A Great Resource of Americas Christian History is here at http://www.wallbuilders.com/
They have over 100,000 original documents of Americas history from 1812 and before in their library.
Wallbuilders is one of ONLY two places I’m aware of that a person can go to and find Americas REAL history that most American students are no longer taught in school. Please go their for all the greatest information. What you find here are only highlights.
Faith of the Founding Fathers Part 1
Faith of the Founding Fathers Part 2
Faith of the Founding Fathers Part 3
DID YOU KNOW?
As you walk up the steps to the
building which houses the U.S Supreme Court
you can see near the top of the building a row
of the world’s law givers and each one is
facing one in the middle who is facing forward
with a full frontal view … it is Moses and he
is holding the Ten Commandments!
DID YOU KNOW?
As you enter the Supreme Court courtroom, the Two huge oak doors have the Ten Commandments
Engraved on each lower portion of each door.
DID YOU KNOW?
DID YOU KNOW?
James Madison, the fourth president, known as
‘The Father of Our Constitution’ made the
‘ We have staked the whole of all our political
institutions upon the capacity of mankind for
self-government, upon the capacity of each and
all of us to govern ourselves, to control
ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to
the Ten Commandments of God.’
DID YOU KNOW?
Every session of Congress begins with a prayer
by a paid preacher, whose salary has been paid
by the taxpayer since 1777.
DID YOU KNOW?Lets put it around the world and let the world
see and remember what this great country was
Thomas Jefferson worried that the Courts would
overstep their authority and instead of
interpreting the law would begin making law
an oligarchy the rule of few over many.
How then, have we gotten to the point that
everything we have done for 232 years in this
country is now suddenly wrong and
Therefore, it is very hard to understand
why there is such a mess about having the Ten
Commandments on display or ‘In God We Trust’
on our money and having God in the Pledge of
Why don’t we just tell the other 14%
to Sit Down and SHUT UP!!!
Everything you see below comes from a book by Gary DeMar called “Americas Christian Heritage” you can buy a copy here.
you can visit their website directly here and sign up for their FREE books and a FREE newsletter.
You can call them direct at (800) 628-9460 or email customer service at email@example.com or you can write them at P.O. Box 220, Powder Springs, GA 30127
Their website is where you will find a Biblical worldview ministry offering books, tapes, videos, and magazines with emphasis on apologetics, eschatology, history, and theology.
In 1892, the Supreme Court declared, in the case of The Church of the Holy Trinity vs. United States, that America was Christian Nation from its earliest days.
In 1931 The US Supreme Court noted that the United States is a Christian Nation.
In 1931, Supreme Court Justice George Sutherland reviewed the 1892 decision and reaffirmed that Americans are a “Christian People“. As late as 1952, even the liberal Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas declared that “we are a religious people and our institutions presuppose a Supreme Being”.
First Charter Of Virginia May 1607
On discovering America the First Charter of Virginia emphasized the Christian character of the purpose of the expedition. Their task was defined “by the providence of Almighty God…..to the glory of His Divine Majesty, in propagating of the Christian religion…….”
Captain John Smith had a Chaplain named Rev. Robert Hunt on board his ship going to America and he said. Worship services began almost from the hour of landing in May of 1607. “There the first seed for English Christianity on the American continent was sown”.
When the new Governor of Jamestown, Lord de La Warr, arrived in 1610, the colony was on the verge of collapse. His first action was to organize a worship service and issue a biblical call for sacrifice and enterprise.
B.F. Morris, in his Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States, concluded, “The Christian religion was the underlying basis and the pervading element of all the social and civil institutions of the Virginia colony”.
Massachusetts and the Mayflower Compact September 1620
In 1609 persecution forced a group of Christians to leave England. They wanted to live in a society that was thoroughly founded on the Bible, not simply a place where they would have the freedom to go to the church of their choice.
Need for a governing document forced the travelers to draft the Mayflower Compact. In the preamble of the Mayflower Compact it emphasizes religious themes and political loyalties that are reflected in later charters and state constitutions.
The Mayflower Compact reads in part:
In the name of God, Amen…….Having undertaken for the Glory of God and the advancement of the Christian Faith….
This document was later called “the foundation stone of American liberty and the basis of representative government in the New World.”
Plymouth Plantation 1621
Governor William Bradford wrote a book called “Of Plymouth Plantation”. An eyewitness account of the history of the colony up to 1650. In the book Bradford said (The colonists)”cherished a great hope and inward zeal of laying good foundation, or at least of making some way towards it, for the propagation and advance of the gospel of the kingdom of Christ in the remote parts of the world”.
New Haven was established by the Reverend John Davenport and Theophilus Eaton in 1638. The first general court convened and enacted a set of laws. “after a day of fasting and prayer, they rested their first frame of government on a simple plantation covenant, that all of them would be ordered by the rules which the scriptures held forth to them.”
A year later they enacted what was known as “the seven pillars”. This was a civil policy where Gods Word was “established as the only rule in public affairs. By doing this, New Haven made “The Bible” its first statute book.
New England Confederation May 19, 1643
Established a union of like-minded civil bodies. They described the mission of the confederation “to advance the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ and to enjoy the liberties of the Gospel in purity with peace.”
Civil rulers and judges were considered to be “ministers of God for the good of the people”.
Christianity in State Constitutions
Delaware required its office holders to subscribe and make the following declaration: “I do profess faith in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ His only Son, and in the Holy Ghost, one God, blessed for evermore; and I do acknowledge the holy scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by divine inspiration”. Revisions were made in 1792 where “piety and morality” are to be promoted.
New Jersey 1683
In the drafting of the constitution of East New Jersey. Religious liberty was upheld and every civil magistrate was required to affirm this by law and swear a binding oath to Jesus Christ. It also says”Nor by this article is it intended that any under the notion of liberty shall allow themselves to avow atheism, irreligiousness…….Marriage was defined by the Law of God”.
Article VI states that “The representatives shall be chosen out of the residents in each county……and shall be of the Protestant religion.”
It says in the constitution “no person shall be eligible to this office, unless……he shall declare himself to be of the Christian religion.” The following oath was also required: “I do declare, that I believe the Christian religion, and have firm persuasion of its truth.”
New Hampshire 1784
“Morality and Piety”are rightly grounded on evangelical principles.”State office holders-must be of the protestant religion.”
North Carolina 1776
Article XXXII states the following qualifications for public office: “No person who shall deny the being of God, or the truth of the protestant religion, or the divine authority of the Old or New Testaments, or who shall hold religious principles incompatible with the freedom and safety of the State, shall be capable of holding any office or place of trust or profit in the civil department within this state” This provision stayed in effect until 1876
South Carolina 1778
In 1989 still said: No person shall be eligible to hold office of Governor who denies the existence of the Supreme Being.
No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office under this constitution.
Article XXXVIII of the 1778 constitution says “Christian protestant religion shall be deemed, and is hereby constituted and declared to be, the established religion of the State.”
William Penn in “Charter of Liberties” cited 1 Timothy 1:9-10 and Romans 13:1-5
In 1705-06 the Pennsylvania legislature required that to serve as a civil magistrate, a person had to “also profess to believe in Jesus Christ, the saviour of the world“and take the following oath:“I profess faith in God the Father and in Jesus Christ His eternal Son, the true God, and in the Holy Spirit, one God blessed for evermore; and do acknowledge the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by divine inspiration”.
Article 1, section 7 of our Constitution exempts SUNDAY as a day to be counted within which the president may veto legislation.
Supreme Court Justice David Brewer observed, the recognition of Sunday as a day of worship and rest is “a day peculiar to (the Christian) faith, and known to no other.”
The Constitution itself states that the drafting took place “in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven”.
Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story 1779-1845 in his Commentary on the Constitution of the United States wrote “Thus, the whole power over the subject of religion was left exclusively to the State governments, to be acted on according to their own sense of justice, and the State Constitutions.”
Christianity in Colleges
Whoever controls the schools will set the goals for the nation, establish its religious values, and ultimately control the future.
The Virginia colony was the first to charter a college at Henrico in 1619, nineteen years before Harvard and 74 years before the College of William and Mary. Henricus College was designed around the precepts of the Christian faith, “for the training and bringing up of infidels children to the true knowledge of God and understanding of righteousness.”
The founders of the early colleges understood the relationship between a sound educational system based upon biblical absolutes and the future of the nation. Putting the Bible in the hands of the people was an essential first step toward religious and political freedom. “From the very beginnings, the expressed purpose of colonial education had been to preserve society against barbarism, and, so far as possible, against sin……”
With the exception of the University of Pennsylvania 1755, all of the colonial schools began as Christian institutions
Duke University founded in 1924
It’s bylaws stated: “The aims of Duke University are to assert a faith in the eternal union of knowledge and religion set forth in the teachings and character of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”
Noah Webster, educator and compiler of Americas first dictionary in 1828 said “Education without the Bible is useless.”
Harvard founded 1636
52% of Harvard’s 17th century graduates became christian ministers.
Harvard’s Rules & Precepts adopted in 1646 included the following requirements. 1) let every student be plainly instructed,…..the main end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life (John 17:3) and therefore lay Christ at the bottom, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning.
3) Every one shall so exercise himself in reading the Scriptures twice a day……seeing the entrance of the word giveth light, it giveth understanding to the simple, Psalm 119:130
Yale founded 1701
Yale in the early 1700s stated as its primary goal that “every student shall consider the main end of his study to wit to know God in Jesus Christ and answerably to lead a Godly, sober life.” They also went on to say “all scholars shall live religious,godly, and blameless lives according to the rules of Gods Word, diligently reading the Holy Scriptures, the fountain of light and truth; and constantly attend upon all the duties of religion, both in public and secret.”
Columbia University formerly named Kings College Opened in 1754
They advertisement said this “The chief thing that is aimed at in this college is to teach and engage the children to know God in Jesus Christ and to love and serve Him in all sobriety,godliness and righteousness of life, with perfect heart and a willing mind, and to train them up in all virtuous habits and all such useful knowledge as may render them creditable to their families and friends, ornaments to their country, and useful to the public zeal in their generations.”
William and Mary founded 1693
They began with an evangelical purpose. The school would supply the church of Virginia “with a Seminary of Ministers” that the “Christian Faith may be propagated amongst the Western Indians, to the Glory of Almighty God.”
The Colonial School Curriculum
The Bible was the primary book along with 3 others. The Hornbook, the New England Primer & the Bay Psalm Book.
The Hornbook- Consisted of a single parchment, covered with a transparent substance attached to a paddle shaped piece of wood. It contained, the alphabet, the Lords Prayer, and Religious doctrines.
The Primer-Had the names of the books of the Old & New Testament, the Lords Prayer, the Apostles Creed, the Ten Commandments, the Westminster Assembly Shorter Catechism, and John Cottons Spiritual Milk for American Babes.
Christianity in our Capital-Washington D.C.
1774 The first session of the Continental Congress, Sam Adams proposed that all sessions be opened with prayer.
The Continental Congress also issued 4 fast day proclamations. The July 12, 1775 fast day is significant because all the colonies were to participate in it. John Adams wrote to his wife these words “We have appointed a Continental fast. Millions will be upon their knees at once before the great Creator, imploring His forgiveness and blessing; His smiles on American Councils and arms.”
Declaration of Independence July 4, 1776
We are endowed by our “creator” with certain inalienable rights.
This was very simple logic as our rights come from our “creator’ not man. If they come from man, man can take them away but if they come from our “creator”, what man has the power to take them away?
The Congressional Bible 1777
Congress issued an official resolution instructing the committee on Commerce to import 20,000 copies of the Bible.
The First US Congress
The first order of business of the first US Congress was to appoint chaplains. Two chaplains became publicly paid of the Senate and the House. Since that time, both the Senate and the House have opened their sessions with prayer.
1983 Congress declared 1983 to be the “Year of the Bible”. The declaration reads in part; “The Bible, the Word of God, has made a unique contribution in shaping the United States as a distinctive and blessed nation…….Deeply held religious convictions springing from the Holy Scriptures led to the early settlement of our Nation…….Biblical teaching inspired concepts of civil government that are contained in our Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.” Public Law 97-280, 96 Stat. 1211, approved October 4, 1982
Government Buildings and Inscriptions
The words “In God We Trust” are inscribed in the House and Senate chambers.
On the walls of the Capitol dome, these words appear: “The New Testament according to the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
In the Rotunda of the Capitol is the figure of the crucified Christ.
“The Baptism of Pocahontas at Jamestown” (1631) hangs in the Capitol Rotunda.
A relief of Moses hangs in the House Chamber.
The Latin phrase Annuit Coeptis, “(God) has smiled on our undertaking,” is inscribed on the Great Seal of the United States.
Under that Seal is the phrase from Lincolns Gettysburg address: “This Nation Under God.”
The Liberty Bell has Leviticus 25:10 prominently displayed in a band around its tip: “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land, unto the inhabitants thereof.”
On the walls of the Library of Congress is Micah 6:8 “He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth God require of them, but to do justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God.”
The lawmakers library quotes Psalm 19:1 “The heavens declare the Glory of God, and the firmament showeth His handiwork”
Engraved on the metal cap on the top of the Washington Monument are the words: “Praise be to God.”
Lining the walls of the Washington Monument are several scriptures like John 5:39 “Search the Scriptures” and Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
The crier who opens each session of the Supreme Court closes with the words, “God save the United States and the Honorable Court.”
The Jefferson Memorial includes these words from Thomas Jefferson: “God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever.”
God In Our Government
President George Washington in 1789 issued a proclamation setting aside November 26th as a day of thanksgiving, calling everyone to “unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions.”
1864 The motto “In God We Trust” appeared for the first time and received formal Congressional approval the following year.
Public Law 82-324 requires the President to proclaim a National Day of Prayer on a day other than a Sunday.
Public Law 77-379 the President proclaims the fourth Thursday of November each year as a National Day of Thanksgiving.
April 30,1863 President Lincoln appointed a National Fast Day. It reads in part; “It is the duty of nations as well as of men to won their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history; that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.”
The Separation of Church and State
The First Amendment of the Constitution says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;…..
We find no mention of the words, Church, State or Separation in the First Amendment.
The ACLU frequently misquotes the Constitution when the ACLU says freedom from religion instead of freedom of religion.
James Wilson 1742-1798, one of only 6 men who signed both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and who also served on the Supreme Court of the United States said “The first and governing maxim in the interpretation of a statute is to discover the meaning of those who made it.” Original Intent-Not a living breathing flexible document that changes with society’s morals.
Thomas Jefferson in understanding the original meaning of the First Amendment; …….”instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.”
Some Founding Fathers who were big on Jesus
John Dickinson (signed the Constitution, served as governor of Pennsylvania and Delaware)
“Rendering thanks to my Creator for my existence and station among His works, for my birth in a country enlightened by the Gospel and enjoying freedom, and for all His other kindnesses, to Him I resign myself, humbly confiding in His goodness and in His mercy through Jesus Christ for the events of eternity.”
“[Governments] could not give the rights essential to happiness… We claim them from a higher source: from the King of kings, and Lord of all the earth.”
John Adams (Signed the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights and served as the second President of the United States)
“The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.”
Samuel Adams (Signer of the Declaration of Independence, ratified the Constitution, and served as governor of Massachusetts).
“I . . . [rely] upon the merits of Jesus Christ for a pardon of all my sins.”
“I conceive we cannot better express ourselves than by humbly supplicating the Supreme Ruler of the world . . . that the confusions that are and have been among the nations may be overruled by the promoting and speedily bringing in the holy and happy period when the kingdoms of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may be everywhere established, and the people willingly bow to the scepter of Him who is the Prince of Peace.”
A Proclamation For a Day of Public Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer signed by Samuel Adams included the following: “the peaceful and glorious reign of our Divine Redeemer may be known and enjoyed throughout the whole family of mankind”; “we may with one heart and voice humbly implore His gracious and free pardon through Jesus Christ, supplicating His Divine aid . . . [and] above all to cause the religion of Jesus Christ, in its true spirit, to spread far and wide till the whole earth shall be filled with His glory”; with true contrition of heart to confess their sins to God and implore forgiveness through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Savior.”
Elias Boudinot (Served as President of Congress, signed the Peace Treaty of Paris to end the War for Independence, framer of the Bill of Rights, and respondent to Thomas Paine’s The Age of Reason with The Age of Revelation ).
“Let us enter on this important business under the idea that we are Christians on whom the eyes of the world are now turned… [L]et us earnestly call and beseech Him, for Christ’s sake, to preside in our councils. . . . We can only depend on the all powerful influence of the Spirit of God, Whose Divine aid and assistance it becomes us as a Christian people most devoutly to implore. Therefore I move that some minister of the Gospel be requested to attend this Congress every morning . . . in order to open the meeting with prayer.”
Benjamin Franklin (Signed the Declaration of independence, attended the Constitutional Convention, signed the Constitution.)
“As to Jesus of Nazareth, my opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the system of morals and His religion as He left them to us, the best the world ever saw or is likely to see.”
Mention of Alexander Hamilton, John Hancock, Patrick Henry, John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, George Mason, John Witherspoon. The interesting this is that Jefferson actually published an edited version of the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) that was titledThe Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth Extracted Textually from the Gospels. Jefferson had this to say about the Morals of Jesus found in the Gospels: “There will be found remaining the most sublime and benevolent code of morals which has ever been offered to man.” I am well aware of what TJ believed about Jesus. But it is wrong to conclude that TJ was not a big fan of Jesus, the proposition of MH. He was a big fan of Jesus. He wasn’t a big fan of the Bible’s view of Jesus.
The founding era is a mixed bag. There were orthodox Christians, some Deists, a number of rationalists, and few if any atheists. Contrary to Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Paine was not a “filthy little atheist.”
MH mentions the “Virginia Act for Establishing Religious Freedom” of which Jefferson was the author. The addition of “Jesus Christ” was proposed to be added to a section of the Preamble so that it would read as follows: “Well aware that Almighty God hath created the mind free; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burdens, or by civil incapacitation’s, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of our religion [Jesus Christ], who being Lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in his Almighty power to do.” Jefferson states the following in his autobiography:
Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting “Jesus Christ,” so that it would read “A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;” the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindu and Infidel of every denomination.
While I don’t doubt Jefferson’s words, but as far as I can tell there is no corroborating evidence. I would like to know if there are any records or minutes of the vote. If anyone can find them, please contact me. Even so, Jefferson calls on God for his support, describing Him as “Almighty, “Holy,” and “Lord.” If Jefferson were alive today, he would be hooted down at such a suggestion.
The purpose of the Act was to prohibit coercion in religion as well as public funding of religion, something of which I agree with. Noah Webster said it well: “[T]he religion which has introduced civil liberty, is the religion of Christ and his apostles, which enjoins humility, piety and benevolence; which acknowledges in every person a brother, or a sister, and a citizen with equal rights. This is genuine Christianity, and to this we owe our free constitutions of government.”
In 1807, Jefferson singed a federal passport that allowed the ship Hershel to proceed on its Journey to London and dated the letter September 24, 1807 “in the year of our Lord Christ.” Notice the addition of “Christ.” There is no misunderstanding that “in the Year of Our Lord” is a reference to Jesus Christ and no one else.
Let’s consider North Carolina’s Constitution for a comparison to the Virginia Act. The Constitution of North Carolina in 1776 provided, “That no person who shall deny the being of God or the truth of the Protestant religion, or the divine authority either of the Old or New Testaments, or who shall hold religious principles incompatible with the freedom and safety of the State, shall be capable of holding any office or place of trust or profit in the civil department within this State.” This provision remained in force until 1835, when it was amended by changing the word “Protestant” to “Christian,” and as amended remained in force until a redraft of the Constitution in 1868. And in that Constitution among the persons disqualified for office were “all persons who shall deny the being of Almighty God.”
Typically, MH brings up Article 11 of the 1797 Treaty of Tripoli. I won’t take the time to rehearse my arguments here. See my book America’s 200-Year War with Islamic Terrorism on the subject.
- From the Last Will & Testament of John Dickinson, attested March 25, 1808. Much of this material is taken from www.Wallbuilders.com [↩]
- John Dickinson, The Political Writings of John Dickinson (Wilmington: Bonsal and Niles, 1801), 1:111–112. [↩]
- Thomas Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson (Washington D. C.: The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1904), 13:292–294. In a letter from John Adams to Thomas Jefferson on June 28, 1813. There are no “general principles of Christianity” without Jesus Christ. I am well of the fact that Adams was a Unitarian. But the narrow scope of MH’s topic is about Jesus. Since there is no Christianity without Jesus, one must have a high regard for Jesus if one has a high regard for “the general principles of Christianity. [↩]
- From the Last Will & Testament of Samuel Adams, attested December 29, 1790; see also Samuel Adams,Life & Public Services of Samuel Adams, William V. Wells, editor (Boston: Little, Brown & Co, 1865), 3:379, Last Will and Testament of Samuel Adams. [↩]
- From a Fast Day Proclamation issued by Governor Samuel Adams, Massachusetts, March 20, 1797; see also Samuel Adams, The Writings of Samuel Adams, Harry Alonzo Cushing, editor (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1908), 4:407, from his proclamation of March 20, 1797. [↩]
- Samuel Adams, A Proclamation For a Day of Public Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer, given as the Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. See also, Samuel Adams, The Writings of Samuel Adams, Harry Alonzo Cushing, editor (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1908), 4:385, October 14, 1795. [↩]
- Elias Boudinot, The Life, Public Services, Addresses, and Letters of Elias Boudinot, J. J. Boudinot, editor (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1896), 1:19, 21, speech in the First Provincial Congress of New Jersey. [↩]
- Benjamin Franklin, Works of Benjamin Franklin, John Bigelow, editor (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904), 185, to Ezra Stiles, March 9, 1790. [↩]
- “Condescend, merciful Father! to grant as far as proper these imperfect petitions, to accept these inadequate thanksgivings, and to pardon whatever of sin hath mingled in them for the sake of Jesus Christ, our blessed Lord and Savior; unto Whom, with Thee, and the blessed Spirit, ever one God, be rendered all honor and glory, now and forever.” [↩]
- “I give and bequeath my soul to Almighty God that gave it me, hoping that through the meritorious death and passion of our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ to receive absolution and remission for all my sins.” [↩]
- “[T]here is no salvation in any other than in Jesus Christ of Nazareth.” [↩]
- “I am a real Christian–that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus Christ.” [↩]
- The Works of Thomas Jefferson. Collected and edited by Paul Leicester Ford. Federal Edition. 12 vols. (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904–1905), 1:71. [↩]
Thomas Paine and Common Sense – Making a Biblical Case for Independence
By Gary DeMar | Published: May 3, 2005
Gary DeMar is the head of American Vision, which publishes books for the Christian school and Christian home school market. DeMar’s own books tend to be works of Christian historical revisionism, which among other things, seek to persuade young people that the U.S. was founded as a “Christian nation.” His first presentation at the conference, intended for young people, is on “America’s Christian Heritage.” This is one way of framing the basic premise of Christian nationalism. And it is important because it is a central underlying premise of all of the Christian Right, and is arguably a necessary ingredient to their success. But it is also a major weakness, because it is a premise that is more than faulty, its just plain wrong.But it’s Paine who is most singled out as America’s true philosophical founder. Paine’s Common Sense did put forth arguments for independence from Great Britain, but how did Paine argue his case? What were his sources? Did he follow deistic lines of argumentation similar to those of the French revolutionaries? “He constructed his arguments from materials that were familiar to the average colonist, favoring allusions to popular history, nature, and scripture rather than Montesquieu, Tacitus, and Cicero.” There is no hint of Deism in Common Sense.
A. J. Ayer remarks that “the first argument that Paine brings against the institution of kingship is scriptural.” Paine declared that “government by kings was first introduced into the world by the Heathens, from which the children of Israel copied the custom. . . . As the exalting of one man so greatly above the rest cannot be justified on the equal rights of nature, so neither can it be defended on the authority of scripture; for the will of the Almighty, as declared by Gideon and the prophet Samuel, expressly disapproves of government by kings. All anti-monarchical parts of scripture have been smoothly glossed over in monarchical governments, but they undoubtedly merit the attention of countries which have their governments yet to form. ‘Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s’ is the scriptural doctrine of courts, yet it is no support of monarchical government, for the Jews at that time were without a king, and in a state of vassalage to the Romans.”
Paine has an extended discussion of Judges 8:22–23 where he describes “the King of Heaven” to be Israel’s “proper sovereign.” He then spends several pages quoting, discussing, and making application of the importance of 1 Samuel 8 to the then modern situation. He concludes this section of Common Sense with these words: “In short, monarchy and succession have laid (not this or that kingdom only) by the world in blood and ashes. ’Tis a form of government which the word of God bears testimony against, and blood will attend it.”
It’s the later Paine, the author of The Age of Reason, that secularists turn to in support of their claim that he was a deist and an ardent critic of Christianity and organized religion in general. While Common Sense was written in 1776, The Age of Reason was published in the early 1790s, after the Declaration and Constitution were written. While Americans in general embraced Common Sense—“fifty-six editions had been printed and 150,000 copies sold by the end of 1776”—there was no support for The Age of Reason by Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Rush, John Jay, and Benjamin Franklin:
As for the supposition that the other Founders embraced “The Age of Reason” or its mindset: Jefferson advised Paine never to publish the book. Benjamin Franklin, Paine’s patron and friend, gave his protégé the same advice. After reading a draft, Franklin noted: “He who spits against the wind spits in his own face. If men are wicked with religion, what would they be without it?”
 Scott Liell, 46 Pages: Thomas Paine, Common Sense, and the Turning Point to American Independence (Philadelphia Press, 2003), 20.
 A.J. Ayer, Thomas Paine(New York: Atheneum, 1988), 40. Ayer remarks that that his appeal to the Old Testament is curious “in view of the want of respect he was later to show for the Old Testament” (40).
 Ayer, Thomas Paine, 35
 “The Christian religion is, above all the Religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern Times, the Religion of Wisdom, Virtue, Equity, and humanity, let the Blackguard [scoundrel] Paine say what he will; it is Resignation to God, it is Goodness itself to Man.” (John Adams, The Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L.H. Butterfield [Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1962], 3:233–234).
 “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports . . . And let us indulge with caution the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion . . . . Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail to the exclusion of religious principle.”
 Steve Farrell, “Paine’s Christianity”—Part 1: www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2003/9/4/212340.shtml
 Ayer, Thomas Paine, 180.
 Anson Phelps Stokes and Leo Pfeffer, Church and State in the United States, one-volume ed. (New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1964), 50
 Stokes and Pfeffer, Church and State in the United States, 50.
 Mark A. Noll, America’s God: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 84.
The basic claim of Clarkson and his uninformed followers is that America was founded on deist principles. They most often turn to the works of Thomas Paine to justify their own brand of revisionist history. I won’t spend time arguing the Christian America thesis. There is plenty of information in America’s Christian History: The Untold Story and America’s Christian Heritage to make the case.