Dave Kistler: Well, ladies and gentlemen, I’m sure you’re watching the news, you’re well aware that Bill Barr, the attorney general, is testifying currently before a committee in Washington DC on Capitol Hill. And there have been some fireworks, we’ll be talking about that, I’m sure, at some point down the road. And as well, yesterday Senator Cory Booker introduced a piece of legislation in the Senate that would pay reparations, or at least study the possibility of paying reparations, to those that are descendants of slaves. And of course that’s getting a lot of attention, much needed attention. And we’ll be talking about that, I’m sure, at some point in the future as well.
But for today’s program, we want to go a little bit different direction. There was a time in American civilization when the Bible was integral to every aspect of our American life. It was revered in the home, it was taught and used in the schools, it was incorporated into our laws, and integrated even into our courts of justice. It was quoted by politicians, judges, educators, and even entertainers. It permeated the great literature of western civilization.
Of course, with the multitude of attacks on the integrity of the scripture, the inspiration of the scripture, and even the inherency of the Bible over the last century, respect for the Bible has waned. Yet, in a recent poll, the Bible still appears to be the all-time favorite book for American adults. Yet another poll says the Bible is still a bestseller in the United States. Now, I would to God it were the best read book in America, but it is still the most popular book, favorite book among American adults and still a bestseller.
Well, how important is belief in the Bible to the survival of any nation? The Bible speaks directly to that point. It’s absolutely critical to both personal and private life, as well as national life and I want to cite just a couple of biblical references if I can. Deuteronomy 4:7-8 says this, “For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?” Obviously that context is with respect to the nation of Israel.
But also listen to Deuteronomy 32:46-47, “Set your hearts on all the words which I testify among you today, which ye shall command your children to be careful to observe, all the words of this law. For it is not a futile thing to you; because it is your life: and by this word ye shall prolong your days in the land.”
Now there’s a lot more I could say and a lot of other passage I could cite, but these verses mean that the Bible is the most important book on the planet. It’s in a class all by itself, surpassing all others because the Bible is God’s infallible, inherent, inspired word.
With all that, I want to welcome you to Stand In the Gap today, I am Dave Kistler. I’m joined today by Gary Dull and Sam Rohrer, the entire team. And our theme today is going to be this, the Bible: indispensable to the survival of the nation. The Bible: indispensable to the survival of the nation.
And with us to greatly aid in our discussion is a dear friend of the American Pastors Network, a very personal friend of mine, Keith Davidson, founder of Seedline International which is a Bible printing and distributing ministry located in Brazil, Indiana. Keith is no stranger to this program. He has been on many, many times before and will be on many times in the future, but we’ve got him on today not only to talk about this, but to talk about something that is coming up in just 20 days. It’s an event that’s going to take place on the famed West Plaza of the United States Capitol. It has directly to do with the role of the scriptures and their impact on our nation.
So, Keith, would you take just a couple of minutes and tell us, what’s coming up in 20 days?
Keith Davidson: Yes, sir. And Dave, I appreciate the opportunity to be back on today as a guest. It’s always a privilege to be here and appreciate what the American Pastors Network stands for and is able to accomplish such a blessing.
Just in 20 days, the U.S. Capitol Bible Reading Marathon begins on April 28th and goes through May 22nd. It’s 90 hours of continuous reading of the word of God. We start in Genesis 1, end up at the end of Revelation. It’s just around the clock, no politics, no commentary, just strictly reading the word of God. Rain or shine, night or day, and it’s just an awesome event. So I’d like to invite folks to be a part of that. If they haven’t signed up yet or just look at our website, it’s dcbiblemarathon.org. And they can either sign up to be a part of that or also see what the event entails, see our vision and so forth.
But we believe in proclaiming the word of God and no finer place than in our nation’s capitol to broadcast the word of God, to get us back to our founding father’s direction. Again that website is dcbiblemarathon.org if they’d like to sign up or get some more information on.
But what a privilege it is to just stand with absolute freedom, no harassment, no concern about what the government thinks, but just broadcasting and reading God’s word across our great nation.
Gary Dull: You know, Keith, it’s a delight to have you back and truly it’s a delight to be involved with the Bible reading marathon. I’ve had the opportunity to do that several times in the past and this year we have a number of our young people from our church going down to participate and I know they’re looking forward to it.
I can imagine that it takes a lot of work to put it together and when you were with us a couple of weeks ago you had mentioned that it probably takes somewhere between 300 and 500 people to do that 90 hour, around the clock reading of the Bible. And it takes a lot of coordination and effort.
My question to you is, how many have signed up so far? And you’ve already talked about how they can go to your website, but how is the progress going in putting this together for this upcoming year?
Keith Davidson: Amen, thanks for asking, Pastor Gary, that’s great. And I’m excited that your young people are coming. I believe one of the points to our young people understanding what the word of God’s about, just getting them involved in these kind of events. What we’ve done, we’ve divided up into 360 spots, 15 minute spots. At this point we’re 72%, which means we have 277 spots filled.
Now it’s hard for us to count exactly, but with the people involved in setting up the marathon and with the folks who are coming, we usually have at least two reading during that time, sometimes more. So if you just went with two, that’s 554 people that’s involved at this point. And then we have over probably 75 team members involved. But there are 360 spots, if we get all those filled and our two people that read in each 15 minute spot, that’s going to be about 720 people that will be totally involved with this.
I’m just excited that people have that kind of burden and they’re taking on the expense and the desire to come. Some are coming in for that day, then going back home. But I’m excited to see that the word of God means that much to them and broadcasting across our nation.
Dave Kistler: Ladies and gentlemen, you’re listening to Keith Davidson. We’re talking about the upcoming U.S. Capitol Bible Reading Marathon. It starts on Sunday afternoon, 6:00 pm, the 28th of April, and it runs through Thursday of that week, which is May 2nd. And I think, Keith, actually you said May 22nd, though I’d be for reading the Bible all the way to the end of May as well.
Keith Davidson: Sorry about that.
Dave Kistler: But that’s okay. But it’s April 28th through May 2nd and it’s 90 hours of continuous non-stop reading of the scripture. And we’re 72% full, which means there’s still a spot for you to read. And so ladies and gentlemen, I’d love for you to sign up.
And again, the website is simply dcbiblemarathon.org.
Dave Kistler How important was the Bible in the minds of the architects of American civilization? Well history is quite decisive on this point. The founders viewed the Bible as absolutely indispensable and integral to the survival of the republic. It’s no wonder that after a decade long study in an effort to identify where the founders acquired their ideas for the formation of a nation and the writing of its constitutions of government, political scientists conducting the study concluded that the founders cited the Bible in their political utterances far more than any other source.
The founders clearly believed that both the founding and the future of the republic were heavily, if not exclusively, dependent on the successful promotion of the Bible throughout society. In fact, the framers of the first state Constitution of Massachusetts emphasized that very point in Article 3 of the Massachusetts Constitution.
Now I want to read that Article to you. And I want you to listen to this, it’s an amazing statement. Article 3, Constitution of the state of Massachusetts. “As the happiness of a people, and the good order and preservation of civil government, essentially depend upon piety, religion and morality; and as these cannot be generally diffused through a community, but by the institution of the public worship of God, and of public instructions in piety, religion and morality: Therefore, to promote their happiness and to secure the good order and preservation of their government, the people of this commonwealth have a right to invest their legislature with power to authorize and require, and the legislature shall, from time to time, authorize and require to make suitable provision, at their own expense, for the institution of the public worship of God, and for the support and maintenance of teachers of piety, religion and morality.”
In other words, the Constitution of the state of Massachusetts said, we’re going to require from time to time public worship of God and support and maintenance of teachers of piety. We would call those preachers today. So in other words, they understood the role that not just religion played, but that the word of God played in the not only founding, but the future of the state of Massachusetts, and by extension, the future of the United States of America.
Sam, we live, I think today, almost in what I would call a time warp. We’re so distanced from the founding of this nation that we no longer recognize the vitally important place the Bible had in those who instituted this nation. What was true in Massachusetts was also true in Pennsylvania. Am I not speaking the truth there? Comment, if you would.
Sam Rohrer: Well, in fact, you are speaking the truth. And David, it is an amazing thing, I know when our listeners are listening to that, they’d say, “Where did that come from?” Well, that was the Constitution of, of all places, Massachusetts.
You know, Dave, one of the amazing things is that our documents, Mayflower Compact, Declaration of Independence, Constitution, our various state constitutions, particularly the state constitutions are very clear. All of those organic documents of law are very clear in their reference to God as Creator, as does the Declaration of Independence. Or God as judge of the universe, all of the things that would underpin what we describe here as a biblical worldview, a Judeo-Christian worldview.
Pennsylvania is very unique in that respect because William Penn here in Pennsylvania, our founders, and I would say in that category Benjamin Franklin, which people know, and Thomas Jefferson both referred to William Penn as the father of the founders. So when we say the founding fathers, those two leading individuals said William Penn was actually the father of the founders. Now why did they do it? Well they did that because in 1682, William Penn wrote out what he called his Frame of Government.
Now in that Frame of Government where he laid out an outline effectively, an approach for how a new nation, and here in Pennsylvania he was given the power to tax, he was given the power to designate officials. He actually could have declared himself king because of the nature. It wasn’t a colony like the other colonies were. He could have made himself king, but he said no. His point was, before God, let’s establish a nation that God could bless, where people weren’t having to be controlled by a king or guards and soldiers on every corner carrying a gun.
And that whole point, his Frame of Government, was how that could be done. Took his principles from the word of God, modeled heavily on what God told Israel and that’s why quoting the verse you say from Israel is very applicable. And they went down through, and I won’t go into all the detail, but he laid out ten points effectively and starting out by saying if you’re going to do this, you’re going to have to, number one, teach the people, have to understand who God is as creator, as judge, creator of mankind. Understand the fall, that sin came into the world, that there was a devil. Understand the purpose for government, understand the purpose for law, understand the purpose for a Christian education. Those were all parts of what he said to continue it. That became the Frame of Government.
Those principles were built into Pennsylvania Constitution. Other constitutions and also I’ll finish with this, he did say this, this holy experiment, he said, this thing that you could create, where people could actually self-govern themselves, he said it could only happen if people dedicated and submitted themselves to the ten commandments of God as citizens. And those in government ultimately serving in the three branches of government, were also to submit themselves before the God of heaven and the ten commandments, God’s moral law. Dave, they couldn’t have been more clear. It does us well to go back and say, “Hmm, how did we get started?” Because that’s likely, very likely, how we get back to God’s blessing once again.
Dave Kistler: Ladies and gentlemen, our theme today is The Bible: indispensable to the survival of the nation. And that’s why we’re talking about this and how the founders viewed the scriptures and their importance in the establishing of this country.
Gary, I want to go to you because, as I said to Sam, we’re living in a time warp, I think, today. We’re so far removed from those days when men like William Penn and a host of others, even Ben Franklin, though we don’t know that he was a believer necessarily in Jesus Christ, as far as saving faith in Christ, and yet some of the statements he made are absolutely astounding and people are increasingly, it seems, ignorant of those statements. But they all have to do with the role of God and the role of the sacred scriptures in the future of the nation.
I want to pose this question to you, how have we arrived at the place where we are today? Where we hear virtually nothing about, we know nothing about, and say almost nothing about the high view of the scriptures and their unmistakable role in the nation, how have our elected leaders, how have we as a people arrived at this point?
Gary Dull: That’s a very good question, Dave. And in thinking of that, I think that at least in our modern time, we can trace it back to the likes of Madalyn Murray O’Hair in the early ’60s. In 1962 and ’63 where she labored and was successful in getting prayer and Bible reading out of the public school. And, of course, since that particular period of time, what we find is that young people, many young people, don’t ever hear anything about the Bible. Up until that period of time, even boys and girls who would come in to school from unsaved, unchristian families would hear the Bible being read and they might even read it themselves.
And so there was a knowledge of the scriptures. You go back to 1962, which was what? 56 years ago. And since that particular period of time, we see that there has been a dearth of even presenting the word of God to young people in schools. And then, of course, today, I think what we find is a lot of the pulpits are weakened. You go to a lot of churches, the Bible is not read, the Bible is not the center, the Bible preaching and teaching is not there.
And so I think that you combine both of those together and you find why there is a dearth of the Bible in our nation today. And that’s concerning and it’s a change, because when we look back into our history, we find that back in 1781, the Congress actually printed Bibles because there was a need for them throughout the land in that time. And so the Congress was petitioned by a Pennsylvanian by the name of Robert Adkin, and he basically was the publisher of The Pennsylvania Magazine. He petitioned the Congress to print Bibles, they did it and the word of God was distributed throughout the land. Wouldn’t that be great if that would take place again today?
Dave Kistler: You know, Gary, we’re going to talk a little bit about that in the next segment. I’m glad you brought it up, it will serve as a great segue.
Keith, you’re our guest today. You are the founder, you the president of a Bible printing and distributing ministry called Seedline International. In just 20 days, the U.S. Capitol Bible Reading marathon is going to occur and it’s not just to give much needed attention to the importance of the Bible, but it’s also to exercise a vitally important liberty that we have guaranteed by our Constitution of the United States, and that’s religious liberty.
So when the Bible is read from the West Plaza steps of the capitol, we’re exercising a vitally important liberty. How important is that?
Keith Davidson: Yes, sir, Dave, and I appreciate what these other men have said. You know, our foundation is on the Bible, but in order to continue to express that, we have our First Amendment right to proclaim and to share the Gospel and to share the word in our freedom of speech. And I can’t help but believe that that was the intent of our founders, to make sure that the Bible had the freedom and was able to proclaim that to our nation, to those folks who are around us.
And we’re doing it on the steps of the capitol, and I’m just so excited about that because that goes all the way back to our foundation, but folks may not realize, or they might, but sometimes there are three to five million people per year that visit our nation’s capitol. And why do they do that? It’s because of the freedom and the primary freedom we have is that of speech, of course, and in that we can proclaim our religious freedom, our belief in the Bible.
And so our founding fathers, I think they set up our First Amendment right to free speech so that we could have our opinion. But I think the priority again would be the Bible. And so the Bible Reading Marathon is just following up on that. We think it’s new, but it’s not. It’s actually been going on since the establishment of government. Even in July 20, 1775, when the Congresses begin to meet and all those things, they summoned all the people to come and pray and make supplication to the Lord and was almost two million people that participated in that. So it was pretty awesome how that that is established and the word of God is that foundation for our freedom.
Dave Kistler: Ladies and gentlemen, that is the history of the United States of America.
Dave Kistler: Well, little known fact, but a fact nonetheless, the Continental Congress considered the Bible so important to national life that they actually passed resolutions to make certain that Bibles were in abundance in the United States of America. In fact, the Continental Congress directed a committee to investigate ways by which Bibles could be secured.
And the committee made its report on September 11, 1777. Now that’s an ironic date, September 11, 1777. And that committee of the Continental Congress stated, “That the use of the Bible is so universal and its importance so great, your committee recommends that Congress will order the committee of commerce to import 20,000 Bibles from Holland, Scotland, or elsewhere, into the different ports of the states in the union.”
Well four years later, as the colonies suffered from the effects of a very debilitating British embargo and as the shortage of Bibles continued, importation became sufficiently impractical that Congress was again petitioned for approval, this time to print Bibles in America rather than to import them from outside the country. Do you know that request was approved and upon completion of the printing, on Thursday, September 12, 1782, the full Congress not only approved the addition, but gave permission for their endorsement. That is Congress’ endorsement to be placed on the front of the Bible and it read this, “Whereupon resolved that the United States Congress assembled recommend this edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United States.”
Now ladies and gentlemen, that runs cross grain to everything you’re hearing from popular media today that America was not founded upon Judeo-Christian principles, it was not founded as we would say, what we call a “Christian nation,” the Bible was not a part of it. And yet the Bible was an integral part of the United States of America.
So, Sam, I want to go to you. You’ve followed this, you know this, you’re a student of history. The idea that the Bible and Christian faith was not a vital part of our nation from its inception is dead wrong, is it not?
Sam Rohrer: Well, of course, Dave, it is dead wrong. And you’ve just read parts of it. But again, no matter where one goes in checking out history, and I referred to it, Mayflower Compact where they come and that’s our first organic document of law, not somebody’s opinion. It’s organic document of law where the first statement is, “Amen, to the glory of God, amen. For the advancement of the Christian faith,” that’s pretty clear. That’s pretty clear.
And then the other items that we talked about, written within our various state constitutions and, of course, we talked about earlier, William Penn, and the foundational aspect of the whole thing being a holy experiment. Holy because it was under God and following the word of God. And experiment because it had never been done before.
And Dave, a lot of times people will say, “Well, you know, Christian nation.” Well, we are based on those things, but the founders took the Bible in its entirety and they referred to the Old Testament. And when they came here, some referred to it as the goal of being and establishing a New Jerusalem. Others, a new Israel. Well, Israel was the pattern because they understood that’s what God said. The Bible is giving free instruction.
And God laid out the plan for every nation if they wanted to be blessed of God, they followed it. It’s clear. It’s obvious. And when we first began, the first primer, the New England Primer that was utilized all the way up unto the late 1800s in many schools, started out by teaching the letters of the alphabet by starting each letter with a verse from the Bible. Learning the ABCs, A started with the verse that says, “All have sinned,” and then all the way down through.
So, Dave, everywhere our founders knew it had to be preached from the pulpit, it had to be taught to our children, and it was built right into their primer to teach them how to read. And where did they learn how to read? They learned how to read the Bible. That’s what they did.
And then it found its way into law and it’s found its way carved into the very buildings, our state capitols and in Washington, carved into the stone, the verses of the Bible. We are a nation that can never honestly say God had nothing to do with this and this was not a Bible based nation from the beginning. It is everywhere.
Dave Kistler: You know, Sam, one of the things that I enjoy more than perhaps anything else is taking groups to Washington DC. I did this just two weeks ago, a great group of pastors. And we walked through the length and breadth of Washington DC and I point out to them all over the city, it’s literally covered with the influence of God and especially the scriptures.
For example, we walk into the Library of Congress and it’s not a place that’s visited by too many people that go to DC. When you walk into that grand room that forms the very original room that was the Library of Congress, up on the wall are verses of scriptures. Actually, along the top of the ceiling.
Keith Davidson, our guest, has been there with me and Psalm 19:1 is there, “The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth his handiwork.” You go to the largest or the tallest building in Washington DC, which is 555 feet tall, the Washington Monument, at the very point, or the pinnacle, the peak of the Washington Monument, inscribed there when the building was completed in the 1880s are two words in Latin, “Laus Deo,” which mean in English, “praise be to God.” And then in the United States Supreme Court, there’s an image of Moses, in front of him are two tablets. Numbered, one tablet one to five, the other tablet six to ten. Obviously a reference to the Ten Commandments.
So, Gary, I want to ask you this, this is our history, the things we’re talking about, the comments by the founders and the framers of the Constitution, all of these places where the word of God is dominant in the city of Washington DC, and yet there is this incessant attempt to try to convince contemporary culture that God and the Bible had nothing to do with the founding of this country. How do we go about, just very simply, how do we go about trying to correct what is taking place right now, which is so tragic?
Gary Dull: Well, first of all, I’m thankful for what Keith Davidson’s doing with the Bible Reading Marathon. I think that that’s going to draw attention to the many people who come through Washington and visit the capitol during that period of that, basically that first week of May. But you know, I think again, a lot of it goes back to the church, does it not? A lot of it goes back to the pulpit. A lot of it goes back to Christian education.
I think, number one, we talk about this a lot, but it’s basic. Pastors, we need to preach and teach the word of God over the pulpit. And then, our young people need to be taught from real history the foundational principles of our government, of our nation. I was just talking to somebody the other day and emphasizing the fact that when you read our Constitution, you can practically go to chapter, book, and verse in the Bible and find the major biblical foundation for those tenets that are in the Constitution.
And so, it’s going to take some education. It’s going to take right teaching. But a lot of it goes back to the church, to the family, to the home, teaching young people who are growing up real history. And, Dave, I’m just trying to rack my brain to think, there is a tremendous history book out there, maybe you or Sam or Keith know what it is, I can’t recall to my mind right now, but it’s about three inches thick, but it talks about the real history of the United States of America. If one of you can think of it, you can share it with our audience.
But there are history books out there that tell the truth. We need to get that back into the hearts and minds of our young people today.
Dave Kistler: In the minute and a half we have left, Keith, I want to go to you. Obviously as a Bible printing ministry and founder of that ministry, distributing ministry, that which we’ve had in the United States of America, which is a lot of influence of the scriptures, other nations have not had that. And yet, those other nations, and you’ve traveled to some of them, I’ve been with you to South Korea. North Korea and other nations like them, desperately are seeking the word of God while it seems like in our nation so many are trying to reject its influence.
I’d love for you to comment on that and just talk about what that says to you personally.
Keith Davidson: Yes, sir, Brother Dave, to me personally, we’ve been to some of these countries, Venezuela and other places, especially today they’re doing the socialism and all those things. We’ve seen dictators and all that. And I think our country, maybe like the nation of Israel, we kind of get spoiled and we’ve kind of gotten to where we’re used to that kind of thing, not understanding the importance of it.
But these other countries have started out in the negative. They’re socialism, the heartache and things that they’re under, so they’ve not seen that. So they’re seeking an answer and they look to America and our foundation, so they understand that the Bible is the key and is the answer. And I believe that’s really why they seek us out. There’s a hollowness in their heart, in their lives, and they are seeking purpose and meaning and I believe the word of God can share that and guide them to that.
Dave Kistler: The Bible: indispensable to the survival of the nation. That’s our topic today, and in this final segment, what we commonly call our solutions segment, we want to talk about the many of the founders who made comments with respect to the scriptures. And then early leaders in our country who did the same. Many, many of the founders gave eloquent testimony to the critical importance of the Bible in America. And I want to cite just a couple.
For example, the first Secretary of War, who was also a signer of the U.S. Constitution. He was Secretary of War for the first two presidents of the United States, his name was James McHenry and here’s what he said, “The holy scriptures can alone secure to society order and peace. And to our courts of justice and constitutions of government, purity, stability, and usefulness. In vain, without the Bible, we increase penal laws and draw entrenchments around our institutions. Bibles are strong entrenchments, where they abound, men cannot pursue wicked courses.”
Patrick Henry, which many of you will recognize that name, “Give me liberty or give me death,” fame. He stated the following with respect to the scriptures, “A book worth more than all the other books that were ever printed.”
First Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, John Jay, wrote to Peter Jay on April 8, 1784, the following words, “The Bible is the best of all books. For it is the word of God and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and in the next. Continue therefore to read it and to regulate your life by its precepts.”
Often called the father of American jurisprudence, Joseph Story called the Bible, “the common inheritance, not merely of Christendom, but of the world.”
And also a signer of the Declaration of Independence, Dr. Benjamin Russ declared, “That the Bible should be read in our schools in preference to all other books from its containing the greatest portion of that kind of knowledge, which is calculated to produce private and public temporal happiness.”
So men, I want to go to each of you and just ask you a couple of questions. The Bible: it’s indispensable to the survival of our nation, that’s our history. Sam, let me just get your take on this and then I want to go to Gary and to Keith. What do we do? I’ve already asked Gary in general, but what really needs to take place to get us back, in America, to an appropriate emphasis on the scriptures and the role, not only that they played in the founding, but the role they should play now?
Sam Rohrer: Well, Dave, I think the answer is this, not the pursing of a law that’s been changed. You’re not going to get people in office who don’t appreciate who God is to pass a law to put God back into place. What do you do? In answer to your question, this is where I think it is, those who know who God is, those who have a fear of God, those kind of people listening to our program today and are across the country. Those who say they are Christians, many of them we know they’re not, we know that, but if one says they are, then, Dave, we need to begin living like it. We need to begin speaking the truth boldly and not being afraid to go right to God’s word and to quote the verses that are there, that guide our lives. Talk to the people when we meet them, visitors. Sit down by someone on a plane or ride with someone in a cab. Yesterday I rode in a cab with a Muslim and I went right to the heart and ended up talking with him about Jesus and why Jesus is God and not just a prophet. A most unusual discussion, very open, by the way.
But when we let our light shine, Dave, those who know the truth, that is the salt, that is the light, that’s what creates a difference. We must come out of being timid, those in the pew, those in the pulpit, if we believe God’s word, we need to believe it, live it, and speak to it, and let it influence our lives. That is the greatest impact I think we can have because the world will see that and then they come and they say, “Hey, what’s the difference with you,” and now, here we go.
We just need to start living it, those who say they claim it.
Dave Kistler: Excellent. Keith, let me go to you. In addition to what we’re going to be doing, coming up here in just 20 days and that is the U.S. Capitol Bible Reading Marathon on the West Plaza steps of the U.S. Capitol. In addition to that, Keith, what can we do? What should we be doing to try to bring back an appropriate emphasis on the scriptures in our country?
Keith Davidson: Yes, sir, I appreciate the subject today and of course, what Brother Sam said as well, but I think the first thing, we have to get outside of the four walls. Get out of our churches. We’re preaching to Christians and teaching them how important it is, but we have to get out. And to kind of pick up what the world does, what we try to do as well, you have to market the Bible, in that sense of the word, to make it interesting, make it appealing. Let folks know it has answers, it has the answers to life they’re looking for. They’re trying everything in the world, every kind of media, every kind of device, they’re looking for something to fill that hollowness in their heart and we need to direct them to the word of God.
And so believers must make the word of God central in our lives. So if we believe it and we believe it’s the word of God, we need to promote it. And, of course, Paul told Timothy, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed. Don’t be ashamed, what we have is the truth and it’s the salvation of the world. So we need to that to ourselves, to our families, and to the world as we have an impact to share, that the word of God is important, it does have the answers.
Dave Kistler: Ladies and gentlemen, do you remember The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine? Well there was a response to that written by a gentleman named Elias Boudinot. He called it The Age of Revelation and in that work, in 1801, Elias Boudinot said this, “Were you to ask me to recommend the most valuable book in the world, I should fix you on the Bible as the most instructive both to the wise and the ignorant. Were you to ask me for one affording the most rational and pleasing entertainment to the inquiring mind, I should repeat it is the Bible. And should you renew the inquiry for the best philosophy or the most interesting history, I should still urge you to look into the Bible. I would make it, in short, the alpha and omega of knowledge. And be assured that it is for want of understanding the scriptures, both Old and New Testament, that so little value is set upon them by the world at large.”
Gary, I want you to comment on that, let you make some final suggestions about what we can do to get an appropriate emphasis on the Bible again in America. And then take us to the throne of grace in prayer about this, if you would, my friend.
Gary Dull: Well certainly I agree with that statement, but I just want to add a little bit to what we can do and what we are doing at our church and I would encourage others to do it. First of all, we still do door-to-door evangelism here. And I believe that evangelism is what we need to be doing as Christians. We sort of lost that in our local community. The average church does not get outside of its four walls. We need to go where the people are and tell them about Christ. A changed heart would mean a changed family, a changed church, a changed society, whatever the case.
Secondly, distribute the Bible. At our church here in Altoona, Pennsylvania, we’ve been working for about three or four years now to get the Bible into the home of every one of the 50,000 to 60,000 people that live in our city. We do it once a week throughout May to October. We’ve made quite a bit of progress and most of the times it’s received.
So there are things that we can do, but it starts on the local level. We start on the local level evangelizing and getting the word of God into the hands of people, eventually it will get into the hearts of people.
And Father, I just pray that you would wake us up as Christians in America today. There are many opportunities, many open doors for us to evangelize. Many opportunities for us to get out the word of God. And I pray, Lord, that you would compel us to do it and we know that when we get out your word, it will be effective for it does not return unto you void. Thank you for the power of your word, in Jesus’ name, amen.