Independence Day: Our Christian Heritage
The Birth of a Nation
For 235 years, America has been blessed as the longest on-going
Constitutional Republic in the history of the world. David says these blessings
are not accidental they are blessings of God. David says that this is evident
as we look at the turmoil in other nations and contrast that to the stability
we see in America. Preserving American liberty depends first upon our understanding
of the foundations on which this great country was built, and then it depends
on preserving the principles on which it was founded.
David says on July
2, 1776, Congress voted to approve a complete separation from England. Two days
later, the early draft of the Declaration of Independence was signed. Four days
later, members of Congress took the document and read it out loud from the steps
of Independence Hall, proclaiming it to the city of Philadelphia, and afterwards
they rang the Liberty Bell. The inscription on the top of the bell is Leviticus
25:10, which reads, "Proclaim liberty throughout the land and to all the
John Adams said, "The general principles
on which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity."
Probably the clearest identification of the spirit of the American Revolution
was given by John in a letter to Abigail the day after Congress approved the Declaration.
He wrote her two letters that day: One was short and jubilant that the Declaration
had been approved; the other letter was much longer and gave serious consideration
to what had been done that day. Adams could already foresee that their actions
would be celebrated by future generations.
A Different Holiday
also noted: "This day will be the most memorable epic in the history of America.
I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the
great anniversary festival." He felt the celebration should be in a manner
that would commemorate the day as a "day of deliverance by solemn acts of
devotion to God Almighty." John Adams believed that the Fourth of July should
be a religious holiday. The two top holidays celebrated in this country are Christmas
and the Fourth of July. According to John Quincy Adams, the two dates are connected.
On the Fourth of July, the Founding Fathers simply took the precepts of Christ
and His birth (Christmas) and incorporated those principles into civil government.
The Declaration of Independence was the birth certificate for this nation,
but the men who signed it knew it could be their death warrant. The closing paragraph
states, "And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance of
the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives,
our fortunes, and our sacred honor." The 56 Founding Fathers, 27 of whom
were trained as ministers, took their pledge seriously. On the morning of the
signing, there was silence and gloom as each man was called up to the table of
the President of Congress to sign the document, knowing that it could mean their
death by hanging.
Most wars have a motto. The motto of World War II was
"Remember Pearl Harbor." The motto during the Texas war for independence was "Remember
the Alamo." The spiritual emphasis, directed towards King George III who violated
Gods laws, gave rise to a motto during the American Revolution: "No King
but King Jesus." David reminds us that the Founding Fathers passed the torch to
us. It is our responsibility to not let it go out.
More from the Foundations of Freedom special feature
More Church History on Spiritual Life
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