American history fails us in one respect. Its error is that it is confined to America. The history begins with a Christianized people with no understanding of how that came to be. Like the Founders, we have come to believe the Christian worldview is self-evident. In so doing, we deem it a product of an enlightened or educated people. However, we have not studied our history back far enough to find that the American system is not the development of modern man, but that modern man is a development of the Bible’s impact on a nation.
Thus, American history ought not to begin with the foundation of America, but with the foundation of a Christian nation, as it rose out of the ashes of fallen Rome. Our western story begins as an assent out of paganism when Christians shaped the culture of Medieval Europe. From there the culture of a discipled Great Britain expanded through colonizing India, Africa, and the Americas. As the East India Company began its trade exploitation of India, William Carey commenced his mission work to enable India to become independent of Britain as its own great nation. The British government was uncertain as to whether it wanted to invest in India in this manner, but William Wilberforce, and Charles Grant, worked tenaciously to establish political support for discipling India.
Charles Grant, an elite member of the East India Company, planted evangelical Christians in key positions to serve the Lord’s interest in India, and to help curb the economic exploitation of India’s resources. What is interesting is that Europe forgot its former pagan life. Carey wrote letters to remind Parliament that India is no different than Europe once was. He explained that Christianity isn’t the proud result of an educated people, but that an educated people were a result of the teachings of the Gospel. He reminded them of their humble origins.
Paul did the same thing in the New Testament. He would write to a church and remind them of what life was like before they were followers of Christ. American Christians need the same reminder. In America, we have the blessed heritage of a nation that began from Christian origins. But we must remember that is only because the work of Christianizing the culture had already begun centuries before in Europe. The Christianization of culture survived many failures, and has experienced many successes. The history is not glorious, it has periods of great corruption, and yet the Church survived again and again.
America’s history is so very young compared to the history of England. Decadence and depravity have entered our story many times, and yet the Church in America continues. Great Awakenings have revived the Christian culture several times, and we are approaching another even greater one.
There is no doubt that America has been pulling away from her heritage, and there are many reasons this has come to pass. But to see her future without hope is to not see at all. Church history is far more expansive than our short American history. The results of a discipled nation remain strongly present in America, only we do not know it because we do not know history.
Americans take for granted that sense is common, for we have not experienced a land where it is not. It was not common in Rome, and it is not common in the many un-discipled nations of the world. In fact, it is not common here in America. Sense isn’t something that civilized men have in common. It is something that civilizes men because it comes from being discipled in the ways of the Lord. The farther one is from that discipleship the more one lacks sense.
If we do not understand that common sense is a myth, we become surprised by the way unbelievers live. We are appalled by their sin as if they are acting unnatural. We think they deliberately choose not to follow the ways of God and blame them for not sustaining a healthy society. In reality, unbelievers are prone to sin. They are prone to foolish living. The failure of the Church to continue to disciple America resulted in our society being discipled by secularists.
To quote Vishal Mangalwadi, “Secularism is a Christian heresy.” It is the structure of the Christian worldview devoid of its supernatural implications. It is Christian principles without God. This is why modern atheists write books judging God, because they borrow from Christian morality to hold God accountable for where they believe He has failed to live up to the universal standard of good. However, there is no universally agreed standard; there is only the revealed standard of God, Himself, and the teachings about how to live life that are recorded in the Bible. Atheists do not know their history either. If they did they would know that the most famous atheist, Nietzsche, wrote that the death of God also means the death of Christian morality. You cannot have one without the other. Christian righteous living is inextricably tied to the Christian God.
Secularism is not a group of people who came to America to subvert Christianity. It is a people with the remnants of a Christian worldview stripped of its foundation and left in the wind to develop the American culture without the aid of true Christians. It is like dead tree branches no longer attached to the living tree and root system. It is not sustainable, for its life source abandoned it. The Church cut off the branches that discipled the “secular” areas of culture, and left culture to be discipled by the dead branches. The world did not do this to us, we did it to them, and we are doing it still.
When secularism gives way, it gives way to paganism. Sense is not sustained without continued discipleship. Secular culture cannot, by itself, wake up and reconnect to the Church. Entropy takes effect, which results in paganism. With paganism you have a return to the base sinful nature of un-discipled man, but you also have spirituality of nature worship and the like. And it is out of that ground that Christianity first began to shape the national identity of the Western world. Thus, even if this were to happen, all is not lost.
The American culture is toying with paganism and animism. We see this in movies like James Cameron’s Avatar. The environmental movement tries to find its home in spiritualizing nature, which is one reason many Christians avoid the movement. But such a philosophy will only end the movement, for it will make nature something that is dominate over us, instead of something we have dominion over. Only in Christianity can man have dominion over nature, and be its caretaker. Worshiping cows leads to a malnourished over population of cows. Stewarding cows will keep them healthy, and in optimum condition for proper usage.
The more we trace the roots of the American culture, the more we will find their true home in the Bible. Sustaining American heritage is a job of believers to disciple those in proximity to their influence. It is entering all the areas of culture that the Church left to the world to disciple, and being the salt and light we are called to be. We won’t make much progress trying to get the world to stop being the world. However, we are the light of the world because Jesus lives in us, and darkness cannot overcome the light.
Any prognosis that allows for darkness to overpower the light is a false prognosis. The only way such a thing can happen is if we extinguish, or hide, our light. We are unable to be the victims of any system of secular or pagan expansion. The Church is alive in America, and is waking up to her responsibility to disciple our nation. With the foundation laid for effective reformation, coupled with another Great Awakening emerging, I don’t see how we could have anything but great hope for our nation.
 Stark, Rodney. The Rise of Christianity San Francisco, Harper, 1997
 Mangalwadi, Ruth & Vishal. The Legacy of William Carey: The Model for the Transformation of a Culture, United States, Crossway Books, 1999
 Mangalwadi, Vishal. The Book the Made Your World. Nashville, Thomas Nelson, 2011
You can find a free chapter from my eBook: Back to the Future Rebuilding America’s Stability here on my website.
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