America: A Christian Heritage…to be Reclaimed

David Barton

David Barton

The South Dakota Family Policy Council held their second annual Fire Up event this evening at Open Bible Christian Center in Rapid City.

The keynote speaker of the evening was David Barton, Founder and President of WallBuilders, and several hundred people came out to hear him speak.

WallBuilders is a national pro-family organization that presents America’s forgotten history and heroes, with an emphasis on our moral, religious and constitutional heritage. WallBuilders is a name taken from the Old Testament writings of Nehemiah, who led a grassroots movement to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and restore its strength and honor. In the same way, WallBuilders seeks to energize the grassroots today to become involved in strengthening their communities, states, and nation.

Barton is the author of numerous best-selling books, with the subjects being drawn largely from his massive library of tens of thousands of original writings from the Founding Era. He also addresses well over 400 groups each year.

A resident of Texas, Barton’s exhaustive research has rendered him an expert in historical and constitutional issues and he serves as a consultant to state and federal legislators, has participated in several cases at the Supreme Court, was involved in the development of the History/Social Studies standards for states such as Texas and California, and has helped produce history textbooks now used in schools across the nation.

The evening’s program began with some singing and a few words from the South Dakota Family Policy Council staff.

SDFPC Executive Director Chris Hupke was on hand from Sioux Falls, as was Vice Chairman of the board Darrel Smith from Mobridge, board member Elizabeth Kraus Munro from Rapid City, board member Elli Schwiesow from Rapid City and board member Roger Gallimore of Rapid City.

Pastor Dale Bartscher, the group’s Director of Pastoral Ministries from Rapid City, gave a brief motivational speech prior to the keynote speaker, gently encouraging the church in America to “Quit whining and start shining.”

Barton began his presentation by pointing out that a lot of people have been praying since long before the last election that America would turn back to her traditional values, and are continuing to pray even now.

There have been a number of Great Awakenings and revivals over the lifetime of  our nation.  The First Great Awakening was 1730-1770, a 40 year revival.

The Second ran from 1801-1878.  He said you may not realize you are in a revival when you’re living in it.They also take a lot of hard work, citing the thousands of sermons preached over the years by evangelist George Whitfield, and the many miles he traveled.  Barton said God doesn’t just sweep in and suddenly change things and it can be hard to realize it’s happening when you’re in the middle of it.

Barton pointed out that we sometimes want things to be peaceful and easy, we want to already be in the “Promised Land.”  But, Barton pointed out, the Promised Land was a place that required a lot of conflict, fighting giants, before peace could ensue.

The “Father Abraham” sermon by Whitfield is what brought people together in a unity that otherwise would not have been possible, and there would have been no American Revolution.

Pastor Jacob Duché praying in the First Continental Congress

Pastor Jacob Duché praying in the First Continental Congress

Barton said when congress met in 1774 they had a 3-hour prayer service.  Barton remarked that this was an interesting activity for a bunch of atheists and deists to hold, referring to revisionist claims that the founders were mostly deists and such.

Barton said he believes we are in the midst of a revival right now.

He cited surveys which have found college freshmen are more pro-life and abstinence-minded than they have been since 1966.  He said while the general population is 51% against abortion, young people are 72% against abortion, with only 19% supporting abortion on demand.

Of the “Millennials” generation born in the 1980s, 94% respect monogamy, 88% respect the Constitution, and 86% respect marriage.  Revival seems to be under way, but it may be several years out before the results are prominent.

Barton told how John Quincy Adams talked about slavery and how to end it with Abraham Lincoln when Lincoln was a young man. Adams died before seeing the end of slavery but he helped shape and train the man who one day would end slavery.

According to Barton, three attitudes that go with revival.  A better term than revival is “reformation.”

The first attitude is developing a sense of duty. Develop a sense of duty and maintain it no matter what happens.  Barton cited the example of John Quincy Adams who kept fighting slavery for so many years because, “Duty is ours; results are God’s.”

The second principle is to be offensive-minded.  This is not to be deliberately offensive to people, but to go on the offensive for our values and what we know is right.  Barton said our nation has been very successful at war because we have held this attitude of intending to win in a conflict.  Christians have been on the defensive for far too long.

The third principle is to be trans-generational. Sometimes God sends a new generation that gets things right where the last one made too many mistakes. Again Barton used the example of John Quincy Adams and young Abraham Lincoln, citing Adams’ generational outreach to pass on these important values.

Barton closed the evening with a challenge from Ronald Reagan to “go forth with good cheer and stout hearts — happy warriors out to seize back a country and a world to freedom.”

Read Page 2 for just a few statements from various founders regarding our Christian heritage and the importance of Christianity to our republic…

(Check Dakota Voice later for an exclusive interview with David Barton)

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3 Responses to “America: A Christian Heritage…to be Reclaimed”

  1. I'm truly sorry I missed this. Thank you for the good report on it.

  2. I listened to Barton once and noticed he quoted Paul the Apostle frequently as well as quoting many of our founding fathers and there adherence to Christianity. I wonder if Baton realizes that were Paul to have been born in our founding fathers day that he would have been put to death or imprisoned for life for killing innocent people before he converted to Christianity. God may have forgiven him, but our Constitution and laws would have punished him with death most likely or life in prison for being the criminal he was.

  3. I listened to Barton once and noticed he quoted Paul the Apostle frequently as well as quoting many of our founding fathers and there adherence to Christianity. I wonder if Baton realizes that were Paul to have been born in our founding fathers day that he would have been put to death or imprisoned for life for killing innocent people before he converted to Christianity. God may have forgiven him, but our Constitution and laws would have punished him with death most likely or life in prison for being the criminal he was.