Publication: One-to-One, Autumn 2010
I have often heard my father teach that a “Theology produces culture,” and it has been amply demonstrated throughout history, both ancient and modern, across the globe. The beliefs and perspectives of a people concerning God and His creation, or basic morality, shape their culture in every way, including forms of government, laws, economic systems, civil liberties, and even entertainment and arts.
This is not simply reflected in the various differences among the world’s major religions, but even the various denominations or sects within those religions. Wherever there is truth, there is light and liberty. Where there is deception, there is darkness, oppression, and perversion.
We have seen this throughout the history of the United States as well. Sadly, too much of our history-especially concerning our strong Judea-Christian roots-has been lost, distorted, and obscured. One of the greatest movements in America today is the renewed study of our true history, as opposed to the humanist propaganda that has been taught in too many secular schools and universities during the past 50 years. Much of this interest springs from a deeper hunger for genuine spiritual revival in the nation that changes hearts, minds, and behaviors, and ultimately affects the entire culture.
As we go back to original documents and sources, and verifiable direct statements by our founders and earliest historians, we learn so much more about the actual philosophies, intents, and actions surrounding the founding of our nation.
It is akin to a very thorough and painstaking cleansing of a soot-covered masterpiece painting, where it is restored to its original glory.
In American history, there were two major revivals that dramatically shifted the direction of the entire nation: the Great Awakening in the mid-1700s, which produced the American Revolution; and the Second Great Awakening in the mid- 1800s, which produced the Abolitionist Movement. In his definitive book, Democracy in America (1835), the eminent historian Alexis de Tocqueville of France wrote:
The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other; and with them this conviction does not spring from that barren traditionary faith which seems to vegetate in the soul rather than to live.
There are certain populations in Europe whose unbelief is only equaled by their ignorance and their debasement, while in America one of the freest and most enlightened nations in the world fulfills all the outward duties of religion with fervor.
Upon my arrival in the United States, the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention; and the longer I stayed there, the more did I perceive the great political consequences resulting from this state of things, to which I was unaccustomed. In France I had almost always seen the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom pursuing courses diametrically opposed to each other; but in America I found that they were intimately united, and that they reigned in common over the same country. 1
What would de Tocqueville find if he returned to America today? Despite our current cultural corruption-or perhaps because of it-increasing numbers of Christians in America are praying fervently according to 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from ‘their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
Could it be that as difficulty drives many people to seek the Lord that He might once again have mercy on our nation? Are we in the beginning of another Great Awakening? We pray, not for a theocracy, but that Christ’s Kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy might come, on earth, as it is in heaven. May God continue to stir His people to pray, study His Word, and may He raise up righteous leaders in every sphere of influence, so that our entire culture is changed for His glory!
1. Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America , (New York: A. 5. Barnes & Co., 1851), p.335-337.
Scripture Reference: 2 Chronicles 7:14
STEPHEN SIMPSON is the Editor of One-to-One Magazine and the Director of CSM Publishing. In addition to publishing ministry, Stephen has served in leadership for churches and ministries in Costa Rica, Florida, Mississippi, Texas, and Michigan, as well as being the Senior Pastor of Covenant Church of Mobile (2004-2013). He continues to travel in ministry across North America and in other nations.