Yesterday I read quotes from leaders of the past out of William Federer’s book, Who Is King In America. I highly recommend this book.
Today I want to look at what he has to say about how America has lost its memory.
John F. Kennedy said:
“History, after all, is the memory of a nation.”
Pulitzer Prize winner Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. wrote in a New Your Times article in January 2007:
“History is to the nation as memory is to the individual.”
If you lose your memory of the past, you won’t know what is valuable. It is easy to take things from those who have lost their memory because they have forgotten their value.
Unfortunately, in America we have lost our memory of the past, and people are trying to rewrite our history. Most importantly, they are trying to write God out of our past. They want people to forget that our country has very strong Christian roots.
John Jay, one of our first Supreme Court Justices, wrote in 1777:
“Would it not appear extraordinary that thirteen colonies should immediately become one people? And without funds, without magazines, without disciplined troops, in the face of their enemy, be unanimously determined to be free and undaunted by the power of Britain, refer to their cause as ‘the just cause of the Almighty,’ and resolve to repel force by force, thereby presenting to the world an illustrious of magnanimity and virtue scarcely to be paralleled.”
The American colonialists, a non-nation, took on the most powerful nation in the world at that time. They did it because they believed it was a just cause of the Almighty, and that He was on their side. I think that the results of their efforts proved that they were right.
When we started out, we didn’t get everything right. We need to understand that in the beginning the colonies started to adopt the very same religious principles as the nations they were escaping from. They began to impose their religious practices and denominations on those who lived in their colonies. Massachusetts was a Puritan colony and would not tolerate anything other than Puritanism. Rhode Island was a Baptist colony. There was something different about them, which I will cover later. Connecticut was Congregational, as was New Hampshire. The Dutch Reformed settled in New York. Lutherans and Dutch Reformed settled in Delaware, as well as New Jersey. Pennsylvania became Quaker and Lutheran. Virginia and the southern colonies were Anglican (Church of England). The Catholics were in Maryland. Although Spanish Florida was not part of the original colonies, it was Catholic.
This caused problems for those of other demonstrations. If you were a Baptist trying to propagate the truth of the Gospel in Pennsylvania, and not a Quaker, you would be beaten, and expelled, or maybe thrown in jail.
In the beginning, freedom of religion was not something the colonies practiced. Sadly, most Americans are not aware of this fact of history.
A man by the name of Thomas Hooker, a preacher, had a disagreement with a Puritan, Rev. John Cotton, over who could be allowed to vote. If you weren’t of the right religious faith, you were not allowed to vote in that colony (Massachusetts).
There was a debate, and Hooker took the position that anyone who was Christian had the right to vote. You didn’t have to be a Puritan, you could be a Congregationalist, a Quaker, a Catholic, an Anglican, or a Baptist, it didn’t matter. Hooker took his church out of the Puritan church in Massachusetts and moved it to Hartford, Connecticut. It became the first Congregational church in America.
On the 31st of May, 1638, Hooker preached a message from Deuteronomy 1:13:
(13) Take you wise men, and understanding, and known among your tribes, and I will make them rulers over you.
(14) And ye answered me, and said, The thing which thou hast spoken [is] good [for us] to do.
(15) So I took the chief of your tribes, wise men, and known, and made them heads over you, captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, and captains over fifties, and captains over tens, and officers among your tribes. (Deuteronomy 1:13-15)
This was advice given to Moses by his father-in-law concerning the governing of Israel. The principle taught here is that the power of government belongs to the people instead of the authority resting in a divinely appointed king. He was teaching that instead of government being top down by a king, it is to be bottom up, by the people. This is why Connecticut is known as the constitutional state. It was the first constitution in recorded history giving power to the people, and credit for this is given to Thomas Hooker.
To me it is interesting that Thomas Hooker was born in England, and he lived about ten miles from where I grew up and ministered for a large portion of my time as a missionary in Great Britain. There is a plaque in the school he attended that says “Thomas Hooker, father of American democracy.” Hookers message from Deuteronomy 1:13 became one of the founding principles of giving the government to the people in America.
I am a Baptist preacher, and I don’t spend a lot of time on my broadcasts beating the Baptist drum. I do, however, want to spend some time showing the influence of Baptists on the laws in America.
Calvin Coolidge, on the 150th anniversary of the United States, July 5th, 1826 said:
“The principles which went into the Declaration of Independence are founded in the sermons of the early colonial clergy who were earnestly undertaking to instruct their congregations in the great mystery of how to live.”
There was an article that was published on July 4th, 1826 in the Christian Watchman from Boston, Mas. which gave an account about Thomas Jefferson, and the effect that a Baptist minister and his church had on him. The article said:
“Andrew Tribble was the pastor of a small Baptist Church, which held its monthly meetings at a short distance from Mr. Jefferson’s house eight or ten years before the American Revolution. Mr. Jefferson attended the meetings of the church for several months in succession. And after one of them asked Elder Tribble to go home and dine with him, in which he complied. Mr. Tribble asked Mr. Jefferson how he was pleased with their church government. Mr. Jefferson replied that it had struck him with great force, and had interested him much, that he considered it the only form of pure democracy that then existed in the world, and had concluded that it would be the best form of government for the American colonies.”
This was the conclusion of Jefferson after listening to Tribble’s preaching on government and watching the church business meetings.
Calvin Coolidge was speaking of this in his address on the 150th anniversary of the United States. He said:
“This preaching, preached in the neighborhood of Thomas Jefferson, who acknowledge that his best ideas of democracy had been secured at church meetings.”
The church meetings he was referring to were Baptist church meetings. Baptists had a great influence upon the founding of America. Many more examples could be given.
The point that I really want to drive home is, the principles of our nation were formed in the pulpits of America. Today, the pulpits of America have become silent and filled with cowards instead of men of courage.
We must stop dancing on the boulevard of truth, and rejoicing that we have the truth, which is fine, but we need to move down the boulevard of truth can come to the corner of the road of courage. We must have the courage to fight for these truths. We must stand upon them, fight for them, and wrest them back from the secular humanism that we have allowed to sweep into our nation, and that is bringing us to rebellion against God. If we don’t we will lose our democracy and our freedom. The forces of humanism want to take away all of our freedoms, and are doing all they can to sever us from our roots.
It is time to stop shaking our heads and saying things are bad, I hope someone will do something about it. It is time each of us becomes that “someone” and has the courage to stand up and do something about what is happening.