10 Quotes From “Reading The Bible With The Founding Fathers”

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

For any students of American history or of the role the Bible has played in affecting world affairs, Reading The Bible With The Founding Fathers is an eye-opening book. You can check out my full book review by clicking here. Unless otherwise noted, quotes are from author Daniel Dreisbach. 

“Following an extensive survey of American political literature from 1760 to 1805, political scientist Donald S. Lutz reported that the Bible was referenced more frequently than any European writer or even any European school of thought, such as the Enlightenment or Whig intellectual traditions. Indeed, the Bible accounted for about one-third of all citations in his sample. According to Lutz, ‘Deuteronomy is the most frequently cited book, followed by Montesquieu’s The Spirit of the Laws.’ … Saint Paul is cited about as frequently as Montesquieu and [William] Blackstone, the two most-cited secular authors, and Deuteronomy is cited almost twice as often as all of [John] Locke’s writings put together.”

“The founders often quoted the Bible without the use of quotation marks or citations, which were not necessary for a biblically literate society but the absence of which fail to alert a biblically illiterate modern audience to the Bible’s invocation.” 

“Increasing unfamiliarity with the Bible makes it harder and harder for Americans to understand their origins and their mores, or to put words to their experiences. … Lacking knowledge of the Bible, Americans are likely to be literally inarticulate, unable to relate themselves to American life and culture as a whole.” —Wilson Carey McWilliams

“Knowledge of the Bible and its place in the American experience, in short, helps Americans better understand themselves and their history.” 

“In regard to this Great Book [the Bible], I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Saviour gave to the world was communicated through this book. But for it we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man’s welfare, here and hereafter, are to be found portrayed in it.” —Abraham Lincoln 

“[T]he Bible has had a literary influence not because it has been considered as literature, but because it has been considered as the report of the Word of God.” —T.S. Eliot 

“[William] Tyndale, who was the first to translate the Bible into English from the original Hebrew and Greek, can be rightly called the father of the King James Bible. Approximately ‘eighty percent of his Old Testament and ninety percent of his New Testament’ were adopted by the King James translators. …  

“There is much truth in the remark that ‘without Tyndale, no Shakespeare.’ It is also true that ‘without Tyndale, no King James Bible.’ ‘Without the King James Bible,’ Alister McGrath observed, ‘there would have been no Paradise Lost, no Pilgrim’s Progress, no Handel’s Messiah, no Negro spirituals, and no Gettysburg Address. … Without this Bible, the culture of the English-speaking world would have been immeasurably impoverished.’” 

“The size of the vocabulary found in the King James Bible is not extensive. [William] Shakespeare, it is estimated, used between fifteen and twenty thousand different words. Milton’s verse draws on a lexicon of about thirteen thousand words. The Old Testament, in the Hebrew and Aramaic, has approximately fifty-six hundred words. The New Testament, in the Greek, has around forty-eight hundred words. In the entire King James Bible, by contrast, there are only about six thousand different words, according to one accounting.” 

“The opinion that human reason, left without the constant control of divine laws and commands, will preserve a just administration, secure freedom and other rights, restrain men from violations of laws and constitutions, and give duration to a popular government, is as chimerical as the most extravagant ideas that enter the head of a maniac. … Where will you find any code of laws, among civilized men, in which the commands and prohibitions are not founded on Christian principles? I need not specify the prohibition of murder, robbery, theft, [and] trespass. … Every wise code of laws must embrace the main principles of the religion of Christ.” —John Adams 

“Moral principles and precepts contained in the Scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws. These principles and precepts have truth, immutable truth, for their foundation; and they are adapted to the wants of men in every condition of life. They are the best principles and precepts, because they are exactly adapted to secure the practice of universal justice and kindness among men; and of course to prevent crimes, war and disorders in society. No human laws dictated by different principles from those in the gospel, can ever secure these objects. All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible. … For instruction then in social, religious and civil duties resort to the scriptures for the best precepts and most excellent examples of imitation.” —Noah Webster

John Adams (book review)

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

I find David McCullough to be one of the most thorough, impartial, comprehensive, and engaging historians that I have read. These attributes—and many others—are on full display in his biography of our second president John Adams. 

Many have rightly called Thomas Jefferson the pen of the Declaration of Independence and John Adams the voice of the Declaration. But it’s not just this historic document for which Adams should be remembered, but the very form of government which we enjoy right now is a living tribute to his forceful and persuasive genius. 

This biography is brilliantly told by McCullough through the first-person accounts of Adams’ vast quantity of letters, as well as the letters written to and about him, and the contemporary newspapers of the day. McCullough takes us back to Adams’ boyhood home to give us a good understanding of the upbringing and family heritage that fueled his quest for learning and leading. From his first elected office, through his time in Europe advocating for the newly created United States of America, into his presidency, and then through his long retirement, Adams was tireless in his efforts to make this country the best it could be. 

For students of history or leadership, this is a remarkably insightful look into a man that was at the heart of so much of what characterizes our great nation today. I have other books about John Adams in my library, but David McCullough’s lengthy work is, in my opinion, the definitive source. 

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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

12 Quotes For Mother’s Day

“All I am, or can be, I owe to my angel mother.” —Abraham Lincoln

“My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.” —George Washington

“I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.” —Abraham Lincoln

“The foundations of national morality must be laid in private families. In vain are schools, academies, and universities, instituted, if loose principles and licentious habits are impressed upon children in their earliest years. The mothers are the earliest and most important instructors of youth.” —John Adams

“The fundamental truths reported in the four gospels as from the lips of Jesus Christ, and that I first heard from the lips of my mother, are settled and fixed moral precepts with me.” —Abraham Lincoln

“The devil never reckons a man to be lost so long as he has a good mother alive. O woman, great is thy power!” ―Charles Spurgeon

“I learned more about Christianity from my mother than from all the theologians in England.” ―John Wesley

“Your motherhood is in God’s sight holier and more blessed than you realize.” —Andrew Murray

“God could not be everywhere, and therefore He made mothers.” —Jewish Proverb

“An ounce of mother is worth a ton of priest.” —Spanish Proverb

“To be a mother is the greatest vocation in the world. No being has a position of such great power and influence. She holds in her hands the destiny of nations, for to her is necessarily committed the making of the nation’s citizens.” —Hannah Whitall Smith

“Youth fades, love droops, the leaves of friendship fall; a mother’s secret hope outlives them all.” —Oliver Wendell Holmes

15 Quotes On America’s Greatness

(c) craigtowens

(c) craigtowens

A few quotes that capture the essence of America’s greatness.

“The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy, a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For, happily, the government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.” —George Washington, in a letter to a Jewish congregation

“I always consider the settlement of America with reverence and wonder, as the opening of a grand scene and design in Providence for the illumination of the ignorant, and the emancipation of the slavish part of mankind all over the earth.” —John Adams

“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

“We go forward with complete confidence in the eventual triumph of freedom. Not because history runs on the wheels of inevitability; it is human choices that move events. Not because we consider ourselves a chosen nation; God moves and chooses as He wills. We have confidence because freedom is the permanent hope of mankind, the hunger in dark places, the longing of the soul. When our Founders declared a new order of the ages; when soldiers died in wave upon wave for a union based on liberty; when citizens marched in peaceful outrage under the banner ‘Freedom Now’—they were acting on an ancient hope that is meant to be fulfilled. History has an ebb and flow of justice, but history also has a visible direction, set by liberty and the Author of Liberty.” —George W. Bush

“To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.” —Calvin Coolidge

“Nowhere in the world is presented a government of so much liberty and equality. To the humblest and poorest amongst us are extended the highest privileges and positions. The present moment finds me at the White House, yet there is as good a chance for your children as there was for my father’s.” —Abraham Lincoln

“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

“America is another word for Opportunity. Our whole history appears like a last effort of the Divine Providence in behalf of the human race.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

“As soon as I make sure everyone else is out.” —Rick Rescorla, World Trade Center security chief for Morgan Stanley, on September 11, 2001, responding to a colleague who told him he must get out of World Trade Center Tower 2. Rescorla led the evacuation of nearly 2700 Morgan Stanley employees. He died when Tower 2 collapsed. 

“I believe that every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty.” —John D. Rockefeller Jr.

“We must be the great arsenal of democracy.” —Franklin Delano Roosevelt

“Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual—or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.” —Samuel Adams

“Some things have not changed at all since 1776. For one thing, freedom is still expensive. It still costs money. It still costs blood. It still calls for courage and endurance, not only in soldiers, but in every man and woman who is free and who is determined to remain free.” —Harry Truman, on the 175th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence

“The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally staked, on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.” —George Washington

“The thing they forget is that liberty and freedom and democracy are so very precious that you do not fight to win them once and then stop. Liberty and freedom and democracy are prizes awarded only to those peoples who fight to win them and then keep fighting eternally to hold them.” —Sergeant Alvin C. York, in reply to those who asked, “What did war get you?”

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).

Links & Quotes

link quote

These are links to articles and quotes I found interesting today.

“The Hebrews have done more to civilize men than any other nation. … [God] ordered the Jews to preserve and propagate to all mankind the doctrine of a supreme, intelligent, wise, almighty sovereign of the universe… the great essential principle of morality, and consequently all civilization.” —John Adams, in a letter to Judge F. A. Van der Kemp, February 16, 1809

I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man. (Hosea 11:9) 

The Lord thus makes known His sparing mercies. It may be that the reader is now under heavy displeasure, and everything threatens his speedy doom. Let the text hold him up from despair. The Lord now invites you to consider your ways and confess your sins. If He had been man, He would long ago have cut you off. If He were now to act after the manner of men, it would be a word and a blow and then there would be an end of you: but it is not so, for “as high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are His ways above your ways.” 

You rightly judge that He is angry, but He keepeth not His anger forever: if you turn from sin to Jesus, God will turn from wrath. Because God is God, and not man, there is still forgiveness for you, even though you may be steeped up to your throat in iniquity. You have a God to deal with and not a hard man, or even a merely just man. No human being could have patience with you. You would have wearied out an angel, as you have wearied your sorrowing Father; but God is longsuffering. Come and try Him at once. Confess, believe, and turn from your evil way, and you shall be saved. —Charles Spurgeon, Faith′s Checkbook (February 16) 

Stomach-churning: Former Planned Parenthood Nurse Speaks Out

“It was not an easy task which the Church faced when she came down from that upper room…. Left to herself the Church must have perished as a thousand abortive sects had done before her, and have left nothing for a future generation to remember. That the Church did not so perish was due entirely to the miraculous element within her. That element was supplied by the Holy Spirit who came at Pentecost to empower her for her task. For the Church was not an organization merely, not a movement, but a walking incarnation of spiritual energy. And she accomplished within a few brief years such prodigies of moral conquest as to leave us wholly without an explanation—apart from God.” —A.W. Tozer

Happy Independence Day

“I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

(John Adams, writing to his wife Abigail about the Declaration of Independence)

I hope you will take time today to celebrate the blessings of liberty that we enjoy in the United States of America. But as you celebrate, do not forget that our freedom relies solely on the grace of God Almighty. If we forget that important fact, we are doomed to lose the precious gift of liberty.

An Unabashed Appeal To Join Religion And Government

Talk about taking a passing remark out of context! In a personal letter, Thomas Jefferson mentions how church and state should be separate. But I’m convinced where we’ve ended up is no where close to what he intended! I’m so tired of historical revisionists trying to convince us that biblical values and Judeo-Christian ethics had no place in the founding of our nation. Or—worse yet—that they have no place now. Consider these founding remarks…

“…Having undertaken, for the Glory of God, and advancements of the Christian faith and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northern parts of Virginia….” —Mayflower Compact

“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence….” —Declaration Of Independence

“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, Constitutional Convention

It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.” —George Washington

“Suppose a nation in some distant Region should take the Bible for their only law Book and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited! What a Utopia, what aParadise would this region be.” —John Adams

And, of course, the quotes could go on and on and on. But one of my favorites:

“Yes, if our religion had more to do with our politics; if, in the pride of our citizenship, we had not forgotten our Christianity; if we had prayed more and wrangled less about the affairs of our country, it would have been infinitely better for us at this day.” —John Mitchell Mason (1770-1829), in his book published in 1800

Happy Birthday, America! May GOD bless you!

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