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A Little Ocean Ambiance
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Doctrinal Writings
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Dr. Richard Flanders
Juniata Baptist Church
Vassar, Michigan
As we enter the graduation season, the issue of the public recognition of God comes again to the forefront. Shall graduates be allowed to pray or to mention the Lord at public school commencement exercises? This is an emotional issue with fervent voices raised on both sides, but it involves a fundamental question that can be considered objectively. Is God a religious doctrine or a self-evident truth? In other words, is believing in God a religious matter anyway? Are public schools really involved in religion when they let a student express a simple belief in the Creator at graduation? The founding fathers professed belief in the Creator as a self-evident truth when they gave us the Declaration of Independence. To them, God was a "given" in any reasonable mind. The details about God were the questions that religion would debate, but the existence of God was an undebatable assumption for all.

Never until the last half of the twentieth century did any court or legislature in America deal with belief in God as a religious doctrine. It was as late as the 1950s that Congress added the words "under God" to the pledge of allegiance to the flag! God was acknowledged in public documents (such as Michigan's constitution), praised in patriotic songs, recognized in political speeches, and engraved on governmental buildings without serious question until the 1960s. Official acknowledgment of God's existence was never before considered state involvement in religion.

Religion, according to the dictionary, does not necessarily even include belief in God. Here is the definition we read there: "Religion: the quest for the values of the ideal life, involving three phases: the ideal, the practices for attaining the values of the ideal, and a world view relating the quest to the environing universe." Buddhism, for example, requires no practical belief in a transcendent God. Neither does secular humanism. Actually, atheism is a religion by the dictionary definition! Belief in God is not essentially religion, and religion does not necessarily require belief in God!

God can be accepted as real based on the abundant evidence of order and design in the universe. Scientists of earlier generations did their work based on the assumption that creation was created by the Creator. This was not church dogma; it was an accepted fact.

So why shouldn't the valedictory address at the high school include references to the Being Whose existence and Sovereignty has been acknowledged by so many on non-religious grounds? God simply is, as any unprejudiced mind can know.

Monthly Article
Tue, 15 May 2001
by Dr. Rick Flanders
currently Pastor of
Juniata Baptist Church
Juniata Baptist Church
5656 Washburn Road
Vassar, MI 48768
(517) 823-7848

Dr. Rick Flanders Biographical Data

Converted in 1963 through a radio ministry.
Earned B.A. and M.A. degrees from Bob Jones University.
Honorary D.D. from Pensacola Christian College.
Pastor at Juniata Baptist Church since 1973.
On BCPM Board, (Baptist Church Planting Ministry)
and also MACS. (Michigan Association of Christian School)

Articles published in the;
Sword of the Lord
Baptist Preacher,
Christian View of the News,
Pulpit Helps,
Maranatha Watchman
Church Bus News,
and other national periodicals.

His Majesty's Service
In His Service,
Teaching the Word
To Glorify Our Lord
Return to
Doctrinal Writings

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