Dr. Erwin Lutzer “We Will Not Be Silenced” – Responding Courageously to Our Culture’s Assault on Christianity
“I see much of contemporary Christianity submitting to the culture in many areas of life, especially in matters of sexuality. The only way to make Christianity appealing, we are told, is to move the markers – to be more inclusive, more affirming. I fear we are allowing culture to inform our thinking and even raise our children. We no longer are submissive to ‘the whole council of God” (Acts 20:27). We think we must accept or acquiesce to culture in order to redeem it.
Too often, compassion is used to override our better judgment and approve of ungodly lifestyles. We tell ourselves that we don’t witness about our faith because we fear offending someone; we are silent in the face of political and moral decline because we want to be thought of as nice and not judgmental. We don’t want to let people know that the way into the kingdom is narrow and there is a cost to following Jesus. The Christian poet Vasily Zhukovsky wrote, ‘We all have crosses to bear, and we are constantly trying on different ones for a good fit. ’Christianity without courage is cultural atheism.”
In 2021 Victory Davis Hanson published the book “The Dying Citizen”
Subtitled: “How Progressive Elites, Tribalism, and Globalization Are Destroying the Idea of America.”
Today only a little more than half of the world’s seven billion people are citizens of fully consensual governments enjoying constitutionally protected freedoms. They are almost all Western – or at least they reside in nations that have become ‘westernized.’ These realities explain why millions from North Africa risk drowning in the Mediterranean to reach Europe and why millions more uproot from Mexico and Latin America to cross the southern border of the United States. Call their Exodus from their homelands a desperate quest for greater income, freedom, or security – or simply for a chance to be an unfamiliar citizen somewhere else rather than a certain serf, noncitizen, or subject at home.
Of the worlds’ rare true democracies, only about twenty-two have been in existence for a half century or more. Lamentably, the number of democracies is now shrinking, not growing – ironic when so many people are now leaving what is ascendant to reach what is vanishing.
Perhaps that depressing fact is a reminder that it is not an easy thing for people to govern themselves, much less to protect and exercise their inherited freedoms. Citizenship, after all, is not an entitlement; it requires work. Yet too many citizens of republics, ancient and modern, come to believe that they deserve rights without assuming responsibilities – and they don’t worry how or why or from whom they inherited their privileges.
Yet for the lucky global residents of constitutional states, citizenship has translated into shared freedoms beyond superficial appearance. It is a quality more fundamental than a common religion and collective geography. Citizens are not mere residents, prone to receiving more than giving. They are not tribal people who band together by appearance or blood ties. They are not peasant under the control of the rich. Nor is their first allegiance to an abstract worldwide commonwealth.
A free, legally equal, and politically independent citizenry, when translated to the modern American experience, means that citizens of the United States should not follow any laws other than those authorized by their own elected representatives. Unelected regulators can issue edicts galore, but they should not necessarily have the force of law. No college administrator should decide on Monday that the First Amendment no longer applies on his campus. No mayor can claim on Tuesday that federal immigration law no longer exists in her city.
No one American deserves greater deference under the law than any other – not on the basis of race, class, gender, birth, or money; nor on the basis of historic claims to justify contemporary advantage. Police and prosecutors arrest and charge lawbreakers, but not, like the pigs in Animal Farm, some lawbreakers more than others.
No Senator or president bestows anything on an American, because he is a servant, not a master, of the people. American citizens believe that they do not owe privileges such as freedom and consensual governance to any particular political party or Democratic or Republican leader. American citizens, bearing natural and inalienable rights bestowed by a supreme deity, are accountable only to themselves.
Citizens differ from visitors, aliens, and residents passing through who are not rooted inside borders where a constitution and its laws reign supreme. For citizenship to work, the vast majority of residents must be citizens. But to become citizens, residents must be invited in on the condition of giving up their own past loyalties for those of their new hosts.
Citizenship is synonymous with our freedom and their protection by law and custom, which transcend individual governments and transient leaders of the day.
In return for our rights to pick our own leaders and make our own laws, we are asked to obey America’s statues. We must honor the traditions and customs of our country. As Americans we cherish the memory of those who bequeathed to us such an exception nation, and we contribute our time, money, and, if need be, safety and lives on our country’s behalf. We must always ask ourselves whether as citizens we have earned what those who died at Shiloh gave us. Refusing to kneel during the national anthem or to salute the Stars and Stripes is not illegal, but it is not sustainable for the nation’s privileged to sit in disgust for a flag that their betters raised under fire on Iwo Jima for others not yet born. Sometimes citizens can do as much harm to their commonwealth by violating custom and tradition as by breaking laws.
In practical terms, the US Constitution guarantees citizens security under the republic whose officials they alone choose and that assures them liberties. What exactly are these privileges? Everything from free speech, due process, and habeas corpus to the right to own and bear arms, to stand trial before a jury of one’s peers, and to vote without restrictions as to race, religion, and sex. America, then, is only as good as the citizens of any era who choose to preserve and to nourish it for one more generation. Republics are so often lost not over centuries but within a single decade.”
Erwin Lutzer “We Will Not Be Silenced”
“The secular left does not believe that America can be fixed; they say it must be destroyed.
On the rubble of America’s Judeo-Christian past a new America will emerge, which they say will be free of poverty, racism, and white supremacy. The secular left’s goal is a future in which everyone will be equal on THEIR TERMS and the disparities of the past will be read about only in history books. Those who resist this utopian vision are to be vilified, bullied, and shamed until they admit to the mistakes of the past and embrace the secular left’s great hope for the future.
Consider the increasingly sexually explicit curriculum in our public schools; listen to their racial rhetoric of the self-appointed social justice warriors who are committed to enflaming racial division; and look at new laws forcing Christian colleges to compromise their biblical stance about marriage and surrender to the LGBTQ agenda. This kind of sexualized thinking and behavior is spreading rapidly in a nation obsessed with its overblown emphasis on individual rights for a select few at the expense of others.
It’s difficult to even have a real conversation on the many social issues of our day, such a policy advocating unrestricted immigration and sweeping proposals to combat climate change. Or issues regarding racism. To merely question the viewpoints of secular left radicals on social issues is denounced as hateful, bigoted, and racists. We who are Christians are told that if we want to be known as good citizens, we should keep our antiquated views to ourselves. We are made to feel embarrassed about defending traditional marriage and a sane understanding of gender. We are shamed into silence.”
Victor Davis Hanson
“Many Americans do not know or worry much about the consequences of radical demographic, cultural, or political influences for the status of citizenship. They are indifferent to millions of immigrants of uncertain status, veritable resident strangers in their midst. Similarly, many recent immigrants and many of the native born, for example, often have little idea of how American citizenship differs from simple residency or tribal grouping. Many arrivals believe that moving to and residing in the United States without legal sanction should nonetheless guarantee them all the benefits of American citizenship. Meanwhile, far too many citizens see no need to learn the history and traditions of the United States or the civic responsibility of being an American. The contention that their country is irrevocably flawed becomes a justification for intellectual laziness and an unwillingness to learn about America’s supposedly dark origins and customs. When nearly four in ten Americans have no notion of their rights under the First Amendment, it is easy to curb them.
On the other hand, some elites believe that they know the Constitution all too well and therefore believe it in dire need of radical deletions and alterations to fit the times. They envision an always improving, changing, and evolving Constitution that should serve as a global model for a vast, ecumenical brotherhood, requiring a global administrative state to monitor and enforce its ambitious idealism. Out of this chaos, some Americans prefer to be rebranded as ‘citizens of the world.’
Voddie Baucham Jr. ‘Fault Line’
“There are two competing worldviews in this current cultural moment. One is the Critical Social Justice view – which assumes that the world is divided between the oppressors and the oppressed (white, heterosexual males are generally viewed as ‘the oppressor’). The other is what I will refer to in these pages as the biblical justice view in order to avoid what I accuse the social-justice crowd of doing, which is immediately casting its opponents as being opposed to justice. In Evangelical circles, that paints us as opposed to God Himself, since every effort has been made to demonstrate that ‘social justice is a Gospel issue. There are plenty of sincere, though perhaps naïve Christians who, if they knew the ideology behind it, would run away from the term ‘social justice’ like rats from a burning ship.
As legendary economist Friedrich Hayek once said, ‘I have come to feel strongly that the greatest service I can still render to my fellow men would be that I could make the speakers and writers among them thoroughly ashamed ever again to employ the terms ‘social justice’.
The current moment is akin to two people standing on either side of a major fault line just before it shifts. When the shift comes, the ground will open up, a divide that was once invisible will become visible, and the two will find themselves on opposite sides of it. That is what is happening in our day. In some cases, the divide is happening already, Churches are splitting over this issue. Major ministries are losing donors, staff, and leadership. Denominations are in turmoil. Seminary faculties are divided with some professors being fired or ‘asked to leave.’ Families are at odds. Marriages are on the rocks. And I don’t believe the fracture in this fault line is yet even a fraction of what it will be.”