Welcome to the American Christian Heritage Group blog where we give you glimpses of our country's early Christian foundations. We hope you enjoy these, learn more about our Christian heritage and undertake reading of the many cited sources and end notes. Please feel free to register and leave comments.

THE GREATEST THREAT … SPIRITUAL DECAY!

March 31st, 2010

Lt. General Robert L. Van Antwerp, Jr.

It may be hard to imagine that only 18 years ago a white paper was written by a Lt. Colonel (now General) of the United States Army at the United States Army War College in Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania that addressed the spiritual decay of our nation. He wrote a 57-page study on the subject stating spiritual decay is a real threat to our national security.

We print a part of the opening Introduction to this paper. To access the entire document for reading, see the notes at the end of the article. He writes:

This study examines the “real threat” to our national security– that we are no longer a “Nation Under God” and are no longer led by those who understand the spiritual dimension of leadership envisioned and demonstrated by our founding fathers. Our founding fathers knew and accepted their role as spiritual leaders and did their best to reflect that in the documents they produced. Most leaders today get caught up in the trap of “secular humanism” and neglect their responsibilities.

The Army of Northern Virginia under General Washington was clearly a reflection of the society it served. The society was God fearing, upright, enduring, and understood the need to be under authority–first God and then those appointed over them. Our society is sick with perversion, immorality, and a host of attitudes which were once unthinkable. Can an army from a sick society endure?

The importance of faith in combat is well documented. It links us to values worth fighting for, sacrificing for, dying for. Leaders must be capable of evaluating the moral and spiritual fitness of the soldiers they lead. Many are ill equipped to meet this need because of their lack of personal faith and spiritual training. In Southwest Asia, commanders discovered the importance of the “faith” dimension of combat readiness. They discovered that the “moral/spiritual” fibre of the soldier is a critically important part of being ready.

Leaders cannot ignore the soldier’s need for spiritual training and the need to see model spiritual leaders any more than they can ignore tough, demanding field training, leadership development, and leadership by example. This type of leadership is provided by those who have a strong personal faith, a leadership style based on Biblical Principles, and have developed the order spiritual climate in their organization. The hope for our nation and the Army rests with today’s and tomorrow’s spiritual leaders.

Lieutenant General Robert L. Van Antwerp, Jr., M.Sc., M.B.A., P.Eng.  is the Chief of Engineers of the United States Army, which is the title of the Commanding General of the United States Army Corps of Engineers. Van Antwerp graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1972. He completed Ranger, Airborne and Air Assault training, the Engineer Officer Basic Course and the Engineer Officer Advanced Course. He served in the Gulf War. He is a Registered Professional Engineer. He is responsible for approximately 36,000 civilian and 600 military employees, who provide project management and construction support to 250 Army and Air Force installations in nearly 100 countries around the world.  He served for a number of years as President of Officer’s Christian Fellowship.

Source: The Greatest Threat . . . Spiritual Decay by Lieutenant Colonel R.L. VanAntwerp (His rank in 1992), United States Army, 1992; A Study Project Paper, United States Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania #92-12122; Complete PDF at http://goo.gl/KJTS

Military Biography: http://goo.gl/j4MJ

LETTER TO CITIZENS ENCOURAGED CHRISTIAN FAITH

March 30th, 2010

Matthew Thornton (1714 – 1803), was a signer of the United States

Matthew Thornton

Declaration of Independence as a representative of New Hampshire. As President of the Provincial Congress, he delivered a letter to the citizens of New Hampshire declaring that they needed to come together as Christians to rest upon their faith for the coming war with England.

He was born in Ireland and later his family immigrated to America when he was three years old, settling first at Wiscasset, Maine, and moving shortly thereafter to Worcester, Massachusetts. Thornton became a physician and was appointed surgeon to the New Hampshire Militia troops in the expedition against Fortress Louisbourg. He had royal commissions as justice of the peace and colonel of militia. He became Londonderry Town Selectman, a representative to, and President of the Provincial Assembly, and a member of the Committee of Safety, drafting New Hampshire’s plan of government after dissolution of the royal government, which was the first state constitution adopted after the start of hostilities with England.

He was first President of the New Hampshire House of Representatives and Associate Justice of the Superior Court of New Hampshire. He was elected to the Continental Congress after the debates on independence had occurred, arriving just in time to actually sign the Declaration of Independence.

As President of the Provincial Congress, he addressed the following letter to the inhabitants of the Colony of New Hampshire :

Exeter, June 2d, 1775.
To the Inhabitants of the Colony of New Hampshire :

Friends and Brethren : You must all be sensible that the affairs of America have at length come to a very affecting and alarming crisis. The Horrors and Distresses of a civil war, which, till of late, we only had in contemplation, we now find ourselves obliged to realize. Painful beyond expression have been those scenes of Blood and Devastation which the barbarous cruelty of British troops have placed before our eyes. Duty to God, to ourselves, to Posterity, enforced by the cries of slaughtered Innocents, have urged us to take up Arms in our Defense. Such a day as this was never before known, either to us or to our fathers. You will give us leave therefore — in whom you have reposed special confidence — as your representative body, to suggest a few things which call for the serious attention of everyone who has the true interest of America at heart. We would therefore recommend to the Colony at large to cultivate that Christian Union, Harmony and tender affection which is the only foundation upon which our invaluable privileges can rest with any security, or our public measures be pursued with the least prospect of success.

We also recommend that a strict and inviolable regard be paid to the wise and judicious councils of the late American Congress, and particularly considering that the experience of almost every day points out to us the danger arising from the collection and movements of bodies of men, who, notwithstanding, we willingly hope would promote the common cause and serve the interest of their country, yet are in danger of pursuing a track which may cross the general plan, and so disconcert those public measures which we view as of the greatest importance. We must, in the most express and urgent terms, recommend it that there may be no movements of this nature, but by the direction of the Committees of the respective Towns or Counties; and those Committees, at the same time, advising with this Congress or with the Committee of Safety in the recess of Congress, where the exigence of the case is not plainly too pressing to leave room for such advice.

We further recommend that the most industrious attention be paid to the cultivation of Lands and American Manufacture, in their various branches, especially the Linen and Woolen; and that the husbandry might be particularly managed with a view thereto — accordingly that the Farmer raise Flax and increase his flock of sheep to the extent of his ability.

We further recommend a serious and steady regard to the rules of temperance, sobriety and righteousness, and that those Laws which have heretofore been our security and defense from the hand of violence may still answer all their former valuable purposes, though persons of vicious and corrupt minds would willingly take advantage from our present situation.

In a word, we seriously and earnestly recommend the practice of that pure and undefiled religion which embalmed the memory of our pious ancestors, as that alone upon which we can build a solid hope and confidence in the Divine protection and favor, without whose blessing all the measures of safety we have or can propose will end in our shame and disappointment.

MATTHEW THORNTON,
President

Matthew Thorton's home, Derry, NH

He became a political essayist. He retired from his medical practice and in 1780 moved to Merrimack, New Hampshire where he farmed and operated a ferry with his family. He died in Newburyport, Massachusetts, while visiting his daughter. Matthew Thornton is buried in Thornton Cemetery in Merrimack, New Hampshire and his grave reads “An Honest Man.” The town of Thornton, New Hampshire is named in his honor, and a Londonderry elementary school as well. Thornton’s residence in Derry, which was part of Londonderry at the time, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Some of his descendants live in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as well as in Maryland, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Yulee, Florida.

Sources:
Matthew Thornton, from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Matthew Thornton, Colonialhall.com

EARLY AMERICAN CHRISTIAN EDUCATION

March 29th, 2010

Classical Christian Education: A Look at Some History

by Ben House

[Editor’s note: This excellent article gives us a glimpse of early American Christian education]

The modern public education system has been weighed in many scales and found wanting. Critiques of the system in the form of books, articles, news stories, speeches, sermons, government reports, and test results have catalogued the numerous failings of state schools. Within public education, teachers, administrators, and students offer even more criticisms of the system. Whether one considers the arguments of the right or conservative end of the political spectrum, where the call is for a return to “the basics” and prayer, to the left or liberal wing of the political spectrum, where the call is for more government money, Outcome Based Education, and pluralism, the call is clearly for change.

State schools are expected to do everything: prepare students for college or vocational technical jobs, enable both brighter and slower students to excel at their respective levels, inculcate the “right” values, teach proper sexual behavior, teach students to think critically, raise the self-esteem of students, discipline children, prevent them from turning to drugs, alcohol, or suicide, teach a wide-ranging curriculum, create racial, sexual, and gender understanding and harmony, win ball games, and do all of these things in a manner that is pleasing to the students so they will not be bored or discouraged. In spite of these messianic expectations, [1] public schools are not sure what they are supposed to be doing. In the midst of a host of bugle commands, they are not sure which way to charge. There is no clear philosophy or direction.

In an age of cultural rootlessness, moral relativism, religious pluralism, social disintegration, and future uncertainty, how can we expect anything other than educational chaos? [2] Unstable times call for a return to theological foundations and historical forms. Many Christians mistakenly think that the cultural and social mores of the 1950s provide the answers. But the families, churches, and schools of the 1950s produced the 1960s. The rediscovery of theological foundations and historical forms must go further back in history.

The theological foundations must be established upon the Scriptures. In education, Christians have too often seen the Bible either as a book to be studied in a separate subject, i.e. Bible class, or as a devotional book. Christian education must teach not only Bible details, but biblical systematic theology. From that theology, Christians must develop a worldview that applies biblical concepts to every area of life. Thankfully, this has been done numerous times in the history of Christianity. The historic forms or examples can be found where Christians produced educated, biblically literate, discerning students. The historic form can be called Classical Christian Education.

Historian Christopher Dawson has described the beginnings of Classical Christian Education:

From the time of Plato the Hellenic paideia [system of instruction] was a humanism in search of a theology, and the religious traditions of Greek culture were neither deep nor wide enough to prepare the answer…..The new Christian culture was therefore built from the beginning on a double foundation. The old classical education in the liberal arts was maintained without any interruption, and since this education was inseparable from the study of classical authors, the old classical education continued to be studied. But alongside of–and above–all this, there was now a specifically Christian learning which was Biblical and theological and which produced its own prolific literature. [3]

Typically the schools in early American history were Classical Christian schools. The instructors were usually ministers whose training was a combination of classical languages and literature and Protestant theology. In other words, they studied the Bible in its original Hebrew and Greek, and they read Homer’s Iliad in Greek, Tacitus’ histories in Latin, as well as studying John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion. For example, Moses Waddell, a Southern Presbyterian preacher and teacher (1770-1840), began studying Latin at age eight, and after six years of school, he had finished courses in Greek, Latin, and mathematics. After his conversion and entrance into the ministry, Waddell established, in a log building, a school with an enrollment of as many as 180 students a year. In his book Southern Presbyterian Leaders, Dr. Henry Alexander White made these comments about Waddell’s school:

The food furnished to the students in Waddell’s log college was plain, for it was usually nothing more than cornbread and bacon. A blast from a ram’s horn called them all together from morning and evening prayers. When the weather was mild the students sat or lay beneath the trees to prepare their lessons. The sound of the horn told the class in Homer when to assemble, and all of the members rushed at once to the recitation hall in the main building. Then the horn called up, in regular order, the Cicero, the Horace, and the Virgil classes, as well as those engaged in the study of mathematics and English. [4]

The success of this school obviously did not come from expensive facilities and modern technology or even a good cafeteria. (This shows the fallacy of those who promote higher school taxes to improve education.) Jack Maddex, Jr. said, “Waddell’s students mastered the classical curriculum at an exacting pace, interspersing long study periods with recitations.” [5 ] Many of Waddell’s students achieved prominence in academic and civil affairs.

The type of student Classical Christian education produced is astounding to modern readers. The difficulty and rigor of education made it a prized commodity. The compulsory and egalitarian education system of today has debased the value of the commodity. While academic degrees are expected in many fields today, they are rarely seen as indicators of academic or intellectual ability. By contrast, education in the past was equated with book knowledge, and that knowledge was acquired only by hard work. Young Moses Hoge was noted for fastening a book to his plow as he worked the fields. He would plow a furrow, stop and read a page, and then ponder the contents as he plowed the next furrow. [6] David Caldwell, as a student, would sit near an open window and study into the late hours of the night. Then he would fold his arms on the table, lay his head down, and sleep until morning. [7] James Henley Thornwell, who was given to studying fourteen hours a day, commented on his own need to improve his speaking and writing skills:

Language was my great difficulty in early life. I had no natural command of words. I undertook to remedy the defect by committing to memory large portions of the New Testament, the Psalms, and much of the Prophets, also whole dramas of Shakespeare, and a great part of Milton’s Paradise Lost; so that you might start me at any line in any drama or book, and I would go through to the end. [8]

As a young teacher, Thornwell continued his study habits:

I have commenced regularly with Xenophon’s works, and intend to read them carefully. I shall then take up Thucydides, Herodotus, and Demosthenes. After mastering these I shall pass on to the philosophers and poets. In Latin I am going regularly through Cicero’s writings. I read them by double translations; that is, I first translate them into English and then retranslate them into Latin. In German I am perusing Goethe’s works. My life, you can plainly see, is not a life of idleness. [9]

After Thornwell committed his life to Christ, he entered the ministry and became one of the greatest Presbyterian ministers and theologians ever produced in America.

Professor Clyde Wilson has described the curriculum and its purposes in the University of North Carolina in the middle of the 1800s. He said:

The college curriculum consisted chiefly of Latin, Greek, and pure mathematics, with smaller amounts of modern languages, chemistry, geology, physics, botany, zoology, metaphysics, logic, rhetoric, political economy, and constitutional and international law. More than half of a student’s time in four years was spent in languages ancient and modern; three-fifths in the languages and pure mathematics together. The intent of these studies was to develop the powers of reason, analysis, and perspective, and by familiarity with the classical republics to inspire an understanding and love of American institutions. The curriculum also reflected a highly verbal and personalized society in which fixed status and institutional rigidity had not robbed words of their power to persuade and move. [10]

This ability to use reason, analysis, and perspective comes from reading. Neil Postman said, “From Erasmus in the sixteenth century to Elizabeth Eisenstein in the twentieth, almost every scholar who has grappled with the question of what reading does to one’s habits of mind has concluded that the process encourages rationality; the sequential, propositional character of the written word fosters what Walter Ong calls the ‘analytical management of knowledge.'”11 In Classical Christian education, this intellectual ability is cultivated in order to understand and implement the Scriptures. Susan Alder has stated that education in Colonial America was Christian not only in teaching the doctrines of the Christian faith, but in defining all reality by precepts and principles laid out in the Bible. As historian Clinton Rossiter has said, “The colonial mind was thoroughly Christian in its approach to education, philosophy, and social theory….” [12]

The importance of the Bible in education can be seen in an ironically prophetic defense of the use of the Bible in public schools given by Benjamin Rush in 1786. Rush said:

I do not mean to exclude books of history, poetry, or even fables from our schools. They may and should be read frequently by our young people, but if the Bible is made to give way to them altogether, I foresee that it will be read in a short time only in churches and in a few years will probably be found only in the offices of magistrates and in courts of justice. [13]

Many other examples could be given of the nature of Classical Christian education as it existed in America from our colonial beginnings to about the 1900s. Very obviously, the academic standards were high, the worldview was Christian, and the results were amazing. But what is the message for us? Some would object to this discussion and point out that not all Americans received the level of education described above and that not all American students were James Henley Thornwells in inclination and ability. This is true; likewise, not all basketball players today are Michael Jordans, but that should not cause us to lower the basketball goals to five feet high. The example of educated men of the 1700s and 1800s is daunting. How can we teach in such a way to achieve this when the teachers today do not have the Classical Christian training of the past? The answer is that we cannot achieve the same results….in one generation. We must be future oriented, and we must begin with what we have.

We have the Bible, so we can teach theology. We have books–centuries’ accumulation of books at affordable prices. While we may begin with language restrictions, since few are trained in Latin and Greek today, we can master the great works of literature, history, and theology either written or translated into English.

Another objection might be: Why this type of education? Why not something more relevant, more modern, more accommodating to a non-literate, non-theological age? Classical Christian education is not designed to fit the student for our times. It is designed to transform the student to God’s times (Romans 12:2). It is designed to produce an student with the mental discipline and ability to read an in-depth book (even one with more than one hundred pages), write discerning, thoughtful essays on the book, present lectures or debates on the contents of the book, and evaluate its contents in light of the Christian worldview. “Paces,” multiple choice questions, computer games, and entertaining films cannot accomplish these results. Classical Christian education is “word-oriented.” It can and has produced workmen who can rightly divide the Word of God and who do not need to be ashamed to confront and unmask the idols of our age.

Source: Classical Christian Education: A Look at Some History by Ben House; Center for Reformed Theology and Apologetics at http://goo.gl/Yc6i

FOOTNOTES

*Ben House is a pastor of Grace Covenant Church in Texarkana, AR and the administrator of Veritas School.

1 Rousas J. Rushdoony, The Messianic Character of American Education, (Philipsburg: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1963)

2 See Gene Edward Veith, Jr., Postmodern Times: A Christian Guide to Contemporary Thought and Culture, (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1994).

3 Christopher Dawson, The Crisis of Western Education, (Steubenville, Ohio: Franciscan University Press, 1989) pp. 8-9.

4 Henry Alexander White, Southern Presbyterian Leaders, (New York: Neale Publishing Company, 1911) pp. 59-60. [Soon to be reprinted.]

5 Jack P. Maddex, Jr., “Waddell, Moses,” Encyclopedia of Religion in the South, edited by Samuel S. Hill (Macon: Mercer University Press, 1984) p. 819.

6 White, Ibid. p. 193.

7 Ibid. p. 96.

8 Ibid. pp. 309-310.

9 Ibid.

10 Clyd N. Wilson, Carolina Cavalier: The Life and Times of James Johnson Pettigrew, (Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 1990), p. 15.

11 Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business, (New York: Penguin Books, 1985), p. 15.

12 Susan Alder, “Education in America,” in Public Education and Indoctrination (Irvington-on-Hudson: Foundation for Economic Education, 1993). Alder quoted Rossiter from Clinton Rossiter, Seedtime of the Republic: The Origin of the American Tradition of Political Liberty (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1953), p. 119.

13 Benjamin Rush. “Thoughts Upon the Mode of Education Proper in a Republic” from American Political Writing during the Founding Era, 1760-1805, Volume 1, p. 684, edited by Charles S. Hyneman and Donald S. Lutz (Indianapolis: Liberty Press, 1983) Certainly, Rush would be shocked at the exclusion of the Scriptures from modern courts of justice!

A MILITARY SERMON

March 28th, 2010

If you will be soldiers, resolve to conquer or die. It is not so much skill or strength that conquers, as boldness. It is fear that loses the day, and fearlessness that wins it. The army which stands to it gets the victory, who they fight never so weakly, for if you will not run, the enemy will. And if the lives of a few be lost by courage, it usually saves the lives of many. If the cause be not worth your lives, you should not meddle with it. If it is, you should choose rather to sacrifice the…, than your country. The man of good courage, is prepared to bear up against all the hardships of the warmest service with an unbroken erect mind, when the cause of GOD and his people, shall press him into their service. The intrepid spirit, rested on the brave Nehemiah, when he exclaimed-Should such a man as I, flee? This spirit inspired that brave commander, who, when deserted by his army in the heat of battle, cried out to them saying: “Go tell the living that I die fighting, while I go and tell the dead, that you live flying.” Are the preceding observations just? We hence learn that courage is necessary in men of military character. No wonder then, that Israel’s brave commander, thus said to his army. “Be of good courage.” And no wonder that he further said, let us play the men. Q.D. Let us do that on this great, trying occasion, which MEN, reasonable creatures ought to do. In these words, there is an implication, that he himself was resolved to do that, which he called them to do-either enter into battle, or so post himself, as to direct and guide them to victory. We have no reason to suspect, but that he would readily have done the former, if the case had required it. Every good general chooses rather to sacrifice his life in battle, than his country and honor. When existing circumstances, call to a most dangerous post, he readily exposes his own person. And so will all other good military characters in places below him, when called to dangerous posts.

In these words, let us play the men, we discern civility and decency. Though the army were under this general’s absolute command, yet he addressed them not as a pack of slaves and poltroons, nor in profane language, as too many have, to the shame of humanity; but as men, his fellow creatures, whom he respected, and who had a right to civil, human treatment. Such treatment conciliates esteem, and leads to obedience from a principle of love, which is a nobler incentive to action, than fear. Playing the men, imports doing bravely and valiantly. The sacred historian, in another place narrating this speech, thus varies the phraseology, let us behave ourselves valiantly. Playing the men, and behaving valiantly, are nearly, or quite synonymous terms. To play the men in battle, none can, unless they behave valiantly.

Source: From “A Sermon, Addressed to a Military Company belonging to the 13th Regiment of Infantry in the Army of the United States of America”, under the Command of Captain Asa Copeland, at their Rendezvous in Brooklyn, On Lord’s-day, August 25, 1799. By Josiah Whitney, Pastor of the First Church of Brooklyn. Windham: Printed by John Byrne, 1800.

THE FIRST EVANGELICAL MAGAZINE

March 25th, 2010

Thomas Prince Sr. may have worried that the Great Awakening was fading when he and his son started the first evangelical magazine in 1743. But he wanted to publish a journal that would document the revival that had been spreading through the American colonies. Future generations could turn to the Christian History magazine and remember God’s faithfulness. He also hoped the periodical would keep the awakened community from fracturing, encourage recent converts, and perhaps even prompt a few new ones. Whether or not the Boston pastor succeeded in all his aims, we are indebted this progenitor of evangelical publishing, who inspired generations of journalist/historians to support the church by documenting the gospel’s progress.

“Where there had been no specifically evangelical periodical publication in the first forty years of the [eighteenth] century,” Susan [Durden] O’Brien observes, “by the last forty years such literature had become a normal means of communication and propagation for several denominations.”

Writing in the first issue, published on March 5, 1743, editor Thomas Prince Jr. told readers what they could expect. New England ministers would submit authentic, trustworthy accounts of the contemporary revival. He planned to publish extracts from the “most remarkable” revival stories in history. He solicited revival narratives from ministers in England and Scotland. And he excerpted letters between pastors from various locales, anywhere from Scotland to Georgia. This correspondence provided readers with the most reliable, recent news from the awakening’s front lines.

The first seven issues of the weekly magazine shared news from the contemporary Kilsyth revival in Scotland. “As cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country: So Solomon observed in his day; and so we find it in ours,” Prince wrote in his editor’s preface. Indeed, revival leaders thrived on exchanging mutually encouraging reports across the Atlantic. They also exchanged strategies for defending the awakening. Like his allies in America, Scottish minister James Robe attacked the revival’s critics head-on. It’s not clear how many critics read this pro-revival magazine, but Robe gave them something to chew on. Critics regarded the crowds as deluded by the Devil, so Robe asked how ministers should respond. The crowds were approaching ministers confessing their immoral behavior and asking, “What must I do to be saved?” Should they turn the crowds away, telling them the Devil makes them see their sin as offensive to God? Or should they explain that Satan leads them to inquire about the state of their souls and seek relief from Christ? Of course, such a response would be cruel and ridiculous, Robe implied.

Prince ceased publication in 1745. But the legacy of the Christian History endures in name and also in the spirit of bringing evangelicals together to testify about what the Lord has done.

“Journals like Prince’s brought international evangelicalism to an important new stage,” Mark Noll writes in The Rise of Evangelicalism. “Revivalistic Calvinism was becoming a public matter, and in so doing was beginning to blur its boundaries with others in the English-speaking world who were uncertain about Calvinism abut nonetheless dedicated to revival. Evangelical self-consciousness increased measurably as articles from magazines were circulated, read publicly and reprinted in other papers.”

Source: The First Evangelical Magazine by Collin Hansen, Chritian History blog, February 9, 2010 at http://goo.gl/oFdS

GRAVE DANGERS ARE UPON US

March 24th, 2010

The ongoing loss of our identity as a Christian nation brings with it grave dangers. The Age of Enlightenment, a philosophical movement of the 18th century that emphasized the use of reason to re-evaluate previously accepted doctrines and traditions, set the foundation for the rationalistic reasoning that taints everything today. Simply put, it created man as a god to himself – self-sufficient and self-reliant. It removes God as the Creator and Sovereign Lord over all, and thus man answers to no one but himself.

This loss of our identity as a Christian nation did not come as an avalanche but as a gradual erosion introduced by the philosophies and practices of state-ism and secularism. State-ism and secularism are the enemies of Christianity. State-ism is the principle or policy of using extensive economic and political controls in the operations of a state or nation. When the government operates in such a fashion it makes choices for the citizens rather than by the citizens. And although the byproduct is often attractive social services, the result is always a loss of personal liberty. State-ism believes the government is sovereign. Secularism is a system of political or social philosophy that rejects all forms of religious faith and worship. Secularists hold the view that public education and other matters of civil policy should be conducted without the introduction of a religious element. The growing and pervasive doctrines of State-ism and Secularism in our nation have introduced an expanding federal government that goes far beyond the powers granted it by the founding Constitution of the United States. It is developing an age of entitlement that brings the people of our land to depend on the government for their life, health and welfare. These are directly opposite our founding father’s establishment of this nation. Entitlement translates to socialism. The danger is that the government in this process becomes our source of life – our god. When we accept such ideals we willingly grant the leaders of such a government much greater powers than any human should hold, to the point of deciding what is good for us – what is right and wrong for us. Such power belongs solely to God. Christianity simply does not fit into the outworking of State-ism or Secularism, thus, in the age of supposed enlightenment, those who practice the same revile it. American Christianity is in a battle for its life.

It is important to understand the place we are at today to enable ourselves to understand the importance of our nation’s foundation and beliefs. History has been rewritten for years to eradicate Christianity and the name of Jesus Christ. We, our generation of American Christians, are left with the task of preserving the ideals our founders lived and died for. The American Christian Heritage Group is working to proclaim the truth of our American Christian heritage. So that generations to follow might know fully the graciousness of God through time guiding and blessing America.

As we continue to educate through publishing our country’s Christian history, we want to encourage you to exercise your God given freedoms towards building upon and maintaining that heritage. And, if you believe in this and want to help we would appreciate hearing from you. There are many ways you can help; telling others about our web site and blog is most important. Contributions such as historical research and sourcing of information, suggestions of articles, and financial aid are some of the ways you could help.

God bless you for standing on the truth given us by the Lord Jesus Christ and the Judeo-Christian ideals left to us by our nation’s founders.

Send us e-mail at info@acheritagegroup.org

Visit the American Christian Heritage Group web site at http://www.acheritagegroup.org/
Source: Mark R. Levin, Liberty and Tyranny, A Conservative Manifesto, Simon & Shuster Threshold Editions, 2009

LATER DECLARATIONS OF USA AS A CHRISTIAN NATION

March 23rd, 2010

We’ve read about John Quincy Adams and his oration to Newburyport on July 4th, 1837. He declared that our country was founded by Divine predestination and we were a nation of Cristians. And, he boldly declared that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon the earth. These are clear and powerful statements by the sixth President of the United States.

That understanding has continued throughout the years and been reaffirmed by previous Presidents. President Woodrow Wilson delivered an address on “The Bible and Progress” in Denver, Colorado on May 7, 1911. He stated,

“America was born a Christian nation. America was born to exemplify that devotion to the elements of righteousness which are derived from the revelations of Holy Scripture.” [1]

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in a mid-Atlantic summit with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill during World War II, described the United States as “the lasting concord between men and nations, founded on the principles of Christianity.” He then asked the crew on their warship to join him in a rousing chorus of the hymn, “Onward Christian Soldiers”.

President Harry Truman in writing Pope Pius XII in 1947 stated, “This is a Christian nation.” [2]

Jimmy Carter, as a Presidential candidate told reporters in 1976 that “We have a responsibility to try to shape government so that it does exemplify the will of God.” [3]

[1] The Papers of Woodrow Wilson, ed. Arthur S. Link, 57 volumes, (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1966), 23:12-20. Quoted in Richard V. Pierard and Robert D. Linder, Civil Religion and the Presidency, Zondervan 1988, 153
[2] Larry Witham, “‘Christian Nation’ Now Fighting Words,” The Washington Times, November 23, 1992, A1
[3] Richard G. Hutcheson, Jr., God in the White House: How Religion Has Changed the Modern Presidency (New York: Macmillan, 1998) 1

JOHN QUINCY ADAMS JULY 4TH ORATION

March 23rd, 2010

Introduction

”]John Quincy Adams (July 11, 1767 – February 23, 1848) was the sixth President of the United States from March 4, 1825, to March 4, 1829. He was also an American diplomat and served in both the Senate and House of Representatives. He was a member of the Federalist, Democratic-Republican, National Republican, and later Anti-Masonic and Whig parties. Adams was the son of President John Adams and his wife Abigail Adams. The name “Quincy” came from Abigail’s maternal grandfather, Colonel John Quincy, after whom Quincy, Massachusetts is also named.

Adams is best known as a diplomat who shaped American’s foreign policy in line with his deeply conservative and ardently nationalist commitment to America’s republican values. More recently he has been portrayed as the exemplar and moral leader in an era of modernization when new technologies and networks of infrastructure and communication brought to the people messages of religious revival, social reform, and party politics, as well as moving goods, money and people ever more rapidly and efficiently. [1]

A little known oration was delivered to the people of Newburyport, Massachusetts on July 4th that is amazing as to the clear statements of United States being a nation of Christians founded by Divine Providence. As Presidfent of the Unites he even declared that the United States was predestined according to God’s plan and quotes scriptures throughout his oration. Here in part is the opening of his oration and an isolated statement from another section of the oration. Check the references to read the entire oration.

The Oration

AN Oration Delivered Before the Inhabitants of the Town of Newburyport, At Their Request On The Sixty-First Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, July 4th, 1837.

” Say ye not, A Confedfcracy, to all them to whom this people shall say
A Confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid.” Isaiah 8:12.

Why is it, Friends and Fellow Citizens, that you are here assembled? Why is it, that, entering upon the sixty-second year of our national existence, you have honored with an invitation to address you from this place, a fellow citizen of a former age, bearing in the records of his memory, the warm and vivid affections which attached him, at the distance of a full half century, to your town, and to your forefathers, then the cherished associates of his youthful days? Why is it that, next to the birth day of the Saviour of the World, your most joyous and most venerated festival returns on this day? — And why is it that, among the swarming myriads of our population, thousands and tens of thousands among us, abstaining, under the dictate of religious principle, from the commemoration of that birthday of Him, who brought life and immortality to light, yet unite with all their brethren of this community, year after year, in celebrating this, the birthday of the nation?

Is it not that, in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Saviour? 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 Redeemer’s mission upon earth? That it laid the corner stone of human “government upon the first precepts of Christianity, and gave to the world the first irrevocable pledge of the fulfilment of the prophecies, announced directly from Heaven at the birth of the Saviour and predicted by the greatest of the Hebrew prophets six hundred years before ?

And, in another section, President Adams stated:

The United States of America were no longer Colonies. They were an independent Nation of Christians, recognizing the general principles of the European law of nations. [1] [2]

[1] John Quincy Adams, http://goo.gl/TgkY
[2] Oration at Newburyport by Honorable John Quincy Adams, a Google digital book; http://goo.gl/igdW
[3] See also http://goo.gl/GlbQ for a full text of this oration and http://goo.gl/fBOD

GOD WHO GAVE US LIFE GAVE US LIBERTY

March 21st, 2010

If you take a trip to the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C., you will see panels inscribed with quotes by Jefferson. These are things that he wrote, and now are literally shouted from the rooftops at this memorial.

Jefferson Memorial

One panel reads in part:

God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever.

It comes from two different writings by Jefferson, and you can find the original quotes below. But in both works, he makes it clear that he believed our liberty comes from God. He isn’t even particularly talking about religion. He’s discussing slavery, commerce and taxing and regulations. But God was such a part of how Jefferson saw life, it affected his worldview immensely and that naturally flowed into his understanding of other matters of life such as commerce.

Note these things from this panel of quotes:
• God gave us life
• God gave us liberty
• Can a nation expect to keep liberties if the only firm thing they are based on—that these liberties are the gift of God—is taken away?
• Jefferson knows God is just and that there will be a judgment—and that made him tremble
• Implicit in that thought is the idea that we may draw God’s wrath if these liberties—given as a great gift and blessing by God—are misused, changed, infringed, defied, abused, broken, damaged, despoiled, ruined, encroached upon or not respected—That they are not to be violated but with his wrath?
• In fact, that is what Jefferson actually originally said in that phrase on the panel, which shortened the quote. He said, “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 the gift of 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: that his justice cannot sleep for ever . . .

It is no wonder that when Thomas Jefferson authored the Declaration of Independence, that a part of it included that we were given certain rights by our Creator.

____________________________________________
End Notes:
Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello; the official website of Jefferson’s home, museum, library and archives. http://www.monticello.org/reports/quotes/memorial.html

The two original Jefferson quotes in their entirety:
“For in a warm climate, no man will labour for himself who can make another labour for him. This is so true, that of the proprietors of slaves a very small proportion indeed are ever seen to labor. 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 the gift of 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: that his justice cannot sleep for ever . . . .”
— Thomas Jefferson, in Notes on the State of Virginia

“But let them [members of the parliament of Great Britain] not think to exclude us from going to other markets to dispose of those commodities which they cannot use, or to supply those wants which they cannot supply. Still less let it be proposed that our properties within our own territories shall be taxed or regulated by any power on earth but our own. The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them.”
–Thomas Jefferson, in A Summary View of the Rights of British America

GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY IN OUR NATION

March 18th, 2010

The Federalist Papers Vol I

The Federalist Papers were written and published during the years 1787 and 1788 in several New York State newspapers to persuade New York voters to ratify the proposed constitution.

In total, the Federalist Papers consist of 85 essays outlining how this new government would operate and why this type of government was the best choice for the United States of America. All of the essays were signed “PUBLIUS” and the actual authors of some are under dispute, but the general consensus is that Alexander Hamilton wrote 52, James Madison wrote 28, and John Jay contributed the remaining five.

The Federalist Papers remain today as an excellent reference for anyone who wants to understand the U.S. Constitution. [1]

In essence, these papers reveal a depth of understanding human nature, its depravity and contentions and the necessity to find unity to bring about a Constitution for our new country. These series of essays explained and defended the Constitution.

Paper Number 20 was titled as a continuation of Paper Number 15, “The Insufficiency of the Present to Preserve the Union”, was written by Hamiliton. Paper Number 20 was written by Madison with Hamilton. At one point, like taking a deep breath, they expressed the difficulties of getting agreement on the Constitution. Then, they wrote this:

“Let us pause, my fellow-citizens, for one moment over this melancholy and monitory lesson of history; and with the tear that drops for the calamities brought on mankind by their adverse opinions and selfish passions, let our gratitude mingle an ejaculation to Heaven for the propitious concord which has distinguished the consultations for our political happiness.”

Later, in Paper Number 37, titled “Concerning the Difficulties of the Convention in Devising a Proper Form of Government”, Madison says this:

“It is imposible for the man of pious reflection not to perceive in it a finger of that Almighty hand which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the revolution.” [2]

In the great battle of secularists attempting to tear apart the argument of our being a Christian nation, they often attack the very beliefs of the founding fathers and others. They point out that they were mostly Freemasons and Deists. Unfortunately, due to their own ignorance and lack of understanding spiritual matters, they do not see or recognize that God’s sovereignty rules over men. The one common thread among many of our founding fathers is they, regardless of their personal belief system, did recognize and aknowledge God and His sovereignty over men.

The Federalists Papers explains the complexities of a constitutional government, its political structure and principles based on the inherent rights of man. We highly recommend you read these to learn more. See Footnote 2 below.

[1] http://www.foundingfathers.info/federalistpapers/
[2] As quoted in The Federalists Papers, edited by Clinton Rossitrer with an Introduction and Notes by Charles R. Kesler; Signet Classic, New American Library, 2003 [Based on the original McLean edition of 1788]