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October 28, 2021

Social Critic Speaks at Christian Union NY Forum

By Tom Campisi, Managing Editor

“America, who has bewitched you?” That was the question posed by English author and social critic Os Guinness when he spoke at a Christian Union New York virtual forum on September 21. The title of his lecture was “1776 versus 1789 — A tale of two revolutions and America’s present crisis.”

Guinness, Oxford educated and the author/editor of more than thirty books, exhorted Christian Union staff members, Cornerstone partners, and friends of the ministry to “redeem the time” as he discussed how America has drifted from its constitutional moorings and allowed cultural Marxism to seep into American culture and intellectual centers.

“As a foreigner, I am saddened, appalled, and sometimes angered by the ignorance of Americans not realizing the brilliance of what this system was designed to be and still could be…”

a Os Guinness HeadshotOs Guinness Guinness, the co-founder of The Trinity Forum, compared history’s five great revolutions: the English (1642), American (1776), French (1789), Russian (1917), and Chinese (1949). “The English and American revolutions look different,” he said. “They were not the product of the Enlightenment. They were the product, principally, of the Reformation. The French, the Russian, and the Chinese revolutions were quite different. They were anti biblical, anti-Christian, anti-religious. And they still are today…”


According to Guinness, the division in our country today is the result of those who understand freedom from the perspective of the American Revolution and those who understand freedom from the perspective of ideas that have come down from the French Revolution.

“If you think of things like postmodernism, political correctness, tribal politics, Identity politics, the sexual revolution, radical multiculturalism, the cancel culture, speech codes, and so on—all those things are the heirs of the French Revolution and have nothing to do with the American Revolution,” he noted. “The differences between the two revolutions are extreme.”

Guinness, whose latest book is entitled The Magna Carta of Humanity: Sinai’s Revolutionary Faith and the Future of Freedom, lamented how the French Revolution is influencing our universities and politics. 

They are “following another revolution,” he said. “It is a revolution that has never succeeded, and that has always been oppressive. They are abandoning the one (American Revolution) that has the maximum space for human dignity and human freedom...”

“God is dead as they see it. Truth is dead. We’re in a postmodern world. Without truth and without the Lord, there is only power. Might makes right. There's no ‘right’ to make right. So at the end of the day, all you have is a conflict of power when you look at the history of the left wing revolutions and the radical left.”

Guinness said the notion of the constitution and American ideals, like the consent of the governed and the separation of powers, come from the Bible.

“The Constitution is a somewhat nationalized, somewhat secularized form of the Jewish Covenant,” he said.

Guinness did point out, that when one considers the American Revolution with its Judeo-Christian influence, there are also flaws that cannot be ignored, “Let me be clear, when I say it was largely biblical, obviously things like racism and slavery were violently wrong from the beginning.”

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Regarding the national race conversation today, Guinness said Christians need to be champions and defenders of justice.

“Humans were made in the image of God,” he said. “Justice is a matter of the way people made in the image of God deal with other people made in the image of God. And when there's injustice, God himself is outraged...”

At the Christian Union forum, Guinness, who is based in McLean, Virginia, noted how America was also deeply divided before the Civil War—“but there was a Lincoln.”

“Abraham Lincoln, believing in the Declaration of Independence, addressed the evils of slavery. He spoke to what he called ‘the better angels of the American nature.’ We don't have that today. The former president (Trump) talked of ‘Making America Great Again.’ The current president talks about restoring the soul of America, but neither of them say what made America great in the first place.”

“Will there be a leader like Lincoln at the moment?” Guinness asked. “At many meetings here in Washington, D.C., I turn to the congressmen and senators and literally say, ‘Which of you will be the leader today?’

Guinness said Christians should not be passive when it comes to impacting culture.

“We can't sit around or even just pray for a leader,” he said. “The biblical view of leadership is not just the person on top or the person out in front. It's the person who takes responsibility for the situation right in front of them, whether it’s a crisis, an opportunity, or a need.”

Although Guinness noted that the “hour is very late,” he charged those affiliated with Christian Union, whether they are ministering in the academy or in other sectors, to use their giftings and influence to be agents of change.

“You are graduates of some of the best universities in the world,” he said. “And for many of you, the world becomes your oyster and you can step out into all sorts of extraordinary positions of privilege and power and prosperity. But I trust it is always with a sense of calling—so that with your gifts in your calling in your sphere, as you read the signs of the times, you're able to serve God's purpose in this extraordinary generation.”

“And by God's grace, in some small way, you and all of us together who are followers of Jesus in America may, in some way, be able to redeem this time and point humanity forward to our Lord and to what is surely good news and the best news ever.”

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