This past Independence Day, I reflected on my family’s recent visit Washington D.C. It was a good time of connecting with our nation’s history while touring our nation’s capital.
However, as we viewed the founding documents and read the inscriptions at various memorials, a sense of loss and frustration mixed with the wonder of it all. How we wish that our current leaders would be required to visit these sites and take to heart the ideas and principles that gave this country its foundation. So much of what today is called, “progressive,” is actually hammering away at the very foundation of what brought us the blessings we so cherish and often take for granted. And we don’t even seem to realize it is happening.
Chiseled into the marble of the Thomas Jefferson memorial are these words,
“God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just. That His justice cannot sleep forever.”
Let that sink in for a minute or so before you read on.
Moving on to the national archives, we came across this quote by Benjamin Franklin on display right next to the original Bill of Rights:
“This will be the best security for maintaining our liberties. A nation of well-informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the religion of ignorance that tyranny begins.”
Another quote by Franklin sounds like a prophecy, “When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.”
Insightful statements from men whom some would call the least religious of America’s founding fathers.
Evidence of this understanding that the nation was once highly influenced by the precepts of the Bible are numerous. Here’s just a few more powerful statements by some of our other founding fathers:
“It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and Bible.” – George Washington, 1st president
“The general principles upon which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity…
Those principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.” – John Adams, 2nd president
“…the moral principles and precepts contained in the Scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws… All the miseries and evils which men suffer from… proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.” – Noah Webster
How did we go so wrong? How has the Bible’s influence in American society dwindled so dramatically? Some have suggested that the Christian church privatized their faith and allowed its influence to drift away from public life. Many would agree that we have drifted from our roots and are now out of touch with our heritage.
I recently heard a sermon by Dr. Charles Stanley in which he attempts to answer the question of how we have wandered so far. He compares the gradual shift of our society away from its foundations to a boat that drifts down river. Drift, he says, happens when you don’t resist the current of the river.
Essentially, Stanley says, we have allowed ourselves to drift morally, spiritually, and biblically along with the rest of society.
For far too long, we have not been resisting the current of culture. We have been content to let the Spirit of the Age push the current downhill and often times we just drift along with it because it is so much easier than resisting. As a result, the foundations of our nation are being destroyed.
Psalm 11:3 says, “When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” That’s a good question. Maybe we can start by resisting the drift, going against the flow, and returning to our moorings.
Maybe God’s promise to the Israelites at the dedication of the temple has some instruction for us. In II Chronicles 7:14, God says, “ if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
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