How did you get here? I don’t mean “did you fly or drive?” How did you come to believe and act upon the beliefs you now embrace? We need to remember that there has been a long history of quietism and pietism among Christians. Not only weren’t Christians on offense but they were hardly playing defense.
For years we heard things like,
- Jesus didn’t get mixed up in politics.
- Politics is dirty.
- We should just preach the gospel.
- There’s a separation between church and state.
- We can’t impose our morality on other people.
- We should remain neutral.
- There’s a sacred-secular divide.
- Our citizenship is in heaven.
- We’re just pilgrims passing through.
- We must render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s without ever asking the question of how we determine what belongs to Caesar so we let Caesar tell us what belongs to Caesar.
- Satan is the god of this world.
- All the signs point to the “rapture” or the Second Coming, so why bother polishing the brass on a sinking ship or rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
Some claimed that Christians should not get involved in the rough and tumble of applicational Christianity because it would spoil our witness.
Others argued that they believed in a Christian worldview that applied to every area of life, but few ever explained what that might look like.
Francis Schaeffer was great at pointing out the destructive nature of competing worldviews, but he offered little in the way of particulars on how to overcome the onslaught in the particulars. His analysis was needed, but it did not go far enough.
And when someone came along and explained how the Bible might apply to every area of life in the particulars, the critics would come out of their ivory towers and denounce those who were calling for more than a theoretical approach to worldview thinking.
The worldview plane was always in the hangar for maintenance work. Anyone who submitted a flight plan would be grounded, and if he continued to question the system, he would have his license revoked, especially if he taught at the flight school where impressionable young men wanted to learn how to fly the worldview plane.
In time, the worldview pilots would be barred from the airports and left to find other ways to take to the skies. They were relegated to near obscurity laboring to get the message out to people who did not know that worldview planes should and did fly.
This remnant started Christian schools, developed curricula, wrote and published newsletters, wrote books — lots of books — that found their way into the hands of Christians around the world.
Most of you are too young to know about this history. (I’ve barely scratched the surface. Watch “Freestyling with Gary DeMar”: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) Some of you may be asking, “What’s this guy talking about?”
The thing of it is, many (most?) of you don’t know what I’m talking about, and that’s what makes this event so special. You are here because of people who built the worldview planes and explained how they could fly. They wrote about apologetic methodology and application, history, economics, law, government, and so much more. They saw what would happen if Christians didn’t wake up to the challenge. They took on the secular ideologies of the day while at the same time having to contend with critics from inside the camp.
There are many people I could mention, but I only have time to mention one — Greg L. Bahnsen. I suspect that we would not be here if it weren’t for the work of Dr. Bahnsen. Jeff Durbin’s talk was the embodiment of his work. I know I wouldn’t be here. The folks at Cross Politic would not be doing what they are excelling at if it had not been for Dr. Bahnsen’s work. When Doug Wilson debated Christopher Hitchens in the film Collision (a Darren Doane Production), it was Bahnsen at work disguised as a Teddy Bear.
The thing of it is, Greg would not have taken credit for any of it. He was just doing what God had called and gifted him to do. He acknowledged his mentors. He knew that he stood on the shoulders of others.
When I got that phone call on a cold day in December that Greg had died, I was in shock. How could he be replaced? In one sense he has not been replaced. I’ve never met anyone who was the whole package like Greg was. You will find this out quickly by reading his articles, books, and listening to his many talks and debates. The debate he had with Gordon Stein is a classic. It’s no surprise that it has been dubbed “The Great Debate.”
But in another sense, Greg has been replaced by those who carry on his work and pay it forward. You are the fruit of the work of Greg Bahnsen and many others whether you know it or not. It’s been a long time coming, but I am optimistic. We may be in for some rough times, but God has given us all we need to accomplish what He has called us to do. God has equipped us “for every good work,” and you can thank those who have put on this Conference for helping to equip you. It’s your turn to pay it forward as someone paid it forward for you.