The World Turned Upside Down was the title of Sir Christopher Hill’s history of the English Civil War. Today, as then, our world is being turned upside down. From Tunisia to Libya, the Middle East is quaking. Not since the fall of the Berlin Wall has the world witnessed such far-reaching geo-political reconfiguration, human tragedy and hope mixed together. The question on the minds of world leaders is “What’s next?”
There is great uncertainty among many that the people in the Middle East cannot govern themselves, having become so dependent upon despots and rogue dictators. I have even heard reasonable people opine that the ability to govern democratically is a uniquely Western European concept thus beyond tribal, autocratically-ruled peoples of the Middle East.
I reject that idea. History demonstrates that there is only one reason why Western nations have been endowed with democracy: because such expressions of liberty are built on the bedrock of the Bible. Before Jesus taught that you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free (John 8:32), Barbaric tribes roaming across Europe would have given the worst Middle Eastern dictators a run for their money.
Ronald Reagan displayed firm resolve when he looked at the situation of people living behind the iron curtain. According to Dr. Paul Kengor, in The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism, “Reagan not only hoped for Communism’s demise; he often predicted it. More so, his administration went beyond hoping for the end, and…went so far as to design and implement action, policies and even formal directives intended to reverse the Soviet empire and win the Cold War.” Reagan believed that people could “attain the unattainable,” through the power of truth.
The Church’s call today is to speak prophetically, respectfully, to all nations that liberty comes from the Lord. Reagan said, “It is time for the world to know our intellectual and spiritual values are rooted in the source of all strength, a belief in a Supreme Being, and a law higher than our own.” It is the love of Jesus Christ that sets people free and liberates human beings to discover their potential in every area of life. Only such faith can “attain the unattainable,” set human beings free, bring democracy, and turn the world right-side up.
Dr. Michael A. Milton, Chancellor and CEO-Elect of Reformed Theological Seminary.