America’s birthday is upon us. Being an American, I took a look back and a look forward.
America is made up of people, so I looked back at the people who formed her — the Founding Fathers. Using the same standards, I set for myself; I was looking at how well America has done in following the Lord.
John Adams, our second president, said, “The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity.”
A signer of the Declaration of Independence believed the principles of our new nation were Christian.
John Hancock, that giant signature at the bottom of the Declaration of Independence, believed that happiness could only come when Jesus Christ was ruling the land. As governor of Massachusetts he asked for the people of the state to pray, “that universal happiness may be established in the world [and] that all may bow to the scepter of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the whole earth be filled with His glory.”
Honestly, I found quote after quote of our Founding Fathers touting the praises of Christianity or Jesus Christ as the power behind the new republic, but space prohibits me of mentioning all that I found. However, one, because of our present day situation, stood out among the others.
Benjamin Rush, who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence; surgeon general of the Continental Army; a ratifier of the U.S. Constitution; treasurer of the U.S. Mint and called “the Father of American Medicine” and “the Father of American Public Schools Under the Constitution.” Mr. Rush may not be a household name like Washington, Jefferson, or Franklin, but it is clear to see from his jobs and titles, he had much to do with the forming of our nation and he was well respected by his peers.
As founder of American Public Schools, consider these quotes from him about the Bible, Christianity, America’s youth and our schools.
“The great enemy of the salvation of man, in my opinion, never invented a more effective means of limiting Christianity from the world than by persuading mankind that it was improper to read the Bible at schools.”
“[T]he only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government is the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by means of the Bible.”
“The Bible, when not read in schools, is seldom read in any subsequent period of life… [T]he Bible… should be read in our schools in preference to all other books because it contains the greatest portion of that kind of knowledge which is calculated to produce private and public happiness.”
To summarize Mr. Rush’s three quotes: 1. The nation will go to hell in a handbasket if we take the Bible out of schools; 2. The only way our form of government can work is if the principles of Christianity are well grounded in the hearts of the people; and 3. Without teaching the children the Bible in school we shatter any hope of having happiness in our public and private lives.
As a nation we did what Mr. Rush warned us not to do — take the Bible out of the schools.
In the little over 50 years since the Bible has been removed from schools can we claim we are happier?
A greater percentage of American homes owned guns back then, but mass shootings are getting frequent. They were unheard of then.
Living with someone you were not married to use to be called, “Living in sin.” Now sex outside of marriage is expected and normal.
Few things the Bible calls “sin” is thought of as wrong anymore. In fact, many things, such a living together, is expected and encouraged.
God warned Israel when they got to the point of no longer thinking sin is a sin, Jeremiah 6:15, “Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD.”
He warns them they would fall when He would come and visit them, but in the next verse, Jeremiah 6:16, He tells them how to avoid judgement, “Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.”
He told them to get back to the old path, but they refused.
America no longer blushes, we do not listen to God.
It is time for the nation to go back to the thinking of Adams, Hancock, Rush and the rest of the founding fathers. Will we? I don’t know, but with each passing sunset, it seems hope gets a little darker.
Preacher Johnson is pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Ind. Visit his website, [email protected] All scripture KJV.