Summary: Christianity shaped the character of America. Our task is to live for Christ but let us honor the legacy of faithful men and women.
The Character of a Nation, Isaiah 32:1-8
The Pledge of Allegiance is not a verse composed by the Founding Fathers of our republic. It was written especially for children; in the summer is 1892 to commemorate that year’s celebration of Columbus Day in public schools throughout the country. The pledge first appeared in print on September 8, 1892, in The Youth’s Companion, an educational publication. In its original form, it read: “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which is stands -- one nation indivisible-- with liberty and justice for all.”
Its author was Francis Bellamy, an assistant editor of The Youth’s Companion, who intended it for a one-time recitation. But its immediate popularity transformed it first into an annual Columbus Day tradition and then into a daily classroom ritual. It became one of the earliest verses memorized by students. Since its debut, Bellamy’s pledge has undergone two major alterations. In 1923, the National Flag Conference of the American Legion replaced the somewhat ambiguously personal “my Flag” wording with the more explicitly patriotic "the Flag of the United States of America." And in 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill that added the words "Under God.”
The pledge of allegiance comes to us in its present form after having been shaped, transformed, over time to its present condition. So too, ours is a nation which has had its character shaped by specific factors over time. Our constitution was written by faithful men who had their characters shaped by some of the very same factors which shaped our national character.
This morning we will examine the shaping of the character of our nation specifically with regard to the influence that Christianity and the Bible have had on this nation. We live in perilous times where history is constantly under the attack of the pen of the revisionist historian and his social agenda.
This morning I seek not to persuade you toward any particular political ideology or perspective. I long only to put on honest display the simple truth that Christianity has had a profound impact upon the shaping of the character of our nation and to propose what this implies for modern American Christians.
In our day there are agenda driven political and church leaders who seek to use the history of our nation to their advantage on both sides of the political aisle. There are excesses on both sides of this issue. Whether one is conservative or liberal, there are great liberties taken on both sides.
There are those who seek to use the Christian heritage of this nation as justification for the church to place its emphasis almost entirely upon seizing political power. The idea is that if we could just take America back for God then we could create the utopist society that our Pilgrim forefathers envisioned.
Many of these people have made the grace error of equating conservative political ideas with Christian faith. Implying that to vote a certain way is the primary means of expressing one’s faith in Christ.