This month we celebrate America’s birthday, July 4, 1776 with the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Early colonists came to this new world we call America primarily for religious freedom. Many who came believed in Jesus Christ and worshipped freely; lived and conducted business by the Word of God. Yet by 1688 William Stoughton, a colonial magistrate and administrator in the Province of Massachusetts Bay said. “O what a sad metamorphosis hast of later years passed upon us in these churches and plantations! Alas! How is New England in danger to be buried in its own ruins.” In 1698 Rev. Increase Mather stated that, “Clear sound conversions are not frequent. Many of the rising generation are profane drunkards, swearers, licentious (unrestrained by law or general morality) and scoffers at the power of Godliness.”
Congressman Jonathan Dickinson of New Jersey and later a minister said of the church: “Religion was in a very low state, professors generally dead and lifeless and the body of our people careless, carnal and secure.” There are more descriptions by ministers and congressmen describing the spiritually deplorable state of the church and state. The condition was alarming, and threatened to destroy the church and Christianity. Sounds like America today. A general disregard for God, low church attendance, religion without a relationship, blending Christianity with other religious events and more.
With the preaching, teaching and prayers of Rev. Theodore Frelinghuysen in the early 1700‘s. there began early signs of spiritual change. By 1734 and the preaching of Rev. Jonathan Edwards in North Hampton, Massachusetts, revival began in his church among the youth that spread to the adults. God’s Spirit was moving and many came to a genuine saving faith in Jesus Christ and began changing the culture.
America today needs nothing less than a spiritual awakening to preserve our liberties, Republic, and freedom of religion. It begins with God’s people praying for a renewal of our own faith, for an awakening beyond the church and for sound teaching and preaching of God’s inerrant word. This must also be coupled with educating our young people the true Christian heritage of America. It is time to set the record straight on our nation’s beginning and July 4, 1776!
Pr. Bob Snitzer
By the Way: Sunday 4, 9:00 Morning worship. Sermon: America’s Foundation.
Have a happy and safe fourth of July.