Was George Washington Wrong?

“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports,” opined President George Washington in his 1796 farewell address.

Apparently 65% of Americans disagree with our Founding Father.

“Is it necessary to believe in God in order to be moral and have good values?” asked a recent Pew Research Center survey. Almost two-thirds responded that belief in God is unnecessary to be moral.

As we’ve observed in past posts, individualism, relativism and secularism has subverted and shook the spiritual foundations of our society. These attitudes undermine Bible-based morality by proclaiming, “I am my own god.” “If there is a God, He is unnecessary.” And “there are no absolutes.”

As George Barna once observed, “Americans have become comfortable with the idea of being the arbiters of morality. In the same way that most Americans contend there is no absolute moral truth, they now believe that there is no divine guidance required or even available to define right and wrong.” Barna lamented that most Americans “are now more likely to take their moral cues from government laws and policies than from church teachings about biblical principles.”

Honesty, of course, admits there are good people, who are not Believers. And there are hypocritical Christians who fall short of their profession. Yet, there remains this issue of what is the standard for right and wrong? Who decides what is moral and immoral? What’s the solution when your definition of morality and mine differ? Issues of abortion, same-sex marriage, and gender, while they have become politicized, have moral implications. And what you and I believe are based on our moral standard.

The societal shift in morality affects all of us. It impacts our laws. Our homes. Our relationships. Our government. Our schools. Our churches. And the media. We can’t escape it. So, what is a Christian to do?

In an essay entitled “The Gospel, Human Flourishing, and the Foundation of Social Order,” Jason Glas suggested there are four specific pillars of truth, which ought to serve as core convictions for Christians.

#1 Human Beings have Value Because We’re Created in God’s Image.

The Bible says God created us “in His own image” and according to His “likeness” (Gen. 1:26-27). The Psalmist reminds us that we are created just “a little lower than the angels,” but higher than the animal kingdom (Ps. 8). This speaks to our divine nature. To the soul. The spirit. The inner person.

Not only do we have a soul that will never die, but we’ve been given the ability to think. To reason. To create. To choose. To understand right and wrong.

This fact reminds us that human life is valuable. It has worth and dignity. And, because our Creator is good and righteous, we have the ability to aspire to nobler thoughts and higher ideals.

#2 Sin perverts God’s purpose and Enslaves us to Satan.

While I would disagree with Glas’ theological explanation of this point, I agree that sin is the most basic problem of humankind. Sin stains the soul. It destroys homes. It erodes the foundations of our society. And corrupts the character of our leaders. Sin leads to lawlessness. Perversion. Perpetrates itself in more sinfulness. And results in destruction.

The wise man was right. “Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov. 14:34).

#3 The Importance of “The Other Worldview”

Our society sees only a secular world view. The here and now. This world. This earth. This environment.

A Christian world sees beyond this life. It sees the unseen (2 Cor. 4:16-18). It acknowledges the eternal. And accepts the reality that this world is passing away. And one day will be destroyed (2Pet. 3:10-13). As my Mom often said in her last few years, “We’re not put on this earth to live forever.”

#4 Marriage and Family are Fundamental to an Orderly Society.

Human sociologists opine that the nuclear family is the product of Western civilization. Or some experiment that once worked, but is no longer valid. Marriage between one man and one woman was God’s idea. He ordered it. Ordained it. And arranged it. (Gen. 2:18; Matt. 19:6-9; Eph. 5:22-32).

The rejection of marital relationships as God commanded leads to chaos, corruption, and perversion. In The Case for Marriage by Maggie Gallagher and Linda Waite, they argue this societal benefit of the traditional marriage.

…communities where good-enough marriages are common have better outcomes for children, women and men than do communities that suffer from high rates of divorce, unmarried childbearing, and high-conflict or violent marriages.

What does all this mean for Christians?

It’s not enough to preach the Truth, we must practice it. Our beliefs should be reflected in our behavior. In a world that has tasted the dregs of sin, we need to be “the salt.” In a sin-darkened society, we need to be “the light.”

Interestingly, New Testament writers didn’t advocate for a change of Caesars, but a change of life in Christian conduct. The means that saving souls and creating a climate of righteousness is not achieved by political methods, but by a spiritual message and ministry.

Washington today needs to return the principles of its namesake.

Believers today need to return the percepts of God’s Word.

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman


1 Comment

Filed under America, Faith, Religion

One response to “Was George Washington Wrong?

  1. Pingback: Weekly Recap: May 8-12 | ThePreachersWord

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