Our forefathers paid a great price for liberty. Are we willing pay a price to restore and preserve that liberty for our children and grandchildren? Or are we willing to sacrifice it on the altar of ease and socialism?
Spiritual Liberty is Causative to
Religious and Civil Liberty
By James B. Rose, President
American Christian History Institute
The Christian history of America testifies that no enduring religious or civil liberty would exist if there were no Christ or Christianity!
This remarkable link between Christianity and religious and civil liberty is understood when one contrasts the history of liberty from man’s creation to the time when Christ Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected with the history of liberty from the time of Christ to the present. Remember, history, by definition, is the study of men and events in the order they happen with their causes and effects. America’s Christian history confirms that spiritual liberty is causative and gives rise to, or results in, greater and greater expressions of religious and civil liberty.
Consider this question: Was there more or less individual liberty before Christ Jesus came? History reveals that there was less liberty for the individual before Jesus came into the world and more individual liberty after He came. Before Jesus, the exercise of liberty was the privilege of a few individuals (if they were pharaohs, kings, caesars, princes, lords, etc.,) but, most men were in religious and civil bondage. Jesus brought the gift of salvation from bondage to sin and death, and this spiritual liberty was manifested by the eventual giving of more religious and civil liberty to the individual.
Reflect upon this: When Christ Jesus came, He gave individual, internal, spiritual liberty to every one who accepted Christ by grace through faith. The gift of individual salvation is the gift of spiritual liberty. (Eph. 2:8-9). When one is redeemed from bondage to internal sin and spiritual death, he is given spiritual liberty. The same principle of liberty is identified in the Scriptures:
“. . . the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:2
“And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free. . . If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” John 8:32, 36
Also consider Romans 6:22, II Corinthians 3:17, Galatians 5:1, James 1:25
Christ’s free man, throughout all ages, has desired, striven for, and often died for religious freedom. Christianity purposes to work positively to effect laws for the lawless and liberty for the righteous under the Law.
Consider what God did through John Wycliff, in 1382, and, then, William Tyndale, in 1525, to enable these men to make the Bible available to the individual in English. After the English Bible was printed and promulgated, did the individual enjoy more or less liberty? Surely, thoughtful men discern there was more, not less, liberty for the individual. And, when the Bible was brought to America by the Pilgrims in 1620, and, then, the Puritans in 1630, did individuals enjoy more or less liberty? Indeed, liberty abounded even more than before! And, when the constitution of the United States of America was finally ratified in 1789, the local church enjoyed the greatest expression of individual liberty the world had ever witnessed!
Since the time the Bible was published in English and made available to the individual, there have been greater and greater and greater expressions of liberty first spiritual liberty and, then, its correlative, religious liberty protected by laws limiting the power of men in civil government. “The liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free” gave rise to liberty of conscience where men resolved “to obey God rather than men.” Conscientious Christians, led to worship together, also covenanted together religiously and civilly to enjoy religious liberty the liberty to worship God as God gave them light. But, there could be no religious liberty without civil liberty where laws not only condemned and punished lawlessness, but protected the free exercise of religion by limiting the power of kings and legislators.
America’s Christian history, therefore, confirms that “the perfect law of liberty” the Word of God has affected society and civil government by inspiring and guiding men to protect liberty by law.
“To the kindly influence of Christianity we owe that degree of civil freedom and political and social happiness which mankind now enjoy. In proportion as the genuine effects of Christianity are diminished in any nation, either through unbelief, or the corruption of its doctrines, or the neglect of its institutions; in the same proportion will the people of that nation recede from the blessings of genuine freedom, and approximate the miseries of complete despotism. . . .” (Dr. Jedidiah Morse, “Election Sermon of 1799”, as quoted by Verna M. Hall, in her Preface to The Christian History of the Constitution of the United States of America: Christian Self-Government, p. v.)
Permission is granted for duplication and free distribution of this Tract with appropriate credit.
Elections have Consequences
by Ruth Smith
The idea that “elections have consequences” is a concept that many forget. Today the main election we are hearing about through interviews and ads is the Presidential election. Each candidate is endeavoring to present himself or herself as the “best” person to lead our nation for the next four years. The field is vast, from a declared socialist to those who identify themselves as conservative.
Do “we, the people” know what a “socialist” is? We see young people, especially college-age young people flocking to follow the siren call of this individual. Or what does it mean to be a “conservative”? To one individual for what a conservative stands may mean one thing and to another it means something different.
Whose responsibility is it to determine what each candidate represents? Or to know how this candidate will govern? Is it the one who has the loudest voice?
As a Christian, do we only look for the one who says he is a born-again Christian? History reveals that isn’t the only basis by which we should choose a candidate and can bring poor results? On the other hand, how important is it that the candidate stands for the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all as stated in the Declaration of Independence?
Our forefathers understood from the very beginning that our nation could only stand if people of integrity and principle were chosen to be the leaders and make the laws by which we would be governed.
Following is a quote from Noah Webster in his Letters to a Young Gentleman. The content may not be easy reading, but rings true yet today:
“In selecting men for office, let principle be your guide. Regard not the particular sect or denomination of the candidate – look to his character as a man of known principle, of tried integrity, and undoubted ability for the office.
“It is alleged by men of loose principles, or defective views of the subject, that religion and morality are not necessary or important qualifications for political stations. But the Scriptures teach a different doctrine. They direct that rulers should be men who rule in the fear of God, able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness. But if we had no divine instruction on the subject, our own interest would demand of us a strict observance of the principle of these injunctions. And it is to the neglect of this rule of conduct in our citizens, that we must ascribe the multiplied frauds, breaches of trust, peculations and embezzlements of public property which astonish even ourselves; which tarnish the character of our country; which disgrace a republican government; and which will tend to reconcile men to monarchy in other countries and even in our own. . . .”
More to follow in a later post.
Do you know the principles upon which this nation was founded? Do your children know? Do your friends and neighbors know?
Pilgrim Institute has designed a great DVD study for restoring this foundation – check out the details for Restoring America’s Biblical Foundations.
THANKSGIVING PRODUCES THANKS – LIVING
Christian Self Government produces Local Self Governing Christian Homes, Churches, Communities. Self Government is explained in I John 3:24: “He that keepeth his commandments DWELLETH IN HIM, and HE IN HIM. And hereby we know that HE ABIDETH IN US, by the Spirit which He hath given us.” The internal gives rise to the external.
George Washington’s and America’s FIRST THANKSGIVING PROCLAMATION requested Americans to pray God… 1) “to pardon our national sins; 2) “to render our national government a blessing to all the people (HOW?) by being a government of wise (laws), just and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed, and 3) “to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion (which was Biblical Christianity at that time) and virtue (or the righteousness of Christ)…”
“The Pilgrim wanted LIBERTY for himself and his wife and little ones, and for his brethren, to WALK WITH GOD in a Christian life as the rules and motives of such a life were revealed to him from God’s Word. For that he went into exile; for that he crossed the ocean; for that he made his home in a wilderness.” (Leonard Bacon, 1874)
Reprinted by Permission
Check for Part II tomorrow.
“Take you wise men, and understanding, and known among your tribes, and I will make them rulers over you.” Deuteronomy 1:13
Representative government is a process of delegating authority. We, as citizens, consent to, authorize, or assign a person to stand for us in the external governing of our home, church, city, county, state and nation. We bear responsibility for those persons. How, then, do we choose?
“Take you wise men…” Wise men would fear the Lord and have knowledge of His principles. Included in this knowledge should be an understanding of the need to restore and protect those “self-evident” truths 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…”.
We must recognize our responsibility for that restoration and protection, and, as Felix Morley addressed, make purposeful choices. “Mere freedom of choice undoubtedly places its possessor at liberty. But to reach the essence of liberty, and certainly to secure its blessings in co-operative living, choice must be exercised in conformity with moral principles. There must be a sense of personal responsibility, of self restraint, and therefore of self-government… When the founders spoke of the blessings of liberty, they did not discount the value of freedom. But it is apparent to any student of the period that they generally used the word liberty to convey a sense of individual responsibility which the alternative noun freedom does not imply. The blessings of freedom may be of very questionable value. Those of liberty, properly understood, are priceless… That the condition of freedom can be maintained only by the divinely implanted urge for liberty was fully understood when the Republic was launched… the blessings of liberty, which political government may safeguard or destroy but can never itself provide, are therefore intimately connected with personal belief in, and practice of Christian doctrine. As Paul told the Corinthians also: ‘Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty!’ “
“…and understanding…” We must choose individuals who understand God’s philosophy of government and have the character to do the work. Samuel Adams writes: “in the state of nature, every man has a right to think and act according to the dictates of his own mind, which, in that state, are subject to no other control and can be commanded by no other power than the laws and ordinances of the great Creator of all things. The perfection of liberty therefore, in a state of nature, is for every man to be free from any external force, and to perform such actions as in his own mind and conscience he judges to be rightest; which liberty no man can truly possess whose mind is enthralled by irregular and inordinate passions; since it is no great privilege to be free from external violence if the dictates of the mind are controlled by a force within, which exerts itself above reason. This is liberty in a state of nature, which, as no man ought to be abridged of, so no man has a right to give up, or even part with any portion of it, but in order to secure the rest and place it upon a more solid foundation; it being equally with our lives the gift of the same bounteous Author of all things we must distinguish and consider liberty as it respects the whole body and as it respects each individual. As it respects the whole body, it is then enjoyed when neither legislative nor executive powers (by which I mean those men with whom are entrusted the power of making laws and of executing them) are disturbed by any internal passion or hindered by any external force from making the wisest laws and executing them in the best manner; when the safety, the security, and the happiness of all is the real care and steady pursuit of those whose business it is to care for and pursue it; in one short word, where no laws are carried through humor or prejudice, or controlled in their proper execution by lust of power in the great, nor wanton licentiousness in the vulgar. As it respects individuals, a man is then free when he freely enjoys the security of the laws and rights to which he is born; when he is hindered by no violence from claiming those rights and enjoying that security, but may at any time demand the protection of the laws under which he lives… He therefore is the truest friend to the liberty of his country who tries most to promote its virtue, and who, so far as his power and influence extend, will not suffer a man to be chosen into any office of power and trust who is not a wise and virtuous man. We must not conclude merely upon a man’s haranguing upon liberty, and using the charming sound, that he is fit to be trusted with the liberties of his country… The sum of all is, if we would most truly enjoy this gift of Heaven, let us become a virtuous people…”
The Bible has several examples of people choosing people to positions of delegated authority. In Acts 6:3 Luke records, “…look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.” The business spoken of was the caring for the needs of the new church during a period of very rapid growth.
Much of a man’s character is internal, which brings out the third choice, “and known among your tribes.” We are to look at the proven record. I Timothy 3 gives specific traits for delegated authority – blameless, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, hospitable, apt to teach, a person of self control, and in verse 4, “One that ruleth well his own house…” or as Hugo Grotius expanded in 1654, “He knows not how to rule a kingdome, that cannot manage a Province; nor can he wield a Province, that cannot order a City; nor can he order a City, that knows not how to regulate a Village; nor he a Village, that cannot guide a Family, nor can that man Govern well a family that knows not how to Govern himselfe; neither can any Govern himselfe unless his reason be Lord, Will and Appetite her Vassals: nor can Reason rule unlesse herselfe be ruled by God, and (wholly) be obedient to Him.”
 Rosalie Slater, Teaching and Learning America’s Christian History, Foundation for American Christian Education, San Francisco.
 Verna M. Hall, “The Life of Samuel Adams,” Christian History of the Constitution of the United States of America, Foundation for American Christian Education, San Francisco