Charles Crismier III is the founder and president of Save America Ministries. He spent 18 years in private civil practice as an attorney and nine years as a public school teacher and has served as a pastor since 1987. Known as a defender of freedom, biblical Christianity and the Word of God, he is the author of six books. In 1993 he was the recipient of the Valley Forge Freedom Foundation’s award for significant contribution to the cause of faith and freedom. He has since 1995 hosted “Viewpoint”, a daily issues-oriented radio broadcast. He and his wife live in Richmond, VA.
In view of the disconnect that he sees between the 45 percent in America who claim to be born-again Christian or evangelicals and their lives, Charles Crismier shares biblical secrets on the neglected topic of the fear of the Lord. Using the sinking of the Titanic as a metaphor for the current spiritual condition of Americans, Crismier says the fear of the Lord is “the greatest and most significant key to avoid personal and collective shipwreck.” Known as a voice to the church and defender of the faith, Crismier is a pastor and founder and president of Save America and talk show host of “Viewpoint,” a daily issues-oriented radio broadcast, since 1995.
“A tale of haunting deception hovering over
history’s most remembered disaster.”
THE LIGHTS FLICKERED OUT, and in a thunderous roar, everything on the super-ship seemed to break loose. Beds and boilers lurched as the black hull of the RMS Titanic tilted perpendicularly; its three great propellers reared against the heavens. And then it was gone, and 1522 souls with it.
There had been no sense of urgency when the Titanic first struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic at about 11:40PM on April 14, 1912. When Edith Brown Haisman last saw her daddy, he was standing on deck, smoking a cigar and smiling at his wife and daughter. “I’ll see you in New York,” he said confidently, as his family was bundled into Lifeboat No. 14. “Everyone kept saying, ‘She’s unsinkable’,” recalled Haisman.1 But the unthinkable happened to the “unsinkable.” Emerging from the depths of the sea and lifeboat survivors is a tale of haunting deception and undisclosed secrets hovering over history’s most remembered disaster.
“A Night to Remember”
It was “A Night to Remember” said Walter Lord in his classic 1955 best seller. But the Titanic was by no means the largest disaster in modern history. Unlike the Lusitania and the Hindenburg, it had virtually no political import. “Yet it remains the only disaster that people generally care about.” Stephen Cox, author of The Titanic Story, asks, “What is there about the Titanic story that keeps us coming back to it? What is the significance of this story?” “You can have a real story without risks, but the best stories are those that ask the riskiest questions about good and bad. When we try to answer them, we recover our sense of dignity of human life…. That’s why we keep coming back to the Titanic story – because it makes us think about the things that matter.”2
It is little wonder, then, that historian Steven Biel in his reminiscing cultural history of the disaster, Down With the Old Canoe, speculates that “The three most written-about subjects of all-time” may be “Jesus, the Civil War, and the Titanic.”3
“Buried 12,000 feet beneath the sea in total darkness, gone from a world it momentarily defined, the Titanic refuses to die.” “It’s a morality play…,” observed Newsweek, “a biblical warning to those who would dare to challenge the Almighty….”4
“We’re All on the Titanic”
It remains a night to forget for those who were on board, but a night to remember for the world. It is an irresistible tale of tragedy and truth. “Seventeen movies, eighteen documentaries and at least 130 books have attempted to reveal the moral and spiritual mysteries played out in the drama of deception played out before the world on the decks of the Titanic.”
“It’s a moment in time that encapsulates what life is all about,” said Tullock, of RMS Titanic, Inc.5 The Titanic wasn’t annihilated in an instant. It took two hours and forty minutes to sink, during which people – rich and poor, young and old – had to make choices. “It is an interesting fact that newspaper reports, magazine articles and books published shortly after the Titanic’s sinking referred to eternal truths,” wrote Bob Garner, senior producer for Focus on the Family. Yet “most of these were secular publications,” he noted. Garner had been a working associate of Dr. Robert Ballard, who first discovered the remains of the great ship in 1985, resting two miles down on the ocean floor in the cold, pitch-blackness of the North Atlantic.6
There are pivotal points in our lives when we are brought face-to-face with the things in life that matter most. At those junctures are choices that must be made, choices that inevitably determine the course of destiny. Deception and undisclosed secrets deliver us to the brink of destiny. “It’s a metaphor” for life, observed James Cameron, director of the extravaganza film production in 1996. In a very real sense, “We’re all on the “Titanic.”7
The Titanic was large even by today’s standards. This was the grandest of the grand, “representing all the power, wealth, luxury and arrogance of its age.” “The Titanic was built at the height of the Industrial Age, a time when technology ruled as a ‘god’.” She was promoted as “unsinkable,” with her 16 watertight compartments. Several passengers wrote in their diaries that they overheard people claim, “even God couldn’t sink this ship.”8
Yet the unthinkable happened to the “unsinkable.” One deception led to another. Undisclosed secrets obscured what might otherwise have seemed obvious. Passengers boarded, brashly confident in their safety. The ill-fated Capt. Edward J. Smith was also boldly confident, cranking up the speed to set a new trans-Atlantic speed record, even as the regal vessel approached the well-known North Atlantic ice fields. Unbeknownst to unsuspecting passengers, no safety drills had been conducted.
The wireless operators ignored or made light of repeated warnings of icebergs ahead. Even the captain seemed complacent. At about 11PM, when the ship’s crew spotted “iceberg ahead,” frantic orders were given to turn the massive liner. There are few more dramatic or spine-tingling lines in the history of cinema than those of the Titanic captain in an earlier film when, upon news of “iceberg dead ahead,” he cries pleadingly to his ship, “turn,” “Turn,” “TURN!” exclaiming, “Dearest God!” And upon news of having struck the berg, he utters softly, “Impossible!”
Yet the deception continued. Even though a three-hundred foot slice a little over a quarter-inch wide was scraped by the ice through the hull, nothing was detectible by anyone on board. But the “unsinkable” ship had been mortally wounded. Yet even that fact remained a virtual secret.
Still, nothing was detected by the passengers on board, even as the “watertight” compartments filled with water. Few had any clue what was happening. Many joked even when ordered to begin boarding lifeboats. Not until the “unsinkable” began listing and tilting did passengers realize they were in trouble. That which long seems “secret” inevitably surfaces to the surprise of the unsuspecting.
“It was dreadful,” remembered Eva Hart, a 7 year old survivor who, with her mother, was put on a lifeboat as her father was left behind. She could hear the screams echoing across the freezing waters as the huge ship rose, and suddenly slipped below, and all was darkness. “It was absolutely dreadful,” she lamented.9
And so it will be when the consequences of creeping spiritual deception become manifested in our lives as we approach the end of the age. Pomp, pride, power, perks and position keep our spirits falsely afloat while this great “unsinkable” ship of earth takes on water, ready to plunge into the abyss where time and eternity meet. The overwhelming majority will be deceived. Secrets that seduced will surface too late. Their destiny will be determined. Their mournful cries will be deafening. The unthinkable will happen to the unsinkable. It will be dreadful. Absolutely dreadful. Yet there is a key… a missing key.
The Missing Key
“It looked for all the world like an ordinary key, but this unremarkable piece of metal could have saved the Titanic from disaster.” Such were the opening words in a heart-rending report of remorse in the Telegraph online paper published in the United Kingdom August 30, 2007.10
Catastrophically for the Titanic and her 1522 passengers that lost their lives, the key’s owner, the Second Officer, David Blair, was removed from the crew at the last minute, and in his haste, forgot to hand it to his replacement. The key is thought to have fitted the locker that contained the crow’s nest binoculars, vital to detecting lurking threats to the liner in pre-sonar days. Without the glasses, lookouts in the crow’s nest had to rely on their own eyes, which were unable to perceive the disaster lying ahead until it was too late.
A survivor, Fred Fleet, was called by Congress to testify. When asked by the chairing U.S. Senator how much sooner the binoculars would have made the looming iceberg visible, he answered, “Enough to get out of the way.”
Ninety-five years later, the key and its significance had truly come to light and was put up for auction. Alan Aldridge, auctioneer, said, “We think this key is one of the most important artifacts from the Titanic to come to light.” “It is the key that had the potential to save the Titanic.”
The Significance of Perceived Insignificance
For want of a key, the Titanic sank. For lack of a seemingly insignificant piece of metal, the world’s greatest luxury liner and most of those who trusted in her safety met their demise. Dreadful! The unthinkable happened to the unsinkable.
And so it will be as the great ship of this world plunges at breakneck speed, setting new global and economic records, into the freezing and darkening waters of end-time deception. For most, it is not what we know but what we don’t know, what remains “secret,” that will define a destiny of destruction, both temporally and eternally. Yet we plunge proudly ahead, thinking we are “unsinkable.” This is true for both professing believers and unbelievers. Both went down with the Titanic for lack of a key.
The key was not truly seen as a significant until after the disaster. Yet it was this seemingly insignificant key that would have provided the clarity of vision and depth of understanding to avoid the deceptively dangerous iceberg that lay ahead.
At this remarkable and unprecedented moment in human history, the greatest and most significant key to avoid personal and collective shipwreck is ignored or deemed relatively insignificant. The Bible, the very inspired Word of God himself, has become either disregarded or disdained. Yet it alone, insignificant as it may seem in light of mans’ titanic achievements, provides the key to life, revealing the dangers lurking not only in the swirling waters around us but in the dark and turbulent waters ahead.
Titanic’s Last Secrets
The world now remembers… again. It has been a century since the Titanic met its moment of truth. The tale of terror never ceases to grip our moral and spiritual imagination. Those memories are embellished with a thousand “What IF’s.” Yet another account has now surfaced, probing deeply below the surface discussions and the usually-repeated observations that haunt us to this day. Might there have been a more fundamental “secret” laying undisclosed at the door of Titanic’s demise? Enter Titanic’s Last Secret published in 2008.
This “riveting book weaves new evidence from the depths with historical accounts to reveal dark, hidden truths about the deadly voyage.” The “shocking conclusion: What happened aboard the Titanic that night was far worse than anyone ever guessed.”11
In “a fresh, moving, and irresistible portrait of the doomed ship, combining… secret archives and forensic engineering… Brad Marsden… offers haunting new conclusions about Titanic: It did not have to happen this way. They did not have to die.”12 But why?
“The true story of Titanic has never been told,” wrote Tom McCluskie. “I know things nobody else knows.”13 Indeed he did. He had worked at the great shipyard, Harland and Wolf (where Titanic was built), from 1965 to 1997. He ended his career as the company archivist, and was the author of four books on Olympic-class ships. His access to shipyard records made him the world’s most direct living link to the people who had built Titanic.
The Titanic had been flawed from its “foundation.” The same flaw in its sister ships had become well apparent and major effort was made to retrofit them in order to structurally remedy their deadly affects. Corners had been cut in construction so as to reduce costs of construction as well as continuing costs of coal needed to fuel the required structural weight. Pursuit of profit compromised architectural and engineering principle. And the rest is a wake of horror defining a century of history.
The expansion joints on the deck and hull of the massive Titanic were far from adequate. The steel plating called for by the architectural plans was so reduced as to compromise engineering integrity of the vessel. And “every flaw in Titanic’s hull had stolen minutes from the lives of 1504 people who might otherwise have been rescued by the Carpathia.”14
McCluskie noted: “You don’t design two sister ships, you design one. Then you use the same set of plans to build both of them. On the Titanic drawings, you can see lots of changes made by Thomas Andrews (the architect) after he discovered design flaws during Olympic’s sea trials.” “Olympic must have been right on the edge of coming apart.”15 “Yet Titanic was given only one day of sea trial after such troubling discoveries.
What about the British Board of Trade inquiry? “At the inquiry,” said McCluskie, “it was a whitewash to reassure the world that British ships were safe.”16 “However, from private documentation within the company which I saw many times, they determined that it was very likely that the ship had broken in half (on the surface). It was never made public.”17
Pirrie and Ismay, the owner and principal of the Titanic project, whose decisions had determined the destiny of so many, “must have been terrified when they’d figured that out [that the known weak joints had caused the “unsinkable” to collapse]. A public discussion of the weaknesses in their Ship of Dreams would have ruined them. They’d had no choice but to keep them secret.”18
Collision Course With Destiny
We are on a collision course with destiny. Destruction for most lies ahead. Our vision is clouded. Our perspective is limited to our personal or collective earth-bound thoughts, yet the Creator, the Lord of history, knows what lies ahead. He sees what is “secret” to us. The Bible is our binocular. It is the “key” that opens our vision, our hearts and our understanding to see beyond our naked human visual limitations. Yet we must value the key enough to get out the “binocular” that will enable us to see the dastardly deceptions ahead that lurk below life’s surface like a deadly iceberg, waiting to destroy the unwary.
Pastor and people, presidents, potentates and the poor are all on board mans’ prideful ship, churning headlong into the darkness of deception. Never in human history have the forces of deception combined with the Devil’s demonic host into such a formidable agent of destruction to lead you into perdition. The greatest warnings to you and me come from our Lord himself and from His disciples. The telegraphed warnings are principally to the church, to those who profess to be followers of Christ.
Most will not heed the warnings. The apostle Paul warned that they will be gripped by “strong delusion” and that they will “believe a lie” (II Thess. 2:9-12). Some pastors, through proud and neglectful delay, will, like the Captain of the Titanic in a last desperate moment, cry, “Turn,” “TURN,” “TURN!” But it will be too late. They will wince silently in eternal remorse, “Dearest God.” “Impossible!”
Most will simply plunge blindly ahead, deceptively convinced of the unsinkability of their ship in which they have idolatrously placed their trust. Hordes will trust the counterfeit Christ for a last great fling on the titanic of earth, spurning the hope and direction promised by Christ, the “Captain of their salvation” (Heb. 2:10), and His seemingly insignificant key. The carnage will be dreadful. Absolutely dreadful!
Don’t let it happen to you! The SECRET of the Lord may well become your salvation.
Your Key to Avoid Deception
The Scriptures, known as the Bible or “God’s Word,” provide the “key” to avoid end-time deception. Yet for most its truths remain a virtual “secret.” Our problem is not that we do not have the key but that we do not truly and seriously seek its significance so as to properly put it to use in order that we can be guided in our lives to avoid the icebergs of life and the massive deception that now threatens to destroy us.
This book is an effort to take out the “binocular” of God’s Word so as to give a more distant and distinct view of the deception now surrounding us and of the profound danger that lies ahead if we do not make timely course correction. Destiny will be determined by the value we place upon God’s “key,” so as to discover The SECRET of the Lord.
Remember, the Titanic is a metaphor for life. In a significant sense, “We’re all on the Titanic” together. We may just want to replace the earthly captains in whom we trust with Yeshua, the Messiah, the Christ, who alone is the true “Captain” of our salvation and who alone can guide us in this particularly desperate moment of history through the multiplied icebergs of deception that threaten shipwreck to our lives. In these choppy waters, The SECRET of the Lord lies ahead.
1. David A. Kaplan and Anna Underwood, “The Iceberg Cometh”, Newsweek, Nov. 25, 1996, pp.68-73.
2. Stephen Cox, Richmond Times Dispatch, April 15, 2001, p. F3.
3. David A. Kaplan and Anna Underwood, Newsweek, p. 69.
5. Ibid, p. 69.
6. Bob Garner, “Lessons From the Titanic,” Focus on the Family, April 1997, p. 1-3.
7. Kim Masters, “Glub, Glub, Glub….”, TIME, Nov. 25, 1996, p. 104.
8. Bob Garner, “Lessons From the Titanic,” Focus on the Family, p. 2.
9. Ibid, p. 3.
10. Graham Tibbetts, “Key That Could Have Saved the Titanic,” Telegraph.co.uk, August 30, 2007.
11. Brad Matsen, Titanic’s Last Secrets (New York, Twelve, Hatchette Book Group, 2008), back cover.
13. Ibid, p. 227.
14. Ibid, p. 261.
15. Ibid, p. 238-39.
16. Ibid, p. 241.
17. Ibid, p. 239.
18. Ibid, p. 261.