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Rediscovering Faith in a Culture of Chaos

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
May 19, 2022 6:00 am

Rediscovering Faith in a Culture of Chaos

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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May 19, 2022 6:00 am

Dr. Os Guinness shares deep insights into the current chaos in the United States in what is a cultural revolution. He inspires believers to be agents of justice and compassion, offering solutions for the restoration of true freedom, which leads to peace and order in society.

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Many of the modern ideas are totally bankrupt. The Gospel is not only good news, it's the best news ever. You know, the culture we live in can be so divisive and contentious that sometimes it's hard to know which way is up.

But in Christ, there is hope. And on today's Focus on the Family, Dr. Oz Guinness shares his observations of what's going on culturally and offers some encouragement as well. Your host is Focus President and author Jim Daly, and I'm John Fuller. John, we are at a critical moment in American history, and it can be unsettling to say the least. But in the darkest of night, God's light often shines the brightest. And this is a real opportunity for us as Christians to be salt and light in the culture.

A lot of people are looking for solutions in politics, but even though we have a civic duty to vote and involvement in government can be one part of influencing the culture for Christ, our citizenship is first in God's kingdom. Dr. Oz Guinness is a brilliant scholar and social critic, and he's devoted a lot of thought and study to the cultural chaos running rampant in America right now. I sat down with Oz for a great visit, and he provided an important history lesson and exposed the origins of critical theory and cultural Marxism, which explains much of what's happening in the country. Right, and Jim, the context for the conversation is a book by Dr. Oz Guinness called The Magna Carta of Humanity, Sinai's Revolutionary Faith and the Future of Freedom. We recorded your conversation in Washington, D.C. in front of a small group of Focus friends.

And with that backdrop, here's Jim with Dr. Oz Guinness on Focus on the Family. Let's get into it, Oz. When you look at the culture today, there's so much turbulence going on. You spent the early years, your early years in China, and we're going to get into that. But how would you describe what's going on in the American culture today? As an observer, you're not a citizen, but you certainly have lived here many years, and you know American culture better than many Americans.

Well, I'm a great admirer of this country and, above all, the distinctive view of freedom. But, Jim, I think if you throw it in a big framework, we're at what's called a civilizational moment. In other words, the Western world is at a crucial moment, but so also is America. You have a deeper division here than at any time since just before the Civil War. The difference is you had a Lincoln then who addressed the evil slavery in the light of what he called the better angel of the American nature and his great conviction about the Declaration. You don't have any leaders talking like that today. So one president talks about restore the soul of America, another talks about making America great again, but neither of them address what made America great in the first place. Well, that's a good follow-up question.

I don't want to miss the opportunity. From your observation, what is it that made America great? Well, my book's about the clash between the ideas coming from the American Revolution, which through the Reformation is rooted in the Torah. The 17th century was called the biblical century, and people were fascinated with what they called the Hebrew Republic. In other words, when the church became the official faith of the Roman Empire, 380, under the Emperor Theodosius, the church made a bad mistake. It copied Roman structures.

Roman structures were hierarchical, based on power. And it was a Catholic layman who made the famous remark, you know, all power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. But the Reformers, Luther to some extent, but much more Calvin, Zwingli, Bullinger, Knox, they went back to the Torah. And of course in the Torah, the heart of freedom is covenant. And that became the American Constitution. So America knows much, much more to the first five books of the Bible than many Americans have a clue about.

So you need to unpack that in detail. For example, many don't know that Constitution came from covenant, but equally the consent of the governed. If you read Exodus, the Lord puts out the covenant.

Three times it says, the people reply, all that the Lord says, we will do. That is the origin, historically, of the consent of the governed. And that's just the beginning. The best of the American experiment comes from that. The tragedy today, even this week, people talking about democracy, the framers weren't that interested in democracy.

Now that's a little shocking. They called it a republic. Right.

Which didn't just mean you had no king. You had a covenantal view of freedom. And who defends that today?

Right. Let me ask you some of the things that are taking place today when you look at Marxism. You know, that's something that I think in the United States, historically, we've always been mindful of. You go back to McCarthyism and maybe an overzealous reaction at that time. I don't know. But what's happening with communism and Marxism specifically today? And is it present in the U.S.? Yes, but not the way many Americans fear.

OK. In other words, the ideas that come from the French Revolution. The French Revolution only lasted 10 years. And then came Napoleon.

It's over, he said. He was a dictator. But like a huge volcanic explosion, the lava flow has gone on ever since. The main one everybody knows, which is revolutionary socialism, in one word, communism. In other words, the Russian Revolution, the Chinese Revolution. But what's happening here is actually the third lava flow, which is not classical Marxism, but cultural Marxism.

And that goes back to the 1920s. And a gentleman called Antonio Gramsci sat in a jail under Mussolini. He was jailed for being a Marxist. But he tried to figure out why Marx wasn't right. There hadn't been a revolution as Marx predicted. He shifted it from the proletariat and industrial strikes and all that stuff to what he called the cultural gatekeepers and their dominance, or his word, hegemony. He was picked up by the Frankfurt School for 30 years. The important being that in the 60s, the leader of the Frankfurt School in America was Herbert Marcuse at the University of San Diego. He was the godfather of the religious left, not the religious left, the radical left.

In 1967 – Well, that might be a good mistake. Religious left does describe it. There is a religious left, too.

That's different. He was the godfather radical left, the new left. In 68, 67, 68, he and a German radical called for a long march through the institutions. In other words, you remember, I first came here as a tourist in 68. Many of you will remember it somewhat. A hundred American cities were ablaze, far more than happened two years ago. Martin Luther King assassinated.

Bobby Kennedy killed. But they still knew they wouldn't win in the streets. So the long march was a detour, the schools, the colleges, the universities, the press, the media, what they call the entertainment industry, Hollywood, and so on, the culture industry, and then sweep around and win the culture. Now, 50 years later, we can see they've done it. Absolutely.

So for me, it was amazing. I mean, this last year, you take Governor Youngkin, greatly helped by CRT, critical race theory, in Loudoun County. And Mama Bears. But many people had no idea where that came from. Right. They blamed it on the Harvard Law School in 1970 and Derrick Bell. No, it goes right back to the 1920s. And it isn't just critical race. It's critical women's studies, critical queer studies, critical fat studies. It's behind Occupy Wall Street as well as Antifa and Black Lives Matter.

There is a morphing, swarming, Soros-founded group of people who are just part of the radical left. Yeah, let me ask you this, Oz, because it's critically important, I think. You grew up in China as a little boy. I can remember you mentioned Bobby Kennedy. I remember I was seven years old when he was shot. I was watching the television. I can remember that so clearly. My mom had just left the room, and I'm watching him go back to the kitchen, and it's all on, you know, television.

And I saw Sirhan Sirhan shoot him. It was part of that experience. Those, even as a seven-year-old that was burnt into my mind trying to comprehend what am I actually seeing, you had that same experience or similar experience in China with Mao.

What took place when you were seven, eight years old? Well, I was born there during the war. And you know, the Japanese killed 17 million in the invasion. And we lived in the city of Nanking, Nanjing today, which had suffered the brutal rape of Nanking, the most brutal massacre in the 20th century.

But I remember the day I began the book when January 49, my dad said to me, Son, we're in trouble. Chiang Kai-shek had just abandoned the city, and we're at the mercy of the Red Army. And three months later, they crossed the river, and in they came. And the reign of terror began. And they festooned the town, the city. And the reign of terror was palpable.

My father was tried publicly, but all the evidence just fell apart. But you could see, I mean, we met Christian friends and other friends in the street. They'd look right by you. It was more than their lives were worth to acknowledge they knew a Westerner. If we went out, there was an instant crowd, death to the blue-eyed foreign devils, and so on. Now, it's only important, because many years later, when I was at Oxford as a graduate student, my tutor was at All Souls, the cream of the cream of Oxford life, no students. And I would dine with Sir Isaiah Berlin, the great Jewish philosopher of freedom. And as we talked the first time at dinner, it turned out he'd been a seven-year-old in the Russian Revolution.

And I was a seven-year-old, nearly eight-year-old, in the Chinese Revolution, and then lived there two years. And as we swapped notes, we both, as it were, thanked the Lord that the English-speaking people had stood against totalitarianism. But in discussion, nobody would have dreamed – this is the mid-1970s – nobody would have dreamed that America would be affected by cultural Marxism or any Marxism. Because Americanism, the American dream, was always considered the substitute, the surrogate. America didn't need anything like that. And yet you see the inroads today. For the folks that may not spend much time thinking about this, what are those telltale signs that there is a socialistic, communist vibe running through the country now?

What is it? Well, you can see there's a lot of radio programs and television programs that keep you up to date with the latest scandal or the latest outrage. I would encourage Christians to think deeper, because the difference between the biblical revolution and the American one sadly wasn't fully consistent – take slavery and racism – but the difference between the exodus, the Sinai revolution, and the French revolution, as ideas, is night and day. And we, as followers of Jesus, need to be defenders of the real thing. So they have different sources – one the Bible, the other in the Enlightenment. They have different views of humanity.

The biblical view is very realistic. That's why you have separation of powers, because of the potential of the abuse of power. Whereas the French revolution – utopian.

But obviously the big difference this year is justice. Right. As I as a foreigner look at America now, what you're seeing is America's greatest evil – slavery and racism. Meeting the establishment's greatest blind spot – they haven't a clue how to deal with this. Meeting the radical left's greatest fraud and disaster – meeting the gospel's greatest glory. But we've got to make that case in public.

Well, and the difficulty hearing that is it sounds discouraging. No, no. I think as followers of Jesus, 100 percent realistic. We look reality in the eye.

What do you think Jeremiah thought of his day? But we always come out with hope. Put it another way, if you want me to be more hopeful.

I know. I want you to be real. You're a realist. Many of the modern ideas are totally bankrupt and very evidently bankrupt. So if you look to the future, the world where China looks threatening, where singularity is coming, huge questions for humanity. The gospel is not only good news, it's the best news ever with the whole truths of Scripture and the wonder of the gospel of Jesus. We should be off the back foot, off out of a state of siege, and being the champions of justice, freedom, human dignity, all wrapped up in the good news of Jesus. This is an incredible moment.

But if you look at evil in the white of the eye. Let me touch on perhaps one of the most tender areas in the culture right now, especially over the last couple of years with Black Lives Matters and some of the grievances that they've expressed, etc. And then some point of the fact that this too, the BLM movement, to a degree is rooted in that identity politics and destruction and those kinds of things. This is very tender for people. I had Shelby Steele on the program, and he said some things that I even, you know, he's an African American from Stanford University.

I was a little uncomfortable. I mean, he was saying, if you look at it, he said, you know, the white community from 1965 forward, we should be thinking about a medal because they have made such advancement in equality and opportunity, etc., across the board. You don't hear that. And he also talked about, you know, the writers of the Constitution, although they didn't accomplish it when they wrote the Constitution. Slavery had already been a 3000 year old industry and that they provided the pathway for a 90 year solution that ended with Abraham Lincoln. You don't hear that perspective that although they didn't do away with it at the moment and they get highly criticized for that. And, you know, slavery, we know in this era was horribly wrong. We get that. But they did set up the runway for slavery to come to an end.

How do you square all these things and how do we I mean, how do we living today, how do we deal with this? I've never been part of that. I was born in Southern California, but at the same time, somehow I'm very guilty of being white.

No, you're not. No, I'm Anglo-Irish, Jim. Our family, as I said, were friends and supporters of William Wilberforce. Lord Shaftesbury was a great friend, the second greatest reformer in English history.

He was a great friend of my great grandfather's in England. The evangelicals know they were on the side of abolition and a hundred other reforms. We are proud and grateful to be on the side of reform. We have no bad guilt of any of that. Thank God for the Wilberforces.

I've got his autograph behind me when I write. Here, because of the unaddressed residual guilt from the South. You know, Jakob Burkhardt, the Swiss historian, he said, what the radicals do is exploit what he called unaddressed explosive materials. In other words, when injustice is lying around and you don't address it, someone can exploit it. Now let's go back to the difference between the radical left and the gospel. We both agree that injustice is appalling, evil, egregious, vile, the killing of George Floyd.

The difference comes in how you address it. The radical left, as you know, you analyze the discourse of a society to see who's the majority, who's the minority, who's the oppressor, who's the victim. So you find your victim and then you weaponize them. You're not interested in the victim as an individual, but as a group in order to subvert the status quo. Now, you remember with the radical left, God is dead and truth is dead.

This is postmodernism. So all you have is power. So what you're setting up is a conflict of powers. And there's always two things, one, a lack of mercy.

The radical left is merciless. And two, a drive towards authoritarianism. The Romans called it the peace of despotism. In other words, the only peace you can hope to have is when a power is so unrivaled it can put down all other powers.

That is totalitarianism. Now, compare that with the Christian answer and I'll use single words and I know you can unpack each of them in an hour. Truth addressed to power, prophetic truth.

And we have standards. People are made in the image of God. Truth is the reality of reality. Words are precious and not to be used and so on. Truth addressed to power. Secondly, confession, admission and confession. Thirdly, forgiveness, forgiveness frees the past and frees the future. Fourthly, reconciliation and rest. Now, unpack those Christian words.

The tragedy for me, and I don't know if this makes sense, I go around the country now. Exodus, the day of atonement, and of course for us the cross, Calvary, has become spiritual and personal all about me. But if you read Exodus, the day of atonement, Yom Kippur, is national. It was a response to the golden calf. The nation had sinned, so the individuals and the nation needed atonement.

Now, how does that apply to America? You remember renewal in the scripture, Hezekiah, Ezra, Nehemiah, many others, they're calling the nation back to its covenant commitments. So you have a rededication. I wonder, could you have a Lincoln-like president today who knew enough of what America should be and was, could call the nation back as Lincoln did, Frederick Douglass did, Martin Luther King did, and call the nation back to its first principles, the American experiment rooted in the biblical republic, and then as part of that, nationally confess the sins that are wrong. And then make a commitment to tackle any and every racism or whatever today.

You need to do something like that where the cross and the day of atonement are made more than just individual and spiritual. And that is the right hope. At the same time, where is that leader? Well, you are a leader far bigger than I am. Well, that's way too kind. I got out of my way to try and make these, you know, talking last year to a table room of congressmen, eight of us a table, and I was telling them about Lincoln. I said at the end, which of you at your level will be the Lincoln?

Did anybody put their hand up? I confess with that group, they all looked at each other. Right.

No, and that's part of it. And I'm thinking specifically, you know, focus on the family. We're about moms and dads raising kids and helping them stay together. So that question is, when the Lord brings that person, hallelujah. What do we do in the meantime? But as you know, Jim, leadership publicly is not just the people at the top or out in front. Leadership is the person who will take responsibility, initiative, whatever's right in front of them.

An opportunity or a crisis. I mean, you take someone and you, dear old Ananias. That's the only reference we have to Ananias.

But what a part he had to play with Paul. Well, the Jews love someone that I never heard of till I heard them talking about it. Have you ever heard of Nashon? No.

No? Nashon in Jewish tradition, and they praise him, was the gentleman at the Red Sea who put his foot in it first. That's good. In other words, Moses held out the rod. The Lord sent the wind and all that.

But after you made, Nashon strode out. And everyone followed him. In other words, leadership is everyone.

You mentioned moms and dads. Think what Loudoun County did. Everyone at their level, their sphere, standing up, speaking out. If all of us do that together, the scandal of the American church, compare us with Britain or France or Sweden. We're a huge majority here.

Maybe not where we were. Still a huge majority. Take our Jewish friends. They're two percent of America, and yet they punch well above their weight. We're a huge majority, and we're called to be salt and light. So we've got to encourage you, if every Christian in the spheres in which they live, their neighborhoods and so on, their workplaces, stood up, spoke out, the country could be turned around in ten years.

Calling is God's strategic employment of his people. So in a practical way, if I were to say to Jean, my wife, and Trent and Troy, my two sons, here are two or three things that I think we should be doing as a practice within our family, what would you suggest? I'd have to sit down with your family. In other words, just as our Lord says to Peter, don't you worry about John. You follow me. In other words, every family, every individual is different.

And Oz, I think that's what I'm trying to get at. What are the practical things that you can do within your home to encourage yourself and your spouse to be thinking of these things, to impact the culture around you, to encourage your children to do the same. You know, some kids go to school and they're little warriors spiritually. Others pull back because it's difficult in this culture, especially public school, where you don't talk about same-sex issues and you don't talk about life and abortion. You just keep your head down. And again, that's because of the pressure that the culture puts on you to shame you.

But we need to equip them, Jen. There are several people here who have been at UVA. And my son was at UVA, double graduate there. But he was telling me that sometimes new Christians who are faithful, he meant going, say, to the anthropology class, and in the very first class tell the professor, well, I'm a born-again believer and I don't believe in evolution. Apologetically, that's not the way to do it. If you're up against it totally, you listen and love to discover where people are and raise questions. And the Lord was a brilliant question-asker.

So we've got to equip people to know how to do it. It's not just standing up and blurting it out all the time. Such great wisdom from Dr. Oz Guinness today on Focus on the Family.

That was a recorded visit in Washington, D.C. We had a few Focus friends there. And Jim, I so appreciate hearing Oz's confidence and hope in the Lord, despite these troubling times we're experiencing. John, we need to be reminded every day that God's got this. And as Christians, we need to be in prayer for revival in America, which begins in our own hearts. And it also begins with a recommitment to studying God's Word, allowing the Holy Spirit to inspire us in our interactions with others as we share God's truth and love. Those interactions may be in your own family, your neighborhood, school board meeting or city council meeting, or in your church as you help to restore freedom and peace where you live. We are ambassadors for Christ, and if we're going to see the culture impacted for him, we need to be prepared to give a reason for the hope that is in us. And we have some great follow-up resources to help you become equipped.

We've only heard a small portion of the recorded conversation that Jim had with Oz. You can get the extended version on CD or as a download. And be sure to get the excellent book that Oz wrote called The Magna Carta of Humanity, Sinai's Revolutionary Faith and the Future of Freedom. And let me say, if you can help us with a monthly pledge of any amount, we'd like to send you the book as our way of saying thank you. And if you're unable to make a monthly pledge at this time, we'll send the book for a one-time gift of any amount. The point is, join us in ministry and we'll send you the book as our way of saying thanks. When you request the book from Focus, you're pouring back into ministry to reach people for Christ and help us impact the culture in exactly the way we've talked about today.

So thank you in advance for doing it. Yeah, donate as you can, get a copy of that book or the CD when you call 800, the letter A in the word family, 800-232-6459, or look for the links in the episode notes. We're going to have helpful articles and follow-up materials there for you as well to keep you informed on issues affecting your family. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family. I'm John Fuller inviting you back as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ. To learn more, go to FocusOnTheFamily.com That's FocusOnTheFamily.com slash Seize Your Moment.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-16 12:05:03 / 2023-04-16 12:15:45 / 11

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