Recently, I wrote a letter to the Naples Daily News on how our founding documents had an impact in building our nation. These historical documents prove that America was a Christian nation and the purpose of this nation was for the “Glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith.” In retrospect of this truth, we, personally and individually, should all remind ourselves today – “what is the chief end of man?” The answer without question is that man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever. As stewards of the “baton” that has been passed to us by our faithful forefathers, it is our Christian duty to continue to fulfill their purpose. The body of Christ should be leading America back to its foundations with no expectations but for the glory of God.
I Corinthians 10:31- “Whatever you do, do it all for the Glory of God.”
Letter: Danger of drifting away
Friday, February 7, 2014
Thomas Hughes, Naples
Danger of drifting away
In 1620, pastors and pilgrims taught how biblical principles were applied to building a nation when they drafted the Mayflower Compact, America’s first great constitutional document.
It declared: “Having undertaken for the Glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith …”
In 1643, America’s first “united” government, the New England Confederation, declared: “We all came into these parts of America with one and the same end and aim, namely to advance the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
This same governing philosophy was used by our Founding Fathers when writing our state constitutions and establishing a republican form of government. One example is Pennsylvania’s preamble which states: “We, the people of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, and humbly invoking His guidance, do ordain and establish this Constitution.”
These and many other documents are very clear that Christianity influenced the early development of our civil government in America. Therefore, the flaws in our nation today are not in biblical principles but in the failure to implement them. Not only has America forgotten God, but we have forgotten we are on this earth to bring glory and honor to Him no matter what the cultural trend looks like.
So let us begin today to present the unrevised history of America’s Godly heritage so that once again the hand of God will be recognized throughout our nation.
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” — Psalms
THE HISTORICAL EVIDENCE
(Source: Original Intent by David Barton / www.wallbuilders.com)
“When the Holy Trinity Court described America as a “Christian nation,” it did so because, as it explained:
From the discovery of this continent to the present hour, there is a single voice making this affirmation…. These are not individual sayings, declarations of private persons: they are organic utterances; they speak the voice of the entire people….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. According to the Court, it was the “Organic utterances” which proved America was a “Christian nation.” “Organic utterances” are the bulk of historical documents and legal rulings that comprise what is called the “common law.”
I have presented the bulk of these historical documents in the same chronological order noted by the Court.”
Christopher Columbus was not the first European to visit the “New World” the Vikings had traveled here centuries earlier. However, Columbus was the first to publicize its existence to the Europeans. The intellectual leaders of that time assured Columbus he would be facing the prospect of great danger. His, decision to embark on this journey are made clear in his own writings:
Our Lord opened to my understanding (I could sense His hand upon me) so it became clear to me that it [the Voyage] was feasible….All those who heard about my enterprise rejected it with laughter, scoffing at me…Who doubts that this illumination was from the Holy Spirit? I attest that He [the spirit], with marvelous rays of light, consoled me through the Holy and sacred Scriptures….they inflame me with a sense of great urgency….No one should be afraid to take on any enterprise in the name of our Savior if it is right and if the purpose is purely for His Holy service….And I say that the sign which convinces me that our Lord is hastening the end of the world is the preaching of the Gospel recently in so many lands.
AMERICA’S FIRST COLONIES
The motivations of the colonists that followed Columbus are clear by the examining of their documents. For example the 1606 charter for a colony in Virginia declared the settlers desire:
To make habitation…. And to deduce a colony of sundry of our people into that part of America commonly called Virginia….in propagating of Christian religion to such people as yet live in darkness.
In 1609, another charter for Virginia stated:
The principle effect which we can desire or expect of this action is the conversion….of the people in those parts unto the true worship of God and Christian religion.
The Pilgrims drafted and signed the “Mayflower Compact” the first government charter drafted solely in America. It declared:
Having undertaken for the Glory of the God and advancement of the Christian faith…we combine ourselves together into a civil body politic for…furtherance of the ends aforesaid.
William Bradford, one of their leaders, confirmed this purpose when he explained that the Pilgrims had come to the New World because…
a great hope and inward zeal they had of laying some good foundation, or at least to make some way thereunto, for the propagating and advancing the Gospel of the Kingdom of Christ in those remote parts of the world.
Ten years later the Puritans began to arrive with their leader John Winthrop, he warned of the consequences of forgetting their goal:
We are a company professing ourselves fellow-members of Christ…knit together by this bond of love…We are entered into covenant with Him for this work…For we must consider that we shall be as a city on a hill, the eyes of all the people are upon us; so that if we should deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause Him to withdraw His present help for us, we shall be made a story and a byword through the world.
In 1629 Massachusetts charter declared:
Our said people…be so religiously, peaceably, and civilly governed that their good life and orderly conversations may win and incite the natives of… that country to the knowledge and obedience of the only true God and Savior of mankind, and the Christian faith, which…is the principle end of this plantation [colony].
In 1653, Quakers and other Christian groups began to settle in North Carolina; their 1662 charter explained that they were:
Excited with laudable and pious zeal for the propagation of the Christian faith…in the parts of America not yet cultivated or planted, and only inhabited by…people who have no knowledge of almighty God.
In 1663 Rhode Island’s charter set forth their intent:
Pursuing with peace and loyal minds, their sober, serious and religious intentions of Godly edifying themselves and one another in the Holy Christian faith,…a most flourishing civil state may stand and best be maintained…with a full liberty in religious concernments.
The 1680-1681 charter for Pennsylvania declared:
William Penn…out of a commendable desire to…[convert] the savage natives by gentle and just manners to live the love of civil society and Christian religion, hath humbly besought leave of us to transport an ample colony unto a certain country…in the parts of America not yet cultivated and planted.
The charter of Connecticut and the early documents in New Hampshire, New Jersey, and other areas, were a virtual restatement of the Christian Goals reflected above.
AMERICA’S FIRST GOVERNMENTS
As the population began to increase, so did the need for more elaborate governments. This need resulted in America’s first constitution the “Fundamental Orders of Connecticut” and it had been created:
Well knowing when a people are gathered together, the Word of God requires to maintain the peace and union of such people, there should be an orderly and decent government established according to God.
That constitution next declared the colonist’s desire to:
Enter into combination and confederation together to maintain and preserve the liberty and the purity of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus which we now profess…which, according to the truth of the said Gospel, is now practiced among us.
Later that year (1639), when the colonists of Exeter, New Hampshire, established a government, that document similarly declared:
Considering with ourselves the holy will of God, and our own necessity that we should not live without wholesome laws and civil government among us, of which we are all together destitute; do in the name of Christ and in the sight of God combine ourselves together to erect and setup among us such governments as shall be to our best discerning agreeable to the will of God.
In 1643, the colonies of Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Plymouth, and New Haven joined together to form the New England Confederation-America’s first “united” government. These colonies banded together because, as that document explained, each had a similar goals:
We all came into these parts of America with one and the same end and aim, namely to advance the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In 1669, John Locke assisted in the drafting of the Carolina constitution under which no man could be a citizen unless he acknowledged God, was a member of a church, and used no “reproachful, reviling, or abusive language” against religion.
When Quaker minister William Penn established the 1682 “Frame of Government of Pennsylvania,” he prefaced the document with a lengthy exegesis of the spiritual and Biblical nature of civil government, chronicling its general progress and referring numerous Scripture references. (Penn’s introduction is recommended as excellent supplementary reading.) These, and numerous similar documents, established that Christianity was the prominent influence in the early growth and orderly development of civil government in the New World.
The Declaration of Independence, considered the founding document of the United States, is an act of the Second Continental Congress, adopted on July 4, 1776, which declared that the 13 American colonies were “Free and Independent States” and that “all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved.” In it, our Founding Fathers were quick to acknowledge God as the source of our rights, and they were wise to not separate God from state. The placement of Judeo- Christian values and biblical morality into our founding documents and laws was clearly intentional. As Benjamin Rush, one of the Founders, said, “without (religion) there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments.”
The Declaration of Independence
“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable 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. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it and to institute new government.”
“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13
Thus, five immutable principles constitute the heart and soul of American government:
1. Government acknowledges that there is a Creator
2. Government acknowledges that the Creator gives specific inalienable rights to man
3. Government acknowledges that it exists to protect God-given rights
4. Government acknowledges that below the level of God-given rights, government powers are to be operated only with the permission of citizens – i.e., with the “consent of the governed”
5. If government fails to meet the four standards above, the people have an inalienable right to abolish that government and institute a new one that does observe the four criteria above.
“If the federal government should overpass the just bounds of its authority and make a tyrannical use of its powers, the people, whose creature it is, must appeal to the standard they have formed, and take such measures to redress the injury done to the Constitution as the exigency may suggest and prudence justify.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 33, January 3, 1788
Significantly, without a public and official recognition of God, there is no hope of limited government, for rights come only from God or from man. If rights come from God, then we can require man to protect those rights – as we did in the Declaration, Constitution, and Bill of Rights. But if our rights come from man, then man is permitted to regulate or abolish those rights, and government’s power over our lives therefore becomes absolute and unlimited, as has been the growing trend since the 1990s.
The Founders understood that irrevocable limitations can be placed on government only when God is recognized as the source of our rights; they also understood that if we became complacent in our recognition of God as the center of our lives and government, then we would lose our liberties. As Thomas Jefferson warned:
[C]an the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis: a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? – that they are not to be violated but with His wrath?
According to Jefferson, the only “firm basis” of our national liberties is a “conviction in the minds of the people” that our liberties are from God and that government cannot intrude into those liberties without incurring God’s wrath.
So until we as a nation and our leaders know, pursue and pray for the righteousness that God desires, as modeled by the Founding Fathers of America (i.e. our Godly heritage), then God will respond to our obedience and faith in Him with blessing and exultation for our nation, as He promised. Psalm 32:12 states: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” and Proverbs 14:34 says: “Righteousness exalts a nation…”
Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it.” – John Adams, Thoughts on Government, 1776
Sources – American Patriots Bible & David Barton / www.wallbuilders.com
Blessings – Thomas Hughes
Educate and Inspire Americans to restore our Godly heritage
Please see these additional references:
Before the U.S. Constitution was the Articles of Confederation
U.S. Constitution ratified by States which included Faith in State Constitutions