In the fall of 1620, 102 colonists sailed for the New World on a well known sea vessel known as the Mayflower. These Separatist Christians renounced the religious practices of the Church of England and believed that the Church of England was beyond redemption.
In 1630, another group would join the Separatists in the New World. This group is known as the Puritans. During the “Great Migration” of the 1630s, some 21,000 English settlers came to New England. This group made up:
- Entire families
When the Mayflower landed in 1620 and when the Puritans arrived in 1630, they brought their families and personal belongings—including the Geneva Bible. These new settlers were fleeing religious oppression and persecution. Today, as we celebrate our freedom we must remember that the freedom to worship and serve our God matters.
Unfortunately, many progressives who have an interest in leading America to the left with godless ideologies enjoy playing the shame game the first week of July. They seek to shame Christians for celebrating American freedom and they accuse patriotic Christian Americans as being “Christian Nationalists” for daring to celebrate the founding of our nation and American freedom.
Let me be clear, I am a conservative Christian and I believe that the Lord’s Day should be reserved for the worship of God as regulated by God’s Word. I reject the idea of American patriotic worship services where the people sing, “God Bless America” or have indoor fireworks. However, I am at the very same time extremely patriotic and grateful to live in America. I am immensely grateful for the men and women who have served in the military to preserve our freedom. I’m also grateful for the voice that I’m given as a citizen of this nation within the framework of our free elections on both a state and national level.
The Christian citizens of America should not be shamed or muzzled into silence the first week of July. Dear Christian, go enjoy fireworks, read the Constitution, gather with friends and family for BBQ, and refuse to be ashamed to celebrate our nation’s freedom.
Yesterday, Christians all across the United States of America were free to assemble and worship Jesus Christ publicly. Pastors were free to stand in pulpits and preach the gospel. Congregations were free to lift their voices in song with collective praise to our Triune God. Churches were free to corporately pray and confess their sins. Christians were free to worship at the Lord’s Table as we remembered the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Even if we were not lawfully granted such freedoms, we would still gather underground to worship God, but in light of the free exercise of religion we must see such freedom as a precious thing.
The Church should never undervalue the freedoms we enjoy in America. While America is not a perfect nation, and in the truest definition should not be considered a “Christian nation,” it should go without saying that America is the greatest nation in the world and God has providentially blessed his people from the soil of this free land. The free exercise of religion matters and it’s something worth celebrating.
The Church should never undervalue free speech. The right of a citizen to speak freely and articulate his or her opinions and convictions without restriction or retaliation of our government is critically important. This foundational principle enables the church to preach the gospel, address sin according to God’s law, and call ungodly leaders to repentance—in the public sphere. Such freedom enables the church to evangelize openly in the public sphere without the threat of breaking any civil laws.
The Church should never undervalue the freedom of the press. The opportunity to publish Christian literature and the Bible in America is a freedom that must preserved. In many other nations like China, for example, the people do not have access to specific literature and social media platforms due to their oppressive and restrictive laws. This is why the Elon Musk deal with Twitter has created such a stir in recent days in America, because privately owned social media companies have been guilty of restricting speech which creates an obvious friction with people who enjoy free speech in the public sphere. The power of the pen and the power of speech should not be underestimated.
It is believed that a woman called out to Benjamin Franklin in 1787 at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia and asked what kind of government was created. Franklin responded, “A republic, madam. If you can keep it.” Far too often people confuse and conflate the terms “republic” and “democracy” when describing America’s governmental structure. While America has strong democratic elements, the fact that we are a republic should be celebrated across our land today.
A 2017 Pew Research survey found that 67 percent of those Americans polled considered a system in which citizens voted directly on “major national issues” to be a good thing. 1Richard Wike, Kate Simmons, Bruce Stokes, and Janell Fetterolf, “Globally, Broad Support for Representative and Direct Democracy,” Pew Research Center, October 16, 2017, … Continue reading
As Christians, we should value the fact that we enjoy the benefits of a republic, a nation that is exercised by representation from our citizens. The term “republic” is derived from the Latin res publica, which literally means “public thing” and is often rendered as “commonwealth” or “state.” The Founders of the United States of America understood the dangers of a “pure democracy” and established checks and balances in our government that would prevent mob rule and tyranny while at the same time preserving the power of the people—the citizens of America.
According to James Madison, a republic can be defined as:
A government which derives all of its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people, and is administered, for a limited period, or during good behavior. It is essential to such a government that it be derived from the great body of the society, not from an inconsiderable proportion, or a favored class of it…. It is sufficient for such a government that the persons administering it be appointed, either directly or indirectly, by the people. 2James Madison, The Federalist No. 10, https://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/fed10.asp (accessed April 13, 2020).
As we survey world history with the failure of Athens and the obvious oppressive rule of communism over the Chinese people, we should celebrate the fact that we the people of the United States enjoy a system that has true representation of the people which gives us access and a voice within the leadership of this nation. The structure of the United States government is not only unique, it’s powerful, and we should labor to keep it.
As individual citizens in America, the Church of Jesus Christ can go to the polls and vote to institute change, elect leaders, and establish laws that are for the glory of God and the good of the people. One primary example of this is the most recent decision to overturn the historic Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court of the United States of America. How did the decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization come to pass? It began with how individual Christians vote and how our representatives lead. Yes, elections have consequences. In this case, it began with electing a president who would appoint Justices who would establish changes according to the law. This governmental structure, although imperfect, is something that we can celebrate.
From a biblical lens, we can see that nations are not a bad thing. From the beginning, God instituted Israel as a nation that would be a blessing to the nations (Gen. 22:18; Ps. 67). God has a design for the nations to be used in the establishment of his redemptive plan. Certainly, we must see that God has used America for his purposes historically. Christians do not pledge allegiance to America and we recognize that the Church will flourish even if America falls (Matt. 16:18)—but any honest Christian who lives in America can see the value of our great nation and why we should celebrate what happened on July 4th 1776.
|Richard Wike, Kate Simmons, Bruce Stokes, and Janell Fetterolf, “Globally, Broad Support for Representative and Direct Democracy,” Pew Research Center, October 16, 2017, https://www.pewresearch.org/global/2017/10/16/democracy-widely-supported-little-backing-for-rule-by-strong-leader-or-military/#many-publics-want-a-direct-say (accessed April 4, 2020).
|James Madison, The Federalist No. 10, https://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/fed10.asp (accessed April 13, 2020).