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How the Church is Failing to Protect Freedom in America

How the Church is Failing to Protect Freedom in America Read Transcript

Best-selling Christian author, Dr. Os Guinness,

is here at CBN's Regent University lecturing

on the church and contemporary society.

And he joins us now for more.

Dr. Guinness, Thanks so much for being with us.

Talk about what challenges does contemporary culture,

contemporary society, present to the church today.

Well, you could put it very simply.

The church is exploding around the world,

especially in the Global South.

But in the West, not doing well at all.

And the scandal of the American church

is that it's a huge majority of Americans

and yet has less cultural influence than tiny minorities,

like say the Jews, or say the lesbians and gays, who

are both less than 2% of America,

but punch well above their weight.

And the church has assimilated into American culture

and has lost its salty character.

So what do you attribute that to?

Well, you could look at a whole number of factors.

But the main one would be the way

it's being shaped by the modern world rather than by the gospel

and by the scriptures.

You take, say, authority.

Consumerism has come in, so that we're no longer a people

under the authority of Jesus or the authority

of the scriptures.

Things like pick and choose the church of your choice,

the music of your choice, and so on.

This preferentialism has just riddled the church.

So people go to the scriptures now.

Oh, Apostle Paul, he was first century man of his age.

I'd prefer this, and you can see people in their pick

and choose consumer mentality have undermined

the authority of Jesus.

And how is the church combating these challenges?

Not well.

Because the main point of authority and proclamation

is preaching.

And American preaching is soft and shallow

in all sorts of ways.

So what's the end result in this?

I mean, what's at risk if the church continues to fail

to meet these challenges?

Well, we can see the problems in the nation,

and I would boil them down.

America's suffering its gravest crisis since the Civil War.

And you can see, if you boil it down,

it's not Republicans and Democrats, or even

left and right, or urban rural, or even what's now

talked about, globalists and nationalists.

The deepest things are those who live by the ideas which

flow from the American Revolution, primarily shaped

by the Jewish and Christian scriptures,

and those who follow the ideals which have come down

with a little help from Karl Marx and Friedrich Nietzsche,

ideas which come down from the French Revolution.

They're profoundly different, and America

is at a watershed moment.

In your book, "A Free People's Suicide",

you wrote that freedom always becomes

the greatest enemy of freedom.

What exactly do you mean by that?

Well, that's the paradox.

Freedom is not free.

People know that.

But the fact is, the greatest enemy of freedom is freedom.

And there are always three ways it undermines itself.

One, freedom becomes permissiveness and then


Or two, freedom-loving people love security, safety.

They so surround themselves with it,

they're no longer free, one nation under surveillance.

Or thirdly, freedom-loving people

so prize freedom they'll do anything to fight for it,

including things that contradict freedom.

And you can see, all those three have happened in America

in the last generation.

Fascinating and disturbing.

Well, you also write that the concept of freedom

has to be rekindled with each new generation.

Now given what we're seeing on college campuses today

do you think that flame is being lit for the next generation?

Not at all.

I would say it went in the 1960s.

In other words freedom requires what's

called transmission, parents to children,

teachers in high school.

Civic education dropped out of the American public schools

in the 1960s, and that's the problem.

So the American way of life, the American constitutional

understand, are not being passed on.

And, of course, you're always only one generation

from losing it.

And you can see, the movements on the campuses

and in the press and media--

say the left-wing antifa and so on-- stifling free speech.

That is the end of American freedom

as we've known it if they are to triumph.

You talk a lot about self-control,

the spirit of self-control, self-restraint,

and it being the key to keeping our freedoms.

That's the role of the Church.

Is the church up to the role of instilling that self-restraint?

Sadly at the moment, not, not.

The lack of discipleship, the lack of character

growing out of that, the fruits of the spirit

and so on, the church is not playing its role.

And we've got to face up.

We need revival, reformation, within the church.

This is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

And one of the principles of the Reformation

was semper reformanda.

We are always all constantly in need of reformation.

It's ongoing, not a once for all thing.

And if ever we need it, we need it today.

The church in America is not that

different from much of the church

just prior to the Reformation.

Well, how do we get that revival that you talk about?

Well, thank God for people who are praying more and more.

But we need to go back to scripture and say,

are we living up to the calling, the charge, that Jesus gave us

or not?

And we've got to really see, are we closer

to the world, the consumer culture in America,

the political culture in America,

or to what Christ called us to be and do?

Well, it's a fascinating subject and a very sobering one

at that.

Dr. Os Guinness, thanks so much for being with us.

And we'll certainly pray for a revival.

I know a lot of our viewers are.

Thank you.

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