Power in the People
Friday we experienced what Ronald Reagan described, in his first Inaugural Address, as “a solemn and most momentous occasion, and yet in the history of our nation it is a commonplace occurrence. The orderly transfer of authority as called for in the Constitution routinely takes place . . . and few of us stop to think how unique we really are. In the eyes of many in the world, this very 4-year ceremony we accept as normal is nothing less than a miracle.”
During his inaugural address, the 45th President Trump, made a statement, “What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.
“January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.”
Following the Inaugural speech, many news pundits picked up on this idea as something not necessarily consistent with conservative ideas. And yet this is not a new idea. Rather, it reflects the very basic idea upon which our nation was founded. For some reason, critics seemed to think putting the power in the people did not coincide with the ideas of limited government. It was puzzling why this was their interpretation.
William Penn stated that “we put the power in the people.” Historian Felix Morley wrote, “To put the power in the people implies faith. It implies that the component individuals are, for the most part, already endowed with self-control.”
Historian Verna Hall defined civil government as “the flow of power and force in society.” The Scripture teaches us that all power comes from God. The individual becomes the fountain through which that power can flow from the individual to his delegated representatives. Over the past century, the flow of power has been interrupted as the Executive Branch developed a huge bureaucracy, expanding its powers far beyond the realm of its constitutional powers. In addition, the checks and balances of our three branches of government have been weakened. Power has gradually been centralized in the national government and flowing from Washington, D.C. down to the people in many areas, rather than from the people delegating authority to their elected representatives.
To truly put the power back in the hands of the people would be a formidable task, but one that could at least begin at some levels. It would require huge discipline on the part of the leadership in Washington and a willingness to give up power and move it back to the state or local levels where it belongs. The challenge will be whether the thousands of political appointees and employees in civil service positions will be willing to allow this to occur.
Turning to national government, rather than local government or private enterprise, has become so much a way of life in America that it will be very difficult to undo the mindset of a people who do not realize how much it is a part of our thinking. We need to be asking questions as to why is civil government providing funding for research, granting funds for arts, or protecting an endangered species, or meeting many other needs? Is this the function of civil government as provided by the Constitution? Or does this need to be the responsibility of local foundations, corporations, or individuals, who if liberated from their tax burden, would have the resources to provide for such opportunities?
Americans must educate themselves in the true purpose of civil government as it was intended and then seek to restore those foundational principles. One of those basic principles is to restore the power to the people. Can we once again be a government “of the people, by the people, for the people?” Do we have the character for such a government? Or have we become so dependent on big government that we cannot take the responsibility which would be required of each of us?
 Verna M. Hall, The Christian of the American Revolution: Consider and Ponder (San Francisco: Foundation for American Christian Education, 1976) page xxi v.
The Remarkable Gift of Liberty
by Jeanette Whittaker
As the prophet Isaiah foretold the birth of Christ, he was divinely inspired to pen the words, “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, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6.
Centuries would pass before the world would witness the promised Messiah. In the centuries that followed, the gospel message transformed the lives of believers.
Where would we be as individuals and as a nation without the transforming power of Christianity?
The remarkable gift of liberty has been entrusted to our care. How can we find a way to perpetuate that gift to our posterity?
The Christmas season is a time for so many things: rejoicing, remembering, renewing our commitment to follow our Lord and Savior.
As you gather with family, associates, friends, and fellow believers, we pray that like Mary you will ponder the meaning of the events which we celebrate, “Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11.
Photo credit: mad world news
November is a time of Thanksgiving and giving. It’s also a busy time for the ministry of Pilgrim Institute.
Mid-October saw the launch of our newest offering in The Mighty Works of God series, Self-Government with Union. We were blessed to have so many helpers unload the books!
This year, we’ll be offering something very special for our Black Friday promotion and encourage you to save the date, November 25, 2016!
Monday, November 28, 2016 we will host our annual Cyber Monday Sale … details TBA here on the blog and through our social media ministry and email list. Visit our Website to sign up for the email list HERE.
Lastly, this year will be our first year to participate in the Giving Tuesday campaign and we look forward to sharing more about that and connecting with you via our social media ministry event page HERE or via our social media efforts on Facebook and Twitter.
Pilgrim Institute and staff thank you in advance for your support of the ministry during the season of giving and look forward to serving you in the cause of liberty in the upcoming year!
Do American Christians Have a Responsibility to Vote?
Ruth J Smith
The upcoming election has created a great deal of discussion among Christians, including some extreme statements. Recently someone posted a question on the Pilgrim Institute Facebook page asking whether their eternal destiny would be determined by whether or how they voted in this election. As Christians, we realize that our eternal destiny is only determined by whether or not we accept the salvation offered through faith in Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for us. An election in any nation will have no effect upon our eternal home.
The Word of God does indicate that we will be rewarded upon our faithfulness to His Word and our stewardship of what God has given us in this world. This is what we must examine.
America has known the greatest liberty of any nation in the world. The question which must be answered is what is the source of that liberty? Liberty only comes through Christ and Christianity. There is no other source for liberty. No man, king or ruler can give us liberty.
History reveals that as a people studied the Word of God and understood there were Biblical principles of government and first applied these principles in their own lives, they realized internal spiritual liberty. This soon brought them to look further into the Word of God and realize that even as the first century churches were independent, self governing churches, that there should be religious liberty. But this demanded a people who had to stand against the civil government of their time and even their homeland and brought a congregation eventually to the New World.
When faced with the reality that they had no civil government, they applied these same principles of government to the civil sphere and we had the first document of civil government based upon Biblical principles – the Mayflower Compact. From that small beginning, a seed was planted which eventually spread throughout thirteen colonies, eventually establishing a constitution built upon these Biblical principles of government.
One historian wrote of the idea that the power was flowing from the people. What was this power? According to the Word of God, all power comes from God. So this means that the sovereign power of God was working through the people. How could this happen? This only occurs through the people having the power and opportunity to delegate that authority to someone by electing them to rule over them, at that time a unique idea in all of the world.
Christians for the past several generations have failed to recognize that Christ is the source of liberty in America and have failed to give God the glory for what He has done. For that we will be held accountable. If America falls totally into a socialistic state (on which it is on a slippery slope), it is because American Christians have failed to learn and teach the Biblical principles of government found in the Word of God. For that we will be held accountable. The joy of this is that it begins not in Washington, DC, but in the homes of Christians and in the local churches as we assume our responsibility to reclaim and restore! That is the hope we have.
However, if by failing to vote or voting for someone who leads our nation to take away our religious liberty, we will not have the opportunity to restore what has been eaten away in our nation. I believe we will be held accountable by God for such actions. I pray that God will see fit to find a people who are worthy of having the time for restoration.