TRUTH ABOUT DECLINE IN WESTERN DEMOCRACIES

The following is taken from The Hon. John Anderson AC inaugural Tim Fischer Oration in Parliament House in Canberra, Australia on 18th August 2022, where he spoke on the factors behind Australia’s political division, cultural breakdown, and intergenerational inequality.

Jesus said, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4

“Any critical assessment of the West will be found profoundly inadequate without acknowledgment of the crucial influence of the Lord Jesus Christ.

History reveals the boons of the West – prosperity, democracy, science, mass literacy, modern freedom, commitment to humility, and service of others – emerged from Christianity. Indeed, our longest-serving Prime Minister of Australia in the 50’s and ’60s, said that “democracy is more than a machine; it is a spirit. It is based upon the Christian conception that there is in every human soul a spark of the divine.”

For Menzies, democracy could work only if we remember that “with all their inequalities of mind and body, the souls of men stand equal in the sight of God”.

And so we must ask: Can the best of Western civilization survive without its spiritual nourishment any more than a flower plucked from its soil?

In the case of the West, including Australia in particular, the God that inspired many of our great feats of architecture, the rise of modern human rights, and modern democracy, was no philosopher’s God.

He was the personal, redemptive God of Abraham, who became flesh in Jesus Christ.

Properly understood, the cross is the ultimate act of extraordinary love and service. Christianity demands of us the humility to use power only for the betterment of others, not for ourselves. Much as the demonstration of the cross was in stark contrast to the lust for domination that characterized the Roman Empire in the first century, it still stands in stark contrast to the grasping for power that so marks our modern life.

How many aspirants to our nation’s highest political office would even know that the term “Prime Minister” actually means “first servant”: ‘minister’ – from the Latin meaning ‘inferior’ or ‘servant’?

Tim Fischer rose to one of the highest offices in the land seeking to use power for the benefit of others rather than himself.

It was through millions of people turning to Jesus that Western civilization as we know it was achieved. And yet Jesus did not come to save civilizations, all of which he assured us would ultimately fade away, but to save individuals through faith in Him. May none of us miss this ultimate point.

It was in this Christian milieu that character and service prevailed to give us what we now so enjoy, but tend to take for granted. It was this civilization that blessed us with men of character like Tim Fischer. It is in this context that I stress the need for courage, truth, and engagement if we are to survive, as free people, the challenges of our age.”

WHY GOVERNMENTS AND NATIONS ARE FAILING

The first US president, George Washington, said: “Religion and morality are the essential pillars of a civil society.”

The founding fathers had little enthusiasm for Christian theology but they valued Christian tradition. This distinction is pivotal. You don’t need a belief in the Holy Trinity to grasp the civilising role of Christian tradition.

In recent times the great British religious figure and philosopher Rabbi Jonathan Sacks put the issue most clearly: “A free society is a moral achievement. We’ve forgotten that without a shared moral code to which we are all accountable, into which we are all educated and which we have internalised, we will lose trust in our public life on which our very freedom depends.”

Sacks argued that our societies in the evolution of laws, education, and norms had abandoned, one after another, the moral principles in the Judaeo-Christian heritage. He, again, likened this to an experiment – but an experiment with a history. Invoking the Greek and Roman civilisations,

Sacks said: We have begun a journey down the road to moral relativism and individualism which no society in history has survived for long. If men and women try to create a society in which there is no fundamental agreement about good and evil, they will fail.

The backdrop to the demise of Christian religion in the west is no surprise. Every moral axiom on which our shared culture rested is dismantled, disputed, or lost – we cannot agree on freedom of speech, how we should live, how we should die, how children should be raised, what is a woman, what is a man, on the meaning of marriage, on what our schools should teach, on our nation’s history, on the limits of privacy, on whether religion should be allowed in the public square and, ultimately, on what is virtue.

In his study of the origins of the political order, Fukuyama said: “The rule of law in Europe was rooted in Christianity.” It was church law that initially broke down tribal norms by recognising the claims of the soul. This was a revolutionary event. It reveals the universalism of the Christian concept while also revealing its focus on the individual – as distinct from tribe or clan. Christianity asserted the fundamental relationship was between the individual and God.

The deadly tsunami that hit Indonesia in 2018

Thank goodness, God warns us beforehand in His Word. the Bible, that what we are seeing unfolding in our world is exactly as it was in Noah’s day, a godless, lawless world, a world that will embrace the Antichrist. Jesus gives us incredible detail of the events that will unfold in the last seven years of this era before His Millennial Kingdom. We need to prepare for His return and do whatever it is that He calls us to do so that the Gospel is proclaimed to all the world. We also know that God allows tribulation for a short period of time before He takes out those that remain faithful to Him and pours out His wrath upon a rebellious world.

For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.”
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
Matthew 24:7-14

US RECOGNISES JERUSALEM’S LINK TO AMERICA’S FOUNDING VALUES

In a special ceremony in the City of David, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman dedicates a plaque commemorating the bond between Israel and the United States.

‘Prophetic Messages of Freedom’: US recognizes Jerusalem’s link to America’s founding values
U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman (l) and chairman of the Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad Paul Packer (second from right) at a ceremony in the City of David, Jan. 18, 2021. (U.S. embassy in Israel)

Friedman said that he hoped that the plaque would prompt all those who read it to think of the Judeo-Christian values upon which America was founded and “how those values were inspired by ancient Jerusalem and its inhabitants.”

The U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, along with the United States Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad, held a special ceremony at the City of David on Monday in recognition of the “seminal role” the archeological site plays “in connecting its visitors to the origins of the values that helped shape America.”

On June 30, 2019, Paul Packer, Chairman of the United States Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad participated with other American dignitaries in the City of David’s inauguration of the “Pilgrimage Road,” the path taken by millions of pilgrims ascending from the Pool of Siloam up to the Temple more than 2,000 years ago.

In his remarks, Packer commended the City of David for its contribution to America’s heritage, adding that with the ceremony, “we are fulfilling another, larger purpose: to unify Americans around our foundational principles and values. The City of David serves as a living testament to those enduring values, and it is our duty to ensure it remains for generations to come.”