America What Happened? | Part Two
Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey | Pastor
First Baptist Church, Spanish Fort, AL
Click HERE for Part One
America, what happened to our faith venture?
The founding fathers of this great country took a faith venture, trusting in God! This is evidenced in the lyrics of the U.S. National Anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner. The song was written by Francis Scott Key in 1814 and later adopted as the national anthem. In the last stanza Key writes a variation of the phrase: “…And this be our motto: In God is our trust. And the Star Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave, O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”[i]
Daniel Webster (1782-1852) said, “Our fathers were brought hither by their high veneration for the Christian religion. They journeyed by its light and labored in its hope. They sought to incorporate its principles with the elements of their society and to diffuse its influence through all their institutions, civil, political, or literary.”[ii]
David Barton with WallBuilders, laments, “Regrettably, we no longer know much about the indispensable role of pastors and Christian leaders in the founding of our civil government. Americans have been subjected to ‘revisionism’ – defined by the dictionary as ‘the revision of an accepted, usually long-standing view; especially a revision of historical events and movements.’ Revisionism attempts to alter the way a people sees its history in order to cause a change in public policy.
Consider how successful this has been. Under the economic view of American history, Americans now believe that the early colonists came to America seeking land and gold rather than for the reason most cited by the colonists: evangelization. And most now accept that the colonies were founded for trade, fishing, and other economic enterprises, even though more than half were founded by Gospel ministers for religious purposes (e.g., Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Georgia, etc.). And if religion is discussed in a text, it will be to present the 21 deaths during the Salem Witch Trials rather than the Great Awakenings, the Civil War revivals, or the turn-of-the-century revivals that led to widespread urban renewal and the end of child labor.”[iii]
Dr. Harold Lindsell (1913-1998) shares the following in his book titled, The World, the Flesh, and the Devil: “No nation has ever failed to prosper when its people put God first and their country second.”[iv] Psalm 33:12 reads, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, The people He has chosen as His own inheritance.”
Noted sociologist, Howard Whitman, writes, “When any nation has become overly pleasure-seeking, history has already begun its epitaph.”[v] W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1975) writes, “Any nation that thinks more of its ease and comfort than its freedom will soon lose its freedom; and the ironic thing about it is that it will lose its ease and comfort too.”[vi]
The first amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America in the Bill of Rights, reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”[vii]
America, what happened to our family values?
According to a recent Tylenol commercial, “Family is not defined by who you love, but how you love.” Marriage was God’s idea. Family is essential (Genesis 1:27; 2:24) according to the divine pattern. Genesis 1:27 reads, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 2:24 reads, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
Actor Kirk Cameron reportedly said, “If the people sitting in the pews are fornicators and adulterers, the church will destroy marriages much more quickly than those outside the church. When God’s people mock marriage, God doesn’t take that lightly. . . The church isn’t taking God’s definition of marriage seriously.”[viii] Hebrews 13:4 reads, “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.”
Dr. David Jeremiah devotes a chapter in his book titled, I Never Thought I’d See the Day to the issue of Marriage. Dr. Jeremiah writes, “I never thought I’d see the day when marriage was deemed obsolete. But that day seems to have arrived in the minds of many. . . a 2010 Pew Research Center/Time magazine survey asked the American public if marriage was becoming obsolete, nearly 40 percent said yes. Among those in the traditional marrying age range (18-29), the number was four points higher, at 44 percent. That survey, titled “The Decline of Marriage and Rise of New Families,” recorded a number of shocking statistics about the deteriorating state of marriage and the family in our nation. . . .
The present concept of marriage and family in America stands in stark contrast to God’s design for marriage. The Pew report recognized the watershed impact on society of the attitudes revealed in their study, saying, ‘It’s no small thing when nearly four-in-ten (39%) Americans agree that the world’s most endearing social institution is becoming obsolete.”[ix]
These changes did not happen overnight. Americans gradually began to substitute self-gratification, self-fulfillment, and self-indulgence for the selfless values we once held dear based upon the absolute truth of God’s Holy Word.[x] 2 Timothy 3:1-5 reads, “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” Ravi Zacharias posed the following question: “How do you reach a generation that listens with its eyes and thinks with its feelings?”[xi] As holy saints we must depend on the Holy Spirit and declare the Holy Scriptures. 2 Timothy 4:1-5 reads, “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”
The following statement was signed by the president and a host of former presidents of the Southern Baptist Convention:
As Southern Baptist Christians, we are committed to Biblical faith and ethics. As a result, this body of Believers stands on the authority of Scripture and God’s Truth as central to our lives. What the Bible says about marriage is clear, definitive and unchanging. We affirm biblical, traditional, natural marriage as the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. The Scriptures’ teaching on marriage is not negotiable. We stake our lives upon the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus. Consequently, we will not accept, nor adhere to, any legal redefinition of marriage issued by any political or judicial body including the United States Supreme Court. We will not recognize same-sex ‘marriages’, our churches will not host same-sex ceremonies, and we will not perform such ceremonies. While we affirm our love for all people, including those struggling with same-sex attraction, we cannot and will not affirm the moral acceptability of homosexual behavior or any behavior that deviates from God’s design for marriage. We also believe religious freedom is at stake within this critical issue – that our first duty is to love and obey God, not man. Therefore, we strongly encourage all Southern Baptist pastors, leaders, educators, and churches to openly reject any mandated legal definition of marriage and to use their influence to affirm God’s design for life and relationships. As the nation’s largest non-Catholic denomination with over 16 million members, we stake our very lives and future on the Truth of God’s Word. We also join together to support those who stand for natural marriage in the corporate world, the marketplace, education, entertainment, media and elsewhere with our prayers and influence, and resources.[xii]
Noted economist, Roger Ward Babson (1875-1967), wrote the following in his syndicated newspaper column, “The test of a nation is the growth of its people, — intellectually and spiritually. Money and so-called ‘prosperity’ are of very little account. . . . Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, Spain and France all had their turn in being the richest in the world. And instead of saving them, their so-called prosperity proved to be the ruin of them. Our nation is now rated the richest; but it could easily become a second class nation and head downward. Money will not save us. . . . Only a sane, spiritual revival which changes the desires of our people will save us. We must be filled with a desire to render service, to seek strength rather than security, to put character ahead of profit.”[xiii] Former United States President, Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969) stated, “I am convinced from what I know of world conditions that the only hope of our day is a religious revival.”[xiv] Dr. Austin L. Sorenson (1918-1995) explains, “Revival begins with believers. ‘As go the believers, so goes the nation.’ A nation can only be reached by those who have the light. Back in the ‘40s a leaflet appeared in England by Allister W. Smith entitled, ‘Our Last Chance (An Appeal to Christians).’ Note this paragraph:
Conditions may be bad in the U.S.A. and in our Empire. They may be worse in some nations. But if we have had more light that other nations, our sin is greater, just as Capernaum was greater than that of Sodom (Matt. 11:23). Sodom had no church, no Bible, no crucified Christ. The British Empire and the U.S.A. enjoy more Gospel light and liberty and privileges than most nations, and should lead the world in revival.[xv]
“How then should Christians respond to the latest developments?” Joel C. Rosenberg advises, “The Court’s latest decision must not lead Christians to anger or hatred or violence.
- Let us be moved to brokenness before God, to deep repentance and to ceaseless prayer — many Americans don’t take God and His Word seriously because they don’t see Christians taking God and His Word seriously; for this and much else we need to repent and ask God to show mercy us and forgive us.
- Let us plead with our Father in heaven to pour out His Holy Spirit and grant us a massive spiritual revival within the Church that will draw us back to a close walk with Christ and faithful obedience to the Word of God.
- Let us become far more faithful to teach and preach the Word of God, the ‘whole counsel of God,’ and clearly and lovingly explain to all people the Gospel — the Good News of God’s love and forgiveness for all who will turn to Christ — and not be intimidated into silence.
- Let us plead with the Lord to grant a Great Awakening to America at large — as we preach (and live) the Gospel, let us pray that God chooses to move so powerfully that millions of lost, unsaved people repent and turn to faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and Redeemer of their lives, marriages and families.
- Let us always be gracious and kind to those who disagree with us (on the marriage issue and/or other Biblical issues), constantly seeking to obey Christ’s command to ‘love your neighbor’ and to ‘pray for those who persecute you.’”[xvi]
Keep these things in mind when you ask, America, what happened?
[i]Accessed: 06/30/15 http://www.allabouthistory.org/in-god-we-trust.htm .
[ii]Daniel Webster, “A Discourse Delivered at Plymouth, on the 22d of December, 1820,” in Great Speeches of Daniel Webster (Coln St. Aldwyns, UK: Echo Library, 2006), 38.
[iii]David Barton, “God: Missing in Action from American History” 06/2005 (First published in June 2005 issue of The National Religious Broadcasters Magazine) Accessed: 06/20/15 http://www.wallbuilders.com/libissuesarticles.asp?id=100 .
[iv]Harold Lindsell, The World, the Flesh, and the Devil (Minneapolis, MN: World Wide Publications, 1973), 157.
[v]Spokane Daily Chronicle, Spokane, WA: Tuesday, April 19, 1960, No. 182, Howard Whtiman, “Dangers of Excessive Pleasure-Seeking Seen in History” 2.
[vi]George Sweeting, Great Quotations & Illustrations (Waco, TX: Word Books, 1985), 118.
[vii]The United States Bill of Rights, Amendment I, ratified December 15, 1791, Accessed: 06/27/15 http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/bill_of_rights_transcript.html .
[viii]Greg Garrison, “Forget gay marriage: ‘Fornicators and Adulterers in church a bigger issue, says actor Kirk Cameron” May 2, 2014, updated July 2, 2015, Accessed: http://www.al.com/living/index.ssf/2014/05/forget_gay_marriage_fornicator.html .
[ix]David Jeremiah, I Never Thought I’d See the Day (New York, NY: FaithWords, 2011), 95-96.
[x]Joel J. Miller, “Why the gay marriage debate was over in 1950” June 29, 2015, Accessed: 06/30/15 http://blogs.ancientfaith.com/joeljmiller/why-the-gay-marriage-debate-was-over-in-1950/ .
[xi]Ravi Zacharias, “Think Again — The Gentle Goldsmith” December 4, 2012, Accessed: 06/30/15 http://rzim.org/just-thinking/think-again-the-gentle-goldsmith .
[xii]Baptist Press, “Floyd & former SBC presidents take marriage stance” Accessed: 06/30/15 http://www.bpnews.net/44950/floyd-and-former-sbc-presidents-take-marriage-stance .
[xiii]New Castle News, New Castle, Pennsylvania, Thursday, December 24, 1959, page 23. Accessed: 06/20/15 http://www.newspapers.com/newspage/49658253/ . Cited by George Sweeting, Who Said That?: More than 2,500 Useable Quotes and Illustrations (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 1995), 335, 343,373.
[xiv]Viola Walden, Sword Scrapbook (Murfreesboro, TN: Sword of the Lord Publishers, 1980), 207.
[xv]Austin L. Sorenson, Is America Committing Suicide? (Murfreesboro, TN: Sword of the Lord Publishers, 1994), 240.
[xvi]Joel C. Rosenberg, “What are the implications of the Supreme Court’s marriage decision? Four key things to consider.” Accessed: 06/30/15 https://flashtrafficblog.wordpress.com/2015/06/27/what-are-the-implications-of-the-supreme-courts-marriage-decision-four-key-things-to-consider/ .