The Suicide of the Nation?
America is falling apart at the seams or so it seems. About a decade ago, Dr. Richard Land—then the president of Southern Evangelical Seminary, today the executive editor of The Christian Post—wrote a book called, The Divided States of America. If we were divided then, how much more so today?
It is inconceivable that the day would come that Jews in America would need to feel fearful. For all of its flaws, America has been a secure place of refuge for the downtrodden, including Jews, who have been historically oppressed in nation after nation.
But after Hamas’ barbaric atrocities in Israel on October 7th, including the beheading of Jewish babies, protesters in America have taken to the streets to denounce the Jews.
This anti-Semitic wave is just one of many examples of the decline of our nation. Several months ago, the Wall Street Journal opined that if Western Civilization, of which the United States is a prime example, were to die, it would be through suicide.
In that op-ed, Gerard Baker notes, “If we are losing, it is because we are losing our soul, our sense of purpose as a society, our identity as a civilization. We in the West are in the grip of an ideology that disowns our genius, denounces our success, disdains merit, elevates victimhood, embraces societal self-loathing and enforces it all in a web of exclusionary and authoritarian rules, large and small.”
Dr. Peter Lillback, founding president of Providence Forum, for which I serve as the executive director, once made a powerful observation in our film, “Endowed By Their Creator.” (This is one of our seven hour-long documentaries on America’s Judeo-Christian roots.)
Said Lillback: “There’s never a last word for a nation until God’s Providence says you’re done. I’m not ready to give up on America. There’s too much treasure of great freedoms, of wisdom, of biblical truth, of even of sending the Gospel out to the nations.”
He went on to note, “There’s always a chance for revival, reformation, new beginnings. [But] it’s a dangerous time. We are deciding…will there be a future for America? We will make that decision. [Will] we choose as Washington once said, ‘to follow ‘the Divine Author of our blessed religion’? We are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. If each of us in our own place choose to do that which is right, we begin to change history.”
Lillback concluded, “America’s not finished unless we die by suicide. That’s what Abraham Lincoln once said. He said, ‘No foreign nation can ever take a step on the Blue Ridge Mountains or take a drink from the Ohio River or visit the Shenandoah Valley in a contest of a thousand years, unless we let them do it. A free nation will live forever, or it will die by suicide.’”
Poll after poll indicates that the vast majority of Americans today feel that we are headed in the wrong direction as a nation. That strong feeling itself is a positive point. If most citizens felt good about all the terrible things happening as our country seems to implode, then we’d really be in trouble.
So how do we get back on the right track? By returning to basic principles. The essence of the American experiment is self-rule under God.
Our national birth certificate is the Declaration of Independence. It says that our rights come from the Creator, not from the government. And government derives its authority from the “consent of the governed.”
Consider the advice of George Washington. After the American War for Independence, but before the official treaty ending the conflict, he sent a letter to the governors of the thirteen states. It was a famous letter, dated June 13, 1783, and is called the “Circular to the States.”
Near the end of this circular, to which Dr. Lillback alluded above, Washington said that he prayed we will all learn to imitate Jesus Christ. This is exactly how he worded it: “I now make it my earnest prayer that God…would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all, to do Justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that Charity, humility and pacific temper of mind, which were the Characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed Religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy Nation.”
He is essentially praying that God would give us the grace to follow the example of Jesus—that we would display love, humbleness, grace, and a peaceful disposition.
If we don’t follow Christ, says the father of our country, “we can never hope to be a happy Nation.” In fact, we will be anything but a happy nation. Kind of like what we’re seeing today.
Dr. Jerry Newcombe is the executive director of Providence Forum, a division of D. James Kennedy Ministries, where Jerry also serves as senior producer and an on-air contributor. He has written/co-written 33 books, including (with D. James Kennedy), What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? and (with Dr. Peter Lillback), George Washington’s Sacred Fire.