Why the House Needs a Spiritual Leader

The Founding Fathers may have been on to something.
The Founding Fathers may have been on to something. (Flickr)

Last week, I wrote these words to 100,000 evangelical pastors: "The resignation of John Boehner, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, creates an opportunity for evangelical pastors to seek a divine perspective on the nation. Placing a spiritual man as the next Speaker of the House should be a matter of intense prayer by America's pastors."

You might ask why it's important that we find a spiritual man for the Speaker of the House.

The basis for the statement is my conviction that men and women with biblical understanding and wisdom—committed to obedience to God—formed the core of the founding of America. Long ago, American values, customs, traditions and standards were saturated with His wisdom, the Scriptures. The Founders established a biblically based culture, meaning that the Bible served as the standard for judgment.

Recall the charters of the original 13 colonies. The people who wrote these documents established Christianity as the official religion of America in each of these charters. American exceptionalism did not come about because of a hodgepodge of ideas thrown together at random. Rather, the Founders knew that virtue and righteousness are key components of freedom. Time and again, they made these kinds of statements:

  • "Purity of morals is the only sure foundation of public happiness in any country." —George Washington
  • "Religion and morality are the essential pillars of civil society." —George Washington
  • "Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morals are indispensable supports." —George Washington
  • "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." —John Adams

American exceptionalism was the byproduct of the lives of these outstanding men and women of character. They submitted themselves to His teaching and, as a result, accumulated personal, spiritual and moral knowledge found only in the wise words of Scripture.

To put a finer point on this, Founding Father Fisher Ames, a member of the First United States Congress, proposed the language of the First Amendment to the Constitution on Aug. 20, 1789: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

Only one month later, on Sept. 20, 1789, Congressman Ames wrote in Palladium: "We have a dangerous trend beginning to take place in our education. We're starting to put more and more textbooks into our schools. ... We've become accustomed of late of putting little books into the hands of children containing fables and moral lessons. ... We are spending less time in the classroom on the Bible, which should be the principal text in our schools."

The Old Testament prophet Isaiah had a word for Israel that is also applicable to America today: The lack of spiritual leadership is a sign of God's judgment on a nation.

Dr. John N. Oswalt writes in his commentary of Isaiah, "(Isaiah 9:13) provides a transition from the previous verse, but it also gives a general statement of the progress of judgment. A people who will not respond to the initial judgment which falls upon them and seek from God both the diagnosis and the cure will shortly find their foolish rulers leading them into a situation where they will have no leadership at all."

This is America: a lack of spiritual leadership.

And so, returning to 2015, this seems to be as good a time as any to call for a new direction in America, a time to think outside of the box.

The rot and decay now accumulated because of the removal of God from public education and the city square has now reached pandemic levels in American culture. When a male Olympic star becomes a woman, the media and America's "Fourth Estate" fell in love with the story and saturated every magazine rack in the country with it. Fools teach folly not only in the bad example they set, but they also seek a public venue in which to propose their alternative choices to virtue and wisdom. But virtue, not moral anarchy and folly, is a key component of freedom. 

The cure is as follows:

  1. Men and women of Issachar (1 Chr. 12:32) must return to the public square with our values. We must counter the fool's distortions and expose the negative consequences of living in a valueless, topsy-turvy world.
  2. We must re-establish prayer in America's churches, asking God for mercy for what we have allowed to a once-Christian nation. Will the pastor-shepherds of our nation's congregations take the lead in the vital work of prayer?

We simply need a Gideon or Rahab the Harlot to stand.

David Lane is the founder of the American Renewal Project.

David Lane is the founder of American Renewal Project.

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