Summary: We’ve gone a long ways away from our roots as Americans. So, one of my goals is to do a little bit of educating. People need to know this, & if they don’t hear it at church, where will they hear it? (*Powerpoint Available - #204)
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(PowerPoint slides used in this sermon are available at no charge. Just e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your request - #204.)
(Much of this sermon and the following one, "Blessed Is the Nation...Part 2," came from books by David Barton, and excerpts from other sermons. At the time I prepared this sermon I was much more engrossed in preparing the message than in taking the time to footnote the sources.)
A. Let’s suppose that sometime this week you turned on the TV News & heard these 3 announcements:
#1 - “The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has just issued this statement: ‘Divine Providence (that’s God) has given to our people the choice of their rulers, & it is the duty… of our Christian nation to select & prefer Christians for their rulers.’" (Letter to John Murray, Oct. 12, 1816)
#2 - “Inquiries by our reporters reveal that almost every state legislature has now passed a law requiring all elected officials to take this oath: ‘I do profess faith in God the Father, & in the Lord Jesus Christ His only Son… & I do acknowledge the holy scriptures of the Old & New Testaments to be given by divine inspiration.’"
#3 - “Legislation was passed today in Congress to affirm that, ‘The Congress of the United States approves of & recommends … the Holy Bible for use in the schools.’”
What do you think the response to these announcements would be, especially in the media? I think there would be more reaction to them than we could even imagine. But the amazing thing is this: Every one of these statements is historically accurate & factual.
It was John Jay, the very first Chief Justice & often called the “Father” of the Supreme Court, one of the primary writers of our Constitution, who wrote, "It is the duty… of our Christian nation to select & prefer Christians for their rulers."
It was the state of Delaware (along with most of the others) which required officeholders to take an oath affirming their Christian faith before they could take office. And they had a very logical reason for that requirement.
And not only did Congress in 1782 approve the use of the Bible in our schools, they even paid for them with tax dollars. And, in 1844, when someone sued to remove them, the Supreme Court ruled: “Why should not the Bible, & especially the New Testament, be read & taught as a divine revelation in the schools? Where can the purest principles of morality be learned so clearly or so perfectly as from the New Testament?”
Just think about this: If these people, who were so instrumental in establishing our nation, were here to say & do those things in our country today, they’d be considered right-wing radicals, & a threat to our nation. And I don’t think that’s an exaggeration.
B. We’ve gone a long ways away from our roots as Americans. So, one of my goals this morning is to do a little bit of education. In fact, this message is more of a history lesson than a Bible lesson, & that bothers me because I’d rather preach Bible-based sermons where I take a passage of Scripture & explain what it says, & do my best to apply its message to the needs of our lives today.
It bothered me so much a few years ago that I talked it over with the men who met regularly on Friday mornings for a time of Bible Study & prayer. We came to the conclusion that there is so much about our early history that most Americans just don’t know. And what finally convinced me to go ahead with this type of sermon was this statement: “People need to know this, & if they don’t hear it at church, where will they hear it?”
Our school systems & colleges & universities have become so secularized - so distanced from religion - that huge chunks of information about the spiritual roots of our nation are neglected, & unless you hear it from Christians, where will you hear it?
PROP. So, here are some things that are worth knowing about the roots of our nation, about what’s right with America:
I. AMERICA WAS SETTLED BY PEOPLE LOOKING FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
The first thing right with America is that our earliest settlers were people who came here primarily looking for religious freedom. Other nations, for the most part, came into existence by conquest for selfish & ambitious motives. But it was primarily in the atmosphere of God, not gold, that America was born.
ILL. The hardy souls who sailed on the Mayflower in 1620 fled from tyranny & oppression. And in the Mayflower Compact which they signed beneath the swinging lantern in the cabin of their ship, they proclaimed that they had come to the new world for "the glorie of God & the advancement of the Christian faith."