As Soviet troops advanced from the East on Berlin in the spring of 1945 and Allied forces surged relentlessly from the West, one of Germany’s leading minds faced a momentous decision.
Wernher Von Braun had been the architect of Germany’s rocket program, which was far ahead of the Allies in terms of technology. With the imminent collapse of the Third Reich, Von Braun prepared to surrender. But to which side?
“We knew that we had created a new means of warfare,” Dr. Von Braun said, “and the question as to what nation, what victorious nation, we were willing to entrust this brainchild of ours was a moral decision more than anything else. We wanted to see the world spared another conflict such as Germany had just been through, and we felt that only by surrendering such a weapon to people who are guided by the Bible could such an assurance to the world be best secured.”
Dr. Von Braun maneuvered his team of rocket scientists toward the American lines and surrendered just six days before Germany fell. His faith in America was rewarded, as he was given the opportunity to develop rockets for peaceful purposes. He eventually relocated to Huntsville, Ala, where he guided the American space program that won the race to the moon in 1969.
That was the America of my father’s generation—where even our enemies knew that the truths of the Bible shaped our moral code. Presidents and congressmen prayed. The Bible was read in schools. Churches and God-fearing families formed the backbone of communities. The judicial system was still undergirded by the Judeo-Christian ethic. A biblical worldview was informed by the authoritative truth of Scripture. Americans were people of the Book—the Bible, God’s Word.
Not any longer.
Our schools, governments, workplaces and media have systematically excluded God. No wonder church attendance has dropped. Today, 25 percent of adults under 30 claim no religious affiliation at all.
The exclusive claims of Scripture are directly at odds with the new religious and cultural pluralism that dominates public life and discourse. Our society doesn’t want to listen to what Jesus says in John 14:6: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” We are now a nation where the belief of any group carries equal weight.
So we have reached a point that the U.S. Supreme Court is debating the definition of marriage—totally disregarding the way God spelled it out in the Bible. We have grown numb to the fact that 41 percent of America’s babies are born to unmarried women.
We must again, by God’s great grace and mercy, endeavor to be a people of the Bible. That first and foremost means that Christians live and walk obediently to the precepts of Scripture, applying God’s truth to every aspect of our lives. “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22, ESV).
It also means we must be bold in our witness, even if that means we are labeled as intolerant. In the Book of Acts, the early church met fierce opposition and persecution as it worked to spread the Gospel. Rather than shrink back, followers of the Way prayed for even more boldness and zeal to proclaim the Truth.
I don’t know if our nation can recover its spiritual footing. It may be too late. But then again, Christians are commanded to be godly salt and light in whatever culture we live in. Don’t be fearful. Let the light of biblical truth shine brightly through your life. God will be glorified, and you will be the Bible letter that is read by a sin-sick culture in desperate need of revival.
Bible verses marked ESV are taken by permission from the holy bible, English standard version, ©2001 by crossway bibles, a division of Good News publishers.