Christians Have a Responsibility to Denounce Anything That is Anti-Gospel

(08/24/2017) Dr. Richard Land: Why I Am Remaining on President Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Council

Evangelical Leader and Southern Evangelical Seminary President: Christians Should Not Retreat in Times of Challenge, But Lean in Closer

 

CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Dr. Richard Land, Evangelical leader and president of Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES, www.ses.edu), released a statement today regarding his position on President Donald Trump’s Evangelical Faith Advisory Council.

 

“I am continuing to serve on President Trump’s advisory council, continuing to offer counsel and continuing to pray for the president, as I am commanded to do by Scripture,” Land said. “To retreat during the challenges of a national leader is not the Christian way, nor what Jesus called us to do; Jesus did not turn away from those who may have seemed brash with their words or behavior. He did not cease praying for and ministering to those who were struggling. Jesus attempted to walk alongside those who needed Him at all times, and as Christians, we must do the same, especially when they reach out for our counsel and ask for our advice.

 

“Our task as members of President Trump’s advisory group is to give advice and counsel,” Land continued. “Whether or not the president and his administration take it is up to them. If invited, I would have done the same for Hillary Clinton had she been elected president. I certainly would have provided counsel for former President Barack Obama, had he sought such advice, during his two terms. A leader presented with the challenges that President Trump is facing needs counsel and prayer from Bible-believing servants now more than ever. Now is not the time to quit or retreat, but just the opposite—to lean in closer.”

 

Land also spoke with the Christian Post about the advisory group, stating that he, along with many others, was dissatisfied with Trump’s initial responses to the incidents in Charlottesville. Land said he also has received many emails urging him to dissociate himself from the “racist” Trump, and also rejected the claim that the Evangelical group was a “rubber stamp” for the administration. Land added that members of the board, including himself, have spoken at length with the administration about pressing national issues and have condemned unequivocally racism and bigotry as anti-Gospel, both before and after the events in Charlottesville.

 

“I was unhappy with the president’s [initial words regarding Charlottesville],” Land told the Christian Post, where he also serves as executive editor. “I thought they were inartful and begged to be misconstrued and misunderstood in ways that are very hurtful to people.”

 

Soon after the incidents in Charlottesville, Land released his own statement:

 

“Racism, anti-Semitism, or any attitude, posture or action where you make a distinction based on race or ethnicity to think of someone as less than yourself because of their race or ethnicity is directly contrary to the Gospel,” Land said. “As Christians, we must bear a clear, uncompromising witness to the fact that every human being at every stage of life is of equal value in the eyes of God. We have a responsibility as Christ’s ambassadors of reconciliation to speak out against every form of racism and bigotry as unconditionally and straight-forwardly as possible.

 

“Racism and bigotry and the hatred and violence they spawn must be denounced and opposed as anti-Christian and anti-American whenever and wherever they manifest themselves.”

 

For more information on SES, visit its web site at www.ses.edu or its Facebook page, follow the SES Twitter feed, @sesapologetics, or call (800) 77-TRUTH.

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For information on SES or to set up an interview, contact Beth Harrison, 610-584-1096, ext. 104, Media@HamiltonStrategies.com or Deborah Hamilton, 215.815.7716, 610.584.1096, ext. 102.

Dr. Land's Official Statement

“Racism, anti-Semitism, or any attitude, posture, or action where you make a distinction based on race or ethnicity to think of someone as less than yourself because of their race or ethnicity is directly contrary to the Gospel. As Christians, we must bear a clear, uncompromising witness to the fact that every human being at every stage of life is of equal value in the eyes of God. We have a responsibility as Christ’s ambassadors of reconciliation to speak out against every form of racism and bigotry as unconditionally and straight-forwardly as possible.

 

“Racism and bigotry and the hatred and violence they spawn must be denounced and opposed as anti-Christian and anti-American whenever and wherever they manifest themselves. 

 

“However, it is also true that the most important and effective guarantor of our cherished freedoms in America is freedom of speech—even hateful, odious, hurtful speech. For instance, several years ago now, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right of Nazi sympathizers  to march without disruption in Skokie, Illinois, which was filled with residents who were actual survivors of the Holocaust. The Nazi sympathizers’ right to freedom of speech was successfully defended in court by a Jewish lawyer who understood the answer to hateful and hurtful speech was more speech countering it, not violent attempts to suppress it. Taking the law into your own hands and violently suppressing someone else’s speech is vigilantism and will always generate more violence and eventual loss of precious freedoms for everyone. Thus, as Christians and as Americans, we have a responsibility to condemn and refute racist, hateful, and dehumanizing speech.  At the same time we must  defend the principle that ‘we detest everything you say, but we are going to defend to the death your right to say it, as well as our right and responsibility to refute it without resorting to violence.

  

“This is a critical moment in our country’s history and we need every Christian to do his or her duty in speaking out for the equal value and dignity of every human being. If we fail, the centrifugal forces rending the fabric of our society asunder will expand and intensify, and all of us will suffer the loss of precious freedoms guaranteed in our Declaration of Independence and Constitution. We will have failed also to do our Christian duty as followers of Jesus.

 

 As an example, Land said, he grew up in a family that ate supper together every night at 5:31. His father came home from work at 5:30, and the family sat down to eat at 5:31. Quite often Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses would come to the door, and his father would leave the dinner table to answer them, tell them they were having dinner and were not interested in having a conversation and then returned to the dinner table.

 

At about the age of 12, during one such episode, Land said he asked his mother why the government couldn’t keep them from coming to the door and disrupting dinner. His Baptist mother replied, “If we allow the government to restrict what the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses can do today, then they can restrict what the Baptists can do tomorrow.” And she was absolutely right, Land said.

Official Press Release

Christians Have a Responsibility to Denounce Anything That is Anti-Gospel

 

Violent Suppression of Speech Always Leads to Greater Suppression of Freedom for Everyone,’ Says Evangelical Leader and Southern Evangelical Seminary President Dr. Richard Land

 

CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Turmoil across the nation remains after the violent events in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend. Anger and disagreement have also boiled over regarding the responses from both sides.

 

Evangelical leader Dr. Richard Land, who serves as president of Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES, www.ses.edu), says that every American, and especially every Christian, has a duty to denounce racism and bigotry in every form and to uphold the ideal that all human beings are equal in God’s eyes.

 

“Racism, anti-Semitism, or any position or posture where you make a distinction based on race or ethnicity—to think of someone as less than yourself because of their race or ethnicity—is directly contrary to the Gospel,” Land said. “As Christians, we must bear uncompromising witness to the fact that every human being—at every stage of life—is of equal value in the eyes of God. We have a responsibility as Christ’s ambassadors of reconciliation to speak out against every form of racism and bigotry as unconditionally and straight-forwardly as possible. We need to be Waterford Crystal-clear that behavior and speech like we’ve seen over the past week is anti-Gospel and anti-American, and should be opposed vigorously.

 

“Racism and bigotry, and the hatred and violence they spawn, must be denounced wherever and whenever they manifest themselves,” he added. “However, it is also true that the most important guarantor of our cherished freedoms in America is freedom of speech, even hateful, odious, hurtful speech. For instance, many years ago, the Supreme Court upheld the right of Nazi sympathizers to march in Skokie, Illinois, which was filled with survivors of the actual Holocaust. Yet, the Nazis’ right to freedom of speech was defended in court successfully by a Jewish lawyer who understood that the answer to hateful and hurtful speech is more speech countering it, not violent attempts to oppress it. Taking the law into your own hands and violently suppressing someone else’s speech is vigilantism, and it will always guarantee more violence and the loss of precious freedom.”

 

As an example, Land said, he grew up in a family that ate supper together every evening at 5:31 p.m. His father came home from work at 5:30, he washed his hands, and the family sat down to eat. Invariably, Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses would come to the door, and his father would rise to answer them, tell them they were interested in a conversation and return to the dinner table.

 

At the age of about 12, Land said, he asked his mother why the government couldn’t keep them from coming to the door. His mother said, “If we allow the government to restrict what the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses on what they can do today, they can restrict what the Baptists can do tomorrow.” And she was absolutely right, Land said.

 

“Violent suppression of speech always leads to greater suppression of freedom for everyone,” Land concluded. “As Christians and as Americans, we have a dual responsibility to condemn hateful and dehumanizing speech in whatever form it takes, all the while, defending the principle that we detest everything you say but we’re going to defend to the death the right to say it and the right to condemn it.”

 

Topics like these will be addressed at SES’s 24th annual National Conference on Christian Apologetics this fall. One of the largest events of its kind, the two-day conference will welcome the nation’s top apologists, scholars and thinkers, who will delve into headline-making matters on Oct. 13-14 at Calvary Church in Charlotte, N.C. Also at the conference, the American Family Association will debut its new documentary film, “The God Who Speaks.”

 

Besides Land and SES co-founder Norman Geisler, speakers for the conference will include Michael Brown, Gary Habermas, Ken Ham, Greg Koukl, J. P. Moreland, Jay Richards, Hugh Ross, Frank Turek, J. Warner Wallace and many more. Register for the National Conference on Christian Apologetics here.

 

Read more about Southern Evangelical Seminary and SES President Dr. Richard Land, as well as his radio feature, “Bringing Every Thought Captive,” which airs on nearly 800 stations nationwide, here.

 

For more information on SES, visit its web site at www.ses.edu or its Facebook page, follow the SES Twitter feed, @sesapologetics, or call (800) 77-TRUTH.

 

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For information on SES or to set up an interview, contact Beth Harrison, 610-584-1096, ext. 104, Media@HamiltonStrategies.com or Deborah Hamilton, 215.815.7716, 610.584.1096, ext. 102.