Reading The Bible With The Founding Fathers (book review)

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You know how they say, “Never judge a book by its cover?” Well, I did that with Reading The Bible With The Founding Fathers, and I judged incorrectly. My son gave me this book as a gift and I thought I would be reading passages of Scripture that our founding fathers had highlighted in their Bibles. Although that wasn’t the case at all, I was delighted to be wrong. What Daniel Dreisbach has given us in this book is a masterpiece of American history that I so thoroughly enjoyed devouring. 

This book is about the Bible’s influence on not only the founders’ thought process as they contemplated independence from Great Britain, but also as they formed our own republican form of government. It’s also about the common lexicon that the colonists had with each other because the Bible was the most well-read book in the American colonies. This allowed our founding fathers to speak in figurative language that rang true to the hearts of their fellow Americans. 

Mr. Dreisbach often takes us back to Europe and the Protestant Reformation era to help us understand how biblical thinking had coalesced and gained strength in the minds of the mid-eighteenth century Americans. Things like did the Bible sanction rebellion against the king of England, or could principles for a sound government structure be found in the pages of Scripture? 

Reading The Bible With The Founding Fathers is a fascinating and eye-opening read. Not only to help us understand the foundational thoughts of our great country but also to see the role that biblical literacy still plays in our governmental operations today. This book is extensively footnoted, so the curious reader can dig even deeper than Mr. Dreisbach has already taken these topics. 

For Christians who want a better understanding of the Bible’s place in the republican form of government in these United States of America, I would recommend reading this book alongside your Bible so you may ponder for yourself how much of our civic framework is supported by a proper understanding of Scripture. 

P.S. Another great study of our founding fathers is Faith Of Our Fathers.

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UPDATE: I share some quotes from this book here.

Book Reviews From 2020

7 Quotes From “Faith Of Our Founding Fathers”

Parents, please download a FREE copy of this book to help educate your children on the biblical faith that informed the decisions of our Founding Fathers (link in the book review). You can read my complete book review of Faith Of Our Founding Fathers by clicking here. 

“The Bible is the best of all books, for it is the word of God, and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and in the next. Continue therefore to read it, and to regulate your life by its precepts.” —John Jay 

“Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.” —Benjamin Franklin 

“While we are zealously performing the duties of good Citizens and Soldiers we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of Religion. To the distinguished Character of Patriot, it should be our highest Glory to add the more distinguished Character of Christian.” —George Washington 

“In this situation of this assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights, to illuminate our understandings? … I have lived, Sir, a long time; and the longer I live the more convincing Proofs I see of this Truth, That God governs in the Affairs of Men! And if a Sparrow cannot fall to the Ground without His Notice, is it probable than an Empire can rise without His Aid?—We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that ‘except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it.’ I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concurring Aid we shall succeed in this political Building no better than the Builders of Babel…. I therefore beg leave to move, That henceforth Prayers, imploring the Assistance of Heaven, and its Blessing on our Deliberations, be held in this Assembly every Morning before we proceed to Business.” —Benjamin Franklin 

“And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep for ever….” —Thomas Jefferson 

“The diminution of public virtue is usually attended with that of public happiness, and the public liberty will not long survive the total extinction of morals.” —Samuel Adams 

“Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt.” —Samuel Adams

Faith Of Our Fathers (book review)

I almost want to quote George Santayana every time I post a review about an historical book, but for Faith Of Our Fathers compiled by Eric Buehrer it is especially appropriate. So allow me to quote two sage pieces of wisdom from Santayana—

“Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” —AND—  “A child educated only in school is an uneducated child.” 

I am flabbergasted at how little time is spent in public schools educating our kids on the founding of our country. And frequently when it is taught, the lessons seem to go out of their way to not mention the biblical principles that went into crafting our nation’s founding documents. 

I have become a big fan of Gateways To Better Education. The founder of Gateways, Eric Buehrer, has put together a very helpful book for parents to help their children learn about the Christian faith of our Founding Fathers. 

Eric has given us a very short biography of our Founders, a quote attributed to them, Bible verses that undergird that Founder’s quote, and then some discussion questions for the family. Parents, please make full use of this great resource! 

And best of all: You can download the PDF version of this book FREE by clicking this link.

The American Patriot’s Almanac (book review)

The American Patriot’s AlmanacI feel so blessed to live in the United States of America! With the blessing of living in this great country comes the responsibility of knowing as much as I can about our country’s founding and guiding principles. A wonderful help on this journey of discovery is The American Patriot’s Almanac: Daily readings on America by William Bennett and John Cribb.

I am now on my second time through this book, and I’m still discovering how much there is to love about the USA. Each day Bennett and Cribb present a snapshot of a notable event in our nation’s history, that makes me so proud of our heritage all over again. There are cool stories about both the well-known and little-known folks who sacrificed and invested to make this country what it is.

At only a page a day, there’s no excuse for American patriots not to read this book through over the course of a year, and re-discover what a privilege it is to live in the land of the free and the home of the brave. We all owe it to our future generations to keep these memories alive, so that no one forgets our amazing heritage.

11 Quotes From “Abolishing Abortion”

Abolishing AbortionIf you are as concerned about the devastation abortion is causing in our country as I am, you will find Father Frank Pavone’s book, Abolishing Abortion, as helpful as I did. You can read my full book review by clicking here. Below are the first set of quotes I wanted to share with you from this book. Unless otherwise noted, the quotes are from Father Pavone.

“First among the ‘unalienable rights’ the signers pledged to protect was ‘life.’ Legalized abortion clearly violates the principles they risked all for. It is not simply a ‘bad policy’ or an ‘unjust law,’ but rather, it marks the dissolution of this nation’s most fundamental contract with its citizens.”

“I am aware that many object to the severity of my language; but is there not caused for severity? I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think, or to speak, or write, with moderation. No! No! Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen—but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest—I will not equivocate—I will not excuse—I will not retreat a single inch—and I will be heard. The apathy of the people is enough to make every statue leap from its pedestal, and to hasten the resurrection of the dead.” —William Lloyd Garrison, speaking of slavery

“We do not look for a utopia. We look for Christ to come again. But while looking for Him to come again, we do not wait passively. We wait actively. … As we wait actively, we must also remind ourselves to act judiciously. Passion does not preclude good judgment and a measure of reserve.”

“Democracy cannot be value-neutral. It cannot fail to ascertain that there are certain things that are good, certain things that are right. … A fundamental right is a human right without which we cannot express our humanity. … To deprive a person of life is to deprive that person of liberty. It stands to reason, literally, that the very right to life has to be respected and protected. Life is an even more fundamental right then freedom. The Declaration of Independence confirmed the same—‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,’ in that order. The state reinforces what the Church teaches. To hold the state accountable for protecting those fundamental rights has nothing to do with imposing religious beliefs and everything to do with reason.”

“We always start with the dignity of the human person, realizing that human rights and dignity don’t come from government and can’t be taken away by government. If elected officials were the ones who decided whether people have their human rights, those wouldn’t be human rights anymore. Human rights belong to humans because they are human, not because Congress decided to grant those rights. Therefore, we can rightly exclude no one from our service, our care, our protection.” 

“When a government says that some people don’t have to be protected, that is the stuff of which genocides are made. So when you hear a citizen or a candidate or a public servant or a congressman or a senator or a president or anybody say, ‘I think Roe was a good idea,’ he is not just telling you what he thinks about a medical procedure. He is telling you what he thinks about the authority of government: what kind of government he believes we have, and what kind of government he believes we ought to have.”

“The root of modern totalitarianism is to be found in the denial of the transcendent dignity of the human person who, as the visible image of the invisible God, is therefore by his very nature the subject of rights which no one may violate—no individual, group, class, nation or State. Not even the majority of a social body may violate these rights, by going against the minority, by isolating, oppressing, or exploiting it, or by attempting to annihilate it.” —Pope John Paul II, The Splendor Of Truth (1993) 

“Human rights are not granted by political systems. They are ‘pre-political.’ They exist before government and, in fact, must be honored, served, and secured by government, not because the leaders of government say so, but because all failure to do so undermines the very purpose of government.”

“Many people are very, very concerned with children in India, with the children in Africa where quite a number die, maybe of malnutrition, of hunger, and so on, but millions are dying deliberately by the will of the mother. And this is what is the greatest destroyer of peace today. Because if a mother can kill her own child—what is left for me to kill you and you kill me—there is nothing between.” —Mother Theresa, in her Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech of December 11, 1979

“Many friends asked me, ‘What is our first spiritual duty regarding the abortion issue?’ They think I’m going to answer, ‘Prayer.’ But actually, the answer is repentance. The first step in abolishing abortion is to examine our own hearts and to repent of the role we each have played in allowing this holocaust to happen.”

“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” —Elie Weisel

More quotes from this outstanding book coming soon….

Is Capitalism Moral?

Morality of capitalismThis is an absolutely brilliant description by Professor Walter Williams of the morality and viability of free-market capitalism. Please take just 5 minutes to get educated on this.

Links & Quotes

link quote

Jackie Hill Perry on how the church can reach those who are LGBT—

Was the Constitution written in a way that was designed to protect freedom and limit the government’s size? Here is how Robert George answers that—

Voddie Baucham talks about how to fight pornography—

Re. Trent Franks makes a passionate appeal for Planned Parenthood to be defunded—

Bobby Conway talks with J. Warner Wallace, a cold case detective, about how he uses his investigative skills to examine the existence of God—

 

Reconnecting the Disconnection

DisconnectThere is a disconnection problem in the United States of America. Consider this:

  • John Adams, one of our nation’s founding fathers said, “The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity.”
  • Every president from George Washington to Barak Obama has invoked the name of God in his inaugural address.
  • 96% of Americans say they believe in God.
  • 80% of Americans call themselves Christians.

And yet:

  • Our grade schools make no mention of “God”, some even to the point of not reciting the pledge of allegiance.
  • Higher education is openly antagonistic toward God and Christians.
  • The entertainment industry normalizes lifestyles that are openly unbiblical.
  • Even our US government has done things like legalizing murder in the form of abortion, and sanctioning homosexuality by calling their unions “marriage.”

The Bible calls Christians “aliens and strangers in the world.” Perhaps the term “aliens” is not so much for what we say we believe, but how we live what we believe. 

So Peter opens his letter to “strangers in the world” by telling Christians how to live in a way that can reconnect this disconnection.

  • Humble—because we sinners have been chosen (v. 2a) to become citizens of Heaven.
  • Confident—because of the foreknowledge of God the Father (v. 2b) that can never be thwarted.
  • Teachable—because the process of the sanctifying work of the Spirit and obedience to Jesus Christ (v. 2c) requires us to be humbly-confident, teachable servants.
  • Graceful and peaceful (v. 2d)—because what we believe about God’s invitation to come to Him, Christ’s payment that makes that possible, and the Holy Spirit’s sanctification should be lived out in graceful and peaceful lives.

Would your Earthling family members say you are graceful and peaceful? 

Would your Earthling coworkers say you promote grace and peace on the job? 

Would your Earthling neighbors say you make the neighborhood graceful and peaceful? 

Would the Earthling business owners you frequent say your gracefulness and peacefulness is more evident than in the citizens of Earth?

Search me, God, and know my heart test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is ANY offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23-24).

We will be continuing our Aliens and Strangers series this Sunday. If you are in the Cedar Springs area, and don’t have a home church, please join us. If you cannot join us in person, you can tune in via Periscope (search for @craigtowens).

10 Quotes To Help Celebrate Independence Day

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible.

I love the United States of America! As we celebrate our country’s birthday, here are 10 quotes from my files about America.

“Throughout our history Americans have put their faith in God and no one can doubt that we have been blessed for it. The earliest settlers of this land came in search of religious freedom. Landing on a desolate shoreline, they established a spiritual foundation that has served us ever since.” —Ronald Reagan

“America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.” ―Harry Truman

“A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.” —Edward Abbey

“If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.” —Samuel Adams

“If American democracy is to remain the greatest hope of humanity, it must continue abundantly in the faith of the Bible.” —Calvin Coolidge 

“The strength of a country is the strength of its religious convictions.” —Calvin Coolidge

“It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favors. … The Hand of Providence has been so conspicuous in all this, that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more than wicked, that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligations.” —George Washington 

“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!” —Abraham Lincoln

“We’ve staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government. Far from it. We have staked the future upon the capacity of each and every one of us to govern ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.” —James Madison

“There is not a single instance in history in which civil liberty was lost, and religious liberty preserved entire.” —John Witherspoon

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