"A CLOSER WALK WITH GOD" Increasing Opportunities To Share The Gospel INTRODUCTION 1. The importance of sharing the gospel of Christ with those who are lost cannot be over-emphasized... a. Jesus wants everyone to hear the good news of salvation - Mk 16:15-16 b. The gospel is God's power to salvation to all who believe it - Ro 1:16-17 -- BUT WHAT IS THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY TO REACH PEOPLE TODAY? 2. The Institute For American Church Growth asked over 10,000 people this question: "What was responsible for your coming to Christ and this church?" Their replies were . . . a. I had a special need - 3% b. I just walked in - 3% c. I liked the minister - 6% d. I visited there - 1% e. I liked the Bible classes - 5% f. I attended a gospel meeting - 0.5% g. I liked the programs - 3% h. A FRIEND OR RELATIVE INVITED ME - 79% 3. What do we learn from a survey like this? a. IF CHURCHES ARE TO GROW, IT WILL BE THROUGH THE EFFORTS OF INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS 1) Preachers, programs, classes may help, but in most cases they will only maintain the size of the congregation 2) Such congregational efforts are worthwhile, for they can reach people with whom we might otherwise never come in contact b. THE GREATEST POTENTIAL LIES WITH THOSE PEOPLE WHO HAVE SOME CONTACT WITH MEMBERS OF THE LOCAL CONGREGATION 1) Each of us have daily contact with tens of people who need the gospel of Christ 2) In addition to efforts designed to reach people "en masse" (via television, radio, mail), we need to utilize the contacts made through the members (i.e., provide a "TWO-PRONGED" APPROACH TO EVANGELISM) 4. Two things are needed to utilize the contacts made through individual members a. CONCERN for the lost by those members - cf. Mt 9:36-38; Ro 9:1-3; 10:1 b. KNOWLEDGE OF HOW we can increase our opportunities to share the gospel with those with whom we frequently come into contact 5. Assuming that the concern is there, in this lesson I wish to share suggestions on HOW anyone who is a Christian can INCREASE THEIR OPPORTUNITIES TO SHARE THE GOSPEL... I. DO THINGS WHICH MAKE FOR A CARING CONGREGATION A. OUR LOVE WILL HELP PROVE THAT WE ARE WHO WE CLAIM - Jn 13:35 1. I.e., that we are truly the disciples of Christ 2. Correct doctrine, organization, worship, etc., is important 3. But it will be our love for one another that will convince the world that we are truly the disciples of Christ! B. OUR LOVE MAKES US USEFUL TO THE LORD - Re 3:7-8 1. The Lord knows the true condition of His churches! 2. If we are a congregation that can be used by Him... a. To reach others with the gospel b. To assimilate them into the Family of God c. To nurture them in their spiritual growth -- Then He will "open doors" for us! 3. But suppose that we are not a place where new Christians can grow spiritually in an atmosphere of love...? C. HERE ARE SOME "ACTION STEPS" TO TAKE... 1. Make it a point to get to know ALL the members by name a. Get a church directory and begin to place names with faces b. Try to learn someone new at each service until you know them all 2. Practice "hospitality" towards the members - 1Pe 4:8-9 a. Invite them into your home, or out to eat (set a goal of one new family or member per month) b. Visit other Christians frequently (esp. the sick, shut-ins, new members, absent members) II. MAKE A LIST OF SOULS YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE SAVED A. THIS MAY NOT SEEM IMPORTANT, BUT IT IS! 1. It utilizes a very helpful technique used by people successful in all walks of life (i.e., having a "things to do" list) 2. For us, it helps to focus our attention upon those we hope to reach for the Lord, and not neglect them B. IN MAKING UP THIS LIST... 1. Start with those who are close to you and work outwardly a. Family b. Friends c. Co-workers d. Neighbors e. Relatives of fellow church members f. Regular visitors to the services of the church g. Casual acquaintances (mailman, store clerk, etc.) 2. Limit this list to five or eight souls (a list with too many and you will not be able to focus your efforts effectively) 3. Give priority to those who are the "unchurched" a. I.e., who are not active members of any denomination or particular religion b. Active members of a denomination or religion are often very satisfied with their human traditions and are not as receptive to the pure and simple gospel of Christ 4. Husbands and wives might best just have one list (as the suggestions to follow will require their joint cooperation) C. KEEP THIS LIST WHERE YOU WILL SEE IT DAILY... 1. So you will be constantly reminded of these people 2. So you will be more likely to do the things mentioned next... III. PRAY FOR THESE SOULS ON YOUR LIST DAILY A. THAT GOD WILL WORK TOGETHER WITH YOU... 1. To give you "opportunities" to do good for them - Col 4:3;2Th 3:1 2. To give you the "wisdom" to make the most of those opportunities - Ep 6:19-20 B. THAT THOSE ON YOUR LIST WILL... 1. Have the opportunity to hear the truth 2. Have honest hearts to be open and receptive to the truth C. REMEMBER, IT IS GOD WHO GIVES THE INCREASE - 1Co 3:5-7 1. We are but servants whom God can use in His providential workings 2. So though we may work as though it all depends upon us, let us pray as though it all depends upon God! IV. DO THINGS WHICH DEMONSTRATE YOUR LOVE FOR THEM A. THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS SUGGESTION... 1. "People don't care how much we know until they know how much we care!" 2. A demonstration of love will make a person more likely to be receptive to the gospel of love when it is shared! - cf. 1Pe 2:12 B. SOME "ACTION STEPS" TO TAKE... 1. Invite them into your home for a dinner or snack 2. Visit them, especially in times of trial or sickness 3. Do things with them on a social level V. INVITE THOSE ON YOUR LIST TO ATTEND SERVICES A. REASONS TO WANT THEM ATTENDING SERVICES... 1. They will (or should) have an opportunity to see a caring congregation in action a. Combined with your own demonstration of love as an individual b. ...the demonstration of love by others should make a lasting impression 2. They will more likely have an opportunity to be presented with the gospel of Christ (more on this, shortly) B. AS YOU PREPARE TO INVITE THESE SOULS, BE SURE TO PRAY... 1. Asking for "wisdom" to invite them in the best manner 2. Asking for "boldness" to offer the invitation to attend VI. DEMONSTRATE LOVE TOWARDS THOSE VISITORS WHO DO ATTEND A. WHETHER INVITED BY YOU, SOMEONE ELSE, OR ARE "WALK-INS"... 1. Greet them, let them know they are welcome 2. Invite them home or out for a dinner or snack 3. Call or visit them, after they have attended - cf. He 13:2;Ro 12:13b B. IN DOING SUCH THINGS, YOU ARE PREPARING THEIR HEARTS FOR THE GOSPEL... 1. For by demonstrating love as a congregation of Christians... 2. ...they will be more likely to believe in the love of God demonstrated in the life of Christ! - 1Pe 2:11-12 VII. SEE THAT THEY HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO HEAR THE GOSPEL A. IDEALLY, THIS WILL COME AFTER WITNESSING A DEMONSTRATION OF THE GOSPEL "IN OUR LIVES"... 1. By our love, hospitality, etc. 2. Both as individuals and as a congregation B. IF YOU FEEL CONFIDENT IN TEACHING OTHERS, THEN APPROACH THEM YOURSELF AND SUGGEST... 1. A home Bible study with them (using aids like video tapes, charts, or simply an open Bible) 2. Or that they study on their own with the aid of a Bible correspondence course C. IF YOU DO NOT FEEL YOU ARE YET CAPABLE TO APPROACH THEM CONCERNING A STUDY, OR IN CONDUCTING THE STUDY YOURSELF... 1. Bring it to the attention of members who are able and willing to teach 2. Provide opportunities for the teacher and the prospect to become better acquainted, and the teacher can take it from there CONCLUSION 1. These suggestions are offered... a. With a FIRM CONVICTION that if they will be carried out, opportunities to share the gospel and save souls will be greatly increased! b. With the HOPE that you will accept the challenge to implement these suggestions 2. This approach is not only the MOST SUCCESSFUL in saving and keeping souls, it is also one of the MOST NATURAL and easiest ways to reach the lost for Christ! a. Remember the survey by The Institute For American Church Growth? b. One does not even have to be able to teach to be effective in leading others to Christ! c. One simply has to be a FRIEND to Christians and to the lost! 3. And even if we do not convert a single soul... a. We will have fulfilled our obligation to share Christ with others b. We will have done it in such a way as to become better CHRISTIANS, a better CONGREGATION, better FRIENDS, better NEIGHBORS, better CO-WORKERS, etc.! SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPLEMENTATION BY A CONGREGATION OR A FEW INTERESTED INDIVIDUALS... 1. Have those interested in being involved meet together on a weekly basis 2. Encourage one another to SET GOALS for the coming week a. Share ideas for goals; for example... 1) Having over or visiting one person or family from the congregation 2) Making a list of souls for which to begin praying 3) What you plan to do to demonstrate your love and concern for those on your list 4) Who you will invite to services 5) What visitors you will call, visit, etc. 6) Who you will offer to have a study, or put in contact with someone who will follow-up with a study b. Write the goals for the coming week down c. Pray about them, together and on your own throughout the week 3. At each weekly meeting... a. Share and discuss how the goals are being met b. Set new goals for the coming week c. Write them, pray about them This simple program should easily increase opportunities to share the gospel and bring many souls to Christ!
The Baha'i Movement
|by||Wayne Jackson, M.A.|
One of the rapidly growing religious movements today is the Baha’i group. Originating in Iran in 1844, this cult has been established in thousands of places around the world. The founder was Mirza ‘Ali Muhammed, who claimed to be the forerunner of one who would be known as the great World Teacher. This Teacher, it is alleged, would be the only holy prophet who would usher in the latest revelation from the Divine Source. He would unite the human family into a conglomeration of diverse peoples and inaugurate an era of peace.
In 1863, a man named Mirza Husayn ‘Ali announced that he was that Great Teacher. He adopted the name Bah ’u’ll h (“The Glory of God”), from which the term Baha’i is derived. After Bah ’u’ll h’s death in 1892, the organization was led by his oldest son for the next 29 years. He, in turn, was succeeded by a grandson who led the movement until 1957. Since then, the Baha’is have been governed by a group called “Hands of the Cause,” with world headquarters being in Haifa, Israel. The Baha’i movement is anti-biblical from numerous vantage points.
1. Baha’ism denies the uniqueness of Jesus of Nazareth as the Son of God. The New Testament teaches that Christ is the Father’s “only begotten Son.” The Greek word for “only begotten” is monogenes, a term employed with reference to Christ to indicate that “He was the sole representative of the Being and character of the One who sent Him” (Vine, 1940, 3:40). Bah ’u’ll h, however, claimed that Christ was but one manifestation of God! He contended that he himself was “a later manifestation.”
2. Christ declared: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no one comes unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). The Lord shed His blood for one church (Acts 20:28; Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:4), and He is the Savior of that body exclusively (Ephesians 5:26). Yet devotees of the Baha’i philosophy seek to unify all religions upon the basis of doctrinal compromise, and at the expense of the plain teaching of Christ. Allegedly, advocates of this system revere the teaching of Jesus, Mohammed, Bah ’u’ll h, and all other great “prophets.”
3. The Son of God taught that only the truth can set you free from sin (John 8:32), and that truth is embodied in the words that came from God through Christ, and through His inspired spokesmen (John 17:8,17; Luke 10:16). The New Testament, sealed by the Savior’s blood (Matthew 26:28), contains that revelation, and was to be God’s final communication to humanity (Jude 3). Baha’ism advocates a subjectivism, asserting that “truth is continuous and relative, not final and absolute.” This system of confusion cannot be from God (1 Corinthians 14:33).
4. Baha’ism repudiates the New Testament doctrine of a visible, audible return of Christ to judge the world (Matthew 25:31ff.; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). The doctrine of the Baha’i cult contends that the prophecies regarding the second coming of Christ were fulfilled with the arrival of Bah ’u’ll h. Such a theory, of course, is void of any evidence.
The Baha’i movement is greatly at variance with biblical revelation. The system must be opposed. Its sincere disciples should be exposed to the truth as it is in Christ Jesus, our Lord.
Vine, W.E. (1940), An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (Westwood, NJ: Revell).
Critics and the Cosmos
|by||Eric Lyons, M.Min.|
Some believe the Bible contains notions about the Cosmos that create a natural world which is completely foreign to reality. Because the inspired writers spoke of the heaven’s being “rent asunder” after Jesus was baptized (Mark 1:10, ASV) and the “windows of heaven” opening to allow rain to fall upon the Earth (Genesis 7:11), Bible critics have suggested that the writers believed the sky to be the same old blue, solid wall that uninspired men from so many other cultures professed.
Modern-day liberalism frequently has employed this type of argument to indicate the Bible writers’ alleged “unscientific view” of the Universe. Does the Bible imbibe ancient mythological misrepresentations? Is its information on the Cosmos “unscientific”? What is the truth of the matter?
The fact is, the Bible no more teaches that the heavens were a “solid wall” than modern day weathermen believe the Sun literally “rises” in the morning and “sets” in the evening. The Bible no more indicates that there are literal windows in heaven than doctors believe that a woman’s water can literally break. Technically, it is not correct to refer to a woman’s amniotic fluid as water; nor is it correct to refer to the water as “breaking.” Yet doctors frequently employ this kind of language. It is not scientifically correct to speak of the Sun “rising” and “setting,” but everyone understands weathermen to mean that the Earth is turning on its axis. Surely, if modern man, with all his advanced technology, can use such phenomenal language as “sunrise and sunset” in reference to the dawn and dusk of his day, the Bible writers can be afforded the same luxury.
Why do skeptics not allow the biblical writers as much literary license as they themselves employ? No doubt it is because they take extreme measures—by ignoring the type of language used in different parts of Scripture (i.e., literal or figurative)—in an attempt to find some kind of error in the Bible. Such arguments are destined to fail because common sense has been omitted from the interpreting “equation.”
Atheism’s Real Agenda: Censure and Termination
|by||Kyle Butt, M.A.|
In 2004, Sam Harris published his New York Times bestseller The End of Faith. In that book, Harris supports atheism as the only rational view of the world. He condemns all forms of religious faith, including and especially Christianity, as detrimental and potentially dangerous. He goes so far as to suggest that some beliefs are so serious that simply holding such should be a punishable offense. He stated:
The link between belief and behavior raises the stakes considerably. Some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them. This may seem an extraordinary claim, but it merely enunciates an ordinary fact about the world in which we live. Certain beliefs place their adherents beyond the reach of every peaceful means of persuasion, while inspiring them to commit acts of extraordinary violence against others (2004, pp. 52-53, emp. added).
In the immediate context, Harris is referring to militant Muslims whose religious beliefs lead them to kill infidels. Later in the book, however, we see another belief that Harris considers to be a punishable offense. On page 156, Harris discussed his view of political leaders who espouse Christian sentiments. He opined:
Men eager to do the Lord’s work have been elected to other branches of federal government as well. The House majority lead, Tom Delay, is given to profundities like “Only Christianity offers a way to live in response to the realities that we find in this world. Only Christianity.” He claims to have gone into politics “to promote a Biblical worldview.” Apparently feeling that it is impossible to say anything stupid while in the service of this worldview, he attributed the shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado to the fact that our schools teach the theory of evolution (2004, p. 156).
What, then, does Harris believe should happen to a person who openly claims that Christianity is the global solution to the world’s ills? Harris quipped: “We might wonder how it is that pronouncements this floridly irrational do not lead to immediate censure and removal from office” (p. 156, emp. added).
In this brief article we will not go into the facts that the Columbine shootings were inspired by evolution, that atheism is completely irrational, and that Christianity can be shown to be the only solution to the realities of this world. The sole purpose of this article is to show that atheism’s ultimate agenda is to censure those who espouse Christianity and to persecute the belief to extinction. The atheistic community is not a “live and let live” market place of ideas. Harris vividly manifests the fact that atheism views Christianity as a dangerous belief that should be quelled at all cost, including punishing those who espouse it. The “freethought” community’s idea of “freethought” is that all people are “free” to think how they like, as long as that thought process is atheistic at its core and excludes Christianity.
With atheism being one of the fastest growing beliefs in our country, it is time that Christians recognize the agenda of those leading the atheistic charge. If atheism has its way, according to bestselling atheist Sam Harris, it should be a punishable offense to publicly proclaim that Christianity is the only solution to humanity’s problems. Rue the day that atheism and its leaders become prominent enough to enforce such an agenda. For Christians, “now it is high time to awake out of sleep” (Romans 13:11) and stand up for the Truth while we have opportunity.
Harris, Sam (2004), The End of Faith (New York: W.W. Norton).
5 Reasons Racism is Ridiculous
|by||Eric Lyons, M.Min.|
Atheism has no rational basis upon which to call anything objectively just or unjust, including racism. If mankind is merely the result of billions of years of mindless evolution and is nothing more than animals (as atheistic evolution contends; Marchant, 2008), then man can logically make evolutionary-based racist remarks that are consistent with the godless General Theory of Evolution. In fact, Charles Darwin’s “Bulldog,” atheist Thomas Huxley, did just that in his 1865 essay, “Emancipation—Black and White.” He alleged, for example, “no rational man, cognizant of the facts, believes that the average Negro is the equal, still less superior, of the white man.” In truth, if there is no God, mankind could just as easily look down upon and mistreat others (whom he deems are less evolved), as he does roaches, rats, and orangutans (Lyons, 2011; Lyons and Butt, 2009). Those who are Christians, however, logically contend that since (1) God exists, and (2) the Bible is the Word of God, racism is morally wrong—and completely ridiculous for the following five reasons.
#1—ALL HUMAN BEINGS ARE MADE IN THE IMAGE OF GOD
Not only did God specially create Adam and Eve in His image and vastly different than all other living things on Earth (Genesis 1:26-27), since then, every human being has been made according to God’s likeness. While preaching to Gentiles in Athens thousands of years after the Creation, Paul, a Jew, did not contend that man was once the offspring of God; he said, “We are” the offspring of God (Acts 17:28-29). [The Greek word esmen in 17:28 is the first person plural of eimi (to be). This recognition of being God’s offspring served as a basis for his argument, as the next verse indicates: “Being then the offspring of God….”]
James wrote: “But the tongue can no man tame; it is a restless evil, it is full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we the Lord and Father; and therewith curse we men, who are made after the likeness of God: out of the same mouth cometh forth blessing and cursing. My brethren these things ought not so to be” (3:8-9, ASV, emp. added). [The English verb “are made” (ASV) derives from the Greek gegonotas, which is the perfect participle of the verb ginomai. The perfect tense in Greek is used to describe an action brought to completion in the past, but whose effects are felt in the present (Mounce, 1993, p. 219).] The thrust of the expression, “who are made after the likeness of God” (Greek kath’ homoisosin theou gegonotas), is that humans in the past have been made according to the likeness of God, and they are still bearers of that likeness. For this reason, praising the Creator at one moment, while hurling unkind, racist remarks at another time, is terribly inconsistent in a most unChristlike way. All human beings (of every color and ethnicity) are divine image bearers.
#2—GOD ONLY MADE ONE RACE—THE HUMAN RACE
Although people come in different colors, shapes, and sizes, and although they often associate more closely with those whom they find more similar in ways to themselves, the fact is, there is only one human race. Racism is ridiculous because we are all related, not by means of naturalistic evolution, but by special Creation. No one person is inherently of more value than another person. We are all sons and daughters of Adam and Eve—the specially created couple whom God made thousands of years ago in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:20). What’s more, we are also sons and daughters of Noah and his wife, through whom the Earth was repopulated after the worldwide Flood of Genesis 6-8.
As the apostle Paul informed the idolatrous Athenians 2,000 years ago, God “made from one blood every nation to dwell on all the face of the earth” (Acts 17:26). Adam and Eve had children, who had children, who had children…who had you and me. We are all physically related. We are all of one race—the one human race. We are all (as modern science classifies us) of the same human species—Homo sapiens. We all trace our ancestry back to Noah, and then back to Adam. We may have different skin color, facial features, hair texture, etc., but we are all brothers and sisters! We are family—a part of the same human race.
#3—GOD DOESN’T PLAY FAVORITES…AND NEITHER SHOULD WE
Although God is omnipotent, He is actually color-blind. His all-loving, perfectly just nature will not allow Him to love someone more than another based upon the color of a person’s skin or the nation in which one was born. Similar to how God cannot lie (Titus 1:2), God cannot show favoritism.
Moses wrote: “For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord or lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe. He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing. Therefore love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Deuteronomy 10:17-19). Peter said: “God shows no partiality. But inevery nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him” (Acts 10:34-35, emp. added). According to Paul, God “does not receive a face” (Galatians 2:6, NASB literal footnote rendering); that is, “God does not judge by external appearance” (Galatians 2:6, NIV).
In short, it is impossible to hold “the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, (the Lord) of glory, with respect of persons” (James 2:1, ASV). The Christian’s care and concern for his fellow brother by Creation and by Christ is to be color-blind.
#4—LOVE IS NOT RACIST
Whereas racism is fueled by earthly ignorance and hate, the Christian is filled with the fruit of Heaven’s Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). The child of God is directed by an omniscient, omni-benevolent Father Who expects His children to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). To the Philippians Paul wrote, “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God” (1:9-11, emp. added).
In two of the more challenging sections of Scripture, Paul wrote: “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:4-6, ESV). “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another…. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse…. Repay no one evil for evil…. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:9-18).
No Christian can be a racist, and any racist who claims to be a Christian is, in truth, a liar. As the apostle John explained, “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also” (1 John 4:20-21).
“[W]hatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to its neighbor [regardless of his or her color and ethnicity—EL]. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:9-10, NIV).
#5—JESUS IS EVERYONE’S SAVIOR
In one of the earliest Messianic prophecies, God promised Abraham that it would be through One of his descendants that “all the nations” and “all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 22:18; 12:3, emp. added). It certainly was an honor for Abraham’s family to be chosen as the one through whom the Savior of the world would come, but Jesus did not come only to save the Jews. God did not enact a plan of salvation to save one particular color of people. He did not send Jesus to take away the sins of a particular ethnic group or nation. Jesus is the answer to the whole world’s sin problem; He is “the Savior of the world” (1 John 4:14). “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16-17, emp. added).
“God…desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4, emp. added). For this reason, “repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations” (Luke 24:47, emp. added)—to people of all colors, in all cultures, in whatever countries.
The Gospel “is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16, emp. added). And when individuals in the world “obey the Gospel” (2 Thessalonians 1:8; see Lyons and Butt, n.d.) and are added to the Lord’s Church by God Himself (Acts 2:47), we all become one in Christ Jesus. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:29).
I do not claim to be an expert on race relations, but I know that some people genuinely struggle with the sin of racism. Some struggle with being the recipients of racism, which in turn may cause them to be tempted to react in racist ways. Others struggle with cowardly silence as they tolerate the sin of racism in their homes, churches, schools, businesses, and communities. Still others seem so preoccupied with advancing their own racial agenda that they appear to hastily interpret most everything as a racial problem, when most things are not.
Jesus once taught the hypocrites of His day, saying, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24). May God help us to see as He sees: “for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). What a better world this would be if everyone realized the foolishness of judging a book by its cover. Racism really is ridiculous.
Huxley, Thomas (1865), “Emancipation—Black and White,” http://aleph0.clarku.edu/huxley/CE3/B&W.html.
Lyons, Eric (2011), “The Moral Argument for the Existence of God,” Apologetics Press,http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=4101&topic=95.
Lyons, Eric and Kyle Butt (no date), Receiving the Gift of Salvation (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press), http://www.apologeticspress.org/pdfs/e-books_pdf/Receiving%20the%20Gift%20of%20Salvation.pdf.
Lyons, Eric and Kyle Butt (2009), “Darwin, Evolution, and Racism,” Apologetics Press,http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=9&article=2654.
Marchant, Jo (2008), “We Should Act Like the Animals We Are,” New Scientist, 200:44-45, October 18-24.
Mounce, William D. (1993), Basics of Biblical Greek (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
America, Christianity, and the Culture War (Part I)
|by||Dave Miller, Ph.D.|
[Editors’ Note: This article is the first installment in a three-part series based on a seminar that Dr. Miller conducts in his speaking travels—“The Silencing of God: The Dismantling of America’s Christian Heritage.”]
For 185 years, American culture was friendly toward Christianity. America was, in fact, considered a “Christian nation.” After all, America has never been considered an Islamic, Buddhist, or Hindu nation, even as it has never been a religionless nation. But for the last 50 years, sinister forces—from humanism, atheism, and evolution to social liberalism, pluralism, and “political correctness”—have been aggressive in their assault on the Christian religion. They have succeeded in gradually dismantling many of the moral and spiritual principles that once characterized society. America’s religious, moral, and spiritual underpinnings are literally disintegrating.
Indeed, America is at war! This war is far more serious and deadly than any physical conflict (like the Iraq war). America is fighting a spiritual culture war. Regardless of the surface issues, the central issue is—God. Make no mistake: America is in the throes of a life-and-death struggle over whether the God of the Bible will continue to be acknowledged as the one true God, and Christianity as the one true religion.
Now more than ever before, social and political liberals—from Hollywood to the University to the nation’s Capitol—are openly hostile toward God. Those who profess Christianity are facing the most perilous times ever faced in America. Every effort is being made to expunge references to God and Christianity from public life. Revisionist historians, liberal politicians, secularist educators, morally bankrupt entertainers, and activist judges, prodded by socialistic organizations like the ACLU(American Civil Liberties Union), AUSCS (Americans United for Separation of Church and State), and the NEA (National Educational Association), are feverishly reshaping our history, laws, and traditional way of life. [NOTE: The politically and socially liberal orientation of the NEA was demonstrated at its 2005 national convention with “its usual favoritism toward the gays and the feminists, hostility to parents, and support of liberal causes” (Schlafly, 2005).]
These sinister forces have mounted a massive, full-scale assault on traditional moral values. They are endeavoring to sanitize our society, cleansing it of its Christian connections. This conspiracy parades itself under the guise that the Founding Fathers and the Constitution advocated a “separation of church and state.” The clever ploy goes something like this: “The Founders intended for our political institutions and public schools to be religiously neutral; a strict church-state separation must be observed, with religion completely excluded from the public sector; any such religious references would constitute an illegal endorsement of religion by the government.” Thus, no references to God or Christianity in public settings must be allowed—whether in the government, the community, or the public school. This conspiratorial departure from the nation’s origins, which has been spouted incessantly for some 50 years, has thoroughly permeated the American population and will surely go down in history as one of the big myths perpetrated on a people. For all practical purposes, America has become an atheistic, secularized, pluralistic state. Even the pagan monarchies of world history at least allowed their polytheistic beliefs to be incorporated into public life.
For the last 50 years, in their orchestrated conspiracy to gain sanction for abortion, pornography, homosexuality, atheistic evolution, and a host of other evil, morally-bankrupt behaviors and beliefs, “first amendment rights,” “free speech,” “intolerance!,” and “censorship!” have been the whips that social liberals have used to beat, bully, and berate their opponents into silent submission. But let one person utter even one peep of disagreement, and suddenly the “compassionate” liberals begin spewing hate-speech and, ironically, become completely intolerant, mean-spirited, and insensitive!
Prior to the 1960s, when the Christian worldview thoroughly permeated American civilization, the anti-Christian forces demanded “equal time” and clamored for “freedom to express dissenting, alternative views.” They derided the moral majority by accusing them of using “Gestapo tactics” to suppress ideological opposition. But now that they, to a great extent, have had their way, free speech and open discussion in the free market of ideas is out the window and opposing views are swiftly squelched. Talk about Gestapo tactics. The anti-Christian forces in American society now exhibit the same intolerant mindset that has characterized totalitarian and communist regimes throughout history.
Undoubtedly, during the social ferment of the turbulent 1950s and 1960s, when subversive moral and religious ideologies began to assert themselves, one of the strategic mistakes made was permitting the instigators to redefine the historical terms and concepts as originally articulated by the architects of American civilization. “Free speech” was redefined to mean the right to practice and promote any and every idea or behavior that contradicted Christianity—no matter how immoral or depraved. Everything from burning or urinating on the flag to hardcore pornography came to be classified as “free speech,” while Christian resistance was considered “censorship.” The minority within America who has exhibited hostility toward God, the Bible, and Christianity have literally intimidated and coerced the majority into accepting, as justification for their outrageous stance, the backing of theConstitution. Yet, the historical evidence demonstrates that the Founders and Framers never would have countenanced the notion that “free speech” encompassed speech and behavior deemed immoral by Christian standards (see “Religion and the Founding...,” 2003).
We live in a time warp far removed from America’s origins. The Founders clearly believed that the initial existence and future survival of the Republic was heavily, if not exclusively, dependent on a perpetuated diffusion of the Bible and Christianity throughout society. Yet, for half a century, Americans have been pounded and prodded with the propaganda that public expressions of Christianity should not be allowed lest we “offend” those who do not share our Christian beliefs. Who could have ever imagined that the day could come that the practice of the Christian religion in a Christian nation would be deemed “insensitive”?
To illustrate the extent to which America has plummeted from its original heights, while a Federal judge was demanding that the Chief Justice of the Alabama State Supreme Court remove a Ten Commandments monument in Montgomery, Alabama (“Chief Justice...,” 2003), guess what was happening in California? A small marker was unveiled in Sacramento, California (Capitol Park) along the walkway of the California Veterans Memorial that reads: “In Honor of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Veterans Killed in Action” (Sanders, 2003). Gay-rights advocates hailed the memorial as the first such state-sanctioned landmark honoring homosexual war veterans.
Incredible! Honoring “gays” is praiseworthy, while honoring God is repugnant and unconstitutional. This scenario is a microcosm of what is happening all over the nation. Allusions to the God of the Bible are being systematically stripped from public life—from Christian symbols in city and county seals, to pre-game prayers after school, to the use of the Bible in jury deliberation rooms (see Palm and Krannawitter, 2004; Hume, 2005; Johnson, 2005).
Never mind the fact that the phrase “separation of church and state” is not even found in theConstitution! (Thomas Jefferson used the term in a private letter to reassure the Baptists that the government would not interfere in the free exercise of their religious beliefs [Jefferson, 1802]). In fact, labeling the phrase a “misguided analytical concept,” and noting “the absence of a historical basis for this theory of rigid separation,” the late U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist insightfully observed:
It is impossible to build sound constitutional doctrine upon a mistaken understanding of constitutional history, but unfortunately the Establishment Clause has been expressly freighted with Jefferson’s misleading metaphor for nearly 40 years.... The “wall of separation between church and State” is a metaphor based on bad history, a metaphor which has proved useless as a guide to judging. It should be frankly and explicitly abandoned (Wallace v. Jaffree, 472 U.S. 38, 92,106-107, emp. added).
Is it true that the Founding Fathers and the Constitution intended for Christianity to be kept out of the public sector? Did they desire that references to God, Christ, and the Bible be excluded from public life? Or were they, in fact, actually more concerned with preventing the government from interfering with public expressions of the Christian religion? Did they, themselves, appeal frequently to God in political and public settings? Did they (and their descendants for the first 180+ years), in fact, recognize and subscribe to the critical principle: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12)? Indeed, they did. I invite you to consider but a small portion of the massive amount of available evidence from the withered roots of America’s forgotten heritage.
PUBLIC EXPRESSIONS OF GOD
The Declaration of Independence is the premiere document that launched America as a new nation. Here is a quintessentially political document—a public expression of national concerns intended to articulate justification for declaring a separation from England. If the Founders intended to keep God out of national life, here was the perfect opportunity to manifest that intention. However, in this relatively brief document, they used the following phrases: “Nature’s God” (i.e., an 18th century way to refer to the God Who created nature), “all men are created equal” and “endowed by their Creator,” “appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world,” and “with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence” (The Declaration...). Astounding! The 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence, in risking their very lives, put their signatures to a political document that acknowledged and appealed to the God of the Bible four times! So much for their alleged insistence on “separation of church and state.”
The Federal Constitution
It is evident that the federal Constitution refrains from giving specific directives regarding Christianity. Why? The popular propaganda since the 1960s has been that “the irreligious Framers did not want the nation to retain any attachment to the Christian religion.” Such an assertion is a monstrous perversion of historical fact. The truth of the matter is that they were fearful of the potential interference by the federal government in its ability to place restrictions on the free exercise of the Christian religion. Consequently, they desired that the specifics of religion be left up to the discretion of the several states. However, we must not think for a moment that the federal Framers did not sanction the nation’s intimate affiliation with Christianity, or that they attempted to keep religion out of the Constitution. On the contrary, the Christian religion is inherently assumed and implicitly present in the Constitution. In fact, the United States Constitution contains a direct reference to Jesus Christ! Consider three proofs for these contentions (The United...).
First, consider the meaning of the First Amendment to the Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof....” We have been told that by “establishment of religion,” the Framers meant for the government to maintain complete religious neutrality and that pluralism ought to prevail, i.e., that all religions (whether Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, or Hinduism), though equally tolerated, must not be given any acknowledgement in the public sector. But such an outlandish claim is absolutely false. All one has to do is to go directly to the delegate discussions pertaining to the wording of the First Amendment in order to ascertain the context and original intent of the final wording (Annals of Congress, 1789, pp. 440ff.). The facts of the matter are that by their use of the term “religion,” the Framers had in mind the several Protestant denominations. Their concern was to prevent any single Christian denomination from being elevated above the others and made the State religion—a circumstance that the Founders had endured under British rule when the Anglican Church was the state religion of the thirteen colonies. They further sought to leave the individual States free to make their own determinations with regard to religious (i.e., Christian) matters (cf. Story, 1833, 3.1873:730-731). The “Father of the Bill of Rights,” George Mason, actually proposed the following wording for the First Amendment, which demonstrates the context of their wording:
[A]ll men have an equal, natural and unalienable right to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that no particular sect or society of Christians ought to be favored or established by law in preference to others (Rowland, 1892, 1:244, emp. added).
By “prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” the Framers intended to convey that the federal government was not to interfere with the free and public practice of the Christian religion—the very thing that Christians are now experiencing.
Second, consider the wording of a sentence from Article 1, Section 7 of the Constitution: “If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it....” “Sundays excepted”? Oh, you mean that the government shuts down and does not transact business on Sunday? Why? If this provision had been made in respect of Jews, the Constitution would have read “Saturdays excepted.” If provision had been made for Muslims, the Constitution would have read “Fridays excepted.” If the Founders had intended to encourage a day of inactivity for the government without regard to any one religion, they could have chosen Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. Instead, the federal Constitution reads “Sundays excepted”—proving conclusively that America was Christian in its orientation and that the Framers themselves shared the Christian worldview and gave political recognition to and accommodation of that fact.
Third, if these two allusions to Christianity are not enough, consider yet another. Immediately after Article VII, the Constitution closes with the following words:
Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth....
Did you catch it? Their work was done “in the Year of our Lord.” The Christian world dates all of human history in terms of the birth of Christ. “B.C.” means “before Christ,” and “A.D.” is the abbreviation for the Latin words “anno Domini,” meaning “year of our Lord.” If the Framers were interested in being pluralistic, multi-cultural, and politically correct, they would have refrained from using the B.C./A.D. designation. Or they would have used the religionless designations “C.E.,” Common Era, and “B.C.E.,” Before the Common Era (see “Common Era,” 2006). In so doing, they would have avoided offending Jews, atheists, agnostics, and humanists. Or they could have used “A.H.” (anno hegirae—which means “in the year of the Hijrah” and refers to Muhammad’s flight from Mecca in A.D. 622), the date used by Muslims as the commencement date for the Islamic calendar. Instead, the Framers chose to utilize the dating method that indicated the worldview they shared. What’s more, their reference to “our Lord” does not refer to a generic deity, nor does it refer even to God the Father. It refers to God the Son—an explicit reference to Jesus Christ. Make no mistake: the Constitution of the United States contains an explicit reference to Jesus Christ—not Allah, Buddha, Muhammad, nor the gods of Hinduism or Native Americans!
Original State Constitutions
If the Framers wanted more direct references to Christianity to be left up to the several states, we ought to expect to see the framers of the state constitutions reflecting that intention. And, indeed, they did. Once the Founders declared independence from England, each state commenced to hammer out their respective state constitutions, with the exception of Connecticut which chose to continue to operate under its founding charter until eventually formulating its own state constitution in 1818 (Horton, 1988). If one will take the time to examine the original state constitutions, one will be absolutely overwhelmed by the fact that those framers (many of whom were also involved in working on the federal Constitution), were intimately attached to the God of the Bible and deliberately reflected that attachment in their political pronouncements. The state constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, much of which is believed to be the product of John Adams, provides just one sample. In “Part the First,” the constitution reads:
Article II. It is the right as well as the duty of all men in society, publicly, and at stated seasons to worship the Supreme Being, the great Creator and Preserver of the universe. And no subject shall be hurt, molested, or restrained, in his person, liberty, or estate, for worshipping God in the manner and season most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience; or for his religious profession or sentiments; provided he doth not disturb the public peace, or obstruct others in their religious worship.Article III. As the happiness of a people, and the good order and preservation of civil government, essentially depend upon piety, religion and morality; and as these cannot be generally diffused through a community, but by the institution of the public worship of God, and of public instructions in piety, religion and morality: Therefore, to promote their happiness and to secure the good order and preservation of their government, the people of this commonwealth have a right to invest their legislature with power to authorize and require, and the legislature shall, from time to time, authorize and require, the several towns, parishes, precincts, and other bodies politic, or religious societies, to make suitable provision, at their own expense, for the institution of the public worship of God, and for the support and maintenance of public Protestant teachers of piety, religion and morality, in all cases where such provision shall not be made voluntarily (Constitution of the Commonwealth..., emp. added).
In “Part the Second,” the constitution enumerated the civil officers of the state:
Article I. There shall be a supreme executive magistrate, who shall be styled, The Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; and whose title shall be—His Excellency.Article II. The governor shall be chosen [annually]; and no person shall be eligible to this office, unless at the time of his election, he shall have been an inhabitant of this commonwealth for seven years next preceding; and unless he shall at the same time, be seised in his own right, of a freehold within the commonwealth of the value of one thousand pounds; and unless he shall declare himself to be of the Christian religion(Constitution of the Commonwealth..., emp. added).
Further, the “Oath of Office” that was to be taken by anyone who wished to serve as “governor, lieutenant governor, councillor, senator or representative” began with the declaration: “I, A.B., do declare, that I believe the Christian religion, and have a firm persuasion of its truth.”
Massachusetts was typical. The average American would be startled to know that of the original eleven state constitutions (omitting Connecticut), seven explicitly required office holders to be of the Protestant religion (i.e., Vermont, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia). Maryland’s constitution required a belief in the Christian religion. The constitutions of Delaware and Pennsylvania required a belief in the inspiration of the Old and New Testaments. While the Virginia and New York constitutions did not mandate an oath, they spoke of “Christian forbearance” and “no one denomination of Christians” above another (“State Constitutions,” n.d.).
Current State Constitution Preambles
Many more references to God and Christianity in governmental documents could be cited. In time, the state constitutions have gradually been amended to exclude such forthright religious allusions. Nevertheless, despite this erosion, of the present fifty state constitutions, forty-six have “preambles.” And forty-five of those preambles make explicit appeals to the God of the Bible (“U.S. State...,” 2003)! Consider two samples. The preamble for Maine’s constitution reads:
We the people of Maine, in order to establish justice, insure tranquility, provide for our mutual defense, promote our common welfare, and secure to ourselves and our posterity the blessings of liberty, acknowledging with grateful hearts the goodness of the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe in affording us an opportunity, so favorable to the design; and, imploring God’s aid and direction in its accomplishment, do agree to form ourselves into a free and independent State, by the style and title of the State of Maine and do ordain and establish the following Constitution for the government of the same (Constitution of the State..., emp. added).
The preamble for New Jersey reads:
We, the people of the State of New Jersey, grateful to Almighty God for the civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing upon our endeavors to secure and transmit the same unimpaired to succeeding generations, do ordain and establish this Constitution (New Jersey State..., emp. added).
The objective observer is forced to conclude that the original framers of each of the state constitutions shared the same belief in and reliance on the same God that the national Framers possessed. If the notion of “separation of church and state” were correct, why did the framers of the state constitutions unashamedly include acknowledgements of God? And why have those allusions remained to this day?
Presidential Inaugural Addresses
Immediately after taking the oath of office, Presidents of the United States deliver to the nation an inaugural address. Few people are probably aware of the fact that, in doing so, every single president of the United States has alluded to the God of the Bible! The further back in history one goes, the more extensive the allusions. For example, on Thursday, April 30, 1789, the first President of our country, George Washington, made the following remarks:
Such being the impressions under which I have, in obedience to the public summons, repaired to the present station, it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe, who presides in the councils of nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that His benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes, and may enable every instrument employed in its administration to execute with success the functions allotted to his charge. In tendering this homage to the Great Author of every public and private good, I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own, nor those of my fellow-citizens at large less than either. No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than those of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token ofprovidential agency; since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.... Having thus imparted to you my sentiments as they have been awakened by the occasion which brings us together, I shall take my present leave; but not without resorting once more to the benign Parent of the Human Race in humble supplication that, since He has been pleased to favor the American people with opportunities for deliberating in perfect tranquility,...so His divine blessing may be equally conspicuous in the enlarged views, the temperate consultations, and the wise measures on which the success of this Government must depend (1789, emp. added).
Such remarks not only reflect a deep sense of dependency on and intimacy with the God of the Bible, they demonstrate the extent to which the entire nation integrated this conviction into national, public life.
The second President of the United States, John Adams, made the following remarks in his inaugural speech on Saturday, March 4, 1797:
Relying, however, on the purity of their intentions, the justice of their cause, and the integrity and intelligence of the people, under an overruling Providence which had so signally protected this country from the first, the representatives of this nation, then consisting of little more than half its present number, not only broke to pieces the chains which were forging and the rod of iron that was lifted up, but frankly cut asunder the ties which had bound them, and launched into an ocean of uncertainty.... And may that Being who is supreme over all, the Patron of Order, the Fountain of Justice, and the Protector in all ages of the world of virtuous liberty, continue His blessing upon this nation and its Government and give it all possible success and duration consistent with the ends of His providence (1797, emp. added).
Thomas Jefferson’s first inaugural on March 4, 1801 included the following words:
...acknowledging and adoring an overruling Providence, which by all its dispensations proves that it delights in the happiness of man here and his greater happiness hereafter—with all these blessings, what more is necessary to make us a happy and a prosperous people?.... And may that Infinite Power which rules the destinies of the universe lead our councils to what is best, and give them a favorable issue for your peace and prosperity (1801, emp. added).
In his second inaugural address on March 4, 1805, Jefferson announced:
...I shall need, too, the favor of that Being in whose hands we are, who led our forefathers, as Israel of old, from their native land, and planted them in a country flowing with all the necessaries and comforts of life; who has covered our infancy with his providence, and our riper years with his wisdom and power; and to whose goodness I ask you to join with me in supplications, that he will so enlighten the minds of your servants, guide their councils, and prosper their measures, that whatsoever they do, shall result in your good, and shall secure to you the peace, friendship, and approbation of all nations (1805, emp. added).
Such remarks by one of the least religious of the Founders hardly sounds like the anti-Christian “deist” that he has been represented to be. He believed in the God of the Bible—the same One Who had guided the Israelites as reported in the Old Testament—and believed that He had guided the founding of America and was actively influencing America and her leaders.
Moving further along in American history, on March 4, 1841, William Henry Harrison’s inaugural address included these astounding remarks:
I deem the present occasion sufficiently important and solemn to justify me in expressing to my fellow-citizens a profound reverence for the Christian religion and a thorough conviction that sound morals, religious liberty, and a just sense of religious responsibility are essentially connected with all true and lasting happiness; and to that good Being who has blessed us by the gifts of civil and religious freedom, who watched over and prospered the labors of our fathers and has hitherto preserved to usinstitutions far exceeding in excellence those of any other people, let us unite in fervently commending every interest of our beloved country in all future time (1841, emp. added).
Like his presidential predecessors, not to mention the Founders themselves, here was a President who would be deemed by today’s standards to be wholly and unequivocally politically incorrect. Observe carefully his forthright contentions: (1) being inaugurated as President of the United States is sufficiently significant to express to the entire nation and the world profound respect for Christianity—not Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, or atheism; (2) all true and lasting happiness depend on Christian morality, freedom to practice Christianity, and a proper/just sense of religious (not social or political) responsibility; (3) the civil and religious freedom enjoyed by Americans came from God; (4) America’s political institutions are superior to all other countries; and (5) America’s future is dependant on God. Illegal endorsement of religion by government?
On Monday, March 4, 1861, when Abraham Lincoln became President, the nation was standing on the brink of imminent civil war. If you had been in that crucial position on that momentous occasion, what would you have said? In his inaugural address, it is evident that the God of the Bible and the Christian religion weighed heavily on his mind:
My countrymen, one and all, think calmly and well upon this whole subject. Nothing valuable can be lost by taking time. If there be an object to hurry any of you in hot haste to a step which you would never take deliberately, that object will be frustrated by taking time; but no good object can be frustrated by it. Such of you as are now dissatisfied still have the old Constitution unimpaired, and, on the sensitive point, the laws of your own framing under it;...If it were admitted that you who are dissatisfied hold the right side in the dispute, there still is no single good reason for precipitate action. Intelligence, patriotism,Christianity, and a firm reliance on Him who has never yet forsaken this favored landare still competent to adjust in the best way all our present difficulty (1861, emp. added).
Imagine that! Abraham Lincoln used as the central rational to avert the War Between the States the fact that they all shared the same God and the same religion!
Moving into the 20th century, on March 4, 1921, fresh out of World War I, Warren G. Harding delivered his inaugural speech:
One cannot stand in this presence and be unmindful of the tremendous responsibility. The world upheaval has added heavily to our tasks. But with the realization comes the surge of high resolve, and there is reassurance in belief in the God-given destiny of our Republic. If I felt that there is to be sole responsibility in the Executive for the America of tomorrow I should shrink from the burden. But here are a hundred millions, with common concern and shared responsibility, answerable to God and country. The Republic summons them to their duty, and I invite co-operation. I accept my part with single-mindedness of purpose and humility of spirit, and implore the favor and guidance of God in His Heaven. With these I am unafraid, and confidently face the future. I have taken the solemn oath of office on that passage of Holy Writ wherein it is asked: “What doth the Lord require of thee but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” [Micah 6:8—DM]. This I plight to God and country (1921, emp. added).
Who was viewed as directing the destiny of America? God! To whom was the president answerable? To God! To Whom did he appeal for guidance? To God! On what object did he take the oath of office? The Word of God! To Whom did he “plight” (i.e., solemnly pledge) himself? To God! Such words certainly conflict with the current alleged restriction between church and state.
Four years later, on Wednesday, March 4, 1925, Calvin Coolidge commenced his presidency with the following words:
Here stands our country, an example of tranquility at home, a patron of tranquility abroad. Here stands its Government, aware of its might but obedient to its conscience. Here it will continue to stand, seeking peace and prosperity,...attentive to the intuitive counsel of womanhood, encouraging education, desiring the advancement of religion, supporting the cause of justice and honor among the nations. America seeks no earthly empire built on blood and force. No ambition, no temptation, lures her to thought of foreign dominions. The legions which she sends forth are armed, not with the sword, but with the cross. The higher state to which she seeks the allegiance of all mankind is not of human, but of divine origin. She cherishes no purpose save to merit the favor of Almighty God (1925, emp. added).
This President claimed that America may not be justly styled an aggressor nation—since the nation embraces Christianity. Indeed, he insisted that America’s only purpose is to please God and to urge all nations to do the same by giving their allegiance to Him.
This examination of presidential inaugural addresses could be greatly expanded. Don’t miss the point: In direct contradiction to the attempt to expel God from the government and public life, every single President of the United States has referred to the God of the Bible at one or more of his inaugurations.
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