Friday, July 9, 2010

Fearless Christianity Built America

Nathan JonesPDFBy Nathan Jones

"You Christians are always cherry picking history to support your absurd claim that America was founded on Christianity. It was not!"

Thus wrote Goatcheez, the alias name of a commenter who posted his view under an article concerning America's Christian heritage. He was rather cheesed off over the very notion that America was founded on the efforts of Christians spreading the Word of God. Was Goatcheez right?

If we were to become revisionist historians, acting as Thomas Jefferson did when he used his razor to slice out all the miracles from the Gospels, then we too could recreate a history as lifeless and neutered as the Jefferson Bible. Remove Christianity and one removes what drove the heart of the very people that became the explorers of the New World. What scraps that remain in the history books would be the Cortez's and Pizarro's, Conquistadors who raped the land and killed the people for the love of gold. Remove the people who came to the New World seeking souls for Christ, and very clearly much of the United States would never have even existed.

For evidence, let's go back to the very beginning of the New World with its discovery in 1492 by Christopher Columbus. Christopher, which literally means "Christ-bearer," wrote in his journals how he felt called by the Holy Spirit to bring the Gospel to the other side of the world.1 Columbus saw himself in Isaiah 49:6 (NIV). "I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth."


The Western Missionaries

Many of us are more familiar with the Pilgrims and Puritans who settled the East Coast of our nation and provided the theological foundation for our form of government. Less well known are the missionaries who went to the West Coast and the Central part of our nation.

While the Protestant Reformation was still in its infancy in the early 1500s, lovers of God gave up their lives of privilege and self-indulgence to join the only outfit in town that would send them to win souls in need, and so donned the habit. They were willing to give up everything, even life itself, to brave an undiscovered and hostile land to tell people long separated from God about Jesus Christ.

In their wake these early missionaries planted churches, schools, and orphanages that became the very seed of burgeoning new towns. On the West Coast, Alonso de Benavides in 1630 began baptizing eighty thousand Indians in ninety communities and set up twenty-five missions, founding New Mexico. Fray Junipero Serra, called the "Light of California," founded the missions of San Diego, San Carlos, San Francisco and Santa Barbara.2

The lands of the Great Lakes were also being explored by Christian witnesses like Jacques Cartier, who in 1543 discovered the Saint Lawrence River. He set up a cross by the waters whereby he could witness to the Indians.3

Jacques Marquette brought the Gospel to the Illinois, exploring much of the Mississippi River before dying of dysentery at age of thirty-eight.4


Jacques Marquette

The selfless courage of these missionaries Satan could not stand up against, no matter how hard he tried. And try he did.

Men like Isaac Jogues were unwavering in their desire to reach the lost. When he was captured by the Iroquois in 1642, Jogues had his fingers gnawed off and he was turned into a slave.5 After a year he escaped to Albany and when back in France, begged to be returned to the Iroquois Indians. Awed again to see Jogues return, Mohawk's called him a sorcerer and out of fear clubbed him to death.6

Jean de Brébeuf worked nineteen years among the Huron tribe until 1649 when he was also kidnapped by the Iroquois and tortured to death. The Iroquois poured boiling water on his naked body to mock baptism, tied red-hot hatches around his neck, and set a birchbark belt on fire around his waist. When Brébeuf finally made a sound to encourage his fellow captors, the Indians cut off his lips and tongue, rammed a hot poker down his throat, and ate the skin off of his arms before his eyes. In awe of Brébeuf's faith under trial, his tormentors drank his blood in the hopes of gaining the courage God gave Brébeuf.7


Jean de Brebeuf


A Call to Courage

America's greatest explorers were also America's greatest missionaries. They loved their Savior and the lost more than themselves, even to the point of death. The light they shined in the New World, the darkness was powerless to overcome (John 1:5). The result was the Christian foundation of the United States of America.

May we never forget the debt our nation owes the many missionary pioneers, and may we always seek to follow their fearless example. To do neither is to bring about the spiritual death of this nation.


Notes

1. Peter Marshall & David Manuel, The Light and the Glory (Tarrytown, New York: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1977), p. 31.

2. Ibid., p. 72.

3. Ibid., p. 75.

4. Wikipedia, "Jacques Marquette,"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacques_Marquette, accessed May 10, 2010.

5. Wikipedia, "Isaac Jogues,"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Jogues, accessed May 10, 2010.

6. Peter Marshall & David Manuel, The Light and the Glory (Tarrytown, New York: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1977), p. 77-78.

7. Wikipedia, "Jean de Brébeuf,"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_de_Br%C3%A9beuf, accessed May 10, 2010.

2 comments:

Dennis said...

My brothers and sisters and to all. Though many will come and post a comment on their thoughts and arguments as to yes we are no were not. I find myself sitting here, come home from a wounderful Bible preaching service in my little mom and pop type church. Our pastor preached on Acts 1:8, the title was POWER- the question askded, where's it at? As many live a life that the old man did not die, and yet shout out they are Christian and to on-lookers from afar see them, and the cross in the background and say this Jesus was week, or not real. When in fact the professor is only that, a false convert. I sit at my home with only a water cooler to cool my hot head, yet the roof shuns the sunlight from overpowering, and baring down on me. Take the time friends to look at your life, the comforts you and I enjoy. The building we get to sit in comfort as the word is given. And many are to busy balancing their check books, or making a shoping list never hearing the word, but still shake hands with the precher and tell him/her a "great message, I enjoyed it." Ponder how truly blessed we are to come togeather in this setting like this and debate, encourage, and uplift eachother; while many can't as they preach Jesus and Him Crucified and telling them to repent from their sins, come to Christ lest you die in your sins, and be cast into eternal damnation of Hell Fire, no repent and accept Christ before it's to late, I love you, and God loves you repent! repent! repent! as the precher ever more struggles to utter those words for he lies in a pool of his own blood and his wife and young children lie dead a few feet away as they are surrounded by villagers in the forest, or in a gutter in some communist country. Yes my friends, I sit here at my computer, and glare.......what comment do I want to make, what can I say about something; like this. Many have knowingly, willingly given so much in many brutal ways for the Lord Jesus, WHAT HAVE WE DONE WITH THE WORD THAT GOD ENTRUSTED TO US? will we be willing to not just die, but literaly, recieve the worst torture a person can give as they are led by demons to do so prior to death. Will we stand firm in faith yet tempted,and crying out to God as a person hold your helpless child with a hatchet to their little neck and all you have to do is repent Jesus, can we stand. Or if someone holds a gun to us, and we have a gun held up to them, knowing if you don't shoot them they will kill you, but also knowing if you do kill them, they will end up in eternal hell will we then have what it takes to put our weapon down and sacrafice our life for the mere mabe they will someday accept Christ?
Lets remeber those this entire week who are out and about risking all they are and have for the Lord Jesus. sorry for such a long post, but yes I still sit here and glare and wounder what can I write that is just slightly worthy of their sacrafice

Expected Imminently said...

Dennis

We can rejoice in the knowledge that God sees the littlest sparrow, and where it falls - or sits.

Look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith who knows the way we take - and loves us anyway.

God bless you my brother, and give you His peace.
Love in Jesus
Sue
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