CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Warnings Given, Warnings Unheeded

Mar 2, 2020

It is shocking how often we ignore crucial warnings, until it is too late:

History is full of tragedies and catastrophes because of warnings that have gone unheeded. Numerous warnings are given about various things, but when they fall on deaf ears, all sorts of bad results can happen. We find this happening over and over again. It seems we will just not learn.

Sure, some things can happen just out of the blue, and no prior warning is possible. But we do try to help people to be prepared for certain things, including natural disasters. Thus we have advanced warning systems in place to try to help us be alerted to things like impending earthquakes or tsunamis or tornadoes.

But many things that humans do that result in so much damage and destruction have been warned about – sometimes years earlier. But it seems that we prefer to ignore the warnings and just pretend that everything is just business as usual. Let me look at different sorts of unheeded warnings.

Warnings in history

There would be all sorts of examples of this that we could highlight. Let me offer just a few of them. A classic example would be what took place on December 7, 1941: the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. A number of people had made warnings about Japanese assaults on the US. For example, General William ‘Billy’ Mitchell had warned that Japan would launch attacks on America – including Hawaii. And an older news report discusses warnings that were rejected:

Evidence has emerged showing that President Franklin D. Roosevelt was warned three days before the attack that the Japanese empire was eyeing up Hawaii with a view to “open conflict.” The information, contained in a declassified memorandum from the Office of Naval Intelligence, adds to proof that Washington dismissed red flags signalling that mass bloodshed was looming and war was imminent. www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/8932197/Pearl-Harbour-memo-shows-US-warned-of-Japanese-attack.html

A more recent attack also seems to have been warned about – but to no avail. The September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon was not a complete surprise. For example, FBI agent John O’Neill was keeping a close eye on Islamic terrorism in general and Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden in particular.

His many warnings seemed to annoy some of the powers that be, and he was forced out of the FBI in August 2001. Even then, he warned that the Twin Towers would still be the focus of terrorist attacks. And the rest is history, with his warnings ignored, and some 3000 Americans murdered – himself included. A few years later a book was written about the man.

And warnings can be about not just national dangers, but about much more personal threats. A friend was just telling me of the dangers of crocodiles in the north of Australia. Plenty of signs are posted there warning people to stay well away, but still we have one person after another ignoring the warnings, only to become lunch for large, hungry crocodiles.

Warnings in Scripture

Obviously, the Bible itself offers us many warnings – many of which are tragically ignored. Let me offer just a few of them. Way back in Genesis 6:1-8 we have the warning about God’s great displeasure in the human race and how judgment is coming soon.

Recall what we learn about Noah in 2 Peter 2:5 where he is called “a preacher of righteousness.” He had many decades to warn others about the coming judgment of God, but only his household of eight people made it as the flood ravaged the earth.

And the OT prophets constantly warned Israel about judgment to come, but the people routinely ignored and despised such words. Indeed, God had even warned Jeremiah that the people would refuse to listen, but that he must continue to make the warnings nonetheless – decade after decade.

Image of The Man Who Warned America: The Life and Death of John O'Neill, the FBI's Embattled Counterterror Warrior
The Man Who Warned America: The Life and Death of John O'Neill, the FBI's Embattled Counterterror Warrior by Array Amazon logo

In the New Testament we have other warnings. In Matthew 23:37 Jesus says this: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.”

And of course we have numerous warnings about the return of the Lord, and how we must all be prepared for his Second Coming. As Jesus said in Matthew 24:44, “Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

Warnings in the culture wars

We also have so many warnings concerning the culture wars that we find ourselves in. I and others have made such warnings for decades, but far too often they seem to have fallen on deaf ears. I just told around 300 people over the weekend that we have time and time again failed to heed the warnings that have been given about what the secular left has in store for us.

I could point to hundreds of articles on this site alone where warning after warning has been given, be it about the homosexual agenda, the implications of legalising homosexual marriage, or where the new PC intolerance culture is taking us. I have offered so many case studies already of Christians being fined, fired or jailed in the West for standing for biblical truth, but most believers live as if none of this is happening.

Let me finish by highlighting the warnings of one brave woman. She had survived the Nazi occupation of Austria and now warns Americans that such tyranny is still a very real threat today. Let me quote just a few snippets from one piece on her:

Kitty Werthmann survived Hitler. “What I am about to tell you is something you’ve probably never heard or read in history books,” she likes to tell audiences. “I am a witness to history. I cannot tell you that Hitler took Austria by tanks and guns; it would distort history. We voted him in….”

“Nothing was ever said about persecution of any group – Jewish or otherwise. We were led to believe that everyone in Germany was happy. We wanted the same way of life in Austria. We were promised that a vote for Hitler would mean the end of unemployment and help for the family. Hitler also said that businesses would be assisted, and farmers would get their farms back. Ninety-eight percent of the population voted to annex Austria to Germany and have Hitler for our ruler.

She then speaks about the nationalisation of the banks, of education, of health care and the absolute menace of socialism. She then says this:

“Next came gun registration. People were getting injured by guns. Hitler said that the real way to catch criminals (we still had a few) was by matching serial numbers on guns. Most citizens were law abiding and dutifully marched to the police station to register their firearms. Not long afterwards, the police said that it was best for everyone to turn in their guns. The authorities already knew who had them, so it was futile not to comply voluntarily. No more freedom of speech. Anyone who said something against the government was taken away. We knew many people who were arrested, not only Jews, but also priests and ministers who spoke up.”

“Totalitarianism didn’t come quickly, it took 5 years from 1938 until 1943, to realize full dictatorship in Austria. Had it happened overnight, my countrymen would have fought to the last breath. Instead, we had creeping gradualism. Now, our only weapons were broom handles. The whole idea sounds almost unbelievable that the state, little by little eroded our freedom.”

“This is my eye-witness account. It’s true. Those of us who sailed past the Statue of Liberty came to a country of unbelievable freedom and opportunity. America truly is the greatest country in the world. Don’t let freedom slip away. After America, there is no place to go.” www.beliefnet.com/columnists/on_the_front_lines_of_the_culture_wars/2011/04/she-survived-hitler-and-wants-to-warn-america.html

You can see a 43-minute video of her story here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mr9777ugCiM

I spoke this weekend about cultural Marxism and how the incremental approach is the main strategy. Instead of a full-on assault on all that we hold dear, the other side is involved in the ‘long march through the institutions”. They are slowly and subtly taking over from within.

As with the frog put in a pot of water, with the heat slowly turned up until it is too late and it dies, we are having our culture white-anted from within, but most folks have no clue this is even happening. Bit by bit, piece by piece, we are losing our basic freedoms, and we are inexorably heading to Big Brother statism.

The only question is, will people heed our warnings? If recent history is anything to go by, I am not very hopeful. But I for one will keep sounding the alarm. I want to be able to say with Ezekiel that I have fulfilled my duties in this regard, and blood is not on my hands (see Ex. 3 and 33).

[1482 words]

11 Responses to Warnings Given, Warnings Unheeded

  • Respectful thanks Bill. We pray the Lord strengthens, inspires and protects you and your family.

  • The ‘frog/water illustration is so apt, and has been around since before I was born – my Gran taught it to me as she was cooking the evening meal, when I was just a child. And it’s such a perfect illustration of how change can occur so slowly that it is hard to discern. The situation in Germany in the 30s-40s with Hitler at the helm is the perfect example of this. Nobody realized what was happening …. until it is too late. Yet even today, we tend to be blind to such things. Take homosexual marriage, for instance. Or transgenderism. Who would have thought! I still remember those who said, “It’s ok. Nothing will really change!” Yeah, right.

  • Bill you are so right. Sometimes you wonder how people can be so gullible and allow this to happen. Often the Prophets are the ones they attack not the ones taking our liberties little by little. Having walked side by side with Rev Fred Nile MP I saw him warn the people, especially the churches that it was a “little by little” approach that they had to resist but they got sucked in by “tolerance” and started to distance themselves from Fred’s strong stand against drugs, alcohol, gambling, homosexuality, abortion and now even euthenasia and religious freedom. He was seen as an embarrassment to the churches, too judgemental, only a “morals campaigner” not a true politician, which was far from the truth as he tried to view every Bill on how godly it was and how it affected the family. His days are numbered now and we are seeing some of the causes he fought for eroded. Interestingly the Govt itself got behind his NO Smoking Bill and tried to own it, although he was the one who drew it up and fought hard to get it passed. NSW is better for his obedience to God’s call into politics. It is very important we never give up. Ephesians 6 tells us to stand, and keep on standing, “against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms.” Thank you Bill, for giving us the thumbs up for the Church and State Summit. We went to Burwood and they were great speakers. Only wish everyone in the church could have heard them

  • Bill, apropos: I saw a beautiful movie recently, A Hidden Life. It’s set during the annexation of Austria. One man, an Alpine farmer, refuses to sign allegiance to Hitler, contrary to the advice and pressure of family, neighbours, priest, bishop and the military. He’s jailed, persecuted and isolated. In the end all he has is a peaceful conscience and the Psalms in his head. For me the film asks crucial questions: “Can one person be right if that makes everyone else wrong?” and “How far must he take it before it really matters?”

  • Oh, I was totally expecting to read about doctor Li Wenliang, the Chinese whistleblower who was killed by coronavirus. Another perfect example of authorities not heeding a warning until waaay too late.

  • Excellent article Bill. Should be mandatory reading for everyone in Australia who is able to read – men, women and children ……….. if only!! GOD bless you and yours in abundance. Cheryl Ciccotosto

  • I am seeing this now in my municipality of Brimbank whereby the Rainbow (Drag Queen) storytime is set to be introduced to the St Albans library later this month. It appears to have caught some, or all of the Councillors unaware, as it was tucked into the Brimbank Writers & Readers Festival promotion. Talk about a Trojan Horse! We knew this would come and started preparing for the fight, which we are determined to win.

  • Thanks again Bill.
    I would like to share a report that connects with yours ‘Warnings Given Warnings Unheeded.’ The connection is fairly direct. I hope you can see it.
    I’ve been participating in a study of Isaiah 6. At the point of Isaiah’s most stunning revelation of God, he was called to say to his people:
    v 9 “Hear and hear, but do not understand …
    (Check out the full passage)
    v 11 Then I said: How long O Lord?
    And God said: Until the cities lie waste without inhabitant…”
    This is an important principle. Paul repeats it (Acts 28 v 28) and our Saviour develops it (Matt 13 v 14).
    The study booklet I was referring to above said: “This is none other than a call to failure.” However, I don’t agree. Perceived failure perhaps. But I don’t think its failure. It is better understood as a call to usher in God’s judgement. Judgement deals with the problem. Revival does too. But for Isaiah revival is only distantly promised through processes of judgement. But with judgement comes the clearing of the ground for the “resurrection” to be brought forth. For this in Isaiah, see the last part of the very last verse of chapter 6.
    How hard do things have to get for us in the West? For those of us in Australia, critical things are happening around us. Let me finish by quoting Luther: “Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God! Amen.” Isaiah 6 v 8 is about being sent. So be it for us also.

  • I used to knock Rev. Fred Nile for his perceived ‘vile’ stance on social issues, until one day, I found myself handing out ‘How to Vote’ cards for him. I then saw first hand how others were like I used to be. They probably wouldn’t see things any different today. ‘I was blind, but now I see’. Fred Nile has has made a generous contribution to Australian politics. He was a watchman on the wall in the 70s. I unreservedly apologise for my vile remarks at the time.

  • Thanks Bill,
    In the pursuit of success. 🙂
    Just yesterday I was reading Isaiah 6 again and the context grabbed my attention.
    The valedictory sermon at my Bible School graduation was on Isaiah 6 “Here am I, send me”.
    I well remember the call and commission enjoined in that sermon.
    I do not remember any thing in that commission about being sent with a warning message nor being sent to those who would not heed.
    It is not only we who should hear and heed the warning.
    It is beholden for us who are called to give the warnings even though we may like Isaiah have no hope of being heard, respected, noted, – until…

  • I think one problem is often we believe we know better than others especially if we are in charge. Also humans have a way of feeling they know better than God. Because of BOTH of these we ignore warnings. Bureaucracy doesn’t help either. Some warnings get ignored because they weren’t reported up the chain of command properly so lives are lost over inflexible rules.

    Also it before on different article I offered a quote by Madison regarding gradual encroachment vs sudden usurpation. It is true. As citizens we are always on the lookout for the violent revolution the military being unleashed against use but we never seem to look for the small changes that happen over then course of generations. Even as Christians we are prepared for the rounding up and execution it is the slow change from respected member of the community to social pariah we don’t look for. As humans, even Christian humans, we seem to be often unable to see the forest for the trees.

    A dictator doesn’t come to power telling you he will seize you land and money kill all opposition. Satan usually doesn’t get people to do his bidding by telling them the truth either. Evil must lie to get support for people won’t willingly march to hell if they know it is real! (If satan told the truth it would necessarily include hell)

Leave a Reply