Recognizing God in American History

Embarkation of the Pilgrims, painting from the U.S. Capitol Rotunda

Embarkation of the Pilgrims, painting from the U.S. Capitol Rotunda

Phil Jensen


In this nation, if we are going to teach and believe a history of the world that honors God, we have to teach and believe one that witnesses to the fact that God rules over history with His wisdom, His power and His righteousness. For the fact of the matter is He does.

And this means the history of the world and the history of America that is taught in our schools is only true and reliable if it witnesses to this fact. For example, what would happen if your children were taught the history of the Pilgrims without mentioning the fact that they had undertaken their voyage to the new world for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith? And what would happen if it wasn’t mentioned to your children that God’s grace was manifested in the Pilgrims’ lives in answer to their prayers? Wouldn’t that make the history of the Pilgrims unreliable? And if these important things were being edited out, who would be behind it, and what would their intentions be?

Let me give you just one example. The McDougal Littell textbook, The Americans, published in 2005, doesn’t actually have the Mayflower Compact in it. What it has is the following comment:

Rick Kriebel 2016


The Mayflower Compact stated that the purpose of their government in America would be to frame “just and equal laws…for the general good of the colony.” Laws approved by the majority would be binding on Pilgrim and non-Pilgrim alike.[1]

Now, let me ask you, “Does that statement faithfully represent what the Mayflower Compact was really about?” No, it doesn’t. For notice how the Mayflower Compact begins:

In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our Dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, defender of the Faith, having undertaken, for the Glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northern parts of Virginia…[2]

Woodrow Wilcox


Notice here, they came to the new world in the name of God. This is important because to come in the name of God means they came as servants of God. Our children need to know that.

Secondly, they undertook this voyage for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith. Notice this was their mission statement identifying their purpose in life as they saw it. Therefore, it was their clear intention to establish a colony which honored and glorified God and advanced the Christian faith by impacting those who lived around them.

This is not then something which should be overlooked and edited out. For what historians are doing when they edit these important statements out is revising the history of the past, leaving us with only the part which helps promote the current liberal agenda. Notice, however, how the Mayflower Compact continues:

do by these presents, solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic; for the better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid.[3]

Notice here why they were combining themselves together into a civil body. It was for the better ordering and preservation and furtherance of what? Of the ends aforesaid.

And what were the ends aforesaid?—the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith. And so, their government was going to be organized for the better ordering and preservation and furtherance of those ends!

Doesn’t that strike you as something important, something worth teaching and emphasizing? But no! What do we have in this 2005 public school textbook?

The Mayflower Compact stated that the purpose of their government in America would be to frame “just and equal laws…for the general good of the colony.” Laws approved by the majority would be binding on Pilgrim and non-Pilgrim alike.[4]

Notice here, all we have left is a concern about just and equal laws. And without any mention about coming in the name of God with the ends toward which they were working, being the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith, the words “just and equal laws” can be redefined to make them mean whatever you want them to mean, which is exactly what the people writing and promoting these textbooks want. For this textbook had a multicultural advisory board mentioned on page iv, and their job was to make sure what was said was appropriate. And mentioning only just and equal laws would certainly make it appropriate for the multicultural agenda.

Now should there be a concern about just and equal laws? Yes, there should be. But let us see the concern in the right context. Let us see the concern in the light of the furtherance of the ends aforesaid. And this means the laws would have to be laws which honor God and His word, laws which make expressions of the Christian faith legal in any situation. Today I just heard about a marine being court-martialed because she had a Bible on her desk. In Pilgrim culture, she would have been perfectly free to do that. Today I also heard about a school which was having the Charlie Brown Christmas play and yet forbid the scene where the Bible passage is read about the birth of Jesus Christ. In Pilgrim culture, which was dedicated to advancing the Christian faith, no one would have tried to stop that Bible verse from being read.

Now with all that has been said in the Mayflower Compact so far, let us move on to the portion which speaks of just and equal laws:

by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.[5]

Those words are the last portion of the Mayflower Compact. They are the end of the agreement. And so, they need to be defined in the light of all that has been said before.

And this means when we come to the words “for the general good of the colony,” it is very clear from Scripture that nothing is for the general good of the colony unless it is consistent with the principles of Scripture. For this is made very clear by the words which come before this last paragraph.

But the students don’t have the words that come before. All they have are these last words. For these are the only words that met the multi-cultural criteria. And this means they were the only words which were considered important enough to put in this public school textbook. Therefore, the points made in the words that come before this last portion were absent from the textbook.

And why were the words testifying to a God glorifying mission absent from these public school history books? Those words were absent because having them present would have amounted to teaching the children the Christian worldview. And the people behind textbooks like this are opposed to the Christian worldview.

This is the same reason we see the liberal news media shaping news in an adverse way. It is to promote a worldview and an agenda to which they are committed, a worldview and an agenda which are anti-Christian.

And who are these people? They are people who see it as their mission to promote an understanding of reality in which God is not a factor at all, let alone the most important factor. He is not a factor in what happens in our lives. He is not a factor in considering how we should live our lives. Therefore, they are doing everything they can to have the children of America taught a history which is not true and not reliable.

And when the authorities in our educational institutions, in presenting this point of view, work in concert with other false information being promoted concerning reality, which is what is happening today, the nation becomes converted to a darkened understanding of the world and of life in the world. And this darkened understanding will keep people from knowing the God who created them and who will determine their destiny.

The need for spiritual light

Therefore, what has happened has been like putting many Americans in a dark room where it is pitch black, and no one knows where the light switch is. And yet the light switch is there! For the psalmist in speaking to God in Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” And Jesus, who was the Living Word, said

I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk darkness, but have the light of life.—John 8:12

This need for light in our lives is illustrated by the following story:

Years ago a circuit minister made a call on one of his churches out in the backwoods. He found that he had to return by dark. A member of his flock, accustomed to living in the woods and having to walk by night, gave him a pitch-pine wood torch.

The minister was sure that it would blow out. “It will give you light all the way home,” confidently declared the woodsman. “But the wind will blow it out,” insistently came the minister’s reply. “It will light you home,” again came the answer.

“But what if it should rain?” “It will light you home.”

It did.[6]

Friends, Jesus and the word of God are like the light from that pitch-pine wood torch. They will give us the light our nation needs no matter what situation we are facing. Unfortunately, many Americans are not using that light. And, as a result, many Americans are following the wrong leaders. The following story illustrates what we are facing in the United States today:

Near the village of Gevas in eastern Turkey, while shepherds ate their breakfast, one of their sheep jumped off a 45 foot cliff to its death. Then as the stunned shepherds looked on, the rest of the flock mindlessly stumbled off the cliff.[7]

This is what is going on in our nation. Many people are just mindlessly following our nation’s leaders. And because many of our leaders are not using the light God has provided us, they are leading Americans off a cliff.

[1]The Americans ( McDougal Littell, a division of Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005) p. 50 fair use quote

[2] “Mayflower Compact” Wikipedia article

[3] “Mayflower Compact” Wikipedia article

[4] The Americans ( McDougal Littell, a division of Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005) p. 50 fair use quote

[5] “Mayflower Compact” Wikipedia article

[6] Mrs. Charles E. Cowman, Streams in the Desert Volume Two (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1966) p. July 27th devotion

[7] “Herd Instinct” Our Daily Bread, April 17, 2007



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Bob Wittstruck was a pastor for 33 years, was the associate director of the Black Hills Creation Science Association, and is a supporter of both Christian schooling and home schooling. His latest book, The Forgotten Factor of History God Rules, is being printed in February or March of 2016. His email address is [email protected]
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