America is called “one nation under God.” But today God is rarely mentioned in our history books which have become a lifeless retelling of a vital subject.
Looking at history God’s way is exciting and informative. In fact, he commends its study. “Remember the former things of old, for I am God.” He says in Isaiah 46:9. And in Hebrews 10:32, God declares, “Call to remembrance the former days.” The Apostle Paul explains why: “All these things happened unto them for examples, and they are written for our admonition.” (1 Cor. 10:11)
We learn from history and what we learn affects our behavior. American leaders understand this well. For example, Thomas Jefferson noted “History, by apprizing (students) off the past, will enable them to judge of the future.” Benjamin Franklin said “History will afford frequent opportunities of showing the necessity of a public religion from its usefulness to the public; the advantage of a religious character among private persons; the mischiefs of superstition; and the excellency of the Christian religion above all others, ancient or modern.”
When accurately presented, history demonstrates the need for Christianity because of both the societal and individual benefits it produces. An uncensored, unrevised history causes a recognition of the hand of God.
However, God is no longer visible in American history today. His absence is construed as a mandate for secularism. Texts forcefully assert that the American founding fathers produced the first intentionally secular government in history, even though the Declaration of Independence acknowledges God in four separate clauses.
Similarly, leaders such as John Hancock and John Adams receive credit as being the source of our independence. Yet Adams himself declared that the Rev. Dr. Jonathan Mayhew and the Rev. Dr. Samuel Cooper were two of the individuals “most conspicuous, the most ardent, and influential” in the “awakening and revival of American principles and feelings” and led to American independence.
We no longer know much about the indispensable role of pastors and Christian leaders in the founding of our civil government. And under the economic view of American history, Americans now believe that early colonists came to America seeking land and gold rather than for evangelical purposes. Most now accept that the colonies were founded for trade, fishing and other economic enterprises, even though more than half were founded by ministers for religious purposes.
Having come to believe that economics is what created and made America great, it is not surprising that 45 percent of evangelical Christians say economic issues are more important than moral issues when it comes to voting.
Much of our wholesome, God-centered American history is no longer known. The reintroduction of a truthful and complete telling of it is long overdue.
Daniel Webster was right: “History is God’s providence in human affairs.” It is time for Americans once again to become aware of the remarkable hand of God throughout our history. It’s time for Christians to demand that our textbooks contain the truth so that God is no longer missing in action from American history.