ACH Study Groups
Ben & Fran Gilmore – Cofounders
7659 Gingerblossom Drive
Citrus Heights, CA 95621
March 6, 2015
This is a letter to our friends –
My Reason for Hope
It is the morning after a week traveling to the “Reason for Hope” conference hosted by the Foundation for American Christian Education (FACE) in Chesapeake, VA.
FACE is the “mother ship” of the groups dedicated to restoring knowledge of America’s Christian heritage. Founded in the early sixties by two amazing ladies in San Francisco, Miss Verna Hall and Miss Rosalie Slater, FACE was among the first to break ground researching, reasoning, relating, and recording America’s Christian history.
Fran and I were invited to attend the conference. The agenda called for me to deliver a 10 minute breakfast devotional and participate in a panel discussion. It was a ruse. At the breakfast, the devotional was “overlooked”. Later, during a gala banquet, to our total surprise, I was called forward to receive the prestigious, Verna M. Hall Research award for 43 years of teaching America’s Christian history. I am honored for my name to be listed on a plaque among my betters, dating back to the first award in 1992.
Paraphrasing Rahm Emanuel, “A good devotion is a terrible thing to waste.” Herewith I offer my FACE breakfast devotion:
My Reason for Hope
The late Miss Verna Hall often taught, “Get the students into the ‘Red Books.’ Have them read from original source documents.” She introduced us to Arnold Guyot, the geographer, who described the earth as the stage upon which God placed man to act out his destiny. Then on page 10 of her book, “The Christian History of the Constitution of the United States of America” (CHOC), Miss Hall presents a paper on “Nation Making” by the American historian, John Fiske, 1889.
It was our Lord, Jesus Christ, who reduced the whole teaching of the Bible – thus God’s purpose – to love God and love others. [Matthew 22:37-40] Mr. Fiske presents an overview of the hand of God in human history.
God has invested the last four thousand years teaching man to love Him and one another. Man is a slow learner! It took Christ 1620 years to make a Pilgrim!
Fiske begins with savage culture, a guy and a girl get together and make a baby. That is a family, the building block of every society. Families gather to share tasks, food gathering, protection, and the like. That is a tribe. Tribes grow, absorbing neighbors until reaching a boundary like a river or mountain range.
The tribe chief looks across the river – The virgins are fatter and the cows are prettier. He and his guys build a raft, take clubs and raid the other tribe. Half way home, he shouts back, “Have another tribute ready in a year when we return.” Those folks have no voice (representation) in his government and he takes no interest in how they raise the tribute – no incorporation and no representation. Fiske calls it “Oriental Conquest.”
There is a 400 year gap between the Old and the New Testament. During that time, we see the last examples of “Oriental Conquest” with the Greek city states under Alexander the Great. Greek philosophers thought a large umbrella government would not work because of the differences in people groups. Even the city states could not get along!
Along come the Romans and plant a Roman Staff in your town square. “Friend, your town has just been incorporated into Rome’s city limits!” After an impressive start, “Roman Conquest” degenerated into a tyrannical government like “Oriental Conquest,” but with incorporation and no representation. Roman law and culture produced a form of liberty and union that had not before existed.
In the midst of the Roman era God sent Christ. That changed everything!
Meanwhile, there developed a Scandinavian (Teutonic) principle that the leaders of a conquered tribe were incorporated into the governance of the victor’s tribe – incorporation and representation. These became the Saxons of Britain. Other Teutonic tribes sailed into the English Channel and settled in Gaul. They became Normans and adopted the Latin culture of southern Europe.
Normans attacked their cousins, the Saxons, and the top down Latin/Norman culture conflicted with the intrinsic value of a “represented” individual of the Saxon culture. The result of much trial and error was the Magna Cartar, the English Bill of Rights and the Parliament. Fiske calls this “Teutonic or English Conquest,” – incorporation and representation.
The advent of Christ with the resultant highlighting of individual relationship with God produced a desire for knowledge. Then the Bible in a common language fueled a massive explosion in literacy. That, in turn produced the industrial revolution, with growth in arts, science – – everything! Sovereignty flipped from what the King said was law, to what the law said was king!
All of that turmoil resulted in “Government by the Consent of the Governed” in the North American English colonies. At last man was ready for an opportunity to illustrate His Biblical principles of civil government. The world took notice. Even today, though they say they hate us, they secretly hope to see us crest the hill and ride to save them.
As a nation, America has exchanged that birthright for a mess of pottage! We have squandered what men of whom the world was not worthy, bled and died to leave us.
It is easy to see the foolishness of the Hebrews, having just witnessed a string of awesome miracles during the exodus, when they chose to worship a golden calf! What we have done is far more foolish! Once, God chose to flush it and start over with Noah. Another time He permitted Abraham to negotiate with Him over Sodom.
Yet again God told Moses He was going to erase the Hebrews and start again with Moses. Moses buried his face in the sand and prayed, “Don’t do it, Lord. It will give you a bad name. The world will say you are a vengeful God.” The Bible says that God changed His mind and gave the Hebrews another chance.
Well, I believe there are many Americans with their faces in the rug, confessing that America deserves to be erased. My prayer is, “Lord, we deserve justice, but I am pleading for mercy for America. Not for our sakes, but for the sake of all YOU have invested in illustrating Biblical principles of Christian Self-Government. If those principles appear to have failed, thick darkness will fall all around the world. It will appear to the world that not even your Biblical principles will work.”
With Moses’ God-centered prayer, God changed His mind. Perhaps, with enough humble intercession, it can happen again – That is my “Reason for Hope.”