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PILGRIM PATRIOTISM

[This is an unedited transcript of an extemporaneous talk I shared on July 4, 2010, as our nation celebrated its 234th birthday — DRS]

Well happy birthday, America! A lot of people want to come here. I don’t see many people wanting to leave; it’s a bastion of freedom and hope. We’re sometimes misunderstood around the world. But that’s okay. We know who we are, what we stand for, and we should never forget.

I want to talk to you today about something I’m going to call…Pilgrim Patriotism. I’m going to touch on the requisite patriotic stuff because I think that’s important. I do believe there is a God-and-country dynamic we certainly need. But I want to frame it not only with the term pilgrim as it applies to that band of people who came over on the Mayflower in 1620, but as it applies to all of us.

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If you really want to understand what it means to be patriotic and if you want to do your country the best service possible: Don’t just be a patriot; be a pilgrim patriot.

Now I want to read several passages today. The first is in Matthew chapter 22, during the last week of Jesus’ life. He will go to Calvary in a few days and many are still trying to cross him up so they can undermine his ministry.

So it says in verse 15 of Matthew 22, “Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap Him in His words.” They were always doing this. They were the guardians of the law and saw themselves as way too self-important. “They sent their disciples to Him along with the Herodians.” Now this is a more obscure group, we don’t have a lot of clues about this group in history extant. But there is clue in the name, Herodian. This, of course, is related to Herod.

Herod was the secular ruler, the Herods and so forth, and the Herodians were Jewish people who were unusually loyal to Rome. They represent for us, I think, the state, civil authority, and people who might place too much hope, homage, and bias toward the state.

So you have the religionists and secularists trying to trap Jesus.

 Teacher,’ they said, ‘we know you are a man of integrity and that You teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by men, because You pay no attention to who they are. Tell us then, what is Your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?

Now this is a really interesting query—a classic trick question. Have you seen those commercials for GEICO? You know, the ones that start: “Can you save money by calling GEICO?” Well the latest one that’s out, it’s just out this weekend, has me laughing my head off. It asks, “Did Abraham Lincoln really tell the truth?” And it shows this old honest Abe standing behind his wife, as she looks into a mirror, asking her husband if her dress makes her look big? Lincoln stands behind her and after a few moments of tortured silence, says, “Perhaps…”—and Mary Todd Lincoln storms out.

It was a trick question.

Well, they were trying to trap Jesus and it was a very tricky question. Here’s their question: Do you pay taxes to Caesar?

Why would that be a trick? Well, because the Jews were an occupied people. They didn’t like Rome. The very idea of paying tribute or tax to an occupying power was anathema to them. The Publicans were tax collectors, and they worked on commission. They went around harassing, even extorting, to collect taxes from of their kinsmen for the Roman authorities. So they were despised. Matthew was a converted publican—so was Zacchaeus. But taxes were very much a touchy subject because they were high—even exorbitant—and people didn’t always agree with how the money was used.

Sound familiar?

Taxes have always been a sensitive issue. They were 234 years ago when this country was born. And they’re a monumental issue again in our day and age.

So how is Jesus going to handle this? If he sounds too secular on them, he’ll lose the affection of most Jewish people. But if he doesn’t support the Caesar, he’ll be seen as a subversive. They think they’ve got Jesus painted into a corner.

Jesus responds masterfully (of course, He does!):

Show Me the coin used for paying the tax.’ They brought Him a denarius, and He asked them, ‘Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?’ ‘Caesar’s,’ they replied.

He asked for a coin. A denarius was the equivalent, we’re told, of about a day’s wages back then. So just think of how much money, if you broke your salary down into a day, a workday, how much that would be?

On one side of the coin, it had an image of Caesar. This would have been Tiberius, and the other side had some writing including the term, “Pontifex Maximus,” which meant ruler, but also high priest. By the way, that designation survives today in Roman Catholicism and is attributed to the pope. Pontifex Maximus…

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“Bring Me the coin,” Jesus said, and they weren’t expecting it. They’re dumbfounded.

‘Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.’ When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.” I like the way it’s rendered in the more classic King James. He said to them, “‘Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’

That’s the balance. Patriotism, God, and country…the same as now.

Now there are some things we need to know about this. Number one—it is sort of a play on words—because if you realize the sovereignty of God, then everything belongs to God. So you’re really rendering everything to God, but if something belongs to Caesar, He says, “Render it,” as well. This is, of course, the tribute or the tax.

I think one of the points being made is that we are in a better position to truly render unto Caesar, unto the state, unto society, unto the culture, unto the government, and unto the country that which duly and truly belongs to it when we have first determined to render all things unto God.

That’s why I want to talk about pilgrim patriotism. Last week, I talked about the importance of the tent. If you were here last week, I talked about the patriarchs, and their journey and the importance of a tent as part of their spiritual journey. It’s also to be part of your spiritual journey.

The tent was a metaphor, I told you, for mobility, for moving on. We think of the pilgrims who left September 6, 1620 from England, and came to these shores, and saw the land for the first time.

They were called pilgrims originally by William Bradford, writing in Of Plymouth Plantation. He wrote that the word had significant meaning to them. To many Americans, to most Americans, it means the people who had Thanksgiving dinner with the Indians and had the funny hats. But, in fact, they were pilgrims because first they had been in Britain, but because there was a no separation of church and state there, and they had a state church. So the Church of England banned all “Separatists” and wanted to drive them out of the country. Some were killed, and many of them fled to Holland.

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From there, they decided to go to the New World, coming over, famously, on the Mayflower. You know the story, and the Mayflower Compact and all that. What was unique about these people? They moved around a lot.

They were pilgrims. They drew that word from the Bible, from the book of Hebrews and I Peter. They were pilgrims. They were movable. This world was not really their home.

Bradford wrote in that book, “They knew they were pilgrims.” That’s where it comes from. That’s why we use that word to describe them. It says in Hebrews 11:

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the Promised Land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

They were looking for something spiritual. They were looking for something that came from God and therefore, they moved around. They weren’t tied to their old life. They weren’t tied to the values of this world. They (the old Patriarchs, history’s original “Pilgrims”) had an interest in the “promised” land—and that’s talking about Canaan. It’s still the land that is a subject of great dispute today. They were patriots, as well as patriarchs.

In fact, they were pilgrims, patriots, and patriarchs.

Let me give you some principles of pilgrim patriotism this morning, and I’m going to draw these from another passage, from the book of 1 Peter, chapter 2. I’ll spend the bulk of my time there for the next few moments.

Pilgrim patriotism involves a sense of before and after.

Now sometimes when you look back, everything sort of blends together. Your mind plays tricks on you. Something that happened when you were four years old seems like it happened the day before something that happened when you were five. That, in turn, seems like it happened just about a week before something that happened when you were seven. That’s how the mind works. It’s very selective.

Looking back now to July 4, 1776, when this declaration was proclaimed, that had been ratified a few days before, we need to understand that it was basically changing the rules of engagement for the army and for the nation.

When they fired the shot (as Emerson wrote about) heard around the world (Lexington and Concord in April of 1775, more than a year earlier), they were fighting a defensive war. Independence was not really on most minds at the time. It was about defending themselves against a king who wanted to suppress rebellion.

The Declaration of Independence changed it all, and basically said, “We’re no longer fighting to get things back to where they were so we can get better representation in Parliament, so the rights our English countrymen and kinsmen that they have over there, we can have here.” They now saw the fight as about something totally new. As Paine said, “We have it in our power to begin the world over again.”

So there was a before. You see before July 4, 1776, it was all different. After that, they signed their lives and their sacred honor, these men who signed that document understood that it was about a before and after.

Dates are important. People say, “Well, I don’t think it’s important to know the important dates in history.” Well, I think it is. That’s not all history is. I know that. But if you don’t know the times, then you have a hard time understanding the issues of the times. Accurate dating is good place to start—it gives us something to use as an anchor.

So July 4, 1776, 234 years ago, today we look back at the birth of our country. I think appropriately so. Before that, we were not a country. Listen to a passage from the Apostle Peter’s writings—does this sound familiar? First Peter, chapter 2 says about people of God,

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

There was a before. Is there an after? Once there were a bunch of colonies and people with various interests and conflicts of interest. After the 4th of July, yeah, there was still some internal disagreement, but there was a whole new purpose. There is a before. There is an after. The same thing is true in your experience, and in the experience of the church, individually and corporately.In other words: conversion and corporate calling. I talk about this on radio. And some of the most contrary email I get is when I ask, “I was saved May 12, 1968—do you know the time and place you were saved?” I know memory cannot be exact, but a lot of people are bothered. Here’s what I often get: “I don’t believe you have to remember there was a time you were saved. I’ve always sort of believed in God, and I don’t believe I need to have one of these conversion experiences.”

That is a dangerous way to think.

All the Bible teaches that conversion is all about a new birth. It’s all about a narrative. It says, “Once I was lost, but now I am found. Once I was blind, but now I can see. Once I was dead, but now I’m alive.” If someone tells me, “I’ve always believed in God,” it tells me they’ve never come to the place where they have faced the basic fact they needed to start with in order to know God, and that is that we are born in sin. We are in rebellion against God, and unless and until we’re saved, we’re going to be judged for that rebellion.

People don’t want to hear about the total depravity of man, about all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. I hope you’ve always had a faith influence in your life. Praise God! I have always had that in my life, but it wasn’t enough to save me because I was a preacher’s kid, because I went to church every Sunday from the time I was 8 days old, several times a week. I mean if that could have made a Christian, I would be the king of all Christians today. But I had to come to the place where I acknowledged, just like any other human being, I’m a sinner, and I need to be saved.

If you trust the fact, “Well, I’ve always sort of believed in God, that’s enough,” it is not enough. You must be born again. Come to Christ. Did you notice the language in this passage? Once you were not, but now you are. Once you had not, but now you have. Now, it’s also about the remnant, the holy nation, the royal priesthood. He has put us together. He says, “Once you were not. You were just raw and rebellious individuals, and God has formed you into His body, the body of Christ.” This is what He is saying…the before and after.

Pilgrim patriotism involves faithful witness.

I believe that to be a pilgrim patriot means you have a specific witness, a faithful witness. What does it say here in verse 9?

You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.

I love the flag. I love fireworks. I really love apple pie, hot dogs. I never had a Chevrolet. I love America. I love the mountains and the valleys, the coast, and the plains. I love people coming from around the globe, the melting pot of the earth. I love the Declaration of Independence. I love the Constitution of the United States. When Senator Byrd from West Virginia died last week, this country lost someone who was a good watchdog, where one is desperately needed, for the Constitution of the United States. I love it all.

Do you know what? I believe I’d die for my country if called to do so. Some of you know people who have. But I want to challenge you on this July 4th, and I don’t want this to unsettle you, but I want to make you think, do you love God as much as you love America? Do you love the Word as much as you love that Constitution? You say, “What’s the point?” Well, the point is that the classic definition of idolatry is when we love something with more passion than we love God.

You say, “Is it possible to be too patriotic?” I think you can be patriotic to the extreme if you love God more and if God is still first. I want to challenge you about something. There are a lot of people here in America all up in arms about this, that, and the other thing, and they want to do this and do that. If we could just channel some of that energy into actually getting a revived church in this country and get people back to the work of the gospel, we could see more accomplished than any movement, any grassroots thing. The ultimate grassroots thing that will change hearts is a grassroots revival spurred by the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful witness, showing forth the praises of Him.

Pilgrim patriotism involves a balance between what I call asceticism and activism.

Verses 11 and 12 of 1 Peter 2 talk about this. Asceticism means severity, discipline, living a holy life. Activism means engaging. Both are to be part of the Christian life.

Listen to this language, verse 11, “Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers…” In the King James it says pilgrims. That’s where the word comes from…passing through. “…Aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.” So what he is saying basically is you can’t live like this world. You can’t have the values of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life. Abstain from those things. There are things you need to avoid. There are things we need to stay away from.

I think that’s where the original pilgrims were coming from because there were in a society that was oppressing them. They wanted to go worship where they were free, so they came over to this country. But I don’t mean to criticize these people because they had it a little tougher than I have it, but in a sense from a biblical standpoint, there was a little flaw in their reasoning because they were doing something all of us have, at one time or another wanted to do.

“Oh, wouldn’t it be good if we didn’t have to deal with that garbage and we just all stayed together as people?” Like Peter, James, and John, “It’s good that we’re here Jesus, on this mountain just with You.”

People say to me, “Pastor Stokes, you don’t have to deal with what I do. You go to work, and you work in a church office.” Listen, one of the things I challenge our staff about is that we’re not about just keeping it in here. You know what? We’re interested in you people, but we’re much more interested in those people out there.

I remember one time when I was pastor of a church in New York. A lady left the church. Here was her argument, “Some visitors came in, and Pastor Stokes shook their hand before he shook my hand, and I’ve been here all these years.” Bye, bye! I mean seriously? That’s how some people think.

We want to reach the lost for Jesus Christ. That’s what it ought to be about.

Now the Mayflower pilgrims thought, “Let’s just and have our little community.” Of course, on one level I’m glad they did. God was working. There was providence. I’m not being totally critical here. But somewhere along the way, they missed verse 12, “Live such good lives among the pagans.” Where?

Among the pagans.

Some say, “I just wish we could hang around Christians all the time.” I’ve been around Christians all my life. It’s good for you to get out. All right? Get out. Get out. Get among some real people because Christians who hang around Christians…Think about this…if all you hang around is your own family, and then you marry your cousin and then other cousins marry, you’re going to have an increasingly messed up and weird family.

There are a lot of churches that are just inbred, and they’re all imbeciles. Pardon me, but they’re not doing anything for Christ because they have to keep away from the world out there. “You know they’re drinking beer out there, and they went to that there picture show, you know the picture just moves right on the screen and they have televisions and they have that there cable. Some of them have a dish and they suck stuff down from the sky. Wish we could be like the Amish, or better, the Puritans, and just be people without modernity, without the world.”

Listen, being against the world is not being against modernity…modern living; it’s being against the philosophy. We’re supposed to be living among the pagans! “Good thing, Pastor, because that’s my neighborhood. That’s my address! Pagan 100…that’s where I live. That’s where I live!”

 That’s where God wants you to be. Balance it.

Pilgrim patriots don’t spend all of their time with the saints. We go for the sinners, too. Hey, guess what? You know the big metaphor in evangelism with Jesus was fishing, fishers of men. You say, “Well, I don’t want to get around those people.” I never saw somebody who had spent a lot of time fishing who didn’t smell a little bit. If you’re going to be around fish, you’re going to stink like fish a little bit.

There are some Christians who don’t stink enough like the world because you’re not around it. You say, “You mean I should just go do what they’re doing?” No. Contact without contamination, but please, get out there and mingle among the pagans. This is what he is saying, “That they may see your good deeds and glorify…”

Let’s go to the next one.

Pilgrim patriotism fuels good citizenship.

Now I’m going to come back to this term citizenship in a moment. Let me read the Scripture to you. Verses 13-17,

Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.

Listen to verse 17. Chew on this for a while, “Show proper respect to everyone.” I do think we’ve had a loss of civility in this country. “Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.” We don’t have any kings. We have civil authority.

I write a lot of stuff. Sometimes I’m critical of policy. I can still remember…and I’ve told this story before…coming home back around the Cuban Missile Crisis, a little after that, my parents were not big JFK fans. They did not like John F. Kennedy. They voted for Richard Nixon, and they voted for Goldwater over LBJ. They were not John F. Kennedy fans. I heard a joke in school about President Kennedy, who was then still alive.

I came home and at the right moment at dinner, I thought I would just share this joke with my dad. I forget what it was. It may have been a knock-knock joke for all I know. A kid came up to me this morning, Betty Meyer’s grandson came up and hugged me, and said, “Why did the chicken cross the road?” I went, “To get to the other side.” He said, “Yeah,” and so he walked away with his head down and wearing a frown. I felt bad.

I still feel bad about that.

See when I was a kid, there were two jokes. Why did the fireman wear red suspenders, and why did the chicken cross the road? Well the fireman wore red suspenders to keep his pants up, but I used to mix them up. I was so funny. Why did the chicken cross the road? To keep his pants up. Real knee-slapping stuff.

So this was the level of humor I was sharing with my dad that day. I remember I was waiting for the laugh because it was a funny piece of wit. My dad just looked at me and said, “Son, don’t ever talk about the President of the United States at this table that way.” But Dad, you didn’t vote for the guy. “He is still the president.” He taught me something about respect. It was a good lesson.

I personally disagree with a lot of what President Obama does. But I’ll give him credit where credit is due. He has a gift. I saw him at the coal miner thing a few months ago and at Senator Byrd’s funeral. He is a great communicator in moments like that. I loved what he had to say. I think he is a good daddy. I don’t disagree with everything about the guy. I believe I should give honor to whom honor is due. If I disagree with a person, I’ll disagree with a person. But all I want is the best for this country and for him. That’s citizenship.

We have the right to do that today. It’s okay. I didn’t agree with everything President Bush did, or everything President Clinton did, or everything President Reagan did. I probably agreed more with President Reagan that I agree with President Obama, so what? He won the election. People are saying, “What are we going to do about this new Supreme Court?” He won the election. I mean there is not a lot we can do about it. If you didn’t want that, get other people to vote your way and win the next election.

Now I’m not minimizing the issues. There are big issues, but I think we have to get back to citizenship in this country. Mario Cuomo, former governor of New York, great orator had a saying that, “Politics is poetry and governing is prose.” Well, I sort of… Here’s my little saying akin to that: patriotism is poetry; citizenship is prose.

We love the poetry. It inspires us, the flag, the fireworks, the songs. But citizenship is the real deal. It’s about voting, and it’s about serving, and it’s about going to church, and it’s about being a good neighbor, and it’s about being salt and light, and it’s about being witnesses for Jesus.

It’s all about citizenship. You’re there for the long haul. You’re not just there for a little bit, just barely showing up.

We have a short attention span in America today, and I blame it on baseball. We had an example of it yesterday. I sat down to watch a game. Stephen Strasburg (this guy pitches almost as fast as I do) was throwing the ball at Nationals Park against the New York Mets, and he struck out a number of people. He wasn’t getting hit at that much, but he threw 96 pitches, and the manager pulled him out of the game.

Now that’s not Strasburg’s fault. I think he’s a fierce competitor. But they’re managing him very carefully. Maybe they’re smart. Maybe they’re not.

But when I grew up, baseball was baseball.

July 2, 1963, Candlestick Park, San Francisco, Giants playing the Milwaukee Braves. Juan Marichal pitching for the Giants, Warren Spahn pitching for the Milwaukee Braves. It goes into the 16th inning zero to zero, and both starters are still on the mound. See when I was a kid, the bullpen was for losers. That was the time-out for pitchers.

There was no middle reliever, specialist for this or that. Everybody is special today. They have a specialty. What are you? Well, I throw one pitch once a year, and I make a million dollars, but I’m a specialist. Well they didn’t have that back then. They had four-man rotations. Now they have five, so pitchers pitch every fifth day. Back then, when men were men, they pitched every four days. They didn’t have pitch count because none of them went to school and couldn’t count. So they didn’t know how many pitches they were throwing.

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Warren Spahn threw, on his 276th pitch, a screwball that did not break and a pretty good hitter by the name of Willy Mays knocked the ball out of the park for a walk-off home run for the 87 people left in the stands…276 pitches. Oh, did I tell you, Warren Spahn was 42 years old at the time.Some people here were at the game yesterday. I guarantee you the game got less interesting after inning five. What’s the problem? We’re not in it for the long haul. The going gets a little tough…just pull him out. He has pitched too much. Let me tell you something. That’s not the how it should be for people of God. I use that for a metaphor, bring it into church. “Oh you know, we’re working too hard. I go to church once a week. Small group? That’s a lot.”

Man, when I was growing up we went to church every hour on the hour. We never had a break. You talk about cults. People in those churches join cults just to get more spare time! That’s the way it was. Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, we had revival meetings and visitation night and you had all this stuff. Every once in a while, you said, “Stay home with your family,” and you had to go figure out who your family was. I mean that’s how much you went to church.

But now, I’m going to have a seven-part series. “Well, I can make four of them, preacher, but I got stuff to do and so forth.” Well, here’s the thing maybe there needs to be more spiritual citizenship in the kingdom of God and maybe you’re all about the poetry, “Rev us up!”—but not about so much about the prose.

Two-hundred-thirty-four years old… Give me just a couple of more moments here. I want to tell you a story…1775, September, just a few months after Lexington and Concord and what Emerson said was the shot heard round the world. A group of soldiers visited a little church 30 miles northeast of Boston in a town called Newburyport. Now you’ve heard of the Old North Church and Paul Revere? Well this is the Old South Church, not a famous church. It’s forgotten, but I think it’s important.

They went there to listen to a chaplain. They were getting ready to go into battle. They were getting ready to go and fight, and they were led by a very interesting character. The leader of the regiment was a guy by the name of Benedict Arnold, but they were going to battle. They thought, “We ought to pray and go to church. The chaplain is speaking.”

Some of them, though, wanted to go to this church not because they wanted to hear this chaplain, but because they knew something special was there. A lot of people pointed out the bell in the clock tower of the church had been crafted be a silversmith by the name of Paul Revere who had been famous recently. And on the Sunday after Lexington and Concord, the preacher of that church got so energized about liberty, that during the middle of his message, people were so inspired a man got up and stood in the aisle and volunteered on the spot for the new Continental Army.

By the time the service was over, 60 others had joined. It’s probably the first regiment to be formed after Lexington and Concord. So the church had a little storied history, but that’s not why some wanted to be there. They were interested in something under the pulpit because under the pulpit there was a crypt, a coffin, a grave.

It’s still there.

It had to do with the history of this church because this church had been founded around 1740, and one of the men who had founded the church was a famous evangelist who, in 1770, as an older man, came back to preach and on the Sunday morning he was supposed to preach, he died. They buried him in the basement in a crypt under the pulpit. His name was George Whitefield the great evangelist of the Great Awakening.

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As these men of the Continental Army sat there and they watched this, they couldn’t wait for the chaplain to be done. After it was over, they asked the sexton of the church, “Could you show us the tomb?” They went down, and he actually opened it and they took some scissors and excised a couple of pieces of fabric. I know it’s sort of ghoulish, and I wouldn’t do it, and they took those as good-luck charms into battle with them.

I don’t believe in amulets, good-luck charms, but I think I understand what they were trying to do. They wanted to connect with this man.

I think they knew, you see, that what they were doing that day and whatever was going to happen on these shores had a lot to do with what that man did. You’ll hear a lot today about the 234th birthday of the United States, July 4, 2010, but if birth follows after a period of time, conception and gestation, where do you place the conception and the gestation of the nation?

Well, I believe it was in 1740, 1741, 1742 in something called the Great Awakening…a spiritual revival that led to thousands of conversions and hundreds, and hundreds, and hundreds of new churches being formed on these shores. These men going to battle still heard the stories and remembered that the DNA of faith was part of what they were fighting about and for. I love this country, but I don’t think this country remembers.

A few years ago, a member of my church in New York went to that church and brought back some pictures. It’s probably been cleaned up since, but he said, “I want to see the tomb.” They let him in. And down in the basement, Whitefield’s tomb, there is a little bust and there were paint cans and ladders and drop cloths and everything. In other words, nobody visited. It was just, you know—a mess.

We just forget.

We had an awakening spiritually in this country that fueled a future revolution! I have to tell you, on July 4, 2010, I can’t think of anything more important than for America to have another spiritual awakening of people of God, not a particular denomination. Whitefield used to preach, “Father Abraham, do you have any Baptists up there? No. Do you have any Presbyterians up there? No. Do you have any Lutherans up there? No. Do you have…? We just have people who know Jesus.”

Maybe we won’t all be in the same church, or in the same political party, but something has to happen. Something has to happen. Maybe it will happen if a few of us determine today to be pilgrim patriots. – DRS

 

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