The Point of no Return

by Deana Chadwell4/4/17
The point of no return, the place of no more chances, the door that slams forever shut – these are concepts that make us cover our ears and holler, “La-la-la-la.” The western world in the 21st century works hard to mask final realities. A pregnancy used to be a point of no return, but now a woman can abort (same word used to end a mission – how odd is that?) the inevitable, even just before birth. A student can fail a test, and then retake it and retake it. Some folks even freeze their dead bodies, counting on science to eventually provide a second chance. No deadline is really a deadline, no expectation must really be met, nothing is really due when it’s due. So very many of us just assume that every can can be kicked down the road to infinity, but those of us who still live in reality know better; sometimes it’s just permanently too late.

I’ve been pondering that quite a bit lately; I keep running into it in my Bible studies. Remember the Pharaoh of the Exodus? For the first five plagues Pharaoh hardens his own heart – digs in his own heels and won’t let the people go. But by the time the sixth plague hits – the plague of boils – it’s too late. At that point “God hardens Pharaoh’s heart.” He uses up all his chances; God imposes this plague and the following four, “that you may know that there is none like Me in all the earth.” Each time Pharaoh rejects Moses’ demands, he adds more callous to his soul until, by the plague of boils, he is so encrusted, so inflexible that he can’t make a positive choice. He passed the point of no return; after that, he, and his nation were doomed. Egypt has never really recovered.

Look at western Europe – Sweden, Germany, the UK. Their reproductive rates have dropped so low that immigration must have seemed a good way to deal with that problem. A society can run into a population dead end if, on the average, each person doesn’t reproduce him/herself. When the birth rate falls below 2 children per couple, eventually that society will implode; there will be an inadequate number of young people to do the work. So Europe imports Muslims from the Middle East and now they’ve lost parts of their countries and their culture. Can this be undone? The problem with the point of no return is that those involved never see it coming.

Now look at 2nd Thessalonians 2: 9,The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” At some time in the future (quite possibly the near future) people will refuse truth until they can no longer do anything else. As I’ve watched the left stagger about in disbelief over the election of Donald Trump, I can’t help but remember this passage. “Strong delusion” is right. Russia? Really?! But here’s the sobering part: are all these people past that point of no return? Is our western society permanently screwed? Could be.

I look around American society today and I see many dead ends looming. Education, for instance. With John Dewey (at the turn of last century) our school systems began a subtle change from attempting to produce independent, knowledgeable thinkers to generating non-thinking workers. During the late 60’s the pace increased, curricula backed off the classics, and social engineering became a major thrust. God was banished from the classroom, and since He couldn’t be there, we had to find shortcuts, counterfeit ways to teach virtue: tolerance instead of real mercy; acceptance instead of righteousness; self-esteem instead of love and care. We erased purpose, discipline, and need. We’re several generations into this fiasco and even if DeVos manages to clean things up and institute vouchers and charter schools, where will we find well-educated, un-indoctrinated teachers to man those schools? How can we de-program our colleges and our public schools? It may be too late.

Let’s go back to the Bible. Look at what happens in Matthew 12. Over and over in previous chapters we see Jesus healing the crippled, the blind, the mute, the demon possessed. Yet in the 12th chapter the Pharisees demand that He give them a sign that He is in fact the Christ. So He does another healing, and what do they say? “He does that in the power of Beelzebub.” After that, Jesus teaches only in parables and explains them only to his disciples. He cuts Israel off and later we discover that an irrevocable curse has been placed on Jerusalem; 40 years later the Romans lay siege to the holy city and over a million Jews die, Israel and Judah are no more, are scattered over the earth not to be reconnected with their land for 2,000 years. They each used up all their chances – a point after which they would no longer be able to believe. And of course, once they were dead…..

According to the gospels, on Passover of A.D. 30-something, Roman soldiers nailed an obscure rabbi from Nazareth to a cross propped between two thieves. One thief made the deadline just in time and secured his place in Paradise. The other missed it. Forever. Throughout the entire Bible there is one theme: God will fix the problem of sin – our job is to believe that, to accept the free gift of salvation. God was able to offer this because His Son was willing to take on the punishment for that sin. Our part is to just receive the gift – before death takes us. If a person misses that deadline, there is no going back. In the most permanent and irrevocable way imaginable, there is no going back. And we never know exactly what that due date is.


Deana Chadwell blogs at ASingleWindow.com and is a writing and speech professor at Pacific Bible College in Southern Oregon.
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Deana Chadwell

About Deana Chadwell

I have spent my life teaching young people how to read and write and appreciate the wonder of words. I have worked with high school students and currently teach writing at Pacific Bible College in southern Oregon. I have spent more than forty years studying the Bible, theology, and apologetics and that finds its way into my writing whether I’m blogging about my experiences or my opinions. I have two and a half moldering novels, stacks of essays, hundreds of poems, some which have won state and national prizes. All that writing — and more keeps popping up — needs a home with a big plate glass window; it needs air; it needs a conversation.
I am also an artist who works with cloth, yarn, beads, gourds, polymer clay, paint, and photography. And I make soap.

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14 Responses to The Point of no Return

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I haven’t read this yet. But I’m pretty sure my short anecdote will mesh somehow with Deana’s essay.

    I was in Fred Meyer last night (a Seattle-based chain of Walmart-like stores, but more upscale) and was in the checkout line. Some lady store employee came running to the front and was noticeably distressed and more than a bit red in the face. I heard a few words of “He’s here again. He’s coming to the front.” She was talking to the cashiers.

    A moment later some white male 20-year-old (perhaps younger) yute came walking direct to the exit with an obviously new bike which he was purloining from the store. Two customers in front of me, a 50-something man (and I do not use that term loosely in this case) was at the front of the line saw what was happening and ran after the yute and caught him inside the double-doors exit. I followed close behind because it occurred to me finally what was going on and I wanted to offer support and be a witness.

    The man grabbed the bike and said basically “You can’t steal this.” The man-child (one of the countless little monsters we are ill-breeding) said something like “You can’t touch me.” He had a half dozen other snide little things to say as well. We really need to bring back caning.

    I shook the man’s hand after the yute had run off (with apparently two full backpacks full of contraband) and said, “Nice job, citizen.” I didn’t actually do anything but the store employees (all women) thanked us both. They told us that, by rule, they were not allowed to intervene. The person who was authorized to get in the face of these punks was not on duty at the moment.

    So here you have this situation where a known criminal (he’d hit them before, likely more than once) had come in, quite possibly knowing the hours when the store detective (who I assume would be a man) was absent and who was duly authorized to not just sit there and watch criminals make off with their goods.

    These were nice ladies. Make no mistake. But they were helpless by inclination and by rule. And it took a man (a good man…not me, the other guy) to intervene as sort of an on-spot law-giver — a traditional role of men, atrophied and denuded by feminism.

    As was that yute. I wouldn’t doubt he’s from a single-mother family (or the father is a snowflake himself). But that’s were we are today. The oddity is not criminal behavior. It’s that we’ve made ourselves so defenseless in the face of it. I was not specifically thinking of 2nd Thessalonians when this event occurred, but if the passage fits, wear it:

    The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders

    • Timothy Lane says:

      When you don’t do anything to prevent theft, you will get more of it. Most of the thieves probably won’t be as brazen as that one — but if they know they can act with impunity, they will. I guess the store owner figures that additional security will cost more than the thefts, but the problem is that the latter will get more and more frequent over time. But I don’t know about caning . . . by that stage, it’s probably useless. Confront him with the threat of deadly force — and use if if he doesn’t return his stealings. And good riddance to him.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      No doubt had the punk resisted and the good man have walloped him, the good man would have been charged by the local police and the punk would have sued the store.

      Sometimes one pines for the days of rails, tar, feathers and vigilantes.

      Given that our insane legal system is much responsible for this insanity, one can also wish for a Jack Cade as well.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Technically, it was Dick the Butcher (at a meeting of Jack Cade’s rebel leaders) who said, “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” A nice account of tar-and-feathers is in “Skipper Ireson’s Ride” (by John Greenleaf Whittier, I think) — which is based on an actual incident.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          Technically, it was Dick the Butcher (at a meeting of Jack Cade’s rebel leaders) who said, “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”

          Shakespeare had a sense of the appropriate man for the job.

    • Yes, Brad, this does fit my essay. I even quote 2nd Thessalonians. What a chilling anecdote. Not long ago I was standing in the checkout lane at Walmart. A tall man in a flannel shirt was in line ahead of me. I glanced down and noticed that he had a revolver on his hip. I felt safe.

  2. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    even if DeVos manages to clean things up and institute vouchers and charter schools, where will we find well-educated, un-indoctrinated teachers to man those schools? How can we de-program our colleges and our public schools? It may be too late.

    I have been asking this question of people for a good number of years now. After over 50 years of mis-education, there are precious little reserves of good teachers to draw on.

    At best, one would have the ignorant teaching the ignorant.

    • pstmct says:

      Home schooling is our only hope, and a slim hope at that. As the post and your comment point out, of the parents that home school, how many of them are not already corrupted by the government indoctrination centers?

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Most of the corrupted ones probably wouldn’t think of home-schooling. Maybe that’s one reason why so few parents do.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        I also believe home schooling is our only hope. From the little contact I have had with people who do this, they seem to be level-headed, serious and concerned for their children’s moral and intellectual future. Most who I have run into were Christians.

        If one considers the amount of time and effort required to home school children, then one must conclude most who do this truly have their children’s best interest at heart.

      • Steve Lancaster says:

        When I was in school in the 50s and 60s many of my teachers were vets from WWII and Korea. They had a world view that did not include a broken latte machine in the break room.

        How about two years TDY for vets as instructors in public schools? Wounded Vets preferred.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          That sounds like an interesting idea. Of course, in my day (and no doubt today as well) most teachers are women, and very few of those will have been in military service.

  3. Rosalys says:

    Amen, amen, and amen, Deana! The real fix to our problems, the nation’s problems, the world’s problems, was secured 2000 years ago, nailed to a cross! Our problems, humanity’s problems are, always were, and always will be, spiritual in nature.

  4. Lowell Barker says:

    Thank you Deana for this thought provoking article. Your question is: Have we as a society come to the point of no return? Are we incapable of hitting the brakes turning around and making the trek back to the place where there are moral absolutes? Are our hearts so hard that we have been sent a strong delusion by God?

    We have been on this down hill slide since Adam and Eve. Take heart in the rest of the 2nd chapter of 2 Thessalonians.

    2) That you be not quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. (That they missed the coming of the Lord described in 1 Thess. 4:13-18)
    3)Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction….

    9) that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders,
    10) and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.
    11) For this reason God will send them a strong delusion…

    The “strong delusion” comes after the lawless one is revealed. That is to say everyone who has accepted the gift of salvation will not be here for that ultimate and terrible delusion from God.

    Grace to you and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

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