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America's Culture War: Christian Origins

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Is America Doomed? [Part II]

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

[EDITORSNOTE: This article is the second installment in a three-part series based on the author’s seminar and soon-to-be-released book—“The Silencing of God: The Dismantling of America’s Christian Heritage.” Part I appeared in the September issue. Part II follows below, and continues, without introductory comments, where the first article ended.]

Summary

The butchery of babies and sexual perversion undoubtedly will go down in history as primary contributors to the moral and spiritual deterioration, decline, and collapse of American society (see Miller, 2006). Abortion and homosexuality are glaring proofs of the expanding rejection of God in American civilization. They show the extent to which Americans are severing themselves from the laws of God in exchange for wanton indulgence of human passion. Forget where a candidate stands on health care, the environment, and social security! We simply must lay aside all the other political issues that vie for our attention and affect our finances, and vote based on where a candidate stands on these two premiere moral issues that will spell the doom of our nation. If the nation is punished for its moral degradation, our finances will be the least of our worries.

The social turbulence of the 1960s created a revolution in societal mores among the baby boomer generation. The stated philosophy of “do your own thing” literally has “gone to seed” in American society. The result is that many Americans live their lives and make their day-to-day moral decisions on the basis of a hodge-podge of values drawn from a variety of sources. Situation ethics is the order of the day, and the average person simply acts on his feelings and personal opinions. Morality is now individualistic—with each person formulating his own belief system and then measuring his behavior against that subjective, personal, moral framework. Concomitant with the development of this circumstance is the corresponding sentiment that no one should “judge” anyone else’s beliefs or actions, and everyone should be “tolerant” of the diversity of viewpoints that permeate society.

The Founders were adamant in their insistence that the survival of the Republic depends

Thomas Jefferson

on its citizens maintaining unchanging Christian moral virtue. They would be deeply saddened to see the extent to which our civilization has slumped from its original high moral ground. In a letter from Paris dated August 28, 1789, Thomas Jefferson wrote to James Madison: “I know but one code of morality for men whether acting singly or collectively” (Jefferson, 1789). He was simply expressing the widespread view of the Founders as well as the populace of the United States at the time. Indeed, he merely articulated biblical reality, in which moral value, good, and evil, are defined by the Creator in His Word, the Bible. By that Word and by that standard, every human life will one day be measured. In the words of Jesus Christ: “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day” (John 12:48).

At a time when French immorality was notorious, John Jay related two experiences he had while in France:

During my residence there, I do not recollect to have had more than two conversations with atheists about their tenets. The

John Jay
first was this: I was at a large party, of which were several of that description. They spoke freely and contemptuously of religion. I took no part in the conversation. In the course of it, one of them asked me if I believed in Christ? I answered that I did, and that I thanked God that I did.... Some time afterward, one of my family being dangerously ill, I was advised to send for an English physician who had resided many years at Paris.... But, it was added, he is an atheist.... [D]uring one of his visits, [he] very abruptly remarked that there was no God and he hoped the time would come when there would be no religion in the world. I very concisely remarked that if there was no God there could be no moral obligations, and I did not see how society could subsist without them... (as quoted in Jay, 1833, 2:346-347, emp. added).

Patrick Henry shared Jay’s assessment of France. In fact, Henry, who “realized as few men did the danger to the republican institutions of his country from the

Patrick Henry

undermining influence of French infidelity, set himself to counteracting its baneful influence by every means in his power” (Henry, 1891, 2:200). Hear his forthright denunciation of French morals:

But, as to France, I have no doubt in saying, that to her it will be calamitous. Her conduct has made it the interest of the great family of mankind to wish the downfall of her present government; because its existence is incompatible with that of all others within its reach. And, whilst I see the dangers that threaten ours from her intrigues and her arms, I am not so much alarmed as at the apprehension of her destroying the great pillars of all government and of social life; I mean virtue, morality, and religion. This is the armor, my friend, and this alone, that renders us invincible. These are the tactics we should study. If we lose these, we are conquered, fallen indeed (1891, 2:591-592, emp. added).

After serving two terms as Vice-President alongside President

John Adams

George Washington, the second President of these United States, John Adams, delivered a speech to military officers of the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia of Massachusetts on October 11, 1798. In this speech, Adams included an uncompromising affirmation of the essentiality of Christian morality:

We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion.... Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other (1854, 9:229, emp. added).

In a letter written from Philadelphia to the Abbés Chalut and Arnoux

Benjamin Franklin

on April 17, 1787, Benjamin Franklin spoke positively of the relative calmness with which Americans were handling the “overturning” caused by the Revolution, which he attributed to America’s stable moral framework:

Your reflections on our situation compared with that of many nations of Europe, are very sensible and just. Let me add, that only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters (1988, emp. added).

Declaration signer and president of the Continental Congress (1784), Richard Henry Lee, emphatically affirmed on March 6, 1786: “It is certainly true that a popular government cannot flourish without virtue in the

Richard Henry Lee

people” (1914, 2:411, emp. added). Dr. Benjamin Rush added his blunt observation: “Without the restraints of religion and social worship, men become savages” (1951, 1:505, emp. added).

In his critique of France’s revolution, Founder Noah Webster spoke with displeasure of the French revolutionists’ “impious attempts to exterminate every part of the Christian religion,” and, referring to himself in the third person, insisted:

He is not yet convinced that men are capable of such perfection on earth, as to regulate all their actions by moral rectitude, without the restraints of religion and law. He does not believe with the French atheist, that the universe is composed solely of matter and motion, without a Supreme Intelligence; nor that man is solely the creature of education. He believes that God, and not education, gives man his passions; and that the business of education is to restrain and direct the passions to the purposes of social happiness. He believes that man will always have passions—that these passions will frequently urge him into vices—that religion has an excellent effect in repressing vices, in softening the manners of men, and consoling them under the pressure of calamities (1794, Vol. 2, Ch. 44, emp. added).

All of these Founders, and many more, understood and believed the biblical declaration: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34). We must rise up and petition political authorities in behalf of Christian morality. We have an evangelistic responsibility!

Consider the solemn, virtually prophetic, warning issued by James A. Garfield, who became the 20th President of the United States in 1880:

Now, more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of

James A. Garfield
their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature.... If the next centennial does not find us a great nation...it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces (as quoted in Taylor, 1970, p. 180, emp. added).

And consider the relevant advice of the first Chief Justice of the first U.S. Supreme Court, John Jay, who, in a letter to Jedidiah Morse on January 1, 1813, commented on whether Christians should elect non-Christians to public office:

Whether our religion permits Christians to vote for infidel rulers is a question which merits more consideration than it seems yet to have generally received either from the clergy or the laity. It appears to me that what the prophet said to Jehoshaphat about his attachment to Ahab affords a salutary lesson (1890, 4:365).

Jay was referring to the query posed by Jehu: “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord?” (2 Chronicles 19:2). Jay further insisted that Americans must be diligent in their political selections since it was God who gave us this privilege:

Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers. It is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest, of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers (as quoted in Jay, 1833, 2:376, emp. added).

Noah Webster was in complete agreement:

[L]et it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers just men who will

Noah Webster
rule in the fear of God [an allusion to Exodus 18:21—DM]. The preservation of a republican government depends on the faithful discharge of this duty; if the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted.... If a republican government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the Divine commands and elect bad men to make and administer the laws (1832, pp. 336-337, emp. added).

Jethro delineated for his son-in-law, Moses, four critical qualifications for political leaders that match God’s view of the matter: “Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness” (Exodus 18:21, emp. added). Or as Solomon stated: “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man rules, the people groan.... The king establishes the land by justice, but he who receives bribes overthrows it” (Proverbs 29:2,4).

The fact is, we had better forget politics and party

Benjamin Rush

loyalties, and learn to think and act spiritually. We must view political issues from the perspective of God as indicated in His Word (Isaiah 55:8-9;Jeremiah 10:23). We must learn to make decisions in harmony with Christian morals and principles. Signer of the Declaration and physician, Dr. Benjamin Rush, put this matter in perspective:

I have been alternately called an aristocrat and a democrat. I am neither. I am a Christocrat. I believe all power...will always fail of producing order and happiness in the hands of man. He alone who created and redeemed man is qualified to govern him (as quoted in Ramsay, 1813, p. 103, emp. added).

VI. Boycott Hollywood. Do not enable the entertainment industry in its wicked assault on morality. Hollywood does not represent what America has always been about. In fact, they are as antagonistic and hostile toward God, Christianity, and true patriotism as anyone can be. And many Americans are insanely enamored with the fluff and glitter of such frivolous pursuits. Indeed, with the passing of the World War II generation, succeeding generations of Americans have little or no interest in the higher, nobler aspects of human existence, cultivating moral excellence and the virtuous development of the human spirit. Instead, entertainment, pleasure, physical stimulation, and indulging fleshly appetites now take center stage. To show the extent to which Americans have degenerated in their sensibilities, who would have ever imagined that the day could ever come when an American Idol contestant would generate more votes than any U.S. President has received (August, et al., 2006, p. 23)? We ought to be ashamed—and alarmed. Does recreation and playing mean more to us than our souls, the souls of our children, and the survival of our society?

VII. Be resolute, steadfast, and unmovable. Do not give up. Stay with the battle. America’s current condition did not develop overnight. It will take time and persistence to turn the nation around.

To capsule these seven items: STAND UP AND SPEAK OUT! Verbalize and articulate the truth at every opportunity. The solution to all of the problems encountered by humans is the Word of God. The Bible has the answers!

WHAT WILL HAPPEN...

What lies ahead for America when a sizable percentage of the citizenry no longer acknowledges or submits to the God of the Bible? What is going to happen to this country when many of our people no longer believe that a nation is blessed only if its God is the Lord? What does the future hold, given the direction we are going? When one examines the sweeping scope of human history, it becomes readily apparent that progress is not linear. Rather, nations rise and fall. The progress that they achieve is often lost to later civilizations, who must essentially “reinvent the wheel.” Archaeological evidence exists to substantiate the fact that highly advanced civilizations have preceded modern times, creating many enigmas for researchers. The Moche were a highly developed society that vanished centuries ago. The ancient Paracas performed medieval wonders in brain surgery using only crude metal instruments. The fabled Macchu Picchu achieved incredible engineering feats (“Inca...,” 1995). The Nasca (or perhaps their predecessors) produced massive drawings that stretch for miles and are thus visible/discernible only from the air (“The Lost City...,” 2000; “Nasca Lines,” n.d.).

What happened to such civilizations? Why are they now nonexistent? One would expect that the likelihood of a nation’s survival would increase in proportion to the technological, medical, and economic progress. One explanation for this circumstance (perhaps the explanation) is provided by the Bible. Simply stated, the Bible affirms that as a nation moves in the direction of spiritual and moral depravity, becoming increasingly alienated from God, that nation positions itself for inevitable destruction. That destruction may come in the form of natural disasters—such as volcanoes (e.g., Pompeii). It may come in the form of external invasion—as in the case of the fall of Babylonia or Rome. It can even come in the form of direct, miraculous intervention by God—as in the case of Sodom and the other cities of the plain (Genesis 19:29).

...ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE?

This principle is alluded to repeatedly in Scripture. When God promised to Abraham that his descendents would be given the land of Canaan as their homeland, He noted that this gift would not be given for several hundred years. Why the delay? “[F]or the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete” (Genesis 15:16). God would not have displaced one group of people simply in order to give another group the land. That would be unjust and prejudicial—in direct contradiction to God’s nature (Deuteronomy 32:4). He eventually allowed the Israelites to conquer Canaan because the peoples that inhabited the land had grown exceedingly wicked. Coincidental to reception of the land, God used the Israelites to punish the Canaanites for their perversion and depravity.

For the land is defiled; therefore I visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it, and the land vomits out its inhabitants. You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations, either any of your own nation or any stranger who dwells among you (for all these abominations the men of the land have done, who were before you, and thus the land is defiled), lest the land vomit you out also when you defile it, as it vomited out the nations that were before you. For whoever commits any of these abominations, the persons who commit them shall be cut off from among their people. Therefore you shall keep My ordinance, so that you do not commit any of these abominable customs which were committed before you, and that you do not defile yourselves by them: I am the Lord your God (Leviticus 18:25-30, emp. added).

Observe that God gives civilizations a considerable amount of time—even hundreds of years—to choose the spiritual and moral direction they will take. If they are determined to spiral downward in an ever-deepening devotion to idolatry, covetousness, sexual impurity, etc., then God eventually “lowers the boom” and destroys them for their iniquity (cf. the Genesis Flood). The inspired writer of the book of Kings compared the wickedness of King Ahab to the previous inhabitants of the land of Canaan, noting the reason for their destruction: “And he behaved very abominably in following idols, according to all that the Amorites had done, whom the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel” (1 Kings 21:25-26).

This same principle is reiterated in the New Testament. Jesus summarized the history of Israel as one of frequent rebellion against divine precepts. He intimated that they were nearing the limit of God’s toleration and impending punishment when He declared to them: “Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt” (Matthew 23:32). It was as if an imaginary cup had been gradually filling up with sin, and that it was nearing the brim—at which time God would respond with appropriate destruction. Paul verified this very understanding when he accused his fellow Jews of having been the ones “who killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they do not please God and are contrary to all men, forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved, so as always to fill up the measure of their sins; but wrath has come upon them to the uttermost (1 Thessalonians 2:15-16, emp. added). As the Jews entrenched themselves against the will of God, they were guilty of piling sins on top of sins, until inevitable divine wrath would be forthcoming—as it did when the Romans sacked Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

Writing centuries earlier, the inspired writer of Kings acknowledged this principle in his summary of the Jews’ national history:

And the Lord spoke by His servants the prophets, saying, “Because Manasseh king of Judah has done these abominations (he has acted more wickedly than all the Amorites who were before him, and has also made Judah sin with his idols), therefore thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘Behold, I am bringing such calamity upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whoever hears of it, both his ears will tingle. And I will stretch over Jerusalem the measuring line of Samaria and the plummet of the house of Ahab; I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down. So I will forsake the remnant of My inheritance and deliver them into the hand of their enemies; and they shall become victims of plunder to all their enemies, because they have done evil in My sight, and have provoked Me to anger since the day their fathers came out of Egypt, even to this day’” (2 Kings 21:10-15, emp. added).

Observe that the writer compared the sin of the Israelites with the sin of the previous occupants of the land of Canaan, thus earning for themselves the same outcome: divine retribution and devastation. As the prophet Ezekiel reported: “‘Thus I will make the land desolate, because they have persisted in unfaithfulness,’ says the Lord God” (15:8).

REFERENCES

Adams, John (1850-1856), The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, ed. Charles Adams (Boston, MA: Little, Brown, & Company).

August, Melissa, et al. (2006), “Milestones,” Time, 167[23]: June 5, [On-line], URL: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1198884,00.html.

Franklin, Benjamin (1988), The Papers of Benjamin Franklin (Digital Edition), ed. Barbara Oberg (Los Altos, CA: The Packard Humanities Institute), [On-line], URL: http://www.franklinpapers.org/franklin/.

Henry, Patrick (1891), Patrick Henry; Life, Correspondence and Speeches, ed. William Henry (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons), [On-line], URL: http://www.archive.org/details/pathenrylife01henrr ich.

“Inca, Secrets of the Ancestors” (1995), Time Life’s Lost Civilizations Series, [On-line], URL: http://www.utexas.edu/cola/llilas/centers/outreach/resources/topic/inca.html.

Jay, John (1890), The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, 1763-1781, ed. Henry Johnston(New York: Burt Franklin).

Jay, William (1833), The Life of John Jay (New York: J. & J. Harper).

Jefferson, Thomas (1789), “Letter to James Madison, August 28, 1789,” The Thomas Jefferson Papers Series 1. General Correspondence, 1751-1827, Library of Congress, [On-line], URL: http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?am mem/mtj:@field(DOCID+@lit(tj050135)).

Lee, Richard Henry (1914), The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, ed. James Ballagh (New York: MacMillan).

“The Lost City of Nasca” (2000), BBC, [On-line], URL: http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/horizon/1999/nasca.shtml.

Miller, Dave (2006), Sexual Anarchy (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).

“Nasca Lines” (no date), [On-line], URL: http://www.crystalinks.com/nasca.html.

Ramsay, David (1813), An Eulogium Upon Benjamin Rush, M.D. (Philadelphia, PA: Bradford & Inskeep).

Rush, Benjamin (1951), Letters of Benjamin Rush, ed. L.H. Butterfield (Princeton, NJ: The American Philosophical Society).

Taylor, John (1970), Garfield of Ohio: The Available Man (New York: W.W. Norton).

Webster, Noah (1794), “The Revolution in France,” in Political Sermons of the American Founding Era: 1730-1805, ed. Ellis Sandoz (Indianapolis, IN: Liberty Fund), 1998 edition, [On-line], URL: http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/817/69415.

Webster, Noah (1832), History of the United States (New Haven, CT: Durrie & Peck).




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