Rescuing Verses . . . “Where there is no vision” . . .

© Rev. Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D.

Proverbs 29:18 from the old KJV reads:

 “ Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” (Prov. 29:18 KJV)

How many times have you and I heard people say something like “unless we have a goal in mind, we will fail”. They are used to the KJV where is says “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” But is that what it is really saying?

Of course, it is true that we must have a “vision” or “goal” to pursue something successfully, BUT that has nothing to do with this verse. The Hebrew word for “vision” is “ha-zon” in the sense of prophetic vision. A different word means “seer”. Actually, the old KJV was not far off, but the problem is that we have misunderstood the word “vision”. It does not mean a goal but refers to revelation from God. In other words, where there is neglect of revelation from God, the people “perish”. Then the word for “perish” really means to “cast off restraint”. Thus the ESV gives a more accurate translation:

“Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law” (Prov. 29:18 ESV)

When I was in high school, we had the Ten Commandments posted in the homerooms, and since the school was basically Christian and Jewish, we could agree on those Ten Words! But when people get rid of the Holy Scripture in public, they cast off restraint, which means they sin without restraint. Our whole society hates God’s written word because they hate the Triune God, and they especially hate His character as revealed in His commandments. We have fallen prey to values instead of loving His law. (Read Psalm 119, all of it!) We now want to suppress God’s words, such as homosexuality; choice instead of killing; we redefine marriage. In other words, the visible and audible presence of God’s word is being removed and so restraint not to sin is being removed.


Erwin Lutzer, When a Nation Forgets God

Erwin W. Lutzer, When a Nation Forgets God: Seven Lessons We Must Learn from Nazi Germany (about 140 pages)

This was just published last year, 2010.  Lutzer is a dispensationalist, which means he does not think the Church will win, but his analysis of how a nation degenerates is still basically on target.  (I would suggest that one get my book, NOT Ten Suggestions, for a more Reformed analysis of how a nation (or individual or denomination) slides into the abyss.  My Part 3 of my book is especially helpful for this analysis.)

The book is very easy to read but also insightful.  For example, the title of Chapter One is “When God Is Separated from Government, Judgment Follows.”  Indeed, sir, so it does.  The First Amendment has been interpreted to mean freedom from religion rather than freedom for religion.  Since Christ is King of kings, it is not possible for Him to be ignored or rebelled against without consequences.  Lutzer demonstrates how Hitler neutralized Christianity by making all the public schools atheistic and requiring children to attend them.  Moreover, Hitler made the church confine itself to the church building.  In the public arena, Caesar (Hitler) was lord, but the church, at first, could preach Jesus as Lord in the ever narrowing religious realm.  The German church thought appeasement to Hitler was the way to get along, but that is idolatry.  Anytime Christians spoke out, he complained that such was insurrection.  Today Christians speaking out is called “hate speech.”  Hitler wanted all vestiges of Christianity removed from government, much as the ACLU is doing today.  Then Lutzer says what I’ve been saying for 25 years: “We will not win these battles simply with politics.”  Amen.  We must preach Jesus as the Lord over all lords, the “president” over all presidents.

Chapter two is titled “It’s Always the Economy.”  Dictators have gained power from monetary crises, either ones they inherited or ones they created.  In 1923, one U. S. dollars was equal to a trillion marks.  The people cried out for a deliverer, and in gaining power, and they got Hitler.  Hitler used democracy as a stepping stone to dictatorship, and when in power, he murdered anyone who was perceived as a threat, especially Jews and Christians.  Winston Churchill said that Hitler’s achievements were “among the more remarkable in the whole history of the world.”  That was on his way to power, but once he had it, he revealed his true self.  Here were some of Hitler’s accomplishments on the way to power:

  • Revived a collapsed economy in four years
  • Instituted national health care
  • Gave millions of Germans attractive vacations
  • Established training schools for those unskilled and thus brought the nation to full employment
  • Brought crime under control
  • Built freeways

But once his power was consolidated, he murdered six million Jews and millions of Christians.  Given a choice, most people will choose bread and meat over morality.  In our country, people want the thriving economy back, and they don’t care how many little innocent babies are slaughtered in the abortion mills.  Lutzer quotes Benjamin Franklin: “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.”  Amen.

The title of Chapter Five is “Parents―Not the State―Are Responsible for a Child’s Training.”  I have a section in my book on the same thing mentioned above, and one should read my 40 page booklet on this topic, Keeping Covenant and Educating Our Children.

Lutzer has a chapter promoting the idea that ordinary people can and do make a difference.  I can’t summarize the whole book, but it is an inexpensive paper back that can be read in a sitting or two.  Get this one!

How the Media Is Trashing Christians and Christianity

S. E. Cupp, Losing Our Religion: The Liberal Media’s Attack on Christianity (New York, NY: Threshold Editions, 2010). This is another book by an atheist, and she is a media insider. She writes this book to Christians to tell us to wake up to what the media is doing to us. She rightly understands that if Christians lose free speech, others in society are next. Full of documentation.