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America's Godly Heritage

by Ken Swiger

As Biblical Christians we spend a lot of time studying and learning from the memorial days, the holy days, of the Eternal. This is an appropriate thing to do as there is much that we can learn from these studies.

There are other memorials days that are worthy of our consideration as well. For instance the months of June and July have two great examples – Memorial Day and Independence Day.

I want to take some time today to remind ourselves about the Godly Heritage of our nation. I want us to be aware of the words of our founding fathers and to understand their reliance on the God of the Bible. What follows is actually my notes from a sermon from a few years ago on the subject of America as a Christian nation. I think you will find the quotes from notable persons to enlightening.

FROM THE BEGINNING – AMERICA WAS FOUNDED UPON CHRISTIANITY

The Mayflower Compact was adopted by the Pilgrims when they landed at what is now Cape Cod on November 9, 1620. The Compact clearly states that their purpose in establishing the colonies was for "the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith, and honor of our King and country."

The Declaration of Independence, adopted by the Second Continental Congress consisting of 56 delegates, authored by Thomas Jefferson on July 4, 1776 underscores our trust in God: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness . . . And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor."

MODERN PERVERSION OF HISTORY AND THE FRAMER’S INTENT

Revisionist historians have managed to largely purge our text books of the facts regarding the Godly character of the great majority of our founding fathers. They hide behind the rhetoric of the false notion of SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE. I say it is false because – SEPARATION CHURCH AND STATE is not found in the United States Constitution.

Most people do not realize that the First Amendment says nothing about the "separation of church and state." It simply states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...."

“SEPARATION CHURCH AND STATE ” - Those words became associated with the constitution because of a Supreme Court decision which quoted a line from a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Baptist Association. The letter was a response to their concern about rumors that the “Congregationalist Church of America” was going to be declared the national religion.

The concept of separation of church and state in our Constitution is not there to protect Americans from religion. It is there to protect Americans from the government. But in their desire to promote their secular humanist philosophy using the power of government, many liberals today want to alter America's heritage and remove religion from its history. Their desire is not to safeguard denominational neutrality by the state. It is to eradicate every vestige of religion from our public institutions.

Those who want a GOD-FREE, RELIGION-FREE America would do well to remember the words of William Penn (1644-1718) English Quaker and founder of Pennsylvania, who stated, "If we are not governed by God we will be ruled by tyrants."

“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”
George Washington – 1 st US President

THE EVIDENCE – AMERICA WAS ESTABLISHED AS A CHRISTIAN NATION

The Supreme Court ruling in the 1892 case of The Church of the Holy Trinity v. U.S. stated, "Our laws and institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise; and in this sense and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian . . .This is a religious people. This is historically true. From the discovery of this continent to the present hour, there is a single voice making this affirmation . . .we find everywhere a clear recognition of this truth . . .

these, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation."

“The highest glory of the American Revolution was this; it connected, in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.”
John Quincy Adams – 6 th US President

“It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ! For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.”
Patrick Henry – US Founding Father

Joseph Story, in his 1829 inaugural address as Dane Professor of Law at Harvard University, stated: "There has never been a period in which common law did not recognize Christianity as laying at its foundation."

OUR INHERITANCE - A CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC

History tells us of a brief, but important conversation which took place at the close of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia on September 18, 1787. A lady named Mrs. Powell anxiously awaited the results of the convention, and as Benjamin Franklin emerged from the long task now finished, asked him directly:

"Well Doctor, what have we got; a republic or a monarchy?"

"A republic if you can keep it" responded Franklin.

Why a representative republic is better than a democracy - Our representative republic is based upon a constitution, a set of ABSOLUTES. Every decision is weighed against the set of moral principles contained in the constitution.

This is parallel to the constitution of the Israel of God, the Ten Commandments. All decisions, judgments, plans, and national dreams of God’s people must be filtered through the commandments of God. Anything found in opposition to God’s way would have been declared ungodly. Today we judge our laws and actions against the US Constitution. But unfortunately, our judges and lawmakers have forgotten the foundation upon which this nation was built – GOD and his Ten Commandments.

“The Bible is the rock on which our Republic rests.”
Andrew Jackson 7 th US President

Pure Democracy is simply organized mob rule. All you have to do to effect radical change in a democracy, and even the suppress personal rights of others, is convince a majority, or even an energized vocal minority (because many folks will not stand up for their rights and beliefs and will vote for the side they think will likely win) own , that they are free to do their pleasure. Because that is what democracy is about, pleasing the most people.

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until a majority of voters discover that they can vote themselves largess out of the public treasury.”
Alexander Tytler – Scottish Jurist, Professor and Historian

“Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!”
Benjamin Franklin

“The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”
Thomas Jefferson

“When the people find they can vote themselves money; that will herald the end of the republic.”
Benjamin Franklin

Have we ever seen any indications that the majority can wrong?

  • A vast majority of the people of Sodom were convinced that free-love and alternative lifestyles were not only OK, but were in fact their right to impose on everyone else.
  • It was a vote of 11 to 1 that caused Joseph to be sold as a slave.
  • A vocal minority of Israelites swayed the majority to abandon the true and living God in favor of an idol of their own making.
  • A majority of the 12 spies convinced the Israelites not to trust God and caused them forty years of wandering in the desert.
  • A majority of the council declared that Yeshua Messiah (Jesus Christ) was a blasphemer and should die.

Yes, the majority is frequently WRONG.

 NO. We our nation is not a democracy. Our nation was based upon the moral rock of the Bible. The declaration of Independence and the constitution both explicitly recognize God as the giver of life and liberty.

Franklin was not alone in his concern that our form of government would be hard to hang on to. In a letter to John Adams, Thomas Jefferson said: “Yes, we did produce a near-perfect republic. But will they keep it? Or will they, in the enjoyment of plenty, lose the memory of freedom? Material abundance without character is the path of destruction.”
Thomas Jefferson 3 rd US President

WHY DID THE FOUNDERS THINK WE MIGHT NOT HANG ONTO THE REPUBLIC THEY BIRTHED AND LEFT TO US TO INHERIT? Because they understood the absolute REQUIREMENT of righteousness and morality for a people to live free. Jefferson alluded to this in the previous quote when he said “material abundance without character is the path to destruction”.

Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”
Benjamin Franklin – US Founding Father.

“A general dissolution of the principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy.... While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but once they lose their virtue, they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader.... If virtue and knowledge are diffused among the people, they will never be enslaved. This will be their great security.”
Samuel Adams – US Founding Father, who was also known as the "Father of the American Revolution."

Consider some of the great paradoxes of the America of today:

  • On our money we read in God we Trust, and the president usually ends addresses to the people with the words God Bless America. Yet in 1963 the Supreme Court ruled that reading Bible devotions in public schools was unconstitutional.
  • Congress opens every session with prayer. Yet we have allowed our children to be denied the right to pray in the public classrooms. Effectively denying them right to free exercise of religion as guaranteed in the constitution.
  • The President of the United States is sworn into office with his hand on the Bible. Yet we will hear of the firing of a teacher for having a Bible on school property, or for mentioning the Bible in a classroom setting.
  • The United States Supreme Court clerk opens sessions daily by announcing "God save this honorable court." Yet the same court constantly rules in favor of casting God, and especially Christianity, out of public life.

  • The Liberty Bell has these words from the Holy Bible inscribed upon it: "Proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof" (Lev 25:10). Ye we have largely abandoned the commandments of God which the Bible calls the “perfect law of liberty” in favor of an “I’m OK, you’re OK” type of secularism.
  • The Ten Commandments are inscribed in the marble façade of the United States Supreme Court. Yet that same Supreme Court has consistently ruled that the Ten Commandments must be removed from other courthouses throughout our nation.
  • There is a beautiful stained glass window in the U.S. Capitol depicting President George Washington kneeling in prayer. But our history books no longer print the many quotes from our founding fathers that reveal just how fervent those men were in their faith in the God of Israel.

ALEXIS DE TOCQUEVILLE, the French historian, upon visiting America in the early 19th Century, observed: " America is great because America is good. If America ever ceases to be good it will cease to be great."

The only true measuring sticks of GOOD, and of RIGHTEOUSNESS, are God’s holy word and the example of the Messiah. Yeshua (Jesus) obeyed the commandments and taught his disciples to do the same.

Founding Father James Madison wrote: "We have staked the whole future of the American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future...upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves, according to the Ten Commandments of God."

God gives us a pattern by which to live, and a method to return to him:

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves,
and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then
will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
2 Chronicles 7:14

You have likely noticed the increasing number of placards and signs in the yards of American home; signs which signify that those who live in that house are guided and governed by the Ten Commandments. You may be unaware that this posting of God’s holy commandments is a Biblical precept.

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God [is] one LORD:
And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with
all thy soul, and with all thy might.
And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt
talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou
walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall
be as frontlets between thine eyes.
And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9

I see this grassroots effort to remember our Godly Heritage as a positive thing. But I pray that we may go beyond only posting the commandments; and begin to actually OBEY them. That will honor our founding fathers. Nothing could be more appropriate as we observe and celebrate our memorial of America’s Independence Day.

OUR FOUNDATION OF FREEDOM


Seventh Day Christian Assembly • P.O. Box 22351 • Knoxville, TN 37933-0351• 865-688-1107
"And hereby do we know that we know him, if we keep his commandments." 1 John 2:3
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