By Editorial Staff
Published May 1, 2008
By Dr. Marshall Foster
The power elite in America today give little heed to the spiritual temperature of our nation when addressing the state of our nation. To listen to their claims of what they have done through government, it would appear that our future rests on great secular leaders who can organize and inspire the masses. But for those willing to hear, the theological state of our nation is of far more lasting importance than the secular analysis of those in the spotlight.
When the founders of mighty nations are discussed, many different names come to mind. Alexander the Great, Caesar, William Wallace, or Charlemagne, perhaps. Or maybe Oliver Cromwell, Napoleon, or George Washington. Conquerors and generals, politicians and potentates would seem to take center stage when nations rise to greatness. But, in truth, the most powerful historical figures in the flowering of the world’s freest and richest nations have been Christian theologians and missionaries.
Matthew Henry, the premier Bible commentator of America’s colonial era stated it clearly: “The mighty heroes of the world … conquered nations for themselves and made them miserable; the apostles conquered them for Christ and made them happy.” To the student of Christian history the above observation is not a surprise. But to a generation largely unaware of any significant, culturally relevant theologians this truth is difficult to believe.
The fact is that the nation transforming power of theology has been pervasive throughout history. For example, who brought hope and order out of a collapsing Roman Empire? The answer is the great theologian, Augustine of Hippo. And who united Ireland in the fifth century, making it a Christian nation? It was Saint Patrick who brought truth and Christian civilization to this heathen horde. Who gave the semi-pagan Angles and Saxons their unifying identity as Englishmen? The quiet scholar, the Venerable Bede, forged their united Christian identity as a people. Who virtually created the nation of Germany and developed her modern language through his Bible translation? The reformer and theologian, Martin Luther, has that distinction. Who was the forgotten founder and guiding inspiration of the leading free and prosperous governments of the world? This nation builder was the theologian, John Calvin. Who freed Scotland from popish tyranny and clannish barbarism? The theologian and preacher, John Knox, united his people under Christ. Who was the theological bulwark of the English Civil War and Oliver Cromwell’s constant mentor? The foremost Puritan theologian, John Owen, aggressively applied his great mind to give the people of England the biblical rationale for resistance to tyranny and a heart for liberty. Who was considered the greatest intellect in colonial America and the one who unified the people’s thinking, setting the stage for independence? The theologian and leader of the Great Awakening, Jonathan Edwards, was that individual.
The truth is that the study of God as revealed in the Bible and the application of this study to people and cultures is the determining factor in the rise and fall of nations. Politicians and military leaders enter the scene late with their parts already orchestrated by the theologians that have come before, setting the worldview of the people and their leaders.
If the theology of a people is strong, biblical and central to life as it was in early America, then tyrants are restrained. In contrast, if a people’s theology is weak, in other words if their view of God is distorted, then they become easily misled and eventually enslaved.
As Americans contemplate the State of the Union at this time, it is vital to focus on the two hundred year decline in our nation’s theology. Spiritual perspective is pivotal when analyzing a nation’s history because a people’s theology (study of God) determines their view of man, which determines their view of government, the sanctity of life, and so on.
Marshall Foster is the founder of The Mayflower Institute.
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“When the lives of the unborn are snuffed out, they often feel pain, pain that is long and agonizing.” – President Ronald Reagan to National Religious Broadcasters Convention, January 1981
Ronald Reagan became convinced of this as a result of watching The Silent Scream – a movie he considered so powerful and convicting that he screened it at the White House.
The modern technology of real-time ultrasound now reveals the actual responses of a 12-week old fetus to being aborted. As the unborn child attempts to escape the abortionist’s suction curette, her motions can be seen to become desperately agitated and her heart rate doubles. Her mouth opens – as if to scream – but no sound can come out. Her scream doesn’t have to remain silent, however … not if you will become her voice. This newly re-mastered version features eight language tracks and two bonus videos.
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“Give me liberty or give me death!”
Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.
The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
This presentation is a similar call, not to one but many. By reintroducing the principles of freedom that gave birth to America, it is our prayer that Jesus, the true and only ruler over the nations, will once again be our acknowledged Sovereign, that we may again know and exult in the great truth that “where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).
Welcome to the Second American Revolution!
This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.
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What is true Revival and Spiritual Awakening?
Discover the answer in this eyewitness account by Dennis Kinlaw, President of Asbury College, Wilmore, Kentucky, who recounts the story of a visitation of the Holy Spirit in 1970. This is the presentation that has continued to spark the flames of Revival in the hearts of people around the world. Contains eyewitness footage from the Revival at Asbury College in 1970 in Wilmore, Kentucky.
Certain to challenge you to greater holiness and a deeper commitment to full-scale revival. Original news and private footage has been included. If you are a student who longs to see a spiritual awakening at your school, you must see this video!
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“Here I stand … I can do no other!”
With these immortal words, an unknown German monk sparked a spiritual revolution that changed the world.
The dramatic classic film of Martin Luther’s life was released in theaters worldwide in the 1950s and was nominated for two Oscars. A magnificent depiction of Luther and the forces at work in the surrounding society that resulted in his historic reform efforts, this film traces Luther’s life from a guilt-burdened monk to his eventual break with the Roman Catholic Church.
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Watch a clip from Martin Luther.
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Download the Free Study Guide!
Just what is Calvinism?
Does this teaching make man a deterministic robot and God the author of sin? What about free will? If the church accepts Calvinism, won’t evangelism be stifled, perhaps even extinguished? How can we balance God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility? What are the differences between historic Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism? Why did men like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Edwards and a host of renowned Protestant evangelists embrace the teaching of predestination and election and deny free will theology?
This is the first video documentary that answers these and other related questions. Hosted by Eric Holmberg, this fascinating three-part, four-hour presentation is detailed enough so as to not gloss over the controversy. At the same time, it is broken up into ten “Sunday-school-sized” sections to make the rich content manageable and accessible for the average viewer.
Running Time: 257 minutes
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