DEATH IN DÉTENTE
Dr. W. A. Criswell
8-10-75 8:15 a.m.
We welcome you on the radio to our services in the First Baptist Church in Dallas. And this is the pastor bringing the message entitled Death in Détente, or Cultivating the Curse and Cancer of Communism. In our preaching through the Book of Isaiah, we have come to chapter 10; and this is a text God seemingly has prepared for this hour:
Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and
that write grievousness which they have prescribed;
To turn aside the needy from judgment, to take away
the right from the poor of My people, that widows may be
their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless!
And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the
desolation which shall come from far? to whom will ye
flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory?
Without Me they shall bow down under the prisoners,
and they shall fall under the slain. For all this His anger is not turned away, but His hand is stretched out still.
O Assyrian, the rod of Mine anger, and the staff in their hand is Mine indignation.
In the ancient world, we are talking about a long period of time, hundreds of years. In the ancient world, there was a ruthless and merciless empire called Assyria. The winged bull of Asshur was a veritable ogre to the Jews. Four times in the lifetime of Isaiah alone did Assyria overrun the land [1 Chronicles 5:26; 2 Kings 17:5-6, 18-23, 18:13-17] and finally destroyed Samaria and the Northern Kingdom [2 Kings 17:6-23].
Naturally, the people of God asked, “Why in heaven did the Lord decree the existence of so cruel and brutal an empire?” And the answer came to Isaiah; “Assyria is the rod in His hand and the staff of His indignation to punish and to chasten the people of the Lord” [Isaiah 10:5]. We have, in our day and in our lifetime, the rise of an empire, far more brutal and more merciless and cruel than any the world has ever known before.
In our day, we have seen the liquidation, the destruction, the disintegration of all other colonial empires: the British, the Dutch—I was in Batavia, now called Jakarta, when the Dutch were leaving—the French, the Portuguese, the Italian, the German. All other empires on the face of the earth have dissolved, but there is one that remains, and it grows, and it grows, and it is accepted and appeased. I refer to the Red Communist empire of Russia.
Four times in the last twenty-two years have their conquered colonies risen in desperation and in rebellion, such as in Hungary and in East Germany, and four times has the Red Army crushed the rebellion. And to this day, there are thirty-one divisions of Red Russia that hold in a vise, in an iron grip, the nations of Eastern Europe. How could such a thing be? Why is it that it is allowed to live and to spread in the earth?
I have two answers. The first lies in the imponderables of Almighty God. As the ancient empire of Assyria was used of God as the rod of His anger and the staff of His indignation to scourge the people because of their sins, so it may be that God has raised the communist world, and the empire of Russia, to chasten and to scourge the people of God, the Christian disciples of Christ. This is an imponderable that lies in His hands, into which I cannot enter.
But the other reason for the growth of the Russian empire, I can easily understand. The immediate and the mundane reason is before us. The rise of Russia and the strength of the communist world is to be found in the left-winger, in the socialist, in the welfare-stater, in the liberal, in the “pink,” and the fellow-traveler. He is always soft toward communism, and he is always soft toward Russia. He is always open to government spending, deficit dole, and governmental planning. The only thing that he is dead-set against is the conservative who believes in paying your debts and in living within your budget.
The communist world is the fruit of the left-wingers of the earth. Look at Britain; in 1967, riots tore Hong Kong, and in those tragic days of plundering and burning and murdering, the British government closed down the communist schools in the city. Since that time they have not only reopened them, but they have proliferated. There are more than seventy communist schools in that city alone, teaching those children to admire and to embrace atheistic communism.
When you look at Britain, at home it is a land that gives you the impression of fiscal irresponsibility. While I was there, there were five major industries reporting to the people, and I listened to their reports over television. There was the report of the electric industry, the electric utilities, going in debt millions and billions of pounds every month. There was the report of the gas industry, going in debt millions of pounds every month. There was the report of the coal industry, going in debt millions of pounds every month. There was the report of the steel industry, going in debt millions of pounds every month. And there was the report of the transportation industry, going in debt millions of pounds every month. The pound itself is being washed out in strength as a currency in the earth. Why? Because of the left-wingers in the government of Harold Wilson; and he’s on his way, while I was there, to sign détente with Soviet Russia.
The left-wingers in the United States are no different. They are the same wherever they appear in the governments of the world. For the first time in the history of the United States, our flag was hauled down in shame and in defeat, and the image of America is in the dust of the ground, and the nations and the isles of the sea bow in cowering fear before the spread of communism. Why that defeat?
I spoke, in the Orient, with one of the most knowledgeable men of our nation; for years he has been in Vietnam, a close friend to General Westmoreland. And General Westmoreland told him, “I can end this war in triumph in a matter of weeks. All I need to do is to take our armed forces to the DMZ and to call the Seventh Fleet to stand offshore, and to send word to Hanoi, “You will either withdraw your forces from South Vietnam or face certain and destructive invasion.”
Why did we not do that? For a plain and simple reason; the head of our Foreign Relations Committee in the Senate was Senator Halfbright [Fulbright] from Arkansas. And his fellow left-wingers so destroyed the power of America to face an enemy that we finally fell into abject surrender and ignominious defeat! That is the fruit of the left-winger, the liberal in the United States of America; they drag our flag down to the dust!
Why fear Russia? Why? Russia has two and one-half times the size the United States. It is forty-five times bigger than France. It has thirty-million farmers; in the United States, we have about six million. Yet it cannot feed itself; there is no communist system that can feed itself. A war is fought not by numbers of men in the army or ships in the navy on the sea; a war is fought by logistics. The logistician is the man that either wins or loses the war, that is, the capability of a nation to support an army in the field or the ships on the sea. Russia could not mount and could not sustain a war. It cannot even preserve itself; it cannot feed itself, and were it not for the grain and the food stuffs that are sent to the communist world, and were it not for the technology that we give them, they would collapse internally. It is we, of the free world, who sustain that atheistic system, and, why? because of the liberal, and the left-winger, and the Socialist, and the “pink,” and the fellow-traveler in our American government.
Our government has always followed a policy of appeasement; it has never deviated from that policy before Russia: let’s feed the wolf; let’s feed the wolf; let’s feed the wolf; maybe he will go away. We still follow that pattern of appeasement and concession. There is in the United States one of the most brilliant authors of modern history. He is a man of great moral sensitivity, believing that humanity is not just protoplasm, animal, but that it is a people made in the image of God, sensitive to right and wrong. That man’s name is Alexander Solzhenitsyn, but he has no place, in invitation, in the American government. Why? Because it is announced to the world by our government, that if we invited Solzhenitsyn to be present at a state function, it might offend Russia!
That has been our policy from the beginning. When our armies stood before Berlin, the president of the United States said, “By no means enter; we might offend Russia!” So we delivered Berlin to Russia.
When Churchill said, “Let us invade under the soft belly of Europe,” and, “let us take those Eastern countries from their maw,” the president of the United States, Roosevelt, said, “By no means must we invade under the soft belly of Europe; we might offend Russia!”
And when a few days separated the absolute, unconditional surrender of Japan, we brought in the Red Bear, the Red flood, and gave the isles of the north of Japan to Russia, lest, in our victory, they might be offended!
In this last war between Israel and Egypt, the Israeli army had the entire forces of Egypt surrounded, and the American government sent message to the Israeli forces saying, “Let the Egyptians go; lest we offend Russia!” Our policy is not ours; it is not one that we choose; it is one made for us in the enigmatic secrets of the chambers of the Kremlin. And America cowers before that monster, and our policy is one of constant, undeviating appeasement.
So we march off to détente, to sign the document in Helsinki, along with Harold Wilson of Britain, and along with the other socialist governments of the world. What is that détente? What is that instrument that they signed? This is what we give; we give to Russia one hundred eighty-two thousand square miles of the land of Finland and Poland and Romania. The borders of Russia are extended, extended, extended, westward, westward, into the very heart of Europe. Détente gives to Russia, by our signature, one hundred eighty-two thousand square miles of land. Détente, by our signature, forever obliterates the nations of Estonia and Latvia and Lithuania, and détente delivers forever into the hands of Russia their colonial empire of all the nations of Eastern Europe; that’s what we gave!
What did they give? What concession did Russia make? Just about two: one, if there is a son or a daughter in the West, under certain conditions, they can visit their relatives in the East. The other part: under certain conditions, a correspondent in the East could come and look at us in the West; that’s all!
Those are basic human rights! Any man anywhere ought to have the privilege to visit his parents! Any correspondent, in any nation, ought to have a right to go look at another people! Those are basic human rights! And for them we exchanged the forever enslavement of the nations and peoples of Eastern Europe, forever; signed by the government of the United States, by the British government, and by thirty-three other socialist governments.
What of the future? When you look at it, it looks as if their atheistic, oppressive, ruthless, and merciless government is seizing the reins of power in the whole earth: India, Portugal, Africa, South America. What of the future? In Hyde Park, I stood and watched a man on a high stepladder, on a little platform, and above him, a big red flag waving, a communist. And as he spoke, as they do in that British way in Hyde Park, he was heckled, and rightly so, and vigorously so. As he spoke—and I wish I could repeat some of the Marxist doctrine that he mouthed, and why it is ridiculous—as he spoke, one of the fellows stood up and hollered at him and said, “What about the anti-Semitism of Karl Marx? Explain that!” Another one spoke up and said, “What about the millions that were murdered by Stalin? Explain that!” And another one spoke up, “What about that Berlin Wall? Explain that!” They heckled him all through his speech.
Then, in a magnificent peroration, that communist, under the Red flag, said this: “The wave of the future belongs to us. We shall, in revolution, deliver the oppressed masses of the earth. It has happened in Russia. It has happened in China,” he said. “It has happened in Cuba. It has happened in Vietnam. And while the United States is somewhere playing some kind of mumbo jumbo, we will possess the earth!”
And there was dead silence; none of the hecklers spoke up; not a man objected. Why? Because of the apparent truth of what he was saying. While America is somewhere playing mumbo jumbo, it is happening in the nations of the world, the Red tide, the flood of atheistic communism.
Do you have any hope? “I am a Christian; I believe in God, and I believe in the hand of God in human history.” Does the future belong to them? Does it?
Along with others, one time, I stood in that long line in the Red Square, before the Kremlin wall, to look on the dead face of Lenin in the great mausoleum raised there in his memory. And when finally I arrived in the tomb—this way, this way, this way, this way—slowly looking on the dead, silent face of that architect of the Soviet Empire, as I looked, I thought of the pronouncement that was made to the world when Lenin died in 1924. At fifty-four years of age his collapse and death astonished the communist world. And the Grand Presidium of the Supreme Soviet in the Kremlin, in Russia, gave this announcement to the world: “No man ever wrought as Lenin. He was the greatest teacher of all time. He was the greatest leader among men. He was the author of a new social order. He was the savior of the world.”
But, he is dead. Look at him. Look at him. Look at him. He’s dead!
Unknown to the Grand Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, they spelled their ultimate and final doom in the tense of the word that they used. “He was the greatest teacher of all time. He was the greatest leader among men. He was the author of a new social order. He was the savior of the world.” But he’s dead.
With what victory and with what triumph does the Christian stand to say, “He is, He is alive; He is raised from the dead [Matthew 28:5-7]. He reigns in heaven [1 Corinthians 15:27], and someday shall on earth [Revelation 11:15]. He is the greatest Teacher of all time. He is the greatest Leader among men. He is the Author of a new social order. He is the Savior of the world!” [1 John 4:14].
There is one church in Moscow, the Baptist Church of Moscow. There is one left open, in order that the tourists might be deceived into thinking there is freedom of worship in the Soviet Union, and the people who gather there, so oppressed, mostly in the services, weeping before God. They have a glorious choir; they sing marvelously. And one of their songs lifted my soul, though I could not understand but three words in it. I understood the word, “Iēsous,” Jesus; the word, “Christos,” Christ; and in every language the same, the word, “Hallelujah.”
I turned to a minister in the pulpit where I was seated, and I said to him, “That is a triumphant song, a glorious song. What are they singing about?” And he replied, “They are singing about the second coming of Christ, when He shall reign in this earth.”
Jesus shall reign where e’re the sun
Doeth His successive journeys run;
His kingdom spread from shore to shore,
Till moon shall wane and wax no more.
[“Jesus Shall Reign” Isaac Watts, 1719]
Iēsous, Christos, Hallelujah!
All hail the pow’r of Jesus’ name!
Let angels prostrate fall;
Bring forth the royal diadem,
And crown Him Lord of All.
[from “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name,” Edward Perronet]
Iēsous, Christos, Hallelujah!
Lo, He comes on clouds descending,
Once for favored sinners slain;
Thousand, thousands of saints attending
Swell the glory of His train:
God appears on earth to reign.
[“Lo’ He Comes With Clouds Descending,” John Cennick, 1752]
Iēsous, Christos, Hallelujah!
This is the indomitable and incorrigible and indestructible faith of the Christian. It shall not be Lenin; it shall not be Stalin; it shall not be Mao Tse-tung. It shall be Jesus, Lord of all [1 Corinthians 8:6].
While we sing our hymn of appeal, somebody you, to give himself in faith to that blessed Lord, a family, a couple, or just you. Make the decision now in your heart, and in a moment when we stand to sing, stand, responding with your life. There is a stairway on either side, and time and to spare. In this lower floor, down an aisle, and here to the front, “Here I come, pastor; I make the decision today. Put my name down among those who love God. Write my name down in that column, numbering those who love Jesus. Add my name to the congregation of the faithful who believe that the ultimate victory belongs to the great Lord who is coming from heaven. Number me among those who pray and believe in God. Here I am, pastor; here I come.” Do it now, make it now, while we stand and while we sing.