By Pastor David Whitney
I have been teaching a homeschool class this summer our United States Constitution Course. We are at the point where having examined the standards our Founder’s established, we are about to look into what happened from that point forward. I have found that in the numerous times I have taught our course that this section stirs up anger. Knowing the standards and then seeing all the violations that have been done over the years and are now being daily done by Washington, D.C. upsets most people.
Having been lied to, it is angering to discover those lies. It is frustrating to see those lies continuing and knowing that the vast majority of the people in our land are still under the delusion created by those lies. The question that inevitably arises is this What went wrong? How did this system of Government designed to curtail tyranny turn about to actually promote the tyranny we see in our day? We share some of the significant elements in that course and speak to the major factor, the one where we the people can have a direct impact. What is that factor?
Our second President John Adams spoke to it, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”1
And it was Charles Carroll who signed the Declaration of Independence representing Maryland who wrote, “Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime and pure (and) which insures to the good eternal happiness, are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments.”2
And it was James Garfield, the twentieth president of the United States, in 1877 who said, “Now more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature…. If the next centennial does not find us a great nation … it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.”3
We the people are responsible for the corrupt government we have in Washington, D.C. We have tolerated the corruption, we have elected the constitutional ignoramuses, the reckless and the corrupt. We have rewarded them with re-election after re-election. We have not demanded of them the high qualities and the moral purity President Garfield spoke of. We are 139 years down the road from his statement and we can see he had a prophetic eye. Indeed those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation did not aid in controlling the political forces. Who is that responsible body of citizens President Garfield was referring to? Who are those into whose hands are committed the responsibility of controlling the enterprise, the culture, the morality of the nation?
Occasionally you will hear someone identify the pulpits of America as the source of this failure. And I believe that is exactly correct.
But the question is how was it that the pulpits failed? One understanding would claim that the pulpits alone are to be that voice to represent the enterprise, the culture and the morality of America. And while that is true in part it misses a significant piece. The job of the pulpit is not to do the work of the ministry, it alone is not to bear the responsibility. It’s task as described by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 4 is “to equip the saints for the work of ministry.” The job of the pulpit is the prepare the saints to go out into the world and in every corner of life proclaim the gospel, do the work of the ministry and make disciples of those who come to faith in Christ. So while the pulpit bears a great share of the blame for the terrible state of things in America today, it does not bear all the blame. There is a major portion which the disciples of Jesus Christ in America bear as well.
The average Christian has no vision of what President Garfield was talking about. He does not see himself in terms of this work in this land – representing the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation [and] aiding in controlling the political forces. He thinks that is the work of so called professionals, something that is above his pay grade. In short the average Christian in America has no idea of the vitally important role that God has called upon him to play as Salt and Light in America. Not knowing it is his job indeed is a failure on the part of the pulpits of America. A century has gone by without this being clearly proclaimed from the vast number of pulpits in the land. It is high time to change that disastrous course.
In Exodus 29 we continue in our study of the instructions God gave to Moses on the Mountain – we have seen how God instructed him to build the tabernacle, and detailed instructions regarding each of the furnishings for the Holy of Holies, for the Holy Place as well as the Court of the Tabernacle. Last Sunday we studied the garments that God instructed Moses to have made for the High Priest as well as the other Priests. In Chapter 29 God gives Moses the instructions regarding the investiture of those priests; the ceremony, the sacrifices and the order in which everything is to be done to install the priests in the office they were to fulfill.
Now I believe this has a direct bearing on the problem in America. The truth of God’s Word is that in the New Covenant, every believer is a Priest of the Most High God. And as His priest we have high and noble duties to preform, we have an honorable and very influential calling to fulfill. If we know nothing about this role, nothing about its importance, its solemnity, or its influence, if we don’t understand that a priest of the most High stands as a go between, representing man to God as well as God to man, if we don’t grasp that we are the pace setters in the land, setting the moral tone, or we don’t comprehend that we are responsible for the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation, and that we are those who must aid in controlling the political forces, then we will fail to be the force for righteousness that God designed us to be.
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