Will the torch of freedom be handed to someone else or extinguished altogether?
Dear CRI Partner:
With the question above, Os Guinness opens what may be one of the most important books of our time.
In fact, while I put few books into a “must read” category, if you care about our liberties and the future of our nation, his new book Last Call for Liberty: How America’s Genius for Freedom Has Become Its Greatest Threat definitely fits the bill.
Why? Because few issues are more fundamental than our most basic and hard-earned liberties. And those liberties are now under attack as never before.
And because few people communicate critical insights as clearly, as profoundly, and as powerfully as Os Guinness, I’ll let his words in the Introduction jolt those who have been lulled into a dangerous and potentially fatal slumber:
The stock market may soar for the moment, the big-box stores may be packed during sales, and the sports and entertainment machines may hum with their daily headlines. But no one should be deceived. Radical, violent, and antidemocratic movements are being fomented and funded on both the Left and the Right. The Left sees only the danger of the Right, and the Right the danger of the Left, so extremism confirms and compounds extremism.
Political debate has degenerated into degrading and barbaric incivility, and wild talk of spying, leaking, impeachment, governability, the Twenty-fifth Amendment, and even assassination and secession is in the air. American leaders and opinion leaders are at each other’s throats, intent on tearing each other apart. Careless with their insults and their incitements, many Americans are seething with rage over other Americans. America is locked in a mortal struggle for what each side believes is the soul of the republic. Heedless of the consequences, each side thinks the worst of the other, the once-visionary leadership of the free world has ground to an inglorious halt, and the suddenness of America’s decline is shocking as well as tragic to its admirers.
In short, Guinness states that, “What we are seeing is not politics as usual but political warfare in a dangerously radical style and led by leaders who should know better.” He concludes that this “amounts to a political and cultural hysteria that, for a free society, verges on madness and destruction.”
While some might dismiss this as mere hyperbole, I’m convinced it’s anything but. But just how significant is the present crisis?
Many Partisans and Few Statesmen
The full measure of the crisis can be gauged by the vacuum of leadership at the highest level, for as yet there are many partisans and few statesmen. No Abraham Lincoln has stepped forward to speak on behalf of the better angels of the American republic. If anyone did, their task would be gargantuan, for the present generation has rejected both the vision and the manner of the sixteenth president as decisively as many have rejected the founders. There is too little statesmanship to match the gravity of the hour, and too little analysis that goes beyond supporting one side or the other, or that delves down to the real roots of the problem. For the deepest crisis touches on an issue more profound than almost all of the present discussion, and as deep to America as the evil of slavery – a fundamental clash over the freedom and the nature of the American experiment that lies at the heart of the republic.
As Guinness clearly understands, what begs our attention are potential solutions. Some suppose the solution lies in the ballot box. And while this is wholly necessary, it is hardly sufficient. The despotism of militant egalitarianism, radical individualism, multiculturalism, political correctness, and religious pluralism run far too deep to be magically redeemed by political victories.
And the illiberal liberalism that has sunk deep roots into the educational, entertainment, and environmental industries that manufacture and massively disseminate the insidious ideological constructs that are driving Western civilization in a very dangerous direction are issues far deeper than those that can be solved with ballot box “bandages.”
The good news is that this dangerous direction need not be our destiny. Our fate is in no way sealed and the opportunities to reverse these trends are great but only IF sufficient numbers of people are willing to act in time.
But let there be no mistake. Only a Judeo-Christian worldview can suffice as the cure for what ails our society. And only Jesus can provide the genuine cure for the alienation, antipathy, and hostility that are at the root of much of our social ills.
Please understand. This isn’t time to panic. The current threats to our liberties didn’t materialize overnight, and they certainly won’t be reversed overnight.
But the signs of degradation — spiritual, moral, and cultural
signs that have been growing for nearly fifty years — are now accelerating.
And they’re approaching a point beyond which there could be no return. As Rousseau put it succinctly in 1762, we need to be reminded that “liberty can be gained, but never regained.”
To put the issue in the terms of systems theorists, we are on the verge of a critical “inflection” or “tipping” point. A “catastrophic bifurcation” that could signal a radically degraded state of affairs. After such points of radical social change, dizziness and disorientation become the norm for millions of people as historically reliable points of reference disappear in a dust cloud of social and cultural rubble.
Quite simply, that means that the “sentinel” voice of CRI becomes more crucial with each passing day.
Please hear this. No longer is the agenda about merely equipping Christians to defend their faith or to think and live Christianly. It’s about continuing to sound an alarm that can awaken millions of Christians from their slumbers and realize that our most precious freedoms could disappear quickly.
That means that outreaches such as the Bible Answer Man, Hank Unplugged, the Christian Research Journal, and the vast resources on CRI’s website — equip.org — assume greater importance with each passing day.
And that, in turn, means that partners like you become more critical with each passing day.
I’ve said it countless times before, but it bears repeating: the simple truth is that ALL of CRI’s outreaches would quickly vanish without the partnership of friends like you.
You see, it’s your support that enables us to constantly scan the horizon for vital equipping resources like Last Call for Liberty. Our aim isn’t to merely alert, or even to stop at providing crucial analysis of and insights into the most important issues of our day.
Our aim is to equip Christians like you to be agents of transformation in an increasingly confused and dangerously naïve post-truth world. And to be lighthouses in the midst of our nation’s spiritual and moral darkness, especially as our current cultural and political tempests create waves so high that many adrift at sea are losing sight of land.
Whether you get this important resource for yourself, or as a terrific Christmas gift for friends, or for loved ones, it provides powerful insights. Not only into our current challenges as a nation but also the steps we can take to awaken and defend our liberties while there’s still time.
Please accept my thanks from the bottom of my heart for all that your partnership and support makes possible each and every day here at CRI. And for the difference you’re making, not just here at home but also in the lives of literally hundreds of thousands of fellow believers around the world.
May God bless and encourage you each day with the realization that you’re making a difference 24/7 in CRI’s mind-changing and life-changing outreaches!
Because Life and Truth matter…
Host, Bible Answer Man Broadcast
P.S. I pray that we will heed with all our hearts the exhortation from one of our nation’s founding fathers, John Adams, written in 1777:
Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in heaven that I ever took half the pains to preserve it.