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The Illusion and Peril of a Borderless World

Wallace Henley Portrait
Wallace Henley |

Secular progressivism, in the spirit of the Babel-builders, wants a utopia on human terms. They quest for nothing less than the restoration of Paradise, but without God. Few things show this as graphically as the illusion for a borderless world that has gripped so many left-progressives.

Former House Majority Leader Tom Delay and I explored the progressivist illusion and its implications for border policy in our 2016 book, Revival! Revolution! Rebirth! As thinkers from (at least) Edmund Burke, John Adams, G.K. Chesterton, T.S. Eliot, Christopher Dawson, Samuel Huntington, and Russell Kirk have pointed out, a civilization and nations within it are defined by a core worldview. It is the reference point for the values that make the society what it is.

Edmund Burke watched in the eighteenth century the excesses of the French Revolution and thought about moral restraints established by ethical and social boundaries. "Liberty does not exist in the absence of morality," he wrote. "Among a people generally corrupt, liberty cannot long exist."

In the twentieth century, Russell Kirk wrote: "All the aspects of any civilization arise out of a people's religion." That "common faith" ties a people together so that they share "certain moral principles." Without that unified transcendent worldview "they prey upon one another."

Samuel Huntington would argue that this is especially important in the United States. Its people do not share a common ethnicity, or even inherited cultures. If we are not united in the broad values that made the nation a desirable destination for immigrants, then there is little hope for unity

At the heart of the Judeo-Christian worldview, once the core of Western civilization, is the recognition that the fundamental struggle in the universe is between cosmos (God-given, and therefore transcendent order) and chaos (Lucifer-inspired disorder). The two dynamics are in a state of constant tension, and if cosmos-order collapses, chaos-disorder roars in with tsunami strength.

In every generation since Adam and Eve opened the door to evil, the great challenge has been how to restrain chaos.

Nations are crucial. They provide the physical borders that define and protect people from outside adversaries and within which safe communities can be established, so people can go about their lives, worshipping freely, expressing their beliefs, and raising solid families. The adversary of humanity loves to destroy the vital boundaries. In fact, these boundaries protect citizens not just from those outside the country's borders, but from forces from within—including its own government if it steps outside boundaries that God Himself has established.

There is in today's society a celebration of the destruction of boundaries and borders. We think immediately of naïve, idealistic Europeans throwing open the borders of their nations, but spiritual, moral, philosophical, behavioral, and physical boundaries are also being violated throughout the West in the contemporary revolt.

Today's rebellion is against all the right things that produced our free republic with its remarkable society. Many contemporary Americans, led by elitist secular progressivists, are in rebellion against the Bible and the Judeo-Christian worldview, and the spiritual, moral, and social boundaries it establishes, like gender (which was given by God for the perpetuation of His image-bearers in the world and for the expression of the deep intimacy akin to that of the Trinity); marriage (again, the human expression of God's relationship with humanity through the Bride, the Church); family (the foundation of society); morality and ethics.

The authentic church in this period is marginalized, caricaturized, vilified, and ultimately criminalized. The aim is to silence its voice so that all restraints on rebellion can be cast off.

A state of rebellion not only raises the issue of boundaries, but also of equilibrium. The intent of the Founders and the Constitution they gave America was to provide a system of careful balance between liberty and restraint. Englishman Burke said, and the American Founders discovered, that this "requires much thought, deep reflection, a sagacious, powerful, and combining mind."

Such equilibrium requires the strongest of cores. The Statue of Liberty without its powerful skeletal core of strong metal would be a scrap-pile. The only core sufficient to maintain the balance between liberty and restraint is God and the worldview arising from His revealed truth. This is the very core at which today's secular progressivists and their propagandists strike.

The peril we face is not scores of immigrants surging toward our borders. In the biggest of pictures, since Noah's sons scattered from Ararat we are all emigrants from somewhere and immigrants to somewhere. In God's order, America has always been an immigrant nation—from the "Native Americans" who came here from Asia eons ago to the most recent person to take the oath of citizenship.

The present peril is the surge of immigration into nations that have lost their core worldview and hence their identity. That leaves a huge hole into which values and worldviews that have produced catastrophic "failed states" can pour.

The peril is not immigration, but immigrants pouring into a spiritual and moral vacuum.

Wallace Henley is senior associate pastor at Houston's Second Baptist Church, and founder of Belhaven University's Master of Ministry Leadership degree. He is a former White House and Congressional aide, and co-author of "God and Churchill", with Winston Churchill's great-grandson, Jonathan Sandys.

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