President Woodrow Wilson’s efforts to maintain neutrality were disregarded by German submarines. February 3, 1917, the U.S.S. Housatonic is sunk. Arthur Zimmerman, the German Secretary of State, attempts an alliance with Mexico for the invasion of Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Three more U.S. ships are torpedoed. April 6, 1917, Wilson signs the declaration of war against Germany.
April 24, 1917 – Congress passes the Liberty Loan Act to raise funds for the war effort. Twenty billion dollars are raised in two years.
May 18, 1917 – Congress passes the Selective Service Act. Twenty-four million men between 21 and 30 are registered and three million are drafted for service.
June 15, 1917 – The Espionage Act puts a twenty-year prison sentence on anyone hindering the war effort and aiding the enemy.
August 10, 1917 – The Lever Food and Fuel Control Act gives Herbert Hoover and Harry Garfield powers to increase production, reduce waste, and crack down on speculators.
October 3, 1917 – The War Revenue Act increases corporate and personal income taxes and establishes excise, excess-profits and luxury taxes.
April 5, 1918 – The War Finance Corporation is formed with capital of five-hundred million dollars to support war industry.
September 12-20, 1918 – General Pershing leads 550,000 U.S. soldiers against the Germans south of Verdun, France, and takes 15,000 prisoners.
September 21-November 7, 1918 – Pershing’s First Army sweeps through the Argonne Forest and cuts off German railroad supplies to the Front.
November 11, 1918 – Germany signs armistice and ratifies the Treaty of Versailles the next June.
From the declaration of war in April, 1917, to the Armistice in November, 1918, 4,744,000 Americans take part in the war, and 116,000 die.
Such cost, such austerities, such strategies, such sacrifices, such enthusiasm, such dedication! For what? According to Wilson: “The world must be made safe for democracy.”
Now I ask: Can the church of Jesus Christ have any integrity or authenticity unless the summons of our Commander in Chief to make disciples of all the nations produces in us comparable austerities and strategies and sacrifices and dedication and enthusiasm? The arch-enemy of our Lord Jesus Christ deceives (2 Corinthians 11:3), blinds (2 Corinthians 4:4), attacks (Ephesians 6:16), devours (1 Peter 5:8), and takes captive (2 Timothy 2:26). Our Captain has given us the gospel which is the “power of God unto salvation for all who believe” (Romans 1:16). He has given us weapons of offense and defense (Ephesians 6:10-17). He has all authority and promises never to abandon us (Matthew 28:19-20; Hebrews 13:5). In spite of all apparent setbacks he always “leads in triumph” (2 Corinthians 2:14). The gospel will be preached to all the nations (Matthew 24:14). The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord (Habakkuk 2:14).
So let us lay aside our peace-time mentality and wake up to the ominous reality of the war. The stakes are infinitely higher than democracy: the eternal salvation of men and the glory of God. Is not God calling you to develop some unique strategy to support the war effort? Remember: those who fight alongside Christ in this life will enjoy a never-ending age of peace.
With the light on in the tent,