Jonathan Edwards was a pastor and theologian. He sparked the Great Awakening in America. He said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful and committed citizens can change the world."
Jed Bartlett, the president in the old TV series, "The West Wing," quoted those words to his new speechwriter, Wil Bailey, who replied, "It's the only thing that ever has."
I loved that great show. Nothing on television has been as consistently good.
I consider what Edwards said to be a paramount truth today as we look around at the urgent need for a moral reformation in America. I mean morality that affects ordinary civic behavior: politics, economics, laws, courts, prisons, schools and higher education, marriage and the family, and the broadcast media. The level of corruption is so high that only a radical revolution can prevent deterioration from progressing into national disintegration. The matter of race relations alone has become so inflamed that it is difficult to have a rational conversation.
Ideas are worth considering -- being accepted or rejected -- based on their value and fruit, not based on whether it's a black man or white man espousing the beliefs. Race is irrelevant. Two facts: 1) Socialism has produced an economic blight in every U.S. city where democratic strongholds exist. 2) Nations with Islamic regimes lack freedom and opportunity like Western civilizations. The ideas that generated American greatness can be adopted and spread anywhere in the world. But importing failed ideas makes no sense. They won't work.
For example, the belief that "all men are created equal" is a Christian idea. I'm glad to be a follower of Christ who receives blacks, whites, women and Indians as respected and valued friends. Racism has no place in the kingdom of God. By God's grace, we can love one another.
Can a small group of committed people change the world? Let's think about that for a moment. In regard to church history, Jesus began with 12 Jewish men. He had three in his inner circle, who prayed with him. After his death, only 120 men and women gathered in a place of prayer and waited for the Holy Spirit. A small beginning. The multi-ethnic spread of Christianity around the world had an obscure, insignificant beginning, but it is now billions.
A follower of Christ, the apostle Paul, gathered just 12 men at Ephesus and led them into receiving the Holy Spirit. For two years, they were trained in the word of God. They infiltrated non-Jewish society with the teachings of Christ. The letters in the New Testament show the lasting impact of Paul's strategy. All these movements began with small meetings in homes.
The signers of our Declaration of Independence were few in number, but their careful and thoughtful deliberations over several months enable them to hammer out a treatise that guided the development of the greatest nation on earth. American exceptionalism traces its roots to the core values and self-governing Judeo-Christian ways which they ironed out for us. These principles are valid and good. They should not be casually discarded for temporary political gains such as socialism.
Likewise, national wickedness took root when a band of revolutionary communists met in small committed cells and plotted to take control of their governments in Russia, China and Cuba.
Today, people who love the United States need to band together, call on God, and intercede for our nation by praying, upholding righteousness and withstanding sinfulness. We need patriotic champions who will band together in groups of two or three to entreat God for national reformation.
-- Ron Wood is a writer and minister. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.touchedbygrace.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Editorial on 08/07/2019
Print Headline: Ideas worth dying for