Just thought I’d share some quotes from some of our founding Fathers, these are from a booklet I received in church last Sunday called In God We Still Trust by Dr. Richard G. Lee.

Some of these I’m sure are familiar, like this well know quote from Patrick Henry (1736-1799), famous for the “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech, who at the time was the Governor of Virginia when he expounded how our nation was founded.

It cannot be emphasized too clearly and too often that this nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Imagine if a Governor said that today.  Most politicians rarely refer directly to Jesus Christ (regardless of party), rather than Christianity it seems like an American civil religion is promoted instead.  The name of Jesus isn’t politically correct.

Benjamin Rush (1745-1813), signer of the Declaration of Independence, proclaimed what his only hope of salvation was… and it wasn’t the government, or this new nation that he helped to found.

My only hope of salvation is in the infinite, transcendent love of God manifested to the world by the death of His Son upon the cross.  Nothing but His blood will wash away my sins.  I rely exclusively upon it.  Come, Lord Jesus!  Come quickly!

And then, John Hancock (1737-1793), signer of the Declaration of Independence and first Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, along with John Adams (1735-1826), who would later become the 2nd President of the United States, responded on April 18, 1775 to a British Major who told them to disperse in the name of George the sovereign King of England by saying:

We recognize no sovereign but God, and no King but Jesus!

Amen!

7 comments
  1. “The religion of Jesus Christ” centers on justification by grace, for Christ’s sake, through faith. Neither that doctrine nor Jesus Himself is mentioned in our founding documents. There is only the deistic
    “nature and nature’s God” of Jefferson, Franklin, and the other freethinkers who were more prominent among the Founders than this handful of Christians.

    Nations do not believe in Jesus. People do. We would be well advised to abandon the historically dishonest and theologically indefensible attempt to present American as that mythological creature, the “Christian country.”

    Jesus did not come as merely another Lawgiver;we have Moses and the wisdom of the ages for that. He came to save souls. And God instituted neither nation nor government for that purpose.

    1. @Rev. Robert Waters, Yes I know that the Gospel centers on justification by grace shown by Christ’s vicarious death upon the cross and His resurrection. If you read through my blog you’ll see that I don’t need an explanation of the Gospel. Please point to where I said that it was the government’s job to save souls? Benjamin Rush would certainly agree with you.

      Also your pointing to deistic and freethinkers being more prominent is historically inaccurate. Sorry, simply not true. But that really wasn’t my point.

      My contention is that many, at least these three, were followers of Christ.

      I wasn’t making a contention that we should be a theocracy, but that we do have Christian roots, insomuch as many of our founders were Christian.

      So with your last point we are in agreement. I just don’t believe that government should be hostile either. Nor do people have to shed their faith in the public square.

      Also I have a lot of pastors who comment (of which I was one, but I’m currently in parachurch ministry) here that don’t feel the need to point out they’re ordained. It really doesn’t make your comment any more credible. Just a pet peeve of mine. You shouldn’t need a title.

      1. @Shane Vander Hart – good dialog with the Rev.. I agree with your sentiments on titles (http://redeemed.kansasbob.com/2006/02/on-rabbis-monsignors-pastors.html).. please don’t call me Pastor Bob 🙂

        I think that it is a mistake to use the word Judeo-Christian when we describe America. We are a nation like Israel based on law. But unlike Judaism Christianity is not about the law. I think that using terms like Judeo-Christian confuses what it means to be Christian and creates a culture of Christianity where people are comfortable being cultural Christians and not really people of faith.

        All that said I have to say how much I enjoyed your post.. it was a breath of fresh air for all those folks that say the founders were all Deists.

        Happy Sunday Brother!!
        .-= Kansas Bob´s last blog ..Friendly Thoughts =-.

  2. Then I’ll leave off the “Reverend,” endorse the notion that American civil religion is in fact a rival of Christianity rather than an expression of it… and ask in what sense American can be described as a Christian country. Certainly the quotations you cite from the Christian Founders raise questions as to exactly what it would mean for any government to be founded on “the Christian religion.” Governments are not founded on the doctrine of justification, nor is justification their concern.

    It’s not a matter of my explaining to you what the Gospel is; I assumed that you knew that. It’s a matter of pointing out the difference between “Christian” and merely “decent.” As Paul points out in Romans 1, the Law is written on the human heart. It’s common ground between the Christian and the decent pagan- as well as the Muslim, the Jew, and the Hindu. This raises the question once again as to how a government, as a government, can be specifically Christian.

    I do think that if you research the matter you will see that athiest John Madison, Deist Tom Jefferson, and Freethinker Ben Franklin were in fact more representative of the Founders than the Christians you mentioned. While there were a handful of Christians among them, as a matter of historical fact they were comparatively few of them. The state of affairs you suggest is a piece of historical revisionism that just doesn’t accord with the facts.

    I realize that you’re not advocating a theocracy. But you are advancing a kind of urban legend about our nation’s origins. Even Christians like George Washington were considerably less than orthodox in their theology.
    .-= Robert Waters´s last blog ..The Bears didn’t play today ! =-.

    1. @Robert Waters, Ok, you mention three, and I agree with you that they were not Christian. However, all three would today be a nightmare for the ACLU as at least Jefferson and Madison did and advocated for things the ACLU would declare unconstitutional.

      Again, I am not calling our government Christian, or even calling our nation a Christian nation. I would claim that we were a nation founded largely by Christians. I would say that you are the one who is being revisionist.

      Here is a website that lists the religious backgrounds of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation and U.S. Constitution – very few Deists and Unitarians, most of the signers were Protestant with the highest percentage being Episcopalian – http://www.adherents.com/gov/Founding_Fathers_Religion.html.

      Also see – http://www.wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?id=78

      Were they perfect men, certainly not, but were the majority Christian, I can’t see how that can be disputed historically.

      Also an article on George Washington you may find interesting – http://www.wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?id=127. I’m not vouching for his theology though.

Comments are closed.

Get CT In Your Inbox!

Don't miss a single update.

You May Also Like

What On Your Christmas List?

I posted this last year, and had to repost it.  The guys…

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: No End to This Glorious Message of the Cross

From D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) in The Cross: God’s Way of Salvation:…

John Owen: Love Like No Other

John Owen, in his sermon “Gospel Charity” said regarding the love that…

Nationalism or Fascism? The Rise of Europe’s New Right

“Is the rise of nationalism in Europe foreshadowing a return of fascism? John Gustavsson makes a case for nationalism and explains why this is not the case.