The Case of the Thresher and the Church

There are three underlying forces devastating America and the Christian Church. To be sure there are more factors working against America and the Church, but I believe these three convergent forces are key.

I lump America and the Church together because the empirical, historical realities show that America was built on the Christian faith. This is the truth, despite what the current occupant in the Oval Office claims.

I posit three things in my book Before the Final Trump as being the crucial factors destroying us. However I begin by analogously describing and comparing our fate to the fate of the Thresher. The Thresher was one of our first nuclear powered submarines. On a test dive it developed serious problems from within:

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]

Like the Thresher, the Church also has serious flaws of her own making. Because God’s Church has shirked her biblical mandate to make disciples she now has become anemic and irrelevant to our culture.

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.[2]

As a word of explanation Before the Final Trump looks at these questions through biblical, pretribulational, pre-millennial lenses. We have been in the last days since the early days of the Apostolic Church (Hebrews 1:2). I believe we are nearing the time when Christ will return for His Church and therefore have written with this perspective.

Before the Final Trump is a call for the Church to return to the essence of the Great Commission; to Christ’s mandate to make disciples.

Copies of Before the Final Trump may be purchased online at CBD, Amazon, or Lifeway.


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

[2] D.D. Edwards, Before the Final Trump (Crossbooks: Bloomington, IN, 2011), 3-5.

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