“It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favors.”
“Of the many influences that have shaped the United States into a distinctive nation and people, none may be said to be more fundamental and enduring than the Bible.”
“Jewish authors would never have invented either that style or that morality; and the Gospel has marks of truth so great, so striking, so utterly inimitable, that the invention of it would be more astonishing than the hero.”
Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; (Acts 20:28-29 ESV)
I believe that many will agree with me that Christianity has lost much of its influence on our modern culture. It has even become politically incorrect to mention it in the history books of our nation, unless it is portrayed in a negative context. Only 150 years ago, Christian influence was obvious in American education. Most of the early colleges, such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Dartmouth were founded by Christians who believed there was no true knowledge or wisdom without Jesus Christ (see “Harvard’s Rules and Precepts”). The first 106 out of 108 colleges in the US were started as Christian schools primarily to ensure the availability of an educated clergy. University of Houston researchers, Donald Lutz and Charles Hyneman, have concluded that 34% of the quotes used by the Founding Fathers of our country between 1760 and 1805 were from the Bible. This certainly indicates that the Bible and Christianity were a major influence on these men and the early history of America. However, this is certainly not true of our leaders and the culture in general today.
How has it happened then, that Christianity has lost its prominent position of influence on American culture and modern society in the Western nations? At the core of it, I think the primary reason is that the “fear of God” has been replaced by the “fear of man”. Modern civilization has become self-absorbed. We are like a man who constantly checks the mirror to see what he thinks others see in him. It is the pride of life, which drives a man to desire independence from God while chaining himself to the ungodly opinions of others.
The sacred writings of the modern world are founded upon the wisdom of men, self-help books, psychology texts, and the latest People Magazine. The authority of Scripture is denied, if not out-rightly – then by neglect. The Bible is seen as providing “a” way, not “the” way. All men are seen as basically “good” without ever defining what “good” is.
Too many ministers today see their work as a job rather than a calling. They lack spiritual knowledge and personal holiness. Many are like the priests described by Ezekiel, “Her priests have done violence to my law and have profaned my holy things. They have made no distinction between the holy and the common, neither have they taught the difference between the unclean and the clean, and they have disregarded my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them. Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey, shedding blood, destroying lives to get dishonest gain. And her prophets have smeared whitewash for them, seeing false visions and divining lies for them, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD,’ when the LORD has not spoken.” (Ezekiel 22:26-28 ESV) The essential good news of salvation is lost in trying to make the church meet the world’s standard of success.
Therefore, increasingly – as time has passed, parents and children have passed through Sunday Schools and worship services without being given a firm foundation in the Christian faith. Is it any wonder that so many of our youth, who have attended church all their lives, go off to the modern university and promptly lose what faith they have?
When the doctrines of the church and personal beliefs are allowed to become poles apart, is it any wonder that the definition of sin becomes uncertain and “salvation by death” the acceptable conclusion of a life? The underlying wish that everyone goes to heaven has sent too many to hell.
As the clergy has become weaker by submitting itself to the bonds of public opinion, the church and its members have lost their purpose of being “salt and light”. Indeed, how can they be salt and light when the world has become the standard by which the modern church measures all things? God has not changed. The Bible has not changed. Therefore, if the church has lost much of its influence for good in society, it is because the men and women who make up the church have chosen to ride the whirlwind of public approval rather than honor God.
We would do well to follow God’s instructions: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.” (Jeremiah 6:16 ESV) God is speaking here to His people about using good judgment and not blindly following false prophets and priests. The Bible is our way mark to direct us which way to take. The ways of the world will never direct us to fulfill God’s purpose.
“The bosom of America is open to receive not only the Opulent and respectable Stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations and Religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment.”
Samuel Adams was born on September 27, 1722 in Boston, Massachusetts. Adams’ parents were both Puritans, but Adams himself became a strict Congregationalist. He was the son of a deacon and married the daughter of a minister.
Samuel Adams believed, when discussing the rights of the colonists, that freedom and liberty cannot be given or taken away by government – it is the gift of God. Adams often used many biblical arguments to justify American independence. He never lost sight of the revolution’s political and religious goals.
His understanding of the Bible and his strong faith in God encouraged Adams to work for three goals: achieving American independence, protecting the constitutional liberties of the American people, and – most importantly – building a society of upright people.
Samuel Adams believed that:
“A general dissolution of 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 when once they lose their virtue then will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader.” (Samuel Adams in a letter to James Warren dated February 12, 1779)
Adams envisioned a country where the clergy, philosophers, political leaders, and patriots worked together to impress upon the minds of youth the fear and love of God. He desired that the people would be led “in the study and practice of the exalted virtues of the Christian system.” (Samuel Adams October 4, 1790)
“Nothing is more essential to the establishment of manners in a State than that all persons employed in places of power and trust be men of [exceptional] character. The public cannot be too curious concerning the characters of public men.” (The Writings of Samuel Adams, Harry Alonzo Cushing, ed., volume III, pp. 236-37, written to James Warren on Nov. 4, 1775)
Concerning his private life, there is no reasonable doubt that Samuel Adams was a Christian. The piety of his personal life confirmed his love for Jesus Christ. He regularly attended church and he led his family in morning and evening devotions. Not long before his death, he wrote a letter to Thomas Paine disapproving Paine’s attempts to discredit Christianity. He died on October 2, 1803 believing in Jesus Christ as his savior.
“The hand of providence has been so conspicuous in all this, that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more than wicked, that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligations.”
I consider the government of the United States as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises. This results not only from the provision that no law shall be made respecting the establishment or free exercise of religion, but from that also which reserves to the States the powers not delegated to the United States. Certainly, no power to prescribe any religious exercise or to assume authority in any religious discipline has been delegated to the General Government. It must then rest with the States. (Letter to Samuel Miller — 1808)
Let the pulpit resound with the doctrine and sentiments of religious liberty. Let us hear of the dignity of man’s nature, and the noble rank he holds among the works of God… Let it be known that British liberties are not the grants of princes and parliaments. (Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law — 1765)
It yet remains a problem to be solved in human affairs, whether any free government can be permanent, where the public worship of God, and the support of religion, constitutes no part of the policy or duty of the state in any assignable shape. The future experience of Christendom, and chiefly of the American states, must settle this problem, as yet new in the history of the world, abundant, as it has been, in experiments in the theory of government. (Commentaries on the Constitution — 1833)
But what do we mean by the American Revolution? Do we mean the American war? The Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments, of their duties and obligations…This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people was the real American Revolution. (Letter to H. Niles — 1818)
George Washington (1774):
“[T]he crisis is arrived when we must assert our rights, or submit to every imposition, that can be heaped upon us, till custom and use shall make us as tame and abject slaves.”
Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time, who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done, if we are always doing.”
John Adams (1770):
“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclination, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”