The Real Contest

Before moving to the United States in 1984, Os was a freelance reporter with the BBC. Since then he has been a Guest Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Studies, a Guest Scholar and Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and Senior Fellow at the Trinity Forum and the EastWest Institute in New York. From 1986 to 1989, Os served as Executive Director of the Williamsburg Charter Foundation, a bicentennial celebration of the First Amendment. In this position he helped to draft “The Williamsburg Charter” and later “The Global Charter of Conscience,” which was published at the European Union Parliament in 2012. Os has spoken at dozens of the world’s major universities and spoken widely to political and business conferences on many issues, including religious freedom, across the world. He is currently a senior fellow at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics and lives with his wife, Jenny, in the Washington, DC, area. (read more at RZIM.org)

359278-contestI don’t care what side of the political aisle you sit on, praying for your leaders is right out of Scripture:

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (1 Tim 2:1-4)

So, when you’ve got a number of pastors gathering around President Trump to pray for him – that God would give him wisdom and insight –  how is it possible that another pastor would refer to that as “theological malpractice bordering on heresy?

I’ll tell you how: When your platform is more about your agenda than it is those Absolutes that govern all of mankind, both Republicans and Democrats.

More and more the political tension that we’re seeing is becoming easier to discern as a contest between those that look to Divine Absolutes for the bottom line and those that would have nothing to do with any absolute save the absolute of themselves. 44% of Democrats go as far as to say that they believe church is detrimental to the nation.

If you pop the hood on that statistic, what you have is a scenario where close to half of your political constituency is antagonistic to Christ, grace and the concept of sin. Forget the incalculable love proven on the cross, never mind the Power represented by the empty tomb. Neither of those Realities are considered credible. The only thing that matters from a philosophical standpoint is the priority of self and from a practical perspective the only thing that matters is the acquisition of power.

Perhaps that seems a little harsh, but consider some of the talking points of the Democrat party: Abortion, Same Sex Marriage and the Doctrine of Entitlement. All three of these are antithetical to Scripture. But what makes it even more sinister is that they’re not “topics” as much as they are ultimately “tactics.”

Even Racism, in the way it is touted as a current stain on the fabric of American culture and indicative of our nation’s dark past as an enterprise built on enslavement, theft and cruelty, is more strategy than it is substance.

But if you can demonstrate the America is built on something sinister, then you can easily segue into what appears to be a viable reason to reconfigure the philosophical paradigm that America is built upon. In other words, if you can retool America’s heritage – if you can redefine morality and redo the foundational impetus of personal responsibility – you can establish a government based entirely on Humanism.

At first brush, perhaps that doesn’t seem like an especially dramatic scenario. But the end result is something truly heinous.

Os Guiness was born in China during WWII. He moved with his family to England and completed his undergraduate work at the University of London and completed his doctorate at Oriel College, Oxford. A sought after speaker and a prolific author, he sums up America’s political status apart from it being founded on a Divine Absolute.

The framers also held that, though the Constitution’s barriers against the abuse of power are indispensable, they were only “parchment barriers” and therefore could never be more than part of the answer. And in some ways they were the secondary part at that. The U.S. Constitution was never meant to be the sole bulwark of freedom, let alone a self perpetuating machine that would go by itself. The American founders were not, in Joseph de Maistre’s words, “poor men who imagine that nations can be constituted with ink.” 11 Without strong ethics to support them, the best laws and the strongest institutions would only be ropes of sand.

He makes a strong argument for the way in which the “pursuit of happiness” unchecked by the responsibility one has to be moral translates to disaster. And while it’s not always obvious, as far as the true essence of why our political climate continues to deteriorate into violent protests and little regard for the rule of law, it is nevertheless the foundational curse upon which their rhetoric is based.

…there is a deep irony in play today. Many educated people who scorn religious fundamentalism are hard at work creating a constitutional fundamentalism, though with lawyers and judges instead of rabbis, priests and pastors. and have replaced orthodox and. But unlike the better angels of religious fundamentalism, constitutional fundamentalism has no recourse to a divine spirit to rescue it from power games, casuistry legalism, litigiousness—and, eventually, calcification and death.1

If you position yourself beneath the banner of Progressive thought and liberal politics, take a moment and pop the hood on what your party pushes as “compassion” and “equality” and realize it’s nothing more than a ploy to retool morality and redefine true freedom. Your champions are godless, your clergy is heretical and your platform is toxic.

If you want to argue the disaster of socialized medicine, it you want to debate the credibility of perversion, if you want to challenge the rule of law – fine. But if you fail to acknowledge the true source from which this philosophical proceeds, you’re either a fool or a fiend. It’s not about politics as much as it the One Who governs the affairs of men. It was that Reality that the Framers based, not only their case for independence, but also for what equated to an entirely new approach to government. Jefferson references this in the Declaration of Independence (“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.“). Adams mentions it in his commentary on the Constitution (“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”). And Benjamin Franklin references this fact in some comments he made recorded by James Madison:

I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth – that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise with his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that “except the Lord build the house they labour in vain that build it.”2 

Regardless of how you want to base your rhetoric on judiciously selected snippets of history in order to create a fictional account of the role Christianity played in our nation’s conception and legislative framework, the volume of evidence that proves your narrative to be false is overwhelming. However you would attempt to assault someone’s character simply because they don’t agree with the spin you put on current events and our nation’s heritage, your perspective is revealed for the poisonous platform that it is when you’re confronted with a comprehensive perspective on the news and history that forces you to think beyond your liberal talking points.

And however you want to present yourselves as the champions of freedom and enlightened thinking by referring to Trump supporters as fascists and racists, your strategy fails miserably once your tactics are exposed, your labels are revealed and your motives are recognized.

The real contest today is not defined in the context of political parties. Rather, it’s a fight between a mindset that seeks to justify its morality by asking “Is it Constitutional?” as opposed to “Is it right?” It’s not whether or not you have the Constitutional right, it’s whether or not you are morally right in doing whatever it is that you’re attempting to justify.

And where do go to determine a behavior’s moral value? Now you have the true essence of the debate. Either God is the Absolute that you default to or you simply default to the absolute of yourself.

That is the real contest.

1. “The Golden Triangle of Freedom”, Os Guiness, http://rzim.org/just-thinking/the-golden-triangle-of-freedom/, accessed October 4, 2017 2. “The Records of the Federal convention of 1787 / ed. by Max Farrand, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1911″ (https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=pst.000009929227;view=1up;seq=487, accessed October 4, 2017)

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