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The Spiritual Mission of America's Founding Fathers

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In God’s unchanging order, a nation’s security is determined by means of seeking virtue. Solomon advised: “Covenant loyalty and truth preserve the king and by righteousness, his throne is upheld.” (1)   Loyalty and fidelity to Jehovah safeguard the nation.

Solomon went on to say that “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.” (2) Other proverbs herald virtue as the prescription to maintain the stability, prosperity, and liberty of a nation. The glory of a nation lies in its righteousness, not its military prowess or Gross Domestic Product.

Thus, the Biblical foundation devised by America’s Founders achieved “unprecedented stability, prosperity, and liberty produced by the institutions and policies based on concepts, such as God-given inalienable rights, individualism, limited government, full republicanism, separation of powers, and an educated and virtuous citizenry.” (3) Where do you suppose the Founders happened upon these unique ideas?

Dr. Daniel L. Dreisbach writes, “The first English settlers in New England were engaged in building Bible commonwealths; accordingly, they looked to the Bible in establishing political and legal institutions. The Bible was often the explicit basis of early colonial codes, and colonial judges frequently cited Scripture as legal authority. And the work of these legal craftsmen gives evidence that they were well acquainted with the Bible. (4)

Following an extensive survey of American political literature from 1760 to 1805, political scientist Donald S. Lutz reported that the Bible was “referenced more frequently than any European writer or even any European school of thought, such as the Enlightenment or Whig intellectual traditions. Indeed the Bible accounted for about one-third of all citations in his sample. According to Lutz, ‘Deuteronomy is the most frequently cited book, followed by Montesquieu’s The Spirit of the Laws’.” (5)

It would be difficult to overstate the importance of the role that the Book of Deuteronomy played in the life, law and culture in American history. That said, when is the last time that one heard a sermon from the Book of Deuteronomy? Or studied the Book of Deuteronomy? Moses pointed out in the Book of Deuteronomy the way forward for America: one route leads to life, health, and blessings, the other to sickness, curse, and death. (6)

American wasn’t founded upon secularism, paganism, or religious neutrality. Yet secularists, steeped in public education and higher learning, advance the notion that the birth of America happened by chance; just a lucky role of the dice. Os Guinness explains the defect in the underpinnings of Secularism:

“Freedom requires a framework of order, which means restraint, yet the only restraint proper to freedom is self-restraint, which freedom undermines.

“Freedom can no more take a holiday from history than from gravity, the plain fact is that it is harder to be free than to not be free, for freedom’s fire has not only to be lit once but must be kindled and rekindled all over again in each succeeding generation. How else are we to understand the fact that freedom never lasts and that freedom always becomes the greatest enemy of freedom?” (7)

America’s Founders believed that they were on a spiritual mission as they deposited Christianity in the New World. For two and a half centuries, orchestrated by the Divine, they stoked “virtue” as the way to establish righteousness in the public square. Righteousness is the key component of freedom.

For the last three generations or so, every vestige of the once dominant Christian content in public education has been blotted out. Government established their own religion in 1963, antithetic to the views, values, politics, and culture of Biblical Christianity. America now drifts aimlessly, void of the engine that established, and then produced, the greatest rise and most advanced society in the history of the world.

A favorite story in American history is of George Washington. He recorded in his diary on Wednesday, June 1, 1774, “Went to church, fasted all day.” (8) What happened on that day in 1774?

Well, as a result of the Boston Tea Party on December 16, 1773, the British responded with the Boston Port Act, blockading Boston’s harbor on June 1, 1774.

Supposed “Deist” Thomas Jefferson introduced A Day of Fasting and Prayer into the Virginia House of Burgesses on May 24, 1774, imploring, “Divine interposition, for averting the heavy calamity which threatens destruction to our civil rights…”

George Washington spent that Wednesday fasting and praying for America. Two centuries ago, prayer and tears were celebrated by America’s political leaders as the weapons of Heaven.

Evangelicals now find themselves battling in a two-fronted war:

1) The battle with secular Leftists in the Democrat Party, who “treat orthodox Christians as second-class citizens” (9); embodied by Senator Bernie Sanders. Bernie might require a refresher course in civics.

2) Republican Party establishment chieftains and lieutenants, who run as principled conservatives to be elected, only then to govern as Obama-lite moderates; embodied by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker Paul Ryan.

The good news is that Gideons and Rahabs are beginning to stand. Men and women of Issachar are hustling to the public square, a Resurrection is on the way.

David Lane is Founder of the American Renewal Project

(1) Proverbs 20:28

(2) Proverbs 14:34

(3) The Founder’s Bible

(4) Dr. Daniel L. Dreisbach, Reading The Bible With The Founding Fathers 

(5) Ibid.

(6) Deuteronomy 30:19-20, “I call on heaven and earth as witnesses today that I have offered you life or death, blessings or curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants will live. Love the LORD your God, obey him, and be loyal to him. This will be your way of life, and it will mean a long life for you in the land that the LORD swore to give to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”
(7) Os Guinness, A Free People’s Suicide 
(8) Susie Federer, Miracles in American History

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