Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Book Review of Rediscovering God In America by Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich is one of the few Reagan conservatives that still exist; A conservatism that includes Christianity, economics, taxation, culture, ethics, and morality. In this brief book Gingrich simply takes his readers back in history without the revisionist spin that often occurs in current writings. The role of Christianity is ignored or written out of most American history texts.

If Mr. Gingrich had not divorced his wife during a critical time in his leadership in the U.S. Senate he might have been the president. He probably would have been an easier victor than President Bush as a result of his contract with America, which was very Reaganest. He demonstrated the spirit of a patriot who loved both his God and his country. Sometimes one must look for true statesmen and not mere politicians. Statesmen still hold the constitution as unchanging truth for our once great republic that currently needs desperate respiration.

One has to wonder what could happen in America if we had a group of statesmen and women who had as their only goal the betterment of our nation. Perhaps those days have passed and power politics will rule America into oblivion like so many other great nations throughout world history. While politics have always rule the minds of man, men like Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison put their country first, even in the face of personal destruction.

The church is told in 1Timothy 2:1-2 that we are responsible for our government:

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness

We still need to pray for those in power and for God to put His people into power. Either way, God’s will can still be accomplished. Newt is masterful as he weaves his readers through American to reveal the Christian foundation of our leaders. A couple of years prior to the words “Under God” being added to our Pledge of Allegiance, Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas wrote, “We are a religious people and our institutions presuppose a supreme being.”

Mr. Gingrich is pointing out the obvious that is willfully dismissed by those who dare to rewrite our culture through the secularization of our history. One can not take a step in our capitol without reading a quote about God and the Bible, or the Bible itself. Without the foundation of the Bible, America simply becomes like very other nation on her way to destruction. Even the forefathers who were not followers of Christ still held the Bible in esteem as the moral foundation for government, business, law, and personal affairs.

“God governs the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?” –Benjamin Franklin

In 1775, Alexander Hamilton wrote, “The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for, among old parchments, or must records. They are written, as with a sun beam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of divinity itself; and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power.” Yet, man always desires to become deity rather than worship the Almighty.

Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and most of the well-known founding fathers believed in the sovereign nature of God’s power, even if they were not professing Christ-followers. They knew what so many of our self-focused leaders today cannot figure out: There must be an absolute set of morals given to man by an Almighty God. For without these foundational morals there is nothing left but moral collapse and anarchy. Tragically, we have seen this in most metro areas in our great nation today.

“Religion and good morals are the only solid foundations of public liberty and happiness.” –Samuel Adams

“True religion affords to government its surest support.” –George Washington

“Our constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” –John Adams

“I do not know whether all Americans have a sincere faith in their religion, for who can read the human heart? But I am certain that they hold it to be indispensable to the maintenance of republican institutions. This opinion is not peculiar to a class of citizens or to a party, but it belongs to the whole nation and to every rank of society.” –Alexis de Tocqueville

The question begs to be asked, where are these quotes and stories in our modern history textbooks? They are gone; swept secular by the few that hate God and push to make a history in their own image. The truth is available for those who still seek for her. Tragically, truth is irrelevant. The goal has been the writers’ and own moral agenda!

“Our country should be preserved from the dreadful evil of becoming enemies of the religion of the Gospel, which I have no doubt, but would be the introduction of the dissolution of government and the bonds of civil society.” –Elias Bondinot

“The only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid by religion.” –Benjamin Rush

“God governs in the affairs of men.” –Benjamin Franklin

With the mountains of evidence that abounds, pointing to the truth that America was founded as a Christian nation; the secular left has a quandary. Rather than face reality, they choose to pretend that the evidence does not exist.

This little book takes the reader on a spiritual tour of Washington that includes:

National archives

The Washington Monument

The Jefferson Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial

U.S. Capitol

Supreme Court

Library of Congress

Ronald Reagan Building

White House

World War II Memorial

Arlington National Cemetery

What a list of historical monuments, each of which have Christianity written all over them. President Washington wrote, “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God and to obey His will.” This mentality, quotes, and stories are found throughout our history; both on paper and through those great stone monuments. America must learn to read again, not merely look at the pictures in the books.

Even Jefferson, who was a “deist” and not a true believer in Jesus, stated, “God, who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?” Jefferson had a belief in the Almighty. He simply was not good at applying the Word of God to his own life. Yet he boldly affirmed through his pen that freedom comes from God; not a king.

President Lincoln’s speeches are full of the Biblical God with direct quotes from the Word of God. In fact, too many think that the quote “A nation divided against itself cannot stand” was Lincoln’s statement rather than Lincoln’s direct quote of Jesus. Here are a few of Lincoln’s more memorable statements:

“I can profitably engage in reading the Bible. Take all of this book upon reason that you can, and the balance by faith, and you will live and die a better man.” –Abraham Lincoln

“We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom.” –Abraham Lincoln

“In regard to this great book, I have but to say it is the best gift God has given to men. All the good Savior gave to this world was communicated through this book.”

It is impossible to misinterpret these quotes and hundreds others like them. Therefore, our secular culture ignores this information. After a couple generations, all but a handful have forgotten that these truthful texts even exist. They do not want to know the truth. Peter writes it this way, “They deliberately forget what God has done in the past, therefore thinking that He will not act in the present or future.” With this insane line of thinking morality goes out the door because they believe that there will be no accountability for their behavior. Many go so far as to say that immorality is now morality. This mentality has even taken precedent in many churches. Church who have forgotten to be salt and light as Jesus prescribed. This vacuum of morality goes back 2700 years to the time of Israel where on reads in Isaiah 30:10, “They say to the seers, "See no more visions!" and to the prophets, "Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions.”

Even Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the modern founder of the Democratic Party, prayed, “O Lord, give us faith. Give us faith in Thee; faith in our sons; faith in each other; faith in our united crusade…Thy will be doe, Almighty God.” Where is the bold Christian witness today? This was not hiding behind political correctness, but a simple declaration of dependence upon Jesus and the Word of God. Where are the daring sold-out Christ-followers who will speak up for Jesus and His history? Integrity and truth must be brought forward in order for people to have the facts they need to make a decision that will determine their eternal destinies. The spiritual destinies of individuals greatly impact the destiny of nations!

President Calvin Coolidge said, “The foundation of our society and government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country.” Anyone who reads realizes the truth of Coolidge’s statement. Our cultures problem is that we have become a sound bite culture. Few read, think, and process truth. They simply believe the clips they have seen, heard, or read. Truth is processed, and like wheat, the more it is processed the less nutrition it has.

Justice David Joseph Brewer writes, “The American nation from its first settlement at Jamestown to this hour is based upon and permeated by the principles of the Bible.”

Given any thought, this fact would lead one to the realization of total anarchy. There must be an ethical foundation that is higher than the votes of the people. A nation without a moral compass is found in the last chapter of the book of Judge where it states, “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” God brought great judgment upon Israel as a result of their choices.

We end up with pious sounding ethical platitudes, but with no consequences. We say, “Do not kill,” and when one asks the question, “Why?” our answer is that it is best for society. Someone can then say, “Not for my society” rather than say Almighty God says it is wrong and we will be held accountable. Therefore, there can be no ethics or morality. It will not stop with murder, but it gives a real reason for ethical behavior. Those who do not believe in a Biblical God or His Word should be honest and say, “I believe that there are no ethics. Do whatever.” Don’t pretend to have a foundation that you have rejected. Morality cannot exist without a moral absolute.

Those who do believe must boldly live what the text teaches. The church, by necessity, has to model morality. John Adams says, “The highest story of the American Revolution is this: It connected in one indissoluble bond the principle of civil government with the principles of Christianity.” Jesus taught us to be salt and light, to bring the truth and love of God into our culture where we interact on a daily basis.

“The rights of men come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.” –John F. Kennedy

This quote lived out would change our lives, as well as the soul of our nation. When the soul of a nation is sick, surely the entire nation will be ill. Only a move of the Holy Spirit driving Americans back to Biblical morality can save this proud group of immigrants. The assault on America’s soul has had devastating consequences.

“There is not attack on American culture more destructive and more historically dishonest than the secular left’s relentless effort to drive God out of America’s public square.” –Newt Gingrich