Freedom | Os Guinness | Socrates in the City
Lionel Rothschild's oath was altered. An elected parlimentarian, Rothschild refused the oath which requires admission of the Christian faith as the true faith. Rothschild, an unconverted Jew turned to Prime Minister Russell to amend the oath, with Parlimentarian Benjamin Disraeli asking the House of Commons, "where is your Christianity if you do not believe in their Judaism?" A controversal move, Disraeli's sentiments reveal his own convictions which glean a conversion from Judaism to Christianity noting the Christian faith as "completed Judaism".
Disraeli's record in Parliment is not without controversy, however his bravery to address issues is notable, holding the distinction as Britians only Jewish Prime Minister. His political decisions are marked with strong conservative convictions, showing his commitment to his Jewish roots and Christian conversion.
Disraeli is mentioned in Os Guinness' timely book A Free People's Suicide: Sustainable Freedom and the American Future, where Guinness calls America to move forward by moving back. His treatise closes with an equation of Jewish history with Puritan convictions and America's foundation.
Guinness notes that the Jews participated in an exodus from Egypt, a movement from slavery precipitated by the Spirit of God. Equating the Puritan's "exodus" in conversion, Guinness highlights the American framers "exodus" as a revolution. Each of the three participated in a libertating moment that formed a new people.
Jewish tradition is steeped in covenant, both man-to-man and man-to-God. The Puritans held a similar ideal in their practice which was replicated through a secularized constituition, formed from Biblical principles and man's understanding. All three achievements function in fundamental harmony to order the lives of liberated people.
Guinness calls his third parallel a forgotten and intriguing one. He mentions the hope of national renewal for the Jews as they wandered in the wilderness, equating the Puritan's hope of renewal through personal and corporate revival. As he unites the American foundation to the Jewish and Puritan idea of renewal, Guinness notes American founder George Mason's call to "a frequent recurrence to fundamental first principles" and Thomas Jefferson's premonition that freedom needs "a revolution every twenty years." The American founders also felt the need for renewal in the passion of national unity.
Guinness closes this section by stating:
In other words, all three movements- Jewish, Christian and American- share a striking feature that sets them apart from much modern thinking: A return to the past can be progressive, not reactionary. Each movement in its own way best goes forward by going back...the most creative remakings are always through the most faithful rediscoveries. Put differently, when religious or political beliefs become tired and lost their vigor, the way to reinvigorate them is not to modernize or rebrand them cosmetically...The way forward is to return to the source that gave rise to them in the first place."
Guinness writes to a tipping-point in American history, but his concepts hold true for much of life. Our passion is to instruct students that by returning to God's Word to understand their design as humans, we may repent and be renewed in our design to know Christ and make Him known. This is one of the many ways Hillcrest works to equip students for a life of significance.