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IS AMERICA A CHRISTIAN NATION?



Posted: 05/27/08

Is America a Christian Nation?

By Shane Idleman

As we answer this question, it's important not to begin with the Declaration of Independence era (1776) as some do. For example, many point out, and rightly so, that some of the Framers of the Constitution were "religious" but not Christians. They use this argument to suggest that America was not founded on Christian principles, and that many of the founding documents in the late 1700s supported a broad range of views and beliefs rather than Christian doctrine. However, America's roots were established much earlier. 

To adequately evaluate America's heritage, we must turn back time hundreds of years before 1776 when the seeds of our political system were being planted. The Pilgrims and Puritans, deeply committed to the Judeo-Christian faith and strongly influenced by Christian principles, emerged when the religious climate in Europe changed in the early 1500s. This was a time when many Christians returned to the authority of God's Word and the purity of biblical doctrine. These two groups eventually arrived in America in the early 1600s. Their prayers, journals, and writings, such as the Mayflower Compact, indicate that their intent was the furtherance of the good news (Gospel) of Christ and His teachings. Therefore, we must draw the conclusion that America was influenced greatly by the Judeo-Christian faith and the Bible.

With that said, I'm hesitant to label America a "Christian nation." Christians are followers of Christ, whereas a nation is a group of people who share a common identity, and often, a common origin. Some of the founders, such as Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, were not considered Christians. For this reason, America was not a Christian nation in the sense that every citizen or Founder was a Christian or was required to be one, but America is often labeled a Christian nation because her foundation was built on biblical principles and Christian character.

Newsweek magazine, on December 27, 1982, in an article entitled, How the Bible Made America, made this revealing statement, "historians are discovering that the Bible, perhaps even more than the Constitution, is our Founding document." Undoubtedly, the Bible is the solid rock upon which our republic rests. For those who doubt this and believe that statements in the Declaration of Independence such as "the laws of nature and of nature's God" were products of the enlightenment, deism, or secularism, you may want to read quotes from founders such as Alexander Hamilton, Noah Webster, John Jay, William Findley, Rufus King, and James Wilson. All attested to the fact that "the laws of nature and of nature's God" refer to laws given by God Himself. John Quincy Adams stated that the phrase assumes the existence of a God, the moral ruler of the universe, and a rule of right and wrong. As a matter of fact, if a proposed article for the Constitution was not supported by, or rooted in the Bible, it was not considered. In their early writings, many of the Founding Fathers quoted or referenced the Bible nearly four times more than any other source.8 No enlightenment, deism, or secularism here-only God and His Word.

This excerpt was taken from ONE NATION 'ABOVE' GOD, 2008 by El Paseo Publications (www.elpaseopublications.com); Shane cane be reached at Shaneidleman@roadrunner.com.

 


8 John Quincy Adam's quote can be found in The Jubilee of the Constitution (New York: Published by Samuel Colman, 1839), pp. 13-14. The reference for the Bible's influence on the Founders can be found in Donald Lutz's work, The Origins of American Constitutionalism, (Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 1988), p. 141. Additionally, see David Barton's book, The Role of Pastors & Christians in civil government, (WallBuilders, Inc. 2003), p.17.

Distributed by www.worldviewweekend.com

By Shane Idleman

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Disclaimer: Worldview Weekend, Christian Worldview Network and its columnists do not necessarily endorse or agree with every opinion expressed in every article posted on this site. We do however, encourage a healthy and friendly debate on the issues of our day. Whether you agree or disagree, we encourage you to post your feedback by using the feedback button.

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READER FEEDBACK


Short Answer
Posted On: 05/29/08 03:54:37 PM Age 40, NH
No. Grace and Peace, Jim



CHOOSE JESUS CHRIST
Posted On: 05/29/08 01:17:36 PM Age 64, OH
The DofI was based on the writings of John Locke who has this on his tombstone: "Of good life, you have an example in the gospel". The DofI refers to The Creator which is Jesus Christ. These principles in the DofI were principles that were taken from the Bible that was written by The Lord Jesus. There is no other religion that holds to these principles, except that of the Bible of the Lord Jesus. The Pilgrims were the foundation of this nation and they based their whole life and government on knowing the Lord Jesus. Was Israel a nation that was faithful to God, of course not. But Israel was a nation founded by God. Is this nation faithful to Jesus Christ, of course not. But this nation was founded by The Lord Jesus Christ through Christians and for Christians. We can read in the Bible what happened to the people who lead Israel away form The Lord. The same thing will happen to those who lead this nation away from the Lord Jesus. We need to choose this day which group we will join; those who lead our nation to Jesus Christ or those who lead it away. Lou

religious pluralism
Posted On: 05/28/08 02:16:02 PM Age 21, MN
The religious language in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution was fairly vague and pluralistic. I believe the only references to Jesus Christ were in the personal writings of the Founding Fathers. All the language used in legal documents were very vague, and only assumed the existence and supremacy of some Creator deity. These documents did not the contain the dividing concept between Christianity and all other religions, and that is Jesus Christ. -Dan Smith



Exactly!
Posted On: 05/28/08 11:07:22 AM Age 35, CA
Shane is right on and his research is excellent. Me must redeem this nation throught the use of historical documents as well as bringing out the truth of God's word. All other sources are subjective and relative to their authors preconceived ideologies. Nice job Shane

Is the U.S. Constitution the highest law of the land?
Posted On: 05/28/08 09:24:08 AM Age 61, MO
Article Six of the Constitution says: "This Constitution, and the laws of the U.S. which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under authority of the U.S., shall be the supreme law of the land; and judges in every state shall be bound thereby." This is what the framers wrote, but the following quote from John Q. Adams is closer to what they were thinking: "Our political way of life is by the laws of nature, of nature's God, and of course presupposes the existence of God, the moral ruler of the universe, and a rule of right and wrong, of just and unjust, binding upon man, preceding all institutions of human society and of government." Either God's natural law is the highest law or the Constitution is. It can't be both. "No man can serve two masters." In the early days of America the existence of a Higher Law was taken for granted. Most people knew about the Higher Law because their ministers taught them about it. The founders didn't think to word Article Six as carefully as they should have, because they didn't dream that the whole world would someday return to the arbitrary legal system of the stone age. George Cancilla



Never was!
Posted On: 05/28/08 06:41:53 AM Age 45, PA
There is no such thing as a christian nation, or even a christian church. There is only the small number of the elect surrounded by millions of unregenerate church people. America's religion is idolitry, call it capitolism, Americanism, churchianity, the entertainment capitol of the world, or a disgusting mixture of all four.

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