Our Founders fled England in search of a better life.
The Declaration of Independence rehearses their grievances with the King--in detail. It also explains the action they intended to take.
The record is abundantly clear that biblical principles and the Christian faith was their guiding light in the quest for freedom.
Freedom was the goal. Christian faith and biblical principles was the path.
A new country was created. And it became the most free and prosperous nation in the history of the world.
Now, a new Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal study reveals that America isn't even ranked in the top 10 most economically free countries in the world for 2014, falling from #6 to #12 during President Obama's administration.
The study finds loss of property rights and corruption among the factors contributing to the decline.
Heritage, as always, has done an excellent job in producing the new 2014 "Index of Economic Freedom."
Let's look at what they found.
Who is #1?
And some personal thoughts on the linkage between our faith and our freedom.
1776. The birth of a new nation.
1787. A Constitution that stands to this day.
Why has it worked so well over the years?
John Quincy Adams, our 6th president and the son of John Adams, our 2nd president, told his generation "The highest glory of the American Revolution was this; it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity."
He further said, "From the day of the Declaration...they [the American people] were bound by the laws of God, which they all, and by the laws of the Gospel, which nearly all, acknowledged as the rule of their conduct."
Not all were "born again" Christians, but there was a "Christian consensus" that provided guidance to the culture---a compass of right and wrong.
Actions have consequences. We have been a blessed nation as we have continued to ask God to "bless America, stand beside her and guide her through the night with the light from above..."
I quoted Charles Dickens the other day. These may not be the worst of times he described, but they certainly are not the best of times.
The Heritage Foundation is asking this week, "Would you want to live in a country that is losing freedom?"
And--"How about a country that has lost ground in property rights and become more corrupt?"
Heritage says, "If you're an American, you're living there."
Their 20th anniversary edition of the "Index of Economic Freedom" shows that the United States has dropped out of the top 10, from 6 to 12.
Please spend some time reviewing the in-depth study linked above.
You will note that Hong Kong is #1 in economic freedom. How, we ask, is a city (territory) now under communist control the most economically free?
Greed. Not ideology or core beliefs. China does not hold the moral principles that would allow the kind of economic freedom seen in Hong Kong to prevail in the mainland. If they did, they would embrace them nationally. Hong Kong is isolated, in a sense, from China itself and dedicated as an attraction for Western money.
I've been there a number of times speaking in local churches and spending time with people who live there.
Derrick Morgan, Heritage's vice president for domestic and economic policy, is making this plea to America:
"The 2014 Index rankings should act as a wake-up call to policy makers and citizens alike. Freedom leads to prosperity, and our founders put us on that path to freedom. As we fight for just government, we must also fight for a government that lives within its means and does not spend the next generation's money."
Prosperity is indeed linked to freedom.
And freedom is linked to faith.
It seems every major civilization has followed a similar arc of human events. The arc begins and ends with bondage at its lowest points.
History shows that societies move from bondage to revolution to freedom to prosperity to apathy to dependence to revolution to bondage. Each has experienced some form of freedom, in some cases democracy, for about 200 years or less.
The key for sustainability seems to be how long freedom can be extended. Only biblical principles can sustain freedom.
A brief glance at America's history shows profound change from John Quincy's time, and that of his father's, to present.
The more the linkage between faith and freedom is severed, the more freedom is lost. Adams and the generations who followed and held those beliefs saw God answer the prayer that is the song "God bless America."
In recent generations, we have moved away from the eternal principles and embraced the relative, so-called progressive ideas.
We have determined there are no absolutes, so we do what each person sees as "right" in their own eyes.
We have determined God must be separated from all the civil and educational institutions of our country.
We have determined that a secular, relativistic political correctness is the new "evolving truth."
We have determined that God's most sacred institutions of marriage and family can and should be redefined.
We have determined that we can "be as god."
We are miserably failing, because we are not God.
While public education and the entertainment industry advance these deadly presumptions, America seemingly continues to sink in the mire of moral malaise.
And the Christian church, who has the answer, too often remains silent.
The church, not the government, military or political system, has the solution. In 1776, the church spoke to the issues of that day with biblical Truth. And led on the path to freedom.
The solution has not changed, but too often the church is silent.
The Prophet Jeremiah gave the people the Word of the Lord. They did not listen. Within 25 years, Babylon attacked Jerusalem and it was laid waste.
Early American Colonial preachers quoted the prophet Jeremiah to the people in the 1730s, 40s and 50s. They were awakened and listened. Freedom was restored within 20 to 30 years.
I believe the Word of the Lord from Jeremiah (6:16,17) is speaking to us today.
This is the Word of the Lord:
“Stand in the ways and see,
And ask for the old paths, where the good way is,
And walk in it;
Then you will find rest for your souls.
But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
Also, I set watchmen over you, saying,
‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’
But they said, ‘We will not listen.’
Be Informed. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful. Be Pro-Active. Be Blessed.