Pastor Cornelius R. Stam
The book, We Americans, published by the National Geographic Society in 1976, depicts a family of eight early settlers, four of whom are holding Bibles in their hands. The caption opens with the words: “Book of books, the Bible, was the end and means of the education of early Americans.”
This is confirmed by the Encyclopaedia Britannica, which declares that “The New England Primer… for 150 years widely used as a textbook, was largely composed of Scriptural and doctrinal material. Catechisms were taught in the public schools and prayer was offered twice a day” (EB under School and Curriculum in the United States).
This does not mean that all our Revolutionary forefathers were saved, or regenerated by personal faith in Christ, but the evidence is abundant that they were, as a whole, God-fearing men, and this was bound to have a significant effect on their thinking and their conduct. And, indeed, there were among them many born-again believers.
Revolutionary times conjure up in our minds such pictures as Washington praying earnestly at Valley Forge, the members of Congress kneeling together in prayer for divine guidance, and the precepts of Scripture being pressed home again and again by those high in government, while the citizens in general trembled at God’s Word.
It goes without saying that our nation plays a strategic role in the affairs of the world. Our influence is great. However, America will not again exert the right kind of influence in the world until the Church of Christ recovers from her spiritual illness and our national leaders and the populace once more become at least God-fearing. The fear of God does not in itself save from sin’s penalty, but it is the first step toward salvation. Moreover, God’s Word declares:
“By the fear of the Lord men depart from evil” (Prov. 16:6).
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