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BIBLE PROPHECY
A Beginning of Global Governance - #1 in a series
Prophetic Signs that we are in the End Times
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Contender Ministries highly recommends Dr. Gary Frazier's new book "It Could Happen Tomorrow - Future Events That will Shake the World".  This is a must read for every Christian, and will be an invaluable guide to the end-times for anyone interested in Bible prophecy.

 

This book will not only inform you, it will inspire you and challenge you to increased evangelistic consciousness, greater missionary concern, and a desire to live a holy life in an unholy age.
    - Tim Lahaye, co-author of the New York Times Bestselling Series Left Behind

Faith and Politics, and de Tocqueville’s American Prophecy


     By Ben Rast

    Contender Ministries

    October 24, 2004


 

As an American, I often marvel at the tremendous evolution of the United States.  In a matter of a couple of centuries (baby years, as it pertains to nations), the United States has gone from a band of rebellious colonies in an untamed frontier to the world’s leading economic and military superpower!  Our advances in medicine and technology over the past century set a benchmark for other nations.  How, some may ask, did this happen?  What did the United States possess to facilitate such a rapid transformation?  The answer appears in our infancy, and was validated in the nineteenth century by a Frenchman named Alexis de Tocqueville.  While doffing his hat to American greatness, he also gave us a warning.  I fear that this warning has gone unheeded, and threatens the fabric of this great nation.  What happens now is up to us.

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The founders of America were lovers of God and liberty.  The influence of religious faith, particularly Christian faith, cannot be overstated as it pertains to our founding fathers and the system of government they set in motion.  Some historical revisionists would have us believe that the majority of the founders were, at most, deists.  Yet this view is not borne out in their speeches and writings, both public and private.  A unique piety characterizes our founding fathers.  I say “unique”, because their faith was so much a part of who they were.  It affected their worldview.  In a recent Presidential debate, President Bush responded to a question about his faith by stating, “I never want to impose my religion on anybody else.  But when I make decisions, I stand on principle, and the principles are derived from who I am…. I believe that God wants everybody to be free. That's what I believe.”  I was struck because, while lacking some of the eloquence, President Bush submitted a view that echoed what so many of our founders said. 

In his inaugural address on March 4, 1809, President James Madison said, “We have all been encouraged to feel in the guardianship and guidance of that Almighty Being, whose power regulates the destiny of nation.”1  In a letter to the French ministry, Benjamin Franklin wrote, “Whoever shall introduce into public affairs the principles of primitive Christianity will change the face of the world.”  Alexander Hamilton opined, “You would be convinced, that natural liberty is a gift of the beneficent Creator, to the whole human race…” One quote that is a particular favorite of mine comes from Thomas Jefferson.  President Jefferson is heralded a champion of secularism, due to the revisionist interpretation of his phrase regarding a wall of separation between church and state.  Next to my desk, captioning a photo of the Ten Commandments monument removed from the Alabama Supreme Court is the following words of Thomas Jefferson, “God who gave us life gave us liberty.  And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God?  That they are not to be violated but with His wrath?  Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.”   Addressing his troops at Valley Forge, General George Washington said, “While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion.  To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest Glory to laud the more distinguished Character of Christian.” 

While the list of similar quotes of faith and piety among our founding fathers goes on and on, I want to supply one last quote, giving it its own paragraph due to its importance.  Patrick Henry was a revolutionary leader whose most famous statement is probably, “Give me liberty or give me death!”  Yet as stirring as those words are, Henry said something else that I consider just as noteworthy, though much less noted.  While historical revisionists will scoff at the idea that the foundations of our nation are unmistakably Christian, and pander their doctrines of pluralism and moral relativism, let these words of Patrick Henry speak down through the years, “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.”  Here it is spelled out.  The secret of America’s greatness was not in her plurality, but in her Christianity.  It is this Christianity that bred her generosity and deference to the downtrodden.  It is this Christianity that bred a love for liberty and a love for our fellow man. 

Approximately half a century after the United States declared her independence, a Frenchman named Alexis de Tocqueville traveled to the U.S. to study what made America great.  A critic of the political instability in Europe, de Tocqueville saw in the U.S. an opportunity to find a key with which to unlock the stifled potential in Europe.  He published his findings in a two-part work called, Democracy in America.  I’d like to share a few of de Tocqueville’s observations:

The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other.”

In France I had almost always seen the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom marching in opposite directions.  But in America I found they were intimately united and that they reigned in common over the same country.”

I sought for the key to the greatness and genius of America in her harbors…; in her fertile fields and boundless forests; in her rich mines and vast world commerce; in her public school system and institutions of learning.  I sought for it in her democratic Congress and in her matchless Constitution.  Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power.”

The last quote above is key.  The source of America’s greatness was not found in our government, technology, or natural resources.  They source of America’s greatness was in her deep faith that affected the worldview of her citizens.  Because of the worldview, influenced by faith, a free government and progressive economy resulted.  While I could quote many more similar lines from de Tocqueville, I want to include but one more.  This is what I consider to be de Tocqueville’s American prophecy:

America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”

Many of de Tocqueville’s observations regarding the nation I call home fill me with pride, but this last statement, seemingly prophetic, fills me with dread.  I fear that America has been in the process of losing her “goodness” for several decades now, and her greatness will surely be a casualty of this moral conflict. 

As we roll the clock forward since de Tocqueville made his observations about American culture and democracy, our nation saw quite a few highs and lows.  The dark moments of slavery, the Civil War, two world wars, and the great depression have been punctuated by the light of emancipation, combat victories, national expansion, and technological advances.  As we faced the global evil of communism, we led the world in fighting this evil.  While our “big stick” kept communist expansion in check, we cared for the oppressed around the world.  Even our military might was used to feed the hungry, as in the Berlin Airlift.  As the tiny nation of Israel declared her independence in the bees’ nest of the predominantly Muslim Middle-East, we stood by her. 

Starting in the 1960’s, a new enemy emerged, clothed in black robes.  Activist judges began moving their agenda of hostility toward free Christian expression.  Through a mistaken interpretation of Jefferson’s “wall of separation” statement, and a misapplication of America’s first civil rights law – the Fourteenth Amendment – judges began attacking prayer in school, displays of the Ten Commandments, and other forms of free religious expression.  The judicial branch of government suddenly took on the duties of the legislative, and began dictating an anti-religious worldview.  Ironically, the separationists’ ad hoc hero in this battle, Thomas Jefferson, was wary of just such judicial activism.  Frustrated Jefferson wrote, “The Constitution is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist and shape into any form they please.”  This isn’t how Jefferson envisioned the judicial branch operating.  Instead, as he opined in a letter to Justice William Johnson in 1823, Jefferson said,

On every question of construction, carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.” 

On another occasion, Jefferson wrote to William Jarvis:

You seem…to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions; a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy…. The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots.

It could be argued that this is Jefferson’s American prophecy, for indeed, this is what has occurred.  The legislature is powerless to enact the will of the people when the courts are ready to declare the will of the people “unconstitutional.”  I provide the following two examples.  The Defense of Marriage Act carried overwhelming public support according to public opinion polls, and was passed by a wide margin in the congress and signed into law by President Clinton.  Yet now, judges are declaring the Act unconstitutional in various cases.  The only way to prevent this well supported Act from dying a judicial death is to pass an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to make that law constitutional.  In another example, the public overwhelmingly supported the ban on partial birth abortion.  This ban also readily passed through the legislature and was signed into law by President George W. Bush.  Yet judges across this nation are ruling the law unconstitutional, as it does not provide for the health of the mother.  In so doing, the judges are disregarding public pronouncements by the American Medical Association which state that the primary concern for the health of the mother is in performing partial birth abortions, not in withholding them.  On these matters and others involving moral social issues, the will of the majority of Americans is overruled by activist judges who seem to prefer the job of congressman. 

This brings me to the issue of a biblical worldview.  Essentially, a worldview is a person’s set of beliefs on a variety of social and political issues.  A “biblical worldview” means that a person’s beliefs on social and political issues are effected by their belief in the authority of the Bible.  For instance, if a person believes that God created each of us specially within our mothers’ womb (Psalm 22:10, 139:13), then that person is more likely to hold sacred the life of the unborn, and oppose abortion.  If I believe that homosexuality is a sin, as clearly defined in both the Old and New Testament of the Bible, then I am not likely to support government recognition of gay marriage or homosexual advocacy in high school sex education curricula.  If I believe that the Bible instructs the church to care for those in need, then I will probably be a strong supporter of faith-based initiatives. 

President Bush has been criticized extensively for stating that he prays for guidance, and for espousing a Christian worldview.  In the third presidential debate of 2004, Bob Schieffer asked President Bush what role faith plays in his policy decisions.  President Bush answered, “First, my faith plays a lot -- a big part in my life. And that's, when I was answering that question, what I was really saying to the person was that I pray a lot. And I do.  And my faith is a very -- it's very personal. I pray for strength. I pray for wisdom. I pray for our troops in harm's way. I pray for my family. I pray for my little girls…. Prayer and religion sustain me. I receive calmness in the storms of the presidency…. Religion is an important part. I never want to impose my religion on anybody else.   But when I make decisions, I stand on principle, and the principles are derived from who I am.   I believe we ought to love our neighbor like we love ourself, as manifested in public policy through the faith-based initiative where we've unleashed the armies of compassion to help heal people who hurt.  I believe that God wants everybody to be free. That's what I believe.  And that's been part of my foreign policy. In Afghanistan, I believe that the freedom there is a gift from the Almighty. And I can't tell you how encouraged I am to see freedom on the march.   And so my principles that I make decisions on are a part of me, and religion is a part of me.”

Senator John Kerry, the Democrat candidate for President has a different opinion.  He has a worldview, that much is certain, but he believes it is wrong for religious beliefs to influence that worldview.  In a Democrat debate in January of this year, Senator Kerry said, “But I have always separated [religion] from public life. I've always viewed that as critical. I think I am who I am. My entire person is affected by my belief structure, by the values given to me both through my parents and through religion, but I don't make decisions in public life based on religious belief, nor do I think we should. I think that there is a separation of church and state, and whatever the doctrine of your state is has to guide you, but you don't make it based on that.” 

Every two years, we are faced with important decisions – electing future leaders to public office.  Every four years, these decisions include the office of President of the world’s leading superpower.  The question we as Christians must ask is this: which candidate has the worldview that I consider important?  Is it the Christian worldview shared by a majority of our nations founders – the worldview that so impressed de Tocqueville?  Or is it a secular worldview that promises to continue the moral decline we’ve seen over the past forty years?  Over the last half century, the Democratic Party has become distanced from a biblical worldview.  Support for gay marriage, humanist and homosexual indoctrination of our public school children, and abortion “rights” are platform issues that separate the Democratic Party from the teachings and values of Scripture.  If we want to fend off the fulfillment of de Tocqueville’s prediction, we must develop a biblical worldview and put that worldview into action by voting for those candidates who most closely share that worldview.  In doing so, we pay heed to 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 will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”  Professing and practicing a biblical worldview is not the same as seeking to establish a theocracy.  We will live in the perfect theocracy soon enough, when our Savior returns as King.  Until then, we are obligated to live our faith in every aspect of our lives. 

Some Christians view political involvement as a detestable involvement in “earthly things”.  They feel we should rise above this fray, and give credence to the secularists’ misapplied “separation of church and state.”  I submit that we must put our faith into action by electing leaders who will seek out God’s blessings for our nation, and appoint justices who won’t legislate a secular worldview from the bench.  We cannot afford further moral decay.  We must be as committed to a Christian worldview as were our nation’s founders.  Only then can our nation be “good” and cling to greatness.

*For a summary of where Senator Kerry and President Bush stand on various issues of importance to a Christian worldview, please check out our Presidential Voter Guide here: http://www.contenderministries.org/2004voterguide.php


1.  Citations for all quotations are available upon request.

 

 



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