"He who shall introduce into public affairs the principles of primitive Christianity will change the face of the world."
The goal of America's Providential History is to equip Christians to be able to introduce Biblical principles into the public affairs of America and every nation in the world, and in so doing bring Godly change throughout the world. We will be learning how to establish a Biblical power and form of government in America, and we will see how our present governmental structures must be changed. Since the principles we will be learning are valid in every society and in any time in history, they will be able to be applied throughout the world and not just in America. As we learn to operate nations on Biblical principles, we will be bringing liberty to the nations of the world and hence fulfilling part of God's plan for the nations.
The Bible reveals to us that the world longs for liberation. Romans 8:19, 21 says that "creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God... because creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God" (NKJV). The following statistics show the desperate need for real answers to world problems.
The Need for World Reformation
(1) Megapoverty—The World Bank estimates that 1.4 billion people in the developing world (one in four) live on less than U.S. $1.25 a day (international line for poverty) in 2005. Over 3 billion people live on less than $2.50/day, and at least 80% of humanity live on less than $10/day. 1.1 billion people in developing countries have inadequate access to water, and 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation. 1.6 billion people live without electricity; nearly a billion people are unable to read a book or sign their names. Of the 2.2 billion children in the world, 1 billion are in poverty; 25,000 children die each day due to poverty; 1.4 million die each year from lack of access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation. Of the 1.9 billion children from the developing world there are: 640 million without adequate shelter (1 in 3), 400 million with no access to safe water (1 in 5) and 270 million with no access to health services (1 in 7). In 2003, 10.6 million died before the age of 5.
(2) Human Trafficking —The number of people held in slavery worldwide is estimated to be between 12-27 million, more than at any time in world history. Between 700,000-900,000 people are bought and sold across international borders each year. Between 14,500 to 17,500 victims are trafficked into the United States annually and nearly 250,000 children are considered at risk of child sexual exploitation in America. Human trafficking exists in at least 127 countries and has become the second most lucrative business after drug trafficking.
(3) STD's and Sexual Activity —Nearly half (46%) of all 15-19 year-olds in the United States have had sex at least once. One in three teen girls is estimated to get pregnant at least once before the age of 20. Of the 750,000 pregnancies among teens, around 200,000 ended in abortion (in 2006). The Center for Disease Control estimates that there are approximately 19 million new sexually transmitted disease infections each year—almost half of them among young people 15 to 24 years of age. 1 in 4 teenage girls (3 million) have a STD.
(4) Abortion —50 million abortions have been performed in the U.S since 1973. 50% of women obtaining abortions are under the age of 25. Worldwide each year about 35 of every 1,000 women of childbearing age have an induced abortion. About 26 million women have legal abortions each year, and an estimated 20 million have illegal abortions. 22% of all pregnancies end in abortion.
(5) Crime —Nearly 1/2 million homicides were committed worldwide in 2004. Over 10 million crimes are committed every year in America with a total annual cost of $675 billion. Every 3 seconds a crime occurs against someone's property; a violent crime occurs every 35 seconds (America ranks 24th in the world for murders per capita and 8th worldwide for all crimes). More than 1 in 100 Americans are in jail or prison (2.3 million behind bars), an all-time high that is costing federal, state, and local governments about $62 billion a year. The U.S. spends over $30,000 per year per inmate.
(6) Refugees—Total refugees worldwide reached 21 million in 2005.
(7) Arms—Worldwide annual military expenditure rises from $2 billion in 1969 to $650 billion in 1982, to $940 billion in 1985, reaching $1.46 trillion in 2008.
(8) Totalitarian Governments —The number of citizens killed by totalitarian or extreme authoritarian governments is greater than 130 million since 1900 (1918-54, USSR killed 40 million citizens, China under Mao 45 million, 1975-79 Cambodia 2 million), far greater than 36 million combatants killed in wars since 1900; absolutist governments are now mankind's deadliest scourge, with attacks against other nations & their own citizens (for example North Korea, Iran, Sudan). Internal civil conflict killed millions in various nations in the past few decades.
(9) Statism and Debt —In 2000 developing nations owed industrialized nations over $1.3 trillion; for developing nations the average debt is 71% of the gross domestic product; loan defaults and forgiveness have resulted in large redistribution of wealth. Big government is a great threat to liberty and economic growth with ever increasing regulations and debt. With decades of deficit spending by 2010, the U.S. federal government amassed a $12.4 trillion national debt (over $40,000 per person), saddling future generations with a massive debt burden. While 70% of Americans favor "smaller government with fewer services and lower taxes," current leaders borrow and spend with reckless abandon (with the 2010 budget deficit around $1.5 trillion); only 21% of voters nationwide say the U.S. Government has consent of the governed.
(10) Global Terrorism —International terrorism proliferates around the world: Muslim terrorists, bombings, kidnappings, blackmail. Almost every nation is affected.
The truth of the Bible (John 8:32) provides mankind with a theology of liberty that brings real freedom to those individuals and nations who are oppressed. From the beginning of time, God created the earth and made man responsible to rule over it. Genesis 1:28 says: "And God blessed them; and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and rule over... the earth.'" When man rejected God's Law and lost the ability to not only govern himself, but also to govern society, public tyranny and oppression reigned through sinful men.
Through the ministry and death of Jesus Christ, however, the power for both self and civil government was restored to mankind. Though internal liberty was a primary focus of Jesus Christ, it must not be overlooked that His inaugural and farewell sermons both emphasized external civil liberty. In Luke 4:18, Christ's first public message focused on "liberty" for "the poor... the captives... [and] those who are oppressed." It is safe to assume that poverty, slavery, tyranny and injustice were on the Lord's mind when, in His final sermon, He commissioned His followers to "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations" (Matt. 28:19). Matthew Henry, the great Bible commentator studied by our Founding Fathers, explains that "the principal intention of this commission" is clear. It is to "do your utmost to make the nations Christian nations." This is God's plan for the nations.
The apostle Paul understood this plan very well and sought to communicate it to the Christians of the first century. In 1 Corinthians 6:2 Paul asks a vital question: "Do you not know that the Christians will one day judge and govern the world?" (Amplified Bible) If this is true, Paul says, then they ought to at least be competent to hold public offices such as the local judgeships in Greece. To those Christians in Corinth, as well as in America today, who incorrectly assume that Paul means we should rule only in the next age after the second coming of Christ, the next question and answer of the apostle is aimed: "Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more the matters of this life?" (vs. 3). Paul then rebukes the Christians for their apathy and irresponsibility that allowed non-Christians to be in control: "If then you have law courts dealing with matters of this life, do you appoint them as judges who are of no account in the church. I say this to your shame" (vs. 4-5).
This shameful situation has become the reality in America today. The battle for God's earth (Psalm 24:1) is being lost today mainly because Christians have thought that God does not really care about such things. They fail to see that Christ taught us to focus our prayers, not on heaven, but upon His kingdom coming "on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:9, 10). The results of such ignorance and neglect of duty has been costly in the 20th century. America has experienced great revival since 1900, leading to over 60 million people claiming to be "Christian," yet simultaneously our nation has plummeted into debauchery and corruption at a rate unparalleled in our history. In 1900, Africa was about 1% Christian. By 1988 the Christian populace of that continent had grown to about 50%! However, in that same year 85% of Africa lived under Communist and totalitarian regimes. Historically, the gospel has liberated nations, but why not in Africa? One primary reason is that Christian missionaries have offered African nations a truncated Gospel message devoid of Biblical answers to anything not strictly of a pietistic or personal nature.
As a result, these and other nations of the world, have not been presented with a true Biblical theology of liberty and so are being increasingly deceived by Satan's counterfeit. The devil's "Liberation Theology" incorrectly identifies the root of public evil as the socio-economic environment, and claims that liberation comes through violent revolution, followed by the people's dependency on a government they can trust. Christ, in contrast, says the root of evil is the heart of man, and therefore, external liberty is possible only when it flows from the internal to the external. Revival therefore must precede Reformation.
Jesus Christ spoke of this "cause and effect" principle in Luke 6:43-45:
"For there is no good tree which produces bad fruit; nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit. For each tree is known by its own fruit;... The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth what is evil."
Every effect has a cause. The fruit is determined by the root. Man's conduct is determined by man's heart. The external is determined by the internal. All external "forms" or structures come from some internal "power." We will call this "the principle of Power and Form." The Christian religion is the essential power needed to create and preserve a form of government that is free and just.
The external affairs of a nation are a reflection of the condition of the hearts of the people. Historian Charles Rollin reflects the view of most eighteenth century writers in stating that God is sovereign over history, but deals with nations dependent upon the heart and action of the people. He wrote: "Nothing gives history a greater superiority to many branches of literature, than to see in a manner imprinted, in almost every page of it, the precious footsteps and shining proofs of this great truth, viz. that God disposes all events as Supreme Lord and Sovereign; that He alone determines the fate of kings and the duration of empires; and that he transfers the government of kingdoms from one nation to another because of the unrighteous dealings and wickedness committed therein."
You cannot understand history without understanding Divine Providence. George Bancroft, eminent historian of American history in the 19th century said, "Providence is the light of history and the soul of the world. God is in history and all history has a unity because God is in it." Providential history is true history. Many modern educators deny the Providential view of history and would have us believe that their promotion of one of several "secular" views of history is simply the recounting of brute facts. They fail to tell their students that their own humanistic presuppositions and religious doctrines determine their choice of people, places, principles, and events. They fail to communicate that neutrality is not possible in the teaching of history, for the historian's worldview will dictate his perspective. Even as there are not many interpretations of Scripture (2 Pet. 1:20, 21), neither are there of history—there is really only one correct view; that which is the Author's interpretation and perspective. God is the Author of Scripture and History.
Reverend S.W. Foljambe, in 1876, defined history as "the autobiography of Him 'who worketh all things after the counsel of His will' (Eph. 1:11) and who is graciously timing all events after the counsel of His Christ, and the Kingdom of God on earth. It is His-Story."
The Bible overwhelmingly affirms this truth. Let us examine just a few Scriptures along this line:
Acts 17:24-26—"The God who made the world... gives to all life and breath and all things; and He made... every nation..., having determined their appointed times, and the boundaries of their habitation..."
1 Timothy 6:15-16—"He is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of Kings and Lord of lords;... To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen."
Proverbs 16:9-10—"The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps. A divine decision is in the lips of the king."
Job 12:23—"He makes the nations great, then destroys them; He enlarges the nations, then leads them away."
Psalms 22:28—"For the kingdom is the Lord's, and He rules over the nations."
Daniel 2:21—"It is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings."
Daniel 4:17, 26—"The Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind;... Your kingdom will be assured to you after you recognize it is Heaven that rules."
Webster's 1828 Dictionary defines "Providence" as "the care and superintendence which God exercises over His creatures. By 'Divine Providence' is understood 'God Himself.'" This definition, written in the times in which our Founders lived, is significant, for it helps us to see what they meant when they used this term in their writings. They also used many other names for God other than simply "God" or "Jesus." George Washington's writings reveal 54 different titles, Abraham Lincoln used 49 and Robert E. Lee used 45. This reflects the depth of understanding our Founding Fathers had of God and His involvement in human affairs.
Here are some statements that reveal how America's Founders recognized God's hand in history:
"But these things did not dismay them... for their desires were set on the ways of God, and to enjoy His ordinances; but they rested on His Providence and knew whom they had believed."
"And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our Sacred Honor."
"How has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly appealing to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible to danger, we had daily prayers in this room for Divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard and they were graciously answered.. I have lived, Sir, a long time and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth—that God governs in the affairs of men.—And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings that 'except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.'... I firmly believe this..."
"The people of these United States, from their earliest history to the present time, have been led by the hand of a Kind Providence, and are indebted for the countless blessings of the past and present, and dependent for continued prosperity in the future upon Almighty God... The great vital and conservative element in our system is the belief of our people in the pure doctrines and divine truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ."
"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."
It is absolutely vital that our nation learns of its Providential history once again. Rev. A.W. Foljambe warns that, "The more thoroughly a nation deals with its history, the more decidedly will it recognize and own an overruling Providence therein, and the more religious a nation it will become; while the more superficially it deals with its history, seeing only secondary causes and human agencies, the more irreligious will it be."
A lack of providential education contributes more than any other factor to the rise of secularism in a nation—a separation of history from God as the Author of history.