Psalm 11:3 describes the predicament of the godly man in an ungodly nation: “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Albert Barnes comments:
‘These are …to be regarded as the words of the psalmist’s advisers; or as an argument why he should make his escape. The word “foundations,” here, refers to those things on which society rests, or by which social order is sustained - the great principles of truth and righteousness that uphold society, as the foundations on which an edifice rests uphold the building. The reference is to a destruction of those things in a community, when truth is no longer respected; when justice is no longer practiced; when fraud and violence have taken the place of honesty and honor; when error prevails; when a character for integrity and virtue affords no longer any security. This is supposed to be the case in the circumstances referred to in the psalm, when there was no respect paid to truth and justice, and when the righteous, therefore, could find no security. It is under these circumstances the advice is given, Psalm 11:1, that the righteous should seek safety in flight.
What source of safety or confidence has he? His trust for his own safety, and for the good of society, has always been in the prevalence of just principles, and he has no other resource. Whatever others may do; whatever reliance they may place on such things, he can have no confidence in fraud, dishonesty, and error - in secret machinations and plans of treachery and deceit. His reliance is, and must be, in the prevalence of just principles; in the observance of law; in the diffusion of truth; in plans and deeds which are honorable and pure. When these no longer prevail, the argument is, there is nothing on which he can repose confidence in executing the plans on which his heart is fixed, and his proper course would be to flee (Psalm 11:1).
Part of this is true; part not. It is true that all the hope of the righteous is in the prevalence of principles of truth and justice, and that for the success of the objects nearest to his heart, whether of a private or public nature, he has no other resource or hope; but it is not always true, even when injustice, fraud, and error prevail, that he, should withdraw from society and seek his safety in flight, and leave the world to its own course. His presence may be the very thing to counteract this; his duty may be to remain and face the evil, and to endeavor to secure a better state of things. So the psalmist understood in his case.’
And so it was David’s duty to remain in the world, for he had a personal promise from God that he would, in God’s time, be the king of Israel. And so it is with us; for the providence of God has so ordered it that the omnipresent tyranny of the modern state leaves us with practically no place to run to. Where is truth and justice any more prevalent than it is where we are?
Nevertheless, we must be sober in assessing our situation. And that means we must realize that the world’s accelerating slide into the abyss of unbelief, lawlessness, chaos, and darkness has left the righteous without the means of resistance that was once available to them. All that is left of our capability to resist now is our strength of will, and our refusal to yield. We are still able to enter our protest, even though we can scarcely expect to be heard over the clamor and din of Pandemonium. Is there then no hope? None at all, humanly speaking.
But that may be the most hopeful thing imaginable! For the professing followers of Christ have, for generations now, been living in practical denial of the impotence of all things human, and of the omnipotence of our sovereign God. Yes, the desperateness of our condition is plain; and the stubborn refusal of some to see it only underscores the fact for us who see the futility of their struggle to overcome the hosts of Hell with carnal weapons. But God has never honored the effort to solve problems without relying on Him – and never will, because it is idolatry!
If we can find grace to repent of our vain self-reliance, we just may find the Lord willing to send the greatest revival and reformation in history! But whether it is time for that or not, we will surely find Him ready to receive and comfort and strengthen and prepare us for whatever lies ahead!
Our spiritual forefathers faced a darkness no greater than we face today. In most places, the word of God was virtually unknown! They succeeded in overcoming entrenched political and ecclesiastical powers that were utterly ruthless, willing rather to shed every drop of innocent blood in Europe than to relinquish their kingdom of darkness. The Reformers conquered, as the martyrs of the first century conquered, Revelation 12:11: “And they overcame [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” They were not willing to live in this world on its terms. To them it was rebel territory, and life was to them a war to regain it for the true King. If they had held their lives dear, they would have accomplished nothing! But as they lay down their lives for Christ’s sake, they took hold of an unconquerable Power, and spoke words which their enemies were not able to gainsay or resist!
Now, the old Protestant Reformation has spent its force, though it has left us with tools that we can make use of to re-educate ourselves. The institutions the Reformers built are corrupted, and the children have abandoned the faith and practice of their fathers; but their writings remain, ready to spark new fires, if men will but read them. It is time to go back to the writings of the Reformers and their faithful successors, and there to find anew the old paths – that are true and right and good, and worth hazarding all for – paths wherein we may walk with the Lord, and find blessing. There we will find the wisdom we must have to lay the strong foundations of a new and truly Christian social order.
The New Protestantism will emerge from this present darkness, in God’s good time, whether you or I are willing to be a part of it, or not. For God is God, and His arm is not shortened: He is strong, yea, mighty to save! And not one word of any promise that ever came from His lips has ever failed! What’s more, it is just in such times as these that His glory shines forth most brightly, in those who, against all odds, by the foolishness of preaching, labor to build again what has fallen down.
Yes, by preaching – not by clever marketing schemes, petition drives, election campaigns, home-schooling, mega-church building, or any other thing but what He has decreed that He will use to lay the battlements of Hell in ruins. By the preaching of the old, old gospel of the kingdom of Christ – nothing more, nothing less, nothing else!
Yes, we must understand more to build a Christian social order than the way for sinners to be saved. But I think we Reformed Postmils sometimes underestimate the power of simple obedience and submission to God’s agenda. If we think we can somehow fix things without renewing our commitment to the Great Commission – that is without making the salvation of lost souls and the perfection of the saints in holiness the top two priorities, then we do not understand what the Reformation was, nor do we deserve to be called the heirs of the Reformation.
He has designed an institution and a plan for the fulfillment of that Commission, called “the church”. He has given her a constitution and lawbook that will never need amendment. We should not let the fact that the Protestant churches have become synagogues of Satan deceive us: the plan is as good as it ever was, and there is no “Plan B”! We must not abandon God’s means if we wish to achieve God’s ends. Nothing should dissuade us from obedience to that plan, for it is certain that it was disobedience of just that kind that has created the present mess!
We have grounds for hope. We have a job to do. We have the recorded wisdom of better men to consult. We have an institutional plan to go by. Who is on the Lord’s side?
Howard Douglas King