The Strength and Durability of Our Nation: Deut. 6:1–3 -- By: James T. Draper, Jr.

Journal: Faith and Mission
Volume: FM 15:2 (Spring 1998)
Article: The Strength and Durability of Our Nation: Deut. 6:1–3
Author: James T. Draper, Jr.

The Strength and Durability of Our Nation:
Deut. 6:1–3

James T. Draper, Jr.

Christian LifeWay Resources
127 Ninth Avenue, North
Nashville, Tennessee 37234

Kendrick-Poerschke Lecture
Presented at Binkley Chapel
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Wake Forest, NC 27587, March 19, 1998

Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758) was the third president of Princeton University and one of the greatest religious and philosophical leaders in American history. He married Sarah Pierrepont in 1727, and together they committed to raise in the fear and reverence of God the eleven children God gave them. Their success as parents was revealed in a study done in 1900, showing that their descendants included thirteen college presidents, sixty-five professors, thirty judges, one hundred lawyers, a dean of a prestigious law school, eighty public office holders, nearly one hundred missionaries, three mayors of large cities, three governors, three United States senators, one comptroller of the United States treasury, and one vice president of the United States.

The formidable influence of this American religious icon may be demonstrated in the life of his own grandson, Dr. Timothy Dwight (1752–1817), who was president of Yale as well as an influential author, educator, and preacher. During his presidency at Yale, a powerful revival swept over the New Haven campus, with a large percentage of the class not only professing Christ but also entering the ministry. This president of one of the nation’s most respected universities stated,

Religion and liberty are the meat and drink of the body politic. Withdraw one of them and it languishes, consumes, and dies.... Without religion we may possibly retain the freedom of savages, bears, and wolves, but not the freedom of New England [cf. the animal rights activists and environmentalists

of today!]. If our religion were gone, our state of society would perish with it, and nothing would be left.. .. Where there is no religion, there is no morality.. .. With the loss of religion. .. the ultimate foundation of confidence is blown up; and the security of life, liberty, and property are buried in ruins.

Even to read this statement from one of America’s historical and educational patriarchs is to be shaken by how far things have come since their period. It would be unthinkable today that the president of Yale or Princeton would assertively confess the significance of any religion, much less the preeminence of Christianity and the necessity of conversion for a stable society.

As an introduction to the Great Commandment, which we ...

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