Righteousness exalts a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people. Proverbs 14:34
For the past few weeks, we have learned much from Rev. Simeon Howard’s sermon, preached to the Massachusetts Legislature on Election Day, May 31, 1780. He summarizes the duties of voters to select leaders who meet God’s requirements:
I have considered the qualifications of a good ruler mentioned in Scripture [Ex 18:21]. They are all necessary to form that character, whether in the legislative, executive or judicial department: It is not difficult to see, that the want of any one of them in any department, must be prejudicial and dangerous to the community.
Finally, [with these qualities] our political fathers will not fail to do all they can, to promote religion and virtue through the community… they will watch over their morals with the same affectionate and tender care that a pious and prudent parent watches over his children, endeavor to check and suppress all impiety and vice, and lead the people to practice righteousness which exalteth a nation. If new laws are needed or existing laws need revision to prevent or punish public immorality, extortion, fraud, oppression or any vice, they will take care to supply this defect, and render themselves a terror to evil doers, as well as an encouragement to such as do well.
They will promote to places of trust, men of piety, truth and benevolence. Nor will they fail to exhibit in their own lives, a fair example of that piety and virtue, which they wish to see practiced by the people: They will shew that they are not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, by paying a due regard to his sacred institutions, and to all the laws of his kingdom.
Our leaders, can do more, perhaps more than any other order of men, to preserve or recover the morals of a people. The manners of a court are peculiarly catching, and, like the blood in the heart, quickly flow to the most distant members of the body. If rulers desire to see religion and virtue flourish in the community they must countenance and encourage them by their own example.
And though the fear of God, a regard to truth and a hatred of covetousness, are necessary to form the character of a good ruler, they are even more necessary to form the character of a good man, and to secure the approval of God, the Judge of all. All men are accountable to him. He does not regard the persons of princes more than of their subjects. If they are impious, vicious, or abuse their power, they may bring misery upon other men, but they will surely bring greater upon themselves. The eye of heaven surveys all their counsels, designs and actions; one day, these shall all be made manifest, and every one receive according to his works.
Happy they, who on that day shall be found faithful, for they shall lift up their heads with confidence, and amidst applauding angels enter into the joy of their Lord: While those who have oppressed and injured the people by their power, and corrupted them by their example, shall be covered with sham and confusion, and sentenced to that place of blackness and darkness, where there is weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth!
LET me now conclude, that it concerns us all to fear God, and to be men of truth hating covetousness. The low and declining state of religion and virtue among us, is too obvious not to be seen, and of too threatening an aspect not to be lamented by all the lovers of God and their country. Though our happiness as a community, depends much upon the conduct of our rulers; yet it is not in the power of the best government to make an impious, profligate people happy. How well soever our public affairs may be managed, we may undo ourselves by our vices. And it is from hence, I apprehend, that our greatest danger arises. That spirit of infidelity, selfishness, luxury and dissipation, which so deeply marks our present manners, is more formidable than all the arms of our enemies. Would we but reform our evil ways, humble ourselves under the corrections, and be thankful for the mercies of heaven; revive that piety and public spirit, that temperance and frugality, which have entailed immortal honor on the memory of our renowned ancestors; we might then, putting our trust in God, humbly hope that our public calamities would be soon be at an end, our independence established, our rights and liberties secured, and glory, peace and happiness dwell in our land. Such happy effects to the public, might we expect from a general reformation.
BUT let everyone remember, that whatever others may do, and however it may fare with our country, it shall surely be well with the righteous; and when all the mighty states and empires of this world shall be dissolved and pass away “like the baseless fabric of a vision”, they shall enter into the kingdom of their father which cannot be moved, and in the enjoyment and exercise of perfect peace, liberty and love, shine forth as the sun forever and ever (Rev. Simeon Howard, 1780 Election Sermon, U of Michigan Library, edited for length).
UnitedCry DC16 – This Saturday, April 9, from 9 AM-4 PM, as many as 30,000 pastors and Christian leaders from across America will be gathering at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC in Solemn Assembly. Our purpose is to repent, pray, and seek God’s face in a Joel 2:17 response amid America’s 2016 moral, spiritual and political crisis. The pastor-led effort, envisioned by Pastor Lewis Hogan from Gateway Church in Dallas, Texas and a diverse team of pastors and leaders from across America promises to be a prayerful precursor to numerous calls for nationwide prayer and repentance. The event will be aired live on GodTV (see UnitedCry DC16; view it live on GodTV).
- May God look with favor upon all those gathered at the United Cry! May he honor this heartfelt response to his word and promises! May it become a movement that spreads among the 400,000 pastors in America! May our nation’s pastors and church leaders seek God’s face as never before this year, and may they, in turn, lead God’s people to what he accepts as a genuine Joel 2:12-18 repentance. May the UnitedCry pave the way for the upcoming National Day of Prayer, May 5th, Call2Fall on July 3rd, and Nick Hall’s Together-Reset 2016, July 16th. May it serve to grow momentum for Franklin Graham’s successful 50-state Decision America Tourand numerous other God-birthed Christian gatherings pointing the Church and America to repentance in 2016! (1 Sam 2:30 b; 2 Chr 7:14; Ps 15:4b; 68:11; Pr 3:1, 4; Joel 1:14; 2:12-18; Acts 19:18-20)
The Sexual war against Christianity – Yesterday, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed into law HB 1523, the “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act.” The law is similar to the Indiana Religious Freedom Reformation Act (RFRA), which came under such fire from homosexual activists and pro-LGBT businesses that Governor Mike Pence and the Indiana legislature caved in to the activists, gutted the law and turned it, instead, into an LGBT special rights law. So vicious was the opposition by homosexual activists, so potentially damaging were the threats by big business, so hot was the heat of the battle that it gave coinage to a new word: “Penced!” Perhaps fear of being “Penced” led Georgia Governor Nathan Deal to veto a watered-down RFRA law that would have protected only pastors, churches and church organizations but not individuals, businesses and non-profit groups. Gov. Bryant signed into law a measure that protects all Mississippians from government discrimination, regardless of their beliefs on marriage.
The rage focused against state RFRA’s and Government Non-Discrimination Acts (GNDAs) coupled with aggressive efforts to implement pro-LGBT “Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity” laws (SOGI’s – also called bathroom bills) has reached new heights of insanity. The entry of big business in support of the LGBT activist crowd has multiplied the pressure and intimidation that our elected officials face. Fortunately, the threats by business to inflict pain on pro-liberty jurisdictions have, thus far, proven empty. In Houston, where the pastors and citizens defeated a SOGI under threat of supposed economic ruin, the economy is booming. Many of the intolerant “tolerance” crowd of moneyed activists behind this movement are the true discriminators who want nothing less than to replace the moral foundation of our nation. Theirs is an assault against Christianity and Christians in particular. The only way to protect all American believers is for the U.S. House and Senate to pass the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) and to elect a Congress and president who will work together to enact it! (see FRC on Mississippi’s New Law; Indiana RFRA; Georgia Veto; Porn Phenomena; Horowitz: The Raging War against Religious Liberty; view Sexual Orientation, the Idol of our Day; view panel Religious Liberty around the World).
- May pastors teach their flocks about the realities of the war being waged upon them. May they enlist Christian citizens to do their part to protect their children and grandchildren from becoming victims of SOGI laws. May every state legislature and Congress pass effective laws, replacing ineffective laws with ones that truly protect the religious liberty for all Americans. May pastors organize Culture Impact Teams to help their people defend their communities! (Pr 29:2; Mt 5:13-14; Acts 20:26-31; Rom 13:3-4; 14:12; Eph 4:12;5:6, 10-20; 1Tim 1:5) (Ex 18:21; Pr 1:7; 9:10; 22:24-25; Rom 13:3-4; Jas 1:19-20; 3:14-18)
Finally, please continue to pray for FRC’s National Hispanic Pastors Briefing Tuesday, April 19th at Colorado Christian University and FRC’s premiere pastors briefing in Washington, D.C.: Watchmen on the Wall Pastors Briefing May 25-27. Please tell your pastor about it, and consider covering the cost to participate. Please also encourage your pastor and church to join FRC and churches across America to observe Sunday, April 17th as “Stand with the Persecuted Church Sunday.” While we contend to preserve religious liberty in our own land, multiplied thousands of our brethren are suffering and dying for their faith! As always, thank you for praying!