Monday, July 7

A new American Revolution.....

"And behold, God himself is with us for our captain, and his priests with sounding trumpets to cry alarm against you. O children of Israel, fight ye not against the LORD God of your fathers; for ye will not prosper." 2 Chornicles 13:12 WBT

This was the selection of text that a young 32-year-old minister in Concord, William Emerson (grandfather of the literary poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson), preached to his gathered countrymen at the 13 March muster of the militia.

This passionate pastor reminded them that to be successful in this 'rebellion and sedious acts' that were brought before the fledging republic, the men would have to believe in what they were fighting for, liberty and the right to trust in God rather than a distant King.

Harry S. Stout, in an article entitled "Preaching the Insurrection" in 1996, remarks that "The American Revolutionary era is known as the 'Golden Age of Oratory.'" In 1775, the 'concept' of separation of church and state was over 12 years away.

And the colonists living in the countryside, with such radial giants such as John and Samuel Adams in the cities, turned to their ministers for leadership. And those men stepped up to the call, playing "a key role", Stout points out, in the decision to stand against England.

"Over the span of the colonial era, American ministers delivered approximately 8 million sermons, each lasting one to one-and-a-half hours." Stout remarks, "The average 70-year-old colonial churchgoer would have listened to some 7,000 sermons in his or her lifetime, totaling nearly 10,000 hours of concentrated listening." It didn't matter the denomination, sermons weren't the production of props, dramas, and melodic singing, they were the "prophet, newspaper, video, Internet, community college, and social therapist all wrapped in one."

"Eighteenth-century America," Stout points out, "was a deeply religious culture that lived self-consciously “under the cope of heaven.”" Everything fell under the Providence of God's plan, brought out as interpreted by these pastors. It was because of the mindset of this deeply religious colony thrust into the American wilderness to protect their rights to worship God and to show through their lives the reflection of God's light, they viewed themselves as God's "New Israel".

In this 'modern' era, such issues as taxation, immigration, and governmental representation are simply 'political' or 'constitutional' issues, to be free of any religious taint. One candidate's faith, taught at the oration of a 'black-liberation' pastor has no effect on his ability to 'unwillingly' be identitifed with and rejected because of a teacher's theology. Liberals view religon as a method to garner votes and evangelicals are 'sliding' once again towards the 'least unacceptable' candidate in the political race for the highest office in the land.

Christian leaders are divided; some calling for a trust in God to nominate a candidate that is weak in displaying and honoring God in his service to his country, others pointing to the 'historical' moment that can be made electing a black leader to the office. Yet others declare that we must rally behind the 'lesser of two evils' so that the other doesn't get into office.

S. Craven, noted pastor and author, cautions against too much 'reliance on politics' because God is in charge. Although Craven is an ardent advocate of cultural and social engagement, and believes in the civic duty to participate in the democratic process of nominating our elected officials, he cautions against relying on the political process to reform the cultural landscape.

Not so in our revolutionary past, where pastors declared that it was right to resist British 'tyranny' and actually sinful not to.

The 1766 Declaratory Act issued from the English Parliament that declared 'sovereignity over the colonies in all cases whatsoever" was nothing short of blasphemy because the violated the 'sola Scriptura' (Scripture alone) and God's exclusive claim of soveriegnity. No mere 'human being' was granted the absolute authority and power as England was claiming.

Liberal Unitarianist pastor Jonathan Mayhew, in his sermon 'A Discourse Concerning Unlimited Submission', used the Roman text (13:1-6) as his foundation. Mayhew considered passivity to the opposition of a government that failed its moral and religious duties', and its authors was sinful in the eyes of God. There was no authority given to political leaders to 'do mischief" and the government was to honor its sacred duty to guard the moral and religious fabric of the country.

It is interesting that this text was used more often by those very leaders to discourage resistance and riots rather than to reflect upon their duty to their fellow 'rebels'.

It wasn't a set of vague and governmentally defined laws and definition that enabled the colonies to determine the health of the governing body: "Ultimate justification resided in the will of a people," Stout declared, "acting self-consciously as united individuals joined in a common cause."

Gone are the days where part of the American identity was being "part of the New Israel [where] they would be instruments in the return of the Jesus Christ. This despite the varying interpretations of how that triumphant return would take place.

With theological views ranging from "last days marked by revelations and triumphs", "sudden judgments and calamities" , or a combination of either, the American colonists were in agreement in playing a direct role in bringing these things to pass. Today, American religious theology is more reflective of eastern mysticism, European universalism, and Middle Eastern abstracts, even within the walls of Christianity, than its historical spiritual roots.

In eighteen century America, freedom and liberty weren't separate, but conjoined, in political and religious views. Fundamental human rights, loyalty to Christ, and sola Scriptura were hopelessly intertwined. One could not exist without the other. A far cry from the current philosphical arguement of intolerance of absolute truth.

Even such 'non-Christian' icons of the time, such as Thomas Paine (deist in some opinions and a atheist in others), point to the religious call to resist tyrannical idolatry and blasphemy. In his famous pamphlet, Common Sense, Paine points out Israel's historical failure in wanting a king like other nations had and God's displeasure at the form of government that "so impiously invades the prerogative of heaven.” Such historical evidence within the Old Testament Scriptures led Paine to conclude that "the Almighty hath here entered his protest against monarchical government is true, or the Scripture is false.”

Paine spoke of republican principles and religious tolerance, rather than monarical rule and state-enforced religious conformance.

"We have it in our power to begin the world over again. A situation similar to the present hath not happened since the days of Noah until now. The birthday of a new world is at hand, and a race of men, perhaps as numerous as all Europe contains, are to receive their portion of freedom.…"

Stout concludes this look into the American Revolution with;

"For most American ministers and many in their congregations, the religious dimension of the war was precisely the point of revolution. Revolution and a new republican government would enable Americans to continue to realize their destiny as a “redeemer nation.”"

Peter Marshall and David Manuel, in their 1970's book The Light and the Glory, endeavoured to show that America was founded as a Christian nation and flourished under the benevolent hand of divine providence. In chilling prophetic insight, the authors argued that America's blessings as a nation would only continue as long as it was faithful to God in its national identity.

But such retoric has been cast aside in the current political climate, where the faith of the candidates are nothing more than suits and ties that can be put on to impress the crowd, but the underlying observance of such faith is 'strictly individual' and should not reflect upon their qualifications for the job.

Barack Obama is not the 'right' candidate for the highest office in America.

Neither is his Republican oppontent, John McCain.

Not because of their 'experience' or lack of in such a decisive and authoritarian position. No, neither is the best that America has to offer.

Instead of electing the 'best of the worst', we should be demanding and expecting the 'best of the best'. Americans are becoming as disenfrancised as a 'free' society, where the will of the people are represented by the service of a few.

Obama is pursuing private funds instead of relying on public funds, because he stands to gain more money that is unreportable to the election oversight that the public funds are subject to. McCain has a little-too-liberal conservative mindset. Both candidates have downplayed their faith, and the teachings that they've based it upon.

Neither represents the 'moral and spiritual' leadership that this country needs to return to its roots. Both have agendas that will further erode the "Christian minority", the 'born-again evangelical', and subsequently any denomination that considers itself 'christian', regardless of how liberal and morally flimsy it is.

Yet, we have too many people who are calling for the election of one over the other instead of calling for a 'revolution' of the political process, and refusing to cast their votes in caliver fashion to the 'best dressed'. This, despite an Associated Press poll showing over 80% of the American public feel the country is heading in the wrong direction, which was the highest percentage of dissatisfaction since they started polling. This, ignorant of the ABC News-Washington Post survey that showed the figure more at 86%.

"The ideas which lie at the heart of the West, and particularly the United States, are Judeo-Christian. Yet America is at great spiritual risk," declares Dr. James Emery White, Professor of Theology and Culture Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Senior Pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church, "and much of our current despondency is tied to our need for God far more than our need for economic relief. The very values and ideas that shaped us as a nation, and could therefore shape the world, are being lost."

Os Guinness, among other evangelical leaders who haven't been culturally desensitized, are calling for a third apostolic mission to come to the "western culture" of this country, not for the sake of economic stimulus or even relaxed persecution of 'christianity'. Like the two prior missions before, it is for the benefit of the Kingdom.

"The first mission......was the apostolic mission that eventually resulted in the conversion of the Roman Empire." Dr. Emery-White says, in his article A Revolution Worth Fighting For, "The second mission ......missionaries refounded Western civilization and essentially reconverted the west back to Christianity from paganism, what Thomas Cahill referred to in the title of his book How the Irish Saved Civilization."

A return to its Christian roots, in such a third apostolic mission, would restore America to true vibrancy and influence, not for it's own gain but for the gain of the world. And we would realize the truthfulness of our Presidents of old.......

"No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than those of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency ..." George Washington, First Inaugural Address, 1789

"It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible." (George Washington)

"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal: that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights..." (Declaration of Independence)

"God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed the conviction that these liberties are a gift of God?" (Thomas Jefferson)

And we would realize that we don't have to depend on the political manuverings of those who would steer this country astray, but instead would demand of ourselves the desire, conformity, and subjected will to expect nothing less than the fulfillment of God's promise within our political process. With such expectation, we could rest in God's fulfillment of His Will because we follow it in all aspects of our lives;

public, private, and political.

And the best of the best would demand our vote instead of those who thirst for power in and of itself. We could faithfully declare......

Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. 1 John 5:14-15

It is time that the people revolt, in the fashion of the children of the True God, and reclaim the historical patriotism of those 'traitors turned patriots' of our national beginnings. Instead of voting for the 'best of the worst', let us demand and make our vote count for something more than a nod at the whole corrupted process.

Let us revolt with the divine mission in mind, calling our leaders back to an accounting before a people led and accountable to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Like our Jewish brethren in the nation of Israel, let us stop wandering the desert of the past forty years and claim the promised land that God has blessed the United States of America to be.

Now that, as Dr. Emery-White says, "......would be an American Revolution worth fighting for!"

Resources: "A revolution worth fighting for."

David Marshall and David Manuel, The Light and the Glory (1977).

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