Switzerland recently celebrated the 500th anniversary of the birth of John Calvin, one of the leaders the Reformation–a movement that greatly altered the history of the world. Calvin was a second generation reformer, following in the wake of Martin Luther and others, who took on the religious and cultural corruption of the 16th century with a Christ-centered viewpoint that eventually produced free nations, human rights, free enterprise, moral reforms and a global Gospel explosion.
Calvin and Luther were protesting the corruption of their day and pointing the way to renewed societies that honored Jesus Christ and cared about their fellow human beings. They became known as Protestants-Protesters–who wanted to limit kingly and ecclesiastical power and release the power of Christ in individual hearts. That Reformation gave us our modern world of just laws, not powerful men; Freedom, not slavery; Abundance, not universal poverty; Faith and hope, not servitude and despair. In the 21st century, I believe a new Reformation is beginning. It’s made up of millions of people who see their culture gasping for life, their freedoms being eroded, and chaos looming on the horizon due the growing tentacles of state power and control. Call them the New Protestants. And they’re not going away. Like Luther and Calvin, may they be victorious. These new Protesters are showing up at “tea parties” around the American nation. Many raised their voices at town hall meetings. Others have formed 24/7 prayer groups to cry out to God for spiritual and moral renewal. Some of them are young and passionate. Others are seniors who are disciplined and determined. They come from every economic strata, all fifty America states, and are truly a rainbow coalition of many races and cultural backgrounds. What are they protesting? Here’s a partial list:
- The thirty year holocaust of abortion
- The break-up and re-definition of marriage
- The main-streaming and glorification of immorality.
- The growth of Big Goverment and loss of liberty.
- Heavy taxation and regulation.
- Economic and ecological fascism.
- The corruption and unconcern of those in high places.
What unites them is an almost unspoken set of values that once made America great–and will bless any nation on earth that chooses to embrace them. Those values come from the Bible and are empowered by Jesus Christ in the heart of individuals. The New Protestants are much bigger than any group of organization. But one expression of their vitality took place this summer and is specially worthy of note. On June 30, 2009, representatives of some of America’s largest faith-based groups gathered in Washington, D.C. to announce that they will organize and mobilize their grassroots constituencies in a common cause–to formally announce the formation of the Freedom Federation. The Federation encompasses individuals of different races, faiths and backgrounds who are committed to the preservation of freedom and American values, founded on the Judeo-Christian tradition. The Freedom Federation is not a separate organization, but an association of like-minded national organizations with large and unique religious and political constituencies.
The Freedom Federation is committed to defending and extending core values expressed in the Declaration of American Values, the organization’s founding document. These include the right to life, the institution of marriage, parental rights, religious liberty, an environment free of pornography and indecency, the right to property, freedom from excessive taxation, and national sovereignty. The statement is posted on the Vision America website at www.visionamerica.us. Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on a Wittenberg Door in 1517. The Freedom Federation unveiled their ten values on June 30, 2009. The Declaration of American Values represents a cultural revolution that you are invited to join. Here are the basic points of agreement:
The Declaration of American Values
We the people of the United States of America, at this crucial time in history, do hereby affirm the core consensus values which form the basis of America’s greatness, that all men and women from every race and ethnicity are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We adhere to the rule of law embodied in the Constitution of the United States and to the principles of liberty on which America was founded. In order to maintain the blessings of liberty and justice for ourselves and our posterity, and recognizing that personal responsibility is the basis of our self-governing Nation, we declare our allegiance:
1. To secure the sanctity of human life by affirming the dignity of and right to life for the disabled, the ill, the aged, the poor, the disadvantaged, and for the unborn from the moment of conception. Every person is made in the image of God, and it is the responsibility and duty of all individuals and communities of faith to extend the hand of loving compassion to care for those in poverty and distress.
2. To secure our national interest in the institution of marriage and family by embracing the union of one man and one woman as the sole form of legitimate marriage and the proper basis of family.
3. To secure the fundamental rights of parents to the care, custody, and control of their children regarding their upbringing and education.
4. To secure the free exercise of religion for all people, including the freedom to acknowledge God through our public institutions and other modes of public expression and the freedom of religious conscience without coercion by penalty or force of law.
5. To secure the moral dignity of each person, acknowledging that obscenity, pornography, and indecency debase our communities, harm our families, and undermine morality and respect. Therefore, we promote enactment and enforcement of laws to protect decency and morality.
6. To secure the right to own, possess and manage private property without arbitrary interference from government, while acknowledging the necessity of maintaining a proper and balanced care and stewardship of the environment and natural resources for the health and safety of our families.
7. To secure the individual right to own, possess, and use firearms as central to the preservation of peace and liberty.
8. To secure a system of checks and balances between the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches within both state and federal governments, so that no one branch – particularly the judiciary – usurps the authority of the other two, and to maintain the constitutional principles of federalism which divide power between the state and federal governments.
9. To secure our national sovereignty and domestic tranquility by maintaining a strong military; establishing and maintaining secure national borders; participating in international and diplomatic affairs without ceding authority to foreign powers that diminish or interfere with our unalienable rights; and being mindful of our history as a nation of immigrants, promoting immigration policies that observe the rule of law and are just, fair, swift, and foster national unity.
10. To secure a system of fair taxes that are not punitive against the institution of marriage or family and are not progressive in nature, and within a limited government framework, to encourage economic opportunity, free enterprise, and free market competition.
If you agree with these principles, then you’re one of the New Protestants–in name.
If you pray, speak up, act, care for people, and vote–then you, too, can become one in deed–and join this encouraging and growing Reformation.