Eighth grade is a great time for teenagers. They still have that love and loyalty to their parents, their God, and their country. We wanted to cultivate that moment in our fourteen-year-old’s life by taking him to Washington D.C. to revisit the great purposes and foundation of our country.
We arrived in the city, checked into our hotel, and the adventure began.
We visited the U.S. Capital and found that there is a Private prayer chapel off the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. The focal point of the chapel is a stained glass with George Washington kneeling in the snow. Surrounding Washington is the verse Psalm 19:1. The two lower panes show a Bible and a candle. Underneath the window is a Bible opened to Psalm 23.
The rotunda in the U.S. Capital displays a painting that shows the Pilgrims on their ship before they departed Holland for North America. The painting shows the pilgrims praying as William Brewster holds an open Bible. On the sail of the ship are the words “God with us”, from Isaiah 7:14
I later pointed out, at the Washington Monument, that there were scriptures carved into its hallowed walls: Exodus 28:26, 30:30; Isa. 23:18; Zech. 14:20; Jn. 5:39; and Pro. 10:7.
We then traveled to the Supreme Court where my son saw a freeze of the great lawgivers of the world looking to Moses sitting on a throne. On the outside of the doors leading into the courtroom, he saw the Ten Commandments. He was then able to view, above where the Supreme Court Justices preside, a craving of Moses with his arm resting on the Ten Commandments. The official film they show visitors at the Supreme Court pointed out to him that every session begins with the words: “God save the Supreme Court and the United States of America.”
Furthermore, he discovered on his adventure that the famous monuments and other buildings were broadcasting the Word of God on their edifices as well. The Lincoln Memorial: Mat. 18:7; Ps. 19:9; Is. 40:1-5; The Library of Congress: Jn. 1:5; Micah 6:8; Psalm 19:1; Martin Luther King Memorial: Amos 5:24, “But let justice run down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”
His favorite place was the four days he spent at the new Bible Museum. Seventeen stories tall, the Bible Museum is six floors of a high tech presentation of the History and proof of an infallible Bible that impacted our Nation for man’s good and God’s glory.
After visiting the Nation’s Capital with my son and wife, my heart whispers a prayer, may God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America.
Yet we are so smart today that we have been talked out of our great spiritual heritage. We are so intelligent that we have been manipulated into believing Thomas Jefferson thought Christianity should stay out of schools and government when he wrote his famous line in a letter that stated, “There is a wall of separation between church and state.” The facts are that he wrote the letter to a group of Baptist pastors. His meaning was that government should stay off the backs of the church, and certainly not have one state sponsored church. He never meant that church should stay out of government. If he meant otherwise, why did he sign three times legislation that allowed the setting aside of government land for, “missionaries to evangelize the Indians.”
We hear the same old tired arguments from some (which some actually believe they have discovered some new thinking), that they don’t want some non-Christian person reading the Bible or praying, but for almost 200 years our forefathers, many of whom were not born again Christians, read the Bible and prayed until it was outlawed in 1962-63; yet God has told us that any nation would be blessed that honored his Word. Does God’s Word and the wisdom of our forefathers ring true?
From 1940-1962 we have data that the problems in our public schools that concerned teachers most were:
- Chewing gum
- Making noise
- Running in the halls
- Getting out of turn in line
From 1963 to the present the concerns of teachers are:
Not to mention plummeting SAT scores, increased rate of out of wedlock births, increase in illegal drug use, and deterioration of school behavior.
I remember the Bible being illegally read in my school as a young child, and scripture being assigned for memory; but very soon that antagonists joined by some professing Christians said it had to stop. It did. I then saw my schools deteriorate over the years until large-scale violence engulfed my High School. I saw people stabbed with 12-inch knives, I saw people shot, I witnessed large-scale fighting, and saw my own brother taken to the hospital in an ambulance. I saw fear in the faces of students as death lists were circulated that led to early school dismissal. I was beaten myself on several occasions. Drug abuse spiraled out of control so much so that the daily newspaper declared my High School the leading drug school in the state. My principal was adamant, though, there would be no Bible read and no prayer in the classroom. I feared our school would be tore to pieces. We made a final appeal to the principal to allow us to begin to read the Bible to the entire school each day. We asked him to allow us to have an illegal class for credit to study the Word of God. We also asked him if we could meet (illegally) during instructional time to study the Bible (By the hundreds it turned out), and in desperation he allowed all of that to happen.
By God’s grace, we saw good results. The violence virtually went away. No more stabbings, shootings, ambulances picking up battered bodies at the school. Many came to Christ, and our school found hope in despair just like our forefathers; and we all got along and worked things out without Big Brother. When our Jewish friends complained about the reading of New Testament scripture, we invited them to read the Old Testament on all of their main holidays. Our Jewish friends were delighted and even started attending the Fellowship of Christian Athletes meetings. Our school was very diverse (we had 60 students who were Satan worshippers that met regularly a few blocks from the school), but the Satan worshippers made no attempt to stop us. Several of them actually came to Christ. Amazingly God worked things out and we did not need a Federal regulator.
When we think about how our U.S. Congress paid for the first Bibles to be printed in America, when we understand that the primary reason for the existence of our schools in the United States was to teach the word of God, and when I think of the blessings of God that were poured out on our nation because of these courageous actions by our forefathers, I pray, “Dear God, teach us the old paths once again.”
Greg Davidson is the Senior Pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Vacaville, CA.