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The Leader America Needs

By Editorial Staff
Published April 5, 2008

by Ray Allen

What America needs today, a good ten cent cigar won’t fix. We need fundamental changes more than mere cosmetic changes. And, if we don’t make some of them soon, we’ll be lucky if the cigar doesn’t explode in our faces one day.

But, change is usually embodied in a man … a reformer … a leader.

Like the little boy who cried, “The emperor has no clothes!,” simple wisdom came from an unexpected source during my first attempt at sharing some of my concerns with a group of elderly citizens some 17 years ago. In the middle of my presentation, a woman suffering from advanced Alzheimer’s disease turned to her fellow-listeners, and with a frightening sense of desperate conviction, cut to the heart of the matter: “We need a leader,” she exclaimed.

She may have spoken out of turn, but certainly was not out of touch with reality. A need that was true then grows increasingly acute. America desperately needs a leader – a leader of a certain quality of character, and, one who follows a certain quality of vision. He must know where he’s going and have what it takes to get us all there, safely.

First, let’s talk about the quality of the leader. He must be a man who understands the proper stewardship of power. He must know the necessity of limiting the exercise of that power to those actions which serve the best interests of his fellow-citizens. And, he must walk with a limp. Let me explain.

The young and foolish actually believe they are invincible; that the law of cause and effect exacts its toll only on the old who are less clever than they; that good intentions are as acceptable as delivering the goods; and, that meaning well excuses unforeseen damages. Young men and young lions share these delusions.

Old men and old lions do not. Why? Because the old-timers often are still paying the painful price of careless mistakes made in moments of weakness or misjudgment. Pain is a great teacher which costs dearly. That’s why they walk with a limp. If you ask a man about his limp and hear humility and wisdom in his thoughtful answer, you may have found a leader who will not blithely lead you into foolish and unnecessary danger.

Remember this; your well-being depends on it: if your leader has not learned about pain firsthand, he is likely to be willing to let you suffer some. And, he is unlikely to know the depth of his own vulnerability when his own pain gets unbearable. Untested men and freshly wounded lions are dangerous to be around when pressure or pain mounts.

Remember the disciples of Jesus at the Last Supper? When Jesus announced that one would betray Him, each asked with anguish, “Is it I?” They knew about weakness. And, each knew, from painful experience, the fragility of his own nature and will to do good. They became fruitful disciples precisely because they understood human fallibility – beginning with their own.

Second, let’s discuss the quality of the leader’s vision. It’s no good to have a leader of proven moral character and humility, walking with a limp, if he doesn’t know where he’s going. He must be able to see beyond his limp to that fixed point on the far horizon where he knows we must all go if we are to fulfill our highest and noblest destiny.

He must have a vision which is consistent with the highest aspirations of those he expects to lead, not merely the sum of his personal preferences. He must lead men and women to greater liberty, greater productivity, greater wisdom, courage, virtue, kindness, and service than they believed possible; and when it’s all done, he must give them the credit for their achievement. He may lead them through painful places; but, their pain should accomplish and end that is worthwhile.

I believe some current presidential candidates have the first quality of character well in hand. One candidate in particular, stands out, I think. But, I’m hearing far too little about that“destiny beyond the horizon,” and, much too much about the efficiency of the journey. A trip without a fixed destination may be futile, dangerous, or both.

So, I’m asking questions aimed at the present crop of “would-be” leaders. Where are we going? Where will you take us, prospective Mr. President? Will tax-burdened Americans be allowed to keep more of the fruit of their labor? Will you help unleash America’s vast productivity and creativity by rolling back the petty tyrannies of top-heavy government?

Will you isolate and scorn the tin-horn dictators who fleece their people and grow fat and belligerent while wolfing down American handouts? Will you use your moral character to inspire our own moral character; and, will you inspire us by your actions to lead among the nations of the earth in voluntary compassionate service?

Will the enslaved of the earth be liberated? Will you help us to be wise and tolerant with our allies, wise and wary when dealing with our faithless enemies? Will you help stop the killing of unborn babies? Will you stop mortgaging our children’s future with budget deficits today?

Will you remember the lessons of your limp when we send you abroad on Air Force One, or gliding in isolated splendor in your gilded cage of motorcades and police escorts?

If not, future Mr. President, please spare us the agony.

America does not need a president who is merely competent. America needs a leader. An elderly woman who had already forgotten everything else she ever knew, still knew that; and, I haven’t been able to forget it either.


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The Four Keys to the Millennium (Book)

Foundations in Biblical Eschatology

By Jay Rogers, Larry Waugh, Rodney Stortz, Joseph Meiring. High quality paperback, 167 pages.

All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?

These and many more questions are dealt with by four authors as they present the four views on the millennium. Each view is then critiqued by the other three authors.

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The Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of ChristThe Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of Christ (DVD)

Who is the Real Jesus?

Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.

Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.

The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.

Speakers include: George Grant, Ted Baehr, Stephen Mansfield, Raymond Ortlund, Phil Kayser, David Lutzweiler, Jay Grimstead, J.P. Holding, and Eric Holmberg.

Ten parts, over two hours of instruction!

Running Time: 130 minutes

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Amazing GraceAmazing Grace: The History and Theology of Calvinism (DVD)

Download the Free Study Guide!

Just what is Calvinism?

Does this teaching make man a deterministic robot and God the author of sin? What about free will? If the church accepts Calvinism, won’t evangelism be stifled, perhaps even extinguished? How can we balance God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility? What are the differences between historic Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism? Why did men like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Edwards and a host of renowned Protestant evangelists embrace the teaching of predestination and election and deny free will theology?

This is the first video documentary that answers these and other related questions. Hosted by Eric Holmberg, this fascinating three-part, four-hour presentation is detailed enough so as to not gloss over the controversy. At the same time, it is broken up into ten “Sunday-school-sized” sections to make the rich content manageable and accessible for the average viewer.

Running Time: 257 minutes

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Freedom: The Model of Christian Liberty (DVD)

“Give me liberty or give me death!”

Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.

The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

This presentation is a similar call, not to one but many. By reintroducing the principles of freedom that gave birth to America, it is our prayer that Jesus, the true and only ruler over the nations, will once again be our acknowledged Sovereign, that we may again know and exult in the great truth that “where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).

Welcome to the Second American Revolution!

This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.

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Dr. Francis Schaeffer - A Christian Manifesto (DVD)

That Swiss Hermit Strikes Again!

Dr. Schaeffer, who was one of the most influential Christian thinkers in the twentieth century, shows that secular humanism has displaced the Judeo-Christian consensus that once defined our nation’s moral boundaries. Law, education, and medicine have all been reshaped for the worse as a consequence. America’s dominant worldview changed, Schaeffer charges, when Christians weren’t looking.

Schaeffer lists two reasons for evangelical indifference: a false concept of spirituality and fear. He calls on believers to stand against the tyranny and moral chaos that come when humanism reigns-and warns that believers may, at some point, be forced to make the hard choice between obeying God or Caesar. A Christian Manifesto is a thought-provoking and bracing Christian analysis of American culture and the obligation Christians have to engage the culture with the claims of Christ.

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