History reminds us of America’s Christian heritage

Published 7:30 am Sunday, July 2, 2023

America’s Christian heritage cannot be denied because history records it. We need to be reminded of these timeless messages for they speak to the issues confronting our country today.

The Rhode Island Charter of 1683 reads, “We submit our persons, lives, and estates unto our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords and to all those perfect and most absolute laws of His given us in His Holy Word.”

One of the early official acts of President George Washington was to proclaim the first Thanksgiving Proclamation stating, “…it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly implore His protection and favor.”

Noah Webster, who wrote the first dictionary of the English language in America, believed, “The moral principles and precepts contained in the Scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws.”

When John Adams signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, he said, “I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.”

In 1777, during the American Revolution, Bibles were in short supply because shipments that had formerly come from England were cut off. A special committee of Congress ordered 20,000 Bibles from Holland, Scotland, and elsewhere shipped to different states.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “It is the duty of nations, as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God and to recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.”

Standing on the deck of the Arabella in 1630 off the Massachusetts coast, John Winthrop said, “We will be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us, so that if we 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 recalled Moses’ farewell to Israel in Deuteronomy 30, “Beloved, there is now set before us life and death, good and evil,” in that we are commanded this day to love the Lord our God, and to love one another, to walk in His ways and to keep His Commandments and His ordinance and His laws…But if our hearts shall turn away, so that we will not obey, but shall be seduced, and worship other Gods, our pleasure and profits, and serve them…we shall surely perish out of the good land…Therefore let us choose life, that we and our seed may live.”

President Ronald Reagan once said, “Without God, democracy will not and cannot long endure…If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under.”

What can you and I do? According to 2 Chronicles 7:14, those of us called by His name must humble ourselves, pray, seek His face and turn from our wicked ways; then He will heal our land.

— Jan White has compiled a collection of her columns in her book, “Everyday Faith for Daily Life.”