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"When the religion of a people is destroyed, doubt gets hold of the higher powers of the intellect and half paralyzes all the others. Every man accustoms himself to having only confused and changing notions on the subjects most interesting to his fellow creatures and himself. His opinions are ill-defended and easily abandoned; and, in despair of ever solving by himself the hard problems respecting the destiny of man, he ignobly submits to think no more about them.

"Such a condition cannot but enervate [drain, weaken] the soul, relax the springs of the will and prepare a people for servitude. Not only does it happen in such a case that they allow their freedom to be taken from them; they frequently surrender it themselves." ("Democracy in America," Volume 2, Chapter 5, by Alexis de Tocqueville, 1840)

Servitude has, more or less, been the primary condition of mankind since early on in human history. No culture has been untouched by slavery, deportations and entire classes of people ruled over by others. The nation of Israel spent most of its first 500 years of existence in bondage, became free, conquered a land, then spent the next 400 years bouncing back and forth between servitude and freedom in the era of the Judges. They eventually became a powerful nation under the Davidic monarchy, then splintered in two and went into captivity again under Assyria and Babylon.

And each time they went back into servitude, just as de Tocqueville observed, it sprung out of the destruction, or at least the extreme neglect, of their religion.

How is it that one leads to the other? Of what do we need to be forewarned on this July 4th, the celebration of our nation's birth?

America in particular has been blessed by having such a strong presence of Christianity in the land for so very long. As de Tocqueville observed on Page 15 of the same book I referenced above, "the advent of Jesus Christ upon Earth was required to teach that all members of the human race are by nature equal and alike."

Mind you, even with that, in a world then still beset by slavery, America started off on the wrong foot, enslaving some because of the color of their skin and the utterly indefensible notion that some people are, by nature, better than others. But they did so in spite of the teachings of Jesus Christ, not because of them.

But this column is not about the past. None of us, none of our parents, few if any even of our grandparents were alive during the era of slavery. But many of us may well be alive during the next era of human bondage — and right here in "the land of the free."

Mankind either "just happened" or was designed by a Creator. If we just happened, then one may easily make the argument that some people just happened a bit better than others and developed better than others along the way. Some people would thus be more fit to rule and others only fit to be ruled. But if, as the Bible claims, we are all descended from Adam, who was made in the very image of God (Genesis 1:26-27; 3:20), and if Christ the Creator came down to this earth and died equally for the sins of one and all (2 Corinthians 5:14-15), then equality is ours by birth and everyone has equal right to fight to maintain that freedom.

But as the flame of these truths flickers and dims in our land, we find that, as de Tocqueville said, it does indeed "relax the springs of the will and prepare a people for servitude."

May I simplify the language and the argument?

Coming to know Christ as Savior, going to church to worship him and learn of him, reading and studying the Bible for yourself, praying to God and taking note as he answers produces a free and a freedom-loving people. But neglecting those things not only prepares people for servitude; it often goes so far as to have them clamor for it as if it were a good thing.

The Bible will teach you not to despise your skin color or the skin color of another. God made white and black and brown and yellow and red and every shade in between equal and beautiful. Never feel guilt over what you are; it weakens the hands and leads to servitude. Never look down on others for what they are; it fractures a society and leads to servitude.

The Bible will teach you that coming to know Christ as Savior literally makes us family. Embracing this truth leads us to shut our ears against the race hustlers determined to divide us all and strengthens a nation. Failing to embrace this truth leads us to splinter into warring factions, making us ripe pickings for others once we have done irreparable harm to ourselves and leads to servitude.

The Bible will teach you to cherish freedom above ease and security. Christ did not say that the truth would make us comfortable. He said in John 8:32 that the truth would make us free. And he said that while looking at people who would not even admit to the truth that they had often been in bondage, who were even then in bondage and for whom the bondage was about to get drastically worse just 35 short years later.

People often on their knees together before God have a much easier time standing shoulder to shoulder against enemies, foreign and domestic, who would subjugate them.

Bo Wagner is pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, North Carolina, a widely traveled evangelist and the author of several books available on Amazon and at www.wordofhismouth.com. Email him at 2knowhim@cbc-web.org.

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Pastor Bo Wagner
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