by Dr. Gil McKee
A week ago we celebrated our nation’s birthday. We are 234 years old, which compared with the history of many other nations around the world makes us very young. However, I am greatly troubled by how quickly we seem to be moving away from some of the principles upon which this country was founded. In fact, I can’t help but wonder what our founding fathers would say about us today.
For example, I wonder what they would say about our schools and universities that have become so liberal. For nearly 200 years, all schools in America were Christian schools in which Christian values were paramount. Harvard, the first college in America, was founded in 1636. Its Rules and Precepts stated: “Let every student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life and therefore to lay Christ in the bottom as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning.”
In 1701, Yale College was founded with the stated goal that “every student shall consider the main end of his study to wit to know God in Jesus Christ and answerably to lead a godly, sober life.”
The first president of Princeton University, founded in 1746, said: “Cursed be all learning that is contrary to the cross of Christ.”
In all, 106 of the first 108 colleges in America were founded on the Christian faith. I wonder what our founding fathers would say about our colleges today.
I wonder what they would say about our government that seems determined to depart from all intelligence, sanity and common sense. Listen to these quotes from Thomas Jefferson and compare it with the intellect of our government leaders today:
· “The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.” Yet our government today wants to redistribute the wealth of those who are willing to work and give it to those who are not.
· “It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes.” Yet our government today is racking up debt that not even our grandchildren’s generation will be able to pay off.
· “I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.” Yet our government today seems to be doing everything in its power to squelch the production of jobs for the production of more government control and power.
· “My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.” Yet our government today does nothing but get bigger and bigger.
· “The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” In fact, this is the very thing from which the founders of our nation were fleeing from when they came to these shores. They were seeking freedom of worship and freedom from tyranny and oppression. And when England crossed the sea to impose its tyranny on the colonies, the people revolted, took up arms, and out of that American Revolution the nation of the United States was born.
· “To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.” And yet our government today continues to consider using our tax dollars for the purpose of supporting such immoral ideas as abortion, embryo destructive research, same sex marriage and other homosexual agendas.)
John F. Kennedy held a dinner in the White House for a group of the brightest minds in the nation at the time and he made this statement to them: “This is perhaps the assembly of the most intelligence ever to gather at one time in the White House with the exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.”
O to God that the White House and the halls of our Congress would once again be filled with men and women of the character and wisdom and common sense of a Thomas Jefferson.
And speaking of the White House, I wonder what our founding fathers would say about our President today, a president that says America is no longer a Christian nation. Well, that’s not what our founding fathers believed.
In 1776, Patrick Henry said: “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For that reason alone, people of other faiths have been afforded freedom of worship here.”
189 years ago today, on July 4, 1821, President John Quincy Adams said: “The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: ‘It connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.”
In May of 1854, the Congress of the United States passed this resolution from the House Judiciary Committee: “The great vital and conservative element in our system is the belief of our people in the pure doctrines and divine truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Calvin Coolidge, our 30th President, wrote: “The foundations of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country.”
On February 29, 1892, Justice Josiah Brewer of the Unites States Supreme Court said this about Christianity in America: “Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise; and in this sense and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian.”
No, not every person who was involved in the founding of this nation was Christian, but the vast majority was. In fact, did you know that fifty-two of the fifty-five framers of the Constitution were avowed and committed Christians?
And yet, we have a President who declared to the world last year in a press conference, in Turkey of all places, that Americans “do not consider ourselves a Christian nation.”
Well, I’ve got a news flash of my own for our President and for anybody else who may not know the history of this great nation – The United States of America IS a CHRISTIAN nation! The United States of America was founded upon Christian principles by Christian people who loved God and this nation with all of their hearts.
And I personally can no longer conscientiously sit silently by while a liberal minority tries to destroy the Christian foundation and influence of our nation. Which leads me to another thought...
I wonder what our founding fathers would say about churches and Christians that have become so silent and apathetic. Over the last half-century we have been intimidated and silenced by a fear instilled in us by a gross misinterpretation and abuse of a so-called separation of church and state and have allowed a liberal and immoral agenda to be crammed down our throats.
Well, that’s another whole lesson but let me just quickly say this about the separation of church and state. The Establishment Clause in the first amendment that resulted from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802 contained the phrase “wall of separation between church and state” but was never intended to separate the government from the influence and interference of the Church. It was intended to separate the Church from the influence and interference of the government. And yet, the Church of today has been all but silenced by the misinterpretation of that phrase.
As a result of our silence, since 1973 more than 52 million unborn babies have been murdered in our country. Corporate Christian prayer has been removed from our schools. Courts have rejected God’s definition of marriage.
And if we continue to be silent, an American government based on Christian principles and ideals is in jeopardy of being replaced by a government based on Marxist and socialist principles and ideals.
So what am I saying this morning? I am simply saying that if we love this nation and the principles upon which it was founded we better step up and speak up before it’s too late! And although I know our time is short this morning let me suggest three things every Christian in America needs to do.
1. We need to pray.
First and foremost, we need to pray for our country. If we love America we will pray for America.
The Bible says in First Timothy: “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.” 1 Timothy 2:1-2 (NASU)
We need to pray for all the people of our nation and especially those who are in places of authority and leadership. We need to pray for our nation! Second…
2. We need to live by Christian principle.
Statesman Daniel Webster said it well: “If we abide by the principles taught in the Bible, our country will go on prospering; but if we neglect its instructions and authority, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us and bury all our glory in profound obscurity.”
Ladies and gentlemen, I want to suggest to you that we are on the brink of such a catastrophe. That is why I can no longer remain silent about the misguided leadership of our President. I respect his office but I cannot respect his views or leadership. As David Barton, biblical speaker and historian, has said:
· I do not share President Obama’s vision or value system for America.
· I do not share his abortion beliefs.
· I do not share his radical Marxist concept of redistribution of wealth.
· I do not share his view that America is arrogant and owes the rest of the world an apology.
· I do not share his view of amnesty for illegal immigrants.
· I do not share his views on homosexuality and marriage.
· I do not share his view that radical Islam should be our friend while Israel is our enemy.
· I do not share his desire to sit down with terrorist regimes such as Iran.
The bottom line is: The Christian view of America is vastly different from his. The principles we live by are far different than the ones he seems to want us to live by. So more than ever, we need to pray for our President and we need to live, not just talk, but live by the principles taught in the Word of God. We need to speak up and step up and make a difference in our nation by the way we live. Which means third….
3. We need to participate.
We need to participate in the affairs of our nation. We need to be the salt and light in America. We need to be citizens who practice what we preach and participate in what we believe.
The thirteenth chapter of Romans gives us some instruction on our responsibilities and participation when it comes to our nation and governing authorities. The first seven verses of that chapter teach us several things that we need to do in our participation with government. (Read Romans 13:1-7)
a. We need to participate compliantly.
We can participate in our nation by being model citizens when it comes to compliance to the laws and authorities of our land. The Bible says that God establishes authority and that we are to respect and comply with that authority.
God established and upholds the principle of government; and it is our responsibility to respect and comply with that God-granted authority of government.
b. We need to participate conscientiously.
Verses three through five affirm that if a government is fulfilling its God-given purpose then we should not have any fear of that government. If a government understands that its authority and its power are granted by God, then that government will do what is best for its citizens. It will punish the wicked and praise the good.
And the only time we should ever resist the authority or power of the government is when we are asked to do something that directly violates the authority of God. When a government asks or demands its people to do something in conflict with what God says we are to do, then we must conscientiously choose to obey God rather than men.
That’s exactly what Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did when they refused to obey King Nebuchadnezzar’s law of bowing down and worshipping the golden statue he had built.
That’s exactly what Daniel did when he refused to obey the law of the land put into place by King Darius that stated that anyone who prayed to any god other than the king would be thrown to the lions.
As long as the law of the land does not contradict the law of God then we are to respect and obey that law. But if our government asks us to do something that is contrary to the law of God then we must conscientiously object.
c. We need to participate concretely.
We need to participate in our nation in concrete, tangible ways. For example, verses six and seven of Romans 13 teach that we are to pay our fair share of taxes required by the government. Of course, the difficult question is, “How much is fair?” Do the words, tea party, ring a bell with you? Well, that’s another whole lesson from American history, isn’t it!
But another concrete and tangible way we can participate in the direction of our nation is by exercising our right to vote. Every Christian in this country should be a registered voter. We not only have the right to vote but we have a God-given responsibility to vote.
It’s been said that a people get the leadership they deserve. John Jay, the very first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, said: “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.”
If you are a Christian who loves this nation then you will make an effort to vote and let your voice be heard concerning those who serve us in office. And beloved, we need to vote for men and women on the basis of the principles they’re committed to and not the political parties they’re committed to.
When you vote, do you know what that man or woman stands for? Do you know whether he or she understands God’s involvement in the establishment of the office for which they are running? Will that candidate do what is right? Will he or she exercise the righteousness that exalts and edifies a nation? Those are the principles that should determine my vote, not the party they are identified with.
There’s something I have never understood about some Christians and politics. It is beyond my ability to understand how any genuinely committed Christian, regardless of political party ties, can conscientiously vote for a candidate who openly and publicly stands for things that are in direct contradiction to the Word of God. I simply do not understand that!
I want to tell you something: If we would get more concerned about principle politics than we are about partisan politics, in just a few short years, our nation could be turned around. What we need in Washington D.C. and Montgomery, Alabama are servant-hearted statesmen instead of professional politicians!
And the only way that can happen is for God’s people to speak up and step up and get involved in the process. The only way for that to happen is for godly men and women to run for office who are more concerned about doing what’s right for the people than making a living off of the people! So if you’ve had enough, I mean if you’ve really had enough, then get involved and participate in the process of electing our leaders.
Finally, that will mean that…
d. We need to participate courageously.
Some will say today that it took a lot of courage for me to say the things I have said this morning. And that may be true. But it will take even more courage for us to actually do something about what I have said this morning. It will take courage for all of us to pray for our nation like we should. It will take courage for all of us to live by Christian principles and be the salt and light God has called us to be. It will take courage for all of us to speak up and step up if we are to have any hope of continuing to be a Christian nation.
So let me ask you this morning: What are you willing to do? Will you pray? Will you strive to live by Christian principles and values? Are you willing to speak up and step up for the sake of our nation?
If we don’t, who will? If we don’t, what would our founding fathers say of us? If we don’t, what will our children and grandchildren say of us? Most importantly, if we don’t, what will our God say of us?
May God help us to do what we ought to do in the name of preserving America as a Christian nation!
Dr. Gil McKee is the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. His weekly radio and television ministry, “The Living Word,” reaches thousands of homes throughout the state of Alabama. Dr. McKee’s practical and pertinent preaching of the Word of God is being used to bring encouragement and growth in the body of Christ and the good news of the life-changing gospel to the unsaved.
Dr. McKee is a graduate of Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri. In addition to his pastoral and preaching responsibilities at First Baptist Church, Tuscaloosa, he is used extensively as a preacher/speaker for conferences, conventions, revivals, retreats, and other venues.
Dr. McKee is married to Sharon. They have two children, Jason and Holly. His hobbies include running, golf, and hunting.