Mr. Johnson experienced his poet´s ecstasies on other religious projects such as his very famous, "God´s Trombones."3 But rather than ascribe his experiences to anything like divine encounters, he preferred the naturalistic interpretation of inner fired human creativity. The reason for this may lie in his evolution from a child falsely professing faith in Christ4 to teen religious skeptic and finally avowed adult agnostic.5 Mr. Johnson concludes his autobiography in true agnostic form suggesting that instead of seeking to solve the riddle of God´s reality, humans should content themselves with using the idea of God to inject fresh courage into their daily life struggle.6
If James Weldon Johnson died an agnostic, at the moment of death he discovered spiritual reality, the truth there is a God and Jesus Christ is Lord! But how tragic since more than the average man all of that knowledge was so very near to him while he was yet still on the earth. Every God called preacher recognizes what Mr. Johnson dubbed "the poet´s ecstasy" as the inspiring fire of the Holy Spirit. He also had the words of God in his mouth as it is written, '"The word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart that you may do it,"' (Deuteronomy 30:14, NKJV).
O, the amazing wisdom of God! From skeptical lips came a song;
out of a unbelieving heart came the truth of God´s working, the story
of a people of His election and grace; a story the many now sing with
skeptical lips and unbelieving hearts to certify their just condemnation!
Sir, God created you with a spirit, soul and body (Genesis 2:7; Isaiah 57:16). You can blow Him and His Word off now if you will, but you will have to face Him in judgment of your life when your body dies and you depart this physical plane (Ecclesiastes 12:7; Hebrews 9:27). You are His creature; you and all other men will answer to Him, even Jesus Christ, God the Son, for the deeds done in the body (Romans 14:7-12; II Corinthians 5:9-11a)!
Regarding God´s use of nations to spank other nations including His own people, Israel, He has done this from the beginning of nations. These nations are not selected on the basis of their innate superiority or perfection of any kind, but in accord with God´s sovereign will. The nations of Europe God used to bring His cup of wrath to the continents of our heritage, this Western Hemisphere and beyond are no exception!
Truly the nations selected to deliver God´s cup of wrath are temporary agents of His will who should tremble in that knowledge since as the Bible shows, they don´t escape His wrath after their purposes have been served (Isaiah 10:5-19; Jeremiah 25:8-14). Examine the historical record. Where are mighty Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome to name some heavyweights? God used all of these nations to deliver painful blows to His people Israel. He even called Cyrus of Persia by name 150 years before his birth for his work (Isaiah 44:24-45:7)! Yet, all of these nations were destroyed in their time.
"Born again" Christians do not wish evil on anyone. But God is just and consistent in His dealings with men. Europe has been devastated by violent revolutions and major wars over the past three centuries and is poised for more. Due to the decline of Christianity, the spiritual climate of Europe is dark and the storm clouds of severe persecution of the remaining Christians loom large on the horizon. The same threatening skies are beginning to appear over North America, albeit, at a slower pace. The tragedies of September 11th and Hurricane Katrina demonstrated just how really vulnerable our nation is from God permitted manmade and natural disasters.
These things are all a prelude to the gathering swirl of events God revealed to the prophets of Israel long ago that would lead to the full outpouring of His wrath upon all the Gentile nations of the earth at one time (Isaiah 13:1-13, 24:1-13; Jeremiah 25:30-33; Joel 3:9-16). At the head of heaven´s army on that Day will be the glorified Jesus Christ who scoffers now foolishly reject (Luke 21:25-27; II Thessalonians 1:3-10; Revelation 19:11-16)!
Believing the whole Word of God as it is written, Peter asks the penetrating question in light of what is coming, "…what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness," (II Peter 3:11b, NKJV)? His question is to Christians. So, what if you are not one?
2 Ibid, p. 156.
3 Ibid, p. 377-378.
4 Ibid, p. 26.
5 Ibid, p. 30.
6 Ibid, p. 413-414.
To Be Concluded Next Issue