Why We Must Recover America's Christian Heritage

America, prayer
(Harley Pebley/Flickr/Creative Commons)

"People without a heritage are easily persuaded." -- Karl Marx

"Look to the rock from which you were hewn, and from the hole of the pit from which you were dug. Look to Abraham your father and Sarah who bore you (Is. 51:1-2).

If America is to recover from its downhill slide into an abyss of socialism, anti-Christian secularism, amorality and economic collapse, we as Christians must rise up and recover our country's true national heritage. The identity of a people or nation is tied to their history—to their origins—and we have been robbed of ours. This, in turn, has opened the door for a flood of ungodly influences into our society.

It is obvious that we have been robbed of our identity as a nation birthed out of a great Spiritual awakening and founded on Judeo-Christian values and principles. This was never more obvious than when our president stood before a foreign audience and declared, "America is not a Christian nation," with hardly a peep of protest from back home.

At a critical moment in Israel's history, God instructed His people to revisit their beginnings as a nation—as a people: "Look to the rock from which you were hewn and to the hole of the pit from which you were dug. Look to Abraham your father, and to Sarah who bore you" (Isaiah 51-1-2). By revisiting their past, they would recover their sense of identity. They would remember who they were as a people and be empowered to faces the challenges of their present and future.

While We Slept

This is the challenge we face in America today. Because we were lulled to sleep in a Christianity of comfort and convenience, secular historians have been able to quietly rewrite our history and re-interpret our Constitution. Our slothfulness left an opening for leftist, secularist historians and politicians to revise our history and create an America in their own image. We were cut off from our past. This, in turn, has made it "easy" for the masses to be led astray, for as Karl Marx said, "People without a heritage are easily persuaded."

Because we have been robbed of our Christian heritage, secularists have been able to convince judges, politicians and the American people that the First Amendment ("Congress shall make no law concerning the establishment of religion, nor hindering the free exercise thereof") was put in place to keep religion out of public life and maintain a secular state. Blatantly re-interpreting this clause as a "separation of church and state," secularists have used it as a weapon to ban prayer, Bible reading and Christian symbols from public schools, colleges, courtrooms, town squares and even the military. The Founders would turn over in their graves.

There Is Hope

I am convinced that God is willing to intervene, but we must be diligent in recovering our identity as a nation that was founded on Judeo-Christian values and principles. I am thankful for people like David Barton, Benjamin Hart and others who have dedicated their lives to helping us recover our history and identity as a nation. I am thankful to God for His intervention in my life in 2010 when He revealed to me that there was a direct bearing of the Great Awakening on the founding of our country. At the same time, I was convinced that we can see another great, national Spiritual awakening if we, as God's people, will meet the conditions laid out in His Word. It was out of that experience that I wrote the book America's Revival Heritage.

America's True Heritage

America's Christian heritage was assumed for the first 150 years of her existence. This is obvious by looking at historic references from this period. For example, a recent 10-year study project to discover where the Founders got their ideas for America's founding documents revealed that, by far, the single most-cited authority in their writings was the Bible.

This is why the early History of the United States, published in 1816 by David Ramsey, would point out that the Founders "wisely judged learning and religion [Christianity] to be the firmest pillars of the church and commonwealth." This is why the esteemed U.S. Senator Daniel Webster, speaking in 1820 at the 200-year anniversary celebration of the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, Mass., would highlight America's overt Christian origins, saying:

"Finally, let us not forget the religious character of our origin. Our fathers were brought hither by their high veneration for the Christian religion. They journeyed by its light and labored in its hope. They sought to incorporate its principles with the elements of their society and to diffuse its influence through all their institutions—civil, political or literary. Let us cherish these sentiments and extend this influence still more widely in the full conviction that that is the happiest society which partakes in the highest degree of the mild, peaceful spirit of Christianity."

A French Sociologist Discovers America's True Heritage

In 1831 the French sociologist Alexis de Tocqueville visited America to study its institutions and see if he could discover how she had achieved her greatness in such a brief period of time. He was profoundly impressed with the spiritual vitality of America and wrote, "The religious atmosphere of the country was the first thing that struck me on arrival in the United States."

De Tocqueville also was surprised to see Christianity and the government so intricately intertwined, and he observed that the means of improving the government were the same means employed in conversion and the advancement of the Christian faith. He concluded that, in America, "From the beginning, politics and religion contracted an alliance which has never been dissolved." In other words, de Tocqueville saw no separation of church and state, as is touted today.

Although not found in his writings, a statement historically has been attributed to de Tocqueville and quoted many times. It is likely that someone heard this statement in one of his many speeches and wrote it down for posterity. According to this unknown source, de Tocqueville said:

"I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers—and it was not there ... in her fertile fields and boundless forests—and it was not there ... in her rich mines and her vast world commerce—and it was not there ... in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution—and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power."

The Supreme Court Affirms America's True Heritage

In 1892, the U.S. Supreme Court completed a 10-year investigation in which thousands of historical documents were investigated concerning the historic roots of the nation. After citing more than 60 historic precedents, the Court unanimously declared, "There is no dissonance in these declarations. There is a universal language pervading them all, having one meaning; they affirm and reaffirm that this is a religious nation ... this is a Christian nation."

Concluding Remark

May God help us to recover our true heritage and identity as a nation. I believe this is necessary if we are to successfully push back against the socialist-secularist takeover of this country. It is also a key for us as we pray for another Great Awakening in our land.

Eddie Hyatt is an author, historian, revivalist and Bible teacher. This article is derived from his book, America's Revival Heritage, available from Amazon and his website.

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