Monday, July 1, 2013

Christian Heritage of America: Foundation for Society and Government

Dr. David R. ReaganWatch MP3 PDFBy

Is the United States' society and its system of government founded on Christian principles?

As we celebrate the United States of America's birthday this week, I thought it would be good for us to pause and consider our Christian heritage, for it is a very rich one for which we should be very grateful.

But tragically, it is a heritage that is now being denied by historical revisionists who wish to erase all vestiges of Christianity from our nation's memory. And so, I plan to prove to you that our nation was established on a very strong Christian foundation.

As you may know, I have a rather unusual perspective for a Christian minister. The reason is that in addition to having studied the Bible all my life, I was a university professor of American Government, American History and Constitutional Law for 20 years before I decided in 1980 to give up my academic career and commit the rest of my life to teaching and preaching God's Word.

I can say to you without qualification that our American constitutional system is a unique one because it was the first government ever devised by Man that was based upon biblical principles.

Its cornerstone was a belief in the biblical teaching about the inherently 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. 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. You can find one of the clearest expression of it in Jeremiah 17. Jeremiah wrote: "Thus says the Lord, 'Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind... Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord...'" And then he explains why: "The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick..." Because of truths like this revealed in the Scriptures, 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.

Equally important was their conviction that the Word of God constitutes a higher law to which all men and governments are subject, that the fundamental rights of mankind are derived from that law and not from government.

And 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, so they refused to establish a democracy because they feared it would quickly evolve into mobocracy.

Because our Founding Fathers believed in the biblical principle that Man is inherently evil and that God alone should be trusted, they 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, yes, just one national official directly elected by the people, and that was 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 all 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 by a margin of 271-266 even though his opponent, Al Gore, garnered 500,000 more popular votes than Bush.

Our Founding Fathers also divided the powers of government between the federal government and the state governments. In the 10th Amendment they defined what was given to the central government, they prescribed what was denied to state governments, and they stated that all other powers were retained by the States. 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. That's the name given to the first ten amendments approved in 1791 and considered to be a part of the original Constitution since their adoption was essential to the ratification of the Constitution.

In the second segment of this series on the Christian heritage of America, we will be warned by the Founding Fathers that morality and religion are essential to preserving liberty.


Melanie Jean said...

Thank you. This was clearly and concisely written and easily understood. A few things here that I did not know and there is much here of which we all need reminders. Everyone in our country needs to read this! I am looking forward to Part II.

snhenley said...

Dr. Reagan I enjoy your articles and TV program. I agree that the people from Europe found their way to this continent in search of religious freedom. Some came to these shores with other evil intents in their hearts. By the time the Declaration of Independence was designed, the words "all men are created equal did not apply to the native American or to the African slaves. USA may have been established on Christian principles but they did not practice what they preached.

Anonymous said...

Who didn't practice what they preached? Dont be too quick to romanticize the native americans who by the way were a very large and diverse group of people who themselves dealt with wars between each other. As far as slavery....slavery has existed since the beginning of the fall if is wrong but America did not have a monopoly on slavery but America was the first to abolish it with the Christian followers at the heart of its abolishment. Our founding fathers most absolutely were influenced by the Word of God but the whole inhabitants of the colonies however were not unfortunately.

snhenley said...

Anony. It took 300 years to finally free the African slaves and over that period of time they were treated inhumanly from so called Christians who continued to discriminate and persecute them. You did not experience the terrors of slavery and you are wrong to minimize this abuse against other humans as well as the Christian treatment of the Native Americans which took their land, killed them and those who survived were put into concentration camps (reservations)

snhenley said...

Rodney: I have reviewed Lamb and Lion's position on prophecy and doctrine and while I don't agree with everything, they are certainly far removed from your description. Denominationalism is man made and in some instances move people away from the truth. God the creator of all is above manmade conscripts. People who sincerely seek truth must use the Bible as their base of learning and understanding.

Billy said...

The blood of thousands of Americans was spilled because of the sin of slavery. America didn't get off scott free. A price was paid.

It is true that Indians (my great grandmother was 100% Cherokee so I can use that word if you don't like it...tough! I'm part Indian and proud of it) weren't saints. They were killing each other in wars. So white people aren't the only one responsible for the spilling of Indian blood.

The truth is there is enough sin to go around for everyone. Every person of every skin color and religion is a wretched sinner and has no right to throw out any "holier than thou" nonsense. Unless you can walk on water, snhenley, I suggest you drop your "holier than thou" attitude and anon should stop defending the indefensible.

Billy said...

From Rodney:

"...there are certain ministries like Lamb and Lion that pursue the same agenda, stressing political power to bring a religious theocracy."

From the latest issue of L&L's Lamplighter Magazine:

"So, what’s it all about as far as Lamb & Lion Ministries is concerned? It can be summed up in one phrase: Jesus is coming soon!"

Only one of these is true. I think we ALL know which one.

snhenley said...

To Billy: My great grandmother was 100% Cherokee and my grandmother was the result of European and Native American. my mother was then part Indian, part African and part European. This makes us members of the one and only human race. Yes we are all sinners but some us have been saved and we are covered in Yeshua's righteousness. God says He is holy and we must also be holy. The true body of Christ are being sanctified and when He comes. we will be like Him. I am not insulted if one thinks "I am holier than you" . Jesus said we could do all that He did, Peter walked on the water and I may be able to walk on water in Jesus name but what would that prove?

Billy said...


"This makes us members of the one and only human race." I agree and hate referring to skin color or culture as an identifier. I only pointed this out because I was going to use the term "Indian" and didn't want to get flak for that (i.e. "you're a racist garbage").

As for my "holier than thou" comment, that was in reply to your comments of saying that Americas are worse than other people because of slavery and racism. But as I and Anon point out slavery and racism is NOT exclusive to America nor whites. Nor is the killing of Indians. Many Indians were murdered by Indians.

Your attacks against Americans exclusively is what prompted my words. NO country, NO race, NO man has a better track record than anyone else. To imply otherwise is a "holier than thou" attitude and ignores the truth that all nations/peoples are run by sinful humans, all nations/peoples have murdered, all nations/peoples have motives less than stellar.

In other words, stop bashing Americans. They aren't worse than anyone else.

snhenley said...

Rodney: I totally agree with your assessment that this nation was built on Masonic occult principles as can be seen in all the symbolism in the capital, United Nations and the Vatican. Will the anti-Christ come out of Europe, US an extension of Europe or from the Arabs?

snhenley said...

Billy: The heart of man is continually evil. Evil and ungodly deeds are carried out by people of all complexions. Hitler murdered people who looked just like him. Tribal wars in Africa killed many who looked just like each other. Irish Catholics killed Irish protestants. Europeans went to Australia and tried to wipe out the Aboriginal people. The Mayans sacrificed other Mayans. You get the picture. I am not just singling out Europeans who committed inhuman atrocities world wide, but I am speaking to all wickedness. We are living in the last days. Jesus said, these days are perilous. Read Matthew 24 and 25.

Anonymous said...

Rodney, Maybe he doesn't have anything to do with the antichrist,,, BUT. I feel Obama is is league with the Devil.We had Israel as our best allies, but now he is in office, we are truning against them...With Obama at the helm, the mideast could all go against Israel and he wouldn't come off his many golf games or fund raisers.. And worse of all he laid back and let our ambassador and seals die without helping at all..So Yes he is in league with the devil and is paving the way for our demise and so are his greedy bunch in his adminstration.. Yes lots of churches are teaching falsely, but didn't Jesus say they would come.


snhenley said...

Marie: Right on - keep speaking the truth. Henry Kissinger said that Obama should be president of the world. I think he is a prime candidate for anti-Christ.

Billy said...

I know the arguments against it but I personally have ruled out Obama as the antichrist. After all, his past IS unknown.

L&L believes the a/c will be gay. I think Obama would still quality as the first "gay president" and his all out pro-gay agenda.

Billy said...

I meant to say I have NOT ruled out Obama as the a/c.

Anonymous said...

I honesty don't believe he is the Antichrist... He has been primed to help take over America, though.. I think he was primed for giving great speeches. It looks like to me, he was selected to win and promised He would free range of Gov. money. I don't even think he is running America.. He and his wife (even if SHE IS his wife.. Once she let it slip that she was an a single mom) They were told just to be the all American family..and have fun and keep on conning the public...

They are just partying and going on a spending spree with our money, and laughing at how dumb, HE THINKS, we are..

He is not the one making all the rules and trashing the constitution. Someone is doing it..

I have always said that the American people did NOT vote him in. I bet if you checked the census, you would find out that more people voted for him in Oh VA and Fl, than there were people,
even with the ones who were too young to vote.. and All who backed Obama will be sorry and wish they had never heard of him. The Islamics are the only ones he cares about.. But God is on our side,

Jesus is coming soon..Marie

Claudette F said...

I have a problem with all that I heard about how great the Founding Fathers were; Unless others have it all wrong a number of he Founding Fathers were Free Masons. So I would like to know how we equate Freemasonry to Christianity, if someone can explain this to me I would appreciate it? I've called myself a Christian for many, many years but now I would like to know why the Gentiles were given the name of Christians, there is nothing in the Word that proclaims the Gentile as such. the only indication in the Word that I can see is when Paul went to Antioch and the people called themselves Christian, so the people of Antioch came up with name and the west embraced it. if you were engrafted into the fold of Israel. why is Rome controlling who and what we are?

Claudette F said...

I disagree that President Obama is the antichrist or a Muslim. I think you all need a excuse to justify your dislike for a President that is not the norm. I do agree that he is in the position of President to prepare us for the end time, good or bad. Prophecy is prophecy and Yehovah/Yeshau will do whatever has to be done to accomplish the Revelation. We are so busy bashing the man we cannot see the purpose of it all. Pay attention people, it will be upon us sooner then we know. And stop think so much what you have and done have, because Yehovah/Yeshau does not care about your stuff. He is sifting through the clutter.