10/12/2021

5 EXPLOSIVE TRUTHS THAT WILL DEMOLISH CRITICAL RACE THEORY

I applaud the parents who are confronting school board members and passionately expressing their opposition to Critical Race Theory being taught to their children. They have reason to be angry for elementary school children are being taught that it is their race and skin color that defines them, categorizes them, and determines their destiny in the evil and racist American system.

It is not enough, however, to merely be “against” Critical Race Theory. We must present proactive, alternative truths that we are "for." Here are five explosive, alternative truths that will undermine and demolish the teachings of CRT and the 1619 Project. These five truths are:

1) Slavery was not unique to America.
2) Moral outrage erupted against slavery in colonial America.
3) America's founders turned against slavery.
4) America's founding documents are colorblind.
5) Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would be opposed to Critical Race Theory.

Truth #1

Slavery Was Not Unique to America

Propnents of CRT would have us think that slavery was unique to America. The truth is that slavery has been practiced by peoples and civilizations for all of recorded history. Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Hittites, Greeks, Persians, Armenians, Arabs, and many others have practiced slavery. 

During its 400-year reign, the Turkish Ottoman Empire enslaved millions of Europeans. Decades after the Emancipation Proclamation in America, white slaves were still being bought and sold in the Islamic Ottoman Empire.

This is why Dr. Walter E. Williams, late Professor of Economics at George Mason University, wrote that slavery was, “by no means peculiar, odd, unusual, or unique to the U.S.” He pointed out that at the beginning of the 19th century,

An estimated three-quarters of all people alive were trapped in bondage against their will either in some form of slavery or serfdom.

Williams said that what was strange and unique about slavery in America was the “moral outrage” that arose against it. The late historians, Elizabeth Fox-Genovese and Eugene Genovese, agreed, saying,

Europeans [and Americans] did not outdo others in enslaving people or treating slaves viciously. They outdid others by creating a Christian civilization that eventually stirred moral condemnation of slavery and roused mass movements against it (Hyatt, Abolitionist Founding Fathers, 8).

Truth #2
Moral Outrage Erupted Against Slavery in Colonial America

A great, spiritual awakening, beginning in 1726, morally transformed Colonial America. This Christian revival breached racial and cultural barriers, ignited an abolition movement, and paved the way for the formation of the United States of America. It also unleashed the moral outrage that brought about the end of slavery on the American continent.

Early preachers of this Awakening, such as George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, William Davies, reached out to blacks, both slave and free, and saw them respond en masse to the Gospel message. Their message had a levelling effect on American society for they preached that all are the same in the sight of God. All have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory, and all stand in need of a Savior—and that Savior is Jesus Christ.

As a result of their preaching and compassionate outreach to blacks, racial and cultural barriers were breached in colonial America. Blacks and whites worshipped together, and black preachers and black churches began arising throughout the land.

For example, while a slave on the Stokeley Sturgis plantation in Delaware, Richard Allen was powerfully impacted by the abolitionist Methodist preacher, Freeborn Garrettson, who preached to both slaves and the Sturgis family. Not only did many slaves respond to Garrettson’s Gospel message, but he was able to convince Sturgis that slavery is a sin.

Sturgis immediately began making arrangements for his slaves to obtain their freedom. Allen obtained his freedom and went forth preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ and became a very successful evangelist to both black and white audiences. 

In 1784, he preached for several weeks in Radnor, Pennsylvania, to a mostly white audience, and he recalled hearing it said, “This man must be a man of God; I have never heard such preaching before” (Hyatt, 1726: TheYear that Defined America, 95-96).

Although the preaching of the first-generation Awakening preachers was evangelistic in nature, second generation Awakening preachers took their message to its logical conclusion. If all are equal in creation, and all have sinned and stand in need of a Savior, and Jesus died equally for all, how can slavery ever be justified? They, therefore, began to vehemently attack the institution of slavery.

Samuel Hopkins (1721–1803), for example, who had been personally tutored by Edwards, pastored for a time in Newport, Rhode Island, an important hub in the transatlantic slave trade. He was outraged by the "violation of God’s will” he observed in Newport. He declared, “This whole country have their hands full of blood this day” (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 92).

In 1774, after the First Continental Congress had convened in Philadelphia, Hopkins sent a pamphlet to every member of the Congress, asking how they could complain about “enslavement” to England and overlook the “enslavement” of so many blacks in the Colonies.

The abolition message caught fire and was heard throughout the land. Evangelists, such as Samuel Cooke, Freeborn Garrettson, James O'Kelly and others, labored incessantly for both the salvation of souls and the abolition of slavery. In a sermon preached and published in 1770, Cooke declared that by tolerating the evil of slavery, “We, the patrons of liberty, have dishonored the Christian name, and degraded human nature nearly to a level with the beasts that perish.”

The Baptist preacher, John Allen, was even more direct, and thundered,

Blush ye pretended votaries of freedom! ye trifling Patriots! who are making a vain parade of being advocates for the liberties of mankind, who are thus making a mockery of your profession by trampling on the sacred natural rights and privileges of Africans (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 94).

This abolition movement gained momentum and eventually impacted all of colonial America, including America’s founding fathers.

Truth #3

America’s Founders Turned Against Slavery

By the time of the writing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the Constitution in 1787, virtually every American founder, even those who owned slaves, had taken a public stand against slavery. What makes this particularly amazing is the fact that this was happening at a time when slavery was accepted and practiced in most of the world. Dr. Thomas Sowell, who happens to black, has said,

Slavery was just not an issue, not even among intellectuals, much less among political leaders, until the 18th century–and then it was an issue only in Western civilization. Among those who turned against slavery in the 18th century were George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry and other American leaders. You could research all of the 18th century Africa or Asia or the Middle East without finding any comparable rejection of slavery there (Hyatt, 1726: TheYear that Defined America, 90).

Dr. Benjamin Rush, a Philadelphia physician, member of the Continental Congress, and signer of the Declaration of Independence, was a vocal opponent of slavery. He helped found the first American abolition society in his hometown. He called slavery a “hydra sin” and called on the pastors and ministers of America to take a public stand against it (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 100-101).

Benjamin Franklin liberated his two slaves in 1785 and began advocating for abolition. He joined the abolition society of Philadelphia and later served as its president. In a public address to this society, Franklin called slavery, “an atrocious debasement of human nature” and “a source of serious evils.”

George Washington was born in Virginia into a slave-owning family but came to abhor slavery as did most other founders. In a letter to Robert Morris, dated April 12, 1786, he said, “There is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do, to see a plan adopted for the abolition of slavery.”

Washington set up a compassionate program to disentangle Mt. Vernon from the institution of slavery. Those slaves who wanted to leave were free to do so. Those who chose to remain were paid wages, and he began a program to educate and prepare the children of slaves for freedom. In a conversation with John Bernard concerning abolition, Washington declared,

Not only do I pray for it, on the score of human dignity, but I can clearly foresee that nothing but the rooting out of slavery can perpetuate the existence of our union by consolidating it in a common bond of principle (Hyatt, Abolitionist Founding Fathers, 43).

Thomas Jefferson called slavery a “moral depravity” and “hideous blot" and said it presented the greatest threat to the future survival of America. James Madison, America’s 4th president, called slavery "the most oppressive dominion ever exercised by man over man."

By the time of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the U.S. Constitution of 1787 virtually every founder had come to agree with John Adams who declared,

Every measure of prudence ought to be assumed for the eventual total extirpation of slavery from the United States . . . I have throughout my whole life held the practice of slavery in abhorrence (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 101).

Truth #4
America’s Founding Documents are Colorblind

Because America’s Founders turned against slavery, there are no classifications based on race or skin color in America’s founding documents. Neither is there any mention of slaves or slavery. The language was purposeful for James Madison, the chief architect of the Constitution, said, “The Convention thought it wrong to admit in the Constitution the idea that there could be property in men."

Nothing in either the Declaration of Independence or the United States Constitution indicates that the freedoms guaranteed do not apply to every individual. America’s founding documents are, indeed, colorblind even if her history has not been.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929–1968) understood this and in his stirring, I Have a Dream speech, he challenged America, not to dispense with her founding documents, but instead, to live up to them. Speaking from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, he declared,

When the architects of our Republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the "unalienable Rights" of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Then quoting from the Declaration of Independence, he proclaimed,

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.

Frederick Douglas (1818–1895), the former slave and famous abolitionist, understood the colorblind nature of the founding documents and argued that their language must be understood as applying to everyone. “Anyone of these provisions in the hands of abolition statesmen, and backed by a right moral sentiment,” he declared, “would put an end to slavery in America.”

CRT propnents insist that America is racist and founded on racist principles. They are wrong. David Azerrad was correct when he said, “The argument that the Constitution is racist suffers from one fatal flaw: the concept of race does not exist in the Constitution” (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 127-28).

There are racists in America, but America itself is not racist. America’s founding documents are colorblind and at the time of her founding she was at the forefront of the fight to end slavery. 

Truth #5
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Would Be
Adamantly Opposed to Critical Race Theory

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would be opposed to Critical Race Theory on three major points.

1.    He envisioned a colorblind society in which people would not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. He made this clear in his “I Have a Dream Speech” when he said he looked forward to a time when his four children would live in a nation where “they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” CRT propnents, on the other hand, judge everything and everybody by race and skin color.

2.     He believed in America and writing from the Birmingham City Jail referred to America’s “sacred heritage.” Dr. King was very aware of America’s flawed and sinful history, but he also saw that there was something sacred, holy, and of God in her founding. In this same letter he speaks with pride and respect of the Pilgrims, Thomas Jefferson, the ‘majestic” Declaration of Independence, and Abraham Lincoln. CRT proponents, on the other hand, insist that America is evil and corrupt and must be dismantled and replaced with a socialist/Marxist state.

3.     He was adamantly opposed to communism and Marxism. He expressed this many times and would not allow avowed communists to have any public role in the 1963 March on Washington that he led. CRT, on the other hand, is based on Marxism and its founders are avowed Marxists.

Dr. King believed that southern segregation of the 1960s was out of character with America’s founding and represented a falling away from her founding principles. In his iconic I Have a Dream speech, he clearly rooted his dream for racial equality in the original dream of America’s founders, declaring, “I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.”

This article is derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt’s most recent books, 1726: The Year that Defined America and Abolitionist Founding Fathers available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com.

10/07/2021

WHY THE AMERICAN CHURCH MUST SAY "YES" TO GOD

Although Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and other members of their party claim to be devout Catholics, they have said “No” to God. They have said “No” to His moral laws. Like the “fool” described in Psalm 14:1, they have not denied His existence, but have said, “No” to His revelation in Scripture, creation, and human consciousness.

Psalm 14:1 in the NKJV reads, The fool has said in his heart, there is no God. In the KJV and NKJV the words, there is, are italicized indicating they are not in the original. In other words, it may well be that the “fool” here is not one who has denied God’s existence, but one who has said “No” to His moral government.

In his Notes on the Bible, Albert Barnes says, “The words, there is, are not in the original. The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges says, “This is hardly to be understood as a speculative denial of the existence of God; but rather of a practical disbelief in His moral government.” The writer of The Treasury of David says,  

It is a solemn reflection that some who worship God with their lips may in their hearts be saying, "no God." How horrible the insanity which leads a man who owes his all to God to cry out, "No God"!

The Hebrew word for “fool” in this passage is nabal and it does not refer to one who is intellectually deficient. It, rather, refers to one who is morally deficient because in the pride and arrogance of his/her heart they have chosen to ignore God’s revelation in order to pursue their own selfish agenda and desires.

That the Joe Biden administration has said “No” to God is confirmed, not only by their radical amoral polices, but by their silence concerning a 2019 resolution passed unanimously by the Democrat National Committee. In this resolution, the DNC affirmed atheism and declared that neither Christianity nor any religion is necessary for morality and patriotism. They said “No” to God.

America’s Founding Generation Said “Yes” to God

How far we have fallen from America’s founding generation, which said “Yes” to God! Although some may not have gone to church and taken communion as often as Biden and Pelosi, without exception, they wanted Christian moral values taught in schools and all public venues.

Thomas Jefferson, for example, said “Yes” to God when he took money from the federal treasury to pay for a Christian missionary to the Kaskaskia Indian Tribe. He did this because, in his own words, “Of all the systems of morality that have come under my observations, none appear to me so pure as that of Jesus” (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 150).

George Washington said “Yes” to God when, as commander-in-chief of the Colonial Army, he ordered each day to begin with prayer led by the commanders of each unit. It was for this same reason that, in his Farewell address, he admonished the fledgling nation to cling to “religion [Christianity] and morality,” which he called “the great pillars of human happiness” (Hyatt, 1726: The Year thatDefined America, 165).

Benjamin Franklin said “Yes” to God when at the age of eighty-one he called the Constitutional Convention to prayer, reminding them how they had had daily prayers in that same room during the war and that God had answered their prayers. Then, alluding to the words of Jesus in Matthew 10:29, he admonished the Convention delegates, saying, “And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid” (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 142).

The American Church Must Say “Yes” to God

If America is to emerge from the moral chaos that is destroying this generation, the American Church must say “Yes” to God. We must not look to Congress or the White House. The promise of a national healing in II Chronicles begins with the words, If My people . . .. And I Peter 4:17 says, For the time has come for judgement [self-evaluation] to begin at the house of God . . ..

Many pastors and churches are like the fool of Psalm 14:1. They acknowledge the existence of God but say “No” to His revelation in Scripture. Many evangelical and charismatic churches, craving cultural acceptance, have embraced the modern woke culture and will not speak the truth about race, marriage, morality, and sexuality.

Some will not even speak the truth about Jesus. I was shocked to see two different well-known evangelical/charismatic preachers being interviewed by Oprah who asked them if Jesus is the only way to God. Instead of giving a simple and clear response, they danced, dodged, and swerved without giving a clear answer to such a simple, all-important question.

If the Church in America is to see another great, national spiritual awakening, she must bow before God and say “Yes” to His moral government. It is not enough to acknowledge that God exists. Even fools and demons do that. James 2:19 says, You believe there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!

It is time for the Church in America to say “Yes” to God.

Dr. Eddie Hyatt is the author of numerous books including 1726: The Year that Defined America, which documents how a Great Awakening in Colonial America had a direct bearing on both the founding of this nation and the ending of slavery on this continent. His books are available on Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com.

9/29/2021

HERE'S WHY GOD INSTITUTED HUMAN GOVERNMENT


“If men were angels, no government would be necessary,” said James Madison, chief architect of the U.S. Constitution. Indeed, if humankind lived according to the Golden Rule, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” no human government would ever be necessary.

Men, however, are not angels and people in general do not live by the Golden Rule. After our first parents rebelled against their Creator (Genesis 3), human nature became flawed by sin and the first murder soon occurred with Cain murdering his brother Abel. It is the flawed, sinful nature of fallen humanity that made human government necessary.

Although the Bible does not prescribe a certain form of government, it does spell out the purpose of human government, and it is not to control people and play God in their lives.

God placed the power of the sword in the hand of the governing authority and Paul makes clear in Romans 13:1-4 that his purpose is to restrain and punish those who do evil and protect and reward those who do good. He wrote,

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore, whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.

Paul is here making the point that human government is of God, but notice that he spells out the purpose of governing authorities and describes their God-ordained role. In vss. 3-4 Paul says the governing authority is not a terror to good works, but to evil. He calls him/her a minister of God who offers praise to those who do good and will execute wrath on those that do evil.

This does not describe authoritarian Marxist regimes and regimes like the Taliban who persecute and kill the innocent. Such tyrants are not of God. They are in place because of sin and because the Church has fallen short in its call to be salt and light, i.e., a positive spiritual and moral force in society.

During the debate in Colonial America concerning separation from Great Britain, a British loyalist pointed to the above passage and referred to King George as "a minister of God.” Jonathan Mayhew, a graduate of Harvard and pastor of Boston’s West Church, was incensed that this passage would be applied to a despot like King George. He pointed out that the passage refers to just and benevolent rulers, not tyrants. In strong language, he declared, “It is blasphemy to call tyrants and oppressors 'God’s ministers'” (Hyatt, To Comply or Not Comply, 12-13).

Yes, God places kings, prime ministers, and presidents in positions of power to resist the evil in this world and rescue those who are abused and victimized by evil. If they are not doing this, they are abusing their authority and missing the very reason for their existence.

It is tragic that American presidents and other world leaders stood by a few years ago while ISIS slaughtered Christians, nominal Muslims, and anyone that did not agree with their radical agenda of world dominance. In one situation it was reported that an American bombing raid on ISIS was turned back because of concern it might “harm the environment.”

Now something similar has unfolded in Afghanistan. The Taliban, a terrorist group, has taken over the country. According to reports, they are going door-to-door looking for Christians and those whom they have targeted for prison and death. The Taliban have not been put in their position of authority by God. They are there because of the failure of the American government and other civilized nations.

America and other nations will be held accountable for leaving women, girls, and religious minorities at the mercy of the Taliban. I am reminded of the words of Proverbs 24:11-12, which says,

Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,” does not He who weighs the heart perceive it? Will He not repay everyone according to what they have done?

Because governing authorities are flawed human beings, they must never be put in the place of God. Their power must be restrained or else they too easily become tyrants, abusing and misusing their authority. This is why Thomas Paine, in his immensely popular book, Common Sense, wrote, "Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one."

In the Declaration of Independence, America’s founders spelled out the purpose of human government. Thomas Jefferson wrote,

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, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men.

There you have it! Governments exist to protect and secure the freedoms given to us by our Creator. Anything less than this is a dereliction of duty, and anything more will lead to acts of tyranny.

This article is derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt's latest book, To Comply or Not Comply, available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com. He is also the author of 1726: The Year that Defined America, which documents how the 18th century Great Awakening had a direct bearing on both the founding of America and the ending of slavery on this continent. 


9/20/2021

AMERICA'S COVENANT WITH GOD

The earliest immigrants to this land believed that they, as a people, had entered into a sacred covenant with God. This was clearly expressed by John Winthrop who, in 1630, led a flotilla of eleven ships with 700 passengers to New England and founded the city of Boston and the Massachusetts Bay Colony. 


During their journey across the Atlantic, Winthrop formulated a sermon entitled “A Model of Christian Charity.” In it he exhorted his fellow pilgrims that “the eyes of the world are upon us” and that God would have them, in their new home, to be that “city on a hill” of which Jesus spoke, a shining light exhibiting a model of Christian living for the rest of mankind to see.

He also spoke of the seriousness of the covenant with God into which they had entered. He exhorted,
We have entered into an explicit Covenant with God. We have drawn up indentures with the Almighty, wherefore if we succeed and do not let ourselves be diverted into making money, He will reward us. Whereas if we fail, if we fall to embrace this present world and prosecute our carnal intentions, the Lord will surely break out in wrath and make us know the price of the breach of such a Covenant (Hyatt, 1726: TheYear that Defined America, 28-29).
The late Harvard professor, Perry Miller, considered this to be, in a sense, America’s true founding. He saw Winthrop’s clearly articulated vision of being that "city on a hill"--a light for other nations--as that which came to define the nation. He went on to say,
A society that is both clear and articulate about its intentions is something of a rarity in modern history. Most of the nations of Europe and Asia grew up by chance and by accident either of geography or politics.
This was not the case with America. Those first immigrants to America came with a clearly articulated vision, which they recorded in written documents—documents which they considered to be covenants with God.
The Mayflower Compact Was a Covenant
Ten years before Winthrop and his company arrived, the Pilgrims had landed at Cape Cod. Before disembarking, they drew up a written document patterned after the church covenants that were common among Separatist churches in England. Being part of a Separatist congregation, they were very aware of such documents, which knit the signees together in a solemn, contractual agreement with God and one another.
In the Mayflower Compact, each signee promised “solemnly and mutually in the presence of God” to “covenant together” for the better ordering and preservation of their community. This covenant also stated that their purpose in coming to the New World was to glorify God and advance the Christian faith.
Perry Miller, said, “The Separatists aboard the Mayflower found a covenant the obvious answer to the first problem of political organization” (Hyatt, 1726: The Year thatDefined America, 21).
Some have called the Mayflower Compact America’s founding document. That is going too far, but there is no question that it set the stage for succeeding communities and colonies that would base their existence on written documents—covenants--that gave recognition to God and prioritized the Gospel of Jesus Christ as their reason for being.
New England Covenants with God
This idea of a social compact (covenant) with God was expressed, not only in the founding of Plymouth, Boston, and Massachusetts, but also in the 1639 founding document of Connecticut entitled “The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut.” This document states,
We, the inhabitants and residents of Windsor, Hartford, and Wethersfield, knowing where a people are gathered together the word of God requires that to maintain the peace and union of such a people there ought to be an orderly and decent government established according to God . . . we do for ourselves and our successors enter into combination and confederation together, to maintain and preserve the liberty and purity of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, which we now profess (Hyatt, 1726: TheYear that Defined America, 30-31).
With thousands of new immigrants arriving in New England and new towns springing up, there arose a felt need for some sort of centralized government to facilitate mutual defense and to arbitrate land disputes. To meet this need, the United Colonies of New England was formed, and a constitution was formulated, patterned on the idea of covenant. Dated May 19, 1643, the opening statement of the constitution expressly states why they had all come to the New World. It reads,
Whereas we all came into these parts of America with one and the same end and aim, namely to advance the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ and enjoy the Liberties of the Gospel in purity and peace (Hyatt, 1726:The Year that Defined America, 31).
The constitution provided that each colony would choose two representatives who would form a council of eight. This council of eight was invested with power to arbitrate boundary disputes, coordinate mutual defense, and facilitate mutual advice and support. It was clearly stated that this council was brought into existence for “preserving and propagating the truth and liberties of the Gospel” (Hyatt, 1726: TheYear that Defined America, 31).
There is no question that this constitutional system wherein each individual colony retained its autonomy, and the powers of government were limited by the constitution, was a forerunner of the federalist system that would be created at Philadelphia in 1776 and 1787. The United Colonies of New England clearly foreshadowed the United States of America in both its form of government and in its Christian character.
The Puritans clearly saw these written statements as covenants, not only between themselves, but also between their society and God. They believed that God dealt, not only with individuals, but also with social units, including families, churches, and nations. According to Perry Miller, “The central conception in their thought is the elaborated doctrine of covenant.”
The Blessing & Responsibility of Covenant
These early immigrants saw Israel in the OT as a pattern for their social covenant with God. Like Israel, they believed that if they, as a people, kept their part of the covenant, which was to walk uprightly and make His name known, they would be blessed. If, on the other hand, they lost their sense of purpose and began to live selfish and sinful lives, they would suffer God’s wrath because of their rejection of the covenant. During the voyage to New England, Winthrop warned,
Now if the Lord shall please to bear us, and bring us in peace to the place we desire, then hath He verified this Covenant and sealed our commission . . . but if we fail to perform the terms of the Covenant, we shall perish out the land we are crossing the sea to possess (Hyatt, 1726: The Year thatDefined America, 32).
This social sense of responsibility to God is the reason the Puritans tended to hold one another accountable. They believed that since communities and nations cannot be rewarded in the next world, they must necessarily be rewarded in this one, according to their deeds. The sin of one or a few could, therefore, bring down God’s judgment on the entire community. This is also the reason that laws were passed outlawing adultery, fornication, profanity, drunkenness, and Sabbath breaking.
Virginia Too
Although New England was where the writing of constitutions was profoundly developed, all the colonies were founded on similar social compacts with God. When the Jamestown settlers disembarked at Cape Henry, VA, their first act was to erect a seven-foot cross they had brought from England. They then gathered around the cross for a prayer service in which they dedicated the land of their new home to God. In his dedicatory prayer, their chaplain, Rev. Robert Hunt, declared, “From these very shores the Gospel shall go forth to not only this New World but to the entire world.”
This act was in line with the official Virginia Charter, which recognized “the Providence of Almighty God” and expressed the desire that the establishment of the colony would “tend to the glory of His Divine Majesty.” This document also expressly stated that the purpose of the colony was to propagate the “Christian religion to such people as yet live in darkness and miserable ignorance of the true knowledge and worship of God.”
There are amazing similarities between the Virginia Charter, the Mayflower Compact, and other founding documents of New England. This led Perry Miller to suggest that Virginia and New England were not that different. He pointed out that both communities were children of the Reformation, “and what we consider distinctively Puritan was really the spirit of the times.”
There is thus no question that these early social compacts, or covenants, were precursors to the founding documents of the United States of America. Gary Amos and Richard Gardiner are correct to say, “The early New England constitutions were covenants. These covenants clearly foreshadowed the United States Constitution” (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 33).
God and America’s Founding Documents
The Declaration of Independence begins with an acknowledgement that human rights come from God. It ends with the signees expressing a reliance on Divine Providence, a common expression of that era for the God of the Bible. It was commonly used by revivalist ministers, such as George Whitefield, in their sermons and writings.
It is obvious that the Founders saw the U.S. Constitution as a sacred document, and they treated it as a covenant. That is why George Washington took the oath of office with his hand on a Bible and solemnly swore to uphold and defend the Constitution, “so help me God.”
This sacred view of the Constitution was obviously inherited from those earliest immigrants who considered their covenants to be sacred oaths between their communities and God. This covenantal attitude became a part of the psyche of colonial America and was clearly present in the attitude of the Founders toward America’s founding documents. Historian, Benjamin Hart, says,
The U.S. Constitution has worked because there has been a sacred aura surrounding the document; it has been something more than a legal contract; it was a covenant, an oath before God, very much related to the covenant the Pilgrims signed. Indeed, when the President takes his oath of office, he places his hand on a Bible and swears before Almighty God to uphold the Constitution of the United States. He makes a sacred promise; and the same holds true for Supreme Court justices who take an oath to follow the letter of the written Constitution. The moment America’s leaders begin treating the Constitution as though it were a mere sheet of paper is the moment the American Republic—or American Covenant—ends (Hyatt, 1726: TheYear that Defined America, 133).
Abraham Lincoln Understood America’s Covenant with God
Abraham Lincoln understood that America had a covenant with God. That is why, in the midst of the desolation of the Civil War, he proclaimed a national, day of prayer and repentance for April 30, 1863. In this proclamation, he acknowledged God’s hand on the nation and, in so many words, explained the present calamity to be the result of national sin, i.e., the breaking of the covenant. He said,
But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious Hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us (Hyatt, The Great Prayer Awakening of 1857-58, 37).
The populace, especially in the North, responded en masse to Lincoln’s call to prayer. On the appointed day, businesses and schools closed and people gathered in churches and homes throughout the land to pray and repent for personal and national sins, including the sin of slavery.
And whereas the South had been winning battle after battle and it looked as though the American union could well be dissolved, there was an almost immediate turn of the war in favor of the North after this day of prayer. God intervened and America was sustained after she renewed her covenant with God.
Where Are We Today?
America is at another critical juncture in her history. Powerful forces reject the notion of God having any role in the nation’s founding and they consider the Constitution to be a useless, outdated document—a mere sheet of paper--as Hart warned.
Taking the oath of office is now seen as a meaningless formality that may be carried out with the Koran, as well as the Bible, or with any religious book. America’s future has not been this uncertain since the Civil War.
The next presidential election holds great and grave consequences for America’s future. That being said, America’s ultimate future will not be determined at the White House, but at God’s House. Lincoln’s Prayer Proclamation was strategic but came after a Great Prayer Awakening that began in 1857 that was characterized by passionate prayer, day and night, in churches, halls, homes, and public auditoriums throughout the nation.
Yes, the decision is ours. What will we do? Will we renew the American covenant? It begins with God’s people taking seriously their role in the health of a nation as expressed in II Chronicles 7:14.
If My people who are called by My Name
Will humble themselves and pray, and seek My face,
And turn from their wicked ways,
Then I will hear from heaven,
And will forgive their sin and heal their land.

This article is derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt's latest book, 1726: The Year that Defined America, available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com. He is also the founder of the "1726 Project" whose purpose is to educate concerning the nation's birth out of a great, spiritual awakening and to call American Christians to pray for another such Awakening.

9/19/2021

SAVING OUR "SACRED HERITAGE"

America's founders were far from perfect, but they established a nation on Judeo/Christian principles that they believed would serve as a moral compass to guide the nation through any difficulty or crisis she might encounter.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. understood this and writing from the Birmingham city jail, where he had been incarcerated, he acknowledged the nation’s “sacred heritage” and declared it to be a basis for his confidence that his fight for racial equality would succeed. He wrote,

We will reach the goal of freedom in Birmingham, and all over the nation, because the goal of America is freedom. Abused and scorned though we may be, our destiny is tied up with the destiny of America . . . We will win our freedom because the SACRED HERITAGE of our nation and the eternal will of God are embodied in our echoing demands.

Dr. King was very aware of America’s flawed and sinful history, but he also saw that there was something sacred, holy, and of God in her founding. In this same letter he speaks with pride and respect of the Pilgrims, Thomas Jefferson, the ‘majestic” Declaration of Independence, and Abraham Lincoln.

Belief in America’s Sacred Origins was Common.

Dr. King was not the first to believe that God had a hand in the birth of this nation. This was, in fact, a common belief from the time the first European immigrants came to this land seeking individual and religious liberty.

This belief was expressed in the numerous days of prayer and fasting proclaimed by the Continental Congress during the Revolutionary War. And after the British surrendered to the colonial forces on October 19, 1781, George Washington appointed Chaplain Israel Evans to deliver a thanksgiving sermon to the troops.

Joined by thousands of civilians, Rev. Evans exhorted the massive crowd before him to give thanks to God and he compared their victory over the British to God’s deliverance of His Old Testament people. In poetic verse he declared,

To Him who led in ancient days, 
the Hebrew tribes, your anthems raise. 
The God who spoke from Sinai’s hill,
protects His chosen people still. 
Not in ourselves success we owe,
by help divine we crushed the foe.
With thankful hearts his goodness own,
and bow before Jehovah's throne.
(Hyatt, 1726: The Year thatDefined America119).

Concerning America’s birth, Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, declared that he, “as much believed the hand of God was employed in this work as that God had divided the Red Sea to give a passage to the children of Israel.”

James Madison, the chief architect of the Constitution, declared that it was impossible for any reasonable and pious person to not see in its formulation, “a finger of that Almighty hand which has been so frequently extended to our relief in critical stages of the Revolution” (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 127).

In a speech delivered at a Spirit of America rally in Atlanta, Georgia on January 26, 1984, President Ronald Reagan declared,

I've always believed that this blessed land was set apart in a special way, that some divine plan placed this great continent here between the oceans to be found by people from every corner of the Earth who had a special love for freedom and the courage to uproot themselves, leave homeland and friends, to come to a strange land. And coming here they created something new in all the history of mankind -- a land where man is not beholden to government, government is beholden to man.

This Generation Has Rejected this “Sacred Heritage”

Dr. King considered the opposition to his demands, and the ensuing turmoil it induced, to be signs that America had fallen away from her founding principles. She had lost sight of her “sacred heritage” and he called for a return to that founding vision of faith and freedom.

Each generation of Americans must, in fact, be taught of our country’s “sacred heritage,” for as Ronald Reagan said, “Freedom is a fragile thing and it's never more than one generation away from extinction.”

Each new generation likes to think that wisdom and virtue has begun with it and that former generations were inferior in virtue and understanding. This is the case in America today and was the case in Israel during the time of Jeremiah the prophet. In Jeremiah 6:16, the prophet declared to King Josiah and all the people,

Thus says the LORD: “Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls.

Just as Israel had strayed from the good way that had produced peace and prosperity, America has strayed from the way that made her the freest and most prosperous nation in history. She has departed from the founding principles that brought about the end of slavery, passed Civil Rights legislation, defeated Nazism, and brought down the evil Soviet empire.

The Biblical moral compass put in place by the founders has been trashed and in its place a secularist/Marxist ideology is being propagated in our schools, in colleges, in Hollywood, and in Washington, D.C. Now we are seeing the fruit of this departure as the nation unravels within, and without on the world stage.

The Way Forward from Here

All, however, is not lost! We can take back our land, but the church must arise. We must recover that “sacred heritage” of which Dr. King and America’s founders spoke. 

Our challenge is that this “sacred heritage” is being demonized by those who want to transform America into a godless/Marxist state. They want to destroy this heritage because, as Karl Marx said, “People without a heritage are easily persuaded.”

We must, therefore, redouble our efforts to teach this generation about America’s “sacred heritage.” Understanding our “sacred heritage,” along with Biblical promises such as II Chronicles 7:14, will provide the solid foundation needed to pray succesfully for another Great Awakening to roll across our land like a mighty tsunami wave.

A good place to start learning about this “sacred heritage” is my book, 1726: The Year that Defined America, available from Amazon and my website at www.eddiehyatt.com.


Dr. Eddie Hyatt is a Bible teacher and church historian with a passion to see America experience another national, spiritual awakening that will turn the nation back to God and restore the founding principles of faith and freedom. His books are available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com