Crush Depth: Laying Out the Stress Point

The following is excerpted from Before the Final Trump ~Part I


Wrong ideas about God are not only the fountain from which the polluted waters of idolatry flow;
they are themselves idolatrous. The idolater simply imagines things about God and acts as if they were true.
A.W. Tozer
At 9:18 a.m. on April 10, 1963, sonar operators aboard the U.S. Navy submarine rescue ship Skylark accompanying the nuclear attack submarine Thresher heard a chilling sound “like air rushing into an air tank,”. . . a piping joint in a sea water system in the engine room gave way.  The resulting spray shorted out electronics and forced an automatic shutdown of the nuclear reactor. . . When the accident occurred, Thresher was near its maximum test depth . . . .
Most submarines are built to survive down to a crush depth, which can be 20 to 35 percent greater than their maximum test depth. . . . . Without the reactor, the sub did not have enough power to stop itself from sinking past its crush point and doom.
Skylark received several fragmentary, garbled messages, followed by silence. . . .  As they sank, the men aboard [the Thresher] . . . heard piping and fittings giving way.  They . . .  listened as the ship’s hull creaked and groaned, until it finally, deafeningly gave way to massive water pressure.
Thresher was no more. . . [it] had come to a cataclysmic end and all 129 men aboard perished in 8,400 feet . . . of water. . . . All lives were likely extinguished within a matter of seconds.[1]

The church, and America too, is being squeezed and is in danger of being crushed.  In our decadent, self-indulgence we have tested the depths and they have found us wanting.  Ancient Israel, like the postmodern church, defied and rebelled against God and God judged them.  The Old Testament text is replete with incident after incident of the nation of Israel’s rejection of God.  America is richer in material wealth and God-given resources than any nation in the history of the world, but like Old Testament Israel, who “did evil in the sight of the LORD,” we too have defied God and gone whoring after false gods.

A false god is not just a golden idol.  When we cease to worship God in the fullness of His simplicity and actuality we are indeed worshiping a false God.  Why is that true?  It is true because “we tend by secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God.”[2]  As Tozer’s epigraph tells us, wrong ideas, “are themselves idolatrous.”  Indeed, the evangelical church has been “shorted out” by our culture.  We are sinking below our test depth and are rapidly nearing our crush depth.

I believe there are three overlapping dynamics crushing the bulkhead of American churches, as well as the culture at large.  First, the culture and the church are being crushed by naturalistic, secular humanism. This movement has flooded America and is spewing its corrosive brine into the church, shorting out belief in the inerrancy, infallibility, and authority of the Bible and robbing the church of accurate interpretation and sound doctrinal teaching.  The neo-atheists reap millions from books with contradictory philosophical babble and thread-bare assaults on religion in general and Christianity in particular.

Second, America is being squeezed by the rise of Islamofascism.  Islam with all its barbarous, archaic, imperialistic traditions has, like a giant squid, been stirred. This roused monster is fastening its tentacles upon the Western nations and is beginning to squeeze.

Third, there are powerful and largely unrecognized geopolitical and geo-economic forces arrayed against us.  There are those both outside and inside America pressing for a one-world government under the banner of globalism.  Of course none of these perils operates in a vacuum.

Individually these forces are formidable, but collectively they have an exponentially cumulative force and I believe they represent a singular threat to Christianity and America never before encountered.  What makes the essence of this collective threat so historically terrifying is that the church, to a great degree, is virtually unaware that it exists.  Many who are aware are largely unequipped to defend against its ravages.


[1] National  Geographic, “Major Sub Disasters,” (accessed December 5, 2007).

[2]Tozer, TKH, 2.

One thought on “Crush Depth: Laying Out the Stress Point

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