What the Founders Knew: Liberty Produces a God-Fearing People
By Pastor David Whitney
This Tuesday we celebrated the 241st anniversary of our Declaration of Independence. The most important phrase in the entire document speaks to the foundation for our lawful form of government, the very reason why we could legitimately secede from Great Britain; that phrase, often misunderstood today is “The Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” Our Founders were paraphrasing William Blackstone’s writing in his Commentaries on the Laws of England in which he stated that there are three kinds of law, The Law of Nature, the Law of Revelation and Municipal Law.
By the way, all our Founders read Blackstone, and he was the authority in all courts of our land for the first 150 years. First, the Law of Nature Blackstone describes “as man depends absolutely upon his maker for everything, it is necessary that he should in all points conform to his maker’s will.
This will of his maker is called the law of nature. .. when he created man, and endued him with freewill to conduct himself in all parts of life, he laid down certain immutable laws of human nature, whereby that freewill is in some degree regulated and restrained, and gave him also the faculty of reason to discover the purport of those laws.”
The Second is Revealed Law which Blackstone describes as “The doctrines thus delivered we call the revealed or divine law, and they are to be found only in the holy scriptures.”
Then Municipal Law, that which man puts on paper, is only valid if it complies with the Laws of Nature and the Revealed Law. “This law of nature, being coeval with mankind and dictated by God himself, is of course superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times: no human laws are of any validity, if contrary to this;”1
The Founder’s argument in the Declaration of Independence is that King George’s municipal laws violate the Law of Nature and the Law of Revelation (which they style as the Laws of Nature’s God) and because of a long train of abuses and usurpations in which the King has refused to repent of his sins against God’s Law, he is unfit to be the ruler of the 13 Colonies. Furthermore, that an additional God given right is that civil government is by consent of the governed and when a people’s God given rights are abused by civil government rather than secured and protected, the people have a God given right to secede from that abuse of power.
So the entire foundation of the American form of government rested solidly upon the Word of God alone.
At one time all American’s understood this truth, today very few hold this understanding. And the moral free fall we see engulfing our land is a result of rejecting our Founder’s clear understanding that God’s Law is the Supreme Law of the Universe.
Contrast our land with a country that was first evangelized in the year 1830. A number of natives came to faith in Christ and the work was expanded from the larger settlements to outlying islands.
Quoting their own history, In “1839 In this year the Rev. Williams [the founding missionary] and the Rev. Harris were killed by the natives on the Island of Eromaga and their bodies were eaten by the benighted heathens. The bones of these valued men were brought by the Missionary ship to Apia and interred under the porch of the church.”2
But the Gospel of Jesus Christ was not hindered and today nearly the entire population of Samoa profess faith in Jesus Christ. Just one month ago they did something very astonishing.
They proclaimed that they are a Christian nation. “In early June, the Samoan Parliament passed a bill amending the constitution to transform the country from a secular to a Christian state. The objective of the amendment was “to insert in the Constitution that Samoa is a Christian nation to declare the dominance of Christianity in Samoa.”
“Samoa already had a reference to Christianity in the preamble to its Constitution, which declared that the Samoan government should conduct itself “within the limits prescribed by God’s commandments,” and that Samoan society is “based on Christian principles.” This kind of wording is common in the preambles of constitutions among Pacific Island states (the exception being Fiji). However, a preamble to a constitution is generally seen as a broad symbolic national statement, one of historical or cultural significance, rather than a legislative tool. What Samoa has done is shift references to Christianity into the body of the constitution, giving the text far more potential to be used in legal processes.
Previously Article 1 of the Samoan Constitution had declared that “Samoa is founded on God,” … However, upon these changes Article 1 will now read “Samoa is a Christian nation founded of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,” a specifically Christian conception of God, with no room for interpretation by other religious groups, or by the government and judiciary.”3
Not a single member of Parliament opposed this change to their constitution. It is fascinating to see what the Prime Minister said of this change. “Every time we say that Samoa is founded on God because it is in within our Constitution, God must’ve had a good laugh and thought that we have been fooling him,” said Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi. “And it has been more than 50 years since we have been fooling God, because this is not in the body of our Constitution.”4
Early this year “In parliamentary debates, one member of parliament expressed [their] perspective by stating, ‘If we make laws and bills, we need to make decisions that will reflect that we are a Christian country, so if other countries push us to make laws such as to allow same sex marriage, then we have to say no because that will not show that we are a Christian country. That will never happen in Samoa.’”5
Wow I am impressed! A Country today that recognizes God’s Law is the Supreme Law of the Universe and seeks to implement that clearly incorporating it into their constitution.
We pray on this the 241 anniversary celebration that America would repent of its sins and a revival would restore our Founder’s understanding that God’s Law is the Supreme Law of the universe and that a just society must comply with God’s Law. We see the power of the Word of God to transform lives, murders and cannibals became Christians who honor God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit in their national constitution. How does that transformation take place not only for individuals but whole societies?
Turn to Titus 3:5-6 “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;” It is the power of the Holy Spirit poured out in abundance that does this miraculous transforming work, turning murderous cannibals to God honoring Christians.
1 – http://www.nlnrac.org/node/244
2 – http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-TuvAcco-t1-body1-d5.html
3 – http://thediplomat.com/2017/06/samoa-officially-becomes-a-christian-state/
4 – http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/cwn/2017/february/why-samoa-wants-to-make-it-clear-its-a-christian-state
5 – http://thediplomat.com/2017/06/samoa-officially-becomes-a-christian-state/
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