In the months preceding America's Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, delegates to the Second Continental Congress of this fledgling nation began each meeting with prayer. Fittingly, the very first sentence of this historic document acknowledged their public reliance on the Creator, recognizing "Nature's God" as the authority which validated their shared struggle for freedom.
What followed is arguably one of the world's best known statements, as the delegates declared "that all men are created equal…endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights." It concluded with a pledge of "support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence." And when the Liberty Bell was rung soon thereafter on that first Independence Day, a proclamation taken directly from Scripture was sent to all thirteen colonies: "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof" (Leviticus 25:10). From its very beginning, America was founded on an expressed faith in God as both Creator and Sustainer, and the Lord has blessed this nation greatly in the years since that first Fourth of July.
America's beginning and the history that followed do seem, in many ways, to follow that of ancient Israel. God's chosen nation started strong, but they gradually forgot their Sabbaths, Passovers, and Jubilee years. They even forgot God and instead turned to the gods of nature. After multiple calls for repentance through His prophets, God finally judged Israel and banished it to captivity.
In much the same way, the Lord greatly blessed America in its remarkable formation and early history. And yet America, like ancient Israel, is rapidly forgetting the true Creator it recognized in the beginning--which may eventually exhaust the patience of God.
Frankly, many Americans have already deserted their Christian heritage of liberty granted by our great Savior. As a result, they have given up their freedom--pursuing immorality, or drugs, self-indulgence or pleasure, or many other pursuits that conflict with God's Word. They have, in effect, become "the servant of sin" (John 8:34), and have been deceived by "great swelling words" from false teachers who "promise them liberty" but "they themselves are the servants of corruption" (2 Peter 2:18-19).
But we have a Hope! True freedom--true liberty--can only be secured by faith in Christ's saving work. For "if the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed" (John 8:36). As a nation--and as individuals--we must return, before it is too late, to that same Creator so strongly affirmed by our founding fathers in the Declaration of Independence.
Our ministry at ICR seeks to help those of our world discover the true liberty that can only be found in the Creator. That freedom begins with a belief in the God of Creation, and flourishes with the knowledge of His Word. And while the adversaries of God and His Word are powerful, we are not intimidated--because the Lord is on our side. Yet the opposition is very real, and the battle grows fiercer every day. As such, we need your help this summer--both in finances and through prayer--to strengthen our hands as we fight on. Please prayerfully consider joining our cause.
* Mr. Morris is Director of Donor Relations at the Institute for Creation Research.
Cite this article: Morris IV, H. 2010. Christian Heritage of Liberty. Acts & Facts. 39 (7): 21.