before Britains Parliament in 1775 to propose resolutions
of conciliation with the colonies in America, Sir Edmund Burke said,
"Religion, always a principle of energy, in this new people
is in no way worn out or impaired; and their mode of professing
[their faith] is also one main cause of this free spirit. The people
adverse to all implicit submission of mind
and opinion. This is persuasion not only favorable to liberty, but
built upon it."
Compared to colonial
Protestants were not as outspoken about our faith and convictions
today. Our moral voice has waned with each decade. As a result,
liberty and traditional values are eroding.
Why have believers chosen
a path of quiet dissent? Some claim its because we prefer
labels such as "merciful" and "meek" to "militant"
and "intolerant." But theres a deeper reason for
our silence: We feel we havent earned the right to be heard
on social and moral issues.
Perhaps that was true
decades ago when many evangelicals abdicated their responsibility
to help the poor and suffering. But that is not the case today.
Assemblies of God congregations and missionaries are actively combating
AIDS, hunger, abuse, racism, addiction and more.
Our efforts guided
by the Spirit and based on Gods Word have given our
voices credibility. We can protest laws advocating the legalization
of drugs because we support Teen Challenge. We can defend the poor
because our churches have food pantries. We can speak out against
abortion because we have homes for unwed mothers. We can advocate
equality in education because our churches have afterschool tutoring
programs. No longer are we waving Bibles without offering a helping
We have a right to be
and a biblical obligation to speak out in love against
the moral and social decay in our nation.
Should we be meek or
militant? Simply, we should be Christlike. We should love Christ
enough to be meek
and love our country enough to share with
conviction the principles of Gods Word.
Patriotism today, as
in 1775, requires more than flag waving; it mandates that we profess
our faith in God and defend the values that made this nation great.