(Article for publication week of 4-2-2015 AD)
"The memory of the just is blessed" (Proverbs 10:7).
During the month of April we will be observing Confederate Heritage Month here in the Sovereign State of Mississippi, and Confederate Memorial Day will be on Monday April 27. This will be a good time for us to reflect on the Christian significance of the Southern Cause and to honour our ancestors who fought for the Confederacy. Almost all of us who are native born Southerners have ancestors who were soldiers in the Confederate Army. Many of them were wounded and many died fighting in defence of their homes and for States's Rights and Home Rule, and for the Christian Culture of the South. I take delight in honouring my great-great grandfather, Elisha Edwards who belonged to Company D of the 6th Infantry Regiment , A.K.A. the Lowery Rifles, organised in Smith County. Grandpa Edwards took a mini ball in the stomach at Shiloh, but the Lord Spared him from death and he fought for the South until the end of the war. And, of course most all of my kindred from the Floyd, Shows and Maddox lines all fought for their Homeland, and as I say, most all of you who are native born Southerners have ancestors who fought for the Confederacy. The scriptures command us to "give honour to whom honour is due," and God's Law commands us to honour our Fathers and our Mothers. So we do well here in Mississippi to observe Confederate Heritage Month to honour our noble forefathers.
Much could be said concerning the political causes of the War for Southern Independence. (Contrary to the propaganda spewed forth in the government schools, there was never an American "civil" war. A civil war is a war in which two factions are fighting for control of the same government. Our Southern Forefathers were not trying to take over the government of the United States, but they seceded from the United States in the same way as the original thirteen colonies seceded from Great Britain.All our forefathers wanted was to be left alone. As General Lee once said, " all the South has ever wanted is the Old Constitution as bequeathed to us by our Fathers.") But the political reasons for the War are beyond the scope of this article. Our business this week is to point out the Christian significance of the Southern Cause.
Rev. Steve Wilkins, pastor of Audubon Drive Presbyterian Church in Monroe, Louisiana delivered a wonderful series of lectures when he was pastor in Forest, Mississippi, entitled "America- The First 350 years,” in which he shows that the underlying difference between the South and the North in the years leading up to the War were primarily religious. The North was increasingly becoming Arminian and Unitarian, and the South was a bastion of historic, orthodox Calvinism. The North had become secular and industrialised, while the South maintained an agrarian and Biblically based culture. You would do well to obtain a set of Pastor Wilkins' lectures. The striking differences between the North and South is documented by Dr. Robert Louis Dabney in his book, "Defence of Virginia and the South." One of the notable things Dr. Dabney pointed out that in all of the slave holding states in the year 1860 there were less than 2,000 people incarcerated in jails and prisons. On the other hand, in the so-called "free" states there were over 20,000 people incarcerated (there are now more than that in Mississippi alone). The South was a peaceful bastion of Biblical Christianity adhering to principles of Biblical law, while the North had forsaken their Biblical moorings and was becoming secular, barbaric and lawless. Our Forefathers fought to preserve the Old Order where every man dwelt in peace under his own vine and his own fig tree. When you look at the sorry and immoral state of the South in which we live, remember that is what your great-great grandfather fought to try to stop. "The memory of the just is blessed."