No Apologies Round Two

"Few if any recent generations could sit with a Bible in one hand and their newspapers in the other and see the fulfillment of prophecy, but for us it’s almost routine." Jack Kelly

Monday, December 13, 2010

Who or What is the Holy Spirit?

One of the most misunderstood and sometimes confusing subjects of Christianity besides the prophecies in the Book of Revelation is that of the Holy Spirit.

Most people who understand the Triune Nature of God, know that the Holy Spirit is one of the natures of God- but still many who don't believe or don't understand the whole "trinity thing" haven't a clue of Who the Holy Spirit is. Unbelievers don't believe in the Power of the Holy Spirit any more than they believe in Jesus as God the Son. People who call themselves Christian (read the two previous articles on how to know if you are really a Christian) don't necessarily understand the Nature of the Holy Spirit either.

I want to say here and now, I am not an expert authority on the Holy Spirit of God, but the more I read and learn, I am understanding more about Him and I want to share Him with you now.

Like many things having to do with any religion and in Christianity, alot of how one views the God Head Trinity has a lot to do with how much one reads the Holy Word of God, and where one attends church. No one denomination has everything perfect and all knowledge, and I don't claim either to have everything wrapped up either- we will never know everything, however, a lot will be revealed to us in the Lord's time, and as His Spirit reveals it to us individually, no matter what denomination we belong to.

So Who exactly is the Holy Spirit? Some of the cults who claim Christianity believe the Holy Spirit is a force, but even then, they don't explain what this force is meant for. Others don't believe He exists at all and some just have no opinion or knowledge to even wonder. Some claim to be full of the Holy Spirit, but following the Biblical mandate of testing the spirits, we can tell by actions and words, the spirit they are following is that of Antichrist, not the Holy Spirit of God.
The Bible is clear on the Triune Nature of God. When you read Scripture- that is, when you read it with the desire to understand it, you will see many sciptures which, while not saying the word Trinity, suggests the Three Natures of God, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. One of my favorite verses which shows this is when Jesus is Baptised. The Gospel of Matthew explains it this way:

Mat 3:16,17 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Another good example is found in 1 John 5:7, For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. From the first verses in the Gospel of John, we know that Jesus is the Word.

And this, one more, from Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

It is no mistake that it says "in the name" singular, as some would have us believe. The original Greek and Hebrew were both written in the singular, not plural referring to three.
The suggestion of the Trinity is present throughout the whole Bible, from the very beginning in Genesis when in Gen 1:26a it is written, And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness... The Hebrew for God here is Eloheem, which is a plural of the Word Elohim meaning Gods. Again, it was not a mistake when the scripture given to the author gave a plural here for God, because it was the Lord's way of showing His Triune Nature from the beginning.

So now that we can begin to understand that the Holy Spirit is God, what exactly is His Nature? Is He just a force- as some of the cult offshoots of Christianity claim?
The Scriptures are clear on Who the Holy Spirit is. Study the following verses and then ask, do these describe a "force" or an actual person? A force cannot:

know thoughts- 1Co 2:11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
cannot be grieved- Eph 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
cannot give things- 1Co 12:8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
cannot comfort, teach or give counsel- Joh 14:26 the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
cannot testify or bear witness- Joh 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:
cannot lead-Rom 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
cannot speak- Acts 8:29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to thisG5129 chariot.
cannot interceed for others through prayer- Rom 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
cannot be lied to- Act 5:3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?

Clearly the above verses tell us human qualities about the Holy Spirit, and not of a force. A force is something of nature, such as gravity or wind. Clearly the Holy Spirit of God is supernatural, yet with qualities of human feelings and actions.

Now we know what the Office of the Holy Spirit is, and how He helps believers into a deeper knowledge of Scripture and God. Here is where deeper understanding gets interesting. There are two definitions of the word Knowledge throughout the Bible. One is from the Greek gnosis. This is basic knowledge, the surface of understanding or knowing. The other is from the Greek epignosis, which is a deeper understanding knowing. Like an onion with layers, so as you peel more away, you get deeper until you reach the core. The Holy Spirit through peeling away the layers as we learn, helps us to come from a simple knowledge of God to the deeper more knowing understanding of the Lord. Another way of seeing this is that Gnosis is the head knowledge- knowing in your mind. Epignosis from the Holy Spirit is when that knowledge goes from your head to your heart.

Many people, when asked about what they believe may say they have read the Bible, but when digging a little, it is clear they have no understanding of the Scriptures and how the whole Bible tells the History of the relationship between God and mankind. Many new believers have a hard time understanding the Bible- I know I did. It is because for one thing, non believers do not have the Holy Spirit giving epignosis. New believers as well may have some knowledge- enough to believe, but they have not the deeper understanding knowledge to grasp just who God is and His plans for mankind. People, mostly non believers do not understand who the Holy Spirit is, and since they are non believers, they can not gain the power of the Spirit to reveal knowledge to them. This is also the case of many professing Christians, who do not read the Bible regularly. They may think they believe, but they have not the Holy Spirit guiding them into a deeper knowledge of the One they profess to believe in. What really separates Christianity from other religions is not just that Christ gave Himself as a pure and sinless sacrifice for all the world, but also by the Holy Spirit of God. Many people see Christianity as just another religion- either good or bad. They do not understand that religion is man reaching for a god, but Biblical Christianity is God reaching for man. And only through Christ Jesus can we be redeemed, liberated and paid in full for our freedom!

In the next part, we'll discuss how and who can "receive" the Holy Spirit. Until then, read the scriptures for yourself, asking God to reveal Himself that you may understand His Word.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

You are the Christ, Son of the Living God

Before I start this post, I have to thank my brother and friend David Jeffers, who through his devotional time with the Lord, asked a few weeks ago, that we all read the Gospel of John again. I have had much of these thoughts on my heart for a long time now- aching for people who believe they are Christian, or say they are, but are sincerily lost. By re reading John's words, the Lord showed me the way to get all of my burdens down in writing- this series I am sharing here. Thank you Lord for using David in a way neither of us really knew a way in which this would come about.
Now, in my last post, we were able to see through the Bible who Jesus is, how He feels about us and how we should treat His Word.

People, even non Christians who may believe that Jesus did exist as a "good teacher" from a long time ago, have no problem believing Christ's Word when it comes to His love for us. That's a good thing, but tell me, why do they not believe His Words about other things such as sin, rebellion, condemnation, or hell? The Same Lord who tells us how much He loves us, is the same Holy Lord who can not tolerate sin.

People are offended when they think of sin.

It all comes down to Jesus' question. "Who do you say I am?"
I answer the same as Peter. He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. He is my savior, He is (well, in all honesty, I am trying to make Him) my Lord. Who He is is all documented in His Word- the Holy Bible. Does Jesus really talk about sin, rebellion, condemnation and hell? Does He really judge people or is He merely that lovable guy who taught good stuff long ago? Is He a Lion or a Lamb?

His Word tells us He is both. He is the Lamb, as John the Baptist described in John 1:29, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." He is also the Lion of Judah, as described by John in the Book of Revelation 5:5 ".. behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof."
What are the seals all about? If you read the Book of Revelation, you will see that the seven seals are judgements which will be let loose on the earth in the end days. Jesus is the Lamb, who was sacrificed, He will come as the Lion of Judah, of the earthly lineage of David, to rule and pass judgement as King of Kings.

Jesus has told us to sin no more, when He spoke those words to the adulterous woman. He loves us all enough to correct and discipline us, knowing that sin leads to death. Not all sin leads to physical death immediately, but it can cause death eventually, and worse, spiritual death. Sin separates us from Our Father in Heaven. Jesus tells us not to sin so to have a relationship with Him in the Father. What about those who don't believe in Jesus? Does God really send people to hell? Is there really a hell?

Many people, Christians among them, believe if we are all God's children, why would He send His own kids to hell. Are we all God's children as so many people believe? The Bible gives the answers clearly in Ephesians 1:5-8. Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, theforgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself.. "

The Jewish people, Israel (This is a whole other topic, which I am not going into here) are the Chosen Children of God, but non Jews who have placed their faith and trust in Christ are the adopted children. Those who do not place their faith in Christ as their Lord and Savior have no part in the family of God, and therefore can not be considered His children. Ephesians 9, 11 goes on, showing that those who trust in Christ are not only adopted into the family of God, but we are to share in the inheritance of Christ!

Now, for that little matter of where will we spend eternity after death. Is there really a place called hell? Come on now, you mean to tell me the stories of a fiery pit with some little red horned guy running around with a pitchfork is true? Well, no, not exactly.

A few years ago, I wrote about heaven. The Bible's description of heaven. No mention of people turning into angels, getting halos and harps, floating around on clouds in the Bible. Same with the Biblical version of hell- which is every bit real as heaven. The devil, Satan is real, a real enemy of all God's creation, including humans. Jesus commanded Paul, in Acts 26:18 "To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me." In 2Corinthians, 11:14 Satan is described, "And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light."

People believe in guardian angels. Many Christians and non Christians talk about, believe in and even decorate using angels, yet many don't know that Satan was once the most beautiful angel, who had the choicest place among angels guarding the Throne of God. I'm not going into any kind of detail here except to say that Satan in his pride filled thoughts believed he could become higher than God. For this, he was stripped of his place. Satan has spent a millenia deceiving, murdering, tricking, lying and causing so much harm, and some day in the end times he will try and claim to be lord of all through the rule of Antichrist. After that, Satan and his demons will be thrown into the pit for a thousand years, then his final battle against the Lord at Armageddon, and the judgement against him: Rev 20:3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled. Rev 20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever."

OK, so the devil goes to hell. What about people? Would God really do that? Rev 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. Rev 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books according to their works. Rev 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Who are those who are and are not in the Book of Life? We go back to John 5:24 for the answer: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. John 5:26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; John 5:27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. John 5:28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, John 5:29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life;and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

Those who Hear and believe on Jesus and His Word have their names written in the Book of Life, and will receive everlasting life. Jesus is given authority to judge, and some day soon He will sit on that Great White Throne.

Does God send people to hell? Is He cruel to send people to damnation? Remember that famous quote. God so loved the world. God Loved the whole world, that He gave Jesus to die in our place on the cross. Jesus gave Himself as the sacrifice for our sins and transgressions, so that non would perish. It is not Jesus who sends people to hell, it is people who choose hell when they do not accept the priceless gift of Christ's salvation.
Now, what do we have to do to be saved? Do you think you need to perform good deeds in order to be good enough? Do you have to go door to door or walk through parking lots to hand out tracts? Do you have to light candles, do penance, work certain hours at a soup kitchen? Well, all those things are good and decent, if done in by the Holy Spirit- but they will never make you good enough. They will not save you. "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Jesus has done it all already. That is why He said, It is finished.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Who Do You Say I Am?

Jesus asks an important question in Matthew 16:15 which every person must answer. "Who do you say I am?" Some day soon, Jesus will be coming back to gather His own. What will He find when He comes? Will you be one of those who go with Him? Do you even know?

I am writing this to all Christians. Recent polls show some very disturbing numbers on some very core and central beliefs of the Christian faith, and tells a sad story about the state of Christianity as a whole body. The fact that many professing Christians no longer believe that Jesus is the only way or that there are many "paths" to heaven, don't believe in hell, and don't believe that Jesus was sinless, is disturbing enough. More so, many of those graduating from Theological seminaries can not place the Gospels in the correct order, if they even know the Gospel authors shows even in our places of religious learning, they are not really learning the Gospel truth. Our churches are full of men and women who claim to be Christian, and are led by men and women who claim to be Christian. I have to wonder. Are they truly followers of Christ? Are you?

Mat 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

That verse used to scare me. It still does sometimes. The worst thing I could think of is to stand before Christ some day and hear Him say those words to me. It should be a reminder every now and then to all Christians, no matter what denomination we come from or belong to. This message is not for any denomination, as the body of Christ is His church, no matter the denomination.

What makes someone a Christian anyway? Is it that your parents were Christian, so that means you are? Is it because you go to Church? Do you say you are a Christian because you believe in Jesus?
If any of those are your answers, I have some bad news for you. You are not a Christian. I've heard it said, that sitting in a church doesn't make you a Christian any more than sitting in a garage would make you a car. Saying you believe in Christ does not make you a Christian any more than it makes Satan and demons Christians because they believe in Jesus as well. And your parent's faith in Christ does not make you a Christian either.

So, how can we know if we are truly Christian? Well, one more question has a lot to do with the answer. How often, if ever, do you read your Bible? You see, one can not understand what being a follower of Christ means, if one doesn't know His Word. His Word is the Holy Scriptures- the Bible. And not only the red letters either. How you see the Bible is a big indicator of your being in a discipleship of Christ. For instance, some people view the Bible as a book of good moral sense, but not much having to do with our modern society. It's quaint, and helpful, gives some good teaching, but pretty much out of date. Some people choose to focus only on the red letters, which were the quoted words of Jesus, but they don't necessarily take the rest as "Gospel truth". Some folks apply the parts they like, but disregard the rest, as if it doesn't apply to our so called enlightened society and they find it offensive.

Do you know that Jesus quoted scripture? Jesus quoted scripture time and again, and since what we call the New Testament was not written during the time of Jesus' earthly life. All of what He quoted was from the Old- most of it written over one thousand years before He came to earth. If He found scripture applicable to society in His time, when things were radically different than when it was written thousands of years before, how is it we can believe that it is not relevant to our society now? The Truth is, the Bible is as important now as it was when it was written. Not only is it important, but it is the Word of God.

Mat 4:4 But he (Jesus) answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

The Gospel of John, in the very first verses of the first chapter, tells us that Jesus IS the Word. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. The verse continues to describe the Word, which is Jesus, In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. (John 1:1-6)

Jesus is the Word of God. Scriptures are God's Word to us. Jesus says, Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. (Matt35) Which means, His Word will always be true, always be applicable, and always for all.

His Word makes us wise in His ways as we continue to read it every day. And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. (2Ti 3:15) His Word is for our lives to know how to behave, to learn about Him, and to show by teaching others about Him. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (2Ti 3:16) His Word shines like a light into our lives to guide us. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psa 119:105)

If we say we believe in Jesus, wouldn't that mean also we believe everything He says to be true? And remember, I'm not saying only the red letters. Scriptures make it clear that His Word is the Whole Word, and all the scriptures are His Word. How can we know His Words are true? By listening and studying His Word, we know His Word and believe on it. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. (John 5:24)

If we don't accept His whole Word, we take the risk of having to face Him in Judgement. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. (John 12:48) The Word reject, is taken from the Greek, atheteo, meaning to set aside, violate, cast off and despise. Many people who consider themselves Christians do this as they dismiss scriptures they don't agree with or feel that it doesn't relate to them. His Word is the Whole, and we, if we are true followers of Christ, can not take parts only.

Too many churches and people today focus on the "feelings" of the language of God. That is, love. Somehow the word Love, has come to mean acceptance, peace, and blessings only. Too many people have been taught by prosperity and touchy feely pastors that Jesus loves all, He wants us to have everything, and no mention of sin, except to say God loves all his children, and don't mention discipline. Many believe we are all, no matter the beliefs, God's children and He loves us unconditionally. They believe that if God really loves all his kids, we can choose whatever path which feels right for us to come to Him. While it is true that God loves us, we need to learn what His Word says about these ideas.

Jesus does love the sinner, or He would not have come from His place in Heaven to put Himself on the cross for our sins. Does that mean we can continue in our sin? Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery in John 8:11, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. He continues in John 8:12, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. Jesus is the Light of the world. Darkness can not exist in light, and we as followers of Christ can not remain in the darkness of sin if we truly follow Him. This isn't to say we will never ever sin again, we will. But the Holy Spirit will convict us of our sin that we may repent- or turn away from our sin.

Does Jesus want us to have everything or want us to "live our best lives now"? It all depends on Biblical perspective. What we may think is best, may not be what Jesus knows as best. In fact, if one is a true follower of Christ, we should expect to suffer the same as Christ did when He was on earth. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Mat 5:11

Did you catch that? Jesus counts it Blessings to be treated harshly and being persecuted for His sake. Now, I don't necessarily want to be made fun of, be called all sorts of names, be hated and despised, be beaten, imprisoned or tortured and killed- but if it comes to that because of my faith, I will gladly take it and as Jesus said, count it as a huge Blessing. You see, the world hated Him when He was in it. The world Hates Him now. If we are true followers, we will also be hated because of Him. The message of the cross, sin and repentance was, is and will be offensive to most- even many who claim to be Christian.

No one wants to know the way they live is sinful. Whether it be adultery, lying, stealing, coveting, homosexuality, lusting, or idolatry, people will be offended by the message that these are sinful things. When Christians speak about such things, it is considered hateful because people are offended.

Remember the word that said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. (John 15:20) Did you catch that? We are considered servants. We either are servants to the Lord, or servants to sin. Never believe that because you choose to follow Christ, you will not suffer, and things will be wonderful from here on out. His Word shows us otherwise.

Does Jesus love us all? Are we all, no matter who we are, God's children? Again, it depends. Are you listening to the world's version of love or the Word of God? First off, the Bible says God loves the world. John 3:16, that famous, oft quoted verse tells us that God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Yes, God loves the world, but you must believe in the Son in order to have everlasting life. Those who do not, will perish. Most people can quote that verse, as it's the most visible. However, rarely can anyone quote what comes next.
John 3:17,18,19 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. These three verses are clear. God does love us, doesn't want any of us to perish, but if we dismiss the gift of Grace through the Son, we are condemned. Again, Jesus is the Light, and darkness can not come into the light. Those who love evil, will not have everlasting life. Evil, is what God says is evil. 1Co 6:9, 10 says, Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived:neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

Seems like a long list, but considering that God is absolute Holiness, and can not tolerate sin, it kind of makes one think. Now, is there no hope for people who practice such things? Read on, 1Co 6:11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

So, once we were all such as these- but those who are true believers in Christ, we are washed of these sins, and in His Word, shall sin no more. That is to knowingly continue in such sin. One more thing here. Notice that the above verses do not say, we are justified by Jesus or Mohammad, or Buddha, or any other- we are justified by Christ, and by the Spirit (I will talk about Him more later!) We are washed by Christ, the only thing that can wash sin away is the Blood of Christ. Jesus says, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6 The book of Acts tells us, Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. It is clear, by the Word of God, that Jesus is the only way, the only name in which everlasting life is gained. By dismissing Jesus, not believing, one is looking at eternity in hell.

Next post we will look at what the Bible says about all people being His Children, hell, Satan and what to do to be saved.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Bill of Rights- The first of the First Amendment

“ God governs in the affairs of man. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this. I also believe that, without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel”
Benjamin Franklin, Constitutional Convention of 1787

If the posted copies of the Ten Commandments are to have any effect at all it will be to induce the school children to read, meditate upon and to perhaps to venerate and obey, the Commandments; this is not a permissible objective. Stone v. Gramm, 1980, challenging the right of students to "see" the 10 Commandments on the wall of a school. The Court defined the posting of the document as a "passive" display, meaning someone would have to stop and look on their own volition.
Stone v. Gramm, 1980.

"I sought for the greatness of the United States in her commodious harbors, her ample rivers, her fertile fields, and boundless forests--and it was not there. I sought for it in her rich mines, her vast world commerce, her public school system, and in her institutions of higher learning--and it was not there. I looked for it in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution--and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great!"
Alexis de Tocqueville.

In the past 5 parts of this series, we've learned a little about the foundation of America, the men who fought and formed the new country's government and law. Although most revisionist histories tell of a group of white men who formed the government, were deists at the most, who believed in separation of church and state. They tell us that the pursuit of happiness as described in the Declaration of Independence means that government shall provide for people's happiness. Now, that may seem like a stretch, but given many people's perspective of government these days, whether they were taught this way or not, shows it's what a large percentage of the population believes.

Over the last century, mainly in the last 50 or so years, we've seen decisions and actions by all three legislative bodies which have drastically moved our society away from the Founder's intents and arguably away from the core idealogies of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

In the mythical belief in a wall of separation between church and state, we have now, no one allowed to preach, pray or name the name of Christ if a person is percieved to be a part of a government institution. People who do not believe in the Christian faith have been duped into believing that America has never been or will be a Christian nation. Many people beleive that the "separation" idea is in fact a part of the 1st amendment of the Bill of Rights, even many Christians have heard it so much that they believe it too.

Where did it come from? The phrase, "wall of separation between Church & State" was not mentioned in the 1st Amendment to the Constitution as some would believe. It was a phrase by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists, wanting to assure them that the government would have no direct influence on religious practices. Jefferson's letter stated, "The First Amendment has erected a wall of separation between church and state, but that wall is a one directional wall; it keeps the government from running the church, but it makes sure that Christian principles will always stay in government."

People who knew how religion had been tied to the British Monarchy, and therefore, were forced to pay taxes for church affairs, even if one were not Anglican. The people did not want the government to meddle in the pulpit or in the affairs of the church. Thomas Jefferson, while supporting a separation of church and state, clearly by his actions showed that he meant this separation was for the benefit of the church, not the government. Jefferson authorized the government to provide money to evangelize Indian tribes with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In addition, as president, Jefferson was also head of the Department of Education for the Washington DC public school system. He ordered the government to provide monies to publish and distribute Bibles and hymn books to the public school children of Washington DC to further the students’ education.

The 1st Amendment states, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...
From the founders own beliefs,words and actions, we know that they meant that there would be no State run church. This did not mean that no government official could not pray, ask others to pray, or talk about Jesus Christ. We have seen by the written and recorded documents of the founding of this country that the sole purpose of settling the colonies, and later, in forming a separate Country, that Biblical Judeo/Christian beleifs were and were to remain the foundation of our society.

The removal of prayer in public schools by three seperate suits, including the most famous, Madalyn Murray O'Hair, and the twisted logic of the Supreme Court to agree with the decision was all it took to do what the 1st amendment explicitly states. They ordered the government to establish an secular religion. Because of the slow and steady erosion of the Founder's intents, America has lost her Biblical roots, and has been replaced by a secular church.

For those who believe that America would become a theocracy if we allowed Christian prayers and other Christian ideals and symbols reinstated, I have to ask- Was America a theocracy under the Founding Fathers? No. America and the majority of her people believed in Jesus Christ, and yes, Christian morals and values were even tought in public schools, our early Government officials prayed out loud- in the Name of Jesus, and even held Christian services in Congress. Did this mean other faith groups felt left out or uncomfortable? Maybe, but it did not stop them from immigrating here, to a known Christian nation. In Patrick Henry's own words, “It cannot be emphasized too clearly and too often that this nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason, peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.” [May 1765 Speech to the House of Burgesses]

Only in America, because of her faith and foundation on Christianity, can others be welcome here to express their own beliefs or non beleifs. It would behoove anyone who doesn't agree, to look at any other country with a majority religious belief, and see how welcoming or charitable those of differing beliefs are treated.

I'm not only picking on the Muslim religion here, but because of some major things happening in our country today, I am going to point out that in Muslim nations, Christianity and Judaism are either illegal to practice, or they are quietly tolerated unless one attempts to spread their belief through church outreach, missions or church planting. In Saudi Arabia, it is illegal to even own a Bible. If you arrive in that country with a Bible, it will be confiscated. In all Middle Eastern Muslim countries, there are no synagogues, and no new churches allowed to be built.
I bring this up for my last point. Not only has America become a government of secularism, but any and most references to religion is an all inclusive one. What is fine for all, where all can be included. So much so, that now, we have a group wanting to build an Islamic Mosque at Ground Zero in New York City.

I've heard the main argument, citing the 1st Amendment, for the case to allow this mosque to be built. Personally, I have no problem if someone wished to build a place of worship to something other than to Christ. I will pray for them to know the Truth of Jesus, and hope for their salvation in Christ. However, make no mistake. This mosque is nothing more than a sign of conquest of Islam in America. The only reason they have picked this hallowed place is because it is the place where thier jihad was successful in killing over 3000 people. They are using the very amendment against us, citing America's great liberty of the freedom of religion. The fact that this same amendment has been used against Christians for the past 50 years, twisting it to mean freedom from religion, is not lost on me or many others.

If Islam is such a peaceful, tolerant religion, tell me, can we build a church in Mecca?
It shows how far removed we are from the Foundation of America, when in places such as Deerborn, Michigan, Christians are arrested for speaking about Christ, government officials, teachers, principals are being fired, fined or face jail time for professing Christ, but yet, Islam is afforded, among athiests, wiccans, agnostics and other religions, the freedom of religion, spreading and preaching their religion. On the false sense of what tolerance is, America is no longer allowed to be a Christian Nation, unless it is practiced in church on Sundays only. A far way away from the ideals of our Founders.

“What students would learn in American schools above all is the religion of Jesus Christ.” George Washington[speech to the Delaware Indian Chiefs May 12, 1779]

“ Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.” Source: October 12, 1816. The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, (furture SCOTUS)

“God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift from God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever.”
Thomas Jefferson

“We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We’ve staked the future of all our political institutions upon our capacity…to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.” James Madison [1778 to the General Assembly of the State of Virginia]

“ I verily believe Christianity necessary to the support of civil society. One of the beautiful boasts of our municipal jurisprudence is that Christianity is a part of the Common Law. . . There never has been a period in which the Common Law did not recognize Christianity as lying its foundations.”
Joseph Story (SCOTUS)[Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States p. 593]

Next, the other freedoms given in the 1st amendment- that of the press, and of the people to gather, to redress government. Until then, Read the Preambles of the States of America. Count how many refer to God or Jesus Christ. You may be surprised.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Why the Constitution?

Note, this is part 5 of the American History series.

"If it be asked, What is the most sacred duty and the greatest source of our security in a Republic? The answer would be, An inviolable respect for the Constitution and Laws — the first growing out of the last.... A sacred respect for the constitutional law is the vital principle, the sustaining energy of a free government. "
Alexander Hamilton, Essay in the American Daily Advertiser, Aug 28, 1794

"Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude."
Alexis De Tocqueville

"An elective despotism was not the government we fought for; but one in which the powers of government should be so divided and balanced among the several bodies of magistracy as that no one could transcend their legal limits without being effectually checked and restrained by the others."
James Madison, Federalist No. 48, February 1, 1788

"Here in America we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionists and rebels - men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine. As their heirs, may we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion. "
Dwight D. Eisenhower

The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America and is the oldest written national constitution still in force. It was completed on September 17, 1787, with its adoption by the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, and was later ratified the original thirteen American states. It took effect in 1788, creating a more unified government in place of all the independent states.
Although the Constitution has changed in many respects since it was first adopted, the same principles remain the same now as they did in 1789.

There are three main branches of government—executive, legislative, and judicial—and they are meant to be separate and distinct from one another. The powers given to each are also meant to be balanced and checked by the powers of the other two. Each branch is suppose to be as a check on potential excesses of the others.The Constitution, along with laws passed and treaties entered into by the president and approved by the Senate, is above all other laws, executive acts, and regulations. The Federal courts can be asked to examine what public officials do, (including enacted laws), and, if they are found to be unconstitutional, they are supposed to be overturned. All states and all people are equal and no one should receive special treatment from the federal government. Within the limits of the Constitution, each state must recognize and respect the laws of the others. State governments, like the federal government, must be republican in form, with final authority resting with the people.

The Preamble to the United States Constitution consists of one sentence which states the purpose and reason of the document. Note that the Preamble itself neither gives any powers or stands in the way of any actions. It explains the reason only behind the Constitution. The preamble, especially the first three words "We the people", is one of the most often-quoted sentences of the Constitution, and being so, many people seem to have forgotten the original meaning. What did the Founders mean by We the people?

Part of this can be found from Alexander Hamilton's Federalist Paper No. 84 where he states, "Nothing need be said to illustrate the importance of the prohibition of titles of nobility. This may truly be denominated the corner-stone of republican government; for so long as they are excluded, there can never be serious danger that the government will be any other than that of the people. " So long as the new government remained as Republic, the government would be operated under the direction of the citizens of the country. If the republican form of government failed or fell, the Founders knew that under a tyranny, the power would be taken from the people, and under the authority of a few.

Again, from the same Federalist Paper, Hamilton writes, " It has been several times truly remarked that bills of rights are, in their origin, stipulations between kings and their subjects, abridgements of prerogative in favor of privilege, reservations of rights not surrendered to the prince... " He gives examples of past constitutional documents, such as the Magna Charta, Petition of Right, the Declaration of Right, and the British Bill of Rights. He continues, "It is evident, therefore, that, according to their primitive signification, they have no application to constitutions professedly founded upon the power of the people, and executed by their immediate representatives and servants. Here, in strictness, the people surrender nothing; and as they retain every thing they have no need of particular reservations. "WE, THE PEOPLE of the United States, to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ORDAIN and ESTABLISH this Constitution for the United States of America." Here is a better recognition of popular rights, than volumes of those aphorisms which make the principal figure in several of our State bills of rights, and which would sound much better in a treatise of ethics than in a constitution of government."

To the Founders, the basic right to fair and limited government for the people and by the people was made to be recognised from the first words of the Constitution. All the principals of the Founding Fathers are woven into and throughout the Constitution and Bill of Rights, the main being that all people have certain unalienable rights- liberties, given to each by God Himself and not to be taken by the government or anyone else. The basic liberties as written in the Declaration, of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are enshrined in the laws of the Constitution. Notice however, it is stated the "pursuit of happiness" and not just "happiness". As the United States and her people have drifted so far from God and what the Founders meant, people have seemed to expect, and demand that it is constitutional for anything which makes them happy.

In the next post, keep that phrase "the pursuit of happiness" in mind, as I want to compare the Founder's intents by their own words, to our government today, again using their own words. We will see just how far off track of the original purpose of the new colonies, and how far away from the Constitution we have really come.

Until then, study the Constitution. It is vital to the people to know such a document, to know our rights as by the original intent that those in Washington are supposed to be working for We the People- not the other way around.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Reasons Behind the Federalist Papers

Note, this is part 4 of the series on American History.

"Our unalterable resolution would be to be free. They have attempted to subdue us by force, but God be praised! in vain. Their arts may be more dangerous then their arms. Let us then renounce all treaty with them upon any score but that of total separation, and under God trust our cause to our swords."
Samuel Adams, letter to James Warren, April 16, 1776

"I think there is an enormous danger on the part of public figures to rationalize or justify their actions by claiming God’s mandate. I don’t think it’s healthy for public figures to wear religion on their sleeve as a means to insulate themselves from criticism, or dialogue with people who disagree with them."
Mr. Obama

"The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government."
Patrick Henry

"For the Statist, liberty is not a blessing but the enemy. It is not possible to achieve Utopia if individuals are free to go their own way. " Mark Levin, Liberty and Tyranny pg. 16

The Federalist Papers were a series of formal writings on free government. They were written in support of the ratification of the Constitution. In Philadelphia, the delegates were opposed to the existing Articles of Confederation and looked to the states, not the existing government, for ratification and approval of the new government. Not everyone agreed with the new Constitution, so much argument was given for both sides as to the finalized document. After the convention, Tench Coxe became the coordinator in Philadelphia for those who supported the constitution while George Mason became the coordinator for New York for those who opposed it. Hundreds and hundreds of letters were written regarding the constitution. Pen names, "Cato" and "The Federal Farmer" attacked while "Caesar" replied. Both George Washington and Ben Franklin supported the Constitution.

Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Virginia, and New York were the states important for the success or failure of the Constitution. Of these four states, New York was the state where doubts were high for the failure of a new Constitution . The state's delegation didn't approve the draft in Philadelphia because two of its three delegates left during the protest Alexander Hamilton never got a vote. The governor of New York, opposed the new government and New York had become an independent nation under the Articles of Confederation, making itself rich through tariffs on trade with its neighboring states.

Alexander Hamilton decided that a huge campaign was needed in New York, much more than in any other states. This new plan meant a constant pouring of arguments in newspapers four times a week. Because of the massive work, Hamilton decided that he needed two co-authors to help him write under the pen name of "publius." Although he originally had asked others to help him, but thankfully, James Madison helped because the Continental Congress was sitting in New York during that time. John Jay was also asked because of his foreign diplomatic experience. John Jay was injured shortly after the project started and was able to only finish six papers. That left Hamilton and Madison to finish the rest. Eventually, the books were published in different newspapers in New York (four out of five of the major newspapers of the time) as well as republished in book form near the end of the series.

Eventually, New Yorkers only were able to ratify the constitution after Delaware was the ninth state to approve ratification and would have rendered New York as the only state to be against a Constitution. James Madison took the published books to assist in the ratification debate in Virginia. The Federalist Papers are the best source for interpreting the Constitution, the best explanation of what the Founding Fathers purpose was in the passing of the Constitution the United States of America.

The time of the revolution was made up to find security from foreign nations, for peace in America, and for individual freedom. These values, the Founders knew could be won by hard work and resisting the tyranny of the Crown of Britain. Earlier plans of a union were motivated by a desire for security and peace, but also for freedom and liberties which the Founders recognised could only come from God, not the government. These are the reasons behind the writings of the Federalist Papers, and eventually the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

All aspects of our liberties were debated on until the final Constitution was ratified. The men who fought, who debated and wrote the Constitution and our Bill of Rights knew that certain Unalienable Rights were so important that they needed a permanent place in these documents, lest government try to take them away. It's interesting how much these men realized government would eventually move to tyranny, because they had seen it in their own times. They wanted to make sure it did not happen again in the future and they did their best to warn us through their words:
"[I]t is the reason alone, of the public, that ought to control and regulate the government."
James Madison, Federalist No. 49, February 5, 1788

"There is no nation on earth powerful enough to accomplish our overthrow. Our destruction, should it come at all, will be from another quarter. From the inattention of the people to the concerns of their government, from their carelessness and negligence. I must confess that I do apprehend some danger. I fear that they may place too implicit a confidence in their public servants and fail properly to scrutinize their conduct; that in this way they may be made the dupes of designing men and become the instruments of their own undoing." -Daniel Webster

"A nation of well-informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the region of ignorance that tyranny begins.”
– Benjamin Franklin

"The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If `Thou shalt not covet’ and `Thou shalt not steal’ were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society before it can be civilized or made free."
- John Adams, A Defense of the American Constitutions, 1787

"[N]either the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt. "
Samuel Adams, essay in The Public Advertiser, Circa 1749

"As our president bears no resemblance to a king so we shall see the Senate has no
similitude to nobles. First, not being hereditary, their collective knowledge, wisdom, and virtue are not precarious. For by these qualities alone are they to obtain their offices, and they will have none of the peculiar qualities and vices of those men who possess power merely because their father held it before them. "

Tench Coxe, An American Citizen, No.2, September 28, 1787

"What is to be the consequence, in case the Congress shall misconstrue this part [the
necessary and proper clause] of the Constitution and exercise powers not warranted by its true meaning, I answer the same as if they should misconstrue or enlarge any other power vested in them...the success of the usurpation will depend on the executive and judiciary departments, which are to expound and give effect to the legislative acts; and in a last resort a remedy must be obtained from the people, who can by the elections of more faithful representatives, annul the acts of the usurpers."

James Madison, Federalist No. 44, January 25, 1788

Next article- The Constitution, and Bill of Rights.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The signers

Note, this is part 3 in the History series.

"I answered that the die was now cast; I had passed the Rubicon.Swim or sink, live or die, survive or perish with my country was my unalterable determination."--
John Adams Source: Mr. Adams, describing a conversation with Jonathan Sewall in 1774

"We celebrate the principles that are timeless, tenets first declared by men of property and wealth..."
Barack Obama, 4th of July, 2010

To understand that our Country as of the time of our founding fathers was truly a nation in which relied upon God and recognized the need to seek His wisdom, we need to understand what kind of men they were, those who signed the Declaration of Independence. We have all heard the revised versions of these men. Great men such as Jefferson, Franklin, Adams. To believe the modern humanist version of history, these men were Deists at best, and believed that religion had no place in the public square, and especially not in our government. To hear modern scholars speak of the Founders, they were all wealthy, white and owned plantations. Who were they really?

Because of the number of men who signed the Declaration, I can't give whole biographies here. I have, however, provided a link if anyone is interested in learning more about these men.

Fifty-six men from each of the original 13 colonies participated in the Second Continental Congress and signed the Declaration of Independence. Pennsylvania sent nine delegates to the congress, Virginia sent seven and Massachusetts and New Jersey all sent five. Connecticut, Maryland, New York, and South Carolina each sent four delegates. Delaware, Georgia, New Hampshire, and North Carolina each sent three. Rhode Island sent two delegates as it was the smallest of the colonies.

On the whole most of the signers were less wealthy than the Loyalists, although some were quite wealthy. They all had strong educational backgrounds. Some, like Franklin, were largely self-taught or learned through apprenticeship. Others gained their education from private tutors or at academies. About half of the men had attended or graduated from college in the colonies or Britain. Some of the men went on to get their medical degrees or studied advanced theology. Eighteen of the signers were merchants or businessmen, 14 were farmers, and four were doctors. Forty-two of the men had served in their own legislatures. Twenty-two were lawyers nine were judges. One man, Stephen Hopkins had been Governor of Rhode Island.Although two others had been in the clergy, John Witherspoon of New Jersey was the only active clergyman to attend. Almost all were Protestant. Most were either Episcopalian (Anglican) or Presbyterian and one Roman Catholic.

Seventeen of the signers served during the American Revolution, fighting at the Battle of Yorktown, Saratoga and New York among others. Five of the signers were captured by the British during the war. Captains Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, and Arthur Middleton (South Carolina) were all captured at the Battle of Charleston in 1780; Colonel George Walton was wounded and captured at the Battle of Savannah. Richard Stockton of New Jersey never recovered from his imprisonment and died in 1781.

Colonel Thomas McKean of Delaware wrote to John Adams, saying that he was "hunted like a fox," by the enemy. He was forced to "move my family five times in a few months, and at last fixed them in a little log house on the banks of the Susquehanna . . . and they were soon obliged to move again on account of the incursions of the Indians."
Abraham Clark of New Jersey had two of his sons captured by the British during the war. The son of John Witherspoon, a major in the New Jersey Brigade, was killed at the Battle of Germantown.
Vandals or soldiers or both looted the properties of some. Seventeen lost everything they owned. Francis Lewis's home was destroyed and his wife was taken prisoner. John Hart's farm and mills were destroyed when the British invaded New Jersey and he died while escaping instead of being captured. Carter Braxton and Thomas Nelson gave large amounts of their personal fortunes to support the war, and were never repaid. At the Battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr. told that the British General Cornwallis had taken over his family home for his headquarters. Nelson urged General George Washington to open fire on his own home. This was done, and the home was destroyed. Nelson later died bankrupt. Others also suffered serious financial reverses that left them in or near bankruptcy.

Most of the men continued on in public service, mostly to the new government they had helped to create. They weren't war mongers, but these men clearly knew they were taking a huge chance in signing the Declaration. They even pledged, "For the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of the Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor." They knew their Declaration would mean war and possibly death.
They remained strong in their reliance on God.

Patrick Henry declared during his famous speech given to the House of Burgesses in Virginia, "There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave."

"We have therefore to resolve to conquer or die: Our won Country's Honor, all call upon us for vigorous and manly exertion, and if we now shamefully fail, we shall become infamous to the whole world. Let us therefore rely upon the goodness of the Cause, and the aid of the Supreme Being, in whose hands Victory is, to animate and encourage us to great and noble Actions." George Washington, General Orders, July 2, 1776.

Often times we can get a glimpse of a person by the thoughts by others. In closing, a few more quotes by and about some of the men who, were faithful to God and to the Nation they wished to create- one of liberty and freedom, with limited government. One in which they were willing to fight to the death, so the people could be free.

"Don't fire unless fired upon. But if they want a war let it begin here." Captain John Parker, commander of the militiamen at Lexington, Massachusetts, on siting British Troops (attributed), April 19, 1775

"It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not." John Adams, letter to Abigail Adams, July 3, 1776

I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." Nathan Hale, before being hanged by the British, September 22, 1776

We know the Race is not to the swift nor the Battle to the Strong. Do you not think an Angel rides in the Whirlwind and directs this Storm?" John Page, letter to Thomas Jefferson, July 20, 1776

These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman." Thomas Paine, The American Crisis, No. 1, December 19, 1776

“ He who made all men hath made the truths necessary to human happiness obvious to all… Our forefathers opened the Bible to all.”- "American Independence," August 1, 1776. Speech delivered at the State House in Philadelphia, John Quincy Adams

"There is a time for all things, a time to preach and a time to pray, but those times have passed away. There is a time to fight, and that time has now come."
Peter Muhlenberg, from a Lutheran sermon read at Woodstock, Virginia, Jan, 1776

"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it."
Thomas Paine, The American Crisis, No. 4, September 11, 1777

I hope some future day will bring me the happiness of seeing my family again collected under our own roof, happy in ourselves and blessed in each other."
Abigail Adams, letter to John Adams, March 15, 1784

"Every person seems to acknowledge his greatness. He blends together the profound politician with the scholar." William Pierce, on James Madison, 1787

"An honorable Peace is and always was my first wish! I can take no delight in the effusion of human Blood; but, if this War should continue, I wish to have the most active part in it." John Paul Jones, letter to Governor Morris, Sept 2, 1782

First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen, he was second to none in humble and enduring scenes of private life. Pious, just humane, temperate, and sincere; uniform dignified, and commanding; his example was as edifying to all around him as were the effects of that example lasting correct throughout, vice shuddered in his presence and virtue always felt his fostering hand. The purity of his private charter gave effulgence to his public virtues. Such was the man for whom our nation morns. " John Marshall, official eulogy of George Washington, delivered by Richard Henry Lee, December 26, 1799

"[He] will live in the memory and gratitude of the wise & good, as a luminary of Science, as a votary of liberty, as a model of patriotism, and as a benefactor of human kind." James Madison, on Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Nicholas P. Trist, July 6, 1826

Next up, The Federalist Papers.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

American History- Man’s Law Based on God’s Law

Note, this is part 2 of the series. For part 1, please see previous article.

Please keep these quotes in mind as you read below.

"Far from being rivals or enemies, religion and law are twin sisters, friends, and mutual assistants. Indeed, these two sciences run into each other. The divine law, as discovered by reason and the moral sense, forms an essential part of both."
James Wilson, signer of the Declaration of Independence

"We need somebody who's got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it's like to be a young teenage mom. The empathy to understand what it's like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old. And that's the criteria by which I'm going to be selecting my judges."
Barack Obama

We are not to attribute this prohibition of a national religious establishment [in the First Amendment] to an indifference to religion in general, and especially to Christianity (which none could hold in more reverence than the framers of the Constitution)"“At the time of the adoption of the constitution, and of the amendment to it, now under consideration [i.e., the First Amendment], the general, if not the universal sentiment in America was, that Christianity ought to receive encouragement from the state, so far as was not incompatible with the private rights of conscience, and the freedom of religious worship. Any attempt to level all religions, and to make it a matter of state policy to hold all in utter indifference, would have created universal disapprobation, if not universal indignation.Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, and A Familiar Exposition of the Constitution of the United States

"[T]he government may not favor one religion over another, or religion over irreligion, religious choice being the prerogative of individuals under the Free Excersise Clause." Board of Education of Kiryas Joel Village School Dist. v. Grumet 512 U.S. 687, 703 (1994)

"You have an obligation to yourself. Because our individual salvation depends on collective salvation."
Barack Obama

Who was Blackstone?
William Blackstone was the 18th Century English legal scholar whose writings were based on Judeo-Christian principles. The Ten Commandments were at the center of Blackstone's philosophy, and he taught that man is created by God and granted fundamental rights by God. He knew that man’s law must be based on God’s law.

Blackstone's lectures were published in England between 1765 and 1769. An American edition was published in Philadelphia between 1771-72. The Founding Fathers realized the importance of Blackstone's Commentaries and he was a person who had a huge influence on the thinking of our founding fathers. Blackstone’s writings, called Commentaries on the Laws of England, was the basis to the U. S. Constitution, and were the basic textbook of America’s early lawyers.

Blackstone’s influence on both English and American law was largely recognized until well into the Twentieth Century, when the so called progressive/humanist enlightenment started marching through America's government and education institutions. It was only in the mid-Twentieth Century that American law, being re-written by the U. S. Supreme Court, refused to acknowledge Blackstone's writings. The modern court and progressive government had no need for a legal authority which acknowledged higher Law from God, because they wanted to push the idea that man is the giver of liberties and that natural and moral law is evolving. If people began to believe that man was his own authority, and that liberties came from government, there would no longer be any need for God. We could become our own salvation through federal government.

United States Supreme Court Justice John Marshall and other early American justices built the American legal system which was based on Blackstone's Commentaries. In fact, the most important of Marshall’s decisions, he cited Blackstone several times to promote the concept of Constitutional supremacy over the power of judges. Our early SCOTUS recognized the importance of the Judeo Christian foundation. Appointed to the Supreme Court by James Madison, the author of the First Amendment to the Constitution, Justice Joseph Story commented on this basis,"The real object of the First Amendment was not to countenance, much less to advance Mohammedanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity, but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects [denominations] and to prevent any national ecclesiastical patronage of the national government."

Back to Blackwell

Here are the basic principals of his Commentaries. As you read the summery below, keep in mind the quotes above and the extent to which American law has done away with much if not most of what Blackstone and our Founders believed.

Law as the order of the universe. “Thus when the Supreme Being formed the universe, and created matter out of nothing, He impressed certain principles upon that matter, from which it can never depart, and without which it would cease to be. When he put the matter into motion, He established certain laws of motion, to which all movable bodies must conform . . . .”

Law as a rule of human action. “. . . the precepts by which man, the noblest of all sublunary beings, a creature endowed with both reason and free will, is commanded to make use of those faculties in the general regulation of his behavior.”

Law of nature. “These are the eternal, immutable laws of good and evil, to which the Creator Himself in all His dispensations conforms; and which He has enabled human reason to discover, so far as they are necessary for the conduct of human actions.”

Revealed law. “The doctrines . . . delivered [by an immediate and direct revelation] we call the revealed or divine law, and they are to be found only in the Holy Scriptures . . . . Upon these two foundations, the law of nature and the law of revelation, depend all human laws; that is to say, no human laws should be suffered to contradict these.”

Law of nations. [A]s it is impossible for the whole race of mankind to be united in one great society, they must necessarily divide into many . . . . [the regulation of their interaction] is the law of nations . . . [it] depends entirely upon the rules of natural law, or upon mutual compacts, treaties, leagues, and agreements . . . .”

Municipal law. “[This is] a rule of civil conduct, prescribed by the supreme power in a state, commanding what is right and prohibiting what is wrong. But no human authority can act without limits.”

There are three primary personal rights:
Personal security. The right …consists in a person’s legal and uninterrupted enjoyment of his life, his limbs, his body, his health, and his reputation.

Personal liberty. This personal liberty consists in the power of locomotion, of changing situation, or removing one’s person to whatsoever place one’s own inclination may direct; without imprisonment or restraint, unless by due course of law.

Right of private property: law of the land. [This right] consists in the free use, enjoyment, and disposal [by man] of all his acquisitions, without any control or diminution, save only by the laws of the land.

You can see by Blackstone's philosophies why the modern progressive humanists would want to cut any mention of his commentaries from our courts and education. Clearly his views on personal properties, personal liberty and societal laws based on revealed and natural law given by our creator has no place in a society where man, not God is the master and giver of all things.

As for the man, William Blackstone, in 1761 he was appointed king’s councilor, elected to the house of commons, where he was a hard line Tory. He voted against, much of the time, interests important to the colonies, including the Stamp Tax. In 1770, he was knighted and appointed as a Justice of the Court of Common Pleas. Little did he know how much of an influence he had on those men who brought about the American Revolution.

In the next article, we'll learn about the men behind the signatures of The Declaration of Independence.
Until then, You can read Blackstone's Commentaries here, at the Avalon Project at Yale University.

Friday, July 9, 2010

To Know America, You Have to Start at the Beginning

Note- this is the first article of a series on America's Founders and the values and beliefs which America was founded on.

Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.
Alexis de Tocqueville

The Americans combine the notions of religion and liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive of one without the other.
Alexis de Tocqueville

Those of you who know me, know I immigrated here from Canada nearly 20 years ago. My husband and I were talking one day not too long ago about the state of things now. I said, I don't know who it's harder for, to see America being trashed. Those who were born here and having to see it, or those of us who came here to freedom, only to have it slipping away. Many millions have come to America to escape tyranny, oppression and poverty, have built families, lives and lively hoods. They had begun to see what freedom was- and now they are afraid because it is resembling too closely to what they thought they'd left behind.

I have for the past few years been interested in the history of America, and more so now. I have realized that too many people who have lived their entire lives here have no idea what the Country founding was all about. Many people love their country, but have no idea of the importance of History, and how if one does not know their history- they will not understand their liberties and freedoms. If they don't know where their liberties come from, and wrongly assume they are given by the government, they will lose them before they know it. I worry for the generations after mine who, if they are not taught the real History of America, they will never know how damaging the present state of our politics are to their own freedoms. It is for them that I am attempting to bring it out into the light for all to see and learn.

To know America's history, one must know before the beginning. Many people were taught about the Mayflower and the pilgrims and Thanksgiving Turkey. Mayflower Compact – What is it?The Mayflower Compact was a document written by a group of the new settlers arriving at New Plymouth in November of 1620. They had traveled across the ocean on the ship Mayflower which anchored near Cape Cod, Massachusetts. All of the adult male members on the Mayflower signed the Compact. Being the first written laws for the new land, the Compact set the authority within the settlement and established that the colony was to be free of English law. It was shaped to form a government of themselves and was written by those to be governed.

The Mayflower Compact reads:
"In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord, King James, by the Grace of God, of England, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, e&. Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia; do by these presents, solemnly and mutually in the Presence of God and one of another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid; And by Virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions and Offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the General good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In Witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape Cod the eleventh of November, in the Reign of our Sovereign Lord, King James of England, France and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini, 1620."

I don't start this article with the Mayflower Compact just to show that America was in fact based on the Christian belief and for the purpose of spreading the Gospel, but to show a springboard onto the later documents which became the basis of the government and laws of America- The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution. It is a fact that many of America's earlier historians referred to the Mayflower Compact as the foundation of the U.S. Constitution which was written more than 150 later.

The first Charter of Virginia was written on the solid basis which made up that of the Mayflower Compact. It was granted by King James I, on April 10, 1606, and states:
We, greatly commending, and graciously accepting of, their Desires for the Furtherance of so noble a Work, which may, by the Providence of Almighty God, hereafter tend to the Glory of his Divine Majesty, in propagating of Christian Religion to such People, as yet live in Darkness and miserable Ignorance of the true Knowledge and Worship of God…Instructions for the Virginia Colony (1606)

John Adams, one of the Founders more than a century later understood the ideals of the earliest settlers when he said, “ The general principles upon which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principals of Christianity… I will avow that I believed and now believe that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.”

The foundation for the land which was to become the United States of America was the Gospel of the Bible. The founding fathers knew this, and learned from it. How they also understood that freedom and liberties are given by God and not the government is a large part of why a new government, separated from the Crown of England came about.
When after numerous grievances against the Crown brought nothing but contempt and misery, the founders felt it was time to declare a separation. They turned not only to their strong moral and religious beliefs in God, but also to the legal writings by a man named William Blackstone.

I aim for once, to keep these articles shorter, so I will end here. We will look more closely next time at William Blackstone, and why his legal writings were so important to the founders that much of what he wrote was woven into American history. Until next time- I invite you to read the Declaration of Independence again, as to understand what the early colonies were facing in a tyranny of the English Monarchy, and try and see if any could be compared with what we are facing these days.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Study Time

Hey folks- just wanted to say, I've been busy studying, and gathering information and thoughts for the next article. It will be in parts again, but too important to leave anything out. The only hint I'm giving, is it will have a lot to do with my previous post. If you haven't read it- now's the time!
God Bless and hopefully I'll have something ready soon~

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776

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 entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and, when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them, and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing, with manly firmness, his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining, in the mean time, exposed to all the dangers of invasions from without and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.
He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies, without the consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the military independent of, and superior to, the civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution and unacknowledged by our laws, giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us;

For protecting them, by a mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states;

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world;

For imposing taxes on us without our consent;

For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury;

For transporting us beyond seas, to be tried for pretended offenses;

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries, so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these colonies;

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments;

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation, and tyranny already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow-citizens, taken captive on the high seas, to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrection among us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms; our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have we been wanting in our attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them, from time to time, of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity; and we have conjured them, by the ties of our common kindred, to disavow these usurpations which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too, have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity.

We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity which denounces our separation, and hold them as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

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 alliances, 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.

[Signed by] JOHN HANCOCK [President] New Hampshire
MATTHEW THORNTON.Massachusetts Bay
ABRA. CLARK.Pennsylvania
GEO. ROSS.Delaware
THO. M'KEAN.Maryland
CHARLES CARROLL of Carrollton.Virginia
JOHN PENN.South Carolina