However, the States have been in trouble before, perhaps we can glean some wisdom from our past. One has to be careful in doing so, for even our history is written with a bias pen, the nature of man cannot be trusted. I am aware that even my pen writes with certain preconceptions and presuppositions that can cause the ink to flow in an uneven measure. Therefore I must take that awareness and proceed with caution.
Let's begin on March 4, 1853, as the 14th U.S. President, Franklin Pierce stated in his Inaugural Address: "It must be felt that there is no national security but in the nation's humble, acknowledged dependence upon God and His overruling Providence." Yet, while our President spoke of our nation's humility and our acknowledged dependence upon God and His Providence, one year later, Democrat Senator Steven Douglas would persuade the President to support the Kansas Nebraska Act which would essentially allow Slavery to expand into new territories. This would escalate the already stirring of troubles to the point of violent conflict among our own people. These escalations would later be known as "Bleeding Kansas" an escalation that would be the forerunner of a Civil War. We can see here the far-reaching implications of political legislation and unforeseen and unintended consequences of such legislation. Political ideas instituted in other States can and does oftentimes affect the other States. This is especially true if those ideas are already a national stirring.
The issue of Slavery was dividing us as a people, it alone was enough to drive us into open conflict. However, it was not the sum total of our troubles, there were many issues feeding this rising moment that would bring us to war with ourselves.
It has been stated there were about 5 categories or veins running through the American Culture prior to the Civil War.
Knowing what to do is to understand how we got to where we are. I think that can be understood by looking at our previous history. Our beginning was of a religious nature, growing from and laying the foundation upon Biblical principles. That being true, how could we transition from that to killing one another?
In 1831 Alexis de Tocqueville stated in his writing 'Democracy in America' "Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America
I find it interesting Tocqueville also stated in that same work, “The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America.
In all our greatness and genius Tocqueville was able to identify our weaknesses. Those weaknesses reside in a fallen human nature. The pulpits were a restraining power to this fallen nature and strength to our righteousness. So what happened to our pulpits? As now, they became tools of society, to soothe our consciences and justify our desires.
Our founders understood the dangers associated with the passions of men, therefore placed multiple safeguards and restraining elements upon government and those who would reside in places of power. They also understood this was only a restraint and that men would still break forth in their passions without proper theology to guide them.
“It is the Will of Heaven, that the two Countries should be sundered forever. It may be the Will of Heaven that America shall suffer Calamities still more wasting and Distresses yet more dreadful. If this is to be the Case, it will have this good Effect, at least: it will inspire Us with many Virtues, which We have not, and correct many Errors, and Vices, which threaten to disturb, dishonor, and destroy us. The Furnace of Affliction produces Refinement, in States as well as Individuals…. But I must submit all my Hopes and Fears to an overruling Providence, in which, unfashionable as the Faith may be, I firmly believe.” ~ Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams, July 3, 1776.
President John Adams placed his hope in the Providence of God, that He would not forsake us in our sin, but bring us through certain afflictions to repent of our errors and vices and instill in us the virtues we lacked or forgotten.
I would suggest there was a need then as there is now for a sixth category or vein running in our society. That group would be a people that did not see in Grey and Blue then or Red and Blue now but in the lostness of fallen humanity and the Glory of the Gospel.
The Christian's call and purpose is not to take up arms and right the wrongs, to fix the world and make it a better place. The Christian's call is to preach and live the Gospel. Rom 8:36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. I am reminded of a conversation between a missionary and his young son. In preparation for a trip into a dangerous situation among a tribal people to bring them the Gospel, his son noticed a rifle in his plane. He asked, "Dad, will you use it?" the father replied, "No son, we are ready to die, they are not."
Most of the world is not ready to die, we are. The early church joined no militia, they carried no weapons against the world, they carried an uncompromised message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and when necessary gave their blood upon the altar of sacrifice of love. Are there Christian men in the military who carry weapons to defend our nation and its interest? Are there Christian men in our police forces who carry weapons of defense to enforce our laws and justice? Are there Christian men in our society who carry weapons to personally defend their family and loved ones? Yes, and rightly so, there are also multitudes of good moral men who do the same who profess no religion at all or faith in God, these are all benefits to our society. However, there are limits where the Christian can go, he must not cross the line where his rights and privileges in this life superseded his call to deliver the Gospel to a dying world. He must know where this is when it arises and he must then lay his gun down and open his Bible and declare," repent and believe or you likewise will perish!" (Luke 13:3) We must not make an enemy of the mission field.