The settlers of the Plymouth Colony of Massachusetts, before they stepped ashore in late 1620, signed the Mayflower Compact in which they proclaimed that they had “undertaken, for the Glory of God, and advancements of the Christian faith,” their voyage to plant their colony in the New World.
More than 150 years later, when delegates representing the 13 American colonies proclaimed their independence from Great Britain, they signed a document containing some of the most famous words ever written: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” (emphasis added throughout).
Few today realize that the Declaration of Independence actually concludes with a prayer. In the last paragraph the signers acknowledged that they were “appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the Rectitude of our Intentions” and embarking on their dangerous course toward building a new nation “with a firm Reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence” as they struggled to free themselves from rule by the British crown.
In spite of the efforts of revisionists to rewrite history, most of America’s Founding Fathers were members of the mainstream churches of their day. They made their beliefs clear in statements such as these:
“I have examined all religions, and the result is that the Bible is the best book in the world.”—John Adams
“I have always said and always will say that the studious perusal of the Sacred Volume will make us better citizens.” –Thomas Jefferson
“It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.”—George Washington
But in recent decades the United States has experienced profound change, much of which can be traced back to U.S. Supreme Court rulings. In 1962 the court banned school prayer. The following year it prohibited devotional Bible reading in public schools. The results should’ve been easily predictable.
Although the Bible remains a perennial bestseller, people simply don’t read it. Not even half of American adults can list the four Gospels. Few can name more than two or three of the 12 apostles. Nearly half of all Americans hardly ever open a Bible, and only a quarter regard it as the actual Word of God. A majority can’t list even half of the Ten Commandments—which certainly helps explain why as a nation Americans no longer obey them!
It’s no wonder that America is rapidly becoming another Sodom and Gomorrah. Millions of couples openly live together rather than bother with getting married. By legalizing same-sex marriage, America has perverted the very meaning of marriage. Through abortion, the nation has killed tens of millions of unborn babies—more than the entire population of most countries. Our prisons are filled to overflowing.
We are reaping what we have sown. More than 150 years ago U.S. President Abraham Lincoln wrote words that even more strikingly describe the nation today: “We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven . . . We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God . . . Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient . . . , too proud to pray to the God that made us.”
President Lincoln wasn’t afraid to tell it as he saw it. And he called on the nation to turn to God: “It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.”
Humble ourselves—confess our sins—pray for forgiveness. This is a key message of Beyond Today magazine and our TV program. Like Abraham Lincoln, we feel a deep responsibility to our country to tell it like it is.
This is why we firmly uphold the inspiration, accuracy and authenticity of the Holy Bible. In this issue we explore some of that evidence.
Don’t be like the half of Americans who hardly ever open the Bible. Read God’s Word. Love God’s Word. Live God’s Word!