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Free Speech, Western Culture and the Decline of Civilization (Pt. 1)

10.15.17 | by Ray Jones

    Os Guinness, one of my favorite writers who studied under the late Francis Schaeffer at the L’Abri community in Switzerland, writes, “There is always a moment in the story of great powers when their own citizens become their own worst enemies—not so much in the form of homegrown terrorism as in the form of the citizenry thinking and living at odds with what it takes for the nation to thrive…For at the heart of freedom lies a grand paradox: the greatest enemy of freedom is freedom.”

     In the mid to late 1960’s and early 70’s, campuses around America were revolting in various ways about matters that ranged from Nuclear disarmament, sexual liberation, racial equality, the Vietnam war to freedom of speech and freedom of expression. On the latter, freedom of speech and expression, the protest of the 60’s and 70’s at places like UC Berkeley, ironically, were about unrestricted freedom of speech/expression. I say ironically because today the same kind of protest is occurring on many of those very same campuses, but with the opposite intention… the protests today are not about freedom of speech, but rather about the restricting of freedom of speech, especially if that speech has any kind of conservative cultural and societal expectations or convictions. I’ll not take time here to list the litany of illustrations of such protests occurring with regularity, and often accompanied by violence, particularly during the past year. You can look those up for yourself. And before you wonder, “but isn’t suggesting that NFL players not be allowed to kneel during the National anthem, the same as restricting their freedom of expression or speech?”… Not at all! The NFL anthem issue is actually a work-place issue, of course they have freedom to express themselves like any other American… but let them do it on their own time, not on company time! (And by the way, why don’t these concerned NFL multi-millionaire protesters make a real statement against the American system that they apparently despise, by surrendering their multi-million dollar salaries which they receive through this “unjust” American system they are protesting. Now that would make a statement!)  And that is the difference that is being missed by the left, by the NFL and by the “free expression” cultural radicals.

     Alexis de Tocqueville, the French political thinker and historian who studied the American way wrote… “There is no country in the world in which everything can be provided for by the laws, or in which political institutions can prove a substitute for common sense and public morality.”

    So, what does this have to do with the Church and the Kingdom of God, you ask? A lot! It is an indicator of the lack of social character, the loss of public morality and the absence of common sense. All of which is the result of a flimsy, self-loving, self-serving abandonment of God and is characteristic of the last days… In 2 Timothy 3:1–4 Paul writes, “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,” 

    The fact is, American culture’s growing distance from its foundational biblical/moral roots, partnered with its self-centered character, will eventually try to marginalize the Church and pressure it to be silent on the gospel message of sin, man’s condition and his need for redemption. These things are just too uncomfortable for a society in a moral tailspin. But, as for us, let us remain anchored to the truth and committed to the King until He returns. And remember, God is always trying to take us someplace new. I love being your Pastor! 

    For God’s Glory Alone,

     Bro. Ray