A Biblical Foundation and Vision for Our Nation
|By: Dr. Steven C. Riser; ©2010|
|Twenty first century American Christians need to recapture the multi-generational, covenant keeping, Christ-honoring vision which was embodied in the ideals of our Founders. America has enjoyed a great heritage of faith, family and freedom unlike any other country. And yet many who love this country are deeply concerned about the decay of these biblical values in modern life and culture.|
Psalm 33:12a: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.”
President Ronald Reagan said, “If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, we will be a nation gone under.” Twenty first century American Christians need to recapture the multi-generational, covenant keeping, Christ-honoring vision which was embodied in the ideals of our Founders. America has enjoyed a great heritage of faith, family and freedom unlike any other country. And yet many who love this country are deeply concerned about the decay of these biblical values in modern life and culture. The influence of the Christian values, faith and worldview has declined as the moral relativity of our secular (PC) culture has expanded in its influence.
The sanctity of the gift of life and sex has been replaced by abortion and all forms of sexual immorality. The distant memory of the vision of that first band of Christians in 1620 who formed a colony at Plymouth has all but disappeared from the consciousness of our nation. No other nation has ever been blessed with such a powerful legacy and the vision of our Founding Fathers for this nation isn’t entirely dead for it still lives in the hearts of some of us, but far too few. It’s time for a re-birth of that God-given vision upon which our nation was founded!
God’s message for America is: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord…” (Psalm 33:12a). Perhaps the group that best exemplifies this Christ-honoring vision for our nation is the Mayflower Pilgrims of 1620 who established the Mayflower compact. They believed in sola scriptura which asserts that the Bible alone is the only infallible rule of faith and practice. It is also the blueprint for living for individuals, families, church and yes, even nations. The moral principles revealed in God’s wise and loving Word reflect the unchangeable character of God and therefore apply to all men everywhere, throughout history.
True liberty can only exist under the law of God and the Lordship of Christ. Jesus said as much in John 8:31-32, 36: “If you continue to obey my teaching, you are truly my followers. Then you will know the truth and the truth will make you free. So if the Son makes you free, you will be truly free.” Paul said in Galatians 5:1a, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.”
Jesus also made it clear by precept and example that true greatness is borne out of servanthood and sacrifice. “He who would be great must be a servant; greater love has no one than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. This is how we know what real love is: Jesus gave his life for us; we ought to give our lives for one another” (1 John 3:16). Only principled and persevering people who trust in the sufficiency of Christ, the truth of His Word and the sovereignty of God can hope to shepherd this nation toward revival and reformation and the restoring of the God-given American vision. If we are not willing to sacrifice now for the future welfare of our nation, what hope of a better tomorrow will there be for our children? They will not only be left with a debt they can’t repay but worse yet, there will be a famine of the Word of God in our land.
We need to see the big picture. We need to live in light of eternity and we need to think beyond the span and influence of our own lives. The God-given vision for our nation must be multi-generational. Humanly speaking, the Christian faith is always one generation away from extinction unless we successfully pass the baton of faith to the next generation. One thing for sure, if we had been thinking of the consequences of our actions on future generations we would not have made such a mess of our nation by engaging in irresponsible financial practices.
Do we have the freedom to obey the law of God without state interference? We should!
Are we free to share the good news of God’s love in Christ, without reprisal? We should!
Are we free to advance God’s Kingdom in America today, or are we increasingly being shutout of the public square?
Has the first amendment been misinterpreted to apply to us when it was originally addressed to Congress?
Is our religious freedom gradually being eroded?
Do we understand that we are living in a neo-pagan culture that is hostile to Christianity?
Do we understand the profound antithesis between Christianity and everything else?
These are questions we would all do well to ponder.
What does God’s Word teach about not honoring our parents? It says that things will not go well with us and we will not live long if we do not honor and obey our parents. Do you think this principle could apply to us, as a nation, if we continue to reject the biblical counsel and godly wisdom of our forefathers upon which our nation was founded?
What do we need to do? We need to 1) develop a God-given vision of the future – a better tomorrow; and 2) chart a course for the present; 3) based on the most enduring truths of the past.
Our present national leadership presents a problem. What kind of leadership are we dealing with? We are dealing with leaders who have broken their covenant with God, their sacred oath of office, they’ve forsaken the faith of our Founding Fathers, they’ve failed to maintain our constitutional republic and they have failed to uphold the U.S. Constitution. However, there is hope for us if we reverence God, His Word and the biblical faith of our founding fathers. There is hope for America as we remember Psalm 33:12: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” There is hope for us if we trust in the God of hope. There is hope if we don’t get discouraged and give up.
Our nation was conceived in “liberty,” which the founders understood as freedom with responsibility. Liberty is not the right to do what you want, but the power to do what you ought. Liberty is one of the most remarkable evidences of the blessing of a God-given, Bible-based, and principle-driven vision. Our Founder’s vision of a commitment to the Holy Word of a sovereign God served as the basis for freedom for future generations of this great nation. While deists did not accept all the theology of the Bible, they did accept God’s absolute moral principles.
What happened to our once great nation? When our country was founded we had a biblical moral consensus which resulted in a common culture which was at its root Christian. However, the Christian faith has been jettisoned almost entirely from the educational system, governmental institutions, our judicial system, as well as cultural expression; therefore, there is no longer any basis for national unity. With the rejection of biblical moral absolutes there is no longer any basis for true freedom. Instead there is a simultaneous drift toward both tyranny and anarchy. The reality is that our nation’s future is hanging in the balance. If the Christian faith diminished in our nation, other faiths will enter to fill the spiritual void. This is what’s happening in Europe.
What are some of the problems and challenges we face as a nation? In a nutshell:
- We have an increasingly unrepresentative, socialistic and tyrannical government.
- We have increased materialism, sexual additions and hedonism at the expense of duty.
- We have the abandonment of God’s Word as the standard of absolute truth.
- We have the abandonment of God’s law as the standard of ethics and morality.
- We have the disintegration of the family, the most important unit in our society. (Note: Most of our social problems come from the breakdown of marriage and the family.)
- We have the inherent weaknesses of the church in theology, faith and practice.
- We have a federal government which, for the most part, is unaccountable and out of control.
What does the future hold for our nation? What are our most basic options as a nation?
- Option # 1: True Freedom: Repentance, Revival, Renewal and Reformation on a national scale. This is by far the best option, but what would it entail? Humility, complete repentance, fervent prayer, seeking God’s direction, assimilating God’s Word, developing a Christian worldview and seeking to do God’s will God’s way for God’s glory. True freedom is only possible via Christ.
- Option # 2: Tyranny. This is the most likely option, because secular humanism and the Muslim faith are both, at heart, tyrannical. They both want to control everything, which results in tyranny. The life and worldview of humanists and Muslims cannot be realized without a coercive state. The Christian life and worldview comes as a result of the supernatural work of God through the sharing of the holy Word of God – the Bible. Christianity leads to freedom rather than tyranny. What does this option look like? Regulations, enforcement agencies, oppression and persecution.
- Option # 3: Anarchy – each person doing their own thing, resulting in fragmentation, decentralization and increased lawlessness. Without the Christian faith, there is no rational basis for moral and cultural consensus. Without the Christian faith there is not the incentive to voluntarily obey God’s absolute moral laws in the Bible. Anarchy is an over-reaction to tyranny and often results in increased dishonesty and lawlessness. Just look at the number of students who frequently cheat on tests and the number of adults who cheat on their income taxes!
Here is the essence of my argument: If God is sovereign and if He blesses nations that trust and obey Him, then no social order, nation or government will receive His blessing if they do not covenant together to obey His Word. It is only the gospel of grace contained in God’s Word that can effectively restrain the tyrant’s pursuit of power or the anarchists move toward lawlessness.
Who are the people who can restore America? Who can God use to restore our nation?
They are the ones who repent of their complacency and lethargy, seek God with their whole heart, seek His revealed will in Scripture by rigorous and diligent study and spend their lives applying God’s wise and loving principles to their lives, family, church, community and government. The hope of America today is found in those who walk in the way of our Puritan and Pilgrim forefathers. Our Founders were courageous, self-disciplined, educated, godly and never afraid to address any subject from the perspective of a biblical worldview. They had the courage of their godly/biblical convictions. Do we have this kind of commitment in our churches today? If we did, our nation and our churches wouldn’t be in such a mess, would they?
Here are some additional questions we would all do well to ask ourselves:
Do you have the courage of your convictions? Will you speak up and defend what you believe?
Is there anything for which you would put your reputation, job or life in jeopardy?
Is it okay for your children to be indoctrinated into a radical homosexual ideology?
Will you object if the state tries to tell the preacher what he can say from the pulpit?
Will you object if babies are killed in hospitals or the elderly are euthanized in nursing homes?
Will you object if the state tries to change the biblical definition of marriage?
Will you speak out if your school encourages your children to be sexually immoral?
Will you speak up if your business is engaging in unethical practices?
Where do we begin in the transformation of our nation?
We need a clear and compelling God-given vision! Listen to what Benjamin Franklin said, “Whoever will introduce into public affairs the principles of Christianity will change the face of the world.” No one ever seeks change in life unless he first has a vision for something better. How can any God-honoring Christian look at the state of our nation and be satisfied? “Without a vision, people perish” (Prov. 29:18). Once we develop a God-given vision of a better tomorrow, we need to develop an effective strategy to make it a reality. One thing should be very clear: politics is not the answer to our most basic problems! Our problems can’t be solved by more burdensome regulations, more information or education or more money. What we need is spiritual: 1) repentance, 2) regeneration, 3) revival, 4) renewal and 5) reformation!
What was the vision of our Foundering Fathers for America? What is your vision for this nation?
Does it include : economic freedom, limited government, fiscal responsibility, a creditor rather than a debtor nation, reduced crime leading to safer streets, equal justice under the law, strong marriages and families, children raised with faith and character, a strong educational system, competitive economy, voluntary charity, freedom of expression in the public square and absolute rather than moral values?
Does it include : churches that are bible-based, Christ-centered and Spirit-filled that are motivated to glorify God? Is this the kind of vision you have for the nation?
We might ask: By whom and on what was our nation founded? Patrick Henry said, “It cannot be emphasized too strongly that this great nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians, not on religion, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
What is the relationship between freedom and morality? Again Henry said, “Bad men can’t make good citizens. It is impossible that a nation of infidels or idolators should be a nation of freemen. It is when a people forget God that tyrants forge their chains. A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience, are incompatible with freedom.”
What is the highest glory of the American Revolution? President John Quincy Adams, our sixth President said, “The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: that it tied together in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.”
What was the basis of the founding of our nation? James Madison, the 4th President of the United States said, “We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”
Finally, what does God desire and expect from His children today? To love Him first and foremost. To seek first God’s Kingdom – committing to extend it by building a strong, family, church and state according to the Word of God. We need to learn to reverence the Lord by learning to take God and His Word seriously. (Reverencing God is the beginning of wisdom.) We must press into the future with faith and courage that God gives us His power to do His will. We should seek to think God’s thoughts after Him and we should endeavor to apply His Word to every area of life. Finally, we should remember that, “God always gives His very best to those who leave the final choice with Him.” You think about that! ….. Amen!