There is something that God’s people can do, and it
is no small thing. They can pray.
Everyone is confused about America today. What’s going on with the homeless camps defacing once beautiful cities such as Seattle, San Francisco, and Portland; the mass shootings; organized mobs of thieves bankrupting stores; murderers, rapists, and anarchists released on bond; schools locked down like prison camps; profligate spending; mountainous debt; calls for defunding the police; censorship of ideas; colleges and universities having deteriorated into bastions of totalitarianism; the cancel culture; the imperial presidents; the ultra extreme party spirit in politics; the gross breakdown in law and order in the cities; the insane wokeness destroying the morale of the military’s best warriors; senile American presidents; America’s sports stars refusing to honor the flag; an open southern border which is beyond insane; drag queens twerking for children in public libraries; the breakdown of the nuclear family; vast numbers of illegitimate children; totalitarian public school officials running roughshod over parents; widespread support for men who pretend to be women entering women’s restrooms and participating in women’s sports, to mention a few things.
America’s citizens are confused, and foreign onlookers are confused. The eyes of the world have been upon the American experience since the colonial days when its founders purposed that the fledgling nation be “a city on the hill” to shine the light of truth and liberty across the globe.
What’s happened to America? In a nutshell, there are two Americas today: the Old and the New, and they are at war, knowingly or unknowingly.
THE OLD AMERICA
America was a mixed multitude even from the beginning. The colonies were composed of the most zealous of Christians as well as secular-minded heathen. Many of the colonists were seeking liberty for truth and godliness; others were seeking filthy lucre just as passionately. These two things have always composed the heart and soul of America: righteousness and covetousness. The percentage of born again Christians has always been relatively small even when “Christianity” predominated. Few, if any, of the nation’s presidents were born again. (See The Bible and Western Society, a free eBook available from www.wayoflife.org.)
The central principle of “old America” is liberty, as enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, the First Amendment (the magnificent Bill of Rights), and the Second Amendment (the right to bear arms). America was created to be an Empire of Liberty, a Beacon of Liberty, the Sweet Land of Liberty. America, the land of the Liberty Bell, the Liberty Tree, the Statute of Liberty. The home of men who proclaimed, “Give me liberty or give me death.” The land of liberty of religion; liberty of speech; liberty of press; liberty of self-government; liberty from injustice; liberty of economics. America has been called an Idea, and that idea was liberty. Though the liberty was not enjoyed by all at first, that error has been rectified by the 13th Amendment (which abolished slavery), the 15th Amendment (the guarantee of voting rights regardless of race or color), and the 19th Amendment (voting rights for women).
“Liberty was stitched into the fabric of American federalism. In a sense that is hard to appreciate today, throughout the nineteenth century the federal government had little impact on daily life, apart from the local U.S. Post Office” (David Reynolds, America, Empire of Liberty).
Whatever its failures, and there were many, Old America was a nation that was more mightily influenced by the Bible than any nation in history, other than Israel. Even the more skeptical founding fathers like Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson were mightily influenced by the Bible. Everyone was.
The Bible was used as a textbook and reader in the nation’s schools, both private and public, for the first 250 years. Everything was taught from the standpoint of a biblical view of God and morality.
America’s first indigenous reader, other than the Bible, was The New England Primer (pronounced prem’-ur). It was filled with quotations from the King James Bible, Scripture truths, prayers, catechisms, and hymns. It was the first textbook printed in America and was the most important educational textbook from 1690 to 1790. An estimated two million copies were sold during that time, and it continued to be published until the 1930s. The introduction to the 1900 edition said, “The New England Primer was one of the greatest books ever published. It went through innumerable editions … [It] contributed, perhaps more than any other book except the Bible, to the molding of those sturdy generations that gave to America its liberty and its institutions.”
The New England Primer was followed by Noah Webster’s American Spelling Book (popularly called the Blue-Back Speller), which was “an essential part of the curriculum of all elementary school children in the United States for five generations.” Webster’s influence on American education was so great that he has been called “The Schoolmaster of the Republic.” Nearly 100 million copies of the Speller have been printed. It taught biblical principles to millions of Americans. Webster also taught the nation to define words with the American Dictionary of the English Language (1828), which contained 6,000 quotations from the King James Bible.
By the use of the Bible and Bible-based textbooks, Americans of the 17th through the 19th centuries were steeped in Scripture from a young age, and this had a powerful influence on society, even among the unsaved.
It was the Bible’s influence that produced Old America’s greatest qualities: the belief that the Bible is God’s Word; near universal belief in the almighty Creator God revealed in the Bible; acceptance of absolute truth based on biblical principles; the emphasis on good character traits such as honesty, purity, humility, self-restraint, benevolence; exalted concepts of human liberty (as summarized in the magnificent Bill of Rights); love of neighbor; civic mindedness; pursuit of universal literacy; strong law and order; respect for authority; the centrality of the “nuclear family” (composed of mother, father, children); private ownership of property; small government under the control of the people.
This is the old America. It was “the land of the free.” With all its faults, it was “one nation under God,” to a large degree.
THE NEW AMERICA
The New America is simply a portion of America that is in rebellion to the Old America. In brief, it is rebellion against almighty God and His holy laws.
The rebellion isn’t new. It existed in incipient form even in the early years after the nation’s founding. Thomas Paine, whose Common Sense was the best-selling book of the Revolutionary War era, was also one of the most brazen skeptics of the time. In The Age of Reason, Paine attacked the divine inspiration of the Bible and exalted human reason as the final authority.
In the 19th century, this rebellion took the form of the enlightenment, existentialism, transcendentalism, unitarianism, German theological liberalism, Darwinian evolution, Social Darwinism, Freudian psychology, Marxism, and socialism, to name a few.
In the 20th century, there was the addition of New Age, Secular Humanism, Feminism, abortion rights, homosexual rights, the sexual revolution, globalism, socialism (e.g., the New Deal and the Great Society), and many other isms.
In the 21st century, there is the addition of cultural Marxism (e.g., Black Lives Matter, Antifa), Analytic Philosophy, Woke, and others.
Influential voices in the destruction of the Old America and the creation of the New America include Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, Julius Wellhausen, Sigmund Freud, Friedrich Nietzsche, Henry David Thoreau (transcendentalism, Hinduism), Jean-Paul Sartre (nihilism, existentialism, moral relativism), Margaret Sanger (abortion rights, free love, feminist liberation, founder of Planned Parenthood, author of The Woman Rebel, with its slogan “No Gods! No Masters”), John Dewey (Secular Humanism preached by education), Michael Foucault (Maoist lecturer at the University of California, a homosexual who died of AIDS), Havelock Ellis (philosopher of “free love”), Carl Sagan (evolution), Noam Chomsky (the power of media to transform society), Jacques Derrida (deconstructionism, Marxism), Rachel Carson (radical environmentalism), Betty Friedan (feminism, co-founder National Organization for Women and author of The Feminine Mystique), Martin Luther King, Jr., and Alice Walker (black feminism), Elvis Presley, Hugh Hefner, Alfred Kinsey and Margaret Mead, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Harry Blackmun, Earl Warren, Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Stephen Hawking, Michael Jackson, Beyonce, Barak Obama, Madonna, Snoop Dogg, Kim Kardashian, Ellen DeGeneres, and Eminem.
All of these people and all of their isms are various forms of rebellion against the Old America and its belief in the almighty Creator God, absolute truth, Bible-based morality, law and order, equity, freedom of thought, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of association, the divine distinction of the sexes, the centrality of the nuclear family, the sacredness of life, respect for authority, love of neighbor, civic mindedness, private ownership of property, and small government under the control of the people.
America’s world influence has been great, but it has been a two-edged sword. The Old America had a vast influence for good, though never only good: the gospel of Jesus Christ, liberty and justice, democracy, republicanism, equity, benevolence, civic mindedness, etc. While the Old America is not dead and its influence continues for good, today, the New America’s influence predominates, and it is evil: narcissism, licentiousness, sensuality, immodesty, covetousness, cultural Marxism, atheism.
Born in 1949, I have witnessed both Americas. The New America existed in incipient form in the 1940s and 1950s. It was spreading like ivy, which first sleeps, then creeps, then leaps. It was creeping around in the shadows and had not yet exploding into the limelight. The Old America was definitely in the dominion then, but we are approaching the tipping point when the Old America will be under dominion.
The major political parties have come to represent the two Americas. Generally speaking, the Republicans tend to represent the Old America, and the Democrats tend to represent the New America.
MAGA (Make America Great Again)
Donald Trump’s Make America Great Again program is misguided. The only way to make America great again is to make America the America it was when it was great, and there is no evidence that Trump has a clear concept of what that is or how to get there.
To Make America Great Again would be to re-create the Old America, and that isn’t possible today.
There is something that God’s people can do, and it is no small thing. They can pray. Effectual prayer by redeemed people on “praying ground” is the most powerful thing on this earth. The Bible teaches us how to pray: to pray a lot, to pray persistently, to pray earnestly, to pray individually, to pray corporately, to pray in secret, to pray in pubic, and to pray with prayer partners. One of the things we are instructed to pray for is the nation.
“ I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
Kelly Whiting - “I’d also say that the two Americas are defined explicitly by their view of human nature, and for the old America that was a biblical understanding of humanity sprinkled with historical knowledge (that people don’t change and are basically evil - liberty isn’t based on the idea that men are good, but that they’re evil so no one should be controlling everyone because human evil will make it despotism every single time) versus the new America view that people are perfectable and that they advance in moral goodness. That’s the root of every ism and left wing movement that has come down the pike. And it’s a rejection of Biblical anthropology.”
The following are the lyrics of “America (My Country, ’Tis of Thee)” written by Samuel Smith in 1832, forty-three years after the ratification of the U.S. Constitution:
My country, 'tis of Thee, Sweet Land of Liberty Of thee I sing; Land where my fathers died, Land of the pilgrims' pride, From every mountain side Let Freedom ring.
My native country, thee, Land of the noble free, Thy name I love; I love thy rocks and rills, Thy woods and templed hills, My heart with rapture thrills Like that above.
Let music swell the breeze, And ring from all the trees Sweet Freedom's song; Let mortal tongues awake; Let all that breathe partake; Let rocks their silence break, The sound prolong.
Our fathers' God to Thee, Author of Liberty, To thee we sing, Long may our land be bright With Freedom's holy light, Protect us by thy might Great God, our King.
Our glorious Land to-day, 'Neath Education's sway, Soars upward still. Its hills of learning fair, Whose bounties all may share, Behold them everywhere On vale and hill!
Thy safeguard, Liberty, The school shall ever be, Our Nation's pride! No tyrant hand shall smite, While with encircling might All here are taught the Right With Truth allied.
Beneath Heaven's gracious will The stars of progress still Our course do sway; In unity sublime To broader heights we climb, Triumphant over Time, God speeds our way!
Grand birthright of our sires, Our altars and our fires Keep we still pure! Our starry flag unfurled, The hope of all the world, In peace and light impearled, God hold secure!
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