D-Day: June 6, 1944, Standing in the Gap
By Paul Lagan
It was D-Day, June 6th, 1944, and a young soldier from South Central Wisconsin waded ashore on Omaha Beach in France. Years later, I talked to that young soldier, now in failing health and in his mid-seventies, about his experience. He told me that when he exited the landing craft he was resolved to the fact that he was definitely going to die. His only fear was that it would happen in the water or on the beach, and not in a green field on the other side of the cliffs. Although wounded, "on the other side" he did escape the fate he had so courageously accepted. Nearly 10,000 others did not.
I vaguely remember WWII. Rationing, Bob Hope ending his programs with the plea, "Bye bye, and buy bonds." Kate Smith sang, "God Bless America," and God did...WE WON! Another popular wartime song was titled, "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition and We’ll All Stay Free." During WWII, people at home prayed for the safety and success of our troops, and then rushed off to defend plants where they helped manufacture the supplies necessary to defeat the enemy.
People from that era had their values straight. They acknowledged the fact that the enemy was real and the possibilities that existed if they did not respond. They realized where God’s involvement ended and their responsibility began. The enemy was defeated and our country was saved from tyranny, not only by prayer, but also by the 45,000 American soldiers who paid with their lives, and the efforts of millions of dedicated warriors at home who "stood in the gap."
When I started to prepare this message, I knew that I would be faced with a decision - to be truthful or to be nice. I decided that I would make every effort to be nice, but I must be truthful. We are to speak the truth in love, but the emphasis in Ephesians 4:15 is not on love; it is on the truth.
Ezekiel 22:30-31 states, "I looked in vain for anyone who would build against the wall of righteousness that guards the land, who would stand in the gap and defend you from my just attacks, but I found no one. And so the Lord says...I have heaped upon you the full penalty for all your sins"
Today, very few of God’s anointed are willing to "stand in the gap." And that is precisely the reason for the breakdown of morals within our society. It is the reason why abortion is still a law, why infanticide is legally practiced through various methods of abortion, why physician assisted suicide will eventually escalate into active euthanasia, why men and women fornicate with their own gender (under the disguise of being a family), and why churches openly condone these relationships as "Christian."
If what I am sensing is accurate, there is wide spread confusion in the Christian community about how to respond to the spiritual free-falling we are witnessing. Church attendance is now at an all time low; surveys show that the average child believes committing adultery is sassing adults and that a politician on horseback delivered the Sermon on the Mount. Our nation is not experiencing a spiritual revival - to the contrary, 70% to 80% of church growth in America is simply "transfer" growth, or movement of Christians from one church to another. There is a searching for the truth among the saints of the church, brought about by the silence of the shepherds.
It is clear to me that many church attending people today do not accept Hell as a reality, and consider sin as a gray area. Many of these same people believe that because abortion is legal, and depending on personal circumstances, it can be justifiable, that euthanasia can be an act of mercy, and that homosexuality is a preferential, normal lifestyle, rather than fornication.
We receive letters from people who refer to themselves as Christians, expecting us to condone almost every despicable act imaginable, all in the name of some form of twisted love. These people state because we are all sinners, we should welcome and "do good" to people who endorse child killing (such as promoters of Planned Parenthood), those who advocate euthanasia (such as those of the Hemlock Society), and people involved in the homosexual lifestyle (practicing homosexuals). They state that Jesus spent much of His ministry talking to sinners, and they twist scripture in an attempt to justify their fanciful theories.
The key difference is this: Although we are all sinners, our intent is to change. To not only make a commitment to Christ, but a CONVERSION! The converted Christian acknowledges his/her sins and, even though reoccurrences may happen, is repentant and makes a sincere effort to follow God’s laws. The abortion and euthanasia sympathizers, as well as practicing homosexuals, do not. Ungodly people may PROFESS to know Christ but their lives and their works DENY Him. These people openly advocate disobedience to God’s laws, are not repentant, and forcefully state that they have no intention of conversion. In fact, their intention is to convert other Christians to their beliefs, and they have become extremely successful at their efforts. In these cases, to welcome the messenger is to condone the message, and as a result, (because many of our churches are willing to tolerate "sin in the camp" in an effort to appease certain elements of their church body), the message delivered from the pulpit of a majority of our churches today has evolved into little more than a cancer of compromise.
National pro-life leaders have told me repeatedly that the major reason for the moral breakdown of our society is because the majority of our church leaders are no longer willing to "stand in the gap," or are unable to differentiate to their flock good from evil. A quote from a Monty Python movie some years ago stated, "Let’s not bicker and argue about who killed who. This is supposed to be a happy service."
How different would the Holy Scriptures read if God had not sent the great flood; If...Lot’s wife had gotten away with her backward look of unbelief; If...Pharaoh would have been allowed to disobey God and cross the Red Sea; If...God would have allowed Paul to continue to persecute His people.
How different would American history read if Washington had thrown in the towel because he only had support from 15% of his countries men; If...Lincoln would have given in to the wishes of his entire cabinet and allowed the confederate States to secede; If...Churchill had cowered before Hitler’s hegemony in 1939 (that is precisely what Chamberlain did, and his appeasement of Hitler nearly cost Britain it’s freedom); If...10,000 American soldiers had not "stood in the gap" on June 6,1944.
Contrary to the passive message that is being taught in many of our churches today, there has never been in recorded history a major dispute that has been settled by "doing good to one’s enemies." The invasion of Europe on D-Day in 1944 is evidence to that fact. The final battle of Armageddon will be no different. This is simply a misapplication of God’s Word. Abortion will not end, and infanticide and euthanasia will not be prevented from escalating by not speaking out and passively condoning or "doing good" to people who are involved with, participation in, or responsible for these evils. Clergy that are teaching this false doctrine are sentencing pro-life efforts to guaranteed failure. The fact is that there IS an eternal right and wrong. The Christian church would have been stopped before it had started if the first century Christians had relied upon the timid, passive resolve displayed by many of our churches today. Dr. James Dobson stated, "The United States has seen the most rapid deterioration of the Christian ethic in memory, and yet many of our clergy are saying, in good conscience, "It’s not our calling."
One only needs to pick up local newspapers or turn on television news to be shocked into reality. From abortion to Kevorkian, from herpes to homosexuality, who is publicly speaking out, proclaiming their Biblical truth? For the most part, liberal Christian leaders. Yes, there are clergy in a few churches addressing these issues form the pulpit, but for most conservative clergy, their public silence is deafening. How is it possible that so many ministers - of all people - can justify silence over something as morally reprehensible as child killing, murder of the elderly, and the spread of AIDS brought about by legalized sodomy? "I looked in vain for anyone who would...stand in the gap...but I found not one."
I have had clergy state that they will speak out if God directs them to, that their duties are to proclaim the Gospel, and from that message will come the moral application for our society. To that I might add that Sin, some of which I listed earlier, is exactly in the center of the Gospel of Christ. Is that not what Jesus died for? IF WE REMOVE SIN FORM THE GOSPEL, WE HAVE A THEOLOGY OF FREUD, AND NO NEED OF A SAVIOR.
Some people argue that their pastor cannot openly speak out regarding abortion because it may offend someone in the service who has had an abortion. However, it is good for these people to be confronted, in order that they may be helped through their problem with kindness and acceptance of responsibility. If we truly love that person, we will not sweep their actions under the rug. Physiologists have proven the fact that no one is ever completely healed of a problem unless they admit their wrongs and repent. A wound must be cleaned before it can heal; otherwise it festers and gets worse. In addition to this, common sense tells us that to not speak out will perpetrate the problem, thereby guaranteeing that others within their church will continue to have abortions.
It is shocking to realize that the America of 21st Century, like the Germany of the 1940s, is capable of committing great acts of evil against other humans while many Christian leaders are willing to look the other way and caution others to be civil. Being civil doesn’t mean being silent. Speak the truth!
How have we rewarded those brave soldiers who put their lives at risk on "the longest day" on June 6th, 1944? By not defending their lives, as they did ours. By allowing doctors to finish the job that the Nazis were unable to finish on the beaches of Omaha in 1944. Euthanasia will be their reward...GOD HELP US!
If the clergy in your church are aggressively speaking out regarding the evils that have invaded our society, and there are a few brave souls who have, why not call or write them? Show them your appreciation and offer your support. The road can be lonely if traveled alone.
To the Christian leaders who suggest we retreat to our Christian enclaves, I would like to ask a few extremely important questions:
- At what point will you rise to defend what your believe?
- Is there ANYTHING worth putting your reputation in jeopardy?
- Is there any sin within our society where you would draw the line?
How important are you? Let me say this: If this spiritual war is won, it will not be because of Alliance for Life Ministries or any other pro-life organization. It will be because of the clergy in many of our local churches, taking a stand for righteousness and justice and then reaching out to their people, encouraging them to take a stand alongside them. Anything can happen to the losers of a civil war and if we lose this war it will be because the clergy, for whatever reason, failed to take a stand and failed to lead their people. WITHOUT THE ACTIVE PARTICIPATION FROM THE PULPIT OF OUR CHURCHES, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR THIS WAR TO BE WON! What is needed today are soldiers for God to "stand in the gap" in this spiritual war that we are losing. As American solders scaled the cliffs of Omaha Beach in 1944 to defeat the enemy, so our cliffs at home are scaled, and the enemy defeated; but not without a price. If there is anything worse than being in a war, it is being in a war and not knowing it. Even though our enemy today is just as real as the enemy in 1944, some of us have failed to recognize who the enemy is - for others, the enemy lies within!
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