“The truth shall make you free,” is a universally accepted, well known quote, appearing on cornerstones of colleges and in other public places, but many do not know it is taken from the Bible (John 8:32), the Book that sets people free.
Many lovers of freedom have spoken about the importance of the Bible and its impact on America.
Near the end of his life, Patrick Henry said, “Here is a Book, the Bible, worth more than all others that were ever printed.” George Washington concluded it was impossible to rightly govern the nation without the Bible.
Abraham Lincoln wrote: “I am profitably engaged in reading the Bible. Take all of this Book upon reason that you can, and the balance by faith and you will live and die a better man.”
The respected statesman, Daniel Webster, declared, “If we abide by the principles taught in the Bible our country will go on prospering, but if we and our posterity neglect its instructions and authority, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us and bury our glory in profound obscurity.”
William McKinley, our twenty-fifth president, said, “The more profoundly we study this wonderful Book, and the more closely we observe its divine precepts, the better citizens we will become and the higher will be our destiny as a nation.”
Woodrow Wilson, our twenty-eighth president, warned: “A man has deprived himself of the best there is in the world who has deprived himself of a knowledge of the Bible.”
The roots of liberty reach deeply into the Bible.
“The Bible has been the Magna Carta of the poor and oppressed,” wrote the English scientist, Thomas Henry Huxley. And so it has. Study a map of the world and you will see that wherever the Bible has traveled freedom has followed.
Celebrating our independence then ought to include reading and applying the Book that makes us free. Churches should be packed with grateful worshippers who come to be refreshed by the teachings of the Book carried by the Pilgrims and others who came here to find freedom to worship God as they pleased and to declare the teachings of the Bible publicly without fear of persecution.
If we forsake the Book of freedom, we are likely to lose our cherished liberty. If we declare ourselves independent from God, we cannot expect His blessings.
Our high regard of the Bible in the past provides a rich heritage that flows through our documents of freedom. But the freedom spoken of in the Bible is not just national and political; it is individual.
A troubled man once called to find help to overcome his fears. When I pointed him to the Bible he expressed fear that this might just make him feel guilty and condemned. Later he called to tell me how wrong he had been. The Book he had feared was not condemning at all. Instead, he’s beginning to see it as a means of freedom from the fears and anxieties that can trouble us all.
Roger Campbell is an author, a broadcaster and columnist who was a pastor for 22 years. He can be reached at email@example.com