The Bible's influence on America"
Rev. Joel Ehlert
Every week another candidate throws his or her hat in the ring to run for the office of president of the United States. I think we're expecting twenty or more before it is all over.
Every candidate has an opinion about what is wrong with America and how they plan to fix everything. Most of the time I chalk it up to so much political jargon.
Maybe it's time to stop and think about the greatest source of advice the world has ever seen. I'm talking about the Bible. Here's what some of the past presidents of the United States had to say about the Bible.
Our first President, George Washington, added the prayer, "So help me God," to his inauguration oath. He then stooped to kiss the Bible on which his hand rested.
John Adams, the second President of the United States, revealed that he personally studied the Scriptures every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday morning.
Andrew Jackson, America's seventh President, referred to the Bible as "the Rock on which our Republic rests." He also read three to five chapters in the Bible every day.
Abraham Lincoln, our sixteenth President, called the Bible "the best gift God has ever given to man...Without it we could not know right from wrong."
The fortieth President, Ronald Reagan, wrote: "Inside the Bible's pages lie all the answers to all the problems man has ever known...It is my firm belief that the enduring values presented in its pages have a great meaning for each of us and for our nation."
Charles de Tocqueville, the French author and statesman of the mid 1800's, said, "I always wondered what made America great. I visited their cities and factories and stores. But not until I entered their churches and heard the preaching from their pulpits did I realize what made America great."
Humanists and liberal thinkers claim Christianity and biblical influence were not a powerful force in the birthing of our nation. They falsely claim the First Amendment calls for a complete separation of church and state.
Actually, the First Amendment prevents the establishment of a single state operated church which would compel everyone to conform to it, a failed practice in other countries. In fact the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 stated, "RELIGION, MORALITY, and KNOWLEDGE are necessary for good government and the happiness of mankind."
We need the two most important teachings of the Bible - the LAW and the GOSPEL. The Law, summarized in the Ten Commandments, outlines God's holy will and ends up pointing out human sin and rebellion. We see ample evidence of sin every day in the news. Government's God-given task is to curb the coarse outbursts of sin, with force if necessary. And we see sin in our own lives in the mirror of God's Law if we are honest with ourselves.
The Gospel, on the other hand, is the sweet message of God's grace, his undeserved love for us lost sinners. Jesus Christ, with his own life blood on the cross, has paid the debt of the whole world's sin including yours and mine. "God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
May the message of the Bible always be a powerful influence in our hearts and the hearts of our fellow Americans!