English settlers came to America to spread the gospel.
April 29 marks the anniversary of an event that is central to CBN's
ministry today. On that day in 1607 a nation was born when travel-weary
Englishmen landed at Cape Henry on the shores of Virginia. There they
established the foundation for what would become the most powerful
country the world has ever seen.
Act 1, Scene 1 of the drama that was to be the United States unfolded
that day at Cape Henry, and the legacy of godliness on American shores
From these shores, settlers claimed the day for the glory of Jesus
Christ, promising that the gospel of God's kingdom would go forth
to the nations.
America's destiny and purpose were sealed with the cross they erected
at Cape Henry. All that would follow in our nation's growth hinged
on the single proclamation that this land belonged to Jesus Christ.
In the Mayflower Compact of 1620, the Pilgrims reaffirmed the mission
set forth by the original Virginia settlers.
"All of us were taught that the Pilgrims came to America for freedom
of worship or religious freedom, but that's really not true," says
Dr. Peter Marshall, an author and historian. "They said that they
came to America to 'propagate the gospel among the Indians and to
become, themselves, stepping stones for the furtherance of the gospel
to the outermost parts of the Earth.' So they were missionaries."
The Puritans carried the Cape Henry legacy further. On the deck of
the Arbella, halfway between England and Cape Cod, leader John Winthrop
declared, "We shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people
are upon us, so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this
work we have undertaken and so cause him to withdraw his present help
from us, we shall be made a story and a byword throughout the world."
Winthrop's phrasing was revealing, says Marshall. "When you bring
up Winthrop's phrase there, `the city upon a hill,' that's the heart
and the core of what America's been all about since day one. Point
being here that the basis for American life was to be committed Christians
who were to so let their light shine to one another and then to the
whole world, that the world could see that as an example."
More than 100 years later, as America set off on her own course toward
independence, the godly foundations laid in Virginia established the
character of our Revolution.
"Before God, I believe the hour has come," said John Adams of
the Revolution. "My judgment approves this measure and my whole heart
is in it. All that I have, all that I am and all that I hope in this
life I am now ready to stake upon it. And I leave off as I began,
that live or die, survive or perish, I am for the Declaration. It
is my living sentiment, and by the blessing of God, it shall be my
dying sentiment. Independence now and independence forever."
George Washington's pure, Christian heart, Benjamin Franklin's call
to prayer, and John Adams' reverence for the will of God symbolize
the undying commitment of our Founding Fathers to the creation of
a nation that would glorify God. The American character was born in
Scripture and nurtured by the Holy Spirit, yet today, our national
heritage is under siege.
Bishop James Madison warned of such a risk in 1795: "The moment that
religion, the pure and undefiled religion, loses its influence over
our hearts, from that fatal moment, farewell to public and private
happiness. Farewell--a long farewell--to virtue, to patriotism, to
Nearly 400 years have passed since America was first conceived at
Cape Henry, and respect for our roots is growing cold. Yet one undeniable
fact still remains: At its core, the United States of America is a