America What Happened? | Part One

July 8, 2015

Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey | Pastor
First Baptist Church, Spanish Fort, AL

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) is generally credited with the following prediction years before he became President: “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” This is likely a paraphrase popularized from his address to the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois, on January 27, 1838, titled “The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions.” He asked, “Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant to step the ocean and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest, with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force take a drink from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge in a trial of a thousand years. At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer. If it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide.”[i]

Joseph Stalin (1878-1953), former leader of the Soviet Union, said, “America is like a healthy body and its resistance is threefold: its patriotism, its morality, and its spiritual life. If we can undermine these three areas, America will collapse from within.”[ii] Bradlee Dean writes, “Nikita Khrushchev [1894-1971] was a Russian Communist who seized power as dictator over the Soviet Union when Joseph Stalin died in 1953. He liked to threaten and bully his opposition, and his leadership of the Communist bloc in the Cold War was so dangerous he had to be removed by his subordinates. Nikita Khrushchev said: ‘We do not have to destroy America with missiles; America will destroy itself from within.’”[iii]

The Humanist Manifesto I (1933) and the Humanist Manifesto II (1973) clearly outline a worldview that denies God.  “Smith v. Board of School Commissioners of Mobile County (1987) was a lawsuit in which the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit held that the Mobile, Alabama schools could use textbooks which purportedly promoted ‘secular humanism’, characterized by the complainants as a religion. Parents and other citizens brought a lawsuit against the school board, alleging that the school system was teaching the tenets of secular humanism, an anti-theistic religion.”[iv]

Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer (1912-1984) shares the following in “A Christian Manifesto”: “Christians, in the last 80 years or so, have only been seeing things as bits and pieces which have gradually begun to trouble them and others, instead of understanding that they are the natural outcome of a change from a Christian World View to a Humanistic one. . . Humanism is the absolute certain result, if we choose this other final reality and say that is what it is. You must realize that when we speak of man being the measure of all things under the Humanist label, the first thing is that man has only knowledge from himself. That he, being finite, limited, very faulty in his observation of many things, yet nevertheless, has no possible source of knowledge except what man, beginning from himself, can find out from his own observation. Specifically, in this view, there is no place for any knowledge from God.

But it is not only that man must start from himself in the area of knowledge and learning, but any value system must come arbitrarily from man himself by arbitrary choice. More frightening still, in our country, at our own moment of history, is the fact that any basis of law then becomes arbitrary — merely certain people making decisions as to what is for the good of society at the given moment.”[v]

Psalm 11:1-7 reads, “In the Lord I put my trust; How can you say to my soul, ‘Flee as a bird to your mountain’? For look! The wicked bend their bow, They make ready their arrow on the string, That they may shoot secretly at the upright in heart. If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do? The Lord is in His holy temple, The Lord’s throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men. The Lord tests the righteous, But the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates. Upon the wicked He will rain coals; Fire and brimstone and a burning wind Shall be the portion of their cup. For the Lord is righteous, He loves righteousness; His countenance beholds the upright.”

Rev. Matthew Henry (1662-1714) comments, “David’s struggle with, and triumph over a strong temptation to distrust God, and betake himself to indirect means for his own safety, in a time of danger. . . The believer, though not terrified by his enemies, may be tempted, by the fears of his friends, to desert his post, or neglect his work. They perceive his danger, but not his security; they give him counsel that savours of worldly policy, rather than of heavenly wisdom. The principles of religion are the foundations on which the faith and hope of the righteous are built. . . . The prosperity of wicked people in their wicked, evil ways, and the straits and distresses which the best men are sometimes brought into, tried David’s faith. . . . God governs the world. We may know what men seem to be, but God knows what they are, as the refiner knows the value of gold when he has tried it. God is said to try with his eyes, because he cannot err, or be imposed upon. If he afflicts good people, it is for their trial, therefore for their good. However persecutors and oppressors may prosper awhile, they will for ever perish. God is a holy God, and therefore hates them. He is a righteous Judge, and will therefore punish them. In what a horrible tempest are the wicked hurried away at death! Every man has the portion of his cup assigned him. Impenitent sinner, mark your doom! The last call to repentance is about to be addressed to you, judgement is at hand; through the gloomy shade of death you pass into the region of eternal wrath. Hasten then, O sinner, to the cross of Christ. How stands the case between God and our souls? Is Christ our hope, our consolation, our security? Then, not otherwise, will the soul be carried through all its difficulties and conflicts.”[vi]

America, what happened?

America, what happened to our fathers’ vision?
David Barton explains, “The spiritual emphasis manifested so often by the Americans during the Revolution caused one Crown-appointed British governor to write to Great Britain complaining that: ‘If you ask an American who is his master, he’ll tell you he has none. And he has no governor but Jesus Christ.’

Letters like this, and sermons like those preached by the Reverend Peter Powers titled ‘Jesus Christ the King,’ gave rise to a sentiment that has been described as a motto of the American Revolution. . . . A motto of the American Revolution directed against the tyrant King George III and the theologically discredited doctrine of the Divine Right of Kings (which asserted that when the king spoke, it was the voice of God speaking directly to the people) was simple and direct: ‘No King but King Jesus!’”[vii] Peter Marshall and David Manuel share the rest of the story in The Light and the Glory: “‘If you ask an American, who is his master? He will tell you he has none, nor any governor but Jesus Christ.’ Which may have given rise to the cry which was soon passed up and down the length of America by the Committees of Correspondence: ‘No king but King Jesus!’”[viii]

The forefathers of this great country envisioned a place with “No King but King Jesus” with liberty and justice for all. It has been said, “Liberty is fragile!” and “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” Yesterday’s victory does not work for today. We must go from victory to victory or we will become the victims of the next wave of tyranny.

On Sunday, September 11, 1938, Dr. Halford E. Luccock (1885-1961) former professor of preaching at Yale University, preached a message at Riverside Church, New York, based on Psalm 71:1, titled, “Keeping Life Out of Confusion”. In this message he warned: “When and if fascism comes to America it will not be labeled ‘made in Germany’; it will not be marked with a swastika; it will not even be called fascism; it will be called, of course, ‘Americanism.’ … The high-sounding phrase ‘the American way’ will be used by interested groups intent on profit, to cover a multitude of sins against the American and Christian tradition, such sins as lawless violence, tear gas and shotguns, denial of civil liberties … There is an obligation resting on us all to dedicate our minds to the hard task of thinking in terms of Christian objectives and values, so that we may be saved from moral confusion.”[ix]

Patrick Henry (1736-1799) stated, “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionist, but by Christian; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”[x]

Part Two Coming Soon!



[i]Abraham Lincoln, “The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions”: Address Before the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois, January 27, 1838 Accessed: 06/29/15 .
[ii]Bradlee Dean, “TIME Magazine’s Tyrant of the Year”, February 27, 2015, Accessed: 06/30/15 .
[iv]Accessed: 06/3015 .
[v]Francis A. Schaeffer, A Christian Manifesto Accessed: 06/30/15 .
[vi]The Holy Bible: With the Text According to the Authorized Version, and Commentary from Matthew Henry and Thomas Scott, Job through Song of Solomon (London: The Religious Tract Society, 1836), 2:110-111.
[vii]David Barton, “4th of July Article” 01/2000, (Aledo, TX: WallBuilders, 2000), Accessed: 06/27/15 .
[viii]Peter Marshall and David Manuel, The Light and the Glory, [citing: Hezekiah Niles, Principles and Acts of the Revolution in America, (Baltimore, MD: William Ogden Niles,1822), 198. and Cushing Stout, The New Heavens and the New Earth, (New York, NY: Harper & Row Publishers, 1973), 59.] (Grand Rapids, MI: Fleming H. Revell, 1977), 267.
[ix]Halford E. Luccock, “Keeping Life Out of Confusion” Sermon Notes (Psalm 71:1), [preached on Sunday, September 11, 1938, Riverside Church in New York, NY] Excerpt from Halford E. Luccock in an article published in the New York Times September 12, 1938, page 15. Just in case the article does not appear in this e-mail, scroll down on the following website to find the photo facsimile of the article as it appeared in the newspaper. .
[x]Melvin E. Bradford, The Trumpet Voice of Freedom: Patrick Henry of Virginia, (Marlborough, NH: Plymouth Rock Foundation, 1991), iii.

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Jim P

This is a very good article Dr. Kirksey. It does reflect the frustration of many who are concerned with the direction of this country. You portrayed the problem accurately.

What I offer is to contribute to your article.

I did not know until a few years ago that it was Baptists who where the ones who pushed for James Madison to put in the ‘Bill of Rights’ the principle of ‘Separation of Church and State,’ this to his own admission. It was also Baptists who contributed to Thomas Jefferson’s advances in his career. Interestingly though neither would become Baptists. I believe James Madison remained apart of the Church of England and Thomas Jefferson was a rationalist for lack of a better word.

I was amazed at the contributions of the Baptist in the heritage of the is country.
I often admit to people this country is Baptistic in character, but it is not a Baptist nation.
I am sure those Baptist of old recognized the distinction between in this ‘world’ but not of this ‘world.’

For God to give direction to this ‘world’ where believer’s citizenship does not truly lie, we must continually set our sights ‘on the things above’ not on the ‘things of this world.’

Thank you and I hope this contributes,
Jim Poulos

    Franklin L. Kirksey

    Jim, Thank you very much for your kind and informative reply. Please remember this is just a part of the entire article. Blessings, Franklin Kirksey


“I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers – and it was not there . . . in her fertile fields and boundless forests and it was not there . . . in her rich mines and her vast world commerce – and it was not there . . . in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution – and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.” (Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 1835)

America is sick because the church is sick. America’s health can only be restored when the church gets back on its feet. The church alone holds the ointment this land needs, but the bottle lies untapped on the shelf. There is little holy flame in the pulpit to fuel righteousness in the pew. America is no longer great because we have allowed the enemy to strip the goodness of God from our national fabric. When the church should have agonized, it organized. Prayerless and powerless we are. Jesus says repent or else …

    Franklin L. Kirksey

    Amen, Max. I love the quote from Alexis de Tocqueville! You are correct in your assessment. The Lord willing you will read the rest of this article. Blessings, Franklin Kirksey


Hello Franklin,

This is a disturbing article, not because I disagree, but because it is true.

I think that two quotes in particular sum up the problem nicely. First, the Lincoln paraphrase/quote: “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” Second, the Stalin quote: “America is like a healthy body and its resistance is threefold: its patriotism, its morality, and its spiritual life. If we can undermine these three areas, America will collapse from within.”

Stalin was an enemy but a perceptive enemy, and enemy that really understood things. If you look at those three things, all three have strongly been eroded in this country. And Stalin is correct, erode those three and the collapse will be from within.

I am a big fan of history, not only because it is interesting but also because it is informative, if your eyes are wide open and you are honest, you will see cycles that repeat themselves throughout history.

One of the most chilling for Americans ought to be the decline of the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire like the US had a strong military and economy at one point and it was inconceivable that it could collapse, and it was not going to be defeated from without. It was only going to decline and eventually collapse from within. In my opinion the US is going through the same process as the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. Church leaders should study the history of the Roman Empire, particularly its decline and fall because they are a case study, a strong parallel to what is happening to the US. We can be ostriches with our heads in the sand ignoring reality or we can be realists and learn from history, particularly from how the Roman Empire collapsed from within.

    Franklin L. Kirksey

    Hello Robert, Thank you for your perceptive comments. I agree with your comments on “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” as you can see on page 105 of my book titled, “Don’t Miss the Revival! Messages for Revival and Spiritual Awakening from Isaiah”. A Google search of roman empire Franklin Kirksey and it should take you to my citation from Edward Gibbon. When you see the rest of the article you will realize my time was limited. I appreciate your stand for truth and righteousness. Blessings, Franklin Kirksey

Scott Shaver

Good stuff from not that long ago, historically.

makes the hair stand on your arms.

The warnings from yesterday’s pulpit about the disease have been replaced today by some pulpits infected with the disease.

    Franklin L. Kirksey

    Scott, You are correct. The dramatic shift surfaced in the early 1960s. Several expressed a similar sensation to hearing or reading those things. I appreciate your comments. Blessings, Franklin Kirksey

      Scott Shaver

      Thank you Franklin.

      I agree with dramatic shift of early 1960’s and blessings to you as well.

Jon Estes

Excellent post…

The question I ask myself after reading this is… As a pastor how am I leading my church to actively turn the world upside down – again? I have spent many years trying to turn the church upside down (as in how the Bible speaks to this) to little to no avail. I have even come to the point as a pastor (not there presently – PTL), just eanting to give up, earn a paycheck, quit trying to make a difference…

Now I am asking, as a result of this article… Church, what happened?

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