America's Christian Heritage
From the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, to a visit to the National Archives, to the top of the Washington monument, our nation’s capital has many places where we learn of the faith of our Founding Fathers. Symbols, ideas, and men and women of faith bear testimony to the acts of a sovereign God throughout the course of history.
The following examples show how students will learn about our nation’s Christian heritage on their Christian Discoveries program.
Students will learn about George Washington and his unwavering faith while visiting his home, Mount Vernon.Excerpt from The Bulletproof George Washington, by Charles D. Barton:
George Washington's part in the July 9, 1755, battle during the French and Indian War is indisputably one of the most significant events of his early years. His life literally hung in the balance for over two hours. This dramatic event helped shape his character and confirm God's call on him.
During the two-hour battle, the 23 year-old Colonel Washington had ridden to and fro on the battlefield, delivering the general's orders to other officers and troops. The officers had been a special target for the Indians. Of the eighty-six British and American officers, sixty-three were casualties. Washington was the only officer on horseback not shot down.
Following the battle, Washington wrote a letter to his brother in which he readily and openly acknowledged:
"By the all-powerful dispensations of Providence, I have been protected beyond all human probability or expectation; for I had four bullets through my coat, and two horses shot under me, yet [I] escaped unhurt, although death was leveling my companions on every side of me!"
Students will visit the National Archives where they can see the original Declaration of Independence and learn how our Founding Fathers incorporated a trust in God into this powerful document.
From the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men…….
And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
While visiting the Lincoln Memorial, students can read the Gettysburg Address inscribed on the walls and see how Lincoln stated that our nation was in God’s hands.
Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, final line:
“This nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
On your students’ Christian Discoveries program, our Course Leaders will share anecdotes about how our nation was founded on Christian principles. Here is one example:
In the 1960’s a young Christian from Indonesia was planning a trip to the United States of America. He had never been to America and knew little about this country, but he had seen some American money and was particularly excited about the phrase, “In God We Trust.” He thought that this must be a great Christian nation because America even acknowledged her reliance upon God on millions and millions of pieces of her currency and coin. A persecuted Christian in a non-Christian nation, he was looking forward to visiting a nation that honored the God that had changed his life.
As you can see, throughout the program we challenge students to use their gifts to make a difference for God in their families, church, local community, and world, and to grow in their faith by showing them that our nation was established by men and women who honored the Lord.
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