More letters from pastors and others regarding issues raised on this “Separation of Church and State Law” blog
Copyright © April 18, 2013
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Complete listing of articles on “Separation of Church and State Law” blog
The following is a complete list (with links) to prior publications of letters concerning this blog. Notice the article Letters from Pastors Regarding Hyles/Schaap and Other Articles which was published September 9, 2010, not long after the 2010 Hyles/Schaap articles were published.):
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Contents of this article:
Note. A “+” represents a supportive letter, a “-” a negative letter
II. (+) Letter No. 1 and my reply (From a pastor in the Philippines regarding the website and some Philippine church matters)
III. (+) Letter No. 2 and my reply (Insights of an x-member of First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana)
IV. (+)Letter No. 3 and my reply (Concerning Internal Revenue Code § 508 status for churches)
V. (+)Letter No. 4 and my reply (Letter criticizing the publication of the article Jack Schaap, First Baptist of Hammond, Heresy and Apostasy)
VI. (+) Letter No. 5 (Pastor Mark Manzoni comments on Pastor Jason Cooley’s message “Whose Church Is It Anyway?)
VII. (-) Letter No. 6 and my reply (Criticizing me for being critical of Jack Schaap)
VIII. (+) Letter No. 7 and my reply (Commenting on the website)
IX. (-) Letter No. 8 (Letter attacking me and my article Jack Schaap, First Baptist of Hammond, Heresy and Apostasy)
IX. Information on books by Jerald Finney including links to online previews of two of his books.
X. Links to IRS Laws (Some of these links may no longer work. If so, you can use Google to find the laws)
This article presents more e-mails from pastors and others with their comments, concerns, and questions concerning articles on this blog, and my replies to those e-mails. These e-mail letters not only raise important questions which need to be addressed, but also give insights into the thoughts of pastors and other believers and non-believers.
II. Letter No. 1 received April 17, 2013 (From a pastor in the Philippines regarding the website and some Philippine church matters)
Thanks for educating the readers like me about the real principle in separation of Church and state. I learned that our Philippine constitution is pattern to USA constitution. But the Roman Catholic is would like to dominate and benefits the programs of our government. Requiring us Baptist Church and Pastors to submit to the governments when it comes to our Christian school. I started to stand that educating the children both those in our church and from outside that wanted our Christian system of education is our constitutional rights and it is part of our faith and practices so the government should respect it. There is ongoing debate Davao City Counsel concerning our right to have Christian school.
My Reply to Letter No. 1 on April 18, 2013
Thanks for your comment and thanks for taking a stand in the Phillippines! It is encouraging to hear from someone outside the U.S.
Brother Jerald Finney
III. Letter No. 2 received on April 16, 2013 (Insights of an x-member of First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana)
Dear Brother you put into words what i was actually trying to convey. I am just SKEPTICAL after being told by a Reverand that i had plenty of time to be saved. Now i credit a Deacon at FBC for showing me that thou knowest not the day nor the hour when thy Lord cometh. Today is the day now is the time for thy salvation. So FBC indeeed led some souls to the Lord, just not through any QUICK PRAYERISM.
Then later being FOOLED by the likes of Dave Hyles and others. Now I had always wondered why the Hyles children was always kept in secret, sort of out of the public eye. It wasn’t until i was a member of Dave Hyles Miller Road Baptist Church in Garland that the Hyles house of cards started to fall. It was then that i started getting some REAL answers. Later i got a hold of Dr. Cloud and some of his e-mails. Then later Dr. Dixon, Joey Faust, yourself, and Pastor Cooley. I grieve over the facts as they came out. Just as the office of the Presidency has been abused so has the pulpits of america. Which is FAR MORE IMPORTANT. The Bible speaks of hirelings.
I know quite a few soul winners have fallen also. We just aren’t here to be followers of Paul or Appolos as the Bible declares. What people think about the pulpits of America is more disgraceful now than the office of the Presidency. II. Chronicles 7:14 If MY PEOPLE, which are called by MY NAME, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek MY FACE, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I HEAR from Heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Psalms 118:8 It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. Psalms 146:3 Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. Jerimiah 17:5 Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusted in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. The more i reread the scriptures the more my heart is broken for this country. My hope is BUILT on nothingless than Jesus blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but WHOLLY lean on Jesus name. No not even the tea party is gonna get us out of this. It will take the KING of KINGS! I do not intend on fighting or quabbleing with fellow brethren. I shall continue to tell others about Jesus, just as i did when i went to jail twice. For inside or outside i will spread the gospel as the Bible says to do. Matthew tells us of Pastors who scatter the flocks. We have seen through Jack Schaap what the Lord WILL DO! As in Acts 5:11 WOW! If i had not been through so much heresy as with the first reverand then with so called pastors later i may not be so Skeptical of who to give any certain amount of honor to. For fear it may again continue on into man worship. I will let the Lord lead in that part of my life as he did in getting me out of FBC in 1981.
Thank you for your e-mail, please understand i am just being cautious. In Feb. there was a lot of preachers praising FBC and saying how it is the best Church in the world. And yet the Church has not repented nor the deacons for bringing Christ to public reproach. The mockery of Christ and the Bible was bad enough without FBC adding fuel to the fire. Titus 2:5,8 Titus 2:10 I. Timothy 3:7 2nd. Samuel 12:14
I let that reverand tell many other little boys and girls that they have plenty of time to get saved without even getting a chance to rebuke him accordingly. So naturally i am upset over the continuance of similar heresies in our own camps grossly ignored. I shall continue to pray and let the Lord lead.
Sincerely In Christ Brother ___________________
The brother above later sent another e-mail (after my reply below):
With my FULL PERMISSION! And without RESERVATION! I had thought about including my name, but i am already EXPERIENCING great battles from FORMER FBC and FBC and H.A.C. people. Some of whom i am RELATED to. I am outspoken and opinonated but try to be Biblical about such matters. I CERTAINLY INCLUDE myself in II. Chronicles 7:14 because i am only a SINNER saved by grace and no better than anyone else. Perhaps the Chief among sinners. The Bible says ALL we like sheep have gone astray. Everyone has turned their own way. I fall and with the help of my Lord i rise again. Isn’t it WONDERFUL to have such a Heavenly Father to turn to?
What REALLY UPSETS me is the failure of repentance! The facts that Schaap had written such vulgar books without remorse and then turning against the God of the Bible! Denying the POWER thereof. The Bible is VERY CLEAR on such matters! He ACTUALLY said the Bible has 22 thousand errors and then turned around and said it is mostly correct. You cannot have it both ways or partial ways. The FACTS remain that FBC is 501c3 worships the god of money/mammon and did NOTHING to stop Schaap from the very begining.
My Reply on April 18, 2013
Dear Bro. __________,
Thanks for your very insightful reply. Especially thanks since you are one former member of FBCH who has the biblical understanding of the matter and the implications.
Amen! I agree with you 100%. It is very vexing to see God’s people behaving without remorse or repentance. The men of FBCH not seeing how they failed. Now lawyers and big-name preachers standing up for FBCH instead of calling for an application of II Chronicles 14. And a double Amen to your insight that [many of the] pulpits of America are more disgraceful than the office of the Presidency.
With your permission I will publish this exchange of e-mails, without identities, of course, unless you inform me that you do not want this published. It will be in an article on letters and my replies.
Keep up the great work for our Lord!
For His Glory,
IV. Letter No. 3 received on April 13, 2013 (Concerning Internal Revenue Code § 508 status for churches)
Greetings and Shabbat Shalom,
I ran across your information and the website while researching information for the 501. Reason is that I stepped out in ministry as led, first with a home group and then within the will of the lord, establishing a congregation/church. I am very curious after researching the 508 section. What I can not figure out, is how the church receives recognition in order to obtain this standing under 508. The IRS recognition appears to be necessary to obtain state exemption as well. Are there forms, as the government is famous for, for the status under 508? Do you have any books or such that outline how to obtain recognition under section 508? How do expenses, salaries and receipts for offerings, tithes, etc be given to members as well as other contributors and then recognized for tax deduction purposes.
I can say, after recently retiring from 23 years of government service in a management position in Law Enforcement, I by no means trust the government and especially under the present administration. I did not particularly like the idea of the 501, but till I saw your information, I did not think there was any other way.
Any information to clarify this would be greatly appreciated.
Thank You for your time and attention,
My Reply to Letter No. 3
Thank you so much for your inquiry. I love you in the Lord. I will succinctly answer your questions. To completely answer your questions requires a treatise. I have written comprehensively on these matters. One can have free access to all my books and writings in both online and PDF form on the “Separation of Church and State Law” blog (jeraldfinney.wordpress.com). Four of the books are now available to be purchased from amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. You can also see the “Books” page of churchandstatelaw.com for ordering information. Sadly, the internet serves as proof that there are many, many uninformed people who will give you their opinions about these matters. Take such opinions for what they are worth.
I am just beginning a free online course that goes through my teachings. I am teaching one chapter at a time, beginning with teaching on the biblical doctrine of government. You can go to that course at http://jeraldfinney.wordpress.com/course/.
To claim 508(c)(1)(A) exemption in at least some cases, and maybe in all cases, puts a church in the same position that they would be in if that church applies for and receives 501(c)(3) status. Some churches are including all the 501(c)(3) requirements in their corporate constitutions or in other church documents in order to claim 508(c)(1)(A) status. They are effectively putting themselves under the civil government, under the 501(c)(3) rules when they do this. By the way, incorporation and any other legal entity status of a church is just as grievous to our Lord as 501(c)(3) status. I cover this completely in my writings and audio teachings.
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is a statement of the biblical principles of separation of church and state, freedom of religion, soul consciousness, free will, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of association, and the right to petition one’s civil government for a redress of grievances. The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights that prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances. A church in America can choose to retain her First Amendment freedoms. The First Amendment protects those churches who wish to remain under God only, mandates that churches can operate without government intervention, protects freedom of conscience, etc. However, the federal government violated the First Amendment and passed section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code, a law which allows a church to voluntarily give up her First Amendment protections. The law is clearly unconstitutional – that is, the law clearly violates the First Amendment. Nonetheless, churches, as they form, ignorantly line up to get their 501(c)(3) status.
Section 501 is a law passed by the federal govenment which, when applied to churches, respects an establisment of religion and prevents the free exercise thereof. 501(a) says: “(a) Exemption from taxation: An organization described in subsection (c) or (d) or section 401 (a) shall be exempt from taxation under this subtitle unless such exemption is denied under section 502 or 503.”
Section 501(c)(3) says: “(c) List of exempt organizations: The following organizations are referred to in subsection (a): (3) Corporations, and any community chest, fund, or foundation, organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary, or educational purposes, or to foster national or international amateur sports competition (but only if no part of its activities involve the provision of athletic facilities or equipment), or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals, no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual, no substantial part of the activities of which is carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting, to influence legislation (except as otherwise provided in subsection (h)), and which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.”
Please notice the rules that are written into 501(c)(3). 501(c)(3) obviously is a law respecting an establishment of religion and which, according to the rules written into the law, “prevents the free exercise thereof.” The Internal Revenue Service added another rule – “may not be illegal or violate fundamental public policy” – which was challenged in court but upheld in the Bob Jones University Case, 461 U.S. 574 (1983) (which is discussed in my writings and audio teachings).
508, like 501(c)(3), is a law passed by the federal government which regards an establishment of religion. If there were no unconstitutional law applicable to churches, 501(c)(3), there would be no need for another unconstitutional law, 508(c)(1)(A) to be applied to churches. Because of the First Amendment which forbade Congress to “make any law respecting an establishment of religion or preventing the free exercise thereof,” and because Congress did just that when it passed 501(c)(3), Congress was left with a dilemma; Congress probably realized that they needed more in order to satisfy the First Amendment. Therefore, instead of repealing 501(c)(3) insofar as it applied to churches, Congress passed 508(c). 508(c) recognizes that churches do not have to get 501(c)(3) status. Why? Because churches are non-taxable under the First Amendment? 508(c) does not say that. 508(c)(1)(A) says that “churches, their integrated auxiliaries, and conventions or associations of churches” are “mandatory exceptions” to the requirement for certain organizations to get 501(c)(3) status. 508(c) gives no reason for stating that church are mandatory exceptions. The natural and logical interpretation of 508(c) would be that the First Amendment mandates that churches cannot be required to get 501(c)(3) status; that is, churches are non-taxable because of the First Amendment. The First Amendment says that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment or religion, or preventing the free exercise thereof.” Since both 501(c)(3), if applied to churches, and 508(c) are laws respecting an establishment of religion and which prevent the free exercise thereof, both are unconstitutional in their application to churches. I could say much more about this, but I have said enough to show one who thinks seriously that a church should rely on the First Amendment - a statement of the biblical principle of freedom of religion – which protects churches from government power, influence, and interference rather than rely upon the unconsitutional 501(c)(3), as applied to churches, and 508(c) statutes passed by the federal government in spite of First Amendment prohibitions. Thus, I recommend that churches claim First Amendment status as opposed to 508 status. I am sure that the God of this world is highly entertained and that our Lord is grieved by the ignorance of most American preachers and churches concerning these matters.
Why are churches non-taxable? For several reasons. First, as to a church who does not illegally, intentionally, and knowingly give up her First Amendment status, because of the First Amendment. Second, even if the First Amendment did not exist, because a true church (a church whose purpose, organization, goals, and operation is in line with New Testament church doctrine) does not make a profit. Even a business which does not make a profit pays no income taxes. A true church is not a business wholly or partially. A true church cannot operate a business or businesses and still be a true church. A true church does not sell a good or a service. A true church makes sure that all tithes and offerings go to God and His purposes. A true church is not a legal entity and therefore acts in no legal way; for example, a true church does not get insurance, hold property, get a bank account, etc. I cover these matters in great detail in my writings and audio teachings. To get more explanation and information on these matters in a nutshell, click the following link: Quick Reference Guide for Churches Seeking to Organize According to New Testament Guidelines.
The real reason churches seek “tax-exempt” status is because they feel that they need to let people know that tithes, offerings, and gifts will be tax-deductible. Other false reasons are given to justify corporate 501(c)(3) church status. I go over all these matters in my writings. The main thing a believer and a church should understand is that God wishes believers and churches to do things according to the principles He has given us in His Word, no matter what the earthly consequences. Even if one has to pay a sales tax, he should never violate God’s law in order to avoid paying the tax. Which is more important, pleasing God or paying a sales tax? That said, no sales taxes are paid on goods bought by the pastors of the churches I have worked with and who operate totally under God without any connections to civil government.
In order to understand these matters, one first needs to understand the biblical doctrines of government, church, and separation of church and state. Then he needs to understand the American application of the biblical principles. That includes an understanding of the First Amendment, including the history of the Amendment. My resources will save you thousands of hours of study. I am not making available a course of study which will teach the biblical doctrines of government, church, and separation of church and state. I have added the first study segment, with self-test questions. Click the following link to go to that course of study: Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application.
Any local, autonomous New Testament church can honor God, including churches in China, Korea, Iran or the many other nations where there is no religious freedom. However, individuals in non-state churches in those nations will be persecuted, many times murdered. For example, in Korea, there are no open churches and to be found with a Bible or heard saying the name of Jesus means death.
A church anywhere who puts themselves under the civil government in any way grieves our Lord. You see, he is the sovereign of the universe and had made clear that he wants his children and believers to “obey God rather than man.” Of course, an individual and a church should obey his civil government as long as civil government laws are consistent with biblical principles.
Again, I cover this and all related matters in my writings. I cover first the biblical, then the historical and legal information a believer needs to know in order to please God in the organization of one of His local churches. I don’t have time to rewrite my books in this letter. If you are concerned with pleasing God, I humbly suggest that you begin to study these matters in the light of His Word.
May the Lord bless you as you search to please Him.
For His Glory,
V. Letter No. 4 received on April 9, 2013 (Letter criticizing the publication of the article Jack Schaap, First Baptist of Hammond, Heresy and Apostasy)
Jerald…. while I admire your attack on heresy, I think all this should not be aired on the Internet, etc. Why should we air our dirty laundry before the world It just gives more reason (s), or excuses to reject Christ as Lord.
I would like to know why this is being passed around to the world. Is it uplifting or edifying? I think not. I became pastor of my first church at the age of 19, back in 1956. I have pastored in four states, from California to Florida and several in between. Every where I lived we had men who strayed into sin. The best work was done in Scriptural confrontation, discussion, edification, prayer “trying to lift up the fallen”….before we walked away and gave him up to the Devil – on his rejection of our love.
I urge you to stop this castigation before the world, lest it aid others on their trip to Hell.
Dr. ______________________ (retired Baptist minister)
My Reply to Letter No. 4 on April 10, 2013
Dear Dr. ________________________,
I apologize for my short answer, but I have a lot on my plate.
I have already partially answered your questions in my letters link which was on the e-mail you received [Click the following link to go to those letters: Letters from pastors regarding Hyles/Schaap and other articles.]. This is being aired all over the world by the lost. I am representing the Lord Jesus in the way he prescribes in His Word. I am calling for contrite repentance which would include beginning at this point to do things God’s way as churches and believers. The world knows what happened at Hammond and is publishing it widely. The world needs to see mourning and true repentance, not the pride being displayed. That might influence the world to consider the message of the Savior, rather than to disdain His message.
I don’t use humanistic reasoning; rather, I seek to obey our Lord in his mandates to his churches and those who make up the body of his churches.
[You may read another article which I have now linked to in the Jack Schaap, First Baptist of Hammond, Heresy and Apostasy which goes into some detail concerning biblical reasons for publicly publishing articles like mine by clicking the following link: Ignoring the Sin of First Baptist of Hammond.]
May the Lord bless your work for Him.
For His Glory,
Bro. Jerald Finney
VI. Letter No. 5 (Pastor Mark Manzoni comments on Pastor Jason Cooley’s message “Whose Church Is It Anyway?)
Much appreciated receiving your recent email.
Pastor Cooley’s message “Whose Church Is It Anyway” says it so well. [Click here to go to the the Sermon’s page on the Separation of Church and State Blog and scroll down to the sermon.]
A blessed encouragement; I passed it on to some other preachers who would give it a hearty amen.
In the Service LORD.
Fellowship Baptist Church
982 Mendon Road
Cumberland, RI 02864
My Reply to Letter No. 5
Thanks Pastor Manzoni! It is always good to hear from you. I will forward this message to Pastor Jason.
VII. Letter No. 6 received August 9, 2012 (Criticizing me for being critical of Jack Schaap)
Let me ask you a question. Who benefits by you being critical of Jack Schaap? Have you ever thought of that? Even if what you say is true, how does that glorify the Lord Jesus Christ?
While you are exposing the sins of another, you are guilty of sins of your own. The men that you criticize will answer to God. And, besides that, this is a local church discipline matter, not your’s.
Please answer these questions.
My Reply to Letter No. 6 on August 11, 2012
I have answered these questions and many more time and time again through my audio teachings and writings. My answers have always relied upon precepts and directions from the Word of God. The answers are published online at jeraldfinney.wordpress.com [Also, one can refer to my reply to letter no. 4 above for more reasoning and resources.]. I really do not have time to continually repeat my answers. Let me add that among those who have an interest in spiritual matters there are far more who are knowledgable and thankful that someone is doing the work of God as to these matters than there are those who will not and maybe cannot understand truth when presented.
If only more folks would get saved and rally around Christ and his truths, there would be far fewer instances of heresy and its consequences as demonstrated by Jack Schaap and First Baptist of Hammond. There is sanctification and unity in truth.
I am a sinner saved by grace through faith unto good works which God hath ordained that I should walk in them. I deserve hell, but He gave me eternal life.
If you are lost, my prayer is that you will be saved. If you are saved, my prayer is that you will seek the guidance of the Word of God as led by the Holy Spirit in a search for truth.
For His Glory,
Brother Jerald Finney
VIII. Letter No. 7 on July 12, 2012 (Commenting on the website)
I really like your web site!
My Reply to Letter No. 7 on July 13, 2012
Thanks for the encouragement! Posted on July 13, 2012
IX. Letter No. 8 received on August 9, 2012 (Letter attacking me and my article Jack Schaap, First Baptist of Hammond, Heresy and Apostasy)
Please take me off of your mailing list. I am not pro-Dr. Schapp or anti-Dr. Schapp or First Baptist Hammond as far as that is concerned. My concern is that a church and families are hurting. There is no edification in your slander or hate. Go and win someone to the Lord. Go support a missionary. You are not a defender for God’s purpose. I will pray for you and hope that you will remove yourself from this type of correspondence.
My Reply to Letter No. 8 on August 9, 2012
I support missionaries to the tune of $300+ per month and tithe of all that I possess. I have won many to the Lord. I am a faithful member of a Baptist church & have been since salvation in 1981. Etc.
I love you, so I give you truth.
Obviously, you are a spiritual midget. Name calling instead of honesty and biblical analysis is what I detect in your offering. People are hurting because of unchecked heresy by a church and her pastor. Someone is trying, in love, to alert, and spiritual morons distort biblical principles, history, heresy, and apostasy. As a result, far fewer souls are being saved as churches, families, and the nation slide down the slippery slope to hell.
I will continue to do whatever the Lord calls me to do despite unfounded vicious attacks by the unknowledgeable.
I don’t want your prayers because I do not believe they will be heard. You need to get the log out of your eye before attempting to help anyone else.
For His Glory,
Brother Jerald Finney
God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application (Link to preview of God Betrayed): may be ordered from Amazon by clicking the following link: God Betrayed on Amazon.com or from Barnes and Nobel by clicking the following link: God Betrayed on Barnes and Noble. All books by Jerald Finney as well as many of the books he has referenced and read may also be ordered by left clicking “Books” (on the “Church and State Law” website) or directly from Amazon by going to the following links: (1) Render Unto God the Things that Are His: A Systematic Study of Romans 13 and Related Verses (Kindle only); (2) The Most Important Thing: Loving God and/or Winning Souls (Kindle only); (3) Separation of Church and State/God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities? (Link to preview of Separation of Church and State/God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities?) which can also be ordered by clicking the following Barnes and Noble link: Separation of Church and State on Barnes and Noble.
X. Links to Internal Revenue Code Laws
You can read portions of the following Internal Revenue Code laws which pertain to churches and pastors by going to the following site: “Laws Protecting New Testament Churches in the United States: Read Them for Yourself”; or you may read an entire law online by clicking the following links:
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is above all laws including those listed below when a church chooses to remain a totally spiritual entity (does not do something (incorporating, obtaining Internal Revenue Code § 501(c)(3) status, or by becoming a legal entity by some other action) .
1. § 501(c)(3). Exemption from tax on corporations, certain trusts, etc.
2. § 508. Special rules with respect to section 501(c)(3) organizations
3. § 7611. Restrictions on church tax inquiries and examinations
4. § 1402. [Dealing with taxes on income of pastors]
5. § 107. Rental value of parsonages
6. § 102. Gifts and inheritances (Tithes and offerings are gifts and, therefore, according to the Internal Revenue Code § 102, not income)
7. § 2503. Taxable gifts
8. § 170. Charitable, etc., contributions and gifts
Copyright © January 20, 2012
Left click one of the following link for easy access to all articles on this website:
Complete listing of articles on “Separation of Church and State Law” blog Or Contents
Note. This is an edited version of Section I, Chapter 2 of God Betrayed.
An individual, family, church, or civil government will stay on track only should it, in addition to fearing God, have the proper motivation and set the proper God-given goal. The proper motivation for the saved is love for God first, and love for man second. Love is the key. Notice the use of the word “love” throughout the articles on this website and the book God Betrayed (which is reproduced on this website)(See The Most Important Thing: Loving God and/or Winning Souls which is a revised version of the booklet by the same name.). The improper motivation is love for oneself. If one’s motivation is love for God first and man second, he will set the proper goal—the glory of God—and he will have happiness as a side-effect, at least in eternity. If one’s motivation is self-love, he will set the wrong goal—his own happiness—and sooner or later he will be unhappy.
One who is not a child of God cannot love God or neighbor. It is only natural for God’s children to love and glorify God:
“We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also” (1 Jn. 3.14, 4.7-21).
“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Co. 2.9-16).
“Goal” means “the end or final purpose; the end to which a design tends, or to which a person aims to reach or accomplish” (AMERICAN DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, NOAH WEBSTER (1828), definition of “GOAL”). The two ultimate and mutually exclusive goals are “the glory of God,” and the “happiness of man.” Should a person aim for the goal of “the happiness of man,” his path must differ from one whose goal is “the glory of God.” The conflict between these two goals is seen throughout Scripture and history in the life of every individual, family, church, and nation. Every entity, spiritual or earthly, sets one of these two goals.
Adam and Eve, Abel and Cain set one of the above-mentioned goals. All the heroes of the faith in the Bible understood or came to understand the importance of setting the proper goal. For example, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, King David, the prophets, the apostles, and the Christian martyrs throughout the ages understood the importance of setting the right goal. Joshua understood the importance of setting the right goal. He said, “[C]hoose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Jos. 24.14-15).
Paul understood this. Amidst persecution and on his way to martyrdom, he joyfully said, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Ph. 3.14). In the midst of bonds and afflictions, he said, “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God” (Ac. 20.24). Certainly his lifestyle would have taken a different course if his goal had been his happiness. If all he had counted his salvation for was “fire insurance,” and his own eternal happiness in heaven, he could have avoided the physical torture, pain, and martyrdom which he experienced on earth. Perhaps one who professes to know Christ as Savior only in order to obtain eternal happiness in heaven without real repentance should examine his eternal salvation. Most “Christians” today have as their goal not only eternal but also temporal happiness.
God desires the goal of every government to be “the glory of God” and not “the happiness of man.” One will set this goal only if he loves God. Should the author of this book, or anyone else, serve God his entire life and die and go to hell, he would only be getting what he deserves. Every person should realize that. But hell does not have to be the destination of sinful man: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3.16). “We love him, because he first loved us” (1 Jn. 4.19). Eternal happiness in heaven is promised to the believer, but that is never the goal of the believer; it is only a side effect.
The Bible glorifies God and reveals that the glory of God is the God-given goal for every person and that everything was created for His pleasure. The first of the Ten Commandments, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Ex. 20.3), is a concise statement of this principle. Besides that verse, the Bible makes abundantly clear that the God-given goal of man, which man can embrace or reject, is the “glory of God,” and that glory is due to God for many reasons.
“Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah” (Ps. 24.7-10).
“And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran” (Ac. 7.2).
“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him” (Ep. 1.17).
“And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen” (Ps. 72.19).. “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen” (Ro. 11.36).
“… Blessed be thou, LORD God of Israel our father, for ever and ever. Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name” (1 Chr. 29.10-13).
“Give unto the LORD, O ye mighty, give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. The voice of the LORD maketh the hinds to calve, and discovereth the forests: and in his temple doth every one speak of his glory. The LORD sitteth upon the flood; yea, the LORD sitteth King for ever” (Ps. 29.1-2, 9-10).
“Give unto the LORD, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts. O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth. Say among the heathen that the LORD reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously” (Ps. 96.7-10).
“The LORD reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad thereof. Clouds and darkness are round about him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne. A fire goeth before him, and burneth up his enemies round about. His lightnings enlightened the world: the earth saw, and trembled. The hills melted like wax at the presence of the LORD, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth. The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory” (Ps. 97.1-6).
“The LORD is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens. Who is like unto the LORD our God, who dwelleth on high” (Ps. 113.4-5).
“Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake. Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is now their God? But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased” (Ps. 115.1-3).
“All thy works shall praise thee, O LORD; and thy saints shall bless thee. They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power; To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom. Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations” (Ps. 145.10-13).
“In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple…. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory…. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts” (Is. 6.1, 3, 5).
“Do not abhor us, for thy name’s sake, do not disgrace the throne of thy glory: remember, break not thy covenant with us” (Je. 14.21).
“And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed” (Da. 7.14).
“And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Mt. 19.28. See also, Mt. 25.31). “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Ti. 1.17). “To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen” (Jude 25).
“And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever” (Re. 5.13).
“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Re. 4.11).
“And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen” (Re. 7.10-12).
“The Bible indicates that God is glorified through His sovereign dealings with nations (Ezek. 39:17-21), rulers (Rom. 9:17; Dan. 4:17, 34-37), Israel (Isa. 43:1, 7; 46:13; 60:1-3; Jer. 13.11), the Church (Eph. 3:20-21), and the nonelect (Rom. 9:17-18, 21). God is glorified by His sovereign act of creation (Ps. 19:1; Rev. 4:11), His sovereign acts in storm (Ps. 29.1-3, 9-10), His sovereign judgments (Isa. 2.19, 21; 59:18-19; Ezek. 39.17-21; Rev. 11:13; 19:1-2), and His sovereign act of hiding knowledge from human beings (Prov. 25:2). God glorifies Himself by sovereignly redeeming lost human beings and sovereignly keeping those whom He has redeemed (Rom. 9:23; 15:7-9; Eph. 1:5-6, 12, 14, 18; Phil. 4:19-20; 2 Tim. 4:18). God is to be glorified through the righteous deeds of believers performed through the equipment which God sovereignly gives (1 Cor. 10:31; Phil. 1:11; Heb. 13:21)” (Renald E. Showers, There Really Is a Difference: A Comparison of Covenant and Dispensational Theology (Bellmawr, New Jersey: The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, 1990), p. 13).
“Christians” who do not love God and whose goal is “the happiness of man,” as opposed to “the glory of God,” probably will not respond to God’s call for active service. They will be like Micah who combined a little of the world with a little religion and employed a Levite for ten shekels, a suit, and his victuals and then said, “Now know I that the LORD will do me good, seeing I have a Levite to my priest” (Jud. 17.13). They have their goal—they think will be eternally happy in heaven so why not use God to also bring temporal happiness on earth?
This principle applies to individuals, families, churches, and nations. The goal of lost people and most “Christians” is happiness, not the glory of God. Many families whose goal is “the happiness of man” will seek the American way of life into which they have been indoctrinated. Mom will work, the children will be left at day-care, will attend public schools, and will be brainwashed in Satan’s principles. Many “Christians” set out to make themselves and others happy, not to glorify God. Many nations likewise have the goal of “the happiness of man,” although that goal is only for an elite in many nations.
Individuals and families who love God and whose goal is to glorify God will get to work for the Lord. They will be seeking what they can do for God, not what God can do for them. They will be faithful to a Bible-believing, Bible-preaching church which operates according to biblical principles no matter what. They will seek to serve God, to carry out the Great Commission, and to love everyone, including their enemies. Churches and civil governments who love God will remain totally under Him and neither will seek to be over or under the other.
Saved people will one day be in heaven where they will be happy. There they will be happy, and they, along with all other creatures, will glorify God:
“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Re. 21.4).
“And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever” (Re. 5.13).
Copyright © January 16, 2012
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Note. This is an edited version of God Betrayed, Section V, Chapter 3.
The Supreme Court used the Fourteenth Amendment to open the door for the federal government to get into state government affairs. Since state governments had illegally gotten into the affairs of individual, family, and church governments, the United States Supreme Court was able to intercede into those governments. The purpose of the Fourteenth Amendment, which was ratified after the Civil War, was to protect the status of Black Americans and insure their freedom, but it has been used for other purposes with no regard for its intent. The Fourteenth Amendment says, in relevant part:
“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws” (U.S. CONST. amend. XIV, § 1).
Although the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified in 1868, the complete sovereignty of the states in matters of religion was not challenged until well into the twentieth century. When that challenge came, the constitutional prohibition of an establishment of religion was expanded into a prohibition of the reading of the Bible, the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in public schools, posting the Ten Commandments in public schools of America, and many other prohibitions intended to remove all vestiges of God over civil government. Endless debates continue concerning the limitations imposed by the First Amendment by the Supreme Court through the Fourteenth Amendment. One thing is certain—only a view that allows the Supreme Court to invoke the philosophies and beliefs of the majority on the Court and impose them on the American people can explain the perversion by the Court of the fundamental law of America.
Two “distinct and totally divergent trends” in Supreme Court Fourteenth Amendment jurisprudence emerged. Initially, after the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Court declared unconstitutional laws passed to uphold the rights of Negroes. At the same time, the Court relied upon the Fourteenth Amendment to control state legislative power over corporations. The Court extended “to corporations by a series of ever widening interpretations of the amendment a measure of freedom from state regulation that accorded with the spirit of the times but hardly with the spirit of the men who framed the amendments and the American people who adopted them.” Thus the amendment became the “Magna Charta of corporation freedom … while its application to its real purpose, the achievement of legal equality for all Americans, was lulled to a fitful slumber” (William H. Marnell, The First Amendment: Religious Freedom in America from Colonial Days to the School Prayer Controversy (Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1964), p. 144). However, the incorporation of the First Amendment into the Fourteenth would be almost eighty years in the future.
The first instance where the Supreme Court may have applied the First Amendment to the states through the Fourteenth was in 1871. The case involved a dispute between majority (who disbelieved in slavery) and minority (who supported slavery) membership in a Presbyterian Church in Louisville, Kentucky, each claiming the exclusive use of the property held and owned by that local church (Watson v. Jones, 80 U.S. 679, 728 (1871)). The Court stated, “The full and free right to entertain any religious belief, to practice any religious principle, and to teach any religious doctrine which does not violate the laws of morality and property, and which does not infringe on personal rights, is conceded to all. The law knows no heresy, and is committed to support no dogma, the establishment of no sect” (Ibid. at 728). “The statement is not explicit, but in its context this is obviously a declaration of religious freedom for minorities. For over seventy years, the Fourteenth Amendment would be applied for the protection of minority freedom” (Marnell, pp. 145-146).
In 1879, an opinion delivered by Supreme Court Justice Stephen J. Field
“at least intimated that the Fourteenth Amendment was applicable to the protection of religious liberty. He stated, ‘In our country hostile and discriminating legislation by a statute against persons of any class, sect, creed or nation, or whatever form it may be expressed is forbidden by the Fourteenth Amendment’ (Ho Ah Kow v. Numan, 12 Fed. Cas. No. 6546, pp. 252, 256. In 1885 he expanded this doctrine: ‘The Fourteenth Amendment … undoubtedly intended not only that there should be no arbitrary deprivation of life or liberty, or arbitrary spoliation of property, but that equal protection and security should be given to all under like circumstances in the enjoyment of their personal and civil rights…’ (Barber v. Connolly, 113 U.S. 27, 31). His point of view was shared in various dissenting opinions by Justice John M. Harlan (1833-1911), but the Supreme Court majority continued to … disregard its possible applicability to cases involving religion” (Ibid., pp. 148-149. See also, Spies v. Illinois, 123 U.S. 166 (1887) and in in re King, 46 F. 905, 912 (a circuit court opinion) for evidence of this viewpoint.).
It took fifty more years for a majority of the Court to imply that the Fourteenth Amendment gave religious liberty to the citizens of the states. In 1923 the Supreme Court in Meyer v. State of Nebraska took another step toward incorporation of the First Amendment into the Fourteenth:
“Defendant, state of Nebraska, enacted a statute that [criminalized] the teaching of languages other than English to any child [in a private, denominational, parochial or public school] who had not completed the eighth grade. Plaintiff teacher was tried and convicted for teaching German to a child who had not yet passed the eighth grade. The state supreme court affirmed the judgment. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the statute was arbitrary and unreasonable and infringed on the liberty guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. [The issue was whether a Nebraska state ‘statute as construed and applied unreasonably infringed upon the liberty guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution: ‘No state … shall deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law.’] The Court stated that education and acquisition of knowledge were matters of supreme importance that should be diligently promoted. The Court held that the liberty guaranteed by U.S. Const. amend. XIV protected plaintiff’s right to teach and the right of parents to engage plaintiff to teach their children” (Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390, 397; 43 S. Ct. 625, 626; 67 L. Ed. 1042; 1923 U.S. LEXIS 2655; 29 A.L.R. 1446 (1923)(edited)).
The Court “gave an oblique rather than a direct guarantee to religious freedom from state action” (Marnell, p. 150). In defining the liberty guaranteed the Court stated:
“While this Court has not attempted to define with exactness the liberty thus guaranteed, the term has received much consideration and some of the included things have been definitely stated. Without doubt, it denotes not merely freedom from bodily restraint but also the right of the individual to contract, to engage in any of the common occupations of life, to acquire useful knowledge, to marry, establish a home and bring up children, to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience, and generally to enjoy those privileges long recognized at common law as essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men…. The established doctrine is that this liberty may not be interfered with, under the guise of protecting the public interest, by legislative action which is arbitrary or without reasonable relation to some purpose within the competency of the State to effect. Determination by the legislature of what constitutes proper exercise of police power is not final or conclusive but is subject to supervision by the courts” (262 U.S. at 397-400). [Emphasis mine.]
What was not addressed in Meyer “was the fact that training in this school had religious connotations; indeed, Meyer based his defense upon that fact. On the basis of the precedent set in Meyer … there came two years later a finding, much better known…” (Marnell, p. 151). In Pierce v. Society of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, 268 U.S. 510, 534-535; 45 S. Ct. 571, 573; 69 L. Ed. 1070; 1925 U.S. LEXIS 589; 39 A.L.R. 468 (1925), the Court held that Oregon Compulsory Education Act of 1922, which practically construed required all normal children between ages of 8 and 16 years to attend public schools. The issue in the case was the constitutional right of religious organizations to operate a religious-oriented, alias parochial, school in the face of a contrary state statute affirmed by the voters. The Court held that the Act violated the Fourteenth Amendment in that it deprived parents and children of their rights in matter of selection of schools and … destroys private schools and diminishes the value of their property. The Court said:
“Under the doctrine of Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390, we think it entirely plain that the Act of 1922 unreasonably interferes with the liberty of parents and guardians to direct the upbringing and education of children under their control. As often heretofore pointed out, rights guaranteed by the Constitution may not be abridged by legislation which has no reasonable relation to some purpose within the competency of the State. The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this Union repose excludes any general power of the State to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations” (Marnell, p. 153 citing 268 U.S. at 534-535; 45 S. Ct. at 573).
Meyer and Pierce gave parochial schools their legal guarantee of existence. “[T]he Court protected a religious minority in the exercise of a right which could hardly be said to have a common border with the corresponding right of the majority” (Ibid., p. 154).
Little by little, the Court used the Fourteenth Amendment to secure the rights of Americans against state infringement, although the Court, in 1937, restricted application of the Fourteenth Amendment to fundamental liberties which included freedom of thought and speech (Palko v. State of Connecticut, 309 U.S. 319 (1937)). In Gitlow a New York Statute prohibited language advocating, advising, or teaching the overthrow of organized government by unlawful means (Gitlow v. New York, 268 U.S. 652, 664-665 (1925)). Although the constitutionality of the statute and the conviction were upheld, the Court stated, “For present purposes we may and do assume that freedom of speech and of the press—which are protected by the First Amendment from abridgment by Congress—are among the fundamental personal rights and ‘liberties’ protected by the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment from impairment by the States (Ibid., p. 666). “It was widely inferred that freedom of speech and of the press carried as an inevitable corollary freedom of religion” (Marnell, p. 155). Justice Cordoza, in a concurring opinion in Hamilton, a case which upheld a law requiring military training at a state university, stated, “I assume for present purposes that the religious liberty protected by the First Amendment against invasion by the nation is protected by the Fourteenth Amendment against invasion by the states” (Hamilton v. University of California, 293 U.S. 245, 265 (1934)).
In 1938 the Court, in a case involving a Jehovah’s Witness arrested convicted, and fined for distributing religious tracts without a permit, held that the ordinance requiring a permit was unconstitutional, ruling that “it strikes at the very foundation of the freedom of the press by subjecting it to license and censorship (Lovell v. City of Griffin, 303 U.S. 444 (1938)). Liberty of circulating is as essential to that freedom as liberty of publishing; indeed, without the circulation, the publication would be of little value” (Ibid., pp. 451, 452).
Soon thereafter, Jehovah’s Witnesses in Connecticut were arrested, tried, and convicted for violating an ordinance requiring approval by a certain public official before one could solicit funds for “any alleged religious, charitable, or philanthropic cause.” The Supreme Court reversed the state court stating:
“We hold that the statute, as construed and applied to the appellants, deprives them of their liberty without due process of law in contravention of the Fourteenth Amendment…. The First Amendment declares that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The Fourteenth Amendment has rendered the legislatures of the states as incompetent as Congress to enact such laws. The constitutional inhibition of legislation on the subject of religion has a double aspect. On the one hand, it forestalls compulsion by law of the acceptance of any creed or the practice of any form of worship. Freedom of conscience and freedom to adhere to such religious organization or form of worship as the individual may choose cannot be restricted by law. On the other hand, it safeguards the free exercise of the chosen form of religion. Thus, the Amendment embraces two concepts—freedom to believe and freedom to act. The first is absolute, but, in the nature of things, the second cannot be. Conduct remains subject to regulation for the protection of society. The freedom to act must have appropriate definition to preserve the enforcement of that protection. It is equally clear that a State may, by general and nondiscriminatory legislation, regulate the times, the places, and the manner of soliciting upon its streets, and of holding meetings thereon, and may in other respects safeguard the peace, good order, and comfort of the community without unconstitutionally invading the liberties protected by the Fourteenth Amendment….
“It will be noted, however, that the Act requires an application to the secretary of the public welfare council of the State; that he is empowered to determine whether the cause is a religious one, and that the issue of a certificate depends upon his affirmative action. If he finds that the cause is not that of religion, to solicit for it becomes a crime. He is not to issue a certificate as a matter of course. His decision to issue or refuse it involves appraisal of facts, the exercise of judgment, and the formation of an opinion. He is authorized to withhold his approval if he determines that the cause is not a religious one. Such a censorship of religion as the means of determining its right to survive is a denial of liberty protected by the First Amendment and included in the liberty which is within the protection of the Fourteenth” (Cantwell v. Connecticut, 310 U.S. 296, 303-304, 305 (1940)).
For the first time, the Court explicitly held that the Fourteenth Amendment secures the religious guarantees of the Bill of Rights against state infringement. Prior to Cantwell, the few religion-clause cases decided by the Court involved actions against the federal government. After Cantwell, the majority of religion clause cases going to the Supreme Court were aimed at state actions.
Next came two flag-salute cases, Minnersville School District v. Gobitis, 310 U.S. 586 (1940) and West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943). Barnette reversed Minnersville which upheld a state law that required all public school students to salute the American flag. Jehovah’s Witnesses refused to do so based upon a literal interpretation of Exodus 20.4, 5—they considered the flag an “image.” Minnersville held that the promotion of national cohesion through the compulsory flag salute was an interest more important than the preservation of religious freedom.
Barnette held that the required flag salute was a violation of the first and Fourteenth amendments in the case of students with a conscientious objection to it grounded upon religious belief. Justice Jackson, writing for the majority stated:
“The freedom asserted by these appellees does not bring them into collision with rights asserted by any other individual. It is such conflicts which most frequently require intervention of the State to determine where the rights of one end and those of another begin. But the refusal of these persons to participate in the ceremony does not interfere with or deny rights of others to do so. Nor is there any question in this case that their behavior is peaceable and orderly. The sole conflict is between authority and rights of the individual….
“To sustain the compulsory flag salute we are required to say that a Bill of Rights which guards the individual’s right to speak his own mind, left it open to public authorities to compel him to utter what is not in his mind….
“The problem is whether under our Constitution compulsion as here employed is a permissible means for its achievement…. Ultimate futility of such attempts to compel coherence is the lesson of every such effort from the Roman drive to stamp out Christianity as a disturber of its pagan unity, the Inquisition, as a means to religious and dynastic unity, the Siberian exiles as a means to Russian unity, down to the fast failing efforts of our present totalitarian enemies. Those who begin coercive elimination of dissent soon find themselves exterminating dissenters. Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard” (West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 at 630, 634, 641 (1943)).
The above assertions of the court were biblically correct, but the societal context as compared to that of the founding of the nation had been changed considerably in an unconstitutional and unbiblical manner. For example, the education of the majority of children had been placed in the hands of a public school system. Justice Jackson noted:
“These principles [in the Bill of Rights] grew in soil which also produced a philosophy that the individual was the center of society, that his liberty was attainable through mere absence of governmental restraints, and that government should be entrusted with few controls and only the mildest supervision over men’s affairs. We must transplant these rights to a soil in which the laissez-faire concept or principle of non-interference has withered at least as to economic affairs, and social advancements are increasingly sought through closer integration of society and through expanded and strengthened governmental controls. These changed conditions often deprive precedents of reliability and cast us more than we would choose upon our own judgment. But we act in these matters not by authority of our competence but by force of our commissions” (Ibid., pp. 639-640).
The court also examined the question of power of the civil government versus individual liberty, and then discussed whether the proper place to address the issue was within the legislature:
“The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. One’s right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections” (Ibid., p. 638).
As to this assertion, the Court can and does hand down decisions which make law and which go beyond interpretation of the Constitution. Some such decisions are within the Constitutional powers of the Court, but some are not. As it has turned out, many decisions of the Court were correct when judged by the highest law, the Bible, while others were contrary to the principles of the highest law and will contribute to the ultimate destruction of the nation. It is important to note that not just the Court, but all branches of civil government, both state and national, as well as individual government, family government, and church government have steadily declined toward chaos as man acts according to his nature without the proper standards (doing that which is right in his own eyes).
Copyright © December 31, 2012
Left click one of the following link for easy access to all articles on this website:
Complete listing of articles on “Separation of Church and State Law” blog
Note. This is a modified version of Section IV, Chapter 1 of God Betrayed: Separation of Church and State/The Biblical Principles and the American Application. Audio Teachings on the History of the First Amendment has links to the audio teaching of Jerald Finney on the history of the First Amendment..
“[B]y the dawn of the American Revolution all the colonies were approaching or had reached a readiness to separate Church and State. Only Rhode Island had traveled no road and followed no route to reach that destination; Rhode Island had been there from the start. For Pennsylvania the route was short and direct; full civil rights had to be granted to Catholics and to disbelievers in the Trinity for full civil liberty to be achieved. In the other colonies … far reaching and profound changes in attitude were necessary before the … concept could become a possibility” (William H. Marnell, The First Amendment: Religious Freedom in America from Colonial Days to the School Prayer Controversy (Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1964), p. 93).
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceable to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances” (U.S. CONST. amend. I).
Until the colony of Rhode Island was founded, it was unusual for a nation to provide for freedom of conscience even though God desires nations to provide for religious liberty under Him. Nonetheless, God’s people have always, regardless of the persecution of those who refuse to march lockstep with union of religion and state, come together as local churches, preached the Gospel, and helped their fellow man. Paul wrote in the midst of persecution:
“We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed” (2 Co. 4.8-9).
“We, having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak” (2 Co. 4.13).
In the preceding verse, Paul quoted a portion of Psalm 116.10 which says in its entirety, “”I believed, therefore have I spoken: I was greatly afflicted:” Tied up in the liberty given believers by Christ is speaking (“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mk. 16.15)), and associating or meeting together (“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is” (He. 10.25a)). Furthermore, God gave mankind the Bible, which in certain times past, was banned and burned. The First Amendment was written and ratified with the intent of protecting God’s churches, the exercise of religion or Christianity (freedom of religion or freedom of conscience), the preaching of the Gospel (freedom of speech), the coming together to worship God (freedom to assemble), the dissemination of literature, mainly the dissemination of God’s Word (freedom of press), and the right to petition the civil government for a redress of grievances.
The First Amendment was the culmination of a long spiritual warfare between established churches and dissenters, mainly the Baptists. God’s power moved mightily during that period of conflict. Many believers suffered persecution. The roots of the struggle in America were embedded in New England, spread to the south, to Virginia, and then to the new nation.
Revisionists have obscured the true history of the First Amendment. Revisionism is not new. Of course secularists, and especially atheists, must revise in order to support their outlandish positions. Catholics and Protestants, including the Puritans, consistent with their biases have long revised in order to further their agendas. Good examples are the claims made by the Presbyterians and the Honorable William Wirt Henry near the close of the nineteenth century. Mr. Henry “told of Virginia’s leadership in bringing in religious liberty but made no allusion to the Baptists, and said it was ‘under the leadership of Patrick Henry that religious liberty has been established as a fundamental part of the fundamental law of our land’” (Charles F. James, Documentary History of the Struggle for Religious Liberty in Virginia (Harrisonburg, VA.: Sprinkle Publications, 2007; First Published Lynchburg, VA.: J. P. Bell Company, 1900), p. f.). As a result of Mr. Henry’s assertions, Charles F. James—a Baptist, who had preached that “at the date of the [American] Revolution the Baptists were the only denomination of Christians which, as such, held to the idea of religious liberty, and that, of the political leaders of that day, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson were chiefly instrumental in establishing that principle in the laws of our land” (Ibid., p. e.)—set out to do a thorough historical study of the Baptists in Virginia. His studies and written work which followed set the record straight, a record which can be verified by honest historical study.
Secular revisionism has influenced the development of the modern concepts of the First Amendment. Influential constitutional “scholars” such as Leo Pfeffer, since they have no concept of God or His sovereignty, have removed the most important aspect of debate from the equation—the spiritual aspect. Pfeffer misrepresents spiritual matters because he does not understand them. He relegates the spiritual to the merely “ideological.” He attributes Madison’s positions on the issue of separation of church and state to his reliance on John Locke, and quotes Locke; then, even though Locke, in the quotes cited by Pfeffer, talks of government interference with the care and salvation of souls which belongs to God, Pfeffer never mentions God in his discussion but rather emphasizes Locke’s “social contract theory.” He overemphasizes the influence of rationalism and deism in gaining the First Amendment. He falsely proclaims that the “first four presidents of the United States were either Deists or Unitarians.” He asserts that the Great Awakening “emphasized an emotional, personal religion” which appealed directly to the individual, stressing the rights and duties of the individual conscience and its answerability exclusively to God (Leo Pfeffer, Church, State, and Freedom (Boston: The Beacon Press, 1953), pp. 81-93). He, like all secular scholars, simply did not get it even though he did mention God. He had no choice but to mention God, since a controversy over what God taught in the Bible was at the center of the issues. He simply did not and could not examine that true history of what went on to bring about the First Amendment. Lost men and saved men who were spiritually ignorant have led the way in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
The First Amendment, in what is called the establishment clause, forbids Congress to establish a church and reinforces the establishment clause in the free exercise clause by forbidding Congress to prevent the free exercise of religion. Thus, the religion clause of the First Amendment which consists of the establishment and free exercise clauses, especially when read in the context of the entire Amendment, is a legal statement of the principle of religious freedom, or soul liberty, or separation of church and state which conforms to biblical principles. Bible-believing Christians, based upon their spiritual beliefs, fought the fight which resulted in the First Amendment. They made the spiritual Bible-based arguments which gradually convinced others to accept separation of church and state. By practicing their faith despite persecution, they paid the price. They suffered persecution; they did not deny Christ and their faith in order to avoid persecution. “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Ti. 3:12).
Many of the early colonists were Protestants who thought Luther and/or Calvin were correct in their beliefs concerning church and state. Others, the Anglicans, brought the state-church concepts of England to the colonies. Dissenters believed in and fought for separation of church and state. The First Amendment was primarily the result of a spiritual warfare between those holding opposing Scriptural interpretations, the established churches versus the dissenters, primarily the Baptists.
“Of the Baptists, at least, it may be truly said that they entered the conflict in the New World with a clear and consistent record on the subject of soul liberty. ‘Freedom of conscience’ had ever been one of their fundamental tenets. John Locke, in his ‘essay on Toleration,’ says: ‘The Baptists were the first and only propounders of absolute liberty, just and true liberty, equal and impartial liberty.’ And the great American historian, Bancroft, says: ‘Freedom of Conscience, unlimited freedom of mind, was from the first a trophy of the Baptists.’ Bancroft’s History of the United States, Vol. II., pages 66, 67.
“The history of the other denominations shows that, in the Old World, at least, they were not in sympathy with the Baptist doctrine of soul liberty, but in favor of the union of Church and State, and using the civil power to compel conformity to the established church….
“The Reformation which began with Martin Luther corrected many errors of faith and practice among those who came out of the corrupt and apostate church, but not all. It was left to the sect once ‘everywhere spoken against’ to teach their Protestant brethren the lesson of soul liberty, and this they did in the school of adversity in the New World” (James, pp. 14-15).
At times, persecuting established churches became persecuted churches. When that happened, the persecutors generally became dissenters seeking religious tolerance or religious freedom.
The First Amendment to the Constitution resulted from “a factual relationship that was rapidly solidifying when the Constitution was amended by the Bill of Rights.” The First Amendment was the final product of a long struggle by men who believed strongly in the God of the Bible and who were willing to die rather than bow down to false religion. Their spirit was fused into the ordering of the affairs of the United States. “A wall of separation which would bar that spirit from making itself felt in secular concerns can never be built, because it would have to bisect the human heart” (Marnell, pp. xii-xiii). William H. Marnell correctly observed that:
“[t]he First Amendment was not the product of indifference toward religion. It was not the product of the deism which prevailed in the Enlightenment, however much the spirit of deism may have been present in certain of the Founding Fathers. Above, all, it was not the product of secularism, and to translate the spirit of twentieth-century secularism back to eighteenth-century America is an outrage to history. The First Amendment was rather a logical outcome of the Reformation and its ensuing developments. It was so far removed from secularism as to be the product of its exact opposite, the deep-seated concern of a people whose religious faith had taken many forms, all of them active, all of them sincerely held. It was so far removed from indifference toward religion [specifically Christianity] as to be the result of its antithesis, the American determination that the diversity of churches might survive the fact of political action” (Ibid.).
The dissidents in the colonies, chiefly the Baptists, were able to gain a foothold, and they played it for all it was worth. The theology of the founding era, initially under the leadership of Roger Williams (who was not a Baptist and who turned from his Baptist affiliations soon after founding a church in Rhode Island. See Book Review: Did Roger Williams Start The First Baptist Church In America? Is the “Baptist Church the Bride of Christ? What About Landmarkism or the Baptist Church Succession Theory By Jim Fellure and Baptist History IN AMERICA Vindicated: The First Baptist Church in America/A Resurfaced Issue of Controversy/The Facts and Importance By Pastor Joshua S. Davenport.) and John Clarke, successfully challenged the doctrines of the established churches concerning the relationship of church and state. Among the results were the establishment of the first civil government in history with religious liberty, the government of the colony of Rhode Island, and later the First Amendment to the United States Constitution which required religious freedom for churches and freedom of conscience for individuals. The First Amendment allowed churches to operate under God without persecution. The First Amendment did not apply to the states.
Primarily due to the efforts of our Baptist forefathers, a time came, as Baptist pastor and historian John Callender said in 1838, when:
“[e]xperience has dearly convinced the world, that unanimity in judgment and affection cannot be secured by penal laws….
“Indulgence to tender consciences, might be a reproach to the Colony [of Rhode Island], an hundred years ago, [that is in 1738, one hundred years before Callender wrote this], but a better way of thinking prevails in the Protestant part of the Christian church at present. It is now a glory to the Colony, to have avowed such sentiments so long ago, while blindness in this article happened in other places, and to have led the way as an example to others, and to have first put the theory into practice.
“Liberty of conscience is more fully established and enjoyed now, in the other New-English Colonies; and our mother Kingdom grants a legal toleration to all peaceable and conscientious dissenters from the parliamentary establishment. Greater light breaking into the world and the church, and especially all parties by turns experiencing and complaining aloud of the hardships of constraint, they are come to allow as reasonable to all others, what they want and challenge for themselves. And there is no other bottom but this to rest upon, to leave others the liberty we should desire ourselves, the liberty wherewith Christ hath made them free. This is doing as we would be done by, the grand rule of justice and equity; this is leaving the government of the church to Jesus Christ, the King and head over all things, and suffering his subjects to obey and serve him” (John Callender, The Civil and Religious Affairs of the Colony of Rhode-Island (Providence: Knowles, Vose & Company, 1838), pp. 108-109).
By the time the First Amendment was added to the United States Constitution, only New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut had established churches. In 1833 Massachusetts became the last state to disestablish.
Baptists wanted religious freedom. Some probably could foresee the ideal of a church under God, a civil government under God, with neither church nor state over the other. But few knew how to have a civil government under God without establishing a church. Why? Fifteen hundred years of history had witnessed “Christian” establishments made up of church-state or state-church unions. Therefore, one should not be too hard on those early Protestants in America who continued those unions, since, according to Isaac Backus:
“[many things] prove that those fathers [the leaders of the Puritans in Massachusetts] were earnestly concerned to frame their constitution both in church and state by divine rule; and as all allow that nothing teaches like experience, surely they who are enabled well to improve the experience of past ages, must find it easier now to discover the mistakes of that day, than it was for them to do it then. Even in 1637, when a number of puritan ministers in England, and the famous Mr. Dod among them, wrote to the ministers here, that it was reported that they had embraced certain new opinions, such as ‘that a stinted form of prayer and set liturgy is unlawful; that the children of godly and approved Christians are not to be baptized, until their parents be set members of some particular congregation; that the parents themselves, though of approved piety, are not to be received to the Lord’s Supper until they be admitted set members,’ &c., Mr. Hooker expressed his fears of troublesome work about answering of them, though they may appear easy to the present generation” (Isaac Backus, A History of New England With Particular Reference to the Denomination of Christians called Baptists, Volume 1 (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock Publishers, Previously published by Backus Historical Society, 1871), pp. 37-38).
Nor should one be too critical of those leaders of the founding era who struggled with the question of how to construct this nation. They produced the best governing document of any nation in history, but that document had some serious flaws which would play out to the detriment of the nation and individuals, families, and churches within the nation. Nonetheless, because of great revivals which began shortly after ratification of the Constitution, huge numbers of people were saved and those regenerated individuals were responsible for at least postponing the spiritual and moral decline of America.
How can a civil government be under God without entanglement with the church? A civil government can choose to be under God. Since God was directly over only one nation, the nation Israel, the only way God chooses to speak to a Gentile government prior to His second return is through His Word, the Bible. Therefore, for a nation to be under God, the leader(s) of that nation must understand and apply biblical principles including those principles concerning church, state, and separation of church and state. As has been shown, only born-again believers have the power, through the Holy Spirit, to understand the Word of God. Only regenerate leader(s) of a civil government can operate the government according to those principles laid down for Gentile nations in the Bible. In America, the people choose the leaders. Therefore, America will have a regenerate leadership only if America should have a population made up of a majority of knowledgeable active Christians who choose Christian leaders.
The Constitution provided for separation of church and state, but the Constitution and the amendments thereto, even when the Declaration of Independence is considered, failed to proclaim that this nation is to be under God and that the purpose of this nation is to glorify God. The primary declaration that a nation can make in its constitution to place itself under God is that its purpose is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ through laws, prayers, and proclamations consistent with biblical principles. That nation can model its laws, including its constitution, after biblical principles and seek God’s direction in all things, including lawmaking, enforcement, and judging. In such a nation, prayers should be made at all civil governmental functions in Jesus’ name. One of the principles a nation under God must proclaim, as does the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, is that every man has free will, as ordained by God, and that, since God wants every man’s love, men are free to choose to worship the one true God, any false god or gods, or no god at all. A civil government under God must also legislate criminal law making certain acts concerning man’s relationship with man—but not acts dealing with man’s relationship with God—criminal, according to God’s Word, and provide for judging and enforcing those acts by the civil government.
The chances of a civil government being under or remaining under God’s principles before the return of Christ are non-existent as shown by the Bible and by all history. No civil government will have (a) leader(s) who believe(s) and implement(s) principles in the Word of God except in the unlikely situation where the leader(s) is (are) saved, and no civil government so structured will long remain under God. Godly leaders are inevitably replaced with carnal Christians and/or the unregenerate who cannot and will not lead according to God’s Word.
This chapter will succinctly summarize the true history of religious liberty in America, initially pointing out some of the misleading teachings of secular and Christian revisionists. Ultimately, Christians can accomplish nothing with lies (Read James R. Beller, America in Crimson Red: The Baptist History of America (Arnold, Missouri: Prairie Fire Press, 2004) and James R. Beller, The Coming Destruction of the Baptist People: The Baptist History of America (St. Louis, Missouri: Prairie Fire Press, 2005) for a thorough discussion of the theology behind the lies of the Christian nationalists, whom Beller calls catholic Reformed, and a discussion of Christian nationalists other than Peter Marshall and David Manuel.).
Copyright © December 31, 2012
Left click one of the following link for easy access to all articles on this website:
Complete listing of articles on “Separation of Church and State Law” blog
Note. This is a modified version of Section IV, Chapter 3 of God Betrayed: Separation of Church and State/The Biblical Principles and the American Application. Audio Teachings on the History of the First Amendment has links to the audio teaching of Jerald Finney on the history of the First Amendment.
“Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem. Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves: Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place. And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it” (Is. 28.14-18).
Neither Christian nor secular revisionism will bring desirable consequences. If the Christian revisionists had their way, the church and state would be working together in America to bring in the kingdom of heaven on earth. There would be no First Amendment to the United States Constitution, no religious liberty, and the persecution would continue.
Sadly, the secularist Frederick Clarkson is right when he writes:
“[T]he Christian nationalist narrative has a fatal flaw: it is based on revisionist history that does not stand up under scrutiny. The bad news is that to true believers, it does not have to stand up to the facts of history to be a powerful and animating part of the once and future Christian nation. Indeed, through a growing cottage industry of Christian revisionist books and lectures now dominating the curricula of home schools and many private Christian academies, Christian nationalism has become a central feature of the political identity of children growing up in the movement. The contest for control of the narrative of American history is well underway” (Frederick Clarkson, “Why the Christian Right Distorts History and Why it Matters,” PublicEye.org (Spring 2007): online at http://www.publiceye.org/magazine/v21n2/history.html.).
He is partially correct in pointing out that:
“We’ve seen how religious beliefs (and other ideologies) inspire people to view others as subhuman, deviant, and deserving of whatever happens to them, including death Ibid. (). It is the stuff of persecution, pogroms, and warfare. The framers of the U.S. Constitution struggled with how to inoculate the new nation against these ills, and in many respects the struggle continues today” (Ibid.).
He is right when those beliefs are based upon certain false theologies. Such religious beliefs led to the murder of millions of Christians who were viewed by the established churches as dangerous heretics. However, his statement cannot be applied correctly to the true Christianity which fought for freedom of religion in America and which has effects opposite those he mentions. Christians who practiced and taught biblical principles concerning separation of church and state have been persecuted since the time of Christ and their stand in the face of persecution ultimately gave America religious liberty. This section of chapters records the history of those Christians.
Mr. Clarkson then goes on to factually tear apart some of the assertions being made by what he calls the Christian nationalists. For example, he asserts:
“John Blanchard [a current “Christian” leader] claims that the Jamestown landing signifies that, ‘We were started as a Christian nation and I feel it’s God’s purpose we stay a Christian nation.’ Indeed, to read the Assembly 2007 website, one would think that the King had sent missionaries to Virginia. Far from it. The London Company behind the venture pooled investors interested in making money. For years it floundered badly. Eventually, the company gave up the commercial charter and control reverted to the Crown. The gauzy view of Christians claiming the land for Christ and King is clarified by history.
“When news of the Assembly 2007 and Blanchard’s claim reached Joe Conn at Americans United for Separation of Church and State, he pulled out his history books in rebuttal: ‘According to Anson Phelps Stokes’s Church and State in the United States, the London Company’s November 20, 1606 ‘Articles, Instructions, and Orders’ did, indeed, demand that the prospective American colony ‘provide that the true word, and service of God and Christian faith be preached.’ But the charter added that the ‘true word’ must be ‘according to the doctrine, rights, and religion now professed and established within our regime in England’” (Ibid., pp. 2-3).
Christian revisionists Peter Marshall and David Manuel include some truth in their revisionism. They wrote, amidst many historical revisions, that Jamestown was a disaster and that the people who settled the colony were motivated by greed and not the love of the Lord (Peter Marshall and David Manuel, The Light and the Glory, (Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1977), pp. 80-105). As will be seen, although undoubtedly there probably were godly ministers in the established church, much of the clergy of the Anglican church in Virginia prior to the Revolution had loose morals, were mainly concerned about their financial security, and were lacking in biblical and spiritual knowledge. The clergy of that church fought to keep their establishment to the bitter end. By far their most consistent and determined opponents were the Baptists. A publication of a law firm that encourages churches to become corporate 501(c)(3) religious organizations recently led off with an article laughingly entitled (to one who knows the real facts about the settlement) “Jamestown, Where America Became a Christian Nation” (“Jamestown: Where America Became a Christian Nation,” Legal Alert (Monthly Newsletter of the Christian Law Association), April 2007, p. 1). The author, unnamed, states some truth in the article but also gives a totally distorted view of the early history of Jamestown and fails to mention the depravity of the people who originally settled there. Neither Marshall and Manuel nor the author of the aforementioned article make mention that the theology behind the settlement was ecclesiocratic and against religious liberty: the “Articles, Instructions, and Orders” from the homeland said that the “‘true word’ must be ‘according to the doctrine, rights, and religion now professed and established within our regime in England’” (Marshall and Manuel, pp. 80-105; see Clarkson for this excerpt from “Articles, Instructions, and Orders” from the homeland.).
Some of what Christian revisionists such as Marshall, Manuel, and Rousas John Rushdoony teach is factual, but it is incomplete, intermixed with lies, and slanted to praise and promote their false theology which teaches that God’s principles for the theocracy in Israel are to be applied by the church and that the church, working with the state, will bring peace and unity to the earth. In order to further their cause, the adherents must lie and revise history. They must and do condemn the true theology and its adherents out of which came religious freedom in America.
Since they do not believe in free-will, the Christian revisionist has to attribute everything to the providence of God. Mr. Clarkson is correct when he says:
“Indeed, the general approach [R.J.] Rushdoony outlined has become widely accepted among Christian nationalists, specifically that God actively intervenes in and guides history, and that God’s role can be retroactively discerned, from creation to the predestined Kingdom of God on Earth. Historical events described as ‘God’s providence’ are then interpreted in terms of what God must have been up to. This is how Rushdoony arrives at what he called Christian history, based on ‘Christian revisionism’” (Frederick Clarkson, “Why the Christian Right Distorts History and Why it Matters,” PublicEye.org (Spring 2007): online at http://www.publiceye.org/magazine/v21n2/history.html, p. 2).
Of course there is such a thing as the providence of God. But the Christian revisionist concept of God’s providence is totally unbalanced by an incorrect view of the free will of man. The most that revisionists of the founding era (and probably those of today, if the truth be known) might assert about free will is that if a man has it and uses it wrongly, those with superior insight must step in to correct him, and if he refuses to be enlightened, he must, when the revisionist has the power, be banished, imprisoned, tortured, and/or killed.
Just as the church-state dilemmas of the past and those of the present have not been correctly answered by false theology, even though professed to be from God, neither is the answer supplied by secularists such as Mr. Clarkson. As expected of a secularist, Mr. Clarkson, in trashing the Christian right, adds in some of his own revisionism and inaccuracies, and uses his human reasoning. His proposals cannot and will not work. For example, he says that the rest of society needs not only to
“recognize the role of creeping Christian historical revisionism, but also our need to craft a compelling and shared story of American history, particularly as it relates to the role of religion and society. We need it in order to know not how the religious Right is wrong, but to know where we ourselves stand in the light of history, in relation to each other, and how we can better envision a future together free of religious prejudice, and ultimately, religious warfare”(Ibid.).
Mr. Clarkson, who by his own admission is not a Christian, understandably does not comprehend the doctrine of holiness which runs throughout Scripture. In any institution, including any civil government, anytime the unholy is mixed with the holy, the unholy will corrupt the holy. A civil government made up of true Christians who know, teach, and practice truth and lost people will be corrupted because the worldly wisdom of the lost will pollute the Godly wisdom of the Christians. The good will not prevail, at least in the long run. An unsaved person cannot know, understand, and apply truth and the wisdom which is from above. All Mr. Clarkson’s wisdom is of this world, which is “foolishness with God.” (1 Co. 3.19). “The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain” (1 Co. 3.20).
Mr. Clarkson is right about religion. But what he says about religion cannot be said about true Christianity. True Christianity is a man, the God-man, the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the religious perversion of the teachings of Christ that brings all the tragedies referred to by Mr. Clarkson. The greatest tragedy is that many will never come to the One who can give them true liberty, the Lord Jesus Christ. It appears that many who have come to Him have been deceived about, for one thing, the roles of church and state and their relationship to each other and to God because they have not become partakers of the divine nature, having not added to their faith, virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge temperance, to temperance patience, to patience godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness charity (See 2 Pe. 1.3-9). Perhaps an individual Christian has added some of these ingredients to his life, but what about the others? What about knowledge?
Only a civil government whose leader or leaders are truly Christian can prevent the decline of a nation. This would require solid Christian churches teaching the principles of the Bible accurately operating freely within that nation and made up of the majority of the people of that nation including the leader or leaders of the nation all of whom are sincerely attempting to understand and apply biblical principles.
When a professed believer substitutes his reasoning for reality, when he revises historical facts and/or lies to and about other believers in order to advance his underlying theology, something is wrong with his theology. The consequences of such a strategy will ultimately backfire, as it is backfiring today in America, because even secularists, when truth about facts will aid them, will reveal that truth. And when it is revealed that Christians, whom the secularist calls the “Christian right,” have seemingly borrowed a page from the secular book of tactics and resorted to revising history and to lying, the effectiveness of Christian spiritual warfare is much weakened.
The existence of Mr. Clarkson’s article and much other secular writing reveal the vulnerability of the Christian right position as it has been promoted in America. It is sad that Clarkson includes pertinent quotes (out of context) from men such as Roger Williams, Isaac Backus, and even Thomas Jefferson who are not usually quoted by Christian revisionists. It is sad that Christian revisionists, in their effort to deceive the entire Christian community and advance their agenda of a united church and state so that the resulting union of church and state can bring in the kingdom of heaven, have belittled, misrepresented, and/or totally ignored great men such as Roger Williams, Dr. John Clarke, Isaac Backus, Shubal Stearns, John Leland and others. Their efforts have done great and irreparable damage to the cause of Christ. The author was led by Christian revisionists for over twenty years. In order to be effective in his efforts in his stand for the Lord, he had to be willing to admit that he had been mislead and that the Lord did not honor professed believers who were taking part in a spiritual battle having their loins girt about with lies. “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth…” (Ep. 6.13-14a). [Emphasis mine.]