Our Christian Heritage
In 1776, fifty-six men, who were the leaders of the thirteen American colonies, signed their names below the last sentence of the Declaration of Independence, which reads – “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.”
From their courageous decision, the greatest nation in world history was born. In their Declaration of Independence, they penned the famous words that are the bedrock of our nation, and the hope of all peoples of all nations who yearn to live in freedom – “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.” At the time of its signing, there were about three million people in the thirteen American colonies. Today, there are 2.4 billion people around the world who are now living under some type of democracy.
It is said that our nation was born out of revival. In the 1700’s, there was a period known as the First Great Awakening. Preachers like Jonathan Edwards, Gilbert Tennant, and missionaries from England, John Wesley, and George Whitefield, preached thousands of sermons from the church houses to the barn houses all across the thirteen colonies. George Whitefield alone was estimated to have preached over 18,000 sermons from 1736-1770, not all of them, however, in America. He used the outdoors on many occasions, as he preached, “Ye must be born again,” to thousands of coal miners, and from one Indian village to another. He had a loud, clear voice, and Benjamin Franklin estimated that 30,000 people heard him on one occasion. Franklin, who was a friend of Whitefield and his American publisher, said of the results of his ministry – “It was wonderful to see the change soon made in the manners of our inhabitants. From being thoughtless or indifferent about religion, it seemed as if the whole world were growing religious, so that one could not walk thro’ the town in an evening without hearing psalms sung in different families of every street. ”
“Proclaim Liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof. LEV. XXV X”
These are the words that are inscribed on our Liberty Bell. There is an interesting story behind this. William Penn, a Quaker from England, who had been imprisoned three times in England because of his religious writings, inherited some land in the northeastern portion of America. He founded the colony of Pennsylvania, and in 1701, he drew up a constitution called the Charter of Privileges, in which the first article protected freedom of worship. He wanted Pennsylvania to be a haven for religious toleration and representative government. He also believed in having good and non-violent relations with the Native Americans. Some time after Penn’s death, the Pennsylvania Assembly ordered the Liberty Bell with the Leviticus inscription on it in 1751, exactly 50 years after the founding of Pennsylvania, thus making the connection with the “Leviticus Jubilee” which occurred every 50 years.
There are some today that are ignoring and distorting our nation’s Christian heritage and are misinterpreting the original intent of our Founding Fathers as pertaining to religion. For the past 50 years in America, organizations such as the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), have systematically usurped the “will of the people,” by using the court system to try to take away every vestige of public religion such as The Ten Commandments and State sponsored prayer being removed from our public schools. They have used the term “Separation of Church and State.” This term is not even mentioned in the Constitution or in any of its Amendments. Amendment I of the Constitution simply states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” That’s it! No separation. It simply says that the Federal government cannot establish a national religion, or stop the free _expression of any religion. Any thing pertaining to religion was left up to the individual States.
Many of the Founding Fathers were afraid of exactly what is happening today. They were afraid of a centralized government having too much power over the people of the States. Many refused to sign the Constitution unless these Amendments, limiting the power of the federal government, were enacted. Any “separation” was there not to limit religious activities in public, but rather to limit the power of the federal government to interfere with the religious activities in the States.
Many today are also trying to distort our view of our Founding Fathers by calling them slave owners, and by calling into question their personal lives. By a broad sweep of the brush, they attempt to draw a picture of our Founding Fathers that is not consistent with history or with the great majority of them. There were over 200 men that could be considered our Founding Fathers. Many were calling for an end to slavery before the end of the 18th century, including three of the most well known, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin. One has to remember that it was Great Britain that brought slavery to America. America was originally settled by people who were trying to escape such tyranny. One has to also remember that, just as Franklin said, there was a state of apathy towards religion before the First Great Awakening. There were also many, particurly in the rural areas, who were “un-churched.” As God stirred the colonies through men like Whitefield, the people had a new sense of hope for the birth of this nation. Whitefield was even considered by many as the “Founding Father” of our nation.
Our Founding Fathers knew that Christians looking for religious freedom had originally settled America. In the Mayflower Compact, they acknowledged the purpose of their voyage by declaring, “Having undertaken for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith…” John Winthrop, who was a leader of the Puritans and was often quoted by Ronald Reagan, warned, “We are a company professing ourselves fellow-members of Christ…knit together by this bond of love…We are entered into covenant with Him for this work…For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill, the eyes of all people are upon us; so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword through the world.” The New England Confederation, a group of original American colonies, stated in 1643 that, “We all came into these parts of America with one and the same end and aim, namely to advance the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Our Founding Fathers knew that freedom without morality would not work, and they knew that Christianity was the best way for this to occur. There was, however, a smattering of other religions at the time including several different Protestant denominations that were the great majority. Other religions were free to worship in their own way. In fact, it is because our nation was founded on Christian principles that these other religions were free to worship. That is the beauty of true Christianity and that was the foundation of our nation. As George Washington so apply stated, “While just government protects all in their religious rights, true religion affords to government its surest support.”
Our Founding Fathers knew from history that whenever a particular religion dominated a nation, the people would be repressed. In fact, this was occurring in their most recent history with the protestant Church of England. There was little to no danger of this occurring in the United States because there were several different denominations, and because one of the main staples of the American way was freedom of worship. I believe we can say that the Founding Fathers were right! Our nation was founded upon Christian principles that has resulted in religious freedom for all, and God has abundantly blessed us. There are other nations in this Western Hemisphere, for example, that were founded at about the same time, and have about the same climate and natural resources, but they were founded by “gold diggers” and were dominated by Roman Catholicism, and their history has been one of ignorance and poverty.
Our nation went through what is called the Second Great Awakening in the 1800s. Under preachers like Charles Finney (1792-1875), and the Methodist circuit rider preachers, there were tremendous revivals. This Second Great Awakening resulted in many of the gospel songs that we cherish so much today. However, Finney discovered something troubling under his ministry that centered in the northeast and mainly in New York State. He would find that within a few years after a revival in a particular town, the townsman would be back to their old ways. Fanny Crosby, the famous blind hymn writer, even mentioned that at the turn of the 20th century much of the churches in the northeast were dry and cold again.
In the South and Midwest, on the other hand, there were many who were seeking God like never before. They had been gloriously saved from sin, as evidenced by many of these gospel songs, and were seeking God for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. There had been some reports of the Spirit baptism in the 1800s, but it was at the turn of the century in 1901, when people started to experience the baptism of the Holy Spirit in towns like Topeka Kansas, Joplin Missouri and others and the Pentecostal movement began. The Pentecostal movement was birthed out of “holiness” churches and the movement spread all over the nation and world. What followed were hundreds of miracles that were witnessed by many and documented in newspapers. However, when man started to organize it, they began to lose the fire. Today, much of the mainline denominational church world is still dead and dry, and much of the “full gospel” and non-denominational church world holds little semblance to the gospel of the blood and the cross of Christ that was so prevalent in the 1800s and early 1900s.
Isn’t there a correlation between the three major movements that occurred at about the same time in our nation, starting in the late 50s – The opening of the floodgates of corruption of the church world with the charismatic movement, to the rights of Christians that have been systematically diminishing by the using of the court system, and the birth of “rock and roll” and the rapid decline of morality in our nation? Could it be that we are being judged as a nation, who once knew and honored God, because of our Christian backslidings? God has blessed this nation and has sent us revival over and over again, and over and over again we have backslidden.
There is, as mentioned earlier, the Scripture proclaiming liberty inscribed on our Liberty Bell; there is The Ten Commandments inscribed on the walls of the Supreme Court; there are Scriptures carved into the tribute blocks at the Washington Monument; engraved in metal at the top of the Washington Monument are the words, “Praise be to God”; there is “In God we trust” engraved on government buildings and on our currency, and Congress still opens every session with prayer just as the Founding Fathers wanted. Yet, evil men have taken State sponsored prayer and The Ten Commandments out of our public schools, and it seems that every time God is mentioned in schools, there is a challenge by the ACLU. Could it be that these rights are being taken away because the commandments of God are no longer written “in the hearts” of the American people? It could be argued that there would be no erosion of Christian rights, no erosion of morality, no Supreme Court decision in 1973 legalizing abortion that goes directly against the “right to life” statement in our Declaration of Independence, if revival fires were still burning in our churches and the churches were still preaching the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ, because this produces a moral and decent people.
The purpose of the “Quotes from our Founding Fathers and others” section of this website, is to remind us of our Christian heritage. Quotes from our Founding Fathers, Presidents, and modern day Statesman like former Ambassador Alan Keyes, and others will be posted. These are quotes that you will not hear or learn about in the modern history textbooks of our public schools.
For instance, you will also not hear about the account of the Battle at the Monongahela. In this particular battle, George Washington had two horses shot from underneath him, and had four bullet holes in his coat, and yet was unharmed. He was the only one on horseback that did not die in that battle. The account of this battle has been removed from many of the textbooks of our public schools since 1934. Those of influence do not want our children to read about how our main Founding Father was divinely protected in battle after battle and prayed to God, the “Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” as recorded in his personal prayer journal, yet they unashamedly teach that we somehow evolved from apes in every public school in America. Only the state of Alabama has a clause that mandates that the textbooks have a short paragraph explaining that evolution is not a fact and is taught only as a theory, and of course, that has been challenged in the court system.
God has been replaced with the religion of “secular humanism” in our public schools and universities. In our modern day of “enlightenment,” God and morality has been pushed aside. Man and his pleasure in now at the center of our society, and even though 80% of Americans still consider themselves “Christian,” we are fast approaching to be a secular society. Compare what is happening today in our public schools with what our Founding Fathers wanted for the States. In 1789, they passed a law called the Northwest Ordinance, which gave requirements of those territories wishing to join the United States. Article III states, “Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”
The reading of the Bible and the learning of moral lessons from the Scriptures used to be prevalent in our public schools. Our universities such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and others were founded as Christian universities and were responsible for educating many of our Founding Fathers, statesman, Presidents, governors, ministers, and scientists. Our Founding Fathers knew and understood, as you can see from many of their quotes available on this web site, that religion and morality had to remain in the body of the people in order to maintain our nation’s happiness and survival. In fact, it was when our nation strayed from the ideals of our Founders that our nation has gotten into trouble, as we are today, and as we were in the mid 1800’s when slavery expanded so much in the South and threatened to destroy us as a nation.
It is our hope that in the rediscovering of the beliefs and character of those who have made this country great, and in the realization of how far we have fallen from these ideals, that it will drive us to our knees in earnest prayer toward God that he would once again visit our beloved nation with revival. We do not need another religious or political organization. What we need is another Awakening. We need the churches in America to “awake to righteousness.” We need the people of the churches to wake up and realize that unless things change and change quickly we are lost as a nation. If the people who consider themselves “Christian” would just be moral and virtuous people, and vote for the moral and decent issues and candidates, America would be a different place overnight, and our greatest sin, legal abortion, would be outlawed.
Will we wake up in America? Will those who love God, humble themselves before Him and seek the face of God for Revival to once again visit this great land? Will we recognize how miserably short we have fallen from the ideals of our Founders and the Christian principles that we once held so dear, and will this drive us to our knees to beg of God that he awake and spare our nation?
We refuse to give up on America. God can still use America in these last days to fulfill His purpose. In these last days, we would much rather have the blessings of God than his curses.