America’s Freedom is Founded on the Application of the Bible to Civics (part III)
This is the final article in a series of three articles which delves into the foundations of the United States of America – the American Republic – based upon the understanding of the biblical basis for government. We present the final paragraph from the last installment to offer a reference point for these concluding points from Pastor Wallace.
In 1692, they Bible’s impact spread even more with the Puritan’s publication of The New England Primer, a short little book which went through multiple editions and sold millions of copies. It taught American children the alphabet using Biblical truths. It also contained all 107 questions and answers of the Shorter Catechism of the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Apostles Creed. [end pt. II]
The primer was quite influential, and America’s founding fathers, men such as George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Sam Adams, John Hancock and many more, were raised on Biblical principles, in part, through this little book.
In Sacred Fire, Lilliback created a chart showing dozens of biblical phrases that can be found in the writings, public and private, of George Washington. Reading them, it’s as if you cut the man, he bled scripture.
There were others too, not as well known, but no less influential. In the 1740s, George Whitefield, a British minister, became the lightning rod of the revolutionary revival, making seven tours of the Colonies. He was the fountain of Biblical thought from which poured the American Revolution. Whitefield operated in the tradition of Wycliff, who inspired the history-changing reformation movement 400 years earlier.
In 1776, America’s founders put their faith into concrete action. They declared and codified God’s will for government to secure the inalienable rights He gives We the people.
In the Declaration of Independence, they stated:
God gives us our rights
No government or ruler can take them away
Government’s role is to honor and cooperate with God to secure the Biblical rights God gives us.
After the Revolution and as our country was being formed, in 1791, the founders adopted the Bill of Rights as the first 10 amendments to the Constitution of the United States. Reflecting their belief in God and their heritage of faith, the government they intended could not violate any one of the Bill of Rights without also violating one of the 10 Commandments,
They realized the 10 Commandments express and safeguard the inalienable rights God gives us, and America has prospered because our government basically administered these laws of God into the laws of their new country.
The words of Psalms 33:12 – “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord …” are not magical. When nations follow God’s laws, the outcomes are well-ordered citizens who develop well-ordered businesses, schools, institutions and societies. Departing from God’s ways really is departing from sane and rational behaviors and policies.
Ungodly forces have long pulled minds and hearts away from God, and He uses those who will follow His ways and encourage others to do the same.
Little more than a century after the founding, a former baseball player turned preacher saw a drift and departure from God’s ways and spoke up for God. Billy Sunday became the most celebrated and influential evangelist during the first two decades of the 20th Century. He called America to Christ and for the application of the Bible to Civics.
Sunday said, “Without the 10 Commandments, there will be no civilization. Society and civilization rests on morals. Morals rest on religion. Religion rests on faith in God, through The Lord Jesus Christ.”
Today, two centuries from the founding, most people have completely lost their way. We face, not a drift, but an ever-widening chasm in government and society between the ways of God and man. How do we approach this in the way God would have us?
In Romans 13:1-2, the Apostle Paul writes: (1) Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. (2) Therefore, whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.
The “authority” of Romans 13:1 pertains to moral authority and influence from spiritual power that is to work personally in the earthly powers God institutes. It is the right of men to seek this.
Submitting and obeying are not the same thing, however. Romans 13:1-2 does not say we are resisting God, but what God appoints or allows.
We can explore how God works further in very early examples, from the first books of the Bible.
In Genesis 15, we read God will use Israel as His sword of judgment against the sinfully wicked Amorites. Then, as God is helping Israel through Moses escape from Egypt, In Exodus 9:12, 10:1 and 20 and 11:10, we read the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart and the hearts of his officials so, as it says in Verse 1 of Chapter 10, I could perform these signs of mine among them. God was making a statement through Israel. Moses, in advocating for Israel, stood against the will of Pharaoh.
And, it is interesting to note, in Exodus 8:15 and 32, 9:34 and 14:8, Pharaoh and his official hardened their hearts against the Lord.
In these days, we must ask the question, do we have a heart that can be hardened by God, and that we can harden against Him? Or do we have a heart that obeys His moral laws?
All disciples, prophets and patriarchs obeyed God over man, which meant, at the time, they disobeyed authorities.
Persecution usually is an outcome of people obeying God over the edicts and rules of man. All disciples and prophets when captured took the punishment due them for their civil disobedience which was really God’s civic obedience to do good – that man called evil.
In 2 Chronicles 7:14 God does offer us and “If” and “Then” option.
“ … if my people who are called by my name humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked way, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
God’s If and Then proposition may still be honored, if we do our part.
This is the final installment of Pastor Wallace’s entire article, “America’s Freedom is Founded on the Application of the Bible to Civics.” You can refer to the three previous editions to get the article in its entirety. For more messages from Pastor Wallace you can visit his site: http://www.libertycf.org/