Let us lay aside teaching American history until it can be revised, urge some heralds of Wokeness.
They demand that we banish and forget whatever does not fit the contemporary Western cultural narrative set by the five establishments who define our national consensus and tell us how to think (Entertainment Establishment, Information Establishment, Academic Establishment, Political Establishment, Corporate Establishment).
Evidence suggests that the call is unneeded. David Closson, director of Christian Ethics and Biblical Worldview at Family Research Council, believes we are already suffering “the consequences of historical illiteracy.”
Cabot Phillips, editor-in-chief of Campus Reform, is concerned about “this massacre of our nation’s history” which is occurring at a “staggering” pace. He says the revisionist history seeks “to indoctrinate students with the idea that America’s lasting legacy is one of genocide and oppression, not freedom and liberty for all.”
Krystina Skurk notes that the revisions not only focus on historical events, but labels and language — especially those with religious connotations, like the Sabbath, Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving.
Skurk sees this historic revisionism as being like that of the hyper-secular eighteenth-century French Revolution, which not only revised history but even introduced a new calendar. The start-date was the launch of their Revolution rather than Christ’s birth. This trend, she says, is seen in the 1619 Project pushed by The New York Times to reset the date for the founding of America to the arrival of slavery in the Colonies.
Time, the track on which the chugging train of history runs, has been here before. The consequences of banishing and forgetting a nation’s history are starkly seen in the experience of Old Testament Israel.
The Bible reports that when Joshua and his generation died off, “there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord nor yet the work which He had done for Israel.” (Judges 2:10) The result: “Then the sons of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals... they forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt.”
The revisionists pushed Israel through a cycle that seems to appear in nations and civilizations throughout time. In my book, Two Men From Babylon, I describe the cycles of this “deep history”:
This is a period in which there is a wide consensus of both citizens and their leaders around the importance of God and His Word as the foundation of the nation.
- Relapse (of memory)
There is a slow breakdown of the ratified consensus as the old generation dies and a new one emerges that loses memory of the historic values based on God and His revelation. Finally, there is a deadly separation between the new generation and the principles that brought forth their nation.
The new generation now actively revolts from the God-centered values and principles and attempts the creation of a new society without God, frequently with gods of their own making.
- Refiner’s fire
As the consequences of rebellion intensify, the nation moves into periods of mounting crisis in which all the institutions that sustain civilization begin to crumple, and antinomianism (lawlessness) sweeps the society.
A remnant within the general population begins to wonder what has gone wrong, what was lost, to have brought on the destruction of society and culture... prophetic voices arise to call people back to the original ratification of God and His word as the true foundation... the prophets are persecuted through an intensifying effort to marginalize, caricature, vilify, criminalize, and then eliminate them... yet there are still those in the societal remnant who embrace the call of the prophets.
People among the remnant take seriously the need to repent of their own sins and those of the society of which they are a part. As God promised in 2 Chronicles 7:14, He hears their prayers, forgives their sin, and begins the healing of their land... this inspires others to repent, leading to the next stage.
God does not hold back His blessings until one hundred percent of the people repent, but He sees the remnant as representing all in the society. Thus, He sends revival, and spiritual renewal spreads as many others in the nation repent and turn themselves and their institutions back to God.
Where are we in these historical cycles? I believe we are deep into a season of the relapse of memory, the rebellion that inevitably follows, and the refiner’s fire when the consequences of relapse and rebellion set our cities ablaze.
Germany and other nations experienced this in the Second World War. Bombed out German cities were called the “rubble world” by soldiers who entered after Hitler’s surrender.
Woke revisionism would make our history a rubble-pile. If it succeeds we will discover that we have pulverized the foundational rocks of our society and culture, reducing the nation to the desolation described in Genesis 1 as tohu-bohu (ruin and desolation), and making wildernesses of our cities as described in Isaiah 14:17.
The good news is that there is movement in some places toward the Repentance and Revival stages: beach gatherings, spontaneous praise and worship in venues ranging from London double-decker buses to balconies in Italy, and people gathering for worship and prayer wherever and whenever possible despite government edicts.
Jesus said that people who “hunger and thirst” for righteousness would be blessed. The worse the chaos gets on the immanent scale, the deeper the desire for transcendent intervention — and the greater certainty of its breakthrough.
“If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
Look to the Lord who is steady and firm, enthroned “in His holy temple.” (Psalm 11:3-4)
That means we must not forget and banish Him from our history.
Wallace Henley is a former pastor, White House and congressional aide, and author of more than 25 books. His newest is Two Men From Babylon: Nebuchadnezzar, Trump, and the Lord of History, published by Thomas Nelson.