I have been facing some foundation problems in my house. It seems over time, roots from big trees, water running in the wrong direction, poorly laid footers can all conspire to bring a house down. Home ownership is work, vigilant work and sometimes expensive. I first became aware of this problem with a door that began sticking. Another would not lock without effort and then a crack in the garage floor and finally in a bedroom wall. The remedy was to hire a foundation repair company who dug deep below the slab and poured new footers. Fixed.
Today, Kathy and I have received yet another news flash about a young pastor who has been exposed. His sexual sin has spilled over the banks and is flooding the lives of his family, his church and a much larger community of friends and admirers. With pain and tears we heard the news. We are dealing with this kind of revelation in our church also. The erosion of good character which is the strength of family life appears to be everywhere we look. Our hearts are breaking. Neither of us is shocked in the sense that we cannot fathom it. We have a well-formed doctrine of human depravity. We are all sinners and every strand of our DNA is infected.
I have to believe that the problem is foundational.
There are many who will be tempted to think that this is a problem in which education is blamed and called upon to cure. Frankly, that is stupid because it ignores my depravity. Education brings something to the table but the problem is more foundational.
David asked a powerful question in the Eleventh Psalm. “When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” If there is no foundation then all our work to build a life, marriage, family, culture, and church will be doomed. Without a foundation or an infrastructure, society cannot exist or make significant progress. America must come to terms with an aging infrastructure in its highway system and bridge works, our buildings and even our form of government. Nothing in this world will escape Newton’s Second Law of Thermodynics. Everything moves to disorder not order. Things do not survive without a solid foundation built and repaired from time to time.
I think that we are experiencing a tidal-wave of sexual ethical failure because the foundations are crumbling or have never been installed. We may be witnessing the absence of a foundation in a generation that has been deprived of something they do not even realize is missing. A foundation of truth. Truth is a rock solid core to build your life upon.
I am not suggesting that we do not know that our sexual behavior is sinful but it has become so compulsive, so privatized and narcissistic that we are willing to take gigantic risk to satisfy these urges. The foundation of truth is missing or severely in decay. In the absence of truth I am left with no other option but to declare myself the truth. I live to please me and whatever impulse I may at any moment experience.
The greater American culture with its years of sexual revolution is the environmental pressure that speeds the process of decay. Each technological advancement sets us up to new ways to hide or access our sinful pleasure. Lets just be frank, the revolution is over and we lost. We now live under a new order. Biblical ideas of truth that guide sexual morals and behavior are gone and our churches cling to a nostalgic recollection of the old order instead of bold gospel foundation building. This decaying foundation is causing many of the greater aspects of society, like family and marriage to fall under the pressures of life. With family and marriage goes child health, safety, economic soundness, crime, poverty and a host of other serious problems that effect a great many.
Please tell me you have an answer?
In 1829 a young West Point graduate received his first engineering assignment. There was nothing glamourous about going to Cockspur Island in the mouth of the Savanah River in Georgia and build a fort for the U.S. Army. Yet the inexperienced lieutenant began the tedious work of preparation. He surveyed, sized up the quality of dirt, measured, mapped and ordered men and materials. Work continued through the hot and humid days of summer in the deep South. Storms battered and threatened to undo all of the work accomplished. On several occasions Washington threatened to kill the project, yet the young lieutenant kept at it. The digging began in earnest and the foundation for the foundation was driven deep into the island. The young lieutenant would soon be taken away for another assignment.
Before he left, the brick, mortar, labor and materials for the fort would arrive. Everything now was done to make this fort sustainable. The Army Corp of Engineers would need Lieutenant Robert E. Lee elsewhere but the foundation he laid for Fort Pulaski was a work of art. If you visit Fort Pulaski today you can touch the brick walls, walk on the brick pavement. You can march on the yard in the fort, stand on its parapets and lean on its canons. It is a historic site of a battle of the Civil War. One thing you will not find at Fort Pulaski is a crack in the wall. Why? Because the foundation is good. If the foundation is good the righteous have great things they can do.
With every painful revelation of yet another Christian falling into sexual sin, another leader being exposed, the gospel suffers. Our ability to defend truth is at greater risk. Good walls that allow civil society to exist are broken down. I do not know the answer to David’s question. Maybe it is the kind of question that the lack of answer is the obvious point. There is little to do when the foundations crumble. One thing I know is that many suffer for the want of a solid foundation and many are blessed by a solid foundation and don’t even know it. Another interpretation of David’s question suggest that it could read this way. “When the foundations are destroyed, the righteous must do something!”
Be Foundational in both your private and public life. As far as God is concerned they are always one and the same. Roll up our sleeves and dig deep into the lives of one another and lay the foundation of Jesus Christ.
Did You Know? In 1736 John & Charles Wesley landed on Cockspur Island to begin their mission work in Georgia.