Ramon Arias| May 26, 2015
On June 16, 1858, the Springfield, Illinois, Republican State Convention chose Abraham Lincoln as their candidate for the U.S. Senate, his opponent was Democrat Stephen A. Douglas. Lincoln titled his speech “A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand.” As a skillful lawyer, orator and politician he knew his audience and used a familiar statement made by Jesus that is registered in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, to drive his message to its intended purpose.
Douglas defeated Lincoln for the U.S. Senate seat. However, in 1860, Lincoln was nominated as presidential candidate for the Republican Party and won. By March 1861 Lincoln was serving as the 16th President of the United States until he was assassinated in April 1865.
It was Lincoln’s message “A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand” that caught the nation’s attention at a time when America was in a great moral, constitutional and political crisis. What do you think in light of this, have we solved our nation’s enormous 155-year-old crisis? If you have an open mind, and I pray you do, you will arrive at the conclusion that the issues never got resolved even though America has gone through a process of social, economic and prominence in world power.
Lincoln used the slavery issue as the main subject in his message of 1858. In his opening remarks he stated:
“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free.
I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other.”
Regardless of where you stand in your beliefs about Lincoln one thing is certain, the War Between the States was unnecessary but the federal government used it to centralize the power of the nation. My years of research on the historical facts have shed a different light than what we have been told, so we are now faced with two versions.
Lincoln made a universal statement by quoting Jesus that we will do well to pay attention to.
Let me quote to you what Matthew wrote about Jesus’ statement:
“… Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand” (Matthew 12:25).
Notice how Jesus’ focus of division includes a nation, a city and a house. The division is the outcome of disagreements, which is the result of how we view and understand life.
If Lincoln’s generation professed the biblical Christian faith, then why was there a great moral, constitutional and political crisis? There is only one answer—the Christianity of the mid-19th century was divided in its doctrinal positions, which rendered it weak and unfruitful. No people or household that is divided can stand together for too long, it will collapse.
America was chosen by God to be a light to the nations; no different than old Israel. Every time the nation of Israel turned away from God’s moral law, God waited patiently for her to return to her senses and He constantly sent prophets to warn her of the dangerous path she had taken.
“Hear this word that the Lord has spoken against you, O people of Israel, against the whole family that I brought up out of the land of Egypt: ‘You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities. Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet?’” Amos 3:1-3
If only Christians were willing to use critical thinking in assessing how divided the nation is and that the only possible way for national reconciliation is for Christians to embrace the doctrine of self-government under God.
A personal conversion to Christ and self-government under God’s principles is fundamental before it can spread to others by way of evangelism. It brings about a powerful renewal that can change and demolish the divisions among us. This will be followed by comprehensive changes to social institutions when the majority in one accord agrees to live under Biblical principles.
This renewal will spillover and go beyond our borders, it will have a worldwide effect and people will place themselves voluntarily under the jurisdiction of Christ and under the principles of self-government. This is what the world is waiting for.
The humanist god has failed; it has proven that man’s ideas apart from God’s cannot establish social unity, order and progress.
It is up to Christians in America to stop what could be an inevitable collapse.