Matthew 7:24-25 “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.”
This week, Russian President Vladimir Putin made news by conducting foreign policy via an op-ed in The New York Times. In the midst of an opinion piece oozing with hypocrisy and errantly equating individual equality in God’s eyes with equality among institutions, Putin made a bold assertion not supported by history – America is unexceptional. Alexis de Tocqueville would disagree:
“I have expressed enough to characterize Anglo-American civilization in its true colors. This civilization is the result (and this is something we must always bear in mind) of two quite distinct ingredients which anywhere else have often ended in war, but which Americans have succeeded somehow to meld together in wondrous harmony; namely the spirit of religion and the spirit of liberty.”
While de Tocqueville saw these concepts at cross-purposes in his European homeland, he saw them “intimately linked together in joint reign over the same land” in America. To him, this harmony and the land that enjoyed it was truly exceptional.
Importantly, the source of our exceptionalism is more fundamental than even these concepts. It comes from two foundations, one built upon another. The first is the foundation of the universe, the Lord Himself. We can be exceptional as a nation only as much as we are a reflection of Him as individual citizens and as a society. The second is the foundation of the nation, the US Constitution. When the Constitutional Convention ended 226 years ago this week, on September 17, 1787, the Founding Fathers had created a foundational document that enshrined Biblical principles and translated them into a governmental structure. These two foundations are exceptional in their own right, allowing America to be exceptional as well.
Sadly though, Putin may be partially right for a reason that would be foreign to him. It’s not that exceptionalism is errant and dangerous, but that it is waning in America. Indeed, it is waning because we have drifted from our exceptional foundations. PLEASE PRAY THAT AMERICA WOULD RETURN TO THE EXCEPTIONAL FOUNDATIONS OF THE LORD AND THE CONSTITUTION. As the wise man builds his house upon a steady foundation, so too would a wise and exceptional nation hold tight to its steady foundation. Anything else would be unexceptional. It will fail when the rain descends, and the floods come, and the winds blow.