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Christian Living in July

Throughout the summer months, families are preoccupied with various activities that are often unique to this season of the year. Family vacations, church camp, and other activities provide materials from which family and personal memories are made. For those of us who are privileged to regularly share in a good summer family church camp, meeting with the Lord and cherished friends for a few days of spiritual retreat is eagerly anticipated. Lamentably, too many times the ministry of the local church slows during the summer because the church deliberately plans not to minister. If the people of God are willing to invest the effort, every season of the year may be filled with significance, providing succeeding generations with the memories of Christ-centered and Spirit-filled Christian living.

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Table of Contents

How July Received Its Name

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Julius Caesar

Originally, the fifth month of the Roman calendar was known as Quintilus. Following the assassination of Julius Caesar, it was changed to July in honor of the fallen Roman statesman. In the Julian and Gregorian Calendars, July is the seventh month of the year, the second month of summer in the Northern hemisphere, and one of the seven months with 31 days. In the Northern hemisphere, it is, on average, the warmest month of the year and the coldest month of the year in the Southern hemisphere, where it is the second month of winter. In the Southern hemisphere, July is the equivalent of January in the Northern hemisphere.

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Family Night Games

Observance: Determined by the family and/or church

The most important institution in any society is the family. Real love in the family begins with a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Children most generally replicate the examples they observed in their parents when they become adults and have families of their own, and one of the most important decisions parents may make is to establish patterns in family life of both work and leisure. In all situations of life, children need to observe positive examples of how to respond appropriately to life’s demands, and observing their parents at both work and play helps establish a positive view of the world in the minds of children and youth. Family vacation and at least one evening a week set aside for family leisure is important to obtaining a well-balanced and holistic understanding of Christian living.

Family Night may also be an experience many churches need to encourage in addition to its observance within the family. Often small churches do not have sufficient volunteers to staff vibrant children and youth programs, and frequently, children and youth Sunday school teachers also act as coordinators of social events for these age groups in the absence of church staff. Smaller churches will soon see the value of combining all age groups and pooling resources across the spectrum of church life into a single, once-a-month family night. This combined effort reduces the number of volunteers necessary to produce quality experiences for all age groups.

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Grilling Out

In contemporary America, family life is frequently fragmented. Children often are tossed to one parent or the other, knowing little stability in relationships and generally left with few positive role models. Family Night in the local church provides adults in the local church with the opportunity to reach out to the children and youth of the community and church to make a difference in their lives. But children and youth are not the only ones who need this type of interaction. Too often, churches focus only on younger generation and fail to provide holistic interest in every generation. Adults also must continue to grow in their walk with the Lord and fellowship with other believers. With regard to the efforts with younger generations, Christian adults should be deliberate to reach out and touch younger lives––even though numerous situations may be new and, therefore, make them uncomfortable. Over an extended period of time, adults may have a significant impact upon the lives of youth. If America is to be saved from social decay, Christian adults must take an active role in the lives of the children and youth, first in their own families, then in their churches and communities.

Remembering St. Thomas

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St. Thomas

Observance: July 3

He is often referred to as “Doubting Thomas,” but Church history suggests that the Apostle Thomas was responsible for taking the gospel to some of the darkest spiritual corners of the world. Persia and India are believed to be the places Thomas ministered most extensively. In India, he is believed to have built a church with his own hands.

Church history suggests that Thomas was attacked by his assassins, shot with arrows, stoned, and left to die. Following the attack, a pagan priest is thought to have run a spear through him. The apostolic symbol of Thomas combines a square (symbolizing the fact he was a builder) and a spear, reminding the Church of his martyrdom.

In the ninth century, the Roman Church assigned the feast of Saint Thomas to December 21, though early Church leader, Jerome, assigned the day of his martyrdom to July 3. In 1969, the Roman observance of the life and ministry of Thomas was transferred––to follow Jerome’s dating––to July 3 so that it would no longer interfere with the days of Advent. Following the 1662 edition of the Book of Common Prayer, some Anglicans and members of the Episcopal Church continue to remember the Apostle Thomas’ ministry on December 21.

American Independence Day

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John Hancock

Observance: July 4

In September 1774, the first Congress of the American colonies was convened to address the refusal of King George III and the British Parliament to grant to the American colonists their rights as British citizens. At this Congress and the one that followed, no talk of separation from Britain was entertained. The question was one of how to secure the rights that were theirs under English law.

A Second Continental Congress assembled in May 1775. This Congress made provision for a temporary general government, an army, and appointed George Washington as commander-in-chief of the army. Still, they did not seek separation from England, but only to secure their rights as British citizens. With rising tensions, King George sent German mercenary troops to the colonies to silence the voices of dissent.

In June of 1776 at another Congress of the colonies, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia offered a resolution that all allegiance of the colonies to British government be terminated. The proposition was entertained by the Congress, and a committee consisting of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston was established. The draft of the Declaration of Independence was composed by Jefferson, and after a few verbal alterations by Benjamin Franklin and John Adams, was submitted to Congress on the twenty-eighth day of June. On July first, Congress took up the draft, and after several amendments were made, nine colonies voted for independence. Maryland and Pennsylvania refused to accept the draft, but after conventions of the people were called, majorities were received in favor of the Declaration, and the thirteen colonies were declared free and independent of the government of Britain. On July 4, only the president of the Congress, John Hancock, signed the Declaration of Independence, and with his name alone initially was sent forth to the world. Nearly one month later, on August 2, it was signed by the remaining fifty-six signers, with the exception of one representative. The final signer was Matthew Thornton who took his seat in the Congress in November and asked for the privilege of signing it.[1]

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Declaration of Independence

Special attention should be given to the influence of Christians upon the rise of America as an independent nation. It is not possible to fully develop this influence in the space allotted for this article. However, it may briefly be mentioned that the president of the Congress, John Hancock, was the grandson and son of Christian ministers. All except two or three of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were part of Christian churches. Perhaps the following quotations will demonstrate the Christian influence behind the American Revolution.

Benjamin Franklin:

History will also afford frequent opportunities of showing the necessity of a public religion … and the excellency of the Christian religion above all others, ancient and modern.[2]

John Hancock:

Sensible of the importance of Christian piety and virtue to the order and happiness of a state, I cannot but earnestly commend to you every measure for their support and encouragement. … [T]he very existence of the republics … depend much upon the public institutions of religion.[3]

John Quincy Adams, son of John Adams and sixth president:

“The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity. From the day of the Declaration … they (the American people) were bound by the laws of God, which they all, and by the laws of the Gospel, which they nearly all, acknowledged as the rules of their conduct.”[4]

Christ and the First Constitution

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Rev. Thomas Hooker

Have you ever seen a car license plate from the state of Connecticut? If you have, do you remember the slogan emblazoned on it? Connecticut is called the “Constitution State,” but very few of us know why it has been given this title.

The reason Connecticut is called the Constitution State is because of a Christian minister and his belief that the Bible contains all of the principles necessary for happy contented living––including the Christian’s involvement in matters of government or politics. The pastor’s name was Thomas Hooker. He was born on July 7, 1586 in Marfield, England. Educated within the Puritan tradition at the University of Cambridge, Hooker became a lecturer at Emmanuel College, and after being persecuted for his evangelical Puritan beliefs, decided to settle in New England. There he assumed the pastorate of the church in Newton, Massachusetts (present-day Cambridge). It may be noted that Hooker was acquainted with John Eliot, “Apostle to the American Indian,” and John Cotton, “Father of New England Congregationalism.”

In January of 1639,[5] three towns of a new colony that had come to be called Connecticut charged the General Court with the responsibilities of drafting a Constitution for their colony. Four years earlier (1635), Rev. Thomas Hooker moved with members of his congregation at Newton, Massachusetts to a site along the Connecticut River and named their new town, Hartford. For a number of years, members of his congregation longed for better land for farming, and Hartford became the new home for the congregation and their pastor. Along with Hartford, two other neighboring towns emerged outside the boundaries provided for in the charter of Massachusetts. To provide adequate government for these towns outside of Massachusetts, representatives were chosen from the three towns and a General Court was convened at Hartford.

As was customary to initiate such proceeding with Christian spirituality, Rev. Hooker preached a powerful sermon to the elected framers of the new constitution. In it, he stated “the foundation of all authority is laid . . . in the free consent of the people” and that “the privilege of election . . . belongs to the people.”[6] Unlike the government of Massachusetts, Rev. Hooker advocated that all citizens should be granted the opportunity to vote for elected government officials––a privilege that should not be reserved for church members only. Under the influence of Rev. Hooker, The Fundamental Orders or constitution of the new colony of Connecticut became the first written constitution in Western civilization, and for this reason, Connecticut is called “The Constitution State.” In addition, this document was the prototype of the United States Constitution. For this reason, Connecticut is known as the “Constitution State”––because of a Christian pastor and elected Christian representatives.

To navigate to our article,The Fundamental Orders, please click this box.

The Great American Awakening

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Jonathan Edwards

Remembered on or before July 8

One of the most widely known sermons in American history was delivered by the Congregationalist minister, Jonathan Edwards. It was delivered several years after revival had broken out in his church in Northampton, Massachusetts. Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God (delivered July 8, 1741) produced a remarkable influence upon the town of Northampton.

The result of the revival that began under Edwards in 1734 was to enjoy enormous results and became known as the Great Awakening. Not only was the immediate spiritual impact remarkable in its extent, but the Great Awakening was to lay a spiritual and theological foundation that would produce the American Revolution. This revival laid the foundation for the motto of the American Revolution: “No King, but King Jesus.”

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David Brainerd

Jonathan Edwards also influenced three Anglican priests: George Whitefield; John Wesley; and Charles Wesley. Edwards had a personal influence upon Whitefield and was responsible for making Whitefield more deeply committed to Calvinism. The Wesley brothers were influenced by Edwards’ writing on revival, though they refused to imbibe Edwards’ Calvinism. It is also worth noting that Edwards nearly became the father-in-law to David Brainerd, missionary to the American Indians and spiritual successor of John Eliot. Edwards’ publication of Brainerd’s diary fanned the flames of the Evangelical Awakening under the Wesleys and helped to fuel the great evangelical missionary efforts of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Click to read “Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God,” at The Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University.

Teacher Appreciation

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Noah Webster

Suggested Observance: Early July

From the greatest universities of Europe and every part of the globe, the Christian Church has led the way with regard to education. In Europe, learning was saved by St. Patrick and his spiritual descendants following the devastation brought upon the continent by the Barbarian hordes. In the local congregation of the early Church, pastors were regarded as the chief teachers of the congregations. One of the greatest and most extensive ministries of Christian monks and monastery was learning and academic interests.

In America, Christianity continued to lead the way in education. In 1892, teachers unions commemorated the four-hundredth anniversary of Columbus Day in America and affirmed the influence of the Christian religion upon public education. They wanted to leave a historical record of the origin and development of American education by printing a book which reflected this purpose. In it, the unions pointed out that education in America was conceived and nurtured in the lap of the Christian churches. The churches had relinquished elementary education to the state, but had decided to maintain higher education. The teachers’ unions responded, saying,

Whether this was wise or not is not our purpose to discuss, further than to remark that, if the study of the Bible is to be excluded from all state schools, if the inculcation of the principles of Christianity is to have no place in the daily programs, if the worship of God is to form no part of the general exercises public elementary schools, then the good of the state would be better served by restoring all schools to church control.[7]

If American public education is to be brought back from moral and intellectual disaster, churches must be aware of their academic birthrights. Christianity birthed public education in America and should not allow vulture liberalism to deceive our children. Prior to the resumption of the academic year, churches should seek an opportunity to praise distinguished teachers by hosting a service in which they are honored. This provides pastors and church leaders with the opportunity to remind the congregation and school officials who attend the service of the fact that Christians initiated public education in America. Pastors should realize the importance of becoming engaged in this struggle for the advocacy of the cause of Christ!

Remembering St. James

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St. James

Observance: July 25

The life and ministry of the Apostle James, Son of Zebedee, is remembered on July 25. James was the brother of John and together were known as “The Sons of Thunder” (Mark 3:17). Along with Simon Peter, James and John were fishing partners on the Sea of Galilee in the area of Capernaum (Luke 5:10). These three formed the inner core of the Twelve Apostles. After the martyrdom of Stephen (Acts 7), James is the second martyrdom spoken of in the New Testament. His martyrdom is briefly spoken of in Acts 12:1-3:

Now about that time Herod the king put forth his hands to afflict certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. And those were the days of unleavened bread.

Because he was beheaded by Herod Agrippa, the apostle’s symbol for St. James usually contains a sword. In addition, because Church tradition suggests that he preached the gospel in Spain, his shield or symbol also contains a scallop (or cockle) shell, a symbol of travel or pilgrimage by sea. Sometimes the Apostle James’ symbol varies, containing three shells without the sword.

Song History

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Francis Scott Key

Francis Scott Key is best known as the author of our national anthem. His father had served as an officer with distinction in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. Francis was born on August 1, 1779 in Frederick Coun­ty (now Carroll County), MD, studied law, and began his practice in Frederick, MD (1801) where he practiced only briefly before moving on to Georgetown, D.C. (1802). By 1814, Key had appeared many times before the U.S. Supreme Court. Here in Washington, he also served as United States district attorney for three terms, holding that office at the time of his death.

As a deeply committed Christian layman, Key had a profound impact upon our nation. To read more, please see our article on his life: Francis Scott Key, 1779-1843.

Christianizing Your World in July

B. J. Lossing, Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence. Most people know the importance of the Declaration of Independence, but few know much about its signers. This reprint of an 1848 original provides a brief biography on each of the fifty-six signers of the Declaration. Learn the virtues of these venerated Americans who helped create the most stable and enviable nation in the world.  

Suggestion for Devotional Life

Throughout the month of July, learn the National Anthem as written by Francis Scott Key during your own family devotions or personal quiet time.

Please find the hymn in this article: Francis Scott Key, 1779-1843.

Other Dates of Importance

To speak intelligently to a believing and unbelieving world, Christians must not only be able to defend the truth associated with the lives of the virtuous, but must also be prepared to expose the devious facts concerning the villainous. For this reason, individuals and events that are both beneficial and malignant are noted below. Knowledge of the virtuous provides insight into how the believer should live, while examples of the villainous prepare believers to “give an answer” to every individual of how life should not be lived (1 Peter 3:15).

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Harriet Beecher Stowe

July 1, 1896: Harriet Beecher Stowe (June 14, 1811 – July 1, 1896) was an American abolitionist and author. She was the daughter of well-known minister, Lyman Beecher. Her novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852) was a depiction of life for African Americans under slavery and influenced millions as both a novel and play, affecting the United States and United Kingdom. It energized anti-slavery forces in the American North, while provoking widespread resentment and bitterness in the South.[8]

July 2, 1776: Anticipating the action of the Continental Congress, New Jersey ratified its first Constitution as a state on July 2, 1776.

July 2, 1788: New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify the US Constitution, thereby allowing for the creation of the new government.

July 3, 1938: George Verwer (born July 3, 1938) is the founder of Operation Mobilization (OM), a Christian missions organization.[9]

July 8, 1788: Congress puts the new Constitution into effect by announcing the dates for the elections and the assembly of the new Congress.

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Jonathan Edwards

July 8, 1741: One of the most widely known sermons in American history was delivered by the Congregationalism minister, Jonathan Edwards. It was delivered several years after revival had broken out in his church in Northampton, Massachusetts. Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God (delivered July 8, 1741) produced a remarkable influence upon the town of Northampton.

July 9, 1766: On this date, Jonathan Mayhew, noted American minister at Old West Church, Boston, Massachusetts, died. It was Mayhew who is reported to have planted the seed of union between the colonies when, following an interdenominational communion service at his church, he met with Samuel Adams––Father of the American Revolution––and said, “We have just has a communion service of the churches, now let us have a union of states.” A minister was the first to suggest the idea of a federal union of the colonies![10]

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Jonathan Mayhew

July 12, 2012: Andy Griffith, well-known television actor, passed away on this date. He became associated with the Moravian Church in Mount Airy, North Carolina as a young man when the pastor expressed an interest in music. See our story: Andy Griffith, Emmett, and the Moravians.

1789, July 14: Bastille Day was the culmination of the efforts of infidelity. The French celebrate that over which they should weep. The Encyclopedists, Voltaire, Rousseau, and other…

622, July 16: The first of Mohammad’s emigrants left Mecca on July 16, 622. Mohammad and his close adviser, Abu Bakr, fled sometime afterward and arrived in Yathrib on September 24, 622. This flight became known as Mohammed’s Hegira (flight). This date, which marks the beginning of Islam, is the most important date in the Islamic calendar.

July 21, 1925: The Scopes Trial, commonly referred to as the Scopes Monkey Trial,[11] was decided on July 21, 1925. Substitute teacher, John Scopes was accused and found guilty of violating Tennessee’s Butler Act, which made it unlawful to teach human evolution in any state-funded school. During the trial, “experts” testified to the truthfulness of “Nebraska Man,” to which William Jennings Bryan could only say there was insufficient evidence for this alleged proof of evolution. In time, Bryan’s argument was correct and the experts proved false.[12]

1925, July 26: William Jennings Bryan (March 19, 1860 – July 26, 1925) the great American statesman and opponent of Darwinism passed away on this date––the result of the heavy burden of being the prosecuting attorney of the Scopes Trial.

July 29, 1936: Mary Elizabeth Alexander Hanford “Liddy” Dole (born July 29, 1936) is an American politician who served in both the Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush presidential administrations, as well as a United States Senator.[13]

Please click to see additional events for July . . .

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Article Notes and Sources

[1] B. J. Lossing, Biographical Sketches of the Signers of the Declaration of American Independence, 9-11.

[2] Barton, Original Intent, 168-69.

[3] Barton, Original Intent, 177.

[4] From July 4, 1821.

[5]Contemporary chronology places the ratification of The Fundamental Orders on January 24, 1639. The Julian dating system being used by the English at that time placed the convening of this General Court ten days prior to the contemporary date of January 24. However, Britain changed to the Gregorian calendar, which we use today, in 1751. When the Gregorian calendar was accepted for use in 1751, 11 days had to be added to their dates to come up to the equivalent Gregorian dates, but in 1639, they were 10 days behind the Gregorian calendar.

[6] Rusten, The One Year Book of Christian History, 379.

[7] {Wooster, Lyman Child. Columbian History of Education in Kansas. Topeka: Press of the Hamilton printing Company, E.H. Snow State printer, 1893.}, 82.

[8] See John Woodbridge, More Than Conquerors: Portraits of Believers from All Walks of Life.

[9] See John Woodbridge, More Than Conquerors: Portraits of Believers from All Walks of Life.

[10] {Galloway, Charles B. Christianity and the American Commonwealth: The Influence of Christianity in Making This Nation. Reprint ed. Powder Springs, Georgia: American Vision, 2005.} 99. Also see, “Treasures of the Congregational Library: Portrait of Jonathan Mayhew,” (http://www.congregationallibrary.org/blog/treasures-congregational-library-portrait-jonathan-mayhew).

[11] The Scopes Trial was formally known as The State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes.

[12] Huse, The Collapse of Evolution, 98.

[13] See John Woodbridge, More Than Conquerors: Portraits of Believers from All Walks of Life.

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Christian Living in July

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Written by Dr. Stephen FlickNumber of posts: 228

Concerned with the cultural decay of America, Dr. Flick has sought to provide answers to fellow Christians (and unbelievers) concerning the questions and objections to Christianity often posed by secularists and the irreligious. Dr. Flick is Christian Heritage Fellowship’s executive director and resides in East Tennessee with his wife, Beth. He spent 12 years as a Seminary professor and has been a licensed minister for more than thirty years, during which time he has served as pastor, revival and camp meeting evangelist, interim pastor, and other ministerial roles. He has authored numerous articles concerning America’s Christian heritage. Dr. Flick earned his Ph.D. from Drew University in theology and church history.

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