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Independence Day: Our Christian Heritage

David Barton
Wallbuilders


CBN.comThe Birth of a Nation

For 235 years, America has been blessed as the longest on-going Constitutional Republic in the history of the world. These blessings are not accidental – they are blessings of God. 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.

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 inhabitants thereof."

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

Adams 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 God’s laws, gave rise to a motto during the American Revolution: "No King but King Jesus." The Founding Fathers passed the torch to us. It is our responsibility to not let it go out.

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