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Is America a Christian Nation?

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
July 2, 2020 5:00 pm

Is America a Christian Nation?

So What? / Lon Solomon

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July 2, 2020 5:00 pm

July 4th sermon. 

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Well, I want to begin this morning with a quote that was made about America.

Here's the quote. This is a religious people. From the discovery of this continent to the present hour, we find everywhere a clear recognition of this truth that this is a Christian nation.

This is a Christian nation, end of quote. Now, who said this? You say, well, Lon, maybe it was some great preacher like Billy Graham. No. Well, you say, maybe it was some great Christian politician like Ronald Reagan. No. Well, maybe it was some like Christian radio personality like James Dobson.

No. Actually, what I just read to you was said by the United States Supreme Court in 1892 in the case the Church of the Holy Trinity versus the United States. But the question for us today is, was the Supreme Court right? Is this a Christian nation?

That's what we want to talk about today as we look forward to the upcoming July 4th holiday. And then we want to answer the question, well, so what? So, here's our question again. Is America a Christian nation?

Well, the answer is no. And the reason the answer is no is because, friends, nations can't be Christians. Only people can be Christians.

A Christian is a person who is depending, who is trusting not their own performance, not their own human effort, not their own religious activity, but what Jesus did for them on the cross as their only hope of eternal life and getting into heaven. Now, nations cannot do that. Only people can. And I sure hope, if you're a people here today, that you have done that. Because, friends, everything I'm going to say about America today is going to make absolutely no difference at all when you arrive into eternity. But what you do with Jesus Christ is going to make all the difference in your life when you arrive into eternity. And I sure hope that if you're here today, you have embraced Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, your personal Lord. You're relying on what he did for you on the cross as your only hope of eternal life in heaven. That makes you a Christian.

You can be a Christian, and I hope you are. Now, America, therefore, is not a Christian nation, but what the Supreme Court was trying to say is that America was not born in a spiritual vacuum. What the Supreme Court was trying to say is that America's soul was shaped by Christian architects, and the Supreme Court was correct. In fact, to see that, I want us on July 4th, as we celebrate July 4th, I want us to go back and have a little history lesson, a little July 4th history lesson.

So here we go. Back to 1620, the arrival of the pilgrims at Plymouth Rock. And when the pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, they immediately drafted the Mayflower Compact. The Mayflower Compact was an outline of how they planned to run their new society. And at the heart of this document lay the conviction that God had to be, must be, at the center of all human government and politics.

Now, the Mayflower Compact went on to become the foundation upon which another document was written 150 years later, July 4th, 1776, known as the Declaration of Independence, and it also formed the basis for the U.S. Constitution and our present Bill of Rights. A few years later, the Puritans arrived in New England, and what they did is they transformed the good intentions of the pilgrims into reality. The Puritans set up an entire society in New England that was modeled on the Bible.

They called it a Bible Commonwealth, where everything from education to incarceration was built firmly on what the Bible says about society. Following the lead of great godly men like Cotton Mather and his son, Increase Mather, the Puritans' concept of God being at the heart of human society, that concept became the blueprint for all of early American life. Now, the last piece in the puzzle historically is what we call the Great Awakening from 1734 to 1770.

Even in spite of the Puritan influence, by the middle of the 18th century, spiritually, things had sunk to a pretty low ebb here in America. And then in 1734, George Whitfield, here's a picture of him, arrived from England, and friends, George Whitfield rocked America's world. This man rode up and down the colonies on horseback with a little collapsible pulpit he carried with him, and everywhere he went, he would gather a crowd, he would unfold his little pulpit, he'd get up on it, and he'd preached. He preached that we needed to repent of our sins and turn to God. He preached the new birth. He preached salvation by faith. He preached the importance of having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. And folks, as a result of his preaching, tens upon tens of thousands of people in the colonies came to Christ. In fact, according to his biographer, he preached over 18,000 sermons in those 36 years. Do the math, that is 500 sermons a year for every one of those years. And by the way, George Whitfield's sermons all lasted two hours.

You think I'm bad. Oh, you ain't seen nothing till you saw George Whitfield. But friends, I gotta tell you, the anointing of God on this man was positively unprecedented. There's a wonderful story in Benjamin Franklin's journal about one of his encounters with George Whitfield. Whitfield had come to Philadelphia to preach, and Franklin went to hear him, not because he was interested in spiritual things, he went to hear him because George Whitfield preached with no amplification. And yet huge crowds could hear him clearly. And Franklin went to calculate. He stood where Whitfield was preaching and he walked to the east, to the west, to the north, to the south, as far as he could hear him. And then he wanted to calculate how many people could stand in that area so they could hear him without amplification.

He had a strictly mathematical interest in the man. You understand? Sounds like Benjamin Franklin, doesn't it? Yeah.

All right. So he went to hear him. Whitfield was actually talking about an orphanage that he had started in Georgia and was raising funds for.

Here's what Benjamin Franklin wrote in his journal, and I quote. He said, I resolved, as I listened, that I would not contribute one penny to this cause. You know, this is a penny saved as a penny earned guy.

You know, right? Okay. But before long, I softened under Mr. Whitfield's persuasive speech and I decided to give all the copper coins I had in my pocket. Then before long, I decided in addition to give all the silver coins I had. By the time the sermon was over, Franklin said, I had emptied my pockets completely into the collector's dish, gold coins and all end of quote. Now, you know, you have an anointing from God when you can get Benjamin Franklin to do this.

You understand what I'm saying? The most important thing about the Great Awakening and George Whitfield, though, folks, is that what it did is it bound the 13 colonies together in a way they had never been connected before it connected them with a national identity they had never had before. And that identity had Jesus Christ at its center. And therefore, when they got together a few years later, Whitfield died in 1770. When they got together in 1787 to draft the Constitution of the United States, they drafted it in light of this new national identity that had come over 34 years of Whitfield's ministry in the Great Awakening.

They drafted it around Jesus Christ. Patrick Henry said, and I quote, It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians, not on religion, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. End of quote. Folks, listen, you take Marx and Lenin away and the former Soviet Union makes no sense. You take Mao Zedong away and communist China makes no sense. You take Gandhi away and modern India makes no sense. And friends, you take God and the Bible and Jesus Christ and the Christian faith away and America makes no sense. And that's what the Supreme Court was trying to say. Now, America had a great spiritual beginning, but how are we doing today?

Huh? Well, in a recent poll just published this week in USA Today by the Forum on Religious and Public Life, here's some of what they found. They found that 94% of Americans say they believe in God. 58% of Americans say that they pray at least once a day. 74% of Americans say they believe there's a heaven. This goes along with the Gallup poll, which also found that 88% of Americans believe that God loves them. 64% of Americans believe that Jesus is the Son of God. 66% of Americans say that they've made a commitment to Christ.

And over 80% of Americans believe that the Bible is the Word of God. You say, well, now, I don't know where all these people live because they don't live in my neighborhood. Where do all these people live? I think they live in the Midwest.

I don't know where they live. But that leads to something else that all of these surveys discovered. These surveys found that 50% of Americans, quote, believe that homosexuality is a way of life that should be accepted by society, end of quote. Only 33% of Americans, the poll found, believe that premarital sex is wrong. Only 17% of Americans believe that abortion should be illegal.

The divorce rate in America has risen over 700% since the beginning of the 20th century, they found. And finally, these surveys found that support for prayer in public schools is at its lowest ebb since 1963 when prayer was thrown out of the public school. Listen to the summation of all of this by the Gallup poll, and I quote. There is a gap, a G-A-P, a gap, Gallup says, between on the one hand, Americans expressed religious belief and on the other hand, the kind of society that they shape. In other words, Gallup says, while religion is popular in America, it is, to a large extent, superficial, end of quote. Well, to put it another way, the vast majority of Americans, friends, are spiritual schizophrenics. That's what we are. On Sunday, we go to church, we take our Bible, we revere the Bible, we pray, we believe in God, we believe in heaven, and then we go out Monday to Saturday and live in a completely different way, and we build a completely different kind of society. We are spiritual schizophrenics. And this is the present state of America spiritually.

This explains how our politicians can walk into church every Sunday with a Bible under their arm and walk out of church and support abortion Monday to Saturday. This is how it happens. Now, all of that leads us to ask our most important question of the morning, and this is going to be the last time we get to do this before I go on break, and so we got to make this worth it. Can we make this worth it? All right, now, here you go.

One, two, three. So what? Oh, how sweet it is, huh?

You say, Lon, all right, so what? So I hear all these things about the poll, and I'm back in high school learning about the pilgrims already. I mean, what difference does any of this make in my life, you know?

Well, let's talk about it because it does make a difference, friends. What all this means is that we as Americans who understand the lordship of Christ over life, all of life, who understand the lordship of Christ over all of human society, we have a big job to do here in America. And the big job that we have to do is to keep calling America back to those very core values for human society that we find in the word of God, those very core values that America was originally established upon, those very core values that made America the great nation that she is. Now, there are a lot of these values, not just a few, but I've picked three of them to talk to you about today.

And these are things I've mentioned to you before, but, you know, we all forget. And so, as Peter said, I want to stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance today and remind you of what I think are the three cardinal principles upon which American society was built, all of which are under attack and threatened here in America today. Number one, principle number one, value number one is the dignity of human life. Genesis chapter 1 verse 26 says, Then God said, Let us make man in our image. So God created man in his own image.

Genesis 2 7, The Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being. Listen, our nation did not begin with the understanding that human life is a Darwinian accident of nature. Our country began to the contrary with the belief that every human life is a direct creation of Almighty God, and therefore that every human life has intrinsic value, intrinsic worth, and intrinsic dignity. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by nature.

No, no. They are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Now, there are a lot of ways in America that we need to reinforce this cardinal value of our nation. We need to reinforce this in the way that we care for the poor in our nation. We need to reinforce this in the way that we fight all racism in this country.

We need to enforce this in the way that we care for and the way we treat people with disabilities. But I think the greatest threat to this principle in our nation today is the curse of abortion. And, friends, we need to understand that in opposing abortion, we are not simply opposing an evil practice. We are doing that.

It is an evil practice. But we're doing much more than that. We are actually fighting for a fundamental principle upon which American society was originally built. Listen, there are a lot of areas in the Bible where the Bible grants to us as Christians the right to sincerely disagree with one another. But abortion is not one of them.

It is not. Abortion is not about a woman's right to choose. It is not about a woman's right to privacy. It is not about her civil rights or the rights to her own body. It is about the murder of innocent babies. And I believe that as Christians, we need to fight. As Christians, we need to keep fighting until abortion is illegal in every single state in the United States, unless the health of the mother is in jeopardy.

And you know what, folks? If Planned Parenthood doesn't like it, and if the National Organization of Women doesn't like it, then I say they can go to Sweden and have all the abortions they want, but not in America. Not here.

Not here. Value number two that American society was built on is the principle of the traditional family. Now, let's define the traditional family. God help us, I never thought I'd have to define the traditional family.

But let's define it. The traditional family is one male husband, married to one female wife, observing sexual fidelity to one another in marriage, raising their children to love God and to serve mankind, and refusing to get divorced just because things get a little tough. Now, this is the traditional family, and it's on this kind of family that America was built.

This kind of family has been the key to America's strength and America's stability for three centuries almost. You say, but Lon, wait a minute, wait a minute. Society's different now, Lon.

Things have changed. Well, listen, folks, the family was not society's idea. Genesis chapter 2, verse 24, therefore, the Bible says, a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall cleave to his wife, and the two of them shall become one flesh. Folks, man did not create marriage. Man did not create sex. Man did not create procreation or parenthood or the traditional family unit.

God created these things, and therefore, it doesn't really matter where society goes. God has never gone anywhere from the family unit that he originally created society to be based upon. And as the Church of Jesus Christ, we need to be calling America back to its commitment, its original commitment to the traditional family.

How do we do that? Well, we fight for family values in Congress and in our state and local legislatures. We strengthen the family, second of all, right here in our own church. We work hard at that to make families strong here and stable here.

Why? So that, number three, they can raise children in those families who know then how to go out and establish strong traditional families that are stable for them and who can then teach their children the very same thing. Another way we do this is we keep telling Americans that God may forgive divorce, and God in a few cases may even allow divorce, but that God never rejoices over divorce because everybody involved gets hurt, and even more seriously, divorce undermines, it undermines the stability and the fabric of American society.

When people go on to do second and third and fourth marriages, and then the children in all of those marriages grow up to repeat that folly, it undermines the very fabric of our culture. And finally, to stand for the traditional family means that we have to keep telling America that God loves homosexuals, but that homosexuality is sin and that gay marriage is an abomination before Almighty God that threatens the very well-being of American society, and we are against it in every form. This needs to be the consistent message that comes out of our mouth about the family every time we open our mouth and speak to it. I love what Ronald Reagan said. He said, and I quote, the traditional family has always been the cornerstone of American society. Today more than ever, it is essential to remember that the strength of our families is vital to the strength of our nation.

And he was right. Third, and lastly, the third value this nation was built on was the principle of a God-centered education. You know, in the Old Testament, Deuteronomy 6, 7, God says, and you shall teach these commands to your children. Throughout the Old Testament, throughout the New Testament, God says over and over and over again, when you educate your children, make sure the central piece of that is educating them about me, about me. See, in the mind of God, education without God at the center is a non sequitur.

It makes no sense to God. And you know, America began with a deep commitment to education centered in God. It might surprise you to know that every university established in this country before 1776, with the exception of the University of Pennsylvania, every other institute of higher learning was established here in America with an unapologetic Christian purpose and foundation. When my son graduated from high school and was being recruited for baseball by some colleges, one of the colleges recruiting him was Dartmouth University, and he and I went up there to look at the place. And while we were up there, I wandered in to the building where they kind of have a whole floor dedicated to the history of the founding of Dartmouth. Did you know that Dartmouth University was originally founded to train missionaries to go and share Christ with the American Indians? That's how Dartmouth was started. Today at Dartmouth, you can get a degree in gay and lesbian studies, transgender studies.

God knows, I don't even want to think about what they study, but you can major in this. Harvard, 1646, in their handbook, student handbook, Student Rules and Precepts, and I quote, everyone shall consider the main end of his life and studies, that is at Harvard, to know God and Jesus Christ. Everyone shall seriously, by prayer in secret, seek his wisdom. Everyone shall so exercise himself in reading the scriptures two times a day that he shall be ready to give an account of his proficiency therein, that is upon graduation, end of quote. Sounds just like Harvard today, doesn't it? You know, folks, in the 19th century when public education started here in America, it started with a distinctively Christian-based, the McGuffey Reader, which formed the foundation for public education here in America for 100 years, was full of Bible verses and Bible stories. It was a distinctively Christian work. Why, even in the 1960s, in my high school, Portsmouth, Virginia, Woodrow Wilson High School, we would sit in homeroom every morning and somebody would come over the loudspeaker and read from the Bible, and then we'd all bow our heads and we'd all pray. This was not a thousand years ago.

This was in the 60s. But you know, all that's changed now. Prayer is out of our schools. The Bible's out of our schools. God as the Creator is out of our schools. Now, even Christmas and Easter are out of our schools.

We have winter holiday and spring break. We can teach evolution in our schools. We can teach Islam in our schools. We can teach yoga and Transcendental Meditation in our schools. We can teach witchcraft in our schools.

We can teach people how to put on condoms in our school. But God help any teacher that ever mentions the Bible or Jesus Christ. You know, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said, and I quote, my mother says that when they took God out of the schools, the schools went to hell. End of quote. And she's right.

She's right. And wouldn't you think, wouldn't you think after Columbine, wouldn't you think after all of the other incidents of violence and assault and criminal behavior that have gone on in the public schools of America, these things didn't go on in the sixties? I never went to high school worried somebody was going to shoot me in high school. The biggest thing I worried about in high school was getting caught chewing gum. Wouldn't you think that somebody somewhere would look back and say what has changed since the sixties that we're where we are today in public education?

Wouldn't you think somebody would say what happened? How do we get here? What were we doing right back then? We're not doing today. You say, well, Lon, I understand what you're saying, but I'm just going to, you know, I'm just going to homeschool my kids and I'll keep them from all that. Or I'll send them to Christian school.

Friends, it's not that simple. Sorry, but we cannot escape our responsibility as the church that simply because where public education in this country goes is where this country goes. And we cannot, as the church, divorce ourselves from that and let it go wherever it wants and think that we will be immune to its consequences.

We will not, and we're already seeing it. You say, well, what do we do? Well, what we do is as Christians and as the church, it is our moral duty, I believe, to keep the pressure on the public education system of America in action and in prayer to let God back into the public schools of America. And I believe that, okay, I believe we need to support attempts by localities and states to teach creationism in our schools. Look, if they want to teach Darwinian evolution, I don't care, but at least teach creationism next to it so students have a chance to hear that there's at least two theories, two choices. And we need to support groups like FCA and groups like Young Life and others in their attempts to get Bible studies back into schools and to get religious clubs back into schools and to put them on an equal footing with the Latin club and the thespian troupe in the school. And we need to oppose non-biblical approaches to sex education in our schools, and if we can't stop them in the meantime, we need to at least opt our children out of those classes so that our children are not forced to sit and be indoctrinated with theories about sex that are ultra, ultra and contra biblical. And finally, many of us need to run for the school board, friends, in Fairfax County and in Montgomery County and in the District of Columbia and other places, and we need to win those seats and get on those school boards and bring a God-centered approach to the way we educate our children in these counties.

We need to get into the power system and not just work outside of the power system. Martin Luther said 500 years ago, I am much afraid, he said, that schools will prove to be great gates of hell unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures and engraving them in the hearts of youth, end of quote. And how tragic is it that here in America, his words five centuries later have proved sadly prophetic. Well, let's conclude, shall we? Friends, I believe America is the greatest nation in the world. I love this country. God's given me the privilege to travel to a lot of places, and I'll tell you what, when I get back to New York City, JFK, I get down on my feet and kiss the marble there in JFK and say, thank you, Jesus, I'm back in America.

I'm telling you. Some of you have traveled, and I think you've had the same experience. This is the greatest nation in the world. Thank God for this nation. But that's not to say that this nation is not under threat. That's not to say that there aren't some areas, if we really love this nation and we really care about the well-being of this nation, that there aren't some areas where we as Christians need to rise up and we need to contend for the soul of America. And three of those, the most important three, I believe, are number one, we must fight, first of all, for the dignity of human life to be lived out in this country when it comes to poor people, when it comes to people of every color, when it comes to people with disabilities, and when it comes to unborn people.

Number two, we must fight for the traditional family and oppose every effort to undermine and destroy the traditional family here in America. And finally, we have to fight for God-centered education, for God to get back into the school system of America. You say, well, Lon, you know, I mean, I hear what you're saying, but honestly, I got to tell you, I really think it's gone too far. I mean, I really just don't think that we can win.

Well, I don't know whether we can or not, friends. The future of America is in the sovereign hands of the sovereign God of the universe, and you and I don't have a thing to do with it. And we need to leave it there. That's not our job to worry about that. Our job is to do what God called us to do. And what God called us to do is to stand firm for the truth of the word of God, to be a lighthouse for the truth of the word of God in this city, the nation's capital. And we need to do that without compromise. We can be nice, we can be kind, we can be respectful, but we need to be uncompromising. And every time we open our mouth on these issues, the very same thing should come out. It should come out of your mouth as an individual follower of Christ wherever you're found in this town, and it needs to come out of our mouth as a church whenever we open it in this town. You say, well, Lon, you know, if we get like this, I mean, you know, the wrong group of people getting power, they could take away our IRS privileges.

They could do this, that. Friends, you know what? It's God's job to defend us. It's our job to preach truth. We need to leave God's job with God, and we need to do our job. Our job's to preach the truth.

And you know what? The early church didn't have IRS deductions, and the Lord took care of them. Now, I'm not volunteering to lose ours, don't get me wrong, but I'm just saying we can't worry about what might happen. That's not our business. Our business is preach truth to this city. And I call on you every time you open your mouth to preach truth to this city as a follower of Jesus in this town. Friends, I'm hoping there's going to be a great revival in America like George Whitfield led. Maybe there will, maybe there won't. But it's never going to happen if the Church of Jesus Christ folds, trust me. And let me just say in closing, I hope you understand that if we don't stand up and declare truth, biblical truth, folks, I'm sure you understand this, there is no one else left besides us. If we don't do it, we're the last bastion.

You understand? Nobody else is around to do it anymore. It's over.

It's just us. God help us. God help us to do our duty for Jesus Christ in this town. Let's pray together. Lord Jesus, thank you for challenging us today with biblical truth about our nation, our society. And Lord Jesus, I pray that you would make us both as individual followers of Christ and as a church family, that you would make us uncompromising in our commitment to stand for biblical truth. Lord, we don't know whether we'll win or lose.

We don't know what the future of America is. But Lord, if we have to go down, Lord Jesus, help us go down swinging. And we pray that you would use us in this town as a lighthouse for truth. And Lord, our deepest prayer for this nation is that you would raise up another George Whitefield and that there would be another great movement of God across this country, calling this country back to you like he did. Lord Jesus, may we at McLean Bible Church play some tiny part in that happening. Use us in this town, Lord Jesus, for your glory and for the benefit of the nation we love. And we pray these things in Jesus' name. And what did God's people say? Amen. Have a nice 4th of July. Bless you guys.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-10 06:57:30 / 2023-06-10 07:09:41 / 12

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