Weeding For Goats - Last spring I wrote a weeding and gathering post on Heartsease. Over the years I've been learning to identify herbs and edible wild plants and let them gro...
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Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.
1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. Ecclesiastes 12:13
A person dependent on somebody else for everything from potatoes to opinions may declare that he is a free man, and his government may issue a certificate granting him his freedom, but he will not be free. He is that variety of specialist known as a consumer, which means that he is the abject dependent of producers. How can he be free if he can do nothing for himself? What is the First Amendment to him whose mouth is stuck to the tit of the “affluent society”? Men are free precisely to the extent that they are equal to their own needs. The most able are the most free.
”...three groups in particular in today's evangelical world seem very obviously to need help of a kind that Puritans, as we meet them in their writings, are uniquely qualified to give.
These I call restless experientialists, entrenched intellectualists, and disaffected deviationists. They are not, of course, organised bodies of opinion, but individual persons with characteristic mentalities that one meets over and over again.”
”Those whom I call restless experientialists are a familiar breed, so much so that observers are sometimes tempted to define evangelicalism in terms of them. Their outlook is one of casual haphazardness and fretful impatience, of grasping after novelties, entertainments, and 'highs', and of valuing strong feelings above deep thoughts. They have little taste for solid study, humble self-examination, disciplined meditation, and unspectacular hard work in their callings and their prayers. They conceive the Christian life as one of exciting extraordinary experiences rather than of resolute rational righteousness. They dwell continually on the themes of joy, peace, happiness, satisfaction and rest of souls with no balancing reference to the divine discontent of Romans 7, the fight of faith of Psalm 73, or the 'lows' of Psalms 42, 88, and 102. Through their influence the spontaneous jollity of the simple extrovert comes to be equated with healthy Christian living, while saints of less sanguine and more complex temperament get driven almost to distraction because they cannot bubble over in the prescribed manner. In their restlessness these exuberant ones become uncritically credulous, reasoning that the more odd and striking an experience the more divine, supernatural, and spiritual it must be, and they scarcely give the scriptural virtue of steadiness a thought. It is no counter to these defects to appeal to the specialised counseling techniques that extrovert evangelicals have developed for pastoral purposes in recent years; for spiritual life is fostered, and spiritual maturity engendered, no by techniques but by truth, and if our techniques have been formed in terms of a defective notion of the truth to be conveyed and the goal to be aimed at they cannot make us better pastors or better believers than we were before. The reason why the restless experientialists are lopsided is that they have fallen victim to a form of worldliness, a man-centred, anti-rational individualism, which turns Christian life into a thrill-seeking ego-trip. Such saints need the sort of maturing ministry in which the Puritan tradition has specialised. What Puritan emphases can establish and settle restless experientialists? These, to start with.”
”Think now of entrenched intellectualists in the evangelical world: a second familiar breed, though not so common as the previous type. Some of them seem to be victims of an insecure temperament and inferiority feelings, others to be reacting out of pride or pain against the zaniness of experientialism as they have perceived it, but whatever the source of their syndrome the behaviour-pattern in which they express it is distinctive and characteristic. Constantly they present themselves as rigid, argumentative, critical Christians, champions of God's truth for whom orthodoxy is all. Upholding and defending their own view of that truth, whether Calvinist or Arminian, Dispensational or Pentecostal, national church reformist or Free Church separatist, or whatever it might be, is their leading interest, and they invest themselves unstintingly in this task. There is little warmth about them; relationally they are remote; experiences do not mean much to them; winning the battle for mental correctness is their one great purpose.
They see, truly enough, that in our anti-rational, feeling-oriented, instant-gratification culture conceptual knowledge of divine things is undervalued, and they seek with passion to right the balance at this point. They understand the priority of the intellect well; the trouble is that intellectualism, expressing itself in endless campaigns for their own right thinking, is almost if not quite all that they can offer, for it is almost if not quite all that they have. They too, so I urge, need exposure to the Puritan heritage for their maturing. That last statement might sound paradoxical, since it will not have escaped the reader that the above profile corresponds to what many still suppose the typical Puritan to have been. But when we ask what emphases Puritan tradition contains to counter arid intellectualism, a whole series of points springs to view.
”I turn finally to those whom I call disaffected deviationists, the casualties and dropouts of the modern evangelical movement, many of whom have now turned against it to denounce it as a neurotic perversion of Christianity. Here, too, is a breed that we know all too well. It is distressing to think of these folk, both because their experience to date discredits our evangelicalism so deeply and also because there are so many of them. Who are they? They are people who once saw themselves as evangelicals, either from being evangelically nurtured or from coming to profess conversion with the evangelical sphere of influence, but who have become disillusioned about the evangelical point of view and have turned their back on it, feeling that it let them down. Some leave it for intellectual reasons, judging that what was taught them was so simplistic as to stifle their minds and so unrealistic and out of touch with facts as to be really if unintentionally dishonest. Others leave because they were led to expect that as Christians they would enjoy health, wealth, trouble-free circumstances, immunity from relational hurts, betrayals, and failures, and from making mistakes and bad decisions; in short, a flowery bed of ease on which they would be carried happily to heaven - and these great expectations were in due course refuted by events.
Hurt and angry, feeling themselves victims of a confidence trick, they now accuse the evangelicalism they knew of having failed and fooled them, and resentfully give it up; it is a mercy if they do not therewith similarly accuse and abandon God himself. Modern evangelicalism has much to answer for in the number of casualties of this sort that it has caused in recent years by its naivety of mind and unrealism of expectation. But here again the soberer, profounder, wiser evangelicalism of the Puritan giants can fulfill a corrective and therapeutic function in our midst, if only we will listen to its message. What have the Puritans to say to us that might serve to heal the disaffected casualties of modern evangelical goofiness? Anyone who reads the writings of the Puritan authors will find in them much that helps in this way.”
Many historians, many sociologists and psychologists have written at length, and with a deep concern, about the price that Western man has had to pay and will go on paying for technological progress. They point out, for example, that democracy can hardly be expected to flourish in societies where political and economic power is being progressively concentrated and centralized. But the progress of technology has led and is still leading to just such a concentration and centralization of power.
...a new Social Ethic is replacing our traditional ethical system—the system in which the individual is primary.....It’s basic assumption is that the social whole has greater worth and significance than its individual parts, that inborn biological differences should be sacrificed to cultural uniformity, that the rights of the collectivity take precedence over what the eighteenth century called the Rights of Man.
...no people in a precarious economic condition has a fair chance of being able to govern itself democratically.
They did not foresee what in fact has happened, above all in our Western capitalist democracies—the development of a vast mass communications industry, concerned in the main neither with the true nor the false, but with the unreal, the more or less totally irrelevant. In a word, they failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.
But even in Rome there was nothing like the non-stop distraction now provided by newspapers and magazines, by radio, television and the cinema.
The methods now being used to merchandise the political candidate as though he were a deodorant positively guarantee the electorate against ever hearing the truth about anything.
Under a scientific dictator education will really work—with the result that most men and women will grow up to love their servitude and will never dream of revolution.
”Though some of our generation may not realize it, much of the contemporary movement toward renewable energy, locally grown foods, and bootstrap self-sufficiency owes its existence to a farsighted farm boy from Redkey, Indiana. On March 29, 2009, John Shuttleworth, cofounder of the venerable self-reliant-living magazine The Mother Earth News passed away in his home in Evergreen, Colorado, after 71 years of intense and independent living.”For those who don’t know, John Shuttleworth and his wife, Jane, started Mother Earth News back in 1970. They invested $1,500 in the venture and put the first issue together on their kitchen table. A mere nine years later, with a million subscribers, the Shuttleworth’s divorced, and the magazine was sold. It was never the same after that. And neither was I.
”Born in 1937, John grew up on a small Hoosier farmstead, where his family had to make do for just about everything, including the electricity they generated from their wind turbine—which John’s father built himself, right down to the hand-carved wooden blades. If the depression was affecting the economy, it was hard to tell from the Shuttleworth farm, where, as John wrote years later, “the attic was hung heavy with home-cured hams, the root cellar was full of fruits and vegetables, and the pantry brimming with home-canned meats and crocks of pickles curing away... while we had all the fresh eggs, milk, and butter we could eat.” You almost got the impression that the self-made media mastermind didn’t survive the depression as much as he enjoyed it, having a leg-up on self-sufficiency right from the start.”Later in the editorial is this sentence:
”By the age of 14, he was submitting cartoons and articles to national publications, competing with adults three times his age and earning some money while honing his communication skills.”Well, John Shuttleworth certainly did have communication skills, and what he communicated through his magazine resonated with me as a young teen. No earthly book or publication has so influenced my life as did The Mother Earth News in its early years. None even come close.
Then again, I know of no law that requires an author to limit him or her self to the same dull, dead, gray boilerplate that most of the rest of today’s “writers” deal in. Have we all turned into IBM machines? Does no one know how to sprinkle flecks of silver and gold into his or her copy? Are all the magical wordsmiths who once used nothing but paper and ink to conjure up misty moors, melodious chimes, and shimmering sunsets in the minds of their readers... all...gone....?
I think not. I hope not. I prefer to believe that such crafts men and women have only temporarily been forced to hide up in the cool, green hills... while the brutish mutants who identify everything by social security numbers and view the world through 18-inch screens and who lurch back and forth across the valley floor on clangorous trail bikes and snowmobiles and converse with such depthy expressions as “wow” and “you know” have their day. A short one.
And soon, those who value the texture and the color and the emotion and the feel and the nuances of the language will once again be able to practice and strengthen their craft. And today’s computerese will once again give way to living, breathing words that soothe and cradle grown people’s hearts in the mysterious and marvelous worlds that language can create.
In the meantime, the least you can do is try to brighten and focus and intensify every part of every sentence you write for The Mother Earth News. I expect nothing less.
”If there were ever a definition of a Renaissance man, John Shuttleworth would have fit somewhere within it—wordsmith, artist, entrepreneur, engineer, and visionary ... and a true mold breaker, the likes of which are few and far between.”
”In my own case, I was doing useful work by the time I was three or four. As a matter of fact, Mom has photographs of me at that age sitting on the seat of our homemade tractor, steering it across a field while dad forked manure off a wagon that was hooked on behind.Shuttleworth goes on to tell the story of getting polio at 11-years-old and almost dying. He believed the Polio resulted from contact with DDT on the farm. You can read Part 1 of the Plowboy interview At This Link
Now I hasten to add that my father had that tractor geared down so low that it was barely creeping when I did this, so there was absolutely no danger involved. I also want to point out that I was not being exploited in any way. Quite the contrary! I thought that steering the tractor around was a glorious way to spend the day. The fact remains, however, that I was doing useful work and I knew it was useful work,and I knew the world placed a high value on such activity.
... Now that I think of it, I realize just how incredibly lucky I was to grow up that way. I was being taught what life is really all about from the first day I drew a breath. There was very little to distract us from the straight-and-uncut back then, no trash compactors or “convenience foods” or corporations telling us how nuclear power would save the throwaway society. We didn’t have a throwaway society. Every bit of string, every paper bag, every bread wrapper got saved and reused, sometimes five or six times.”
I think that one direct quote from The Great Frontier pretty well sums up what Webb thought about science’s chances of “saving” mankind. “Technology has given us the luxuries and comforts in a riotous holiday in which we can eat and breed, but all the time it is sawing off the limb on which it complacently sits, on which civilization rests.”
Again and again in The Great Frontier’s section on science, Webb sifts through hard facts and figures and arrives at one conclusion: Science creates nothing. It only accelerates the destruction of what is there.When the interviewer asks Shuttleworth what Webb “saw” for the future, based on his historical thesis, Shuttleworth says:
He just said that if no substitute boom maker was found to replace the Frontier, we would be faced with “radical changes indeed.”Then Shuttleworth elaborates:
Society will go through a process of "devolution and retrogression rather than evolution and progress". Rural life will become more important and the cities will become less pleasant places in which to live. Population will stabilize — too late, of course, and for the wrong reasons — and society will take on some of the steady state characteristics of the Medieval Age.
The democracy of the frontier will give way to socialism and fascism. Governments will become stronger and individuals less important. Capitalism will decline and prosperity will slip through the fingers of England, Europe, and — finally — the Americas.
As population expands toward its final balance with the land, food and clothing — the very basics of life — will become relatively more and more costly. As a result, we'll soon give up our efforts in name, as well as fact to feed the planet's hungry, defend the "free" world, and prop up the economy of every nation that sides with us.
We were all poor once but — suddenly, one day — we all got rich. And we stayed rich for 450 years. And then we all started to get poor again. And, since practically no politician or economist seems to have read Walter Prescott Webb, our "leaders" can't figure out why all the goodies have quit pouring in.These next quotes from the interview —34 years ago—were remarkably prescient:
So they've resorted to magic.... They think that if they mutter the right incantations and fiddle with the discount rate or insure bank deposits or create investment tax credits just so... that, somehow, the Good Times will roll once more.
Well I got news for those guys. Magic — even in a business suit — ain't gonna do it. What we need is another Great Frontier. Another unmapped and untapped planet to swing right into orbit with the Earth so we can build a bridge across and start plundering all that wealth. And until that happens, it will do us absolutely no good to look back at the late 40's, the 50's, and the early 60's and think that our magic will ever recreate the binge we were on then. It'll never happen.
Terrorist activities will become far more desperate, far more violent, much wider spread, much more random, and increasingly directed against totally innocent bystanders.
Economically, there will be more and more violent swings in the price of commodities. The stock markets of the world will increasingly be run up and down by rumors, privileged information, and pure caprice. Inflation of every possible intensity will sweep the world, as will large and small recessions and depressions and purely chance mixtures and combinations of simultaneous inflation and depression.And I’ll wrap this up with a proposed solution from Shuttleworth:
So we might do well to examine that last Dark Age in an effort to learn how we can survive the coming Dark Age with some comfort and grace. And, if we do, it seems to me we find that our best bet is the immediate construction of small, decentralized, self contained, agrarian communities.You can read all of these quotes in context at the interview. Here’s The Link
”...the economists are discussing the exact timing of economic recovery. Mainstream opinion ranges from "later this year" to "sometime next year." None of them dares to say that global economic growth might be finished for good...”
”We continue to listen to economists because we love their lies. Yes, of course, the economy will recover later this year, maybe the next. Yes, as soon as the economy recovers, all these toxic assets will be valuable again. Yes, this is just a financial problem; we just need to shore up the financial system by injecting taxpayer funds. These are all lies, but they make us feel all right. They are lying, and we are buying every word of it.”
”We may never run out of oil, but we have already run out of money with which to buy it, at least once [meaning last summer when the price went so high], and will most likely do so again and again, until we learn the lesson. We will run out of money to pump it out of the ground as well. There might still be a few gushers left in the world, and so there will be a little bit of oil left over...But it won't be enough to sustain an industrial base, and so the industrial age will effectively be over, except for some residual solar panels and wind generators and hydroelectric installations.”
”I think that the lesson from all this is that we have to prepare for a non-industrial future while we still have some resources with which to do it. If we marshal the resources, stockpile the materials that will be of most use, and harness the heirloom technologies that can be sustained without an industrial base...”
”Once the maintenance requirements of the industrial infrastructure can no longer be met, it quickly decays and becomes worthless. To a large extent, the end of oil means the end of money.”
”Now, I expect that a lot of people will find this view too gloomy and feel discouraged. But I feel that it is entirely compatible with a positive vision of the future, so let me try to articulate it.”
”First of all, we do have some control. Although we shouldn't hold out too much hope for industrial civilization as a whole, there are certainly some bits of it that are worth salvaging. Our financial assets may not be long for this world, but in the meantime we can redeploy them to good long-term advantage.”
”Most of the wealth is in very few private hands right now. Governments and the vast majority of the people only have debt. It is important to convince people who control all this wealth that they really have two choices. They can trust their investment advisers, maintain their current portfolios, and eventually lose everything. Or they can use their wealth to reengage with people and the land in new ways, in which case they stand a chance of saving something for themselves and their children. They can build and launch lifeboats, recruit crew, and set them sailing”
”Those who own a lot of industrial assets can divest before these assets lose value and invest in land resources, with the goal of preserving them, improving them over time, and using them in a sustainable manner. Since it will become difficult to get what you want by simply paying for it, it is a good idea to establish alternatives ahead of time, by making resources, such as farmland, available to those who can put them to good use, for their own benefit as well as for yours.”
”The problem is, what to do with financial assets before they lose value. The answer is to invest in things that will retain value even after all financial assets are worthless: land, ecosystems, and personal relationships.”In a nutshell, Orlav is calling people to drop out of the industrial system because it is unsustainable. The handwriting is on the wall. And what is the bottom line? Agrarianism. Returning to the land and “heirloom technology” (I love that wording). It sounds a lot like my Agrarian-Style Economic Self-Defense Plan that I wrote about last year.
"A visit to the Civil War cemetery and Pest Home in Lynchburg, VA describes the success of Dr. John Hay Terrill in treating smallpox. Giving his patients sauerkraut reduced the death rate from 90 percent to 5 percent."Along these same lines, the idea of homemade lacto fermented "artisnal" sodas sounds downright interesting and Here is a nice little article on the subject
"The “advancements” of Rome (those accomplishments that allowed hundreds of thousands of people to live in an artificially built society, separated from the means of production) actually served to cripple and mentally enslave the people who became addicted to city and suburban life."
"Governments and the prophets of urbanization provide entertainments to keep the mind numbed and fractured, and always new trinkets and wonderments to keep the soul anaesthetized. New products must always appear on the shelves in order to stave off boredom – and the manufacture of eternally useless baubles serves to maintain an ever increasing need for jobs, employment, and growth."
" It is a sublime spiritual irony that, had man remained within God’s declared will as to the manner and means of life and living, he would have not been so susceptible to the massive and destructive threats that face him today… and at the same time, having remained within God’s will, he would be less likely to be facing wrath as a result of his rebellion."
"... it is inarguable that this colonization of the Western mind took place. Thousands of years of history and successful living were thrown out, the baby with the bathwater. Over a period of 100 years, the Agrarian mind was overthrown and the Industrial and Urban mind was developed. Independency was replaced with dependency. Individuality was replaced with a horrible fake of the same name. The whole mind was fragmented and compartmentalized so that the man or woman can be forced into specialization – like an ant or a bee in a colony"
"The connection that ties people into this modern Babylonian system is the system we call "the grid". That grid consists of physical and spiritual connections and services that intertwine us with the world, and cause us to rely on the world system instead of on God. There is a huge difference between utilizing some aspect of the world system, as necessary, for the purpose of further separating from it...and loving the world by being tied to it - so do not let naysayers and illogical barkers convince you that if you believe in separation, that this separation must be complete, total, and immediate -else you are a hypocrite."
”I can’t think of anything I really need. So I don’t see any sense in going.”That’s what I said to my wife, Marlene, one day this last month when she asked me to go with her to a nearby antique shop that was hosting a weekend flea market. Her reply:
”But you might find something that you don’t know you need.”Well, I ended up going, not because of her tongue-in-cheek reasoning but because we needed to take a break from the daily grind and do something a little different, together. Besides, I do enjoy “window shopping” at antique stores and flea markets.
”...we have a few gardens that we use our Whizbang wheel hoes in—they work great! We can get alot more done in a short amount of time than with regular hoes. Thanks a lot! I’m reading your blog nearly every day and eagerly awaiting your next update—they all have thought provoking articles. Thanks again.”Well, thank you, Naomi, for such a nice letter. It was a pleasure to get it and to know that you and your family are not only readers of this blog, but satisfied Planet Whizbang users.
Dear Mr. Kimball,Thanks Jeremiah. I sure did appreciate getting your letter. Your printing is very neat and I like your drawings. Maybe someday when you are a little older, you can use your writing and drawing talents to publish your own books, kind of like I do.
We bought two Whizbang wheel hoes. They work very very well. They were pretty easy to put together. We have already saved more time than it took to make them.
My name is Jeremiah. I am ten years old. I really enjoy reading your blogs.
Thanks for your great website. We processed chickens for the first time this year and used your tutorial [www.howToButcherAChicken.com] for a guide. Next year we are definitely building a Whizbang chicken plucker! I appreciated your post about processing chickens with your son. My oldest son is 3 and he had a blast processing chickens. I helped him hold the knife to slit the throats. My favorite memory is Elisha holding a chicken in his arms and saying "Daddy, can I kill this one?"Let me first say that the image of little Elisha asking his daddy if he can kill the chicken in his arms is not only endearing, it’s also downright funny, primarily because I know how horrifying such a scenario is for the rabid animal rights crowd, as well as squeamish Moderns who are completely disengaged from the reality of where their food comes from and how to feed themselves without being dependent on the Industrial Providers.
Love your books. As an engineer, I appreciate your simple practical designs. Creativity is not my strength, but I am learning to think differently than the industrialized norm.
I have a question about the apple grinder. We have made apple sauce for several years. Last year we used our Vitamix to transform slightly heated or raw apple chunks into mash. We want the most healthy applesauce available so we include the skins and small chunks. I saw your design and instantly thought -- apple sauce! Is the consistency of the mash OK for apple sauce? I see much less processing time in our future....
The population pressed hard on the means of subsistence. There was not much food, and practically no means of escape for the people living in a closed world. the idea of progress had not been born.As a subsistence civilization, there were no corporations or joint stock companies. There were no banking institutions. Money was scarce. Work was limited to the tasks of subsistence... or war—plundering other nations was the time-honored way for kings to acquire more wealth.
Then came the miracle that was to change everything... Europe, the Metropolis, knocked on the door of the Great Frontier, and when the door was opened it was seen to be golden, for within, there was undreamed of treasure, enough to make the whole Metropolis rich. The long quest of a half-starved people had at last been rewarded with a prospect beyond human comprehension.This Great Frontier was the newly discovered and almost vacant lands of North America, South America, Australia, and numerous smaller islands. These new lands were rich with natural resources and it was all an incredible boom for the Metropolis.
You can get everything of a material nature you want, more than you ever dreamed of having, from gold and silver to furs and foods, and in any quantity you want, provided only that you are willing to venture and work. And something you never had within your historical memory will come to you as a byproduct, and that is an extraordinary degree of freedom.Did you catch that? Freedom. Personal freedom and democratic forms of government were one of the many fruits of the Great Frontier. In a static civilization, confronted with limitations, civil liberty and individual freedom for the masses was unheard of. But all that changed with the Great Frontier.
When this great area was made available to the crowded and impoverished people of the Metropolis, they swarmed out like bees to suck up the nectar of wealth, much of which they brought home to the mother hive. This sudden, continuing, and ever-increasing flood of wealth precipitated on the Metropolis a business boom such as the whole world had never known before and probably can never know again.
This boom began when Columbus returned from his first voyage, rose slowly, and continued at an ever-accelerating pace until the frontier which fed it was no more. Assuming that the frontier closed in 1890 or 1900, it may be said that the boom lasted about four hundred years.
Assuming that there was a boom, and that it lasted four hundred years or more, it follows that a set of institutions, economic, political, and social, would in that time evolve to meet the needs of a world in boom.
Therefore, these boom-born institutions, economic systems, political systems, social systems—in short, the present superstructure of Western civilization—are today founded on boom conditions.Wow. So the superstructure of Western civilization is founded on boom conditions. But, as is painfully obvious to anyone in Western civilization these days, the boom is over. Fact is, for the most part, it has been over for decades. We’ve been coasting on the momentum of the 400-year boom. Is the current economic depression we are experiencing an indicator that we s a civilization are dangerously close to running out of momentum? What does the Boom Hypothesis “predict” for the future? In Chapter Thirteen of the book, titled Conclusion, Webb writes the following:
If there is no substitute boom-maker, or one that is much less effective than the Frontier was, then we are faced with radical changes indeed. The society we have would tend to go through a process of devolution and retrogression rather than evolution and progress. It would lose much of its dynamic character, just as a boom town does when fortunes are lost there and not made.... Rural life would tend to become more important, and city life less alluring. Theoretically, society might become somewhat medieval in character, and new ideals would have to be formulated to make that life tolerable.
Though there is much talk of new frontiers, a careful examination of those suggested reveals that most of them are trivial, and none will compare in magnitude or importance with the Great Frontier. The most plausible claims are made in the name of science and technology. There is no doubt that science has made and is making valuable contributions to the luxury and comfort of those who have the price, but the tendency is to overate what science can do.The last two sentences of the book:
Our challenge consists in finding out what modifications should be made, and our opportunity will come in making them. Our inspiration may come from history, in looking back to the early 16th century when the lamp was lifted beside the golden door of the Great Frontier to change the destiny of mankind.My translation (and I’ve said this before): The modern industrial age is drawing to a close. We are not necessarily heading back to the “dark ages.” But history is moving ahead to something very different. It will be a civilization without excess and ease and relative opulence, which modern man has grown accustomed to. In other words, the future will, of necessity, be far more agrarian-centered than it is now. And I don’t see that as a bad thing. But making the transition could be particularly difficult for many Moderns.
The Sovereignty of God is an expression that once was generally understood. It was a phrase commonly used in religious literature. It was a theme frequently expounded in the pulpit. It was a truth which brought comfort to many hearts, and gave virility and stability to Christian character. But, today, to make mention of God's Sovereignty is, in many quarters, to speak in an unknown tongue. Were we to announce from the average pulpit that the subject of our discourse would be the Sovereignty of God, it would sound very much as though we had borrowed a phrase from one of the dead languages. Alas! that it should be so. Alas! that the doctrine which is the key to history, the interpreter of Providence, the warp and woof of Scripture, and the foundation of Christian theology should be so sadly neglected and so little understood.In the third and fourth paragraphs of Chapter One, Pink proceeds without delay to apply this doctrine of God’s sovereignty to one of the most egregious tenents of “modern Christendom.”
The Sovereignty of God. What do we mean by this expression? We mean the supremacy of God, the kingship of God, the god-hood of God. To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that God is God. To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is the Most High, doing according to His will in the army of Heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth, so that none can stay His hand or say unto Him what doest Thou? (Dan. 4:35). To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is the Almighty, the Possessor of all power in Heaven and earth, so that none can defeat His counsels, thwart His purpose, or resist His will (Psa. 115:3). To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is "The Governor among the nations" (Psa. 22:28), setting up kingdoms, overthrowing empires, and determining the course of dynasties as pleaseth Him best. To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is the "Only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords" (1 Tim. 6:15). Such is the God of the Bible.
How different is the God of the Bible from the God of modern Christendom! The conception of Deity which prevails most widely today, even among those who profess to give heed to the Scriptures, is a miserable caricature, a blasphemous travesty of the Truth. The God of the twentieth century is a helpless, effeminate being who commands the respect of no really thoughtful man. The God of the popular mind is the creation of maudlin sentimentality. The God of many a present-day pulpit is an object of pity rather than of awe-inspiring reverence. To say that God the Father has purposed the salvation of all mankind, that God the Son died with the express intention of saving the whole human race, and that God the Holy Spirit is now seeking to win the world to Christ; when, as a matter of common observation, it is apparent that the great majority of our fellowmen are dying in sin, and passing into a hopeless eternity; is to say that God the Father is disappointed, that God the Son is dissatisfied, and that God the Holy Spirit is defeated. We have stated the issue baldly, but there is no escaping the conclusion. To argue that God is "trying His best" to save all mankind, but that the majority of men will not let Him save them, is to insist that the will of the Creator is impotent, and that the will of the creature is omnipotent. To throw the blame, as many do, upon the Devil, does not remove the difficulty, for if Satan is defeating the purpose of God, then, Satan is Almighty and God is no longer the Supreme Being.Athiesm! How’s that for an accusation to wake smug evangelicals out of their stupor! This, my friends, is a powerfully compelling book. It could change your whole view of God.... for the better.
To declare that the Creator's original plan has been frustrated by sin, is to dethrone God. To suggest that God was taken by surprise in Eden and that He is now attempting to remedy an unforeseen calamity, is to degrade the Most High to the level of a finite, erring mortal. To argue that man is a free moral agent and the determiner of his own destiny, and that therefore he has the power to checkmate his Maker, is to strip God of the attribute of Omnipotence. To say that the creature has burst the bounds assigned by his Creator, and that God is now practically a helpless Spectator before the sin and suffering entailed by Adam's fall, is to repudiate the express declaration of Holy Writ, namely, "Surely the wrath of man shall praise Thee: the remainder of wrath shalt Thou restrain" (Psa. 76:10). In a word, to deny the Sovereignty of God is to enter upon a path which, if followed to its logical terminus, is to arrive at blank atheism.