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The Voice, not the Echoes

  • November 29, -0001
Saturday night Fox News host Glen Beck wowed the faithful as keynote speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington. His address was, in typical Beck fashion, a lesson in history as much as an exhortation to action, and both Democrats and Conservatives felt the ruler across the wrist.

Beck showed how America's political culture has drifted from the moorings of the Founding Fathers into an eddy of progressivism that threatens to pull the vessel of State under the waters of big government. Again and again he called the audience to return to the Founders and the intentions of their minds in crafting articles for the American state. Doubtless many conservatives and, consequently, not a few of the followers of Christ, will hail Beck's speech as just what the doctor ordered for, as he put it, a new day of freedom to dawn in the Republic.

But revisiting political points of view can never be the way to renewal. Indeed, today's "Progressives" argue as passionately as their conservative opponents that they are upholding the values of the Founders and the intent of the Constitution. Both sides in the current impasse are, in fact, following but the echoes of Truth which alone can bring the fullness of freedom to the land - as, indeed, were the Founders of this independent republic.

Washington, Madison, Jefferson, Adams, and the rest were soundly influenced in their political views by the remaining echoes of a Christian consensus that had guided the Western world for a thousand years. But other influences were also in the air - humanistic, rationalistic, scientific - and these shaped the Founders' thinking as well. As Barry Alan Shain and others have shown, the Christian worldview was still, at the end of the 18th century, the dominant paradigm for political thought, as for most other aspects of life. Dominant, but not exclusive, and not pure, either.

The Founders gave strong echoes of Truth in their wisdom, and since then those echoes, bouncing off the jagged walls of American history, have been variously heard, interpreted, and followed. As long as we seek to chart a better course for the nation on the strength of mere echoes, we shall never find our way out of the current morass.

What America needs today, beginning in the churches of the land, is not to embrace the echoes, be they ever so clear, but to seek the Voice behind them. Deviations from Scripture are systemic throughout the Christian community. Many - such as our inveterate tendency to schism and our addiction to pop culture - have come to be regarded as normal. But they are not, and as long as we refuse to seek the Voice of God in His Word for all matters of faith and life, we, too, will be led astray by echoes, and our echoes will be lost in the cacophony of echoes which now fills the moral, cultural, social, and political air of the land.

"To the Law and the testimony," the prophet cried. This exhortation is the need of the hour and the only course of action that can lead us through the fog of echoes into the clear and resonant tones of Truth - for ourselves, our churches, and our nation.

T. M. Moore

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