The Times They Are A-Changin'.

In the previous issue, May 2, we discussed the 400th
anniversary of the founding of Jamestown in Virginia
as the first permanent English colony in North America,
followed just a few years later by the founding of the
Plymouth colony in Massachusetts. Any consideration
of the actions and intentions of those early settlers
makes it abundantly clear that these were Christian
believers whose purpose in undertaking the perilous
voyage to the new world was to claim the land for
God, and advance the spread of the Christian gospel

From the records of those earliest days, and continuing
through the Colonial period, the Declaration of
Independence, the Revolutionary War and the adoption
of the Constitution of the United States, the Christian faith
of the new nation's founding fathers was always evident
in their speeches, their writings and their actions. To recall
some of those evidences of their Christian beliefs, here are
a few quotations, each of which has been carefully
researched and confirmed through two or three sources.

From John Adams, America's second President, "The
general principles upon which the Fathers achieved
independence were the general principles of Christianity ...
I will avow that I believed, and now believe, that those
general principles of Christianity are as eternal and
immutable as the existence and attributes of God."
(From a letter dated July 4, 1776)

In Benjamin Franklin's 1749 plan of education for
the public schools located in Pennsylvania, he insisted
that the schools teach "the excellency of the Christian
religion above all others, ancient or modern," and in
1787 when he helped found Benjamin Franklin
University, it was dedicated as "a nursery of
religion and learning, built on Christ, the Cornerstone."

In a speech in 1765, Patrick Henry said, "It cannot
be emphasized too clearly and too often that this nation
was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not
on religion, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ."

And from Thomas Jefferson in 1781, "Of all systems
of morality, ancient or modern which have come under
my observation, none appears to me so pure as that of
Jesus... I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple
of the doctrines of Jesus."

In 1782, the United States Congress adopted this
resolution: "The Congress of the United States
recommends and approves the Holy Bible for
use in all schools."

This brief recollection of some of the facts surrounding
the convictions and intentions of the nation's founding
fathers with respect to the Christian faith is necessary
in view of the existence of a cabal of individuals who
are committed to distorting the facts concerning the
religious beliefs of those founders. They research
ancient records in hopes of finding here and there
a sentence where the spokesperson may have said
something critical of Christianity, unfazed by the
fact that an occasional line or sentence of that
nature is offset by pages and pages of documented
statements to the contrary.

And then along came Bob Dylan. As a somewhat
raucous folk singer he was equally as loved, respected
and enjoyed in Great Britain, Europe and Australia, for
example, as in his native America. No theological scholar
or commentator, his was a strong voice in the anti-war
movement of the mid-twentieth century. He received
every musical award which the industry can give, and
was five times nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
He was given the title, "Spokesman for the generation."
Then in the period 1970-1980 he had a Christian con -
version experience, and publicly testified to being born
again. His songs lost some of their caustic quality, and
he issued some albums of Christian songs. In 2006 his
most recent album entered the musical charts as No. 1,
making him at age 65 the oldest living artist ever to top
the charts.

One of his greatest hit songs was "The Times They Are
a-Changin'." In one of the verses he appealed to parents;
in another to Senators and Congressmen. The final verse
included these words, almost prophetic with respect to
our day:

"The line, it is drawn, the curse it is cast
And the present now will soon be the past
The order is rapidly fading
The first one now will later be last
For the times they are a-changing.

From those early Colonial days when this nation was
clearly established on historic Judeo-Christian principles;
when its leaders made no secret of their Christian faith,
and their intent to have this nation operate with respect
for the laws of God . . . to the present day with liberal,
left-wing politicians redrawing our social and cultural
boundaries, "The times, they are indeed changing!"
Bob Dylan, in his own way, saw and felt the changes
which were taking over America, and saw the need
for a reversal, for the present to return to the past.
In theological terms he would have expressed the need
for a national revival, for a national spiritual awakening.

It is not necessary to enumerate in detail or discuss at
length the ways in which we have turned from God's
prescribed way. We know them all too well. There is
the perverted interpretation of the First Amendment with
the liberals' "Separation of church and state" . . . the
legalizing of abortion, with some 50 million babies killed
since the Supreme Court approved such mass killings . . .
sodomy, always condemned by God, is now legal by
court action . . . homosexuality, labeled by God as an
"abomination" is almost revered, and the resultant same-
sex marriages are destroying one of God's intended
purposes for His creation, resulting in the weakest family
life, the highest rate of divorce and the highest rate of solo-
parenting . . . the Bible, which an earlier U.S. Congress
formally approved and recommended for use in schools,
along with prayer and any mention of God, has been banished
from our schools . . .the Christian church has lost its message
by yielding to popular culture and rather than influencing
public opinion, is being influenced by it . . . the very national
government which was established by Godly men, to operate
under moral laws, has become corrupt as greed for wealth and
lust for political power has taken control . . . and the list goes
on and on. Bob Dylan was almost prophetic in his song, "The
times they are a-changin'."

And then there is always God's word to confront us. "If my
people ... will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face
and turn from their wicked ways .. then will I hear from heaven,
and forgive their sin and will heal their land." (II Chronicles 7:14,
"God's blueprint for revival.") But there is an alternative choice
. . . verse 19: "But if ye turn away and forsake my statutes which
I have set before you ... this house which I have sanctified for my
name will I cast out of my sight and will make it a proverb and a
byword among all nations ...because they forsook the Lord God
of their fathers ..."

The choice before us is clear and unmistakable. Seek God's face
and turn from our wicked ways and experience revival, and live
under His blessing on our nation . . . or continue to disobey His
laws, and experience His severe judgment and punishment.

Billy Graham, for so many years the nation's evangelical spiritual
leader, now 88, and virtually retired, this month wrote in a
published sermon in "Decision" magazine, "A former president
once said America must have a spiritual revival. However, I am
becoming more and more convinced that we are never going to
see revival across America until Christians meet certain
scriptural conditions for revival." And he added these words,
"As God looks down from heaven and sees present day
Christianity in America, He must be grieved."

Our prayer must be that of Habakkuk the prophet, "O Lord,
I have heard thy speech and was afraid. O Lord, revive thy
work ... in wrath, remember mercy." (Habakkuk 3:2) The
hymn we sing must be "Lord send a revival, and let it begin
in me." The scripture portion we must remember is II
Chronicles 7:14, where we are required by God to humble
ourselves, pray, seek His face and turn from our wicked
ways. And the folk song we must never forget is "The
times they are a-changing."

Afterthoughts . . .

Here's an opportunity to do something important but
which does not require a great deal of effort. Last week
the House of Representatives voted on and passed Bill No.
HR 1592 -- the so-called "Hate Crimes Bill." While on the
surface it sounds innocuous, it does open the door to some
very dangerous precedents. It establishes "sexual" and
"gender" orientation as protected classes which means,
for example, if your minister were to preach on any of the
many scripture references to homosexuality being in God's
eyes an abomination, he could be subject to severe penalties.
In other words, in a real sense, the right of free speech, which
has always been guaranteed in our Constitution, has been taken
away. Serious? Absolutely! And now it goes to the Senate for
their vote -- and given the similar political make-up as in the
House, it will probably pass there too. But here's what you can
do and what you should do: phone your Senators in Washington
at (202) 224-3121 and tell them that you are opposed to this
bill, and that you want them to vote against it. They are in
Washington to represent you -- you have every right to tell them
how you feel about this measure.

An interesting 175 year old comment: from the New York
Spectator, August 23, 1831, "The Court of Common Pleas of
Chester county (New York) rejected a witness who declared
his disbelief in the existence of God. The presiding judge
remarked that he had not before been aware that there was
a man living who did not believe in the existence of God; that
this belief constituted the sanction of all testimony in a court
of justice; and that he knew of no cause in a Christian country
where a witness had been permitted to testify without such
belief." The times, they are a-changing, and not for the better.

Time Magazine's most influential people; it isn't appropriate
to fail to comment on this year's list of the 100 most influential
people in the world. The first notation is concerning the omitting
of the President of the United States, normally considered the
most powerful individual in the world. And one can question
the inclusion of Rosie O'Donnell in the category, "Artists and
Entertainers" . . . or of Al Gore in the category "Scientists
and Thinkers."

Or wonder why Oprah Winfrey was not considered to be an
"Entertainer," because surely someone thinks of her in that way.
And chuckle over other omitteds: Harry Reid, Jesse Jackson,
Al Sharpton, Jimmy Carter and Donald Trump, to name a few.
But as a representative of the Christian faith -- not a single
American; only the Roman Catholic Pope, and an Anglican
Archbishop from Africa. An interesting list, but not particularly

New worlds for the ACLU to conquer: there recently appeared
on the Internet a listing of the preambles to the constitutions
of all 50 States. Without exception, every state acknowledged
the providence, the protection, the guidance, the blessing -- or
similar terms -- of Almighty God, occasionally being referred
to as the Supreme Ruler of the Universe. It would seem that the
ACLU could reap more financial returns from suits against the
states, than they do from their many suits against the school
boards of small towns or the Boy Scouts. But the problem
with that idea is that the states could afford much better legal
representation, and would be more likely to win . . . aha! that
may be the reason.

A thought for the day, every day: "The Great Commission is
not an option to be considered; it is a command to be obeyed."
-- Hudson Taylor, legendary 19th century missionary to China.

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