We all know the story about the Founding Fathers crafting together the Declaration of Independence. They tried until they tried out, to live in harmony with the British Empire. But being nice and trying to get along just was not cutting it. The abuses of King George were cruel and sometimes bordered on insanity. More and more, the British Empire wanted to take advantage of the prosperity the growing population of New England were achieving through hard labor and thrift. The concept of the freedom to prosper, live for their own sake and freely worship God without the Anglican church telling people to seek God their way or the highway.
To many of the Founders and settlers alike, the freedom to seek true liberty through Jesus Christ was as important, in fact more important than the other unalienable rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights. They understood that both true Liberty and freedom are derived from liberty in Christ and inspiration from the word of God. It is what gave them the principles and moral fortitude to introduce a Constitutionally limited republic. The one mistake in Judgement they made was to believe that Americans would always seek to understand and protect our unique and wonderful nation.
The Declaration of Independence was written as a proclamation to the world of their reasons for separating from England. Though the founders did not know it at the time, what they through Providential guidance started here in America was to be a shining example for other nations to adopt to liberate themselves from the shackles of tyranny, lack and false religions. The Founders were discouraged to learn about British government plans to obliterate their Christian faith which included a belief in a direct one on one relationship with their creator. They were prepared to defend ‘the laws of nature and of nature’s God” words that define the principle upon which the Founders stood.
The laws of nature were understood to mean the will of God for man as revealed to man’s reason. However, because man has fallen and his reason does not always properly comprehend this law, God gave his law in the Bible to make it absolutely clear. Thus, it was the churches that became the primary source that stirred the roaring fires of Liberty, telling the colonists that the English government was usurping their God-given rights, and the King and Parliament were violating the laws of God.
It was the New England Ministers in particular, who were decisive in rallying the popular moral support for war against the British Crown. They energetically pressed their congregations to overthrow King George because they believed that rebellion to tyrants was obedience to God. From pulpits throughout the land, ministers recruited troops and strengthened them in battle with patriotic sermons. We could certainly benefit from having more brave ministers today, but greater details about that in an upcoming column and pages from The Edwards Notebook radio commentary.
While church leaders were well schooled in the fact that the Bible place emphasis on due submission to civil authorities (Romans 13), they noted there are also many passages that approve resistance to ungodly authority. For instance, when the apostles were commanded by the Sanhedrin to cease preaching that Jesus Christ had risen from the dead, Peter boldly asserted: “We ought to obey God rather than man” (Acts 5:29). There fore it is no coincidence that one of the watchwords of the American revolution was “No King but King Jesus.” For most of the patriots, their faith gave them the courage to stand on God’s word and risk their lives and properties to break the tyranny of an unjust human authority. In their Christian world view, obedience to God took precedence over country or government, and their primary allegiance was to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thus, it was through their obedience and allegiance to God that the Founding fathers, not only wrestled their newly formed republic from the bullying British, but through God’s grace and promise formed a more perfect union. Today “We the People” are blessed with the framework and widow of opportunity to reestablish and build upon the great vision of one nation under God with Liberty and Justice for all. I for one believe we together will make America greater than ever before. Truly, the American Declaration of Independence is much more than simply freedom from England. God Bless you, God Bless America and May America Bless God.
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