JFK "Ask Not" | thebereancall.org

TBC Staff

On January 20, 1961, John F. Kennedy (JFK), was sworn into office (The youngest was Theodore Roosevelt at 42). Kennedy was the first Roman Catholic to be elected to that position by a very slim margin of 118,000 votes out of 69 million cast. His inaugural address captured the attention, imagination and energy of the nation’s young adults with a phrase which has oft been quoted since it was uttered: “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”

The address was not long, a mere 1,365 words. This elected President was issuing a challenge consistent with the ethos and morality of the time…

Practically speaking, civilization and Christianity were inextricably bound together. Christianity had become so thoroughly integrated into the daily lives of nearly everyone, including non-Christians living in Christian lands, it was so pervasive, that it formed an almost impenetrable barrier to the new,revolutionary civilization Marxists wish to create. Attempting to batter down that barrier proved unproductive,since it only generated powerful counter-revolutionary forces, consolidating them, and making them potentially deadly. Therefore, in place of the frontal attack, how much more advantageous and less hazardous it would be to attack the enemy’s society subtly, with the aim of transforming the society’s collective mind gradually, over a period of a few generations, from its former Christian worldview into one more harmonious to Marxism.

John Dewey orchestrated the filtering down of Marxism through the universities to the lower grades. In effect, they captured much of the young before their parents and grandparents knew it was happening,and many are only now waking up to the monster that had been created while they slept. Marxism began impacting the church through liberalism, Liberation theology, the ideas of “Social Justice,” and more recently “Critical Race Theory.”

Another facet of our cultural transformation is the self-improvement/pseudo-spiritual movement called psychology, which it turns out appeals to people of all ages. Carl Jung incorporated his religious eclecticism of “mystical traditions such as Gnosticism,Alchemy, Kabala, and similar traditions in Hinduism and Buddhism” into the budding new practice called psychoanalysis.His esoteric bent under pins his concept of the “collective unconscious,”which seems to have caused no little consternation among some of his friends: After the publication of Psychology of the Unconscious,Jung says his former friends and colleagues deserted him, declaring that he was a mystic and his book was rubbish.

Psychology wasn’t given much credibility within culture or the church in its earlier years….By the 1960’s, however, American psychologist Carl Rogers was among those shepherding along a new offering termed humanistic psychology. Abraham Maslow contributed to that with his “Hierarchy of Needs,” which quickly gained ground and, as we point out in“Stranger Danger,” largely shaped the theological views of popular Pastor Robert Schuller. From Schuller these ideas eventually informed and influenced the Seeker Sensitive and Purpose Driven church.Schuller offered to many a new and “improved”definition of sin:"Sin is any act or thought that robs myself or another human being of his or her loss of self-esteem." 

If that doesn’t sound like the Bible’s view of sin, it is because it is far from the Bible’s view of sin, and far more palatable to many people….The transition required a new understanding or redefinition of God. Biblically we learn that God is holy, and we are not. Out of His love, God reaches down to mankind and extends His amazing grace, his kindly attitude toward the undeserving, to us. In the new and improved view, God has been reduced to being little more than a provider of stuff we want. One rather large segment of the church, the Word Faith Movement, has blatantly made God into a sort of magic genie that must perform on our command and cannot act without our permission. Such amazing hubris…

Jesus taught His followers that they were to be both salt and light to the surrounding culture and warned that if the “salt loses its saltiness” it would be worthless in impacting culture for the good.  And that has proven true. As the church increasingly adopted the ideas and teachings of the culture, the mighty sea-change in Christianity has had a devastating effect on the culture as well. Without its saltiness,the salt does not preserve. Human self-importance provided the building blocks for a spiritual Tower of Babel which returned culture to the self-centered meanness of the First Century into which the church was born.

He did not ask what the world could do for Him, which would have been senseless anyway since we have nothing to offer. Instead, Jesus, son of God and son of man, did for us what we could not do for ourselves. Psychology and other man-centered ideas do not have the answers for lost mankind, because they do not recognize the core problem. We are born selfish sinners and are desperately lost.We cannot fix ourselves, no matter how many self-help agendas we grab onto or promote. We are not God, but we sure do need Him. We can be redeemed by calling on the Name of the Lord (Romans10:9-13), and then we are to serve others in love, and our first duty is to point the way to Jesus.


[TBC: Robert Schuller certainly influenced the liberal church with his self-esteem heresies, but it was psychologist Dr. James Dobson who turned the evangelical church onto the anti-biblical self-love doctrines of so-called Christian psychology.]