Something of great consequence is stirring across America today. It is not confined to any one segment of society or to a particular geographical area. Young and old alike are experiencing a yearning, a longing to know the truth about our roots – our national beginnings.
In the wake of the multicultural tidal wave that has swept through our political institutions and schools in recent years, Americans are beginning to search for the meaning of America. Healthy questions are being asked about the foundations of this great nation: “Was there a central, noble purpose behind the establishment of the United States of America or, rather, did our individuality simply evolve as a nation out of the enlightened thought of that age? Was it simply a natural progression toward the full attainment of human rights?”
On the surface, using modern sources, one may find ready answers and opinions to these questions. Certainly, current textbooks and histories are rife with politically correct rationales and scenarios explaining the founding of America. This superficial treatment of America’s story has produced both apathy and listlessness among the populace. With no anchor to the past, no mooring to the secure bedrock of antiquity, there is little to give genuine meaning to our present existence.
What would happen if we were able to return to the colonial and founding eras, or even go back a hundred years? If we could speak with the men and women who influenced the tides of change during our formative years, what stories would they tell? Would their accounts align squarely with today’s filtered version?
While we cannot travel back to an earlier time, we can take advantage of the voluminous writing of that age. Preserved for posterity are the thoughts, aspirations, beliefs and hopes of the great leaders of yesteryear. With painstaking diligence, these statesmen and scholars recorded events and perceptions in journals and notebooks. They made eloquent speeches and wrote copious letters. Thus, we have a veritable feast of rich documentation from which to partake in answering the questions about our genesis. Much can be learned from examining the view and perceptions of these people who had personally experienced the rising of the American star.
Few would dispute the fact that the men and women who shaped this nation were a rare breed of individuals who overcame insurmountable odds to establish a system of government like nothing the world had ever known. With multiple forces pulling on the fabric of American order from all sides, it behooves us to pause and reflect on what the great ones of our past believed. Their insight and sagacity offers hope and inspiration to a generation deficient in both.
America had a unique beginning with a distinctly Christian purpose. As we read and reflect upon the views of our founders and subsequent American leaders, we can readily identify a biblical worldview. As we read the many speeches, narratives, personal messages and diaries from the people who lived during the first 300 years of our history, we din a common thread of belief. Indeed, this thread is more like a strong cord to which all the intentions, determinations and decisions of the primary players of our history are fastened.
There can be no doubt that the prevailing worldview of the colonial and founding periods of this nation was a biblical Christian one. Its imprint is everywhere noticed. Even from the most profane and secular voices came the essential absolutes of right and wrong. Decisions and documents reflected the Truth as proclaimed in the Bible. The kindly influence of Christianity infiltrated and tempered all that the early Americans touched. True, for some this was almost an involuntary reaction over which they had little control. For the majority, however, adherence to the biblical creed was by design and deliberate intention.
It was not the idealism of the Greek philosophers that gave rise to the inspired view of the essential equality of man; it was the doctrine of the Bible that proclaimed that man was created in the image of God. This Christian idea liberated all who would embrace its teaching – eventually freeing even those who were still in bondage at our inception. Likewise, it was not the grandeur of the Roman system of law that gave rise to our American republican form of government. It was the Hebrew republic, with its reliance upon the Law of God and the principle of representation that provided the greater precedent.
That America was established by God for His eternal purposes was an idea that was unashamedly spoken by such men as George Washington, John Adams, Patrick Henry and Abraham Lincoln to name a few. It was this belief, emblazoned upon the hearts of individuals, that provided the courage and determination for the Pilgrims to “reform without tarrying for any” and men like Nathan Hale to proclaim, “I only regret that I have but one life to give to my country.”
Those who lived through the miraculous adventure of our national birth held a remarkably consistent biblical worldview. Would it not be prudent for us, today, to likewise embrace their discernment? Is it not incumbent upon us to pass this revered and accepted purpose for America on to the generations coming behind us? Nearly universal is the desire of all parents to pass their beliefs and attitudes about life and existence, intact, to their children. Great pains are generally taken to ensure that family histories, traditions and views are inculcated into the young.
Sadly, on a national scale, this time-honored custom has failed. Slowly, insidiously, the truths and values upon which America was founded have been extracted from our national memory. The very ideals and beliefs that gave impetus to the rise of our republic have become passé, out of vogue, even ridiculed and openly scorned. How could this have happened? As Thomas Jefferson once said, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” So it was that as American Christians and the Church settled into security and prosperity, the tendrils of secularism, humanism and finally, neo-paganism have quietly fastened themselves upon our institutions, our churches and our children.
Is America without hope? Have we lost the golden era forever? Will this nation continue to evolve into something quite contrary to what her original design intended?
The answers to these questions lie primarily within the hearts of this generation. We have reached a great divide in the road. The paths diverge in opposite directions. One leads to fragmentation, division, disease, loss of freedom and individuality. The other proceeds to order, harmony, unity and peace.
I believe the very future of America will be decided by this generation. Will we remove the cobwebs from our national memory and shine forth the light of God’s Hand in our history? Will we be enlightened and inspired to action? It’s time to remember, America!