Three Snapshots of 400 Years Reveal How America Arrived at This Place
Do you find yourself engaged with people trying to figure out what’s happening to America?
Are YOU trying to sort it all out yourself?
On Tuesday an annual Roundtable summit hosted by Rick Joyner underscored the importance of understanding the times. A prophetic focus was on instilling a biblical worldview and knowing America’s history. Cindy Jacobs, Dutch Sheets, Lance Wallnau, John Dawson, Bob and Rose Weiner, Wellington Boone, Jane Hansen and others contributed.
Coinciding with this gathering was the release of a groundbreaking survey by the “American Culture and Faith Institute.” It revealed that 90 percent of Christians believe they have a Biblical worldview but only ten percent really do! Millennials came in at four percent.
At the risk of sounding simplistic, I’d like to offer three snapshots to help us wrap our minds around the serious tension and turbulence in our culture today. Obviously, I’ll need to generalize in the overview but I hope this proves helpful for all looking for some clarity in the midst of the confusion.
Snapshot 1: Founding and Faith
When the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620, they were fleeing religious persecution in England and Holland. Governor William Bradford led the 120 to a new land where they could live out their Christian faith authentically. “The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw his present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword through the world.”
Shortly thereafter, Governor John Winthrop came with his flock embracing the ideal of a Christian people who would be a “shining city on the hill.” Their covenant was obey the Bible and spread the gospel.
Judeo-Christian foundations were the centerpiece of this “new world” which grew to two and a half million colonists by 1776. The Declaration of Independence was signed launching war with England to secure liberty based on religion and morality. They knew that everything would come apart unless they remained a virtuous people.
Regarding the “wall of separation between church and state,” our leaders were clear:
- The Constitution was designed to give us freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.
- The “wall” reference (from a letter by Thomas Jefferson) meant government would not interfere with religion or deny people’s right to freely exercise their religion.
When our Constitution was approved, George Washington said, “[The adoption of the Constitution] will demonstrate as visibly the finger of Providence as any possible event in the course of human affairs can designate it.”
French historian Alexis de Tocqueville later came to America to learn the secret of our success. Someone summarized his observation: “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.”
President John Adams said unequivocally, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is holy inadequate to the government of any other.”
Snapshot 2: Departure and Decline
Until roughly a generation ago, America progressed as we upheld our Judeo-Christian heritage. Of course there were some serious deviations from Scripture in our history – the shameful treatment of Native Americans, the cancer of slavery and civil rights violations, the national nightmare of Civil War – yet our faith convicted us and sustained us until we made the course corrections.
To be patriotic and truly love America meant acknowledging both the good and the bad simultaneously. Our faith taught us to learn painful and necessary lessons, forgive and handle our differences in a Christlike way.
President Lincoln captured this redemptive attitude when he spoke to a divided nation at his inauguration in 1860, “We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection…The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the course of the Union, when again touched, as surely as they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”
But somewhere in the decade of the 60s, something happened to America that set us off course. The faith that was so central to our life began to rapidly erode, be ridiculed and removed from the public square.
The shocking assassinations of J.F.K., Bobby and Martin jolted the nation. Time magazine called 1968 “a knife blade that severed past from future.” Casting off restraints, a spirit of rebelliousness launched the Gay, Feminist and Black Power movements, the Sexual Revolution and the Drug Counterculture.
Culture morphed as the meltdown brought inner city riots and violence, pornography, AIDS, climbing rates of sexually transmitted diseases, drug-saturated rock festivals, abortion-on-demand, liberalized divorce laws, profanity and nudity in films plus skyrocketing out-of-wedlock births.
Here’s the deal: Judeo-Christian principles of morality and common sense that served as the underpinnings of our nation for almost four centuries, were discarded as “outmoded” wreaking havoc on our society. In time the gates were flung open for the LGBTQ agenda celebrating gay marriage, transgenderism and propagandizing our children.
Barack Obama began his “fundamental transformation of America” that fostered lawlessness and an entitlement culture; stirred disrespect for law enforcement; weakened our military; doubled our national debt; promoted illegal immigration; deceptively promoted Obamacare and encouraged moral decline unprecedented in our nation’s history.
Snapshot 3: Opening and Opportunity
The apostle Paul wrote these words: “Continue in prayer, and be watchful with thanksgiving, while praying also for us, that God would open to us a door…” (Col.4:2-3).
As a 40-year board member of Intercessors for America national prayer ministry, we’ve asked God to grant an opening for another spiritual awakening. It’s happened two other times in our history.
Our core verse has been 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
On Inauguration Day, 2017, a committed Christian was sworn in as the Vice President of the United States. Mike Pence placed his hand on an open Bible, turned to this passage!
I’m convinced that future generations will look back on what happened in the unprecedented 2016 election as an epochal moment as God confounded the masses with His supernatural intervention. I see it as a comma, not a period, requiring the Church to arise and lead the way to revival in America.
Days ago I watched as Vice President Mike Pence spoke this challenge at the Conservative Political Action Conference. He referred to the 2 Chronicles 7:14 passage in his address.
“We as conservatives have an opportunity that only comes around every few generations, or maybe just once in a lifetime. My friends, this is our time. The other side is not sitting idle, but their allies in the media are more than willing to amplify their defense of the failed status quo every single day. Make your voices heard in town halls with your family and your friends, on the Internet and social media, and all those places where commonsense conservative messages are most desperately needed, because this is our time. We’ve got to mobilize. We’ve got to march forward, as if it’s the most important time in the history of our movement, because it is.”
He then closed: “And we need one more thing. We need your prayers!”
May we all respond to this call for fervent intercession at this time. May we also do what Paul instructed in the words immediately following his call to pray for the “opening” that we have been given.
“Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, wisely using the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you should answer everyone” (Col. 4:5-6).
We must seize opportunities to speak the truth confidently and charitably to those being misled in our generation. Multitudes across America are utilizing the “Bullseye Challenge” to equip them for this task. Let us not shrink from the task but rather stand strong speaking truth courageously and winsomely.
Revivalist Leonard Ravenhill used to say, “The opportunity of a lifetime must be seized in the lifetime of that opportunity.”
“Look! I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it” (Rev.3:8).
Larry Tomczak is a cultural commentator of 43 yrs, Liberty Counsel public policy advisor, Intercessors for America board member and best-selling author. His new, innovative video/book, BULLSEYE, develops informed influencers in 30 days (see www.bullseyechallenge.com). Click here for his “Here’s the Deal” weekly podcast.
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