Will the Real Christian America Please Stand Up?
by Alan J. Reinach, Esq.
Sermon given at Santa Clarita Seventh-day Adventist Church — March 8, 2008
America is at a crossroads. Her morals and standards have fallen so low, if God does not intervene soon He will have to apologize to Sodom. Christians have a responsibility to work for the establishment of the kingdom of God. The United States was chosen, from the beginning, to be God’s instrument, God’s country, God’s tool for bringing the kingdom of God to this sin sick world. Now its our turn. We must elect godly rulers, and restore the greatness of America. America is a Christian nation, and we must never believe the satanic lie that there must be a separation of church and state. Separation of church and state is a lie of the left, a deception. We must legislate morality, and restore prayer in public life, in public schools, restore the Ten Commandments as the symbol of our national aspiration to do what we proclaim on our coins, trust God and obey Him. Can anyone say amen?
Does anyone believe the speech I just gave? Have you heard these things before? If you listen to Christian radio and television, you hear stuff like this all the time. Christian leaders are constantly talking about how America is a Christian nation, and how we must return the nation to its godly heritage. Hitler taught us that it is easier to deceive the people with a big lie, than with a small one.
The idea that America was founded to be a Christian nation is a big lie, a really big lie, and a dangerous lie. So there is no misunderstanding, the speech I just gave was a test. It was false.
Americans are being set up for a great deception. We are being primed to deliver the mark of the beast to the world, to implement a satanic system of oppression all the while thinking we are doing God’s bidding.
America does have a unique role to play in God’s plan, but many will be surprised to learn what the Bible really says about the United States in prophecy. Turn with me to Revelation 13, we’ll begin in verse 11.
It was in 1850 that J.N. Andrews first connected this prophecy with the United States. I don’t have time to explain why Adventists are convinced that this nation, arising out of the earth, represents America. What I want to do is to examine the meaning of the passage:
“two horns like a lamb.”
The lamb is a symbol of Christ, horns are a symbol of power. The prophecy declares that in its approach to power, America is uniquely Christ like. It is meek, mild, gentle as a lamb. At least it used to be.
There is another nation in Bible prophecy that is represented as a beast with two horns. In Daniel chapter 8, a ram with two horns represents the combined power of the Medes and the Persians. In Daniel chapter 5, the story is told of the end of the Babylonian kingdom, under Belshazzar, who committed the unpardonable sin of arrogantly feasting with vessels from Solomon’s temple, all the while praising his idol gods of wood and stone. In the middle of the feast, Belshazzar was terrified by the appearance of a disembodied hand writing an unknown message on the wall. He sobered up fast, and eventually had the presence of mind to invite Daniel to interpret the message. You are weighed in the balance and found wanting. Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and the Persians. The Medes and the Persians, two horns on the ram of Daniel 8, the kingdom that overthrew Babylon.
Now in Revelation 13, we have two horns like a lamb, also representing distinct powers, or a separation of powers. In what way does the United States have separate powers? We have a constitutional doctrine called the separation of powers. We separate power among the three branches of government, legislative, executive and judicial power, but we also separate power among three levels of government, Federal, state and local government.
Why do we separate power? In order to preserve civil and religious freedom. Ellen White, commenting on the symbol of the two horns, explained: “Republicanism and Protestantism became the fundamental principles of the nation. These principles are the secret of its power and prosperity.”
In what way is Protestantism a fundamental principle of the American nation? What does Ellen White mean? Does she mean the same thing as Christian leaders today mean when they say America was established to be a Christian nation? Emphatically, NO!
In the same book, The Great Controversy, Ellen White recounts the story of how the Reformation got the name Protestant, and in so doing she credits the protestant historian Merle Daubigne, for giving us clear insight into the foundation principle of Protestantism.
In 1529, a church council met in the German city of Spires, in order to crush the Reformation. It enacted a decree that would restrict the preaching of the gospel to those areas that had already adopted the Reformation teaching; and it also required that no new reforms be adopted. The church demanded that the German princes who supported the Reformation accept the decree. Prayerfully, the German princes rejected the decree, and issued a document they called a Protest, which gave the very name Protestant to the Reformation. Daubigne declared that this protest contained the fundamental principles of Protestantism. Listen:
"We protest by these presents, before God, our only Creator, Preserver, Redeemer, and Saviour, and who will one day be our Judge, as well as before all men and all creatures, that we, for us and for our people, neither consent nor adhere in any manner whatsoever to the proposed decree, in anything that is contrary to God, to His holy word, to our right conscience, to the salvation of our souls."
Let us reject this decree," said the princes. "In matters of conscience the majority has no power."
America is a Protestant nation, because she protects liberty of conscience. She is a republican nation, little “r”, not referring to the republican party, but to the principles of a republic, because of the separation of powers among the branches of government.
Do you see how liberty of conscience is connected to the foundation doctrines of Protestantism? The Reformation emphasized the opportunity for the individual to respond directly to Christ by faith. Neither the powers of church or state had any right or authority to interfere between the soul and Christ. You must respond to the love of Christ, by faith, not by force or coercion. All the Reformation teachings like justification by faith, the priesthood of all believers and sole scriptura, the bible and the bible only, led directly to the conclusion that in matters of conscience, the majority have no power. It doesn’t matter whether it is a majority of princes or priests, they have no power to interfere between your soul and Christ!
Despite these great ideas, the Reformation didn’t practice its own principles of liberty of conscience. Religious enthusiasm quickly led to fanaticism and anarchy, and threatened stability and order. In order to save the Reformation, the principle was adopted that the religion of the people should be the religion of the prince. It would be nearly three hundred years before the Protestant principles would be put into practice as the basis for a civil government, when the United States Constitution was ratified. [Actually, Rhode Island implemented these principles much earlier, when it was founded in the 1640s.]
The constitution protects liberty of conscience in two ways:
1. its republican principles establish a government of limited, delegated powers;
2. its Protestant principles expressly protect liberty of conscience in the Bill of Rights as a limitation on majority rule.
When the Constitution was first sent to the states to be ratified, there were many protests that it needed a bill of rights. Defenders of the Constitution, like James Madison, argued that the Constitution did not give to the Federal government any power to trample on fundamental rights, such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press or religious freedom, because it was a government of limited powers, and among the powers delegated to the government, there was no power to infringe on the liberties of the people. Thankfully, the people insisted that if this was true, it wouldn’t hurt to put it in writing. In other words, give us a bill of rights, and make it clear that this new government cannot violate our rights.
You may have heard about a recent California court decision holding that parents do not have a constitutional right to home school their children. This decision is a repudiation of the very concept of a constitution. Power resides in the people, and the states derive their power from the people. The people may have delegated some responsibility for education to the states, but the states can never have the exclusive power to educate. The primary duty to educate kids, the primary responsibility resides with parents, not with the states. But the court has turned this upside down, and denied that parents have any constitutional right to educate their own children!
The basic concept of a bill of rights is that these are rights that belong to the people, protected against the power of government to violate. This applies equally to Congress, the Executive and the Courts. When the Fourth Amendment says:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
it doesn’t contain an exception for the President to wiretap all of our phones because he wants to catch terrorists. Even the President of the United States must obtain a search warrant, that describes with particularity the place to be searched, and the warrant cannot be issued unless there is probable cause. Unless the government has probable cause, that is, good reason to believe that you have committed, or are intending to commit a crime, it cannot obtain a warrant to listen to your phone calls.
My point is simply this: America is NOT a Christian nation in the sense that we usually hear. The founding fathers did not design our government to favor Christianity. Instead, they established our constitution on Protestant principles of respect for civil and religious liberty, on the principle of liberty of conscience.
Less than ten years after the Constitution was ratified, the United States entered a treaty with the Muslim nation of Tripoli, in North Africa. Pirates from the Barbary Coast were attacking American merchant vessels, so the administration of President George Washington negotiated a treaty. Because of the historic enmity between Christian Europe and the Islamic world, the treaty contained the following declaration as an essential basis for making peace,:
Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
The treaty was ratified after John Adams took office. So the first two presidential administrations understood that America is not founded on the Christian religion.
Now these men are often quoted in support of the idea that America was to be a Christian nation. But their sentiments are misunderstood or misapplied. For example, a famous Washington quote used by Christian nation advocates:
President George Washington
"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports... And let us indulge with caution the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion... Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail to the exclusion of religious principle."
I certainly agree with Washington that not only political prosperity but the preservation of freedom itself depends on religion and morality. But nowhere does Washington suggest that religion is the business of the state, or that government has a role to play in promoting religion.
Let’s go back to our text, Revelation 13:12.
When the United States speaks as a dragon, it says she will exercise all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and as a result, it will form an image of the first beast, and impose the mark of the first beast, and the sanctions for failing to receive the mark of the beast will be economic – no one can buy or sell – and ultimately, the death penalty.
The first beast is symbolized in Daniel chapters 7 and 8 as a single, little horn. It is a power that for more than a thousand years exercised both civil and religious authority in Europe.
The United States has no right to exercise religious authority. Yet Christians are diligently pursuing the power to do just that – obtain government regulation of religion. They want to impose religious doctrine on every aspect of law and government. They want public schools to teach religious doctrines; to promote Christian prayer and scriptures, like the Ten Commandments; they want government to finance Christian ministries, the so-called faith based initiatives; and they want Christian values to dominate public policy, both domestic and foreign. In short, they are unwittingly doing the will of the dragon, and turning America into a dragon.
This afternoon, in part two of this series, we will take a closer look at just what it means for America to speak as a dragon, just how far we have come in repudiating the principles of our constitution as a republican and protestant nation, and most importantly, we will explore in greater detail the warning message that must be given to the world.
Before we close, let’s put this discussion of America in prophecy into historical and spiritual perspective. Our nation, indeed, our world, faces a critical choice: the power of God or the power of the state. Returning to the speech I gave at the opening, many Christians agree that our civilization is in an advanced state of moral and spiritual decline. Where we disagree is on the remedy. Too many assign to government too large a role to play in solving what is essentially a spiritual problem.
More than a century ago, Ellen White observed that Protestant America had lost its connection to Christ, because it failed to follow Christ into the Holy of Holies of the heavenly sanctuary, and it was left behind. Refusing to enter the sanctuary, Protestants failed to perceive the light shining from the Holy of holies on the law of God, and they rejected the Sabbath truth, and began to preach that God’s law was nailed to the cross, and that Christians were not under law, but under grace.
Adventists warned that such teaching would undermine public morals, and respect for human law. So here we are, more than a century later, and we lament the decline in public morals, a decline that cannot be blamed on Hollywood, or Washington, but must be blamed on the churches!
So here we are, dangerously close to trading our freedom for security and for moral order, dangerously close to wanting government to impose religion and morality and security in order to preserve what remains of our civilization; and even many Adventists are on the wrong side of these issues!
What we desperately need to hear is the warning against uniting church and state, the warning against relying on the arm of princes to build up God’s kingdom, the message that God’s kingdom is NOT of this world, and that righteousness is not by force, but by faith!
Yet, many Adventists are guilty of faulty logic in thinking that we should not raise a voice against the loss of liberty, because we know that Sunday laws must come before Jesus returns, and we don’t want to delay the coming of Christ, but to hasten it. Yet, we fail to understand the very warning message that God has entrusted to His people for these last days – it is a warning against spiritual adultery, against the church becoming intimate with the state, and relying on political power to build up the kingdom of God, and a call to return to Christ in the hour of his judgment, to find Christ in the holy of holies of the heavenly sanctuary, engaged in the solemn work of cleansing and purifying the saints. It is a message to prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ, by taking hold of the power of God through faith.
Will the Real Christian America Please Stand Up? The Real Christian America displays the spirit of Christ. It does not coerce the conscience. It does not ask the state to finance the work of God, but trusts God to finance His own church; it does not ask the state to promote religious belief, it trusts God to bring conviction to the human heart; it does not trample on individual rights, but protects both civil and religious liberties.
This afternoon, we will examine whether a Christian America engages in torture, spying on its own citizens; indefinite detentions of both citizens and immigrants alike; pre emptive wars, and the restriction of civil and religious liberties. We will also examine the theology that most logically provides the foundation for the mark of the beast, as well as the eschatology that will deceive Christians into believing that the mark of the beast is yet future.
This morning, I stand before you to defend the real Christian America. It is a nation with a lamb-like approach to power, protecting civil and religious freedom. It is based on the Protestant principle that in matters of conscience, the majority has no power. Will you stand with me? I invite you to literally, stand and show your support for the real Christian America. I also invite you to take the first step in preserving and defending the real Christian America, by joining the North American Religious Liberty Association. You have the information in the newsletters the deacons have passed out, on how you can join. NARLA is an Adventist organization formed to advance the work of religious liberty, and to project gospel truth into the halls of American power.