The controversy over whether the United States of America was founded as a Christian Nation by men who intended that the new government of America would allow the expression of religion in government and schools, is an important subject today. There are many people who are under the impression that the first amendment, which is referred to as “the establishment” clause of the Constitution, was intended by the framers, as a “wall of separation” between church and state. When we examine the facts of early American history, we find that this was never the intention of this clause. It is only in recent years that the revisionist justices of the Supreme Court have sought to change the original intent of the first amendment.
In this article, you will see that the intent of the framers for our Constitution was to make certain that the government of the United States would be prohibited from restricting the free exercise of religion. The establishment clause was not written to keep religion out of government; it was to keep government out of religion. This clause was necessitated by the action of king George of Britain, who sought to elevate his words, above the words of the Bible. Because he was the king, the people were forced to obey.
The framers of the Constitution wanted to ensure that government never again, infringed upon the rights of the citizens to practice their religion freely in America. For this reason, they formed a “more perfect union” that allowed the citizens of America to worship according to the dictates of their conscience, without interference from the newly formed government.
As you read the stories of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence, and the 39 signers of the Constitution, you will be struck by the deeply held belief of these men that the land they were founding should be based upon the Bible and the laws of God.
The Role Of Christianity And The Bible In The Formation Of The United States Of America
Several years ago I attended a special Congressional Briefing hosted by our United States Senators and Congressmen in Washington D.C. The purpose of this gathering was to inform pastors and Christian leaders of the importance in teaching our congregations the Roles that Jesus Christ, Christianity, and the Bible played in the forming of the United States of America.
During our Congressional briefing, eight Senators and Congressmen spoke to us on the Spiritual issues that concern our nation.
The first Senator to speak was Senator Tom Coburn
“Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would remind us of all the things that he had taught us…how can how can we be reminded if we do not know what Jesus said.”
Pastors need to teach from the pulpit the Word of God, and what our spiritual heritage is.”
Senator Coburn continued:
“Freedom is not guaranteed, it must be fought for by every generation…”
“The Constitution is a Divine document, and today we have began to abandon the Constitution…”
“Pastors must call people back to the basics of our faith and the basis for our freedom… to keep the people informed of their spiritual heritage”
Senator Randy Forbes:
“The 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were the greatest men the country has ever known.”
They understood two things: 1. Our rights came to us from our Creator. 2. These set of rights cannot be taken away by man because they came from our Creator.
“There is an attack today on the first principle that our rights came from our Creator.”
“Those today in government would have us believe that our rights come from government, not from a Creator.”
Senator Pete Hoekstra:
“To be a great nation we must integrate God into everything.”
“There is pressure everyday in the nations capital to pull God out of Government and give control of people’s lives to government.”
Senator Hoekstra quoted from his Bible, a scripture that describes the sovereignty of God in every area of human life, including American government:
Esther 4:4 “God has placed each one of us in just the right place at just the right time…”
Senator Sam Johnson
Captured while flying a mission over Vietnam, he spent nearly 7 years in a Hanoi prison. Senator Johnson said that he never prayed in all his life as he did when he was captured by the Vietnamese.
Placed before a firing squad several times, each time all of the guns of the soldiers, would not fire, they finally gave up trying to shoot him.
They placed him in leg stocks for 72 days, and solitary confinement for months at a time.
Through it Senator Sam Johnson said that in all he went through, the Lord never left.
Lt Colonel Brian Birdwell
The only survivor of the outer ring of the Pentagon during the attack by the airliner on the Pentagon September 11, 2001.
Burned over 60 percent of his body, initially he was unrecognizable he was burned so severely…
Colonel Birdwell testified for almost an hour about how the Lord had been with Him through those impossible days.
Congressman Todd Aikin
Congressman Aikin said this of Americas beginning:
“The Puritans understood four points of Government:”
Civil, Church, Family, and Self.
They believed that all four of these forms of government came by a covenant with God.
Today, because the Church is not strong, the family is not strong, therefore self government is not strong, therefore we see the effects upon our civil government, it is weak and our freedoms are in great danger of being taken away.
All Of These Problems Started Because America Has Been Weakened Spiritually
America is weak Spiritually because we do not know our Spiritual Heritage. We allow Secular Humanists to dictate to us the lie that America was not formed as a Christian Nation, and that the men that were used to found our nation, were not Christians.
They tell us that Religion has no place in American government, when in fact there would have been no American government had in not been for deeply Spiritual men who loved Jesus Christ and based our entire government on the Bible.
- Fortunately for all of us today, there is a public record of all of the events that happened at the forming of our nation.
- You will be absolutely amazed at the amount of information that is available that confirms and establishes that the men that framed our constitution and signed our Declaration of Independence, were seeking to base the constitution and the laws of the United States on the Bible and Christian Principles.
On the Tuesday night before the Congressional Briefing, we were take on a private tour of the Capital building and told of the wonderful spiritual heritage that all of have.
- Most people in America do not know the Spiritual roots of the Capital Building in Washington DC.
- Most Americans have been taught that America is a secular Nation.
- The Rotunda of the United States of America is where we began our tour
- The Rotunda is so tall that that entire Statue of Liberty could stand inside the dome and still have over 30 feet to spare.
When the public was first permitted in the Rotunda in 1824, the first things that you saw when you entered, were the massive oil paintings along the inside wall. Each painting is 14 feet by 20 feet and depicts an important event in American History.
Four Pictures on the East side of the Rotunda were placed here from 1840-1855
U.S. Capitol Rotunda Floor
1. Columbus landing in America in 1492, shows the religious service conducted after his landing.
2. Desoto discovering the Mississippi River in 1544
3. The Baptism of Pocohontus at James Town in 1613
The Baptism of Pocohontus:
- Pocahontas was one of the first converts to Christianity in the new world.
- She was led to Jesus by John Rolfe, who later became her husband.
- The Geneva Bible was used in leading Pocahontas to Jesus.
- In this picture in the Rotunda, Pocahontas is being baptized in 1613 by the reverend Alexander Whitaker.
- During her baptism, Pocahontas changed her name to “Rebekah”, wanting a new name from the Bible in her new life. From that moment, in every writing of her, she is referred to as “The Princess Rebekah”
- She never again wanted to be referred to Pocahontas, but wanted to be know as “Rebekah” for her new life in Jesus Christ.
- Why is it that when we hear of her story, she is called “Pocahontas” and not The Princes Rebekah? Because the secular world does not want to acknowledge that America began by people seeking to come to this land to tell the gospel of Jesus Christ and form a Christian Nation.
4. The Pilgrims praying before departing from Holland to America in 1620
The Pilgrims in 1620, kneeling in prayer, committing themselves to the Lord, gathered around the Bible.
- The bible is the Geneva bible, it was printed in 1560.
- It was the favorite Bible of the Pilgrims, the Puritans, the Descenters and Separatists.
- These groups believed that there was too much corruption in the organized church of the 16th century. They believed that much of what the church was doing was not Biblical. They objected to these corrupt practices and this is why they were called the “Descenters”.
- Many dedicated themselves to the Lord and separated themselves from the church, and the anti Biblical practices, and so they were called “Separatists”.
- Others wanted to cleanse and purify the church from within, so these were called the “Puritans”.
The Bible These Four Groups Used Was Called The Geneva Bible
- The Geneva bible was the first portable Bible that the common person could own and use for themselves. One of the best features in the Geneva bible was the commentaries written in the margins of the Bible.
- The commentaries were anti-king and anti-church which both had grown corrupt. The former Bibles were owned by kings and the commentaries in these Bibles were directed at obedience to the kings and the state church.
- Because those that carried this new Geneva Bible had within them, commentaries against the state and the state run church, they were persecuted by the government, they sought a place where they could worship the Lord according to what the Bible said and not according to what man said. It was for this reason that the Pilgrims left England and eventually arrived in America in November of 1620
In The first 4 Paintings, We See Two Prayer Meetings And A Baptism
Contrary to what is being taught in our public schools and in the media today, America began with a deep love and worship of Jesus Christ. The four Paintings on the west side of the Rotunda were in place when the Building originally opened in 1824. They represent events from Americans quest for independence
The next paintings on the other side of the Rotunda are from 150 years later in Washington D.C.
- All four of these paintings are by John Trumbull, one of the founding fathers of the United States.
- John Trumbull was an officer during the American Revolution.
- What makes his painting so meaningful is that he personally witnessed what he was painting. He knew those in the paintings personally, so these paintings are eye witness accounts.
- Because of John Trimbull’s commitment to accuracy, the faces of those in these paintings of our founding fathers, are as accurate as we can get of what the founding fathers really looked like.
- John Trumbull came from a family of outspoken Christians.
- There are also other members of John’s family honored in the Capital.
There are several proclamations issued by John Trumbull’s brother Jonathan.
Jonathan was an officer under George Washington during the Revolutionary war
1. The Signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776
As we look at the signing of the Constitution of the United States of America, how many of the 39 signers could the average American identify?
How about the Declaration of Independence, of these 56 signers, how many could you identify?
Congress Approved The Declaration Of Independence On July 4th, 1776
- It was not signed until August 2, 1776.
- In the days before the signing, some of those who had been called on to sign were called away to battle before their signature could be added.
- George Clinton approved the Declaration on July 4th, but before he could sign, he was called to military service in New York.
- Some of those who actually signed the Declaration, were not in Congress when it was approved. Matthew Thornton, Thomas Stone, Francis Lightfoot Lee
Every person in this painting in the Rotunda either contributed either by voting or by signing.
2. The Battle of Saratoga in 1777, our first victory in the American Revolution.
3. The Victory at Yorktown in 1781, which was the last battle in the American Revolution.
The Surrender at Yorktown: In this picture at the Rotunda is Colonel Trumbull seated with the other officers at the surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown.
After the Revolution, Jonathan became the governor of Connecticut.
He issued a proclamation while governor, calls the entire state of Connecticut to a day of prayer and thanksgiving. The language is strongly evangelical. He issued several proclamations like this one.
Jonathan Trumbull was one of the majority of our founding fathers who were strongly and openly followers of Jesus Christ.
There are many people today that say that our founding fathers were not Christians and that Christianity did not play an important role in the formation of America as a Nation.
Secular Historians Today Say The Founding Fathers Were “Deists, Not Christians”
In one article called “the founding fathers were not Christians”, the writer states that the early presidents and leaders were generally “Deist”, or Unitarians that did not believe in a personal God or in the Lord Jesus Christ. They say that the Bible played no role in the founding of American. One book called “The Godless Constitution”
How can these lies and false representations go unchallenged?
Most Americans don’t even know who our founding fathers were.
4. George Washington as the commander and Chief of the Continental army on 1783
While still anchored offshore, relying on the Geneva Bible as their source of strength and light, the Pilgrims authored the Mayflower compact.
It was the first government document written in America.
The Mayflower compact highlighted two important Biblical Principles.
The Pilgrims stated that they had come to this continent for the express purpose of Evangelizing those here to a saving Knowledge of Jesus Christ. Individuals would knit themselves together into a community which would govern themselves according to the standards found in God’s Word.
These are the events shown in this first painting found in the United States Capital Building Rotunda.
150 years later, when the Declaration of Independence was authored, it was from these first principles that the Declaration declared that all of America could and now would completely govern itself under God’s laws, the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God”.
This belief was so strong, that they would rely upon Gods Word, that it was written on the currency of the American Revolution.
On the back of the currency is the words “The Law is our King” across an open bible
During the American Revolution, the Bible and God’s Law were recognized as the Basis for our self government.
These principles were instituted 150 years previously by the Pilgrims.
In 1611, When King James printed his bible, it was essentially the same translation of the Bible as the Geneva bible printed in 1560, except King James removed all the commentaries to try to silence those who no longer wanted to be ruled by a corrupt king and a corrupt church.
- The King James Bible became the official Bible of many British Monarchs and was the official Bible of the English Colonies.
- The British Government instituted a law in which it was illegal to print any English bible, so that they could maintain control over which bible was produced.
What Were The Spiritual Views Of The Signers Of The Declaration Of Independence?
John Witherspoon: Was an ordained minister of the Gospel. He had several published books. He was responsible for the worlds first family Bible
Witherspoon signed the Articles of Confederation and supported ratification of the Constitution. In 1789 he was a convening moderator of the First General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America.
Signer of the United States Constitution, A Christian Minister.
Charles Thompson: Was the Secretary of Congress. He and John Hancock were the only two signers to sign the first draft of the Declaration of Independence.
He created a new addition to the Bible called “The Thompson’s Bible”, not the Thompson’s chain reference Bible.
It is the first translation of the Greek Septuagint into English. It took him 25 years to complete this translation. This Bible is still considered today one of the most scholarly translations of the Bible.
Charles Carol of Carrollton: He was the final surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence. He was the last of the 56 signers of the document to pass away. He died in 1832 at the age of 95.
On his 89th birthday, he wrote the following letter:
“On the mercy of my redeemer, I rely on for salvation, and on his merits, not on any that I have done in obedience to His precepts…”
In other writings, he stated that his faith in Jesus Christ was the chief reason he had entered into service in the American Revolution.
He was fighting to preserve religious liberty.
Dr. Benjamin Rush: When he died in 1813, the newspapers and the other founders of the Declaration of Independence proclaimed that he was one of our three most important founding fathers, along with George Washington and Benjamin Franklin.
How many people today have heard of Benjamin Rush or what role he played in the forming of America? He was a leading educator, started 5 colleges and universities, including the first college for women.
He is also called the father of American medicine. He personally trained 3,000 students for their medical degrees. In 1791 he founded the Sunday school movement in America, called “The First Day Society”.
Dr. Rush started the worlds first Bible Society. In the constitution for the Bible Society, Dr Rush lists two reasons why America needs a Bible Society:
- Through the Bible, every person could discover how to have personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
- If every person owned a Bible, studied it and obeyed what it teaches, all of our social problems such as crime, slavery etc, would diminish.
“It is in living by the Bible that man becomes both humanized and civilized”
In looking for a way to mass produce the Bible, Dr Rush helped created the “Stereotype printing”.
With the help of then president James Madison, and in an act passed by Congress, Dr Rush obtained stereotype plates from the federal Government so that he could mass produce Bibles. Dr Rush is a signer of the Declaration of Independence.
Church Music Director.
He is responsible for the earliest printed Hymnal in America
He took all 150 Psalms and set them to music.
He did this so that we could sing the Psalms just like David did thousands of years before.
Founding Father and signer of the Declaration of Independence.
Captured by the British and made a prisoner of war, he was severely tortured and abused and never fully recovered from his injuries once returned to the American army.
One is one of his final letters:
“I think it proper here, not only to subscribe to the entire belief of the great and leading doctrines of the Christian Religion, such as the universal defection and depravity of human nature. The Divinity of the person and the completeness of the redemption purchased by the blessed Savior. Of divine faith accompanied with a habitual, virtuous life. But also, to exhort and charge my children that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom…”
This founding father who sacrificed his life for our freedom, was a strong believer in Jesus Christ.
He was one of America’s leading legal authorities.
He wrote a commentary on the constitution of the United States in 1792.
He signed the Declaration of Independence, and helped author the constitutions of Pennsylvania, Delaware, and served as governor in these states.
He was the chief justice of the supreme court of Pennsylvania.
In a trial in his court over a man by the name of John Roberts, John Roberts was sentenced to death after jury found him guilty of treason.
Back then, someone sentenced to death had 7-10 days to live, not 15-20 years as is the case in the legal system today.
Upon the pronouncement of the sentence upon John Roberts of death, Chief Justice Thomas McCain asked the condemned man to approach the bench and sought to lead the condemned man to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
A supreme court justice of Pennsylvania, in an American court of law, sought to lead a condemned man to Jesus Christ before his death.
If we listen to the current arguments made today, that our founding fathers were not men of faith in Jesus Christ, we would never know about this amazing story.
A judge in an American court trying to lead a man condemned to death to Jesus Christ so he could have eternal life!
Thomas Mc Cain was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and He loved the Lord.
To my surprise, I discovered that during the American Revolution when the Colonists sought to separate themselves from the rule of England, that very often the leaders of the armies were the Pastors of the churches.
They would teach the people the Word of God, and finish the service on Sunday, then go to the back of the church and ask for recruits to go out and fight the British soldiers during the American Revolution.
Imagine 56 men who had no army, no navy, no military, pledged their lives, their fortunes and the sacred honor to defeat the world’s number one power.
Imagine if 56 of us here today gathered together to try and overthrow the world’s number one power, it is inconceivable!
What was the spirit that motivated these men to try and do something impossible?
Notice the opening text from the Declaration of Independence, which gives us the reason that they felt compelled to try and do the impossible :
“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.”
In this one sentence, the founding fathers forcefully declared why they must separate themselves from Great Britain.
“The Laws of Nature, and Natures God”.
These 8 words expressed a complete manner of Law and of life.
This statement in our founding document declares an agenda, a wide spread movement, and has specific beliefs.
- Blackstone’s commentary on the Law was the law book used for years before the American Revolution ever happened
- Blackstone’s was the primary text book in law schools until 1920
- Bar exams were taken from this book.
- The Supreme court quoted from this book several times in its opinions.
- It was considered to be the final authority on most issues.
- Blackstone’s gives the meaning of these 8 words found in the Declaration of Independence:
“Man considered as a creature, must necessarily be subject to the laws of his Creator, for he is entirely and dependent being.
And consequently, as a man depends absolutely upon his maker for everything, it is necessary that in all points conform to his makers will , this will of his maker is called the Law of Nature.
This law of nature being co-equal with mankind and dictated by God Himself, is of course superior to any other. It is binding to all the globe, all countries and at all times. No human laws are of any validity if contrary to this. This then is the Law of Nature, it is the law of God expressed through His creation.
If our reason were always clear and perfect the task would be pleasant and easy, we would need no other guide but the law of nature. Every man now finds the contrary in his own experience, we find that our reason is corrupt and our understanding is full of ignorance and error. This has given manifold occasion for the benign interposition of divine providence which has been pleased at sundry times and diverse manners to discover and enforce His laws by an immediate and direct revelation. The Doctrines thus delivered, we call the revealed or the divine law and they are to be found only in the Holy Scriptures.”
The Scriptures are the laws of the God who created Nature.
Upon these two foundations (“The Laws of Nature, and Natures God”) The law of nature and the law of revelation, of natures God, depend all human laws. That is to say, no human laws can be allowed to contradict these”
This means that those that framed the Constitution and signed the Declaration of Independence believed that all of our laws in the United States of America came from God and from His Word found in the Bible. That man does not have the right, nor the capacity to institute any other laws outside of God’s law.
This legal phrase in Blackstone’s commentary on the law, explains the entire thought process behind why The United States of America was founded from the beginning.
America was founded by Christian men who believed the Bible is the word of God and that all of our rights and laws come only from the Word of God.
After America won the battle of Yorktown and was free of British rule, they no longer were restricted in being able to print Bibles to give to the citizens of America.
Congress enacted a law that allowed the printing of Americas very first English Bible in 1782.
Congress approved the plan, appointed a committee to see to the printing of the Bible, all from the first government of the new American Colonies.
The opening page to this new Bible say that the American Congress recommends this Bible to the inhabitants of the United States of America.
Even in the treaty signed by America and Britain that ended the war that gave America her independence, it begins with these words, “In the name of the most Holy Trinity…”
When Congress moved into the Capital building, they kept careful and detailed writings of everything that was said and done in that building.
In the first weeks of November of 1800, according to the records, Congress spent the first few weeks organizing the rooms, their committees and other business.
In the first week of December, 1800, Congress made an interesting decision:
- Congress decided that the Capital building would also serve as a church building.
- The United States Capital became a church.
- This is a matter of the public records of Congress at that time and the diaries of those in attendance when that decision was made.
One of the speeches of John Quincy Adams gives us a clear understanding of why the United States of America was formed and the purposes that our Nation first existed.
“Why is it friends and fellow citizens that we are assembled here? And why is it that entering into the 62nd year of our national existence, that you have asked me to address you?
Why is it that next to the birthday of the Savior of the world that our most joyous and venerated festival occurs on this day?
Is it not that the chain of human events in the birthday of a nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior?
That it forms a leading event in the progress of the Gospel dispensation. Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the redeemers mission on earth. That it laid the cornerstone of human government, on the first precepts of Christianity.”
For over one hour John Quincy Adams continued his speech that Christianity was the basis for and the reason for our national independence.
He died in the Capital building in the room for the speaker of the house, while in session and his last words were, “It is the end of earth, I am composed…”
The more that we learn about how America began with openly strong Christian Men, it becomes completely impossible to believe what has been spoken and taught today that American government should be a completely secular and religion free.
Our founding fathers pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to insure that this nation was began based on the principles of the Bible and of a strong faith in Jesus Christ.
All of us who spent those days in the nations capital were inspired to take what we learned back to our churches and teach our congregation, I hope that you are inspired to take what you have learned and teach others and take a stand for America’s Spiritual Heritage.
This article was originally written in April of 2009. I was struck by how far away from God our nation has moved since I first wrote these words…
- The Words of 52 Christian Men Who Founded the United States of America
- America’s Spiritual Heritage and the Influence of the Bible on America
- The Founding of America as a Christian Nation
- When America Abandons God: The Signs And The Consequences