Jim Denison Reflects on the Courage of the American Founding Fathers

Tomorrow is the anniversary of the day America declared her independence from Great Britain.

Or is it?

The Continental Congress actually declared America’s freedom from the British on July 2, 1776. The delegates then went to work editing a draft of their Declaration of Independence prepared by Thomas Jefferson.

Two days later, on July 4, Congress adopted this Declaration, which is why the date is celebrated as Independence Day. But most of the delegates didn’t actually sign the document until August 2; several signed even later.


The men who acted with such courage in Philadelphia 243 years ago could not have imagined the future significance of their present faithfulness. That’s because we live in a universe bound by time—we can remember the past and anticipate the future, but we can experience only the present.

In The Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis has a demonic tempter named Screwtape write to his nephew Wormwood: “The humans live in time but our Enemy [God] destines them to eternity. He therefore, I believe, wants them to attend chiefly to two things, to eternity itself, and to that point of time which they call the Present. For the Present is the point at which time touches eternity.”

Why does God want us to focus on today?

Screwtape explains: “Of the present moment, and of it only, humans have an experience analogous to the experience which our Enemy has of reality as a whole; in it alone freedom and actuality are offered them. He would therefore have them continually concerned either with eternity (which means being concerned with Him) or with the Present—either meditating on their eternal union with, or separation from, Himself, or else obeying the present voice of conscience, bearing the present cross, receiving the present grace, giving thanks for the present pleasure.”


The Founders were faithful to their moment in history. They were courageous enough to stand against the mightiest empire the world had ever seen for the sake of their national freedom. They could hope for a future filled with prosperity and peace, but they could not imagine the nation we have become.

While Benjamin Franklin “discovered” electricity in 1752, half of America’s homes did not have electric power until 1925. The Founders traveled to Philadelphia in 1776 by horseback or wagons; the first car would not become available to the public for another 132 years.

In colonial America, four in ten children died before the age of six; up to half of all black children died before their first birthday. Only 5 percent of the colonial population lived in cities; 80 percent do so today.

If some of the wisest men America has ever known could not foresee a future that would be so different from the present, neither can we.

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Source: Christian Headlines