22 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud.”
There are of course many more such warnings found throughout Scripture. They are there for a reason, and we must consider them in a sober and serious fashion. Indeed, the Old Testament is filled with examples of those who have one way or another turned their backs on God and abandoned the faith.
Now it is not my intention here to get into a big debate about things like eternal security and the like. I am quite familiar with all the debates and the various pros and cons about them. All I want to do here is urge us to take seriously the many warnings of Scripture, and not be cavalier or presumptuous in this regard.
There are also other sorts of warnings, eg., prophetic-type warnings or watchmen on the wall kind of warnings. God puts in his body these voices to warn and alert his people. Again the question is, do we actually heed these warnings and pay any attention to the various alerts being given?
Many of us for example have been warning for years just how serious the militant homosexual lobby is in terms of threats to faith, family and freedom. We have given one warning after another, but they seem to mainly fall on deaf ears.
It seems that most Christians don’t want to know about all this – or they simply do not care. But soon it will be too late. If we do not rouse ourselves out of our slumber soon, we may not have the freedoms any longer to worship, believe, and witness as we like. All that may be taken away from us.
I document how this is occurring on a regular basis all around the Western world. Yet the church seems to be uninterested, unconcerned and indifferent to all this. But the price we will all pay for ignoring these warnings is just too high.
I for one think that religious freedom, freedom of conscience, freedom of speech, and freedom to proclaim the gospel are great goods which should not be taken away from us without a fight. But we will indeed lose all these things if the majority of churches and especially church leaders fail to speak out.
Let me close with just one example of a real Christian hero. This woman is not afraid to take a stand for truth, and she puts most other Christian leaders to shame. Perth pastor and former world number one tennis champion Margaret Court has just been featured in the secular press.
Why? Because she is taking a strong public stand for traditional marriage, while so many of her colleagues are refusing to say a word on this. The article, “Legend condemns gay marriage,” begins this way: “WA tennis legend Margaret Court has slammed the push to legalise gay marriage, saying she wants to ‘protect families’. The Rev. Court urged Australians to make a stand against gay marriage, saying no human law could ever change God’s divine laws.
“The Rev. Court, who is regarded as the greatest female player of all time, believes Australia needs to wake up as a nation to protect future generations. ‘Politically correct education has masterfully escorted homosexuality out from behind closed doors, into the community openly and now is aggressively demanding marriage rights that are not theirs to take,’ she said. The Rev. Court, who founded and is a senior pastor in Perth’s Victory Life Church, said society was best served by strong family units that comprised a mum, dad and children.”
Now that woman, in my books, is a hero. I wish all God’s people, and especially all God’s leaders, had the backbone that she has. Why must she speak alone on this? Where are all the other Christian leaders? She is sounding the alarm, and making the warning, but so many more believers should be doing the same.
We all must take heed before it is too late, and even greater tragedy strikes. Will we listen and act, or will we refuse to learn the lessons of history about unheeded warnings?