In his book What the Bible Says About Being a Man, J. Richard Fugate posits the theory that because “the 1950s began the decades of the totally missing fathers” (p. 29), it set in motion a procession of biblical curses. Specifically, the four generations of curses warned of in Exodus 20:5 and elaborated in Proverbs 30:11-14.
The Baby Boom generation he identifies with “the generation that blesseth not father and mother.” (v. 11) Otherwise known as “the me generation,” these rebelled strongly against their parents and ancestors, and with them, the Faith that underlay Western civilization.
Generation X he identifies as “a generation that are pure in their own eyes, but not washed from their filthiness.” (v. 12) Because though moderated from the radicalism of the Boomers, and rather than return to Christ in earnest, they settled into an aloof nominalism.
The Millennials he takes as those of whom Solomon says, “O how lofty are their eyes, and their eyelids are lifted up [in vain pride].” (v. 13) Though he wrote prior to the rise of the SJW snowflake phenomenon besieging our campuses and capitols, we can safely assume Fugate would see these developments as confirmation of his thesis.
Generation Y he anticipates therefore to be “a generation whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men.” (v. 14) Because it will in all likelihood coincide with a total breakdown of the social security safety net and looming global debt-currency crisis, the compulsory turn toward austerity may engender a rare ruthlessness.
I realize this sounds a bit “hidden Bible code” like, but it isn’t as arbitrary as it sounds at first blush.
Fugate himself never lays out the argument for why he thinks this, but we can discern it well enough. As it pertains to Solomon’s time, there were roughly four generations from the time when Israel first demanded a king in 1 Samuel 8 to the era of Solomon’s ascendancy. And writing of things he had witnessed was Solomon’s standard approach throughout the book of Proverbs. However, as the first cursed generation he references (Prov. 30:11) is a clear citation of the Fifth Commandment (Exo. 20:5), the oracles of cursing to the the third and fourth generations therein do inform Solomon’s commentary on four cursed generations. And stemming as it does from the moral law, it would make this warning a universal principle for all nations (especially covenant ones) who turn to honor not father or mother. So Solomon’s words become, then, an elaboration of what befalls a covenant people who corporately repudiate the Fifth Commandment. Which is to say that from an analogia de fide vantage, Fugate’s thesis is sound.
Nation, of course, arises from the old Latin term nasci, a natal group, or in biblical terminology, an ethnos.
But the primary definition of the word generation listed in the Oxford English Dictionary is “the action of begetting or procreating; generation of plants or animals; offspring, descendants, or posterity.” Albeit the secondary definition focuses on the “entire body of individuals living about the same time period, or the time covered by their births; from the birth of parents to the birth of their children”, but it too concludes with these words: “a family, breed, class, or race of people.” Thus reaffirming the first definition. So both first and second meanings identify generations as a distinctly lineal concept.
This just confirms that our Greek, Latin, and English etymology align with the essential character of the biblical toledoth, the fruit of a particular lineage. So then, when we read the oracle against the four toledoths for violation of the Fifth Commandment, it is a federal/covenantal concept having naught to do with a global era or a quantifiable date, so much as with the offspring of a particular people in corporate rebellion and the dynamic which will arithmetically play out in their descendants.
However, there is a correspondence of Fugate’s Cursed Quartet (for lack of a better term) with Schaeffer’s concept of Line of Despair. In his book The God Who Is There, Schaeffer describes the process of cultural revolution and degeneration as matriculating through society according to a particular sequence:
Philosophy — Art — Music — General Culture — Theology
The inclusion of music, however, is superfluous of the category preceding and may safely be condensed into the arts, but the general thesis is sound: as they say, “the fish rots from the head down.” The history of the issue is that revolutions, even if of a populist nature, have typically been conceived and directed not, as the revolutionaries tell it, from below in the peasant classes, but from above, by a managerial aristocracy who coax their subjects into casting down the values of their fathers.
Though Schaeffer was addressing the issue as the enculturation of revolution and its ultimate reorientation of theology, this thesis is, in regard to politics, otherwise known as the conspiratorial view of history. This is the idea that the elite conspire to co-opt providence and the trajectory of history against the Christian world order by the incantational power of ideology and propaganda, with which they convert and catechize society to foreign ways and faiths. And as respects politics, Psalm 2 teaches this overtly: the kings of the earth do indeed “take counsel together against the Holy One,” and “imagine a vain thing.” That vain thing being the same primordial conspiracy of equality, liberty from the confines of limited identity, and the brotherhood of Man – these, the ideals promulgated in the Jacobin Revolution, having been the same which established that dark tower on the plains of Shinar (Gen. 11).
But this is not the sum of the matter. All societal transformations are not created equal. If the paideia of revolution works top-down, the paideia of reformation, by its counter-revolutionary nature, works in reverse, bottom-up. Where Nisbet et al. emphasized intermediary institutions like guild, neighborhood, parish, and clan, Chester-Bellocian thought acknowledged decentralized “subsidiaries”; the Magdeburg and Knoxian divines called it the “lesser magistrate doctrine,” and Rushdoony emphasized the preeminence of the trustee family. But all of these sip from the same spring — one of Christian conscience standing in defiance of arbitrary power.
Granted, there is some great irony in the fact that the revolutionary social impulse ‘from above’ is actually from below, whereas the genuine authority from above must bubble up from below at the parish, community, household levels. This is why the Decalogue is written as to clan patriarchs. The family is the central repository of authority under God and the last retaining wall against arbitrary power. And any true social advancement begins not in statecraft, but in the hearts of a people answering in faith to the Lordship of Christ.
Counterintuitive though it may be to the flesh, it has been taken for granted as essential to all three uses of the law in traditional Christian thought: while despots may erode public morality, the therapeutic state cannot heal, but only express the healing which has transpired at more essential levels of national life. Soteriology by way of central planning is the perennial theme of the scientific state and gnosticism aforehand. Such is the innate tendency of concentrated power in the hands of fallen men. It was in recognition of this fact that our colonial fathers spoke of government as a slave that must remain shackled lest it break forth like a dragon to rend and slay, as is its wont.
At face value, though, Fugate has presented us a grim timetable: if the four generations of cursing are the inarrestable consequence of the Boomers’ repudiation of their sires and dams, then the West has little hope of reprieve until Gen Y be displaced by their bairns. Of course, even if this were the case, it certainly would not diminish the onus on us sons of the West to light candles against the dark. We would merely be resigned to living out our days embedded deep in enemy territory.
But happily, it is apparent that the taint was introduced upstream from the Boomers too. By the 1950s the professoriate was already entirely occupied by communists and antichrists appointed above those institutions by the (((international masters of finance))). The late 40s through the 50s was the era not only when the revolution in philosophy was being seeded from above, but it was also that generation who, by absentee parenting and materialism, showed themselves inductees to that revolution. So it was the WWII generation who first ‘blesseth not father and mother’ (Exo. 20:5). This is only all the more confirmed in the fact that they chose (for mammon’s sake) to entrust their children to the tutelage of an occupied academia where they would most assuredly be coached in unholy oaths against faith, folk, and fatherland. The GI generation spurned their own offices as fathers and mothers. No, the Boomers were not the first crop of Fugate’s Cursed Quartet, but the second.
Happily, then, we see Schaeffer’s Line of Despair parallels Fugate’s Cursed Quartet. In the Boomer generation we find not the origin of the philosophy (that preceded them), but really, only its application to the arts – which formed the beachhead for conversion of the general culture, which would inch along for the next couple decades before the counterculture perspective could be said to have fully subdued society. And as it pertains to the subversion and overthrow of theology, we now stand witness to its ostensible completion, as one denomination after another issues denouncements of ‘racism’, ‘sexism’, ‘privilege’, and even ‘whiteness’. Sure, it took a few decades to see that postmodern/cultural Marxist philosophy wick its way through the overall culture, but we stand now at the point in 2017 where it has in the last decade breached the inner wall and effectively supplanted Christian ethics with those of cultural Marxism.
Relative to this, McGowan’s research crystallizes the fact that the Cultural Revolution of the 60s was not an organic cultural dynamic bubbling up from drum circles on the pavement of Haight-Ashbury, but an artificial pre-packaged ideology and aesthetic created and disseminated by covert government agencies. The anti-Christian philosophy had not only seized the universities well prior to the 60s, but proof continues to emerge that the universities were by that time little more than front organizations for CIA experiments and Marxist agitprop.
Which is not really to quibble with Schaeffer’s Line of Despair, but rather to say that the first domino to fall in that sequence which he terms ‘philosophy’ is not entirely what it seems. Because the philosophy in this case originates with those money masters who determine funding of philosophy departments everywhere. Just as the Bolshevik Revolution was bankrolled and guided by the same bankers who founded the Federal Reserve in America; and before that, when Edmund Burke reiterated that the French Revolution began with “the old Jewry of Paris.”
But if Fugate and Schaeffer threatened to strand us in the night, Frame points to a rising sun:
I have noticed the following parallel between the fourth century and the sixteenth century, periods I consider to be times of fundamental reform for the church. In both periods the dominant theology was a kind of synthesis between biblical thought and Greek philosophy: in the fourth century, Origenism; in the sixteenth, the theology of Thomas Aquinas. In both periods there came a heresy that upset the balance; in the fourth century, Arianism, in the sixteenth, the sale of indulgences by people like John Tetzel. Then came a Reformer: in the fourth century Athanasius; in the sixteenth, Luther. Then came a consolidator, someone to rethink the whole of the Church’s theology in the light of the gains of the Reformation: in the fourth and fifth centuries, Augustine; in the sixteenth, Calvin.1
And McAtee’s response to Frame is not to be missed either:
I am convinced that Rev. Frame is on to something here and I would suggest applying this template to a 21st-century setting. However, instead of Greek thought being the syncretistic factor as being added to Biblical thought and categories I would suggest that the syncretistic factor as being added to Biblical thought and categories is the hybrid form of Marxism called ‘Cultural Marxism.’
As McAtee applies Frame’s observation to the modern context, he takes for granted the very thing which we have gleaned from the interplay of Fugate and Schaeffer: be it Arius, Tetzel, Marcuse, or the priests of Baal who supped at Jezebel’s table, none of these revolutionaries’ prominence is attributable to populist sentiment, but rather statecraft. And the circumstance demands now, as then, for reformation welling up from hearts and hearths to oppose the revolution imposed by bankers and despots.
But even if Fugate misidentified the initial generation of his Cursed Quartet, the fact that it suggests a possible wrapping up of the sequence in the Millennial generation is significant. As is the fact that the language concerning that fourth cursed generation (“teeth as swords”, etc.) suggests that the cycle ends not with a whimper, but a bang. And I must say, the Millennial dawn of the SJW and their hatred of all things country and working class fits Solomon’s fourth generation. So this intensification of hostilities between the counterculture and Anglo Christian culture is precisely the sort of heat and pressure which makes diamonds like Elijah, Athanasius, and Luther. Granted, it is impolitic in the extreme today for historians — let alone White Christian historians — to wax Spenglerian in any degree, but Frame’s cyclical theory is just that. But in terms of a Christian reprisal, it locates the ultimate meaning which was so elusive to Spengler.
Christ said “an evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign” (Matt. 12:39). By which He meant the generation which demands a la carte proofs of things which cannot rightly be denied, and therefore presumes to stand in judgment over God Himself. And four generations later, not one stone of the temple sat upon another and the Israelite nation was totally discorporated.
It is encouraging that the conclusion of the cycle offers distinct possibilities of rising reformer-judges, national repentance, and renewal. But not necessarily. The Cursed Quartet also has the possibility of concluding the life of nations. National Israel is forever memorialized as just such a cautionary tale.
All said, despite the omens laid before us in the Fifth Commandment, providence retains an inscrutable dimension in the face of which the Christian is obliged to trust. Trust that God is moving and that things will turn around for His glory, but lay down neither Bible, trowel, nor sword. Wait on him, but presume nothing other than His will be done.
For it is only in that faith that the curses shall abate.
- Rev. John Frame, A History of Western Philosophy and Theology, p. 107 ↩