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Christian Defense of the Faith

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The Founders Of The United States Were Not Christians. Huh?

Founding FathersDespite many attempts at revising the history of this great country, efforts have fallen short.  One need not be a scholar (or an effective researcher for that matter) to see that the lives, spoken words, and writings of the Founders are replete with all manner of belief in a higher power.  Indeed, whether they called themselves Congregationalists, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, or Catholic, the Founders of this great land were certainly influenced by the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Echoes of a Supreme Creator and the Natural Law

Indeed, the Declaration of Independence  leaves no doubt to the world-view of its authors:
“When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitles them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”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…”

After listing a “history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these States.” The authors and signers conclude:
“We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in general Congress assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name and by the authority of the good people of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent States, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliance, establish commerce, and do all other acts and things which independent States may of right do. 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.”

One may argue that Deism as well as all of the great monotheisms refer to a Creator but a Supreme Judge rules out Deism or the belief that God has created the universe but remains apart from it and permits his creation to administer itself through natural laws.  Judaism and Islam are also ruled out because of their doctrine.

Religious Affiliations of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence

CONNECTICUT: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott – All Congregationalists

DELAWARE: Ceasar Rodney, George Read – Both Episcopalian, Thomas McKean – Presbyterian

GEORGIA: Button Gwinnett – Episcopalian/Congregationalist, Lyman Hall – Congregationalist, George Walton – Episcopalian

MARYLAND: Samuel Chase, Thomas Stone, William Paca – All Episcopalian, Charles Carroll – Catholic

MASSACHUSETTS: John Hancock, Samuel Adams – Both Congregationalists, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine – Both Congregationalist/Unitarian

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple – Both Congregationalists,  Matthew Thornton – Presbyterian

NEW JERSEY: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, John Hart, Abraham Clark – All Presbyterian, Francis Hopkinson – Episcopalian

NEW YORK: William Floyd, Philip Livingston – Both Presbyterian,  Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris – Both Episcopalian

NORTH CAROLINA: William Hooper, John Penn – Both Episcopalian, Joseph Hewes – Quaker/Episcopalian,

PENNSYLVANIA: Robert Morris, George Ross, John Morton – Episcopalian, Benjamin Rush, George Taylor,  James Smith – All Presbyterian , James Wilson – Episcopalian/Presbyterian, George Clymer – Quaker/Episcopalian, Benjamin Franklin – Deist,

RHODE ISLAND: Elbridge Gerry, Stephen Hopkins – Both Episcopalian, William Ellery – Congregationalist

SOUTH CAROLINA: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Authur Middleton – All Episcopalian

VIRGINIA: , Francis Lightfoot Lee, George Wythe, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Carter Braxton, Richard Henry Lee – All Episcopalian, Thomas Jefferson – Deist [2]

Other Founders

George WashingtonGeorge Washington, who needs no introduction, certainly was a religious man. The letter below was written by George Washington’s adopted daughter (also his step-granddaughter) Eleanor (Nelly) Parke Custis Lewis. It was written in 1833 in response to author Jared Sparks [who compiled a set of Washington’s Writings] request for info on Washington’s religious beliefs for a book he was writing that was published under the title “The Life of Washington”.

Mrs. Parke Custis Lewis writes, “I should have thought it the greatest heresy to doubt his firm belief in Christianity. His life, his writings, prove that he was a Christian. He was not one of those who act or pray, “that they may be seen of men.” He communed with his God in secret.

Samuel Adams, one of the leaders of the movement that became the American Revolution, and one of the architects of the principles of American republicanism  writes, “The right to freedom is the gift of God Almighty….The rights of the Colonists as Christians may be best understood by reading, and carefully studying the institutes of the great Lawgiver and head of the Christian Church: which are to be found clearly written and promulgated in the New Testament.” [3]

James Madison, instrumental in the drafting of the U.S. Constitution and as the key champion and author of the Bill of Rights, accepted Christian tenets generally and formed his outlook on life within a Christian world view. [4]

Alexander Hamilton, a signer of the Constitution and one of America’s most preeminent founding fathers, was author of 51 of the 85 Federalist Papers, which powerfully made the case for ratifying the Constitution. Shortly after the Constitutional Convention of 1787, Hamilton stated: “For my own part, I sincerely esteem it a system which without the finger of God, never could have been suggested and agreed upon by such a diversity of interests.”

Finally, the attitude and beliefs of the Founders of this nation is eloquently declared by John Adams: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

God bless America…

[1] The 5000 Year Leap, Cleon Skousen, National Center for Constitutional Studies, June 1981, pg. 39

[2] http://www.adherents.com/gov/Founding_Fathers_Religion.html

[3] http://www.samuel-adams-heritage.com/quotes/popular.html, More Quotes

[4] Ralph Louis Ketcham, James Madison: A Biography (University of Virginia Press, 1990) p. 47

Has Christianity Had A Negative Influence On The World?

CrusadesEvil actions of erring Christians (sometimes its leaders) have lead many to believe that Christianity’s influence has had a negative influence on the world.  Recent citations of the Crusades as well as the Spanish Inquisition, the silencing of Galileo, the forced conversion of the Incan Empire, and the Salem Witch Trials have certainly been pock marks in the history of Christianity but these acts were inconsistent with the teachings of Jesus Christ.

The positive impact that Christianity has had on the world is immeasurable.  In the 2nd and 3rd centuries, early Christians, motivated by the gospel, elevated the sanctity of human life. In the 4th century, while Greeks and Romans had no such institutions, Christians first introduced hospices and finally hospitals to the world because, “…I was sick and you took care of Me…” (Matt 25:36.)  Innumerable hospitals all around the world still reflect this Christian origin such as St Andrew’s Hospital – UK, San Giovanni Addolorata Hospital – Italy, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital – US.Cross

Along side the spreading of the gospel, other positive influences on the world include: (1) Countries where Christianity has had the greatest presence were the first to abolish slavery [1][2][3][4][5][6], (2) Universities grew out of the Church’s medieval monasteries. (3) Christian theology encouraged scientist to explore the laws of God’s natural world. (4) Christianity inspired music, art, literature, theater, social institutions, and education. (5) The annual celebration of Jesus Christ’s birth continues to have an inestimable financial impact on the entire world as most industries do a majority of their annual business around the Christmas and holiday season. [7]

[1] 1102: Trade in slaves and serfdom condemned by the church in London: Council of London (1102).

[2] 1215: Magna Carta signed. Clause 30, commonly known as Habeas Corpus, would form the basis of a law against slavery in English common law.

[3] ~1220: The Sachsenspiegel, the most influential German code of law from the Middle Ages, condemns slavery as a violation of God’s likeness to man

[4] 1435: In Sicut Dudum, Pope Eugene IV banned enslavement of Christians in the Canary Islands on pain of excommunication.[14] However the non-Christian indigenous Guanches could be and were enslaved during the Spanish conquest

[5] 1537: Pope Paul III forbids slavery of the indigenous peoples of the Americas as well as of any other new population that would be discovered, indicating their right to freedom and property. However, only Catholic countries apply it, and state that they cannot possibly enforce what happens in the distant colonies (Sublimus Dei)

[6] 1863: In the United States, Abraham Lincoln issues the presidential order the Emancipation Proclamation declaring slaves in Confederate-controlled areas to be freed. Most slaves in “border states” are freed by state action; separate law freed the slaves in Washington, D.C.

[7] Statistics and facts on the Christmas Season in the U.S. Accessed 8-16-15

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