Want to say again here how thankful I am for the prayers, gifts, and encouragement we received on the recent CrossPolitic G3/East Coast Tour. God was so good and kind. What follows is a quick summary of some of the highlights and a few initial observations.
We arrived in Atlanta on Wednesday, January 15th and immediately set up for our first interview that evening with Ricardo Davis, President of Georgia Right to Life. From that point, we conducted 15 more interviews with 21 individuals in 10 days, including conversations with Gary Demar, Douglas Wilson, James White, Tom Ascol, Virgil Walker, Roger Skepple, Erick Erickson, Sho Baraka, George Grant, David French, Ryan Helfenbein, Walter Williams, Maj Toure, and Curt Kennedy. And a 1000 miles later, we flew out of La Guardia in New York City. This was definitely one of those trips where any number of things could have gone wrong from bad weather to cancelled flights to major sickness to technology fails to a car breaking down, and all in all, the whole thing was an absolute success. There were a few days of limping with some sickness, but God was incredibly merciful and kind. We are looking forward to sharing the many hours of content we collected on the trip.
A Takeaway Observation
And hereís one initial takeaway observation from all the conversations and discussions.
If God is for us, who can be against us?
And Iím not talking about CrossPolitic. Iím talking about conservative, Bible-believing Christians in America. If God is for us, who can be against us?
Let me begin with our conversation with economist Walter Williams. Walter Williams shares a unique platform of honor with Thomas Sowell as being one of the very few prominent black men to stand against the tide of idiocy and immorality in our nation, particularly as it relates to economics. Standing on that sure Word of God and the basis for all Christian economics Ė Thou Shalt Not Steal Ė Dr. Williams has insisted for decades now that government regulation, socialized ponzi schemes, and all monopoly money scams are evil, ludicrous, and corrupting. He told us heís always had a rebellious streak which got him into trouble during his time in the US Army, which I learned later included him defending himself against court martial charges for bucking against Jim Crow practices in the Army. He was acquitted of the charges. Later, when was sent to Korea during the war, he checked ďCaucasianĒ for race on his personnel form just to keep things spicy.
But when we asked Williams about his outlook on current American culture, he told us plainly that he has no hope for America. He pointed to all the corruption and immorality, and then referred us to the many great empires that have come before, now lying in ruins. He told us that he assumed we were heading for the same. He pointed to the fact that the Churches are full of the same economic nonsense that fills our universities and governments. Whenís the last time you heard a sermon where the pastor urged his congregation not to take Social Security? He asked us. And he has a point. But this is where we pushed back, on two fronts.
Our Reply To Walter Williams
First, we noted that we are actually in the somewhat awkward position of being able to point to our own pastor as someone who is on record urging Christians to do everything they can to opt out of Social Security and all the government programs. Dr. Williams looked at us somewhat incredulously, and then asked us, does anyone in the congregation actually listen? And we nodded and assured him that a bunch of us have. We told him about New St. Andrews College and the fact that it takes zero government dollars precisely because the founders of the institution wanted a truly free college. We mentioned the fact that we have pulled our kids out of government schools and we are building a Christian community built on the free grace of Jesus that necessarily includes a free market.†
And that was the second point of pushback. We happily granted Dr. Williamís point that humanly speaking there is no hope for America. If reformation depends on human effort, human institutions, human ingenuity, then we are absolutely sunk. We are not merely at the edge of a cliff, facing disaster, we are already over the edge, plummeting downward. The pride parades and crossdressing pedophile story hours are the sounds a culture makes when it is already in free fall. There are no anchors, no foundation, no grappling hooks to fire off to save this thing.
But we reminded Dr. Williams of the gospel. We reminded him that Jesus died on a Roman cross and rose from the dead in order to save sinners who have no hope, who are exactly like our culture, plummeting toward Hell with no hope, no exit strategy. And we pointed to the fact that while many cultures have finished that fall and disappeared and God is absolutely free to do the same to America (and it would be absolutely just), it also true that God has at times worked miraculous reformations and revivals. He has sometimes intervened with gospel preaching that was not merely a momentary emotional hiccup, but the kind of hot gospel thunder that shook the very foundations of empires. The announcement that Jesus is King does not merely change human souls, but if it truly changes them, it changes them in all that they do. It changes how they see everything, think about everything, and the Holy Spirit works in them, to will and to do according to Godís good pleasure in business and education and politics and economics. Just as God has sometimes let rebellious nations fall to their own destruction, He has sometimes been pleased to pull them back from their Hellish ways and set them back on the firm foundation of His word. He has sometimes commanded the demons out of a culture and the culture has been found sitting, clothed, and back in its right mind again.
We pointed out to Dr. Williams that something is happening in our land. There are hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions of Christians at this very moment who have rejected every socialist offer from Democrats and Republicans alike. They have pulled their kids out of government schools, have started their own businesses, and are working together with other like-minded believers to form communities committed to obeying the Bible in everything. And they have begun building cultures of life and freedom, centered around the reverent worship of the Triune God every Lordís Day. They are tired of man-centered worship bands and latte-hipster pastors, and they are hungry for Godís word to be taught and proclaimed from Genesis to Revelation, and they are fed up with all the schemes and solutions of man, and they just want to follow Jesus.
We didnít say all of that to Dr. Williams, but we gestured it at, pointing to the strange phenomenon of Donald Trump, the equally surprising but pleasing story of Kanye West, even the strange success of CrossPolitic and the Fight Laugh Feast Network, and the very warm reception of our Pastor Douglas Wilson at the G3 conference.
One Last Piece of the Puzzle
But hereís the last piece of the puzzle Iím looking at this morning. And here, I turn to our last interview in Fishtown, Philadelphia, in a little boutique bookshop, where we sat down with Pastor Curt Kennedy and Black Guns Matter Founder Maj Toure. We talked through a bunch of things related to guns, race, the failure of government programs, and American culture, but the thing that struck me in particular was the moment in the conversation where we pointed out that the Bible actually teaches that God has ordained three primary governments in the world: the civil magistrate, the church, and the family. The only job God gave to the civil magistrate was to punish evil doers and protect the righteous and innocent, according to God’s standard of justice found in the Bible. God did not give the government the job of healthcare, education, or welfare — those jobs were given to the family and when family cannot or is not able to, the Church and/or Christian community is to step in. It has been a massive failure of the church, which was given the Word and sacraments, to teach the whole counsel of God to these respective governments, beginning first with the foundational government: self-government, which is only possible by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.
And the real kicker was a moment in there where Maj Toureís eyes seemed to light up. I could be wrong, but it looked to me that this generically Christian libertarian suddenly had an epiphany. I pointed out that I was against the modern prison system because I donít believe itís biblical to hold men in cages and treat them like animals when they could do restitution to the people they actually harmed and make things right. But I believe that because of the book of Exodus. Iím not making stuff up. And Iím not merely trying to burn everything down. But the Bible actually has answers to our problems. The Bible has answers for how to handle poverty and healthcare and immigration and mass incarceration and racism and violence. And I donít want to read too much into it, but somewhere in there Pastor Curt Kennedy blurted out, ďIn that sense, weíre all theonomists!Ē And Amen to that.
But hereís the point. I strongly suspect that there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Christians in this land that are sick and tired of the humanistic mess we have made. They are tired of being mugged by their government in taxes from morning until night, and twice in their sleep, and they are tired of the pastors who refuse to feed them with Godís entire Word, applied to all of life. And frankly, they’re getting a bit ticked off. And I would point to the Trump phenomenon as a great indication of that. But I think all of this means that Bible believing Christians are poised to offer Biblical answers to the ticked off Christian masses. Weíre in a position to say, ďHereís how to be ticked off to the glory of God.Ē They know the state has become an idolatrous false god. They know porn on demand and the abortion slaughter is insidious. They know men need to step up and provide for their families, be faithful to their families, and that includes protecting their families, with firearms if necessary. So weíre buying guns, starting businesses, loving our wives, teaching our children, running Christian schools and home schools, and worshiping with likeminded believers every Lord’s Day, pleading with God to lead us, guide us, and deliver us.
But a big part of the answer to that prayer is just to open the Bible and read it. I donít just mean random Hallmark verses to give you warm fuzzies in the morning. I mean read the whole thing from Genesis to Revelation, and read it like your life depended on it. Read it like our businesses and families and churches and nation depended on it. Because they do.
The problem isnít that there is no way out of this mess, the problem is that there is only one way out of this mess. And that way is the path of faith and obedience to Jesus Christ. Itís the path of reading the Bible and then doing whatever it says, however falteringly. Itís the path of reading the Bible and saying out loud what it says, and urging everyone around us that itís the best way, the only way because Jesus is the only way, the truth, and the life.
This is the pattern over and over and over again in the Bible and in the history of the world: When Godís people turn back to His word and obey it, God pours out His blessings. And that is all we need. If God blesses, nothing can stop us. If God blesses, our enemies will fade away. If God blesses, we are in the midst of a great prison break that cannot be stopped. If God is with us, who can be against us?