Thorner: Spirit of Freedom alive and well at the Illinois Family Institute Fall Banquet

September 26, 2014

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wheaton College Horn Quartet

By Nancy Thorner – 

The Illinois Family Institute, David E. Smith, IFI Executive Director, held its Faith, Family & Freedom Fall Banquet on Friday night, September 19, titled, “Freedom in the Balance,” at the Meadows Club in Rolling Meadows, IL. Featured was Bonhoeffer author Eric Metaxas, whose message was a powerful one in light of the coming November elections. The six hundred friends and members of the Illinois Family Institute who attended the event left inspired with a renewed dedication to go out and spread its timely and prophetic message.

Throughout the program the excellent Wheaton College Horn Quartet & Pastor Rob Daniels, Executive Pastor, Westbrook Christian Church, performed hymns and patriotic tunes, among them the “National Anthem, “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “America the Beautiful.”  Piano music was also provided by the very talented Benjamin Smith, son of Mr. and Mrs. David E. Smith, while dinner was being served.

For the third year in a row Julie Roys, a trusted voice of biblical wisdom on Moody Radio, served as Master of Ceremonies.  Julie can be heard on the live-in, call-in Moody Radio program she hosts, Up for Debate, every Saturday morning at 8 a.m. CT.  Ms. Roys spoke of the  New York Times #1 bestseller Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas, published three years ago, as an incredible story of a Christian who messages of truth were dismissed by the German people until it was too late. It is a lesson she hopes the American people will heed before it is too late. Said Julie Roys: “With the Senate up for grabs, we as Christians can make a difference by voting according to a Biblical worldview.”

Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, IL, gave the welcoming prayer. After dinner was served and enjoyed, Bishop Paprocki was honored, along with Bishop Lance Davis (who later pronounced the closing Benediction) by David Smith as dual recipients of the “Voice of Truth” award for their work in promoting Biblical marriage. Following are comments made by Bishops Paprocki and Davis upon receiving their awards. For Bishop Paprocki: We are swimming against the tide; we must stick together or else we’ll drown … With God’s grace in the end truth will prevail.  Bishop Lance warned: The enemy is overtaking the U.S. and winning, but it’s not over until the Lord says that it is over.

In keeping with the theme of “Freedom In The Balance,” David Smith had some positive comments to share about the IFI. Seven new employees and three more contract lobbyists have been hired. Foremost in Smith’s heart and mind was how America’s liberty, for which countless Americans have fought and died to preserve, was being attacked from the inside. “Our nation is faltering and our freedom is in danger.” Most fitting was Smith’s use of a Bonhoeffer quote with a message that is applicable to today. As the German people didn’t taken Bonhoeffer’s warning seriously, the American people are falling into the same trap.

Silence in the face of evil is itself evil:  God will not hold us guiltless.  Not to speak is to speak.  Not to act is to act.

How tragic that Bonhoeffer was hung on April 9th, 1945, after being imprisoned for 18 months.  Happening two weeks later was the American liberation of Germany.   Kneeling in prayer before his death, Bonhoeffer, certain God had heard his prayer, died peacefully and entirely submissive to the will of God.

David Smith spoke with passion and boldly about how conservative people of faith are being attacked over gay rights, sharing how Catholic Cardinal Dolan permitted gays to march for the first time in this year’s St. Patrick Day parade. Related also by Smith was a powerful illustration of the level of commitment conservative Christians are up against by Democrats in advancing their gay political agenda. State Rep. Naomi Jakobsson, D-Urbana, away from the Capitol on a week long vigil with her dying son, Garret, hearing that her vote was needed with what was a razor thin margin required to pass gay marriage legislation, Naomi  left her son’s bedside to drive the 90-mile trip to Springfield. The legislation passed, but Jakobsson’s son died ten minutes short of her return to his bedside.

Working together is essential to protect our religious liberty.  David Smith, confident that we can turn Illinois around, informed supporters and friends that “we are the answer and the voice.”   As an admonishment to those present who remained doubtful it can be done, Smith said: If you don’t believe this is so, you have no right being here.

Furthermore, “We must mobilize to keep the radical Left from trying to push through their gay marriage agenda.”

David Smith asked us never to forgot the date of September 11th thirteen years ago when this nation was assaulted.  The real battle began in Shanksville, Pa., where 33 men, after praying, stormed the cockpit refusing to be intimidated by those who were determined to take away this nation’s God-given liberty.

It was now time for David Smith to introduce the Keynote speaker, Eric Metaxas, to an audience who was eager and ready to hear what he had to say.

Announcement by Illinois Family Institute:

  • Another performance of “Bringing Back The Black Robed Regiment” with Dan Fisher will take place on Sunday, October 26, at the Christian Liberty Academy, 502 W. Euclid Avenue, Arlington Heights, IL 60004. Reservations are not required.  A free will offering will be taken.
  • Voter Guide Resources are provided by the Illinois Family Institute. The full online version of the IFI 2014 General Election Voter Guide is available for download HERE.   Don’t delay in ordering some for your church, friends, or relatives. Please contact the IFI office at (708) 781-9328.  Or you can e-mail us.

Part 2 will detail the events that shaped the life of Eric Metaxas, how he was led to write biographies, and his message to us and to the Church. It’s an amazing story that you won’t want to miss.

L-R: Paul & Toni Tait, Donna & Marlin Reed In back: Carl Lambrecht and Nancy Thorner


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