As we approach Resurrection Sunday, it behooves us to remind ourselves (Christians should need no reminder) of the significance of this season. Along with the virgin birth, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ form the cornerstone of the Christian faith. Indeed, the resurrection of Jesus separates Christianity from all the world's religions.
Furthermore, the overwhelming number of America's Founders understood the connection between the Christian faith and the rise of these United States. John Quincy Adams said, "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."
Adams also said, "From the day of the Declaration . . . They [the American people] were bound by the laws of God, which they all, and by the laws of the Gospel, which they nearly all, acknowledged as the rules of their conduct."
Then, on July 4, 1837, Adams said these words:
"Why is it that, next to the birthday of the Savior of the World, your most joyous and most venerated festival returns on this day? . . . Is it not that, in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? That it forms a leading event in the progress of the gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer's mission upon earth? That it laid the corner stone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity, and gave to the world the first irrevocable pledge of the fulfillment of the prophecies, announced directly from Heaven at the birth of the Savior and predicted by the greatest of the Hebrew prophets six hundred years before?"
Daniel Webster also acknowledged the relationship between our founders' Christian faith and America's creation. He said:
"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."
Noah Webster, the man who is called the Father of American Education, said: "Education is useless without the Bible." He also said, "The Bible was America's basic textbook in all fields."
Noah Webster went on to say:
"In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government, ought to be instructed. . . . No truth is more evident to my mind, than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people."
One more quotation from Noah Webster is necessary at this point. He said:
"The religion which has introduced civil liberty, is the religion of Christ and his apostles, which enjoins humility, piety, and benevolence; which acknowledges in every person a brother, or a sister, and a citizen with equal rights. This is genuine Christianity, and to this we owe our free constitutions of government."
These sentiments were the sentiments of America from the inception of our great country. Remember, the voyagers of the Mayflower made a covenant between themselves and Almighty God. It is called the Mayflower Compact, and in it they said the reason they had made the voyage and determined to plant a colony in the new world was "for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith."
It was only in the last half of the 20th Century that America began trying to distance itself from its Christian heritage. Yet today, educators, entertainers, chief executives, and politicians are in the process of supplanting our Christian heritage with the pseudo-religions of secularism, multiculturalism, and universalism.
What many people do not understand is that when America abandons its dependence upon the God of the Bible, it will—at the same time—surrender the very foundation of our liberty and independence. As Thomas Jefferson said:
"And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath?"
Patrick Henry agreed with Jefferson. He said: "It is when a people forget God that tyrants forge their chains."
As we celebrate the vicarious death and victorious resurrection of Jesus Christ, let us remember the importance of preserving liberty within these United States of America.
And this commitment involves much more than attending church once a week or repeating an occasional catechism. It means we must seek to incorporate the principles of liberty and independence into the very fabric of our lives and work. It means we will offer eternal vigilance to the fundamental principles upon which America was built.
Liberty has no guarantees or assurances. Each generation must work to preserve, protect, and defend the principles of constitutional government, or else liberty will be lost.
The angel spoke of Christ, declaring: "He is risen". And so He is.
And because Christ lives, liberty and freedom may also live.
Why? Because "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."