“There is nothing exempt from the peril of mutation,” said Elizabethan sage Walter Raleigh.
Or, as an anonymous patriot of his period put it to would-be agitators in his nation: “You will chip away and chip away until nothing is left that makes Scotland Scotland.”
One looks now at the drastic alterations of America’s spiritual, psychological, social, and political DNA, and the mutating dynamics they set loose upon the nation’s very being, and wonders if America will be America for the present generation’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Scientists like Francis Collins taught us much about the human genome and the DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) that carries the information and genetics forming the nature of a person.
Collins led the task force that decoded the human genome. On the day of the announcement, President Clinton said: “We are learning the language in which God created life... We are gaining ever more awe for the complexity, the beauty, and the wonder of God’s most divine and sacred gift.”
On this July 4th it would be a good idea for Americans everywhere to reflect on the beauty and wonder of the “DNA” that formed the best of America.
Ages ago God led Moses and his people into the Sinai wilderness and to the foot of Mount Sinai. God summoned Moses up the mountain to renew His Covenant with the people. Receiving that Covenant would give birth to the nation, Israel. God made it clear that Israel must not worship the gods of the Canaanites lest they become like the Canaanites. (See Exodus 34)
So, to worship the “gods of the land” is to take on the spiritual “DNA” of the people of the land, and to take on the identity of the people of the land is to adopt their gods.
For example, previous generations in America—including people and churches identifying as Christian—embraced slavery, in conformity with their culture.
Thomas Jefferson, a slaveholder, nevertheless could not quiet the voice of judgment within his mind and heart: “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.”
And it did not.
A nation-rending war resulted. Succeeding generations learned little and perpetuated discrimination through officially sanctioned racism and segregation.
God warned that If Israel worshiped the “gods of the land” when it arrived in Canaan, then Israel would cease to be Israel and lose its purpose and destiny.
America is by no means the “new Israel,” but she has had remarkable blessings of liberty, prosperity, and security.
God’s aim in history is for the good news of His beautiful Kingdom to be proclaimed to all the inhabited earth. This is the business, not of the state, but of the church within the nation. For this mission to be carried out there must be freedom of religion so the church can go about its business, and have the material means to take the gospel globally.
Any nation that permits such freedom will be blessed. The health of a nation, therefore, is in direct ratio to the health of the church within the nation.
Harvard Professor Samuel Huntington explored what we refer to here as America’s “DNA” in his book, Who Are We? There he discussed the American “Creed” comprised by these and other “DNA” components:
- Human rights
- The rule of law
- Private property
Huntington did not shy from crediting the Judeo-Christian worldview as the source of these elements of America’s spiritual “DNA”.
If there is socio-cultural sin in our past and present it is not because these principles were corrupt but because sinful human beings of all persuasions corrupted the “DNA”. We have too often worshiped the “gods of the land” and in the process defiled the Source of our blessings, to the hurt of many and alteration of our national character.
The present struggle in American society and culture spans the past, present, and future. All the generations are at stake: We are ashamed of the sins of the past, hopeless in the conflicted present, and anxious about an uncertain future.
Therefore, this Fourth of July we must reflect on the sobering truth of what will happen as America’s “DNA” is altered. The nation will go...
- From the conviction that God is Transcendent—above all and to Whom all must give an account, including government—to the belief that there is nothing Transcendent but ourselves and ultimately our rulers
- From the freedom not to believe to enforced state or cultural religion
- From churches to re-education centers
- From schools pursuing knowledge to schools indoctrinating
- From the Bible as God’s revelation to us and the source of our formative worldview to the displacement of the Bible from public life
- From constitutionalism to tyrannical edict
- From healthy individuality to collectivism
- From a free market economy to a state-controlled economy
- From democracy to oligarchy through the elite establishments of Information, Entertainment, Academia, Politics, Corporations
- From mature independence to socialist dependency
- From a healthy respect for just law to antinomianism
- From unity to fragmentation
- From freedom of religion to bondage to the secular humanist religion of the state
- From nuclear family to state-determined family
If all that happens our national “DNA” will be altered so drastically that America will no longer be America.
A violent revolution will not save America. The matter at the core is spiritual and only a spiritual revolution, “great awakenings,” will save us.
Pulpits must once again reach into the depths of biblical revelation and proclaim the Kingdom of God rather than the therapeutic or prosperity “gospels”.
Congregations must learn anew the importance of going to their knees... standing in the “gap” ... for their nation before God.
Wallace B. Henley’s fifty-year career has spanned newspaper journalism, government in both White House and Congress, the church, and academia. He is author or co-author of more than 20 books. He is a teaching pastor at Grace Church, the Woodlands, Texas.
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