Have you ever wondered why? Why has America been blessed like no other nation on earth? Why have we prospered like no other people? What makes us free like the eagle? What lies behind the abundance of this land where the average citizen fares better than did any earthly king of ages gone by? What lies behind our freedoms which are the envy of the world?
While we are among the youngest nations, we are one of the oldest and strongest republics in the history of the world. We are the beacon light of liberty, the leader of the free world and an example of hope to the enslaved.
Is it any coincidence that Chinese students who came to America seeking the secret of our prosperity returned to Tiananmen Square, where thousands were later to be massacred, and chanted the words of Patrick Henry: “Give me liberty or give me death!”?
Summing up the hope America offers to the world in his Farewell Address, President Reagan observed: “After 200 years – two centuries – she still stands strong and true on the granite ridge, and her glow has held steady no matter what storm. And she’s still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the Pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness toward home.”
There are now almost 242 million of us that call this land home. We are a special people who are partakers of special blessings. Thomas Jefferson remarked in our nation’s infancy: “My God! how little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of and which no other people on earth enjoy!“1
When half the world goes to bed hungry, we can see in just one trip to the supermarket a greater quantity of food than much of the world sees in a lifetime. While half of the world lies under Communist rule, America has enacted more laws protecting individual liberty than any nation in history. Look around you and what do you see – power, prosperity, creative energy, – it’s everywhere. While other nations build walls and barbed wire fences to keep people from getting out, assailing those who would endeavor to escape with a barrage of bullets and howling dogs, America greets a long line of people waiting to get in.2
Why has America been blessed like no nation on earth? Maybe it is what happened on the shores of New England when a tiny band of Pilgrims knelt in the sand, and dedicated this nation and those who would inhabit it to Almighty God and to the establishing of His kingdom.
Many years later, others would assess their endeavor and inscribe for posterity on the Great Seal of the United States, “Annuit Coeptis” – “God has favored our undertaking,” and “Novus Ordo Seclorum” – “the New Order of the Ages.” Our history concludes that God smiled on their endeavor and the seeds of liberty and freedom under God were planted.
The promise that America held swept across Europe like a warm wind and multitudes came seeking to share in the destiny of a nation built on Christian principles. In less than 100 years after her independence, 34 million men, women, and children came through Ellis Island. They were greeted by Lady Liberty who bore this inscription carved on her base :
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
When America was young, a famous French philosopher, Alex DeTocqueville, came to America seeking the secret of her greatness. He examined our schools, our businesses, our homes, but in these alone he did not find the secret of our strength. Then he visited our churches and found our pulpits “aflame with righteousness.” Summing up his observations he remarked, “America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good she will cease to be great.“3
Noah Webster, author of the Webster’s Dictionary, was a man the framers of the Constitution relied upon to help explain the Constitution to the American people through his New York newspaper. A friend observed: “They are saying, Mr. Webster that it is you and your daily newspaper that is leading us to a new awareness of our civil liberties.”
Mr. Webster exclaimed, “My dear friend, it is One long before I who gave birth to civil liberties. The religion which has introduced civil liberties is the religion of Christ and His apostles! To this we owe our free constitutions of government.“4
It was in a small synagogue in Nazareth over 1900 years ago that Jesus Christ looked down the corridors of time and proclaimed His ultimate intention as He read from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives, and freedom to prisoners to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord and the day of vengeance of our God” (Isaiah 61:1-2).
Jesus died and rose from the dead to make all men free. He instructed His disciples to take the gospel not only to the individual, but to all nations, teaching them to observe everything that He commanded.
Jesus brought man the possibility of a new birth, of new life, of internal freedom from slavery to sin and self. It was the power of that gospel that eventually overthrew the Roman empire. It was the departing from those primitive tenets of Christianity and the embracing of idolatry in the Roman Church that plunged Europe into Medieval darkness.
When the Reformation swept Europe, the Bible became available to the masses. As the traditions of the Roman Church and medieval government began to be weighed in its light, men and women began to question those teachings which appeared to violate God’s word. True Christians desired to see the faith that Christ taught re-established, to see the church purified. The “divine right of kings” began to be questioned and examined in the Bible’s light. As concepts of government began to be revolutionized in the minds of men, the stage was set for the American Republic.5
The Pilgrims, in search of a land where they could walk in liberty with their God and worship Him freely without fear of reprisal, left the familiarity of a civilized Europe to carve out such a nation in the American wilderness. The primitive Christianity practiced by the Pilgrims gave rise to a new form of civil government, a new direction for external freedom – a government free from the savagery of demagogues and kings. True Christianity, “astonished the world by overthrowing the doctrine of the divine right of kings and establishing self-government … the foundation stone of the United States of America.“6
Irrefutable historic evidence reveals that America was founded on the idea of Christian theism which teaches that a man is held accountable to his Creator. Absolute standards of right and wrong as recorded in the Bible provided a standard by which all moral judgments of life were to be measured. The founding fathers, greatly influenced by the writings of Samuel Rutherford, John Witherspoon, and John Locke, made the Bible the basis of United States government and law.7
That Biblical standard inevitably led to the overthrow of British tyranny in the colonies, and less than a hundred years later, the overthrow of slavery, a primeval practice which a nation conceived in and dedicated to liberty could no longer endure. Slavery and other societal ills, were ultimately recognized for what they were: violations of God’s standard.
Attesting to that fact, the following was written in 1892 in a Supreme Court Decision Church of the Holy Trinity V. United States: “Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise; and in this sense and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian … This is a religious people. This is historically true. From the discovery of this continent to the present hour, there is a single voice making this affirmation … we find everywhere a clear recognition of the same truth … These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation.”
The fundamental principles of right and wrong as recorded in the Bible were the fundamental principles that made up the Reformation world view. Samuel Rutherford in Lex Rex: The Law and The Prince, challenged the “divine right of kings,” asserting that the basic premise of government and law must be the Bible, the Word of God rather than the word of any man. All men, even the king, Rutherford argued, were under the law and not above it.8
English jurist William Blackstone, whose Commentaries were accepted as the primary analysis of law in the colonies and used extensively in early America, expounded that it was self-evident that God is the source of all laws, whether found in the Bible or observed in nature.
These views were echoed back by the founders of the United States government who acknowledged every right, law, and freedom as “God given” not government granted. Thomas Jefferson inscribed the concept in those immortal words that “all men are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
That liberty and freedom, brought to birth on the shores of America and nursed from infancy through sacrifice, blood, and tears, is now the desire of the world.
President Bush proclaimed in his Inaugural address: “We live in a world refreshed by freedom. A new breeze is blowing … the day of the dictator is over. The totalitarian era is passing and its old ideas are blown away like leaves from an ancient lifeless tree. A new breeze is blowing and a nation refreshed by freedom stands ready to push on. There is new ground to be broken and new action to be taken … Great nations of the world are moving toward democracy through the doors of freedom … From free market, free speech and free elections and to exercise a will unhampered by the state …
“For the first time in perhaps all history, man does not have to invent a system by which to live. We don’t have to talk late into the night about which form of government is better.
“The people of this world agitate for free expression and free thought, through the door to the moral and intellectual satisfaction that only liberty allows. We know what works. Freedom works! We know what is right. Freedom is right! We know how to secure a more just and prosperous life for man on earth. We don’t have to arrest justice from the kings. We only have to summon it from within ourselves. We must act on what we know is right …”
God has showered His blessings on this land we call home. In just 200 years, God has caused us to rise from infancy to world leadership. There hasn’t been any good thing that He hasn’t let us try, usually with great success.
Like anything worthwhile there have been times we have had to fight and die for what we have as a nation. It was Abraham Lincoln who resolved when he dedicated Gettysburg during the Civil War, that “these dead men have not died in vain; that this nation should have a new birth of freedom; that this nation of the people by the people and for the people shall not perish from the earth.”
Since that day over 100 years ago 120,000 American soldiers lost their lives defending freedom in World War I; 400,000 more died in World War II; 54,000 young Americans perished in Korean; 66,000 in Vietnam. Have these fallen American patriots died in vain? Have we preserved the one nation under God they fought to preserve? There is evidence that we haven’t.
With grateful and humble hearts, Americans once honored the God who granted her blessings and freedoms. But slowly – imperceptibly, at first – he began to attribute her blessings not so much to God, but to man. Americans began to experience a fatal lapse of memory. Forgetting to acknowledge the power of God that had preserved us as a nation, we began to congratulate ourselves on our own achievements. We began to celebrate man while regulating God to the back seat. Secular humanism began to infiltrate all of our institutions.
Filled with materialism, self-centeredness and pride, many Americans decided that they really didn’t need God after all. Some began to tamper with the eternal laws and standards of a holy God. And as a nation we began to tolerate that which was never allowed before – that which was forbidden by laws in every state in the union – laws our founders established that were measured against God’s standards of right and wrong.
Although the Ten Commandments are engraved in stone on the wall behind the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to remind the highest court in the land that God’s law is the foundation of America’s law, the courts which had once legislated against immorality began to grant freedom for every man to “do what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6). The Bible began to be disregarded. The courts began to decree that man’s opinion was the ultimate judge of right and wrong, that good and evil was whatever society said it was.
Right and wrong began to be blurred. All sorts of ungodly behavior became acceptable, admired, and even became a reason for boasting. As America’s eyes became accustomed to the dark, few rose up to object. When God fades from national conscience, almost anything can be justified. We put a new name on a lot of things.9
Every day Congress begins with a prayer, yet in the public schools of America, our legislators and courts won’t allow our school children to pray. The Ten Commandments cannot be displayed in the classroom. The Bible, which was the central text of every school in early America, has been thrown out. God’s standards of right and wrong are not taught. New ideas of situational ethics and value clarifications have taken its place.
The major disruptions of the classroom 30 years ago – throwing paper wads, chewing gum, talking in class – have been replaced with theft, murder, rape, and violence. Schools are policed with armed security guards as children without knowledge of God’s moral laws are given over to do whatever the lust of their heart or peer pressure dictates.
The reformation doctrine of Rex Lex, that proclaims that the prince is not above the law of God – a foundation stone of our free government, a safeguard against the tyranny of man’s unrestrained passions – has eroded away. Man has become maker of his own laws which are in accordance with his fickle whims.
- God says, “Thou shall not kill.”
- Americans gave murder a new name and called it abortion.
- God says, “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.”
- We call it homosexuality – gay rights, an alternate life style.
- God says, “Do not defile yourself with these things for by all these the nations of the world are defiled, the land is defiled: therefore I will visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it …”
- We call it AIDS and famous movie stars hold benefits to raise money to help discover its cure.
- God calls it drunkenness, a sin which will keep you out of the kingdom of God.
- Americans call it alcoholism, a social disease.
- God calls it fornication, adultery.
- Americans call it the new morality.
- God calls it perversion.
- Americans call it adult entertainment -pornography.
As moral absolutes have fallen by the wayside, America’s crime rate has spiraled. Every 3.5 seconds a serious crime is committed. Every 83 seconds a robbery is committed. Every 27 minutes there is one murder.10 Two million children are missing from their homes. Of those at least 50,000 have been abducted from their homes for sinister purposes.
Drug addition and deadly crack cocaine stalks our young. Suicide is the second largest killer of teenagers. Teenage pregnancies, incest and sexual child abuse have become so widespread that these problems attract national attention. We now have more than 9 million alcoholics. More than 2 million Americans a year contract gonorrhea.11
There are more than 20 million pornographic magazines produced and sold a year. 87 percent of child molesters of girls and 77 percent of child molesters of boys admit trying out sexual behavior modeled by pornography. In one group of rapists, 57 percent indicated they had tried out the sexual behavior exhibited in pornography.12 Video stores market X rated movie products. One out of two marriages end in divorce. The children from these broken homes suffer tremendous emotion upheavals.
America’s laws and courts once stood against those things that God said were wrong. Now that’s considered intolerant. Gradually we began to tolerate those things that were against the commands of God. Then we even began to accept them, condone them, and finally endorsed them openly. Now the perversion and debauchery that once made us blush are flaunted before the eyes of a nation that was conceived in the fear of God.
We have this caution against disobedience from the word of God; “And it shall be, when the Lord your God brings you into the land of which He swore to your fathers … to give you large and beautiful cities which you did not build, houses full of good things, which you did not fill, hewn-out wells which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant – when you have eaten and are full – then beware, lest you forget the Lord … and you say in your heart, My power and the might of my hand has gotten me this wealth” (Deuteronomy 6:10-12; 8:17).
Inscribed on the walls of the Jefferson Memorial is a similar admonition from the author of the Declaration of Independence: “God who gave us life, gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever.”
Astronaut James Erwins warns: “We are surrounded by immorality, prostitution, pornography, child abuse, incest – the moral decay is obvious and serious. We are enjoying a wave of patriotism unequaled since World War II. But we cannot ignore this dangerous drift into immorality. America’s foundation was solidly built on Biblical principles. A casual review of our history proves this beyond a doubt. It doesn’t take an engineer to realize that a house cannot stand without its foundation and we must get back to its foundation.“13
Madeline Manning Mimms, Olympic gold medal winner reflects; “America has a heritage that cries, We cannot go on without God! Yet for the last three decades we’ve done just that. The greatest question of our time is whether we can ignore Almighty God and still survive as a nation. No nation is big enough to shake its fist in the face of Almighty God and get away with it. We must repent, or we will be judged.”
God once said through the prophet Jeremiah, “The instant I speak concerning a nation, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. The instant I speak concerning a nation to build and to plant it, if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it. Now therefore … return now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good” (Jeremiah 18:7-11).
If we fail to respond we have this admonition from Psalms: “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.”
The time is late, for God’s judgements are already taking their toll throughout our nation. We have eaten our inheritance and a skeleton remains. All of our wealth, ability, and effort cannot hold back the destruction of our nation. We are in a great spiritual battle between the very forces of Heaven and Hell. Our good intentions are like trying to put a band-aid on a mortal wound. Immorality has reached epidemic proportions.
Yet, even in all this there is hope. God has given us this wonderful promise from His word; “If my people which are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
There is a Savior, a Redeemer of mankind, who gave His life not to judge the world, but to save it. He stands as the Sovereign Ruler of the universe, eager to reveal Himself to those who will pray for His forgiveness and cry out for His mercy.
Almost 2000 years ago, “God chose an obscure outpost of a decadent empire as the birthplace of His Son, and upon all the debris of human pride and presumption, there came forth the anointed Savior. From that day to this there has been only one Light of the World, one Hope of Mankind.“14
The pains America is now feeling do not have to be the agonizing pains of death. They can be the pains of new birth, if we as a people are not too proud to pray to the God who made us and ask for His forgiveness, His cleansing power, and His deliverance. If we will do that, then God Himself has promised that He will answer from heaven. It is our prayer that He will bring America back to her God given destiny and hold open the doors of freedom that we, our children and our grandchildren might proclaim to all the world that He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
1 The Rebirth of America (St. Davids, PA: Arthur DeMoss Foundation, St. David’s Center, 1986), p. 24).
2 Ibid., pp. 23, 75.
3 Ibid., p. 32.
5 John Whitehead, The Bible and the Dawn of the American Dream, p. 35.
6 The Rebirth of America, p. 20.
7 Whitehead, p. 35.
9 The Rebirth of America pp. 75-76.
10 Ibid., p. 76.
12 David Jeremiah, “The Porno Plague,” The Rebirth of America, p. 100.
13 “America You’re Too Young to Die, Video,” (Buchanan, MI, 49107: Life Action Ministries).
14 Jessie Helms, “A Nation Adrift,” The Rebirth of America, p. 79.
Copyright © Bob and Rose Weiner 2007, All Rights Reserved