Salute to America Rally
September 3rd, 1976
SALUTE TO AMERICA RALLY
Dr. W. A. Criswell
And one of the great privileges of a lifetime is to be here with you in the Bicentennial Celebration of America. I have been assigned a subject: The God of Israel and of America.
In the providences of the Lord, the North American continent was kept and reserved by the Spirit of grace for an unusual and a significant purpose. God placed those isles in the Caribbean in order to block off the approach of Columbus to these shores: he never set foot on North America. And when the conquistadores came to the New World, they turned south, looking for gold and exploitation. God reserved our continent for the coming of the Pilgrim and the Puritan, who were seeking to build churches and Christian homes and Christian schools. And this nation has become the hope of the downtrodden and the oppressed of the world. The government that our forefathers fashioned has in it the rights and liberties guaranteed to us by the living God.
When our Constitutional Convention was called in the city of Philadelphia, those men sought a paragon and a pattern by which they could frame the new government of the new nation. They looked to Spain and found there that the rights and liberties of the people were guaranteed by a monarchy. "But," said our Founding Fathers, "if a monarch can guarantee rights and liberties, that same monarch can take them away." They turned then to England and found that the bulwark against oppression and tyranny and the guarantee of the rights and liberties of the people were guaranteed by a parliament. "But," said our founding fathers, "if a parliament can guarantee rights and liberties, that same parliament can take them away." They turned next to France and found that in France the rights and liberties of the people were guaranteed by the will of a majority. "But," said our founding forefathers, "if a majority can guarantee rights and liberties, that same majority can take them away." It was then that our founding forefathers turned to Almighty God, and found for us that the rights and liberties of a people were guaranteed by and founded in the character and being of the living God. This nation of America is founded upon the great spiritual persuasion that God is the Lord of all people, and we in His sight are created equal.
Those great forefathers opened the shores of America to the poor, and to the oppressed, to those who were victims of religious and political persecution and tyranny. On the great Statue of Liberty in New York harbor, they chose a poem from a Jewish woman, Emma Lazarus: "Bring to me," she said, "your poor and your oppressed, your sick and your afflicted." And America has been, and still is, the hope of an oppressed world. It is our dedication as a people in America to extend love and friendship to those who look for help and encouragement. And especially is that true to the hungry and the poor of the world. And that includes nations like Israel, who, under great stress, look for us to be friend and helper in their hour of need.
I saw one time a cartoon in a daily newspaper; it was of an island, and the people in the center of the island were turned inward, their faces inward, their backs to the sea. That was all. Had no caption, no explanation, just that cartoon. I looked at it closely to see why such a picture should be drawn. And then I noticed that the sea around the island and the little inlets of the sea that came up to the island: the sea was a sea of human hands reaching up to those who were in the center of the island; long, bony, and hungry hands. But the people in the center of the island were turned inward, and their backs to the great sea of humanity whose long, hungry hands were reaching up to those with their backs turned. This may be a part of modern America; but for us who are evangelical Christians, our hands are reaching toward, and our faces look toward these who are in such desperate need of help in this modern and tragic age.
You know, we are a part of the body of Christ; and we are an inextricable, integral part of those who call upon the name of the God of Israel. And finally in freedom and in delivery from oppression we are one, both Israel and America. As long as there is one sick, I am not well. As long as there is one in prison, I am not free. As long as there is one who is oppressed, I am not delivered. As long as there is one that is blind, I cannot see. As long as there is one in sin, I am not absolved. As long a there is one that is lost, I am not saved. We are identified with the body of Christ and with the people who call upon the name of Jehovah God, and with the needy and the poor of the earth.
To that end we have brought our nation in this bicentennial to the God of Israel. Still is it true: "I will bless those that bless thee, I will curse those that curse thee" [Genesis 12:3]; and America has been blessed for one reason, because of its love and friendship for the people of God. And at the great consummation and denouement of the age, the Lord says:
Welcome into the kingdom reserved for you from the foundation of the world; for I was poor, and I was sick, and I was oppressed, and I was in prison, and you came to Me. And these shall say, Lord, when did we ever see Thee poor, or sick, or oppressed, or in prison? Then the Lord shall reply, Inasmuch as you did it unto one of the least of these My Jewish brethren, ye did it unto Me.
And we are persuaded that the same love and friendship of our America for Israel and the people of God shall characterize us to the end of time, and that God will bless our America as He promised to bless those who were friends to and who love the seed, the children of Abraham.
In keeping with that devotion, as evangelical Christians, we have prepared a proclamation of love, friendship, and brotherhood with the state of Israel. This proclamation, George Sampson will now bring to this table to my left. I shall read it, and then, please God, we shall be called to sign it. And in that signature, which will be presented to the ambassador of the Israeli nation in Washington D.C., we all present today shall have a beautiful and a worthy part.
We, the undersigned evangelical Christians, attending a Salute to America Bicentennial Congress on Prophecy, July 3, in the year of our Lord 1976, at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, attest to the following:
Whereas we believe the Bible, including the Old and New Testament, is the inspired Word of God; and that God has established an everlasting covenant relationship between Himself, the Jewish people, and the land of Israel; and
Whereas, the Holocaust’ an outrageous act is part of Israel’s sacred history; and although detractors of the nation claim this to be a breach in the covenant of God with the Jewish people, we believe that the perpetrators of the Holocaust were in essence the enemies of God, working against God and the eternal message of Israel, and that the establishment of the nation of Israel following the Holocaust is in fact proof that the covenant of God with His people had not been broken; and
Whereas, believing the Jewish people to be God’s chosen people of prophecy, they are the people of the land; and,
Further, in the Bible God vigorously proclaims His love for the nation of Israel and the Jewish people; and
Whereas, through the nation of Israel came the promised Messiah, our dear Lord, and according to Scripture the Messiah will return to Jerusalem to reign as King; and
Therefore, be it resolved that we protest the recent action of the United Nations, which equated Zionism with racism, as being contrary to the Word of God and as throughout history self-condemning to anybody or individual nation voting against Israel’s right to exist; and,
Further, we, knowing Him who made the promises, totally support the people and land of Israel in their God-given, God-promised, God-ordained right to exist; and,
Further, that any nation who bitterly assails Israel and the right of the state to exist, can be seen not only as the enemies of the Jewish people, but also as the enemies of God;
We have therefore affixed our signatures, this July 3, 1976, at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
And our compatriot and peer, George Sampson, will call us one by one to sign this glorious document and proclamation of our solidarity with and friendship to the Jewish people and the nation of Israel.