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Reclaiming the Original American Vision

There are some that would say private faith has no place in the public sphere. Historian Eddie L. Hyatt shows this was not what America’s Founders believed, and urges all Americans to recapture their vision that linked faith and freedom together.

In a meeting with Delaware Indian chiefs in 1779, George Washington commended them for their request that their youth be trained in American schools. He assured the chiefs that America would look upon them “as their own children” and then said,

You do well to wish to learn our arts and our ways of life and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are. Congress will do everything they can to assist you in this wise intention.

Washington’s freedom in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with this Indian tribe was normal for the founding generation for such freedom was rooted in the original American vision. This original vision was brought here by the Jamestown settlers of Virginia, the Pilgrims and Puritans of New England, the Baptists of Rhode Island, the Quakers of Pennsylvania and other Christian reform groups who were drawn to this land with a proactive vision burning in their hearts.

 

The Original American Vision

Indeed, the original American vision was for a land of individual liberty and a place from which the Gospel would be spread to the ends of the earth. America’s Founders were not shy in expressing this vision for they believed, that in this world, real freedom could only be realized in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

John Adams, circa 1815, portrait by Gilbert Stuart.
Image: Wikimedia Commons

This link between freedom and the Gospel was expressed by America’s second president, John Adams, just two weeks before the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. In a letter to his cousin, Zabdiel, a minister of the Gospel, Adams wrote, “Statesmen, my dear sir, may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion [Christianity] and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles, upon which Freedom can securely stand” (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 174).

Adams was not expressing anything new or novel for the idea of freedom rooted in the Gospel of Christ was a common American belief brought here by the very first European immigrants to this land. Consider the following quotes.

“From these very shores the Gospel shall go forth, not only to this New World, but to all the world.”
Rev. Robert Hunt, April 29, 1607, as he and the Jamestown settlers, who had just landed at Cape Henry, gathered in prayer around a large oak cross they had brought from England.

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Category: Living the Faith, Summer 2017

About the Author: Eddie L. Hyatt, D.Min. (Regent University), M.Div. and M.A. (Oral Roberts University), serves the body of Christ around the world by teaching with academic excellence and the anointing of the Holy Spirit. He has authored several books, including 2000 Years of Charismatic Christianity. His passion is to see authentic spiritual awakening transform the Church and impact the world in the Twenty-first century. www.eddiehyatt.com

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