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      Our Nation was founded on the principles of freedom and truth. However, as we prepare to celebrate the 235th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, we are in danger of losing both freedom and truth. Jesus declared to the Jews of His day, "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:32).

     Amazingly, even though they were currently under the iron rule of the Roman government, and under the heavy burden of a religious system that had become a set of onerous traditions concocted by their religious leaders and that displaced the word of God, they protested that they "were never in bondage to any man.", and then asked Him, "How sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?" They had been living under a lie for so long that they had come to believe that it was the truth.

     Any nation or people who do not know or who rejects the Word of God lives in bondage, and not freedom. The thousand year period from circa 500 - 1500 AD is generally known as the "Dark Ages". It was called thus because the populace, as a whole, lived in ignorance being deprived of the truth of God's Word.

     Because of the invention of the printing press and the Great Reformation, Bibles became easier to reproduce and distribute among the general population, at least in Europe, and later to America. Along with dissemination of the truth and principles of God's Word within those nations came the "Industrial Revolution", freedom and great advances, in education, science and general wealth and higher standard of living. The nations that continued to be deprived of God's word generally continued to live in darkness and fell behind the rest of the world.

     From the beginning, the Bible has been generally recognized as the standard for truth and morality in our nation, and religious freedom was fought for and attained as an inalienable right for its citizens. While religious freedom applied to all faiths, the foundational, and generally held religion was Christianity. America was founded as a Christian Nation!

     At that time America was rife with churches that preached against sin and upheld the Bible as it is, the true Word of God! Many times, as a result of this preaching, a revival would break out starting out small and spreading through whole regions of our nation. These revivals followed the pattern given by God in 2 Chronicles 7:14:"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and forgive their sin, and will heal their land." As these people prayed, confessed, and repented of their sins; God, true to His word, forgave and healed and blessed the land. Consequently, America prospered like no other nation in history. America's greatness was based on America's God and the proliferation of the truth of His Word.

     As Jesus stated in John Chapter 8 (quoted above), the two things necessary for a people to be truly free are: (1) to be free from the penalty and power of sin through personal faith in Himself as the One "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sin, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed." (1 Peter 2:24), and (2) to freely know and accept the truths of the the Word of God, the Bible. In His prayer to the Father for His followers, Jesus said, "Sanctify them through the truth: thy word is truth." (John 17:17).

     Along with every other Bible-believing, New Testament, Baptist church, we are to be the "Pillar and ground of the truth"(1 Timothy 3:15) and must vigorously preach, teach, and publish the word of God. It is the only hope for America.

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