Remembering the Foundations 5/25/97

Psalm 11: 3
Page 803 Come Alive Bible

JESUS CHRIST was loved, revered, and obeyed by many who worked to build the foundation of this great nation. Their efforts were not without debate, challenge, and conflict.

Our Lord’s intervention in the affairs of state were distinctly evident to the craftsmen construction for the foundation of a new nation. The records of their faith and faithfulness are stored in the archives of our great institutions of learning.

The most memorable section in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ prize- winning novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude, concerns a strange disease that invades the old village of Macondo from the surrounding swamp. It is a lethal insomnia like sickness that attacks the entire town. Initially people lose sleep, but the villagers do not feel any bodily fatigue at all. A more critical effect slowly manifests itself – loss of memory. Gradually victims realize they can no longer recall the past. Soon they find they cannot remember the name or the meaning of the simplest things used every day. They cannot remember the identity of other people, even those closest to them. Finally, the dementia is complete and their own sense of identity is erased from consciousness and memory.

One villager, Aureliano Buendia, conceives a way to try to stave off the loss of memory. He writes the name of everything on pieces of paper and pastes them to the objects to recall what they are. All the people begin doing it in their homes. Finally the whole village is marked: table, chair, clock, door, bed, toothbrush, knife, water faucet! Animals, flowers and trees are also identified in this way: cow, goat, banana tree, orchid flower. Alas, what happens when things will be recognized by the label but no one will remember their use?

So labels are made more specific. “This is a cow. She must be milked every morning so that she will produce milk. The milk must be boiled on the stove in order to be mixed with coffee to make coffee and milk.”

Someone puts a sign at the beginning of the road into the swamp: “This is your town, Macondo.” Someone else posts a sign on main street announcing: “God exists!” Soon people fear that in time they will not be able to remember the meaning of the written letters on the labels, and they will be forever lost.

One day along the road from the swamp, a strange old man appears, carrying a bulging suitcase and pulling a cart covered with a black cloth. When the stranger discovers the town is suffering from the plague of insomnia and amnesia, he produces a vial of secret potion and cures the town. People can sleep again. Memory returns to them; life comes again, and people once again look forward to tomorrow with hope.

This moving narrative is a telling parable for all as we think of our nation. In how many ways has America become like those stricken citizens of Macondo? We have forgotten where we came from, and we are confused about who we are and why we are here. We have forgotten what life means and what freedom means.

The core values of our society are worth working to restore. Recently Supreme Court Jurist Anthony Scallio said:

Our nation has – – –

Patrick Henry said, “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but the gospel of Jesus Christ! For this reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.”

After his army had been blessed supernaturally with victory over the far superior British forces George Washington said, “The hand of Providence has been so conspicuous in all this, that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more than wicked, that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligations.”

While speaking of religion and morality as “great pillars of happiness” Washington said, “…reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail, in exclusion of religious principle.”

John Adams, Vice-President under Washington, and our nation’s second president, spent ten years in France and England and compared the atheistic republic of France with the government of America which he considered based on Christian principles. He correctly predicted the republic in France would soon fail and it did. It did not have the right foundation according to him. Then he said, “Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

James Madison, chief architect of the Constitution said, “Religion is the basis and foundation of government.”

John Quincy Adams, our sixth president, noted, “The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.”

He further noted the future of our nation depended “upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”

There is a quiet awakening to the reality that we have currently gone too far in trying to remove God from society.

Recently it was said that separation of church and state is bad history and bad law. The persons making that statement said it ought to be thrown out. Who said that and with what sense of history and law did he make such a statement.

The Honorable William Rhinquist, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court made that comment.

Consider this conclusion: “The separation of church and state has been carried too an extreme.” Joseph Califano, not exactly a member of the religious right, but architect of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society.

Speaking of the war against drugs an editorial in “The Wall Street Journal,” March 6, 1996 noted: “Indeed, if we’re going to deploy religious institutions in this war, we’ll first have to get over the idea that the First Amendment means that every mention of religion must be eradicated from the public square. A substance-abuse counselor whose institution gets tax-payer money shouldn’t have to fend off an ACLU suit if he makes prayer part of the therapy.”

Parenthetically, the Supreme Court that banned prayer in public schools consisted of six judges who had no experience as judges but were career politicians.

They completely disregarded previous court decisions.

For example:
The U.S. Supreme Court in 1892, after studying the vital documents of our nation for ten years, made the following ruling: “This is a religious people. This is historically true. From the discovery of this continent to the present hour, there is a single voice making this affirmation.”

In 1844 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled: “Why may not the Bible, and especially the New Testament … be read and taught as a divine revelation in the schools? Where can the purest principles of morality be learned so clearly or so perfectly as from the New Testament?”

In 1892 the Court ruled: “The morality of the country is deeply ingrafted upon Christianity, and not upon the doctrines or worship of other religions.”

Those opposed to rebuilding the foundations employ a red herring technique. Perhaps most persons don’t know what the expression “red herring” means, but in the event anyone doesn’t let me explain. Years ago in England prisoners who escaped were tracked with bloodhound dogs with a very sensitive sense of smell. On occasion an accomplis of an escaped prisoner would drag a fish, a red herring, along the escapees path to divert the dogs which would follow the stronger trail and be diverted.

A red herring today is to accuse those who advocate rebuilding the foundations of being reconstructionist and wanting to revert to Old Testament lifestyle and law making America a theocracy. What they are getting at is always emphasized by their references to stoning certain people. This red herring seeks to divert attention to the extremes of the Old Testament era civil law.

I don’t knowingly know a person who wants America to become a theocracy. I don’t. I don’t think Theo does either. He established ancient Israel as a once and for all example.

What these persons forget is there were three types of law in the Old Testament era.

One was CEREMONIAL LAW. This involved animal sacrifices, rituals, feast days, etc. Most Christian’s believe these were types and symbols used to speak of the coming of Messiah and were fulfilled with the coming of Christ. Ceremonial laws have been fulfilled.

A second kind of law was MORAL LAW. It is this basic law as typified in the Ten Commandments that is still germane.

Another is CIVIL LAW. These were the laws governing crime and punishment. They did include stoning as a means of capital punishment. They were intended for Israel just as our modern laws are designed for our nation. They were applicable then but not to us now.

Most modern Christians know the ceremonial law to be fulfilled and the civil laws of the Old Testament era to be past. It is however the ancient civil law that is used as a red herring by those who say there is a desire to return to a theocracy.

It is the law of morality that is needed today.

It is not the job of the church to change society. It is the job of the church to change individuals who change society.

Here are some personal aspects of the foundation on which individuals can work.

A. Bible study. This right is greatly restricted in school but it is still a privilege in homes. Do you have a personal Bible study program? If not start one.

B. Prayer. I wonder if all who complain about prayer being removed from schools have a good personal private prayer life.

C. Morality. It is incumbent upon us personally to govern ourselves morally. Start with a better understanding of the Ten Commandments and a commitment to know and obey them.

Personal discipline must be reignited.

D. Home mentoring. Not all children are getting insights and information regarding moral values. Horace Mann who directed the development of the public school system in America in the 19th Century said, “…our system earnestly inculcates all Christian morals; it founds its morals on the basis of religion; it welcomes the religion of the Bible…”

Though that was the intent the design has been lost. It must be taught in the home.

E. Public worship must regain its place of primacy and the pulpit its principle mission.

The pulpit must teach\preach the Word of God as the authoritative, divinely inspired, supernaturally authored Word of God.

People must discipline themselves to engage in regular worship as a public expression of devotion.