Paul R Dienstberger
Retired School Teacher
921 Hoover Drive
Ashland, Oh 44805
ph: 419-281-3184
fax: 419-281-3184


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Nation of Christians

by Paul R Dienstberger
Copyright 2000 Paul R. Dienstberger


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The Prelude

When an author starts a text, one expected perspective is that he will be neutral and just present the facts. The writer should be a third person. The classroom teacher or college professor is challenged with the same position, since he or she might influence the formative minds of his students.

I submit to you upfront and from the beginning that this is a near impossible tenet to be impartial, unbiased, and totally objective. I appreciated Vern Bullough's statements, when he said, "everything seems to be relative to the point of view of the observer. Presuppositions do play an important is impossible to have a "view from nowhere."

Anyone worth their salt has a zeal, a passion, a persuasion that makes them interesting. Can you imagine Dan Rather or Sam Donelson being accused of bland neutrality. Oprah, Rosie, Phil Donahue, Rush Limbaugh, Jerry Falwell and the like all have followers, who faithfully watch their shows just because of this appeal. The listener expects some degree of persuasion.

Any public forum whether it be the news, or the entertainment field, or a public speaker ends with an opinion. It is a part of the responsibility to stand in front of any assemblage and perform.

As one prepares, studies, practices, develops that public presence, he or she reaches a conviction and even a confidence that they have something worthwhile to say. I find that the better educated people, such as teachers-professors, media-communicators, and the professional types, are usually well read and well informed; and they have a point of view.

Even the audience is going to grant approval based on the emotion displayed by the presenter or the resulting impact on the listeners. You usually hear: wasn't that a good sermon, or did you like that movie, or what did you think of the program. Right now you are already starting to form your conclusions whether this book has your interest, and if you are going to continue further into these opinions.

As a college graduate and a classroom teacher for 36 years no one ever told me that I was being indoctrinated or inculcated by those teachers or the books, but I sure disliked the ones, who would not give their opinions. I mistrusted their subtle intents and their hidden dockets; and I wondered, "What do they really mean?"

Today we find a strong emphasis on "the agenda." There is almost needs to be a warning or a disclaimer on every PBS documentary, radio-TV show, movie, book, etc that it's slanted toward their favorite opinion. USA Today has daily columns in every section which specialize in reviewing the news from their point of view, but no one calls it prejudice or even hints at partiality. Al Neuharth encourages a "forum" of opinions.

If the presentation involves a historical event, then it probably has some revisionist perspective. Someone claims to have new evidence or an updated version, but certainly it must have the hype packaging so others will watch it or read it. No one ever claims to have a distorted view of history that it is twisted to justify their narrow position.

This brings me to the main perspective that motivates this book. There is a school of thought that believes God is being driven from the public school classroom, and Christianity is being deliberately purged from our textbooks, and those academic atheists are corrupting our morals by omitting religion from our values.

At this point from what you have read you would not expect me give an opinion of bland, lukewarm neutrality.

The textbook never was a source of much God stuff. Historically it has been a collection of people, places, dates, and events. The three G's of Gold, Gospel, Glory never put much gospel in the textbook. Manifest destiny emphasized land expansion not the God-given right to the land. It is almost never written that the President was a devote Christian.

The main source of biblical material came from the teacher and the students, who interjected their personal information. The most memorable statement that I remember from my high school teachers was made by Mr. Simkims, a science teacher. When he started to teach evolution and to show the movie Hemo the Magnificent, he gave this disclaimer, "Before you run to your preacher and say that I'm against The Bible and I'm teaching evolution, let me say that evolution is only a theory." Can you imagine that kind of warning from today's science teachers. It's only a theory! Let's face the facts. Today evolution is taught as the only logical explanation for the beginning mankind.

God is a God of history. When one reads The Bible and the massive details in the stories and the lives of the people and nations particularly Israel, the response is almost why is it so verbose. One verse sticks out to me. In Acts 17:26 Paul writes that God has determined the times and the places where people will live and move. We have God-given boundaries.

In my teaching career I taught the flow of history from two different perspectives. The first method was the sequence of historical events that had cause and effect so the past bumped the future along. I ended up almost emphasizing the old posthole method of stop-action or a time-frame position around the person or the events during that date in history.

The direction of history was like a ripple effect. I could choose any individual, event, date, idea, movement, etc and then tie it to the next era. It was an endless glorification of the past that only led to the present. History really had no ultimate goal that I was leading toward except the present.

My second method was a panoramic position or a view of history from a beginning to an end. It wasn't until I became a born again Christian that this view dominated my philosophy of history.

The question of "how the world began" certainly influences a teacher's vista through the flow of history. The evolutionists tell us that life began with slime in a sunlit pool of water. The creationists say that God spoke everything into existence in six days.

Either starting point leads to a pre-supposition that sways the historian's overview throughout all of history. Regardless of what chronological trail the historian pursues, I want to ask, "what is the final goal of all this?" Is mankind to exist continuously? Are we making progress and improving or not? Will the world just continue until it wears out or is used up. Or will some violent men end up destroying the world with a nuclear war?

My perspective of history can be best explained by this example. President John F. Kennedy was visiting with Billy Graham. Kennedy, a keen history student and the author of Why England Slept and Profiles in Courage, asked Graham, "Where do you see history leading?" The world famous evangelist answered, "History will climax with the personal return of Jesus Christ." The President acknowledged that this outlook gave a perspective to history. I, too, cherish Rev. Graham's position, but it also defines the boundaries and the framework for a comprehensive historical philosophy.

Our nation still sings "God shed His grace on thee." We claim to be "One nation under God." We know that a politician is on his last paragraph, when he invokes, "And God bless America." If this is true, then historians should be able to justify the viewpoint with the events and individuals in American history. As David Maines calls them, we should make "God sightings."

I appreciate the Hebrew writers in the Old Testament because they interpreted the past events and their present condition in terms of God's covenant with them, and their obedience or disobedience to Him. As a student of history, who believes that there is a God in control of world events, then I must search to evaluate the times by asking, "What is God trying to say to us through these events?"

With this providential intervention viewpoint I agree in part with Shakespeare that "Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em." I do not believe that great men or women make the times and the seasons. Events provide opportunity for great people to come to the forefront. Again people are restrained by the Acts 17 verse. Besides there is only one great man in history - Jesus Christ, and were it not for two events - the crucifixion and the resurrection, He would not be a great man.

In writing this historical survey I intend this book to be a supplement to American history textbooks. I, also, anticipate that the reader is either an experienced US history teacher or he or she is informed and knowledgeable on the topic. I will not cover some of the details of US history. Hopefully, this is mostly additional information.

I am challenged from the OT writer Isaiah (43:9) "Let all nations gather together and let the peoples assemble. Who among them can declare this, and show us the former things? Let them bring their witnesses to justify them, and let them hear and say, It is true."

My thesis is that the USA does have a great Christian heritage, and numerous Christian individuals have contributed to that heritage. We are a Republic with Christians, who have made an impact. Also, the Creator of this universe has blessed and providentially worked in this nation for His purpose.

Many voices are crying out that US history today fails to tell the truth about these facts. The Christian past is either untold, omitted, forgotten, de-emphasized, even distorted, but it is certainly neglected in many textbooks and only given tokenism.

We need a summons like from the Jewish writers and events as in the Passover and Joshua's stones upon entering the Promised land...Remember! When your children ask..Remember! The history that we are expected to remember is NOT about the great Christian legacy or about the Christians, who have been a force for good, but it's a rewritten and revised version by today's courts, textbooks, and curriculum writers.

Regardless, I need to remind myself and the reader of the great story of Esther and the Jewish Feast of Purim. Amazing providential events took place throughout the story to Mordecai, Esther, Haman, and even King Ahasuerus, who couldn't sleep. God was never once mentioned in the book. Nevertheless, He was always at work in those events. The same is true today whether we write it or not in our books or newspapers. He always works through the lives of believers and non-believers to accomplish His purpose. I originally selected the ten chapter format because there appeared to be cycles like the book of Judges. First a period of spiritual fervor and blessing, then a falling away, then a revival of spiritual activity, then religious regression, and the cycles continued to repeat the pattern. But the Philistines and the Midianites never took over the USA, so I chose to survey the five spiritual revival eras and the five search settings between them. Nevertheless, I have researched to "remember" that America does have a Christian tradition and, but more than that - it has been a nation with Christians, who did make a difference in the development of this Republic.

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