What Meaneth These Stones? | December 5, 2023


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On many occasions, individuals will do something so that they remember a significant life event.  The Israelites gathered stones as they crossed the Jordan River.  With the stones, they built a monument so that when future generations asked what the stones meant, they would hear of how God led them through and provided for them.

We also put up monuments, not to worship, but to remember individuals or events that have impacted our nation in a significant way.  Unfortunately, it’s these statues and monuments that are under attack.  Why is this happening?

To address this issue, Crosstalk welcomed Dr. Tim Schmig.  Dr. Schmig is executive director of the Michigan Association of Christian Schools, director of Stories in Stone and author of Stories in Stones: Our Heritage of Evidence.

So why is there such a concerted effort to remove statues and monuments today?  Dr. Schmig believes part of it is because people today are looking back through the lens of their own personal experiences, therefore they view our nation’s founders based upon what’s known as “presentism.”  In other words, they weigh the actions and productivity of the founders (and others who’ve gone on before us) based on what they believe is right today.

As he noted, none of us are perfect, including America’s founders.  The present day protesters that tear down monuments aren’t perfect either.  So if you look at our nation through the lens of idealism, we’ll be weighed in the balances and found wanting.  Yet if you look at America’s history based upon the times that they lived in, you’ll see that those individuals did some amazing things.

Dr. Schmig explained that the founders worked spiritual themes into monuments as a testament to the providential plan and the providential protection that they had.  For example, the Mayflower Compact starts this way: “In the name of God, Amen.”  From this we can see it’s a document that starts with prayer.  Then it goes on to note that it was undertaken for the advancement of the Christian faith.

When you look at the Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, our state charters; all of them were being signed by people who believed they were making a vertical covenant with God and a horizontal covenant with each other which would hold all of them accountable for what they were doing.  It’s about accountability to God and fidelity to the past by honoring those who got them to that point in history, with faithfulness going forward that future generations would recognize that they are to be custodians of that heritage.    

So what should all of us know about Washington, Jefferson, Columbus or Lincoln?  In light of the era we live in, where monuments are being taken down and the mantra is indoctrination over education, how should believers respond to this?  Get the answers you need on this edition of Crosstalk.

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