Summary: Are you aware that America is in a cultural civil war? This message suggests 5 things that we can do to reclaim the heritage that is ours as Christians. (Powerpoints available - #304.)
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(Powerpoints used with this message are available at no charge. Just email me at email@example.com and request #304.)
A. Are you aware that America is in a cultural civil war? William Bennett, former head of the U.S. Dept. of Education, wrote,
"America is engaged in an on going & intensifying cultural war. Over the last two decades there has been waged an all out assault on common sense & on the common values of the American people. We now stand at a crossroads."
Now if we're standing at a crossroads, then it seems to me that we, as Christians, need to know what to do, & in what direction to proceed.
In 2 Chronicles 7:14, God tells us. He says, "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves & pray & seek my face & turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven & will forgive their sin & will heal their land."
B. In the book of Lamentations, the prophet Jeremiah had witnessed the destruc-tion of Jerusalem & its people being carried off into captivity in Babylon. Then, in Lam. 5:21 22, Jeremiah utters a prayer that comes straight from his heart.
He prays, "Restore us to yourself, O Lord, that we may return; renew our days as of old unless you have utterly rejected us & are angry with us beyond measure."
PROP. I believe that ought to be our prayer, too. So this morning lets consider 5 things we can do to reclaim the heritage that is ours as Christians.
I. BE INFORMED ABOUT AMERICA'S SPIRITUAL HERITAGE
First of all, we need to be informed about America's spiritual heritage.
A. History is being rewritten today, & we're now being told that the founding fathers of our country were deists or secular humanists. Now a deist is someone who believes in God, but he believes that God has removed Himself from us & is no longer involved in the happenings of mankind.
ILL. A song sung by Bette Middler, "From a Distance," proclaims this deist philoso-phy. It's message is that "God is watching us as we go to war, as we kill each other. He is watching, but He is watching from a distance. He is no longer involved."
So those who are rewriting history want us to believe that our founding fathers were all deists. They say that our country was founded as a spiritually neutral land, where all religions would be accepted, & that no religion is any better than another.
They also say that the founding fathers advocated strict adherence to separation of church & state - that the church should have nothing to do with government, & that government should have nothing to do with the church. But that is simply not true, & you need to know it. You need to know that our country has a rich spiritual heritage.
ILL. If you ever get the chance, I suggest you visit Jamestown, VA. It was one of the earliest English speaking settlements in the new world, & it has been carefully restored so that we can see what life was like nearly 400 years ago.
At Jamestown, you'll discover many interesting things about our country. You'll learn that when this settlement was first established, most of the people built rather humble huts for their families.
But right in the middle of Jamestown they erected an imposing church building as a testimony to all who came that the people of Jamestown put God first.
They had 2 hour worship services every day of the week, & attendance was mandatory. If you didn't show up for the daily service, your day's ration of food would not be given you. Their reasoning was, if you were too sick to go to church, you were too sick to eat.
They had a 5 hour service on Sunday, & you were expected to be there all 5 hours. If you missed church for 3 weeks, they would put you in stocks for 6 weeks out on the church lawn. The stocks are still there for all to see.
Even though they may have gone too far, it seems to me the lesson which comes through loud & clear is that in this original settlement, the people wanted to communicate clearly that God came first.
C. When our earliest universities began, most of them were founded to train preachers.
ILL. When Harvard was established in 1636, their statement of purpose said that every student's main aim is to know God & Jesus Christ, & to recognize that Christ is the foundation of all learning.
When Yale came into existence in 1701, they said that "God is the source of all wisdom," & they required all their students to attend daily public prayer services both morning & evening.