by Pastor Doug Cox
Christianity is not dependent on its location. It can grow and expand in a communist country like China where it is outlawed, as well as where it is welcomed and accepted. No matter the country or government, where there is a Bible and a few believers, Christianity can blossom. It is not a free nation that gives birth to Christianity. It is Christianity that gives birth to a free nation.
As we celebrate Independence Day this year it might do us good to remember the cost of freedom. The men (government leaders) who signed the Declaration of Independence knew they were signing their death warrant when they did it. They knew they were putting their lives, the lives of their families, and their property and fortunes large or small, all on the line for the cause of freedom.
After the Revolutionary War Benjamin Rush wrote to John Adams reflecting about Colonel Harrison of Virginia’s effort to lighten the mood of the room during the signing of the Declaration. Harrison a large man told Elbridge Gerry a small man that when we all hang for what we are doing, my size and weight will have me dead in a few minutes, but “your small body will dance in the air for an hour or two before you are dead.” Smiles were short lived as the men in the room continued to sign the Declaration.
The gravity of their concerns was later realized. Nine signers died of wounds or hard ships suffered during the Revolutionary War. Five were captured and imprisoned. Others lost homes, family members and fortunes, large and small. None accepted the offers of immunity given by the king. Not one signer defected or changed his stand in the face of the harshest circumstances. Like the threads bound together made their flag, they were bound together by honor and commitment to right, truth and freedom. Through them freedom was born.
History tells us the majority of the founding Fathers of our nation were believers in Jesus Christ. The 1854 the US Judiciary Committee declared that Christianity was the religion of the Founders of the Republic, and they expected it to remain the religion of their descendants. An honest look at history and the lives of the majority of early freedom fighters reveals that Christianity, faith in Jesus Christ and the Holy Bible were the main source of our nation’s freedom. Interestingly, twenty-nine of the fifty-six signers of the declaration held degrees from what we would call Bible colleges today. Not all signers were Christian. Today Benjamin Franklin is said to have been anti-religious and hostile to Christianity, but it’s not true. If so, why would he have printed a great many of Rev. George Whitefield’s sermons? Why would he help found the college of Philadelphia for the declared purpose of instructing youth in the knowledge of Christian ethics? Franklin may have not fully embraced Christianity personally as others did, but he certainly realized its value to the character of the nation’s people.
This Fourth of July, as we ponder the freedoms enjoyed in our nation, consider that it was largely the threads of faith that wove the threads of freedom together. Faith is of the highest value. May all believers bond together in their houses of worship under the Lordship of the risen Jesus Christ. Today as men try to rewrite history, try to change mindsets on gender, marriage and overall reality, may we realize that truth must still be championed, and freedom and faith fought for. May we take to heart the words of the apostle Paul, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1