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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Your comments are welcome!
With “preaching to the lost” being such a basic foundation of Christianity, why do many in the church seem to be apathetic on this issue of preaching in highways and byways of towns and cities?
Is it biblical to stand in the public places of the world and proclaim the gospel, regardless if people want to hear it or not?
Does the Bible really call church pastors, leaders and evangelists to proclaim the gospel in the public square as part of obedience to the Great Commission, or is public preaching something that is outdated and not applicable for our day and age?
These any many other questions are answered in this documentary.
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Special Two-Disc Set!
After 40 years of intense study and world-wide ministry, Dr. Francis Schaeffer completed his crowning work of scholarship – to present profound truths in simple film language. Dr. Schaeffer’s brilliant analysis of the past and predictions for current trends have proven so uncannily accurate that this amazing series still feels contemporary almost three decades after its initial release. Ultimately, Schaeffer concludes that man’s only hope is a return to God’s Biblical absolute, the truth revealed in Christ through the Scriptures.
Available for the first time on DVD, this documentary spectacular also includes intimate in-depth conversations with Francis and Edith Schaeffer. With the on-disc study guide, this presentation forms a unique course of comprehensive study. While this series forms an innovative analysis of the past, this outstanding work is more than history. Each episode focuses on a significant era, yet speaks clearly to 21st-century man with answers for modern problems.
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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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Languages: English, Spanish, French, South Korean, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese
Running Time: 28 minutes
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That Swiss Hermit Strikes Again!
Dr. Schaeffer, who was one of the most influential Christian thinkers in the twentieth century, shows that secular humanism has displaced the Judeo-Christian consensus that once defined our nation’s moral boundaries. Law, education, and medicine have all been reshaped for the worse as a consequence. America’s dominant worldview changed, Schaeffer charges, when Christians weren’t looking.
Schaeffer lists two reasons for evangelical indifference: a false concept of spirituality and fear. He calls on believers to stand against the tyranny and moral chaos that come when humanism reigns-and warns that believers may, at some point, be forced to make the hard choice between obeying God or Caesar. A Christian Manifesto is a thought-provoking and bracing Christian analysis of American culture and the obligation Christians have to engage the culture with the claims of Christ.
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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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