29, '12 11:20 AM
By Regner Capener
Good Morning! I need to take a break from the series dealing with tribulation and wrath for a couple of weeks to talk about the current state of our nation -- spiritually, politically and economically -- and talk about the crisis we all face. I'll get back to our other series before too long.
A portion of what I'm about to share has been shared before in several different Coffee Breaksover the past eight years but we all need the reminding and refreshing.
There isn’t a one of us that would disagree with the premise that our entire body of law, and our nation, are built upon the foundation of the Constitution of the
. “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
So reads the Preamble to the Constitution. From there we launch into the specifics of that foundation to the laws our founding fathers saw fit to incorporate as the starting place from which to build a cohesive nation.
When I ran for Congress back in 2004, I made certain that folks understood I was running as a Constitutional conservative. What I meant by that stance was that I believe in not just limited government, but small government – government that does not intrude upon the fundamental rights of its citizens, government that isn’t in the handout business, but provides a hand to help its citizens make a life for themselves and using some initiative to prosper according to their individual skills and gifts.
Although I'm still registered as a Republican it seems to me that many of the party leaders have abandoned the fundamentals upon which the party was founded, becoming pretty self-serving in the process. I'm not a Libertarian simply because the Libertarian platform goes too far in ignoring the spiritual foundations of our nation and treats those foundations as an intrusion into our Constitutional liberties. I'm not a Democrat because the Democratic party has long since left middle America and become the party of deviants, aberrants and promoters of everything abhorrent to me -- first as a Christian, and secondly as one who espouses the core of how this nation was founded and established.
The purpose of my discussion today, however, is not to rehash a political campaign, nor is it to get into the basics of the Constitution of the United States, nor is it to debate our laws. I believe that our Constitution was founded upon a Law that undergirds our entire society, and indeed, separates the United States from every other nation in the world.
Now, in case you are thinking I’m going to say The Ten Commandments, you’re wrong. The Ten Commandments certainly formed a fundamental core of the way in which our laws were written, but what I’m talking about goes way beyond that.
Let me begin with a portion of the Mayflower Compact – an agreement entered into by the folks who fled England in order to provide a way of life and a freedom they could not obtain there. (As an aside, Della can trace her family’s beginnings in this country to one of those original families aboard the Mayflower.)
IN THE NAME OF GOD, AMEN. We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, &c. Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, (my emphasis) and the Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the first Colony in the northern Parts of Virginia; Do by these Presents, solemnly and mutually, in the Presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid…….”
While these settlers certainly had a reverence for King James, and England as a whole, they sought something missing in their native land: the freedom to worship God, and an opportunity to advance their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ with all of the basic fundamentals that make Christianity what it is. They looked to the establishing of a colony away from the King, away from England, and away from the Church of England with its rigidity in order that there might be freedom to grow spiritually.
Looking at each of the individual charters of the thirteen original colonies, it becomes clear that – without exception – the freedom to worship God and serve the Lord Jesus Christ was their underlying motivation.
One of the arguments that I’ve engaged in with some folks during the past few months has been over the recurrence of the phrase, “the Christian religion,” in the body of many of our founding fathers’ documents. The argument raised of course is predicated on Thomas Jefferson’s statement to a Baptist preacher concerning “a wall of separation between church and state.” What most folks miss – and what most leftists and liberals want to argue over – is that Christianity is not a religion. It is not a dogma. It is not some kind of body of theological ideas.
Christianity– true Christianity – as our founding fathers saw it, was a deep reverence for, and worship of, the Lord Jesus Christ. Folks could have differences of understanding over some things and be a part of different church groups or organizations, but the common denominator that bound our founding fathers together was the worship of the Lord Jesus Christ. They defined the differences that separated them as “religion,” but not the faith.
Are you understanding what I’m getting at? Some have supposed that there were deep differences that divided our forefathers, that the division was religious in nature, and that the colonies were established in order to ensure that the Baptists stayed to themselves, the Quakers stayed to themselves, the Anglicans stayed to themselves, etc., etc. Not true!
As I have often commented to some of my friends – perhaps rhetorically – I am a very strong-willed and outspoken person. (Of course, you’d have never guessed, huhh?) As a minister of the Gospel, and a preacher, I can be verrry strong in some of the statements that I make. Those remarks are not made in anger, nor am I trying to sell some nutty doctrine. I do have strong convictions – convictions that are often based in years of personal experience. That doesn’t mean that I can’t be wrong, or that the Lord doesn’t still have to beat me upside the head with a 2X4 once in awhile to get my attention. He does, and I change. (OK. No smart alec remarks from the peanut gallery!)
Many of those early forefathers were preachers. William Penn, for example, was a Quaker. Just three weeks after his arrival (in 1682) in the colony that would eventually bear his name, he called for an election of representatives to a provincial assembly. Among Penn’s first laws passed by this assembly were guarantees protecting the freedom of conscience. These laws permitted Christians who were considered heretics in the Old World to escape their persecutions for worshiping God “differently” than some of their brethren.
Roger Williams was from the Antinomians – a sect that eventually became the first group of Baptists. A brilliant apologist for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Williams was influenced by the Reformation and Martin Luther’s theses on faith. Determined to ensure that the colonists had the freedom to worship God, he labored long and hard to obtain a charter for the new colony of
Rhode Island and to establish laws and statutes that would provide the colonists the right and freedom to worship the Lord as they saw fit.
Massachusetts (despite its present liberalism and the current attacks by some of its judges on the institution of marriage) had John Winthrop (its first governor) and John Eliot.
Winthrop was so convinced that God had a sovereign purpose for this new land that while on board the Arabella, sailing for America, he wrote “A Model of Christian Charity,” in which he outlined the purposes of God for
New England. He had a vision and what he felt was a deep understanding of God’s purposes for the new colony.
John Eliot, an ordained Anglican, but “nonconformist” minister, settled into this newly developing colony to translate the Bible into the Indian tongue of the local tribes, and evangelized the natives to such a degree that the Massachusetts Parliament established, incorporated, and provided the necessary financing to support “The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in New England.”
Then, of course, you have the Moravians who settled North Carolina, and the Puritans who settled Connecticut.
I don’t want this to turn into a history lesson, but it is important to see that these original colonists all shared a common goal, and there was a common thread in their objectives: the absolute right to worship the Lord Jesus Christ as they saw fit without interference from government. To the contrary, as colonial governments formed and charters were established, the common purpose in each charter was to guarantee that – even if the local governments provided the funding to accomplish it – the Gospel would be propagated, America, the “ New Land” would be evangelized, and faith in the Lord God would be spread throughout the new nation.
John Winthrop even took it farther by stating clearly that this new land was established as "a modell of Christian charity," to characterize the colonists' endeavor as part of a special pact with God to create a holy community. He encouraged the colonists to "bear one another's burdens", and to view themselves as a "Company of Christ, bound together by Love." He told the colonists to be stricter in their religious conformance than even the Church of England, and to view as their objective the establishment of a model state. If they did so, God would "make us a prayse and glory, that man shall say of succeeding plantacions: the Lord make it like that of New England."
It was this setting under which our Constitutional founders came together to establish a single, unifying document which would combine the intentions of the individual colonial charters and create a single new nation out of those thirteen colonies.
Although much has been made of Thomas Jefferson’s letter with the reference to the “wall of separation,” few people seem to remember that it was Jefferson who, in 1786, used the charter for the Virginia colony to draft a bill establishing guarantees for the freedom of worshiping God, and setting the stage for the First Amendment to the now-developing Constitution of the United States.
Fewer still remember that when Jefferson became President in 1800, he called for preachers from various churches to hold worship services in the House of Representatives on a weekly basis. His successors followed suit for many years thereafter.
Somewhere in my document archives is a copy of a vision that George Washington had for this country. The vision might be called by some “apocalyptic,” but he had an experience in which the Lord allowed him to see some of the very events that have unfolded in this country during the past few years. He carefully wrote the details of that vision and expressed both his concern and his prayer that God would spare this nation the horrors he was seeing.
The overwhelming majority of our founding fathers shared a common goal. James Madison, John Jay and Alexander Hamilton wrote and published their discussions abroad in what we now have compiled as The Federalist Papers. Though these discussions take on just about every aspect of constitutional law, the same common goal underlies those discussions.
It was Noah Webster, however, who summarized our Constitution and all that went into its writing when, in 1833, he wrote, “The religion which has introduced civil liberty, is the religion of Christ and his apostles ... This is genuine Christianity, and to this we owe our free constitutions and government ... the moral principles and precepts contained in the Scripture ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws." (emphasis mine)
So where does this lead us in this modern age of doubt, skepticism, atheism, humanistic teaching and rampant attempts to rewrite our Constitution and Laws so as to eliminate all reference to Jesus Christ, to God Almighty, and/or the prevention of anything that could by the remotest stretch of the imagination be termed “government sponsorship of religion?”
The truth is that our spiritual underpinnings are the entire reason for our existence as a nation. Were it not for the prayer that bathed our beginnings, were it not for the faith expressed by our founders, were it not for the absolute trust in God and the declared intentions to build a nation in which the Lord Jesus Christ would be honored above all else, it is fair to say that we would not exist today as a people.
The Psalmist David wrote, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, and the people He hath chosen for an inheritance.” (Psalm 33:12)
That said, the
faces a crisis at the moment – a crisis of faith, a crisis of trust in the Lord. We have allowed authority to folks who hate God with a purple passion. They have taken advantage of that authority to create laws and statutes that are unconstitutional, that rip away at the very fabric of our existence. We have tolerated – in the name of freedom and liberty – leaders who, with every fiber of their existence, hate the spiritual underpinnings that became the foundation of our nation. We have permitted organizations to exist -- such as the ACLU -- and even provided funding for them, that are systematically destroying the liberties our forefathers shed their blood to guarantee.
We have permitted our educators to stand in our nation’s classrooms for decades and undermine our spiritual heritage, attempt to rewrite and revise our nation’s history, defame and slander many of our founding fathers with false accusation and/or innuendo, and destroy the trust of our youth in the very fabric of our constitution. We have allowed liars to stand in public and – in the name of constitutionally guaranteed right to free speech – use that freedom to attack any elected leaders who express their faith and trust in God.
Four years ago we elected a Muslim for our President, a man who has no compunction about lying and pretending to be a Christian, and all the while demonstrating through his actions, his hatred and disdain of the God we know, love and serve, and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Now we as a nation are paying the price for that insanity. We are swimming in a sea of debt, spending pretend money to finance social programs that are supposed to be the purview of the body of Christ -- not government -- and ripping away at the social fabric of our nation by encouraging the murder of the unborn and approving deviant alliances between same sex partners while pretending that this is an acceptable "alternative lifestyle' to which we can append and ascribe marriage.
There are spiritual laws that are higher than that of our Constitution. There are laws which our forefathers obeyed and utilized as they set our foundations in place which, if praying Christians and believers today do not get a hold of, will bring this nation down. We will fail as every other nation in history if we lose sight of those laws.
If those who have the opportunity do not seize this time to reverse the laws and trends that have ripped away our liberties to speak out publicly in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and honor God, America is headed for the kind of woes we have seen other nations suffer.
The right to free speech in this nation is not a guarantee of anarchy. Contrary to the opinions of some, free speech is not a right to treasonous proclamations by those in public leadership. The right to worship God, to praise His name and honor him by public leaders is not some constitutionally-prohibited breach of an imagined “wall of separation.”
If we continue to tolerate the observance of this mythical wall, we will most assuredly – in less than a decade – see the end of the American dream our founding fathers sought to build. Come on people! Stand up and be counted! Get your act together. Challenge the God-haters with their agenda. No matter what it costs you personally, get involved in the process to reverse the disintegration of our spiritual fabric.
Whewww……. OK. Got a bit preachy, there! Can’t help it, though. Every bone, every cell, every corpuscle in my being says, “NO! YOU WILL NOT!!” to those who seek to remove our liberties.
In the coming days or weeks, I hope to be discussing some of the particular ways in which we can bring these trends to a halt – ways that every one of us have at our disposal. In the meantime, have a good and thoughtful day. Meditate on these things.
Most of all, be blessed today. Be blessed in the city, blessed in the field, blessed coming in and blessed going out.
Blessings on you!
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