“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” — John Adams
The French and American Revolutions happened within a dozen years of one another, yet they centered around two very different concepts of individual liberty. For the French, the goal was to ensure political equality. For the Americans, it was personal independence. This distinction helps shed light on what made the outcomes of the two Revolutions so different.
To understand the American Revolution you have to go back to the period between 1730 and 1750 when there was a revival that spread across the colonies. It began with Johnathon Edwards, John and Charles Wesley and an amazing evangelist be the name of George Whitfield. Whitfield preached 18,000 sermons and it was estimated that over 80% of the colonists heard Whitfield preach. Other pastors were swept up in this movement and many historians admit that there would not have been a revolution without this “great awakening”.
We think of the Boston Tea Party and slogans of “No Taxation Without Representation” as the key causes of the American Revolution and although they were issues those were not the root causes. Pastors began preaching about individual liberty, rights granted by God (natural law) and, in fact, you can find phrases in our Declaration taken directly from sermons given. The British called these pastors “the Black-Robed Regiment” and knew they were the enemy, they were not organized or in any army but were united in preaching religious liberty. Churches were burned and pastors jailed for a clear voice that their rights did not come from a King or government but only from God.
The French Revolution was totally different. During his despotic period of leadership, Robespierre went as far as to create a Cult of the Supreme Being, a state religion based on secularism. This was part of Robespierre’s revolutionary program to completely destroy France’s Roman Catholic tradition in pursuit of an ambiguous “political equality” amongst the masses. Instead of trying to fight for freedom-based principles like the Founding Fathers did, Robespierre was more concerned with destroying all features of French civic society in the name of progress.
In a cruel twist of irony, Robespierre and his Committee of Public Safety behaved more like the previous French monarchy once they seized control. For that reason, the French Revolution turned into a chaotic murder spree that saw tens of thousands of people executed at the guillotine for simply opposing Robespierre’s vision. Hundreds of priests and nuns were killed and any vestige of Christian influence was abolished.
“History has to repeat itself,” said Woody Allen, “because nobody was listening the first time around.” Or to put it another way, one historian noted that the only thing we can learn from history is that we don’t learn from history! We have watched tyrannical governments enslave the peoples and demand obedience for thousands of years. Most recently we have seen Stalin, Hitler, Mao Zedong, Castro, Pol Pot and many others take power and ban all obedience to God and outlaw the church. They must have total control and no competition.
Many are familiar with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a brave pastor living in Germany under Hitler. Eric Metaxas wrote a bestselling biography about Bonhoeffer and this is what he said recently about America compared to what happened in Germany in the 1930’s. “Probably the principled similarity has to do with Religious Freedom. In Bonhoeffer’s day, before his eyes, a robustly Christian nation was swiftly secularized by a powerful government. The church was divided and didn’t know what to make of it and they didn’t respond as they should have. So the church was overwhelmed by the state, and for all intents and purpose eventually ceased to exist.” Erwin Lutzer wrote an outstanding book entitled Hitler’s Cross and goes into detail how the church was lost. It wasn’t just Bonhoeffer that stood up, however, over 700 priests and pastors were sent to the concentration camps according to Lutzer.
The Great Reset is upon us…or at least the powers that be are trying to bring it to fruition. What was once a fringe “conspiracy theory” is now on display plain as day for everyone to see. The economic, political, academic, and media elites around the world are leveraging the chaos, confusion, and restrictions on liberty from the COVID-19 lockdowns and using them to radically alter society around the world. The religious attacks are obvious. Whether it is allowing worship services to continue or a religious exemption regarding a vaccine. Christians who push back are vilified. Any discussion of natural law or our freedom under the Bill of Rights are ignored or under outright attack.
Are we at a 1776 moment or 1789? Do we have pastors and Christian leaders that have the courage to speak up and be referred to as the “Black Robe Regiment”? We are accepting lies about our freedom. What is a boy or a girl? What is marriage? What exactly is the power of the state over our lives? It is not hyperbole to state that we are in the most critical time in our history since the civil war. America is the last, best hope for Western Civilization as we look at the world today. Politicians are not the answer. The answer is the truth of the Bible and leaders who are not afraid to join together to proclaim it.
There was a Second Awakening in the early 1800; s and one of the leaders was Charles Finney. His words in 1873 resound today:
“Christ crucified for the sins of the world is the Christ that the people need. If immorality prevails in the land, the fault is ours in a great degree. If there is a decay of conscience, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the public press lacks moral discrimination, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the church is degenerate and worldly, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the world loses its interest in religion, the pulpit is responsible for it. If Satan rules in our halls of legislation, the pulpit is responsible for it. If our politics become so corrupt that the very foundations of our government are ready to fall away, the pulpit is responsible for it. Let us not ignore this fact, my dear brethren; but let us lay it to heart, and be thoroughly awake to our responsibility in respect to the morals of this nation.”