Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far away;
for truth has stumbled in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter.
Truth is lacking, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.
The Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice.
He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede…
One year ago – almost exactly – I read this scripture. I was days away from starting my new job as ACL Managing Director.
Isaiah’s prophecy diagnoses many cultural maladies in his day. All of them are increasingly relevant to our times.
This one hits the bullseye.
Across the western world, truth in the public squares is being attacked and suppressed.
The greatest stronghold of truth – Christianity – is being pathologised and blamed for significant harms.
To this end, Christian institutions are being undermined: Churches are being pressured by new moral and legal norms. Individuals who speak or live consistent with truth are made a prey; fair game for everything from public hostility to legal action.
Individual voices are few and easily targeted. Institutions are compromised or quieted. Churches are derided and ignored.
Those who will not be silent are targeted relentlessly by regulatory authorities, public spokespeople, activists, political figures, the law, and media commentary.
The outcome is that truth has stumbled in the public squares.
When truth stumbles, Isaiah 59 teaches that this progression will quickly follow: righteousness will be far away, then justice will be turned back, then those who depart from evil will be made a prey.
I have seen that in so many ways – not least of which are the 60 or so legal cases ACL has supported, where Christians who have done what is right have gotten in trouble with the law.
But the injustice that represents had to happen. When truth is evacuated from the public squares, righteousness must soon follow, for the truth about right and wrong is no longer heard. And when right and wrong are muddled, justice cannot be done.
No wonder Isaiah said of his day, “woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness.” It’s all part of the same problem.
To stand for truth in public as a relentless, unquieted, and effective voice, is a leadership role that is desperately needed. It requires divinely inspired courage, wisdom and endurance.
But the courage of one inspires the courage of others. And the truth, whenever it is spoken, will yield fruit.
Silence is not an option.
To be silent is to stand by whilst evil ideologies gain the ascendency. It is to neglect the opportunity to call a nation back to righteousness. It is to allow people and children to suffer. It is to fail to defend the church and Christian people in our nation. It is to fail to do good. It is to fail to love our neighbour.
Each of these failures would individually be a shameful sin. Collectively, they represent an abrogation of responsibility for which we will be held accountable.
My prayer is that the final clause of that Isaiah 59 scripture will never be true in our time:
“ The Lord saw it, and it displeased him
that there was no justice.
He saw that there was no man,
and wondered that there was no one to intercede…”
God’s desire to see truth in public is clear. Who will He find to fly that banner?
I know that many Christians feel as I have already described: quieted. We self-censor our beliefs. We marvel that nobody thinks like us. We are frustrated at compromise on every hand, especially politically.
The news about the church is so often bad. The news about the culture is so often bad.
And we feel powerless to really make a difference.
We wonder where our society is heading.
In God’s grace, I pray that the Australian Christian Lobby will be able to boldly proclaim God’s truth in the public squares, with the unshakable confidence that these timeless, divinely authored convictions make sense of our world, give us wisdom for our world, and literally save the world.
I want to see truth made public.
That is ACL’s mission for this next season.
But it cannot be done alone.
It’s not just me. It’s not just ACL. It’s all of us.
There are nearly 150,000 of us – easily one of the very biggest movements in the country – and we are growing quickly.
We have the technology. We have your support. We have the connections.
We have lobbyists, lawyers, and educators.
And we have God’s truth.
And God empowers His truth, whenever it is spoken.
We just need to stand together and be heard.
That is why I am asking you to be ready to stand with us as we refocus ACL as a grassroots movement of people like you and I who will seek to boldly and effectively proclaim God’s truth in public.
We already have a bold voice for truth in every parliament in the country, through our lobbyists.
We already have a bold voice for truth in courts and tribunals across the nation, through the Human Rights Law Alliance.
We already equip young people of exceptional ability to stand for truth in their careers, through the Lachlan Macquarie Institute.
We already produce original research, speak into the media, host dozens of targeted events in every state, and produce quality Christian content on social media.
And now we are building the army. That’s you.
When you pick up the phone to call your Senator, sign a petition online, write to your local MP, nominate a candidate for LMI, share ACL with a friend, volunteer in an election campaign, knock on a door, or kneel to pray, you too will be making truth public.
Let’s build an army for truth that cannot be ignored.
By God’s grace and with your prayers, that is our mission.
Please be ready to join me, and please be praying.
I’m excited as we refocus and hone our mission to see truth made public.