Headed into the July 4th week we want to ask a quick question: Would you like our children and families, our economy and security to prosper in this nation?
We’re guessing you’re nodding your head “yes” right now. Well, hopefully you are!
The key is found here, in the last verse:
Then our sons in their youth will be like well-nurtured plants, and our daughters will be like pillars carved to adorn a palace. Our barns will be filled with every kind of provision. Our sheep will increase by thousands, by tens of thousands in our fields; our oxen will draw heavy loads. There will be no breaching of walls, no going into captivity, no cry of distress in our streets. Blessed is the people of whom this is true; blessed is the people whose God is the Lord. – Psalm 144:12-15
Here it is again in another verse:
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord – Psalm 33:12
We want our nation to be blessed, as it has for hundreds of July 4s, and we can still have it – if we honor the Lord with our ways and not reject His commands. We haven’t been perfect as a nation, but we truly have been blessed.
But just a few weeks ago, First Baptist Church Dallas placed the statement “America is a Christian nation” on a billboard in preparation for their Freedom Sunday celebration. That’s when the attacks began. “Offensive and bigoted” said the Dallas Morning News and Mayor Mike Rawlings. Following their attacks a groundswell of anger against the sign boiled to the point where the sign company, Outpost Media, was forced to take it down.
In response FBC offered to put a “?” at the end of the statement, to make it more conversational and less proclamational. But that didn’t work – it had to come down.
Mayor Mike Rawlings launched a personal campaign against FBC, saying, “That is not the Christ I follow.” It’s “not the Dallas I want to be … to say things that do not unite us but divide us. I never heard those words – that voice come out of Christ. Just the opposite. I was brought up to believe: Be proud of yours, but do not diminish mine.”
Maybe you’re not as confused as we are after reading that, but saying America is a Christian nation is not offensive and bigoted, and it’s certainly not unChristlike to make such a claim. As a matter of fact, a quick perusal through our founding documents and some quotes from our founding fathers might be enough to incline you to make the same claim FBC did on that billboard. It’s certainly enough to prove the verses quoted above are true.
Did you know that just 30 years ago, Newsweek magazine ran a headline article in their Dec. 27, 1982 issue, titled, “How the Bible Made America?” In it was made this stunning statement: “Historians are discovering that the Bible, perhaps even more than the Constitution, is our founding document.”
That wasn’t long ago.
And what about our first Inauguration?
The day George Washington was sworn in as president in New York City, there was a call to prayer at 9 a.m. to dedicate our newly formed nation to God. The papers reported that “the bells will ring at nine o’clock, when the people may go up to the house of God and in a solemn manner commit the new government, with its important train of consequences, to the holy protection and blessing of the Most High. …”
The ceremony was conducted on the balcony at Federal Hall, where the Bible was laid upon a crimson velvet cushion. It was opened, and Washington placed his left hand upon it, raised his right, took the oath of office, then bent over and reverently kissed it.
In his presidential address, he opened with prayer, explaining that: “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. …”
The next inaugural activities then began – activities arranged by Congress itself when the Senate directed: “That after the oath shall have been administered to the President, he – attended by the Vice-President and members of the Senate and House of Representatives – proceed to St. Paul’s Chapel to hear Divine service.”
So, here we have President Washington in 1789 and Newsweek in 1982 affirming the reality that it was the principles of Christianity that built our nation, yet we can’t say that in 2018?
Looking back even further we see the Jamestown Charter, written in 1606, stating that their task was governed by the “providence of Almighty God … in propagating of the Christian religion to such people as yet live in darkness.”
The Mayflower Compact, written in 1620, stated that they came to the New World in the “name of God … for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith.”
Certainly there were wolves in the midst of the sheep back then (there still are today) – there were those who came for gold, hated the Indians and did awful things. But the purity of the Christian remnant within the first few waves of explorers and pilgrims established the sure foundation upon which our Founding Fathers could build this nation.
So fast-forward to our Founders – listen to our first four presidents:
- “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.” – George Washington
- “So great is my veneration for the Bible that the earlier my children begin to read it the more confident will be my hope that they will prove useful citizens of their country and respectable members of society. I have for many years made it a practice of mine to read through the Bible once every year.” – John Quincy Adams
- “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 this country.” – Thomas Jefferson
- “We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government: upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the 10 Commandments of God.” – James Madison
Now fast-forward to 1820, just 200 years after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, when Secretary of State and former Senator Daniel Webster, took the podium at the Bicentennial Celebration at Plymouth, saying, “Let us not forget the religious character of our origin. Our fathers were brought here by their high veneration for the Christian religion. They journeyed by its light, and labored in its Hope. They sought to incorporate its principles with the elements of their society, and to defuse its influence through all their institutions, civil, political, or literary.”
Today, if people in this country want to deny our heritage, it’s their right to do so … but that doesn’t make it true. We are a Christian nation – of sorts, because nations can’t be saved – and we were founded upon Christian values, the very values that helped lead to all of the freedoms we enjoy today.
Blessed it the nation whose God is the Lord. – Psalm 33:12