Politics and the Church – Recovery From the Shoal Waters #1

Just as all Christians should read, study, and intimately know the content of the Bible, so too should they read, study, and intimately know the content of the Constitution.  As with our government, the Constitution also cannot be properly understood or correctly applied according to its original intent apart from a knowledge of the Bible and its teachings.  Notice how often national political leaders across the centuries reaffirmed the interconnectedness between the Bible and American government:

“The Bible is the rock on which our Republic rests” – President Andrew Jackson  [The American Missionary, vol. 20. no. 8, New York: American Missionary Association, 1876, pg. 183]

“The Bible is…indispensable to the safety and permanence of our institutions; a free government cannot exist without religion and morals, and there cannot be morals without religion, nor religion without the Bible”. – President Zachary Taylor [Taylor, “The President and the Bible”]

“In the formative days of the Republic the directing influence the Bible exercised upon the fathers of the Nation is conspicuously evident…We cannot read the history of our rise and development as a Nation, without reckoning with the place the Bible has occupied in shaping the advances of the Republic”. – President Franklin D. Roosevelt  [Franklin D. Roosevelt,”Statement on the Four Hundredth Anniversary of the Printing of the English Bible”, October 6, 1935, quoted at the American Presidency Project]

“The fundamental basis of this Nation’s law was given to Moses on the Mount.  The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings which we get from Exodus and St. Matthew, from Isaiah and St. Paul.  I don’t think that we emphasize that enough these days.” – President Harry Truman  [Harry S. Truman,”Address Before the Attorney General’s Conference on Law Enforcement Problems”, February 15, 1950]

“Of the many influences that have shaped the United States of America into a distinctive Nation and people, none may be said to be more fundamental and enduring than the Bible…The Bible and its teachings helped form the basis for the Founding Fathers’ abiding belief in the inalienable rights of the individual, rights which they found implicit in the Bible’s teachings of the inherent worth and dignity of each individual”. – President Ronald Reagan  [Ronald Reagan,”Proclamation 5018 – Year of the Bible, 1983″, February 3, 1983, quoted at the American Presidency Project]

” America was born to exemplify that devotion to the elements of righteousness which are derived from the revelations of Holy Scripture”. – President Woodrow Wilson  [Woodrow Wilson, as quoted in Jan Willem Schulte Nordholt , Woodrow Wilson: A Life for World Peace, University of California Press, 1991, pg. 47]

“In these last 200 years we have guided the building of our Nation and our society by those principles and precepts brought to earth nearly 2,000 years ago on that first Christmas.” – President Lyndon B. Johnson  [Lyndon B. Johnson,”Remarks at the lighting of the Nation’s Christmas Tree”, December 22, 1963, quoted at the American Presidency Project]

“American life, is builded and can alone survive upon…the fundamental philosophy announced by the Savior 19 centuries ago.” – President Herbert Hoover  [Herbert Hoover,”Radio Address to the Nation on Unemployment Relief”, October 18, 1931, quoted at the American Presidency Project]

“Suppose a nation in some distant region should take the Bible for their only law-book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited!.,.What a Utopia; what a Paradise would this region be!”- President John Adams  [Adams, Works, vol. 2, pgs. 6-7]

A knowledge of the Bible and an application of its principles were key to American government becoming the most successful in the world.  Sadly the more secular and biblically illiterate we and our leaders have become, the less properly have our institutions functioned, including those of law, government, economics, education, business, and others.  Founding Father John Jay gave us clear advice about reading and studying the Bible.  Here is his advice on the Constitution:

“Every member of the State ought diligently to read and study the constitution of his country, and teach the rising generation to be free.  By knowing their rights, they will sooner perceive when they are violated, and be better prepared to defend and assert them.” [John Jay, The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, vol 1, New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890, pgs. 163-164]

There are six steps for effective citizenship:

  1. Read the Constitution
  2. Study constitutional rights
  3. Teach that our constitutional government produces freedom
  4. Perceive/recognize violations of constitutional rights
  5. Defend constitutional rights
  6. Assert constitutional rights

With so much of our government built around the Judeo/ Christian principles of the Bible it is inconceivable that the church…any Christian church… should feel that it is right to divorce itself from the functioning of government.  We will only have the type of government that our citizens vote to have and if the character of our government is so distant from the founding principles, the Christian church must take much of the responsibility.  If our founders/leaders could relate our government to the Bible, surely our churches could do likewise.

Next week will will look with some detail into the six steps for effective citizenship.  We will see that these steps certainly do not avoid relationships that go back to the Bible.

– Bob Munsey

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