Thursday, July 1, 2010

Americas Christian Heritage: Unique Foundation

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

The American constitutional system was the first government devised by Man that was based upon biblical principles.

Its cornerstone was a belief in the evil nature of Man, which produced a conviction that no person can be trusted with power. This belief that Man's nature is corrupted and irreparable (apart from the power of the Holy Spirit) represented a radical departure from history. Until that time, most of Mankind had always been ruled by kings who were considered to have a divine right to rule and who usually ended up ruling like they thought they were gods.


A Biblical Example

I am reminded of the children of Israel when they arrived in the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua. The Lord God Almighty served as their king. He protected them and blessed them with freedom and prosperity. When they took their eyes off Him and rebelled, He would allow foreign nations to conquer them. When they repented, He would raise up leaders, called judges, who would deliver them from foreign domination.

This unique form of supernatural rule continued for 400 years until the people rose up in rebellion during the judgeship of Samuel and demanded an earthly king so that they would be "like all the other nations" (1 Samuel 8:5, 20). Samuel tried to warn them that an earthly king would abuse his power and make their lives miserable by sending their sons into war, exploiting their daughters, confiscating their fields, and imposing heavy taxation (1 Samuel 8:10-18). But they would not listen, and they got what they asked for — a long history of abusive kings.


A Unique Form of Government

The American colonists rebelled against such a king, and they had no intention of replacing the British monarch with an American one. What is amazing is that they did not proceed to establish an oligarchical form of government since most of the leaders of the American Revolution were wealthy aristocrats.

But the vast majority of them were also devout Christians, and they were fully aware of the biblical teaching about the fallen nature of Man (Jeremiah 17:5,7,9):

5) Thus says the Lord, "Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind...
7) "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord...
9) "The heart is more deceitful than all else
And is desperately sick..."

Accordingly, our Founding Fathers did not trust anyone with power — not even themselves. They therefore proceeded to construct a government that would limit the use of power.


George Washington Praying

Equally important was their conviction that the Word of God constitutes a higher law to which all men and governments are subject and that the fundamental rights of Mankind are derived from that law and not from government. Thus, in the nation's Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."

To put it another way, the Founding Fathers of our nation expressly rejected the traditional philosophy of Humanism and its concept that Man is basically good and capable of perfection and that therefore those who are highly educated have a natural right to rule over those less fortunate. They also rejected the radical form of Humanism that came to prevail in the French Revolution and which produced a reign of terror — namely, a belief in the essential goodness of the common man.

Again, because of their world view, our Founding Fathers trusted no one. They refused to establish a monarchy or an oligarchy. But they also distrusted the common man, and so they refused to establish a democracy because they feared it would quickly evolve into mobocracy.


A Representative Republic

They therefore carefully constructed a representative republic with an ingenious set of checks and balances. For example, in the original government established by our constitution, there was only one national official directly elected by the people — the local Congressman who was elected to serve for two years in the House of Representatives. Senators were not directly elected. They were appointed by state legislatures, and this continued to be the case until the adoption of the 17th Amendment in 1913 which requires the selection of Senators by direct popular vote.

Likewise, the President was not originally selected by direct election. Instead, he was selected by electors who, in turn, were appointed by the state legislatures. Over a period of time, the state legislatures began to allow voters to select the electors. But as late as 1824, more than a quarter of the state legislatures were still appointing electors.

Today, all electors are selected by popular vote. Even so, the system of selecting the President continues to be indirect since voters are voting directly for electors and it is the electors who directly select the President. Thus, in the election of 2000, George W. Bush was selected as President by the Electoral College (271-266) even though his opponent, Al Gore, garnered more popular votes (543,895 more than Bush).

Our Founding Fathers also divided the powers of government between the federal government and the state governments, defining what was given to the central government, prescribing what was denied to state governments, and stating that all other powers were retained by the States (10th Amendment). Within the federal government, power was further divided between three branches — legislative, executive, and judicial. And the basic rights of the people to be protected from all governmental intrusion were spelled out in the Constitution's Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments approved in 1791 and considered to be a part of the original Constitution since their proposal was essential to the ratification of the Constitution).


America's Christian Heritage
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7 comments:

Billy said...

Dr. Reagan wrote "...the Founding Fathers of our nation expressly rejected the traditional philosophy of Humanism and its concept that Man is basically good and capable of perfection..."

This reminded me that I always found it ironic that one of our nations greatest presidents (another Reagan) chose the following words on his gravesite memorial...

"I know in my heart that man is good, that what is right will always eventually triumph, and there is purpose and worth to each and every life."

How someone who understood the concept of the American way and system (described eloquently in Dr. Reagain article) could get it so wrong puzzles me to this day.

There may be POTENTIAL purpose and worth to each and every life but that can be destroyed by indivdual choices and actions, especially without sound Biblical values and beliefs.

hartdawg said...

reagan was the last good president we had. bush 2 was o.k his 1st term but sucked his 2nd term.

hartdawg said...

i heard that we nearly lost the important battle at valley forj and nearly lost our free nation but a wealthy jew gave us the money for supplies and stuff saving our nation. i also heard this forgotten jew died broke. that accurate? what was the name of this forgotten jew?

Anonymous said...

General Washington's financial advisor and assistant was a Jewish man by the name of Hyam Salomon. During the cold winter months at Valley Forge when American soldiers were freezing and running out of food, it was Hyam who marshaled all the Jews in America and Europe to provide money in relief aid to these stranded American troops and turned the course of history. Without this help, Washington's Continental Army, and the fate of the American Colonies would have perished before they could have defeated the British.

If you take a one dollar bill out of your pocket and look at the back at the Eagle, the stars above the Eagle's head are in the six point Star of David to honor Jews. If you turn the Eagle upside down you will see a configuration in the likeness of a Menorah....both at the insistence of George Washington who said we should never forget the Jewish people and what they have done in the interest of America.

C in Salem

Anonymous said...

I found that on google at http://www.factsofisrael.com/blog/archives/000467.html

C in Salem

Anonymous said...

But wait theres more...

At http://www.ohr.org.il/ask/ask266.htm, in a website called "Ask the Rabbi", someone asked the Rabbi if the above story is true. Here's his answer:

Dear Steve Weiss,
The small Jewish community in colonial America gave more than their share toward the United States' revolutionary cause. One such patriot was indeed Hyam Salomon, who gave $300,000, an immense fortune for those days.

But I doubt that the "Great Seal of the United States" which appears on the dollar bill makes any hint to Salomon's contribution, or that George Washington had anything to say about it.

The first bill to bear this symbol was the $1 Silver Certificate, Series 1935, long after Washington's death.

The "Great Seal" itself was commissioned by Congress in 1776 and adopted six years later, but during this time George Washington was busy fighting the war. The designing committee, which included Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, did not include Washington. Nor did Washington become president until seven years after this seal had been adopted, so it's questionable that he would have had any input.

The thirteen stars, representing the 13 original states, do indeed form the Star of David (also known as "Solomon's seal"). Exactly why, I don't know. In general, though, it's clear that Franklin and Jefferson had "biblical" motif in mind, as their original draft of the Great Seal showed "rays from a Pillar of Fire in the Cloud, expressive of the divine Presence and Command, beaming on Moses."

But don't worry. Hyam Salomon wasn't forgotten. In 1893, a bill was presented before the 52nd Congress ordering a gold medal struck off in recognition of Salomon's contributions to the United States.

C in Salem.

hartdawg said...

thanks c, i heard the story (from hal i think) but wasnt sure of the details or validity. it`s my opinion that not only christians but americans need to realize the jewish contribution to our freedom.