Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the temple of the Lord.” He gave it to Shaphan, who read it. Then Shaphan the secretary went to the king and reported to him: “Your officials have paid out the money that was in the temple of the Lord and have entrusted it to the workers and supervisors at the temple.” Then Shaphan the secretary informed the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read from it in the presence of the king.
When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his robes. He gave these orders to Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Akbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the secretary and Asaiah the king’s attendant: “Go and inquire of the Lord for me and for the people and for all Judah about what is written in this book that has been found. Great is the Lord’s anger that burns against us because those who have gone before us have not obeyed the words of this book; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us.”
- 2 Kings 22:8-13
“Those who grew up in the troubled 1960s in America were told by the media, the rock music culture, their professors at college, and their friends that the values held by their parents and grandparents were old-fashioned. They threw off what they regarded as encumbrances in favor of ‘alternate lifestyles’ and ‘doing your own thing.’ There was widespread cultural support for their ideas and behavior. ‘Doing your on thing’ became the ‘in’ thing to do.
“Tragically, a survey published by Rolling Stone magazine revealed that those who bought into the ‘60s counterculture mentality and believed the lies they were told, are now having trouble communicating to their own children the necessity of the values they rejected. The survey reveals that having overdosed on drugs and ‘free’ love (which turned out not to be free at all) the flower children of the ‘60s now ‘embrace psychiatry as something to be relied on.’
“Is there a standard which can be depended on to give good advice and accurate information and answers to questions about ourselves and our lives? …
“President Reagan has correctly stated that the answer to all of life’s problems can be found in the Bible, if people would only read it. He is right because every problem known to mankind has a spiritual origin.”
- Billy Graham, Answers to Life’s Problems
Note: Billy Graham’s use of the phrase “alternate lifestyles” may not jive with the modern view of this phrase. The age of ‘free’ love was the age of the hippies, yippies, and dropouts. People lived in communes and shared with those around them -including drugs, sex, and any activity that was unlike the work ethic of their 9 to 5 parents.
Many may not be aware that Billy Graham, through the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, had a syndicated advice column, My Answer, in the newspaper for 30 years or more with the Tribune Content Agency. Answers to Life’s Problems, first published in 1960, is a compilation of questions and answers related to various key topics from his advice column. I read his column back in those days, and I thought him to not be as in touch as he should have been – yet, now I see that I had been deceived by a few of the lies he refers to myself.
The quote above is from the 1988 rewritten introduction to the book, when Reagan was president. Reading some of the Q&A that follows in the book itself, it seems the book was revised throughout to be more up to date, now 30 years old. Odd, the questions in Graham’s book, given by adults and teens of the 50s through 80s, are eerily similar to the questions in David Robertson’s 2019 book, A.S.K., asked by teen-agers of today.
With the similarity of the questions and concerns over the past 70 years, one must note that Satan has few new tricks. He just takes the old ones, applies a fresh coat of paint, and then lies enough for people to believe him. (Graham’s reference to ‘lies’)
I have touched on the 60s as being the greatest pivot point toward secularism, the collapse of the church and family unit, etc. in past posts, on occasion. Maybe this book, that I had read years ago, was where the idea came from in my mind, but just studying the history of the past 60-70 years with an open mind can draw that conclusion. My reason for this idea was that the media of the 60s covered the changing of the message from the major denomination’s pulpits, watering down the Gospel, due to the youth rejecting the old values and leaving the church – as the cynical media put it, watering down the message to boost numbers. The church should not have bothered; the youth rejected the values anyway and rejected the Gospel, watered down or taken straight. The Rolling Stone survey points to some ex-hippies trying to reclaim the ‘values,’ but their children saw that as hypocritical. The magazine points out that psychiatry became the new ‘god,’ although they did not phrase it that way. These hippies that found a return to old values looked for the wrong source, psychiatry instead of God.
In looking at the Scripture quoted above, we must look at the backstory. Let’s look at the good kings of Judah, starting with Uzziah (or Azariah). Uzziah did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. His son, Jotham also did what was right, although neither Jotham nor his father removed the high places where other gods were worshipped. Jotham’s son Ahaz was an evil king, but Ahaz’s son, Hezekiah was a good king. Hezekiah removed the high places that had been the failure of Uzziah and Jotham. Yet, following Hezekiah was Manasseh and then Amon, Hezekiah’s son and grandson, both evil kings. Then we come to Josiah, Amon’s son, the king in the Scripture above.
Now that we have perspective on Josiah’s ancestry, Josiah did what was right, but notice what happens. They find the Book of the Law and Josiah realizes, “Hey! We’re doing things wrong!” Uzziah, Jotham, and Hezekiah were good kings, but they depended upon word of mouth regarding how to properly perform the ceremonies in worshipping God. They failed in finding the Book, much less reading it.
Uzziah made great reforms. Hezekiah went further in reforming the nation. Josiah then read the Book and made even greater strides in reform. But what next?
Of the last four kings of Judah before the exile, three were sons of Josiah: Jehoahaz, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah. Jehoahaz was followed by his son Jehoiakim. All four did evil in God’s sight.
When you have a long track record of evil, passed down from generation to generation, anyone can be redeemed by God, but the message can sometimes get muddled. “Daddy did all that religious stuff, but Grandpa (or Great-Grandpa)? He had fun!”
Billy Graham’s comment in parenthesis about free love not being free could have been said regarding all sin. AIDS had been discovered in 1983, with the new edition of the book coming out five years later. With the media explosion at the time on that topic, Billy Graham was tying the AIDS problem back to sin, just not spelling it out. (Yes, some innocent people, although none of us are without sin, have contracted AIDS over the years, but Graham is connecting the dots from ‘free love’ to AIDS and the lack of that love being free – just one of Satan’s lies.) Sin comes at a price. If we do not repent, and turn from our sin, it costs us our life. Of course, Graham’s last statement in the quote sums it up well. “[President Reagan] is right because every problem known to mankind has a spiritual origin.”
The answer (and oh, this would have turned Billy Graham’s book into a pamphlet): Repent and turn to Jesus.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.