Jim Denison on William Barr’s Statement at Notre Dame and God’s Call to Courage

Attorney General William Barr smiles as he waits for President Donald Trump to speak at the 2019 Prison Reform Summit and First Step Act Celebration in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, April 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Attorney General William Barr is making headlines for a speech he delivered at Notre Dame University’s law school last Friday. Barr, a devout Catholic, told faculty and students that “the problem is not that religion is being forced on others, the problem is that irreligion is being forced—secular values are being forced on people of faith.”

Barr adds: “Among the militant secularists are many so-called progressives. But where is the progress? We are told we are living in a post-Christian era, but what has replaced the Judeo-Christian moral system? What is it that can fill the spiritual void in the heart of the individual person? And what is the system of values that can sustain human social life?”

The attorney general said of the moral problems we are facing, “This is not decay. This is organized destruction. Secular forces and their allies have marshaled all the forces of mass communication, popular culture, the entertainment industry, and academia, in an unremitting assault on religion and traditional values.”

I believe Attorney General Barr is absolutely right.

Here’s why we are here: Many in our culture believe the lie that all truth claims are subjective impositions of personal power on others. Tolerance of all viewpoints must therefore be mandated, except, of course, for viewpoints deemed intolerant.

According to this agenda, the freedom to express religious beliefs ends where such freedom is deemed harmful to or by another person. Any person. Of course, the harm done to the person expressing his or her religious beliefs is ignored.


In such times, answering God’s call to be culture-changing Christians requires both urgency and courage. The higher the summit, the harder the climb.

A dear friend recently shared with me this statement from seventeenth-century theologian John Owen: “There is no duty we perform for God that sin does not oppose. And the more spirituality or holiness there is in what we do, the greater the enmity to it. Thus, those who seek the most for God experience the strongest opposition.”

Peter would agree.

After the apostle courageously declared the gospel at Pentecost and three thousand came to new life in Christ, the same authorities who arranged Jesus’ murder arrested him. On trial for his life, Peter declared to them that “Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:11-12).


How did the Galilean fisherman who denied Christ three times find the courage to make such a bold proclamation? The key is in verse eight: “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them . . . .”

Pre-Pentecost Peter failed to find the fortitude to make public his commitment to Christ (Matthew 26:69-74). Post-Pentecost Peter stood for his Lord so boldly and sacrificially that he paid for his faith with his life. According to Eusebius, the fourth-century church historian, the apostle was forced to watch his wife’s martyrdom, then he “was crucified head-downwards; for he had requested that he might suffer in this way” (Ecclesiastical History 3.30.2; 3.1.2).

Click here to read more.
Source: Christian Headlines