Faith was foundational to the United States at three points. The first was winning freedom; just take the enormous influence of the “black regiment,” the preachers and thinkers behind the American Revolution. The second was the ordering of freedom; nothing is closer to the genius of the United States than the First Amendment and its establishing the separation of church and state in such a constructive way. And the third—which is less stressed today— was the sustaining of freedom; refer to James Madison’s argument that faith is vital to virtue, and that virtue is vital to freedom.
It is deeply written into the tradition of our family. My great great grandfather, who founded the Guinness Brewing Company, was an Evangelical and a friend of John Wesley, George Whitfield and was a strong supporter of William Wilberforce. So, the Evangelicalism that I know is not American Evangelicalism. People often think of Evangelicalism as the post-fundamentalism of the 1950s emergence under Billy Graham and Carl Henry.
A survivor of the terrible Henan famine of 1943, in which five million died in three months, including his two brothers, Os was a witness to the climax of the Chinese revolution in 1949 and the beginning of the reign of terror under Mao Tse Tung. He was expelled with many other foreigners in 1951 and returned to Europe where he was educated in England.