I have been able to answer some of the comments that I’ve received individually. But let me make a general statement for all of you who were kind enough to post your comments this week in response to my BreakPoint commentary.
The general response has been hugely helpful to me. It’s been personally encouraging, obviously, for so many of you have said that my writings have been helpful, and my broadcasts have been used to teach others. That’s the kind of thing I really need to hear from time to time, not just to make me feel good, but to know that my objective in doing BreakPoint and the Colson Center is being realized.
I’m not an organization guy. I get very frustrated dealing with bureaucracies, and always have since I first served in government. I’m big on movements. If we can get people to exercise their faith, to live out their religious responsibilities in the public square, we will make a difference in this country. We will also be instruments of justice and righteousness in culture, which is what is so important to us.
So what I want you to know is that the comments from those of you who said you are using this material, spreading it, making copies for people, talking to your neighbors, using it in teaching situations—this gives me tremendous reassurance that we are on target. Before the Lord calls me home I want more than anything else to see a movement of people all across this country interconnected, communicating with one another, with all the electronic tools that are available for this today. But all working towards one end—the glorification of God in every walk of life.
The model for my life is Wilberforce, followed by Lord Shaftesbury and William Booth. The whole 19th century in England, which I wrote about in The Faith, was a time in which an apostate nation—maybe as bad as ours is today—was transformed. The structures were changed, yes. But the structures were only changed after a massive public movement, really started by the first Wesley Awakening, and then the second. It spread through every area of life.
So my dream is possible, with God. But what I need to hear from you, from time to time, are things you’re doing to advance the movement.
So I’m going to be opening up this site periodically. I’m going to challenge you to give me that kind of information, not just to make me feel good, though it does—but so that I can see what’s working and what isn’t working, what is causing people to move and not move, how they are interconnecting. This gives me all kinds of ideas for the Colson Center and how we can better serve what I believe can be the kind of movement Wesley and Wilberforce started in England.
As you’ll see in my upcoming scripts on religious liberty, if we don’t do this we are going to be in great peril. We have to do it while we can. So God bless you for your responses. I really am grateful.
Keep it up. Just because we’re not asking for them every day—although I will be from time to time—doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be posting them here and letting us know how you’re doing. If you can give me a good idea, then everybody else reads that idea, and they start copying it. That’s what a movement does.
God bless you. Celebrate your religious liberties with a special gusto on July 4, and keep tuned to BreakPoint and the "Two-Minute Warning." We’ll be guiding you each week with critical information that needs to be fed into this movement.
To Ben Guikema
I appreciated very much your note. The book I was referring to was J. D. Hunter’s. I find it very sad, frankly. We Christians don’t need to be fighting each other; we need to be working together to make the strongest possible witness we can in the world.
This, by the way, is what motivated me with the Manhattan Declaration. I don’t think there’s any question that the people who have signed it share the gospel fully, that Christ was crucified for our sins, paid the price, died on the cross, and on the third morning was resurrected, and is at the right of the Father today. Most of the original religious leaders who signed it I know personally. There isn’t a one of them who doesn’t believe the words in the early part of 1 Corinthians 14 that they do no share and subscribe. And even if we have a lot of theological differences, we’re facing an enemy who is out to destroy us. And if we don’t stand together we’re going to be lost.
In any event, I thank you for your continuing support and encouragement. God bless you.
To Pastor Dave Hutchens
Thanks for your very encouraging words. There are a lot of pastors today who are much more concerned about keeping the congregation together than discipleship. Some of them look at getting involved in the world as a threat. Thank God there are men out there like you. Thank you for your note.
To Jason Joyner
I have now read almost all of J. D. Hunter’s book. I certainly don’t disagree with him on Christians getting into the media arts and entertainment. If he’d read my book How Now Shall We Live?, he would know that I advocate that. I also wrote about it in The Good Life. I also wrote a book entitled Kingdoms in Conflict, now re-published as God & Government in which I took sharp issue with the religious right.
In any event, I want you to know that your message is a real encouragement to me, and you are very right about using wisdom in the way we present the gospel.
To Don Book
I am so thrilled to hear that your Sunday school has done The Faith, and that your home group study has done the Truth Project. That’s just the kind of stuff that encourages me that Christians are really learning how to live in the world and make a difference for Christ. God bless you.
To Dan (6/16/2010, 1:12 p.m.)
Thanks for your note. There is a line you mustn’t cross. We can always talk about issues, and pastors should, and should preach on them from the pulpit. But we have to be very careful not to identify a specific candidate. Churches that do could very easily lose their tax exemption. I don’t know the circumstances in your case, but that could account for your pastor’s decision.
To Stephen Sternberg
Thank you for your very thoughtful posting. You’ve obviously taken these issues seriously.
To Steve (Faith in frogs—6/16/2010, 7:32am)
I’m so glad you read Eric Metaxas’s excellent biography of Bonhoeffer. It is precisely because of Bonhoeffer’s experience that some of us got together and wrote the Manhattan Declaration. You’ve correctly drawn the parallels that exist between indifferent Germans in the '30s and indifferent Americans today.
God bless you.
To Todd (6/16/2010 1:36 a.m.)
Thank you for your wonderful message. It was a really great encouragement to me, especially the things that you are so deeply involved in with your own worldview Sunday School class, or reading the commentaries around the dinner table.
To David Ormand
I’m sorry to hear what’s going on in your church, and I can understand why you left it. Look for a church that is really preaching the whole counsel of God, including getting engaged in the communities around you. Your experience, I wish I could say, was an exception; it isn’t.
To Dean (6/15/2010, 10:15 p.m.)
I do want comments from people who don’t agree. I have to tell you also that I do not consider that I should ever make a partisan endorsement as a Christian leader. I care about people’s stands on the issues, period. You won’t find any argument from me.
To Greg Deily
You’re absolutely right. I read God in the Docks some years ago, but will go back now and read the meditation on the third commandment. Thank you.
Sadly, I agree with you about Mark Souder. It’s nothing less than a tragedy.
To Steve King
Don’t get discouraged; keep working with your pastor. If you present intelligent arguments you may in due course turn him around.
But you’re not going to be measured by whether you got your pastor to change. You’re going to be measured by your faithfulness. Keep it up.
To Thomas Sharkey
Thank you very much for your comments about Wide Angle. It is designed for a six-week course, but it’s packed. I am glad you spent 18 weeks on it and are still going. That tells me you’re really serious—and that encourages me.
To Scott Dreyer
I really appreciate your encouraging words. I’m especially glad that as a pastor and teacher you find some of the material helpful. That’s really gratifying to know.
To Jeff Winter
Whenever I hear from pastors like you who find my work helpful, I am given an added lift. There’s no tougher job than pastoring a church. I thank God for men like you who see the need for cultural engagement. Thanks for your good words.
To Kenneth Anderson
I am doing my very best to get to as many pastors as I can. But I think the principle pressure on them has to come from their own lait.
Thanks for your comments. I really appreciate it.
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