At a Glance
Today’s guest, Dr. Os Guinness, is a deeply respected and prophetic author, teacher, and cultural critic. We are honored to have him join us again as a guest on the podcast. In this two-part interview, we glean Dr. Guinness’s wisdom on a variety of pressing cultural issues, including free speech, passing on our faith, and the power of words.
In part two, we get his take on the recently released “Twitter files,” revealing widespread government and social media efforts to censor free speech. How should the church faithfully respond to these urgent issues? Os offers his wisdom on this as well.
What You'll Hear
Chapter 1: Passing on Truths (1:32)
- Christians should be more excited about communicating all the gifts of the Gospel, as we have real truth that brings about goodness and life.
- Instead, we hide it and fail to pass it on to the next generation, so that society is rotting away and the truth is lost.
- Homeschooling is a great way to pass on your beliefs to your kids.
- It is our essential Christian duty to pass on our beliefs to our children.
Chapter 2: The Power of Words (7:46)
- Words have enormous power.
- In our relativistic world, we think words don’t have meaning and that powerful people set the meanings of words to gain power.
- Instead, words have inherent truth that can shape the way we think.
- In Jewish Old Testament society, “evil speaking” was akin to murder.
- Christians should use their speech carefully to cultivate life and truth.
Chapter 3: The Difficulties of Pastoring (13:57)
- Pastors today have both a harder set of expectations to fill and less social standing and support than they had in the past.
- We treat our pastors as super Christians who are supposed to be perfect preachers, leaders, entertainers, administrators, and counselors.
- Some pastors have softened the Bible, either by primarily appealing to other sources of authority or by not condemning the sin in the world and the sin in the hearts of the people listening.
Chapter 4: The Importance of Free Speech (18:22)
- Recently it has been shown that the government and social media companies have been working together to suppress the speech of certain people.
- This is a huge danger, because people should be allowed to freely decide what they think and share it without danger of being suppressed.
- This comes from a left-wing view of postmodernism, where ‘truth’ is a tool to oppress and can be twisted to suit anything.
- It is important to think critically, not by shutting out other people’s opinions, but by hearing what different sides have to say and carefully weighing it to find what is true.
- While it can be hard to ascertain truth, we need to strive for truth and intellectual honesty whenever possible.
- We need to balance grace, love, and compassion for others with the need to promote change and truth. We need to not back down from what the truth is, but also not pursue change in a way that hurts or tramples over others.
- Everyone, even the most terrible human being who is totally wrong in every opinion, is at the core still a human being that we are called to love and treat with respect and dignity. We don’t get to pick what enemies we love, Jesus calls us to love all our enemies.
Chapter 5: America Zero Hour (33:14)
- America is entering a period where it has a chance to choose between revolution, oligarchy, and homecoming.
- The sexual revolution has massively eroded away at Christianity in the West, and we need to confront it in our Churches.
- The sexual revolution originated with Marx and his ideas, but we were taken by surprise when they worked their way into our culture.
- The Church failed to confront it and instead made peace with the sexual revolution, and now it is everywhere and a major cultural influence.
Using the link above, you can read the transcript, listen along, and adjust the speed of the podcast while you listen.
We should be unashamed champions of truth, and make sure that in our own circles, we're always living in truth and we are people of truth.
- Os Guinness (24:44)
Revolution? Oligarchy? Or homecoming? Americans are approaching a “zero hour” for the republic and its distinctive view of ordered freedom. America is caught between two revolutions and alternately suppresses and squanders freedom with a prodigal carelessness, with little understanding of the responsibilities that freedom requires.
Os Guinness warns that if America abandons its distinctive ideals and ideas, we will have carved into the chronicles of history yet another example of the failure of a free society. Like other crucial times in world history, the present crisis is a “civilizational moment” and also a pivot point that could lead to national renewal. Outlining seven key foundation stones of freedom, Guinness lays out a pathway for defining and ordering freedom, righting national wrongs, and passing freedom’s baton from generation to generation.
In the second part of Oxford mathematician John Lennox’s bonus interview for the Science Uprising series, “John Lennox on the Transhumanist Claim AI Will Turn Humans into Gods” (October 17, 2022), Lennox talks about claims that we will merge with computers (artificial intelligence) to achieve immortality. How plausible is that?
In short: Very plausible, at least to a degree. And that should terrify us. The ideology of Transhumanism is one of the most dangerous threats to humanity today, and we should be very careful when we are forced to engage with these ideas as technology pushes the boundaries further and further.
Lennox is the author of 2084: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Humanity (2020).
If you want to hear more of Os Guinness, check out this earlier podcast episode we did with him!
Freedom is under attack in the West as never before. Many have redefined freedom to mean “doing whatever you want.” In this episode, we explain why this is not freedom at all and explore what true freedom is, and what it will take to defend and sustain it. As Christians, we need to understand the critical importance of freedom to fully understand who our heavenly Father is and who He made us to be.
Our special guest in this episode is Os Guinness. Os is one of the great biblical worldview thinkers of our generation and has written many recent books exploring the topic of liberty.
The hour is critical. The American republic is suffering its gravest crisis since the Civil War. Conflicts, hostility, and incivility now threaten to tear the country apart. Competing visions have led to a dangerous moment of cultural self-destruction. This is no longer politics as usual, but an era of political warfare where our enemies are not foreign adversaries, but our fellow citizens.
Yet the roots of the crisis are deeper than many realize. Os Guinness argues that we face a fundamental crisis of freedom, as America’s genius for freedom has become her Achilles’ heel. Our society’s conflicts are rooted in two rival views of freedom, one embodied in “1776” and the ideals of the American Revolution, and the other in “1789” and the ideals of the French Revolution. Once again America has become a house divided, and Americans must make up their minds as to which freedom to follow. Will the constitutional republic be restored or replaced?
Nothing is more daring in the American experiment than the founders’ belief that the American republic could remain free forever. But how was this to be done, and are Americans doing it today?
It is not enough for freedom to be won. It must also be sustained.
Cultural observer Os Guinness argues that the American experiment in freedom is at risk. Summoning historical evidence on how democracies evolve, Guinness shows that contemporary views of freedom–most typically, a negative freedom from constraint– are unsustainable because they undermine the conditions necessary for freedom to thrive. He calls us to reconsider the audacity of sustainable freedom and what it would take to restore it.
“In the end,” Guinness writes, “the ultimate threat to the American republic will be Americans. The problem is not wolves at the door but termites in the floor.” The future of the republic depends on whether Americans will rise to the challenge of living up to America’s unfulfilled potential for freedom, both for itself and for the world.
Cultural observer Os Guinness explores the nature of revolutionary faith, contrasting between secular revolutions such as the French Revolution and the faith-led revolution of ancient Israel. He argues that the story of Exodus is the highest, richest, and deepest vision for freedom in human history. It serves as the master story of human freedom and provides the greatest sustained critique of the abuse of power.
His contrast between “Paris” and “Sinai” offers a framework for discerning between two kinds of revolution and their different views of human nature, equality, and liberty. Drawing on the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, Guinness develops Exodus as the Magna Carta of humanity, with a constructive vision of a morally responsible society of independent free people who are covenanted to each other and to justice, peace, stability, and the common good of the community. This is the model from the past that charts our path to the future.
George Washington called the American political ideal “The Great Experiment.” Contemporary English historian Paul Johnson writes, “The creation of the United States is the greatest of all human adventures.” The great American republican experiment is “a human achievement without parallel.” The early days of the Great Experiment bristled with questions. Can human beings establish good government simply through reflection and choice? Can a free people govern itself? Can a self-governing people sustain its freedom? What form of government best suits those who are neither angels nor animals, but imperfect human beings?
In The Great Experiment: Faith and Freedom in America, Os Guinness and The Trinity Forum lead readers through a series of readings that allow them to explore and reach conclusions about these vital issues. It will help Americans and all who love America seek to better understand the genius of the American experiment and the framers’ understanding of how it may be sustained. As The Trinity Forum examines the necessity of faith in a free society and the undeniable impact of faith on the American Experience, he looks at some of the major challenges facing the American republic at the beginning of the twenty-first century.
In a world torn apart by religious extremism on the one side and a strident secularism on the other, no question is more urgent than how we live with our deepest differences—especially our religious and ideological differences. The Case for Civility is a proposal for restoring civility in America as a way to foster civility around the world. Influential Christian writer and speaker Os Guinness makes a passionate plea to put an end to the polarization of American politics and culture that—rather than creating a public space for real debate—threatens to reverse the very principles our founders set into motion and that have long preserved liberty, diversity, and unity in this country.
Guinness takes on the contemporary threat of the excesses of the Religious Right and the secular Left, arguing that we must find a middle ground between privileging one religion over another and attempting to make all public expression of faith illegal. If we do not do this, Guinness contends, Western civilization as we know it will die. Always provocative and deeply insightful, Guinness puts forth a vision of a new, practical “civil and cosmopolitan public square” that speaks not only to America’s immediate concerns but to the long-term interests of the republic and the world.