America’s Independence Day
July 4, 1776: The day America officially declared independence from Britain. Today we celebrate that milestone with picnics and fireworks, but back in 1776, the signing of the Declaration of Independence was a solemn step which would lead to a bloody war with Britain. In many ways it was America’s first Civil War, because while those who believed in independence won the war, there were many living in America in 1776 who were actually loyal to the Crown and King.
Taxation was the sticking point that eventually drove Americans to part ways with Britain, but our spirit of independence was born out of a desire for religious freedom. After Christopher Columbus made his famous voyage in 1492 for Spain, soon adventurers from all over Europe were making their way to the New World with a wide variety of motivations, from pure greed to pious claims of spreading Christianity. But all these adventurers were merely visiting the New World to plunder it for European fame, fortune or furtherance in religious organizations.
When the Pilgrims came to Virginia in 1607, they came to make a home, because they could not safely practice their faith in their own homeland. They were followed shortly by the Puritans, Quakers and other groups seeking religious freedom of one kind or another – even the freedom to have no religion at all.
Unfortunately, many of those who came to America to escape religious persecution were quick to impose their own form of religious intolerance on others. Almost without exception, those who desired to persecute all others who did not practice their own religion, claimed their intolerance was to protect God, but other voices prevailed.
Though Americans have not always gotten it right, the value of religious freedom, for everyone’s brand of religion, was an early concern of the Founding Fathers. Smithsonian.com points out, James Madison, a future president at the time, “noted that Christianity had spread in the face of persecution from worldly powers, not with their help. Christianity, he contended, ‘disavows a dependence on the powers of this world…for it is known that this Religion both existed and flourished, not only without the support of human laws, but in spite of every opposition from them. ‘”
Today we imagine the birth of our nation to resemble our national bird, the Bald Eagle, climbing fully-formed out of an egg, but in truth, like a newly hatched eaglet, it took time to develop the ideas that eventually became our Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Declaration of Independence was written in 1776 and the Constitution in 1788, but the Bill of Rights was not written until 1791. It is there that our freedom of religions was advanced and today is protected:
“Amendment I. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
The Disavowal of Dependence
Today, GHM can testify to the Christian faith’s disavowal of dependence on the powers of the world. In America, where religious freedom is protected, many clamor for a freedom from religion, traditional Christian churches report attendance is down and religions John Madison never heard of spring up almost daily – some with no relationship to Christianity beyond a disdain for it.
However, in The Middle East and Central Asia, where Christianity is actively persecuted in many areas and barely tolerated in others, people are clamoring to have access to the Bible and to meet with Christians. It is impossible to count the number of people to whom Jesus Christ has appeared in dreams and visions. The Spirit moves without the support or encouragement of the governments of these countries.
It is for these seekers and new Believers we produce Christian programming to be broadcast via satellite in countries like Iran, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan. By training and mentoring home pastors we encourage Believers in this country to continue to fight the good fight and offer the hope they have to others. Wouldn’t you like to partner with us in these efforts?
Help Reap the Harvest
You can partner with Global Heart Ministries to fulfill The Great Commission in this generation in The Middle East and Central Asia. Together we can bring the light and the truth of Jesus Christ right into the living rooms of every deceived child, every oppressed woman, and every hurting home. This is our message. This is our call.
We invite you to join this vision as a volunteer, a prayer warrior, or a financial donor. Contact us today by phone or email. Let us know how you’d like to partner with us as we reach out to the Most Unreached Regions of the World.