Os Guinness

Os GuinnessOs Guinness: It's rather like the Apostle Paul writing to the Galatians. He says, "Who’s bewitched you?" You came to faith through the gospel of grace, and now you're following another gospel, a gospel of works. What I'm saying to American essence is, "who’s bewitched you, America?" You came through 1 revolution to freedom and now you're following another one. Americans set to decide, which Revolution are they going to follow? If they want to teach critical race theory and all that, leads to the end of the Republic as we've done it. We don't want just to cancel it. We want to persuade people, so they choose wisely and well and go back to something that's really good.

Helen: In a time of deep division in American culture, people from all walks of life of calling for Revolution and change. What kind of Revolution brings true freedom? In this episode, I talked with Os Guinness, a Christian Author and a social critic. As references, the story of Exodus as the blueprint for freedom and human history, states that Biblical Revolution is the only true Revolution, which establishes genuine freedom, justice, and the high place for human dignity. In this episode, we talked about Os' fascinating family history, the call for revolution in American culture and the need for what he calls the Sinai Revolution. I hope you enjoyed this episode of the Limitless Spirit podcast.

Helen: Os, welcome to the Limitless Spirit podcast. Thank you so much for joining me and I'm excited to talk about your latest book. I know that you have often quite a few books, but your latest book is called the Magna Carta of Humanity: Sinai's Revolutionary Faith and the Future of Freedom. It sounds very intriguing and I will be completely frank with you, I have not read it yet. Probably some of the listeners as well. Let's give them an idea, why it is imperative for them to pick up your book and read it? Before we dive into it, let's talk a little bit about you. You are a very fascinating person. One of the intriguing things that I find in your biography is that you were born in China to missionary parents.

Os Guinness: Yes, indeed. I come; I'm descended from Arthur Guinness, the Irish brewer. He was a Christian who came to Faith under the preaching of John Wesley, in the Irish Revival. I'm part of the family that has kept the faith alive ever since down the generation. My grandfather was one of the first western doctors in China. Both my parents were medical doctors. I and my brothers were born there during World War II. My first ten years was in China and I experienced the first 2 years of the Chinese Revolution, including the reign of terror. Because at that stage, we were living in, which was Nanjing the southern capital of China?

Helen: I have so many questions. Let's start with Arthur Guinness. I did not realize that he was a Christian, but he was a Protestant Christian or Catholic Christian.

Os: He was an Evangelical Christian. The name Guinness takes on many thoughts. It's ignited with beer, all the book of records, the Guinness Book of Records.

Helen: The book of records is a very well-known name, I didn't know that he was an Evangelical Christian. I actually read up a little bit on the company itself and it was quite an interesting concept. The more I read the more interesting it became and the practices that they used, that are very consistent with Christian ethic but that are far different podcast. We won't even go in there.

Os: John Wesley had the principle, "earn all you can, save all you can and give all you can." Generosity and philanthropy was at the heart of the family from the very beginning. Now, you remember, some people are shocked of the idea. But remember, in the 18th century, the background problem, we have drug crisis today. They had the gin crisis. So, Christians drank beer. It was a statement of moderation because you had the gin craze on one side and unhealthy water on the other side, before modern plumbing. So Christians drank beer, it wasn't all that big a deal than those days. There was no teetotalism then.

Helen: It was a healthy solution. A health drinks, if you will. Your parents were also born in China.

Os: Yes, my grandfather and his sister, you may know the name Hudson Taylor.

Helen: That was my question. They were connected with Hudson Taylor's Ministry?

Os: Well, my grandfather's sister was married to Hudson Taylor's son. The books on Howard Taylor's Life by Mrs. Howard Taylor, but her maiden name is Geraldine Guinness. My grandfather's sister. So yes, we're related by marriage to Hudson Taylor and my family has done a lot in China.

Helen: Hudson Taylor is one of my missionary heroes because we, as a Ministry have been working in China since 1999. We had the privilege of visiting a couple of churches in Guǎngzhōu province of China that was started by Hudson Taylor and were still in existence 2000s. We've got the minister at these churches and it was an extraordinary experience. Wow, what an incredible connection.

Os: My great-grandfather, the grand old age of twenty-three, was the lead creature in the Irish Revival. We had newspaper council, it was standing in the top [inaudible] of a carriage and speaking to crowds of twenty-five or thirty thousand and the spirit would fall. In the North of Ireland, in those days, Island was not divided; there was literally 1 crime after the Revival in the whole year. He invited my great grandfather when he was thirty. He invited Hudson Taylor, he'd been to China once, to come to his Bible study and speak on China to the people there. Hudson Taylor was so impassioned that half the Bible study signed up to go to China in the first big mission on the ship Lammermuir.

My great-grandfather and his wife, they signed up too but Hudson Taylor said, "No, at thirty, you're too old; the rigors of China would be too much." But he said, "don't be disappointed, you stay here and send out missionaries." My great-grandfather founded one of the First Missionary Training College in London. He founded 3 missionary societies and he sent out fifteen hundred missionaries from the college to China to Africa and to Latin America. He was deeply involved in missions.

Helen: Well, thank you so much for sharing this. I'm just absolutely fascinated. We really may want to do more than one podcast. I see so many things here and perhaps you will be interested to know that we actually do missionary work in Ireland as well. We partner with Cork Church in Cork Ireland. I've been working there for the last few years. I love Ireland, and I'm very excited about the opportunities that we have there. Let's jump into talking about your latest book. What inspired you to write it?

Os: Obviously, some of your listeners are far wider than America. Where the civilization of the moment with the decline of the West, after five hundred years of dominance? The rise of China and the prospect of things like Singularity. In America, the world's lead society, gives way to America's suffering, the deepest division. It's more divided than any time since just before the Civil War. Why? Many reasons given.

   I argue, the deepest division has been those who understand America and freedom from the perspective of the American Revolution, which is, because of the Reformation is rooted in the Old Testament, the Hebrew scriptures. On the other hand, those who understand American freedom, from the perspective of ideas that have come from the French Revolution. You think of ideas that are troubling America today? Post-modernism, the cancel culture, the sexual revolution, tribal politics, identity politics, going down, the line. All of those come not from the American Revolution, but from the heirs of the French Revolution. Americans need to understand where the crisis comes from because the two revolutions are entirely different and they lead in entirely different directions.

Helen: You mentioned that we are at the time right now, we're ripe for another revolution and basically, the choice is ours. Which one of these two previous revolutions we will follow. I'm originally from Russia, even though it happened way before my time, Russia has experienced the very cataclysmic Revolution as well. The thing with revolution is, they're necessary for the progress of society, but I think how we're different right now is normally a revolution happens, when one part of society, their needs are not met. So the disquieted group that creates problems comes up with a new ideology that helps them to move forward and achieve their goals. But in our case right now, everybody is dissatisfied. The people who follow the ideas of the American Revolution are dissatisfied. The people who follow the ideology of the French Revolution are dissatisfied. So we're in a very different position. What do you think is going to happen? What is going to tip the scale?

Os: Go back for a minute, think of the major Revolutions in the modern world, the English, 1642, the American, 1776. French, 1789, the Russian as you said in 1917 and the Chinese in 1949, I was there. The first 2 look different because the English failed, it's called The Lost Cause and the American succeeded it was the winning cause. But in fact, the first two are very similar, not just because they're both English speaking, but they both went back through the Reformation to the Bible. Whereas the French, the Russian, and the Chinese have a hatred of God, religion, the Christian faith at their core. Your fellow countryman, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn used to say, that "the hatred of God is more important to the radical [inaudible] politics and their economics." We got to begin by understanding the great differences between them, where they lead to, because the ones on the radical left. no revolution has ever succeeded and the oppression never ends and that's the danger. Many American Christians are naïve, they don't know history. They don't look at the outcomes of these things, and so they're naive. Now, we can make an argument, the Biblical Revolution is the true one and that's where the English Revolution came from.

You know the idea, God creates order creation, and sin creates disorder. God works in to human disorder and turns it back the right way up. Revolution is not turning the world upside down. It's actually turning it the right way up, although of course to those who are not Christians, it sounds as if you're turning the wrong way up. So you remember in Acts chapter seventeen, the agitator’s attack Paul and say, these men who turned the world upside down could come here. In fact, the Biblical Revolution turns the world the right way up. So, properly understood Christian faith is the true Revolution, establishing genuine freedom, genuine justice, and genuine high place for human dignity, all of us in the good news of Jesus.

Helen: I couldn't agree more with you. What is then the Sinai Revolution?

Os: Sinai Revolution is the Exodus Revolution because the early church, when Rome in 380 under the Emperor Theodosius declared that Rome was officially Christian. It was the official religion. The church made a bad mistake, I think. It copied Roman structures of church government. Rome had the Caesar and the Consoles, and the Senators, and the church had the Pope and the Cardinals and the Bishops, it was hierarchical, based on power and easily corrupted. The very famous statement, "all power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely" was said by a Catholic Layman criticizing his own church. For the Reformation said, no, that wasn't biblical. Calvin and then Svengali and Bullinger, in Scotland John Knox, in England Oliver Cromwell and in American people like John Winthrop, they said we must go back to the Bible, Sola Scriptura, back to the scriptures. The biblical way of government is covenantal and Americans don't realize the US Constitution is a form of Covenant. It has distinctive features, all of which go back to Exodus.

For example, Helen, free people, love the idea, the consent of the governed. The people have to agree, where does that come from? Exodus - 3 times as says that when the Lord put forward the Covenant, it answers and all that the Lord says, we will do. That's the first time in history; you have consent of the government. All the notion of checks and balances, which is where the American Revolution, and the Biblical Revolution, is very realistic. Humans with power will abuse, so you need checks and balances, you need a separation of powers. In the Old Testament, you have the king, the priest, and the prophet, and the prophet is on the level with the king and the priest, as a servant of the Covenant. There are many features of the American system, Americans don't realize it, and they come from Exodus, what I call a Sinai Revolution.

Helen: This is extremely interesting. We have the blueprint for success.
How do we implement it? It doesn't look like we're winning this war at this point, the war of ideologies. Of course, as Christians, our weapons are different than the ones of the world. So, we know that we have the winning ideology and we have a blueprint that can help not only our country but should work beautifully all around the world.
How do we implement it? Where do we go from here?

Os: Well, not exactly right. Remember, it's a blueprint and it gives us a benchmark. People have gotten to know what it is and very few Americans could describe how the American experiment should be based. What the first principles are, they simply don't know. Here's a big difference in 1850s, you had Abraham Lincoln who believed in what he called, the Better Angels of the American Nature. In the light of that and the light of the Declaration, he tackled the issues like slavery. You take the previous president, "Make America Great Again." He never said what made America great in the first place. I, as a visitor, I'm not American. I'm an admirer. I'm a poll, how few Americans know their system. Another easy to see reasons for that. For example, you might be interested, the Rabbi's point out, go back to Exodus Passover. This night after four hundred and thirty years, they're going free, Moses never mentions freedom. Were they going to the promised land of milk and honey that they long for? He never mentions it. But three times Moses talks about children because the story we tell to our children, is the key to Identity, who we are and to continuity. Making sure it's passed on from generation to generation. You can see that both sadly in the church in the west, but also in America that's broken down.

In America that used to be taken care of in what was called Civic Education in the public schools. I meant you come from Ireland or China or Mexico or Italy or Russia and you became American, E Pluribus Unum, out of many, one. For the end of the 60s, through the radicalism, Civic Education thrown out and then came in what was called The Howard Zinn, you of history and more recently have things like the 1619 project would say that America's more to slavery and in those to the founders views of freedom.

The idea is being taught in American public schools are literally suicidal. The Republic is finished, if that's what it teaches to the next generation. Now, of course, the same is true in the church. Every generation is to hand on this case faith, not freedom. If they fail in the patterns dropped, you have a generation, Generation Z. In this case, we simply don't know what the faith is. They swallow all the criticisms of faith from surrounding them in the culture. Now, that's all there, so is there a bias point out, Babylonians and Egyptians and Greeks and Romans and British or build monuments?

The Jews build schools and that's one of the reasons they survived despite incredible persecution and incredible scattering Schools and history and families passing it on with a key to their survival and transmission.

Helen: That's a great point. What do you think would be the practical application to that? I have my youngest son, he is very much the Generation Z, do we take him out of the public school? Do we enroll him to private school? As you mentioned, the church is sort of failing that generation too. I'm very passionate about that subject because it concerns my child. What do you think is the solution?

Os: I'm not in favor of canceling, the cancel cultures all for just shutting people up, but we've got a present America as a whole of the choice. It's rather like the Apostle Paul writing to the Galatians. He says "who's bewitched, you came to faith through the gospel of grace and now you're following another gospel, a gospel works.
What I'm saying to American Essence is, "who bewitched you America?" You came through one revolution to freedom, and now you're following another. Americans have to decide, including the leadership here in Washington and so on. Which Revolution are they going to follow?

If they want Critical Race Theory and all that, that's the end of the Republic as we've known it. We don't want just to cancel it. We want to persuade people so they choose wisely and well and go back to some English really good. When it comes to the church, we have something else, which is prayer, if we were doing a whole story of my family; I mentioned my great-grandfather in the Revival.

Well, his mother's story is, I haven't time to go into that. Ireland's Last Duel, 1815, year the Battle of Waterloo, a city councilor in Dublin insulted Daniel O'Connell, the great Irish Liberator. The only recourse was a duel, the councilor's a crack shot and O'Connell's a tougher with guns, but to everyone's amazement, the Duffer missed. I think he intended to miss and O’Connell didn't intend to hit him, but did hit him and killed him. The man's wife was devastated, early twenties, children, she considered suicide, scandal, bankruptcy and so on. Mercifully, came back to faith and she met and married my great great grandfather. But here's the point, she became a great woman of prayer and our family records showed that she prayed for ten generations of us, every single day.

If you look down the line of the people after her, almost every one of them with very few exceptions has been a follower of Jesus, and I associate it with the Lord's Grace. But also this great woman's prayer for future Generations. We don't just rely on schools, but some of them aren't too good. Although, if you have a possibility, many of the private schools, teach much better education than they teach the classics. They teach faith and so on, but not everyone is able to do it. Many of the charter schools do it too.

Helen: I'm very glad you shared that story and brought the point that we have the greatest weapon in the world and that is prayer. We are equipped to you that every one of us is equipped to use this weapon regardless about social status, age, and education and prayer moves mountains. Prayer transforms nations, communities, and essentially, the world. One last word to our listeners, what would you say to people who want to know beyond prayer, how else they can utilize their faith to impact their family, their children, their communities and essentially the rest of the world.

Os: When we think of leadership in America. A lot of people think of the person at the top, pull the person out in front and they're the leaders the rest of us aren't. That isn't a Biblical view. The Biblical view of leadership has the idea of responsibility, those who take responsibility for what's right in front of them, crisis maybe, and an opportunity maybe, but exactly in their sphere and at their level. It's not just the senators or the
presidents or Abraham Lincoln, but every one of us. If we think the Lord called us, given us certain gifts that nobody else has.

We have our family, our neighborhood, our workplace. Each of us has tiny little circles that we influence; you have your podcasts and many other things. I'm a writer, doctors have patience. Everyone has a circle of the influence. The question is are we being responsible for doing all we can? As a matter of calling in the Spheres, and at the levels, the Lord has put us, that's all we're responsible for. And again, the Jews had the notion of every Jew responsible for every Jew, but they would say, we're only guilty when we could have done something or we could have said something and we didn't. A lot of Christians today are keeping their heads down.

They're afraid, they're demoralized; they're discouraged, we're under attacked and so on. We could ask ourselves, every time we have a chance to stand up and speak out; let's have the courage and the confidence in the gospel to do it. Whatever level we are in. And if we do it all together, then we'll be salty and light. Put it this way, the scandal of the American Church, unlike say, Britain or France or island, or wherever, it's the one Church in the West that's a huge majority.

So take our Jewish friends, there are only two percent of America. And that is tiny. The Jews say they are less than the tiniest statistical, error in a Chinese censors. They're so small, but they punch above their weight, intellectually, culturally, financially. We as followers of Jesus are called to be Salt and Light. And yet, although we're majority, we're not Salty and we're not Light either. We need to ask the Lord's forgiveness and learn to move out again with courage and with confidence in the Lord and in the gospel.

Helen: This is very inspiring. For our listeners, who would like to purchase your book, how can they do this?

Os: Simplest way is Amazon.com. It's on there.

Helen: We will post the link to your book specifically on Amazon, in our show notes, but in the meantime, thank you so much for joining and sharing.

Thank you, Helen. My great privilege, and I just say, God bless you.

Os' Hearing His Voice Testimony

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