This podcast is designed for those interested in the spiritual underpinnings of one of American society’s great foundations — the law. As much as secularists and others with varying agendas and opinions have tried to expunge any signs of Christian influence from legality down through the years, the fact remains that God, in His infinite wisdom and holiness, furnished the law for humanity’s benefit. Sure, we’ve extrapolated it in some areas, but without the Lord there would be no basis for the law. James 4:12 reads, “There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?” As America’s founders acknowledged in both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, our “unalienable rights” — among them being “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” — are “endowed” by the Creator God and are firmly upheld on this earth based upon the “laws of nature and of nature’s God.”
The scripture passage for this episode is Colossians 2:2-3 which reads: “That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
The quote for this episode is from Doug Phillips. He said: “Long before America declared its independence, John Calvin declared and defended principles that birthed liberty in the modern world. Scholars both critical and sympathetic of the life and theology of Calvin agree on one thing: that this reformer from Geneva was the father of modern liberty as well as the intellectual founding father of America.”
In this podcast, the first book we are using as our text is “Christianity and the Constitution: The Faith of Our Founding Fathers” by John Eidsmoe.
Beginning Chapter 1 of Part 1, titled “Calvinism”, Eidsmoe writes:
Colonists came from many lands and arrived at many different times to build a new nation. Some landed at Jamestown in 1607; others landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620, having crossed the Atlantic on the Mayflower. In 1630 the Arabella arrived at Salem with a group of settlers. Throughout the 1600s shiploads of eager settlers arrived at various ports to begin a new life.
Some colonists were wealthy; some were slaves or indentured servants. Other colonists owned nothing but the clothes on their backs.
Although many colonists came empty-handed, they did not come empty-minded. They brought with them the heritage, culture, and ideas from the lands of their birth.
In forming a new nation and developing its Constitution the following century, the delegates at the 1787 Convention did not intend to put into practice new and untried ideas. The framers of the American Constitution based their political concepts on the tried and tested ideas of the past. These men were intelligent, well-educated, and widely read. They combined the best ideas they read about to establish a government for the United States.
Therefore, it is appropriate to ask: What influenced the founders of this nation? Which books did they read? Which thinkers did they respect? To which theological, philosophical, and political systems did they subscribe?
Their ideas came from a variety of sources but one source stands out above all others. Dr. E. W. Smith says it well:
If the average American citizen were asked, who was the founder of America, the true author of our great Republic, he might be puzzled to answer. We can imagine his amazement at hearing the answer given to this question by the famous German historian, Ranke, one of the profoundest scholars of modern times. Says Ranke, ‘John Calvin was the virtual founder of America.’
Dr. Smith continues:
These revolutionary principles of republican liberty and self-government, taught and embodied in the system of Calvin, were brought to America, and in this new land where they have borne so mighty a harvest were planted, by whose hands? — the hands of the Calvinists. The vital relation of Calvin and Calvinism to the founding of the free institutions of America, however strange in some ears the statement of Ranke may have sounded, is recognized and affirmed by historians of all lands and creeds.
Dr. Smith is not alone in his assessment….
Lord willing, we will continue with Chapter 1 in our next episode.
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Now, if you are listening today and do not know the Lord who ultimately formed the just laws of our land, may I encourage you to get to know Him today. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your
heart that God’s Son, Jesus Christ, died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can be a part of His perfect government in the world to come. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
I look forward to joining you on the next episode of this podcast!