Providence Today: The Bible

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This is Providence Today, and we’re standing here at Christ Church in Philadelphia. One of the great places of our Founding Fathers, where they worshiped as members and also as representatives of the American people and they came to the Continental Congress. This particular marker is very impressive to me because it reminds us that buried in the churchyard or in the graveyard not far from here are very important signers of the Declaration of Independence. In fact, they identify seven of them here, and you can see the name of Benjamin Franklin, Robert Morris, George Ross, Francis Hopkinson, Benjamin Rush, James Wilson and Joseph Hewes. I think it’s wonderful when we think about these individuals, that they left, not just a mark in stone, but a mark in our country. And they are people that had a direct connection with a visible witness of the Judeo-Christian heritage, a Christian Church, like Christ Church, Philadelphia. I think it’s particularly interesting as you look at the list, Benjamin Franklin actually had a Pew in this church.

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That’s how much he was connected with it. You can think of Francis Hopkinson, the designer of the American flag. He was the church organist here, which is quite remarkable.

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When you see the name of James Wilson, this is the man who actually was in the Supreme court later. And he’s a man, when he came to the Constitutional Convention who actually developed the idea of what we call the electoral college, that’s often in the debate of what’s the way democracy should work. Well, he developed that he was from this Church.

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And of course, Benjamin Rush was an MD. He was the father of the Abolitionist Society in America. He’s a person that made a great commitment to dealing with mentally ill, beginning psychiatric medicine. And what’s interesting, he wrote an extraordinary letter where he said the Bible should be the school book of America. He made this observation, why are we spending so much money on rehabilitating criminals? Where if we’d only teach them the Bible in the first place, they would learn how to be great citizens and to live their lives in a way that would bless God and man.

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Well, you can see the values that are here. The name of Ross that you hear is all a relative of Betsy Ross, the maker of the flag.

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And then finally, Robert Morris. He was someone very important. He is often called the financier, The American Revolution. If it wasn’t for Robert Morris, the American Revolution and the army would not have held together. Someone who sacrificed greatly.

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At the core of every Christian Church, is the scriptures, the Bible, the Old and New Testament. This is where we get our understanding of God, of what is right and wrong. And as much as people talk about Jesus, we would know nothing about him if we did not have the gospels in the New Testament. The Bible is not just a book that we should read for information, but it is the living value structure that’s brought the best things the world has ever seen.

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As a result of the Bible, babies were no longer being left to die, as they were in the Roman Empire, they were protected as valuable. They were also recognizing the ill, sick people were not abandoned. Hospitals were born and as Christianity developed because of its holy book, we realized that everybody should be able to read. And so universal education was born, because the Bible was so important, before long, they had to develop a way to make many copies that helped to spur the printing press. Have you heard of Gutenberg’s Bible, one of the greatest achievements in history? That was the printing press. And so when we look at the Bible, we find here the source of the most civilizing impact of anything in the history of the world, our founder said, “the Bible is the source of civilization”.

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Sometimes we hear about Western civilization. Do you know what that is? That’s the application of Jesus’s teaching of loving your neighbor, of doing what is right and just in your society. And it creates a world. Unlike any place there is on this planet, unlike anything that’s ever been known. With all the warts and wrinkles of Christians who are imperfect, all the failures of America, there’s never been something as powerful as what has come from the Bible. It’s still the best we’ve got. And when we lose it, some of the things we cherish are going to disappear with it. So we thank God for the Church that maintains our focus on the word of God, Old and New Testament that give us the values, the Judeo-Christian value structure, that makes America possible.

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When we look at all these things, the question that it always brings to me is, what mark are we going to make on freedom? What will our legacy be? It may not be big, but when we are faithful to where we are with what we’ve been called to do, using our gifts for the common good, for the vision of making the world better place than we found it, we’re beginning to reflect one of the great teachings of Jesus Christ. Love your neighbors. You love yourself. Love God, love your neighbor. Do unto others as you have them do unto you. Being a Patriot is someone who loves this country and loving your neighbor is something that Jesus taught us. So I’m hoping, is you think about Providence in Philadelphia, you’ll want to learn more.

Speaker 1:
The way you can do that is to go to our free downloadable app, the Faith and Freedom App, use it, share it with others. You can take a virtual tour or go to our website, providenceforum.org. And there’s a whole host of great free information that will inspire you to be a Patriot, a leader, and someone who can educate your friends and your family and pass on the legacy to the future generations who will also leave a mark. Who knows, maybe one of your children that you’re touching will become the next Benjamin Franklin or Francis Hopkinson or George Washington.

Speaker 1:
Well, this is Providence today. Thanks for listening.

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