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Pass the Torch

Updated on September 16, 2017
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I am a Christian pastor who wishes to bring glory to God in all that I do, and to help people through my writing to know Him better.

The Extinguishing of a Dream?

It was Ronald Reagan who said: "Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again."

We have faced major problems before and the great American experiment has been challenged. Whether it be the British who didn't want us to become a separate nation in the first place, to a major Civil War that threatened to divide us into two separate nations, all the way up to the Great Depression and two major World Wars that brought us and the whole world to the brink of disaster and being taken over by mad and evil men who killed millions.

Now of course, since 9-11-2001, we are facing a whole new breed of evil with Islamic terrorists once again wanting to take over the world and bringing about their own brand of civilization complete with Sharia Law that goes against everything we have ever stood for as a nation.

So we, as a people, are not immune to extreme challenges which have threatened our very existence. However, today is different in at least one way. We are destroying ourselves from within and losing our soul by throwing out the Judeo-Christian world-view upon which our laws were based.

I. A Secular-Progressive Agenda

There is a loud, obnoxious and well funded group out there which is seeking to replace everything we hold dear with their own alternate form or reality which isn't reality at all. For instance, they want to replace the traditional family with an anything goes family which could include every combination imaginable but the one man and one woman relationship designed by God. They are altering the idea of human life created in the image of God and making us out to be merely part of an evolutionary hierarchy that has no more intrinsic value than a slug leaving a slimy trail on a road. In doing so they are devaluing human life so that a child in the womb can be killed if he or she is "unwanted" by the mother.

They have all but taken over our public schools and are trying to keep our children from praying to God and at the same time are teaching tolerance of any religion but the Christian religion. And of course by tolerance they mean to accept every view as having equal value without any judging of it, no matter how silly it may be.

These people want more and more government control over things like health care, putting us in bondage increasingly to the government which they are attempting to take over with their liberal Socialistic agenda.

They are brainwashing our children into thinking like them and are making a mockery of our beliefs, calling us racist, homophobic, xenophobic and any other phobia that they can think of to add to the list. These people are saying that anyone who holds to the traditional values passed down to us by our forefathers is behind the times, prejudiced and "intolerant." The sad thing is that they cannot see their own intolerance against those who hold a world-view separate from themselves.

The so-called "Secular Progressives" are not above twisting history to conform to their point of view by taking out the rich Christian heritage that has made America what it is today.

II. The Christian Agenda

Today, more than ever before, we need to fight against this liberal agenda that will destroy our nation. But we must also "pass the torch" of freedom on to the next generation as well, or it will be lost forever. The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms tells us that "to pass the torch" means to:

"Relinquish responsibilities, a tradition, practice, or knowledge to another. For example: 'When the company's founder became too ill to continue, he passed the torch to his nephew.' This metaphoric expression alludes to the ancient Greek torch race, in which a lighted torch was passed from one runner to the next."

The Apostle Paul, in the book of II Timothy, was nearing his death at the hands of the emperor Nero for his faith in Jesus Christ. A major objective in writing the book was to pass his torch to his son in the faith Timothy. He wanted Timothy to remain strong and not to fear as he continued the preaching and teaching of the Gospel that Paul had started but was now unable to continue.

The great Apostle wanted Timothy to remember and "kindle afresh" the gift of God which was in him and not to be timid about it but use it. Paul told Timothy not to be afraid to join with him in his sufferings for Christ on behalf of the Gospel (II Timothy 1:6-9). And, of course, he wanted Timothy to pass the torch to others as well. He wrote:

"And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also" (II Timothy 2:2).

Like Timothy, and Paul before him, we are called to pass on the faith that has been entrusted to us to the next generation. And it is our job to pass on the culture that derives from that faith in this country which has arguably created one of the most successful societies in history, giving freedom and prosperity to millions who might otherwise never have had a chance.

But the sad truth is, we are failing to do this. According to Barna Research 70-75% of youth leave the church after high school. More than half of all college professors whom we send our children to learn under see Evangelical Christians in a negative light and college professors are more than five times likely to view themselves as atheists than the general public. We are indeed sending our children to the wolves in the Universities that are supposed to ultimately make their lives better through education.

II. Revival Begins At Home

If the American experiment is to survive, we need a revival. We must have godly men and women who will pray and then stand up for what is right and teach their children to do the same. Godly fathers are needed to be the spiritual heads of households that they are supposed to be. It has been proven through research that a child is more likely to follow in the faith of their parents if the husband and father doesn't just send his children to church but takes them himself and stays to learn what God would have him to know, do and be.

Parents must take seriously the words originally spoken by Moses to the Children of Israel just before entering the promised land. He wrote:

"Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is One! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." (Deuteronomy 4:4-9).

In other words, parents are to teach and model the Christian world view to their children. Not the school, not the church, but the parents have that responsibility!!

And parents also need to prepare their children better to defend their faith against the ungodly, insane worldviews that they will encounter. In order to do this, they need to know what they believe and why they believe it themselves.


It is obvious that the flame of liberty is growing more dim and needs to be rekindled. Those who want to take over desire the government to control us from cradle to grave. And that government is becoming increasingly godless. Socialism is being adopted slowly into our worldview as the Christian worldview is being, not so slowly, discarded. Freedom is indeed a fragile thing but somehow we must pass the torch onto a future generation who will love God and care for this great experiment in freedom called the United States of America. God is not dead and is gracious to forgive and restore, if we would but turn back to Him in repentance! May it never be said of us that we were the generation that allowed the flame to be extinguished! Dear God save us from ourselves!!

President Reagan on God and Country

Reagan: "We will never abandon our belief in God."

© 2017 Jeff Shirley


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