Pastors, ministry leaders gather in Madison to remind citizens of the historical impact of God’s Word on our state and nation
Madison, WI – Pastors and ministry leaders from across Wisconsin came to Madison today as a part of Wisconsin Family Council’s “Pastors’ Day at the Capitol.” The major focus of the time was the presentation of a copy of the Founders’ Bible to the people of each legislative district. Following is a statement about this project from Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Council:
“At a time when public officials are attacked for their faith and America’s religious heritage is rabidly excised from its schools and institutions, citizens from across Wisconsin have gathered here at the Capitol to present to the people of each legislative district a beautiful Founders Bible documenting the profound influence of Scripture throughout our nation’s history.
That heritage is everywhere. In a few short weeks it will again be Good Friday – the 154th since the assassination of the youthful skeptic who became the most religious of all Presidents and who strove like no other to know and do the will of God.
It was that President who explained America’s providential quest in 272 immortal words – words whose profound meaning is incomprehensible to modern secular ears but which, as Professor Rufus Fears once observed, were readily understood by a then Christian people.
For two years, Union armies had marched to the Battle Hymn of the Republic:
In the beauty of the lilies, Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me;
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free!
While God is marching on.
Then, in November 1863, just as man is born in God’s image but marred by sin, Abraham Lincoln explained at Gettysburg that though America was conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that men are created equal, its birth was marred by human bondage. And as the Son of God died that man might live free from sin through a new birth of righteousness, so the thousands who died at Gettysburg gave their last full measures of devotion that America might live through a new birth of freedom, rid of slavery’s curse.
Finally, after two more years of horror, on Palm Sunday 1865, General Lee surrendered at Appomattox, and Lincoln steamed up the Potomac to Washington in triumph.
Five days later, on Good Friday, he was murdered.
The American people who understood the meaning of the President’s address at Gettysburg likewise understood the meaning of his death. As Michael Medved wrote inThe American Miracle, the martyrdom of the nation’s savior commenced reconciliation as nothing else could. And for one and a half centuries since, it has inspired us to dedicate ourselves to the unfinished work he and heroes throughout our history have so nobly advanced.
Of course we know the world will neither note nor remember what we say here. But we give these Bibles in hope that the people of Wisconsin and America may never forget what God has done here in this great land, and that for generations to come, each may know both a new birth in Christ and the blessings of repentance and righteousness on our nation.”
Wisconsin Family Council is a statewide, not-for-profit organization engaged in strengthening, preserving and promoting marriage, family, life and religious liberty in Wisconsin.
ADDRESS OF PRESIDENT ABRAHAM LINCOLN
November 19, 1863
Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives, that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate—we cannot hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.