America’s Christian Heritage – A Firm Foundation

Recently, a friend of mine on social media asked the perplexing question: Is America still a Christian nation?  Looking through the comments, I was not surprised to see that many viewers had either wrote, “No,” with little or no evidence to back up their answer, while others completely sidestepped the question.  And though it is easy to look upon the reign of corruption and sin within our nation and join the rather large dissension on this particular topic, perhaps a different perspective is needed, one that proudly, yet humbly, reads, “Yes, America is still a Christian nation.”

One of the claims many Christian conservatives make is that our Republic was founded on Biblical principles.  They cite the portion of the Declaration of Independence, which reads, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.  – That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

While the assertion has been presented, and might be easy for the more knowledgeable to understand, just how is this founding document so closely tied to the Bible and its teachings?

“…all men are created equal …”
Revealing God’s view of individuals, Romans 2:11 states, “For there is no respect of persons with God.”  Just as we are each and every one of us equally unrighteous before God at birth, subject to the inbred whim of our sin nature, the same principle applies that no one, no matter what the social, political, or religious background of his bearers, is initially better in a moral capacity than another.

“…endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life…” 

When you look up the word “unalienable” in the dictionary, more often than not, it will lead you to the slightly differently-spelled synonym, “inalienable.”  The word means, “incapable of being alienated, surrendered, or transferred.”  Mankind, those who are living right now, are exercising their right to life.  They can’t simply take their life by their very own choice; it is virtually impossible to do so, for as Hebrews 9:27 reads, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”  Neither can we die for another’s sin.  Only Jesus was the one who could give His life that we could have eternal life.

“…Liberty…” 

Life is filled with decisions, most whether we realize it or not.  You, the individual reading this, is actively making a choice to read this article.  If you suddenly decide to discontinue doing so, you, again, are making one.  This is called the “free will of man.”  No matter the setting, the situation, or circumstance, however you spin it, however you try to look at it, you will always be making a choice.

“…and the pursuit of Happiness.” 

The above phrase being the subject at hand, James Madison wrote, “But taking it in its popular sense, as referring to the immediate augmentation of property and wealth, nothing can be more false.”  So then, just what is this “pursuit of Happiness?”  Multiple affirmations, state constitutions, and resolutions point towards “Happiness” being spiritual and not material.  One such document, the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, stated that, “religion, morality, and knowledge,” are “essential to the happiness of mankind.”  Another, the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780, articulated, “the happiness of a people and the good order and preservation of civil government essentially depend upon, piety, religion, and morality…”

“…-That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men…” 

The text from Romans 13:1-7 is widely regarded as Paul’s commandment as to how Christians should honor and obey government institutions, officials, and subsequent laws.  In verse 1, he goes as far as to say “…the powers that be are ordained of God.”  Why?  Because “…there is no power but of God.”  Then what is the purpose of these powers?  “…do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same…For he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.”  (Romans 13:3-4) As we can see, government has two purposes as laid out by Paul’s admonition to the church in Rome: 1. to promote the example set by those who follow the law, 2. and to punish those who do not, taking or violating another’s rights.

-…deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…” 

The concept of voluntarily yielding one’s self to another human or institution is found multiple times in the Bible, examples stemming from the children of Israel choosing to submit to the Mosaic law at Joshua’s issue of an ultimatum, to those who believe in Christ upon conviction and follow His precepts today.  In the instances listed above, there was always (and still is) a choice involved.  It is this principle that our complex, yet still stable, constitutional republic was built on, that the people be empowered to choose their representative leaders at the federal, state, and local levels, reflecting the hearts and minds of individuals abroad, a testament of the nation as a whole.

These foundational principles, which find concurrence in God’s Word, have impacted our people since before our nation’s beginning, hence the heavy reference at the time of our Declaration’s composition.  Modern society has attempted to contort and deny this evidence of Christian principles within our core founding documents, sadly to the point where even Christians do not know what to believe.  Yet the very truths held in that time cannot be denied as they are still held and lived out by all today.

It’s time to put away our fear of ridicule and unbelief, and work to make known abroad these critical ties to our culture, our government, and us as individuals, reaffirming to the world, as well as to one another, that thanks to our forefathers, America is still indeed a Christian nation.  May God show us favor as we strive to do so.

Frank

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