“Live and let live” has got to be the motto of our age. Any Christian who has expressed his or her beliefs in public will have heard this countless times. Here’s the problem with it: Sooner or later, conflicting beliefs collide. And as Alliance Defending Freedom Founder Alan Sears can tell you, it’s usually Christian beliefs that are expected to give way.
A dauntless champion of religious liberty, Alan was this year’s William Wilberforce Award recipient. Contrary to a little jab I made at the conference, he was, in fact, our first choice. And it was an unbelievable privilege last week to join him, along with Os Guinness, Ravi Zacharias, Emily Colson, Rod Dreher and many others to explore what it means to engage our “live and let live” culture with courage, clarity, and compassion.
As Alan told over 700 attendees, the Christian life does not consist merely in believing a set of propositions within the walls of our churches. It means living out that truth in a visible, public way. As John Stonestreet likes to say, Christianity is personal, but it’s not private! We are called to be full-time Christians, at work, at school, in the home, and at play.
Our Republic was chartered on the idea that everyone has the inalienable right to do just that: to practice their faith publicly without threat of punishment. Speaking at the conference, Os Guinness described the Constitution as a “covenant” that enshrined in the First Amendment a freedom the founders considered second-to-none.
Today, despite an electoral reprieve, that freedom is under attack.
BreakPoint listeners will recognize names like Elaine Huguenin, Barronelle Stutzman, Blaine Adamson, Kelvin Cochran, and others who have been told they must choose between their Christian convictions and their livelihoods.
This photographer, florist, t-shirt-designer and fire chief are just a few examples of Americans who have gotten the short end of the “live and let live” stick. They’ve been sued, threatened with unemployment, and in some cases, face the prospect of losing everything—simply because they refused to betray their deepest beliefs.
Their Christianity is profoundly personal, but it’s not private. They know that what happens outside the walls of our churches is the testing ground for what we profess inside those walls.
What Alan Sears gave our packed house last weekend wasn’t just a charge to protect our first freedom. He also challenged each of us to ask ahead of time what we will do if that freedom vanishes. So ask yourself: What is my line—the boundary in my soul that I, like those florists, photographers, and bakers, will not cross?
If our allegiance is to “laws that are higher than any laws adopted by man,” then “nothing on earth—no threat, no punishment—should be more compelling to us” than those mandates.
Living a faith that shapes more than our private beliefs and spills over into our every relationship and action—this is what the Wilberforce Weekend is all about, and why I’m so thrilled by the work of the Colson Center.
Let me just say, everyone on the team is exhausted right now, but we’re also pumped after our largest gathering ever. If you missed it, don’t worry. We’ve got videos for you on the BreakPoint Facebook page, and if you visit WilberforceWeekend.org, we’ll tell you how to join the over 100 people who’ve already signed up for next year!
Folks, I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of this, not just because I get to make wise cracks on stage, but because what happens at these events is truly unique. The Colson Center is uniting Christians and equipping them to follow the example of luminaries like William Wilberforce, Chuck Colson, and Alan Sears, whose faith refuses to stay confined to Sunday.
BreakPoint is a Christian worldview ministry that seeks to build and resource a movement of Christians committed to living and defending Christian worldview in all areas of life. Begun by Chuck Colson in 1991 as a daily radio broadcast, BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print. Today BreakPoint commentaries, co-hosted by Eric Metaxas and John Stonestreet, air daily on more than 1,200 outlets with an estimated weekly listening audience of eight million people. Feel free to contact us at BreakPoint.org where you can read and search answers to common questions.
Eric Metaxas is a co-host of BreakPoint Radio and a best-selling author whose biographies, children's books, and popular apologetics have been translated into more than a dozen languages.
Publication date: May 29, 2017