Liberty University is a special place.
Many think it is the finest Christian educational institute in our entire country. It is competitive, Liberty is, with any university in America in virtually every way including education, special studies, sports and athletics, cultural activities and of course, a solid, unswerving evangelical Christian spirituality. Liberty has always stayed true to that purpose, that calling from the time it was founded by the Reverend Jerry Falwell now deceased.
The mission of Liberty carries on under the excellent guidance of son Jerry Falwell Jr. This new leader is a constitutional lawyer, business man and strong educator, not a preacher like his father. But he keeps the university strong, committed to its original purposes, uncompromising and aggressive in faith. Falwell and his excellent Board of Directors can do as they wish without any government interference because Liberty is a private college, a private institution without any public funding or control. In fact, it has a $2 Billion endowment fund and it is as financially solid and aggressive as any other educational institution.
There was a special graduation in May and out into the world went hundreds and hundreds of graduates, well educated, spiritually trained and ready to build careers and make a difference in America. These young men and women were challenged with the commencement address by none other than Vice President of the United States Mike Pence. The Vice President is a very strong Christian, essentially evangelical in belief, proud of his faith and unashamed to proclaim it. Mr. Pence challenged the graduating Liberty students to live out their faith, unashamed, bold and ready for the challenges which can and will confront any Christian, any real Christian in today’s culture.
The topic of the Pence speech was:
Be ready, graduates, just be ready, said Pence as you go about your daily life. Pence admonished the graduates that throughout most of American history, it has been PRETTY EASY to call yourself Christian. And indeed, it has. Not only were we the older, so called silent generation proud to be Christians, but we lived out our faith without intimidation and without any aggressive challenges such as are happening today. In fact we the Christians were the majority and hardly ever had any kind of threat or intimidation as we practiced our faith. Not so today, said Pence, in fact in many ways just the opposite. The fight is on and the challenge from Pence to the graduates was, as you live out your daily life you will be required to:
FIGHT THE FIGHT OF FAITH.
That is, of course if you are a real Christian and not ashamed of the gospel, in fact bold in proclamation.
Here the words of Vice President Mike Pence:
“Some of the loudest voices for tolerance today have little tolerance for traditional Christian beliefs.”
In fact, that is absolutely true. To proclaim the gospel or walk the walk of faith is to run the risk of ridicule, shunning, even the threat of physical violence as government at all levels, and the courts, and our educational system and so much more not only do not tolerate Christian beliefs but actually attack them. Tolerance from these radicals – progressives is only offered to those like-kind, worthy of the tolerance of the new progressive order, willing to follow and live by their new rules, controlled in the public square, even more so controlled and contained in speech, limited by the new boundaries of hate speech and essentially willing to cede power to these new intolerant tyrants. They are, said Pence, your constitutional enemies and always will be so. There will be no tolerance, get–along, compromise or acceptance. You are with us or WE THE PROGRESSIVES are against you. So, said Pence:
Because, he said, you will be asked not just to tolerate things that violate your faith. But, you will be asked to endorse them! You cannot said Pence merely tolerate (wrong in itself) abortion, gay marriage, euthanasia, growing drug use and the like. You like all others will be required to:
“You are going to be asked to bow down to the idols of the popular culture.” You will not be allowed to resist or you will pay serious and severe prices. You will bow down to Baal no matter the constitutional protection of freedom of religion. At best, AT BEST, you may be allowed to practice your faith and worship only within the four walls of a church, synagogue or perhaps even mosque if the progressives have the courage to take on Islam as well as Christianity. You will watch ever growing anti-Semitism as well as anti-Christianity and you, graduates as you take on the real world, you must:
We know, if we are honest, that is has been “pretty easy” to be a Christian, to “call yourself Christian.” But attacks will come at you like never before. You would be required, graduates, and all of us already in the fray, to put on THE WHOLE ARMOR OF THE GOSPEL to protect and defend and at the same time to wield the sort of faith in the battle against Baal and the idols of this new popular culture. Because, said Pence so very well:
THINGS ARE DIFFERENT NOW.
And are they ever. So, you the graduates said Pence and by extension to all the rest of us, have a decision to make. And that decision he said is that you must vow as a real Christian:
TO STAND FIRM.
And you do that he said by giving a reason for the hope that you have and, to proclaim that hope with “gentleness and respect.” He might have added that you should do so if you are allowed to do so, no matter your constitutional rights. Pence gave an excellent commencement challenge to:
8,000 GRADUATE STUDENTS.
For those of us who believe in and champion the Christian faith, to know that there are potentially 8,000 new Christian warriors, defenders of the faith in the fray is indeed inspiring. No matter how many of those 8,000 accept the challenge and really and truly live out their faith, more than enough of those graduates will do so and we already in the fray should encourage and support them in every way possible. My hope and prayer is that these young men and women will become future leaders in America, doers, moral and men and women of character who will stand up for our constitutional rights, and for law and order, and for freedom of religion and for the truth of OUR faith. We count upon them to counteract and even change and reverse the incredible immoral and anti-Christian, Judeo-Christian positions taken. If they come to the real world having been immersed, baptized, educated and motivated by THE REAL SPIRIT OF LIBERTY, they will indeed make for us and for all a better world.
The great author G.K. Chesterton once said the following:
CHRISTIANITY HAS NOT BEEN TRIED AND FOUND WANTING. IT HAS BEEN FOUND DIFFICULT AND LEFT UNTRIED.
If trying Christianity was difficult in Chesterton’s day, it is now far more so in ours. So, the temptation not to try it, live it out will be greater than ever. For it really will be extremely:
Only men and women with true passion and belief, REAL CHRISTIANS will stand up and fight the fight of faith in this unbelievable hostile, hateful world. It is my prayer that these 8,000 graduates will embrace the new difficulties, take up the cudgel and champion the gospel of Jesus Christ as never before. Liberty would have them do that. And so would Jerry Falwell Sr. and Jerry Falwell Jr. And so would I, and I hope and pray you as well.