Summary: A review of America’s Christian heritage and encouragement to Christians to remain salt and light for our nation.
INDEPENDENCE DAY 2010
“ONE NATION UNDER GOD”
Today is the 4th of July – a time for picnics, parties, parades, and fireworks. It is Independence Day – the day we commemorate the ratification of the Declaration of Independence. Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Roger Sherman and Robert R. Livingston were charged by the Second Continental Congress to draft the Declaration of Independence.
Two days earlier, the Congress had approved Richard Henry Lee’s motion that they declare the independence of the thirteen colonies from Britain and the rule of King George III. Because of Jefferson’s strong skills at writing, the group leaned heavily on his talents. After some changes by the committee and then by the congress, the Declaration of Independence was accepted. The 4th of July stands as the official birth date of our nation.
234 years later, we look at our country’s origins and evaluate where we are today. We need to understand our history and commit to our future. What was the role of Christianity in our nation’s beginnings and what is our role as Christians in our nation today?
WE NEED TO REVIEW AMERICA’S INDEPENDENCE
The intention of the founders of this nation was to establish a people and a nation where freedom and liberty were based on a scriptural foundation. However, forces have been at work for quite awhile to remove any reference or influence of God and His word in our nation. Our own president declared just a little over a year ago that America is not a Christian nation.
Our heritage is very clearly Christian. The foundation on which our nation was built is clearly biblical. The people who first settled our nation came to these shores looking to express their religious faith without government sanction or control.
Christopher Columbus wrote in 1504 the purpose of his travels in the discovery of the New World. He said, “I was led of the Holy Spirit to carry the message of the Gospel to undiscovered lands.” When the Pilgrims came in 1620, they joined together in what is called the Mayflower Compact. Listen to the beginning of that document: “In the name of God, amen. Having undertaken for the glory of God and for the advancement of the Christian faith, do solemnly and mutually in the presence of God, covenant and combine ourselves together…” A modern paraphrase might be: “We came here for the glory of God and for the advancement of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
23 years later, in 1643, as more and more people came to the shores of New England, they formed an alliance called The New England Confederation. It was the first written constitution in the New World. It began: “Whereas we all come into these parts with one and the same end and aim, namely to advance the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to enjoy the liberties of the gospel in purity and peace…”
There is much more evidence of the role of Christianity in the founding of our country. Listen to the words of these framers of our nation.
John Quincy Adams, 1821, said, “From the time of the Declaration of Independence, the American people were bound by the laws of God and the laws of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which they all acknowledge as the root of their conduct. We all came together to obey the word of God.” Patrick Henry said, “It cannot be emphasized too strongly that this great nation was founded not by religionists but by Christians, not on religion but on the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Our nation is formed around three co-equal branches of government that were designed to serve as a checks-and-balance system: The Executive Branch, the Legislative Branch, and the Judicial Branch. Do you know where the framers of our nation got the idea to create such a system? They got it from the Bible. Is. 33:22 – “For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; it is he who will save us.” That passage tells us that God is our judge (that’s judicial), God is our lawgiver (that’s legislative), and God is our king (that’s executive). When the framers of our government got together, they asked, “How can we best organize our government?” So they looked to the word of God for the wisdom needed for the task at hand.
Over a 10-year period, political-science professors at the University of Houston collected & cataloged 15,000 writings by the founding fathers. Their goal was to determine the primary source of ideas behind the Constitution by identifying the sources quoted most often by them. Guess what that primary source was? It was the Bible. 94% of the quotes of the founders of our nation were based upon the Bible. Our foundation is clearly biblical and Christian.