What Can We Do to Restore America's Christian Heritage?
October 1, 2018 | View PDF
Nowhere in History is God's Hand more evident than in the establishment of the United States of America.
The signing of that great and noble document, the Declaration of Independence, not only gave birth to a new nation, it gave birth to a new hope for all nations, ushering in a new era in the history of government on earth.
John Adams, our second president, and one of the signers of the Declaration, was so awestruck by the event in which he had participated, that he wrote his wife Abigail, it "ought to be celebrated, as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to Almighty God. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of the continent to the other, from this time forward, forever."
While Americans have been faithful in following the later part of Adams' suggestions---the pomp, parades, and illuminations, we have been less so in adhering to the first. Our celebration of the "day of deliverance," like our celebration of Thanksgiving, instituted by the Pilgrims at Plymouth, has tended more and more to be exclusively secular in content. The "solemn acts of devotion to Almighty God," advocated by Adams, have not only for the most part disappeared, but they would likely be mistakenly rebuffed by many, as unconstitutional intermingling of Church and State.
But Adams' comment to his wife reveals a recognition that can be noted in the writings of all the Founding Fathers, that something far greater than the mere will of men was involved in the events surrounding our nation's beginning. Indeed, all bear reverent testimony to the sense that the mighty Hand of God was at work in the affairs of men. They, by responding to the crisis of their time, were involved in a turning point in the history of mankind that was almost incredible and certainly miraculous in the light of history.
Beyond their own recognition of indeed their firm reliance upon God and His Providence, the Founding Fathers represented a people well prepared for its moment in history. A people though from 13 various colonies, and loyal to sundry denominations, who were schooled in and submitted to the Gospel of Truth. Many of them were men and women, or descendants of men and women, who had come to America to escape religious tyranny in Europe. They were accustomed to liberty, and quick to recognize the tyranny, for example, in the following acts of the Mother Country: The Navigation Acts, The Revenue Acts, The Stamp Act, The Quartering Act, The Townshend Act, and The Boston Port Act.
However, neither the colonists nor their leaders were predisposed to rebellion. In response to the Stamp Act, Congress entreated England for fair play. Efforts to reason with the oppressors and reliance on God at the same time, characterized each political effort.
When it became evident that the King and his Parliament had hardened their hearts, the colonists acted in unison. In town meetings, one after another, the alarm was sounded! Thomas Jefferson spoke of the conviction of the multitude, when he wrote, "The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin us."
To see the Declaration of Independence as merely a human document is to miss the underlying philosophy, and faith, which initiated it. To the Founders, it was a divinely inspired sacred charter to which they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. To the Founders, it was immortal for their sons, their daughters and all their posterity.
Let us prepare annually for Independence Day as the “day of deliverance.” Can we throughout the year treasure a spiritual deliverance and celebrate our unique form of government, which gave us Christian self-government! Let us consecrate ourselves as individuals, as families, as churches, to the task of rebuilding our nations' Biblical Foundation. Let us be practical and let each of us start where we are. Most of all let us remember, "with solemn acts of devotion," the God Whose mighty Hand brought our nation into being.
IN THE FAMILY
In order to restore the Biblical principles of government which established our nation, these principles must first be restored in our homes. As God's first institution of society, the home is the first area of local self-government; its greatest contribution to our nation's well being is the bringing up of young men and women of Christian character.
It is in the home that the heart of the child is trained to righteousness or unrighteousness. The heart is the seat of character. Out of it comes either a "good treasure" or an "evil treasure," as pointed out by Luke 6:45. Every area of our society is affected by what the home builds or does not build in character.
A valuable, but often neglected practice in the home, is the use of literature to build character. To take advantage of using literature for the training of hearts, modern parents need to research and use the great literature which helped form the character of our early American generations.
You will not find this literature used today in government schools. However, it is a wonderful way to use this once treasured literature to restore our national character.
IN THE CHURCH
No institution should be better qualified than the Christian churches, to address the issue of the Christian's responsibility for the exercise of Christian Principles in government. It was through the Reformation, that this form of government was introduced in the Protestant churches of England. It was this representative and covenantal model that became the pattern for civil government in the American colonies. Later it became the form of government created in the U. S. Constitution.
Pastors of all denominations should dare to take the lead in affirming the vital link between the individual spiritual freedom granted in the Gospel, and the political freedom that established our nation.
One good starting point and an inspiring adventure would be to review the early sermons of the pastors who lived prior to and during the American Revolution. This blessing for the pastors, would hopefully lead to a life changing experience for their congregations. The results being the restoration of our nation.
A great resource for this can be found in FACE.net, the Foundation for American Christian Education, in Chesapeake, Virginia.
We the People
Following are ways that the individual can help restore our nation
to its Biblical Principles of government.
1. Research the Hand of God in our United States History. Study, meditate, and pray daily for our spiritual restoration.
2. Make your voice heard. Write to candidates, elected officials, news papers, radio and TV anchors to express your views.
3. Become a public relations officer for America's Christian destiny. Set a goal of contacting a number of people every week to win support for the cause of restoring America's Biblical foundation.
4. With an election coming in November, support those candidates who stand for a Godly cause.
5. Consider seriously the power of campaigning for Truth. The greatest friend of Liberty is Truth. Truth is contained in Biblical Christianity and will ultimately triumph. We are on the winning team.
This article first appeared in 1986, when Bobbie Ames was the Alabama State Director of the Freedom Council.