Monday, July 5, 2010

Americas Christian Heritage: Continuing Concept

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy Dr. David R. Reagan

This concept of the inalienable interdependence of constitutional order and Christian virtue was not just characteristic of our Founding Fathers. It has continued to be emphasized throughout our history:

Noah Webster (1758-1843) — Considered the "Father of American Education" and publisher of The American Dictionary of the English Language in 1828:

In my view, the Christian Religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government, ought to be instructed... no truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian Religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.9

John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) — American diplomat, member of the House and Senate, and sixth President of the United States. On the occasion of the celebration of the 45th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, he declared:

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.10

Daniel Webster (1782-1852) — United States Senator from Massachusetts and Secretary of State:

No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.11
To preserve the government we must also preserve morals. Morality rests on religion; if you destroy the foundation, the superstructure must fall. When the public mind becomes vitiated and corrupt, laws are a nullity and constitutions are waste paper.12

William McGuffey (1800-1873) — American educator and author of the McGuffey's Reader, first published in 1836:

The Christian religion is the religion of our country. From it are derived our prevalent notions of the character of God, the great moral governor of the universe. On its doctrines are founded the peculiarities of our free institutions.13

The New York State Legislature — In 1838 the New York State Legislature declared:

This is a Christian nation. Ninety-nine hundredths, if not a larger proportion, of our whole population, believe in the general doctrines of the Christian religion. Our government depends... on that virtue that has its foundation in the morality of the Christian religion.14

Andrew Jackson (1767-1845) — Victorious commander of American forces in the Battle of New Orleans in 1815, military governor of Florida, and seventh President of the United States. Speaking of the Bible, he said:

That Book, sir, is the Rock upon which our republic rests.15

Supreme Court of the United States — Case of the United States v. Church of the Holy Trinity (1892):

No purpose of action against religion can be imputed to any legislation, state or national, because this is a religious people. This is historically true. From the discovery of this continent to the present hour, there is a single voice making this affirmation...These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation... We are a Christian people, and the morality of the country is deeply engrafted upon Christianity.16

Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) — Governor of Massachusetts, Vice President of the United States, and 30th President of the United States:

The foundations of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country.17

The United States Supreme Court — Case of United States v. McIntosh (1931):

We are a Christian people, according to one another the equal right of religious freedom, and acknowledging with reverence the duty of obedience to the will of God.18

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945) — Governor of New York and 32nd President of the United States:

We cannot read the history of our rise and development as a nation, without reckoning with the place the Bible has occupied in shaping the advances of the Republic. Where we have been the truest and most consistent in obeying its precepts, we have attained the greatest measure of contentment and prosperity. 19

Peter Marshall (1902-1949) — Scottish-American preacher, pastor of New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C., and Chaplain of the United States Senate, in a prayer offered before the Senate in 1947:

May it be ever understood that our liberty is under God and can be found nowhere else... We were born that way, as the only nation on earth that came into being for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith.20

Earl Warren (1891-1974) — Governor of California and 14th Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, in a Time magazine interview in February of 1954:

I believe no one can read the history of our country without realizing that the Good Book and the spirit of the Savior have from the beginning been our guiding geniuses... Whether we look to the first Charter of Virginia... or to the Charter of New England... or to the Charter of Massachusetts Bay... or to the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut... the same objective is present... a Christian land governed by Christian principles. I believe the entire Bill of Rights came into being because of the knowledge our forefathers had of the Bible and their belief in it... I like to believe we are living today in the spirit of the Christian religion. I like also to believe that as long as we do so, no great harm can come to our country.21

Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969) — Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe during World War II and 34th President of the United States:

Without God there could be no American form of government, nor an American way of life. Recognition of the Supreme Being is the first — the most basic — expression of Americanism.22

Ronald Reagan (1911-2004) — Governor of California and 40th President of the United States:

America needs God more than God needs America. If we ever forget that we are "One Nation Under God," then we will be a Nation gone under.23

America's Christian Heritage
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Notes

9) Harry A. Warfel (ed.), Letters of Noah Webster, (New York: Library Publishers, 1953), pp. 453-454.

10) Dr. James Kennedy, "Christian Zeal Fueled the American Revolution," www.coralridge.org.

11) Dr. James Kennedy, "America's Schools Were Formed to Advance the Christian Faith," www.coralridge.org.

12) Truth and Reason, "Religious Freedom," http://truthandreasonblog.wordpress.com/religious-freedom.

13) Dr. James Kennedy, "America's Schools..."

14) Dr. James Kennedy, "Our Constitution Was Made Only..."

15) William J. Federer, America's God and Country: Encyclopedia of Quotes (Coppell, Texas.: Fame Publishing, 1994), page 311.

16) Justia.com: US Supreme Court Center, "Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States, 143 U. S. 457 (1892), http://supreme.justia.com/us/143/457/case.html.

17) Cal Thomas, "Silent Cal Speaks: Why Calvin Coolidge is the Model for Conservative Leadership Today," www.heritage.org/Research/Lecture/Silent-Cal-Speaks-Why-Calvin-Coolidge.

18) Google Scholar, "United States v. Macintosh, 283 US 605 - Supreme Court 1931,
http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=7655506457544924278&q=united+states+v.+macintosh&hl=en&
as_sdt=10000000000002&as_vis=1.

19) Franklin D. Roosevelt, "Statement on the Four Hundredth Anniversary of the Printing of the English Bible," October 6, 1935, www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=14960.

20) William Federer, "American Minute," www.amerisearch.net/index.php?date=2004-05-27.

21) Murray Hornsby, "America: Our Christian Heritage, Our History and Faith in God," www.americanheritagealliance.org/heritage4.htm.

22) Eisenhower Presidential Library, "Dwight D. Eisenhower Quotes," www.eisenhower.archives.gov/all_about_ike/Quotes/Quotes.html.

23) BrainyQuote, "Ronald Reagan Quotes,"

www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/r/ronald_reagan_3.html.

8 comments:

Doug Indeap said...

While many founders were Christian of one sort or another, care should be taken not to make too much of the founders' individual religious beliefs. Given the republican nature of our government, it is only natural and expected that the laws enacted by our government largely--in both the founders' time and today--reflect Christianity's dominant influence in our society. That said, there is no reason to suppose that Christianity or theism is an inherent aspect of our government. In assessing the nature of our government, the religiosity of the various founders, while informative, is largely beside the point. Whatever their religions, they drafted a Constitution that plainly establishes a secular government on the power of the people (not a deity) and says nothing substantive of god(s) or religion except in the First Amendment where the point is to confirm that each person enjoys religious liberty and that the government is not to take steps to establish religion and another provision precluding any religious test for public office. This is entirely consistent with the fact that some founders professed their religiosity and even their desire that Christianity remain the dominant religious influence in American society. Why? Because religious people who would like to see their religion flourish in society may well believe that separating religion and government will serve that end and, thus, in founding a government they may well intend to keep it separate from religion. It is entirely possible for thoroughly religious folk to found a secular government and keep it separate from religion. That, indeed, is just what the founders did.

Nathan Jones said...

Well pointed out, Doug! The Founding Fathers didn't want the Church of England or Catholicism or some other religious interpretation controlling the government, for that was always disasterous in Europe.

What the Founding Fathers according to their writings didn't want us to divorce, though, was God's moral law from government. No form of government or economic system can stay beneficial to its people unless the people within it remain moral. The only way to know what morality is, is by the Bible. The Founding Fathers knew their Bibles backwards and forwards, even the few deists like John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.

People say America has lost its way and capitalism is breaking down and so we should try socialism. But, no ism will ever work if nobody knows how to behave morally. Selfishness takes over, and down the line the people inevitably become oppressed.

This is why humanity needs the Ruler - the Son of God - the One who defined moral law, to rule over the whole world. And, He will, too, in the Millennial Kingdom. I can't wait for that form of government!

Laura said...

Nathan,

I'd like to point out that the Millennial Kingdom is overall (and also) a failure as far as keeping people in line. Consider the rebellion at the end of it. Also note that the Jews lived under a similar form of government (both with and without a king), and that, too, was a huge failure in keeping people "moral."

My point? No form of "government" will ever be able to keep people in line--whether it be human made or even God made, for it is not government that we need, but RELATIONSHIP with the God of the universe!

The problem with government (or any keeping of laws/commandments) is that it can make people ACT (pretend to be) right, but it doesn't change them at the core so that they ARE right. Only Christianity does that by making us holy, righteous, acceptable, and complete.

And "morality" for believers only comes when we finally realize how impossible it is for us to be/stay moral, when we STOP trying to "keep the law/commandments," and focus all our energy on knowing this amazing God who loves us, and we respond to that love.

It's interesting to me how we think that the presence of laws and the enforcement of laws will make people behave when we've been proving the opposite, oh, since the Garden of Eden. Again, all government can do is create outward compliance (really, it makes people hypocrits).

Personally, I think the Millennial Kingdom will be all about showing us that rules and laws aren't what make us and keep us behaving right (no matter who is ruling the government). It is only Christ's work on the cross that changes us and makes us WANT to do right, and it is only Christ in us living His life through us that allows us to finally say no to sin!

And those are some of the most basic and yet misunderstood upside-down principles in Christianity!

Nathan Jones said...

"The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple." - Psalm 19:7

I know the Law is a sore spot with you, Laura, and so I can see why you misunderstood me. The Millennial Kingdom government will be perfect because Christ IS the government, and He is perfect. It is mankind that is imperfect and so hates the perfect rulership of Christ. I am looking forward to the Millennial government because it will be a perfect government under Christ, even if some of those in the flesh will not think so.

As the Lord is unchanging, that form of government will live on into the Millennium, so if we in our glorified bodies do not like God's government, then we are in for a form of eternal torment. But, we know we will like it and so that will not be the case.

DrNofog said...

Right arm, Nathan! :)

The purpose of the millennial "dispensation", Eden restored, is to destroy man's last [20/20 hindsight] excuse: "If I'da been there I wouldn't have done that!"

For the saints it will be a blessing to see God's glorious creation flourish under His rulership for 1000 years and not have to see sin spread openly like a cancer [as it is today] to the point of where God had to wipe the 1st earth with a flood.

The occasional 'open' sin will be dealt with swiftly and all the hidden sin will manifest itself at the last rebellion.

Expected Imminently said...

Natan and DrNofog

Amen! The Law reveals the sinfulness of mankind, it is man that is wrong, not the Law. Without the restrainer, The Holy Spirit restraining evil through human governments and laws, which we are commanded to pray for. This world would be 'hell on earth'and choked in anarchy as man cast's off all restraint as they will in the Trib.

That is why we need to pray for peace within this fallen world so that The Gospel of Salvation through the death and resurrection of Christ can go forth.

Laura said...

Nathan and everyone,

You have completely misunderstood what I said and what I believe--I am no Law-hater!

On the contrary, I agree 100% with God's Word: The Law is HOLY and RIGHTEOUS and GOOD. But I also agree with God when He says: We are dead to the Law, no longer under the Law, free from the Law, released from the Law, and that Christ is the end of the Law.

Furthermore, I agree with God when He says that the Law must be used lawfully--that is, it is for those who are lawless and rebellious and NOT for righteous believers (1 Tim. 8-10)!

The Law is a reflection of God's perfect character, and I revere it so much that I believe it's not something a Christian should even TRY to live up to. In fact, it's an INSULT to the Law for us to try. After all, if Paul couldn't do it, what makes me think I can?

My point in my earlier post was that a law (whether it be God's Law or any other law) has no power to enable people to behave--it never has and it never will. It can show you where you've failed, just as a mirror shows you your hair is sticking up. But the Law or any laws/commandments cannot impart life, cannot justify us, and cannot make anything perfect (see Gal. 3:21, Rom. 3:20, Heb. 7:19).

And we can all speculate about the purpose of the Millennial Kingdom, which was what I was doing. However, we really don't know God's purpose, do we? (Unless you can find some scripture to back up your position, of course).

Expected Imminently said...

Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

Isaiah 22:21 And I will clothe him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle, and I will commit thy government into his hand: and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah.

This is something to look forward to! :)