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Freedom is a Priority

Truth Talk / Stu Epperson
The Truth Network Radio
February 22, 2023 7:00 pm

Freedom is a Priority

Truth Talk / Stu Epperson

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February 22, 2023 7:00 pm

Stu interviews Ryan Helfenbein Executive director of the "Standing for Freedom Center" to learn the importance of Life, Liberty, and Truth. 

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This is the Truth Network. The Truth Network Podcast is with the Standing for Freedom Center at Liberty University.

So you're in sunny, hot Florida, not in Liberty Mountain where there might be ice and snow, Ryan. But what makes you come alive when you think about the hope in America, the hope for people to come to Christ? We're still a free country. We can still send missionaries. We can still preach the gospel. We can still hold church and things like that. The gospel is always central. The gospel is first. We've got to keep the main thing the main thing.

So the gospel of Jesus Christ is what puts fire in my belly every single day, Stu. But as I look at this next generation, we're faced with a lot of challenges in America, culturally, politically. The landscape is shifting and changing. I think we took a lot of these freedoms for granted. And we're trying to win back precious ground that we have forfeited.

Right? And so right now, now more than ever for the Gen Z generation, it's about reaching across to them, using new means, methodologies, strategies. Social media is a big part of that. We've got to communicate the things that we love about this country and about freedom, which starts first in the gospel.

So it starts in the gospel. And I think this is where you get a lot of controversy. This is where you get a lot of folks that get confused. Because a lot of folks put all their eggs in that political basket. They think, well, you know, if we can get the right people elected and we can get the right majority, then everything's going to be cool. But see, a lot of people are going to, could have the right political ideology, but still go to hell when they die. So how do you walk that fine line when you're communicating people getting involved in the political process?

Yes. And Christians, you know, and the faith, how do you reconcile those two? I think it goes back to the first principles of what we love. It's ordered love, ordered liberty.

So there's a priority. The vertical relationship we have with God. We have to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

But then the second commandment is what? Love your neighbor as yourself. If we have right ordered priority of loves, we'll have a right ordered priority of liberty. So Christian freedom first, our freedom and faith in God, and then ultimately for our neighbor advocating what leads to the best outcomes environmentally, socially, and by the way, environmentally, I don't mean ecology, I mean human flourishing. I mean people who are able to have freedom and enjoy those freedoms. One of those, and one of the most dangerous places to be in America is in the mother's womb, where the New York City, I read this statistic, this is like a year old, more black babies are aborted in New York City than are given birth in that city. Ryan, why is advocating for those that have no voice important? And what does that have to do with your faith? I mean, at the very least, shouldn't we be fighting for the innocent as believers?

You know, I'm glad you asked that question. You're right, the womb is one of the most dangerous places in America still, and that's even after the overturning of Roe vs. Wade in the Dobbs decision just last year, we have to go to all 50 states, so we know that the pro-life movement is only getting started, right? But you're exactly right, if we have a case where, for example, there was a home invasion, someone breaks into someone's home and murders an entire family, we would all recoil at that, that's egregious, that's so terrible and horrific. How much more in a womb that was designed to carry that baby to full term, a womb of the mother, right, who was supposed to nurture, provide and protect for that child, right, that God has given her.

So, absolutely, we have a responsibility, we have a moral and spiritual responsibility to advocate for that child and also his or her mother to protect and defend life. And that's what encourages me about Liberty University, a lot of great Christian colleges, Liberty University in particular has an entire department that is the Standing for Freedom Center. You're a part of that, brother Clary, you guys have a great team, Jared, I just love what you all are doing, but give a quick shameless plug for why does that even exist? Why would a Christian school have such a strong advocacy department? You're having pastors up to the school, you're promoting things, you're doing a lot of media interviews like this one, what is the Standing for Freedom Center and what do you want people to know about that? I think the Standing for Freedom Center exists to make sure that Liberty University continues to maintain a focus and a priority for the public square.

It is absolutely important that every department on our campus, just like every institution, has a priority and a focus. So, what we exist for is to defend life, liberty and truth to ensure the foundations of freedom exist for the next generation. We exist also to make sure that we can defend those principles of life, liberty and truth from a biblical world view.

It's really about bridging that connection of biblical literacy to everyday life, all of Christ for all of life. And it seems like a lot of these things are like common sense, like I'm going to vote for the candidate not based on meanness or niceness, I'm going to vote based on life and death and fiscal, that's another big one, it is immoral to thrust any country into debt, any person into debt. You don't need Dave Ramsey to tell me if I'm spending more than I'm saving and giving and earning, I've got a real problem and it's a moral issue.

The debtor is slave to the lender. But nationally, these are things that Christians should be leading the charge on and speaking but doing in a gracious way, of course. I'm fearful that we're at that cultural and political moment, Stu, where Americans have lived so well, so over abundantly, greater than any other nation in the history of the world, richest nation, they're about to learn and understand why. Because they've never had to understand scarcity. And when things become scarce, when things become hard, that's the aha moment.

It is through pain that God communicates to us, doesn't he? Yeah, well, and all the heroes of the leaders on the left, President Obama on down, they are nice people, but they are socialists. They follow a spouse, Karl Marx and Hugo Chavez. And so, it's almost like that philosophy that bankrupted Albania and Romania and the Soviet Union and Venezuela, which used to be the fourth wealthiest country in the world, the philosophy of that socialism and communism, which all those guys love and they think there's a way to do it, but that basically will end what America is all about, freedom. And that's when they attack the First Amendment and all those things. But people don't understand that. And people think when you say those things, you're hating people and all that.

You're not. We love everyone, of course. We want everyone to get saved. Speak to that, will you? So, I want to identify two things. There's the root problem and then there's the symptoms. We look at materialism, and that's really the symptom. So, yeah, Marxism came for all of those things.

It was economically based. But before that, it came for the soul of man. It came for the heart of man. It's about destroying and deconstructing individual identity, who we are made in the image of God, and then who we are as a nation, as a people.

Those common ties, the first thing that Maoism did was it got rid of the old religion, the old customs, old practices, old history, and tried to bring about a whole new cultural revolution. And so, the thing that we have to be guarded is we have to maintain and protect the things that we love, and it comes back, all circles back to Christ. If transgender people really think their government cares about them, they've got another thing going. They're just being used as pawns to create this socialistic utopia that completely destroys everyone else's morals, because if we mainstream that, then it destroys the nuclear family, and then it's kind of an all-out who-knows-what. Ryan, am I wrong about that?

No, you're not wrong. You're actually saying it much better than I could. We need to recognize, too, that this sexual Marxism, sexual Marxism, what it takes to do is claim the souls of the next generation. Remember, the LGBT movement does not reproduce, they recruit. And when they recruit others in that cause, what they're doing is destroying their sexual and social identity, and then guess what? They have them as foot soldiers for a whole new cultural revolution. If you think we're joking, if you're laughing, you think, ah, this is never going to happen. Well, think again, because ten years ago, if anyone said that the government will pay for you to cut your four-year-old little boy's apparatus off, because he happened to want to grab a pink crayon instead of a blue crayon in kindergarten, and the parents can't be notified of it, and the parents could be arrested if they stop it.

This is happening. The government, go to California. They want to pay for kids to be biologically, surgically damaged, just because, you know, not letting it work itself out.

It's just, it's horrible, and they're pushing it hard, Ryan. This is our government doing that. So, of course, what do we do?

What do Christians do? Of course, you know, anger, but maybe that's a righteous indignation, but what do we do? Well, I think the main thing is, yes, we need to have anger. Yes, there needs to be vitriol. This is absolutely disgusting, but we need to go back to communicating, raising our voices. Don't succumb to the tyrannical sexual confusion that has overtaken the culture. We're advocating for those things again.

I want to go back to this and press it home. The things that we love, the people that we love, if we really love our neighbor, we don't want to see them destroy their lives irreparably, right, harm themselves, mutilate themselves beyond recovery. Yes, listen, spiritual scars can be healed, right, but at the end of the day, physically, they'll never be the same. We have absolutely got to step into that and be the body of Christ and love our neighbor. And as stewards of what God's given us, he's given us a vote. So I love the I Promise to Vote movement. You guys have done all kinds of things to stand up for freedom, to get people to vote, get involved, register your churches to vote.

People aren't dumb enough to tell them how to vote, just teach them the Bible, and they'll know to vote with the values that reflect God. But then deeper than that, we need to evangelize, Ryan. We can reach these souls for Christ. Instead of making fun of people that are different from you or that have sexual confusion, lead them to Jesus.

I mean, share the good news. I mean, he came and said, we're all sinners, you know, we also need to quit saying, well, this sin is worse than that. We just, we need the gospel desperately. The two guys interviewing each other right now need the gospel, amen?

Amen. Well, we need the gospel first, and we preach it to ourselves first. I want to go back to something you pointed out, though, about voting, voting in particular. It's so important that Christian citizens understand that they do have a stewardship before God, not just about the kingdom of heaven, but the kingdom of man. This goes back to Jeremiah chapter 29, you know, going back to the time in which the Jews in Babylon were being told, listen, you've got to seek the welfare of that city. Pray to the Lord on his behalf for in its welfare, you'll find your welfare.

The word city in Greek is polis, which is where we get the term politics. It's so important that we recognize that in our stewardship before God, we are citizen kings, meaning that we have a responsibility we cannot abdicate, just like David, to rule righteously, and that in a representative form of government, guess what? That's your vote. When 90 million evangelicals are represented in this country, and less than 40% of them are registered to vote, and then a smaller percentage of that are actually voting, there's something wrong.

We do need to be voting. You've got some compelling videos, you've got some great content, you've got some things that would be a real resource for so many folks listening to Truth Talk. Ryan Hethelbein, what's the website for Standing for Freedom Center so folks can learn more about you and hear your amazing podcast too? Thanks Stu, it's standingforfreedom.com, standingforfreedom.com. Go there, you'll see our website Theology of Politics series, all about biblical values on issues that matter, and certainly information about how to get people registered to vote, how to lead a voter registration effort in your community and in your church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-22 21:20:06 / 2023-02-22 21:25:43 / 6

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