It was clear right from the start that there's a really huge confusion about these things that has to be resolved. I was rather surprised that the main focus was on proving that the Founders were not Deists, surprised because I did think that idea had been clarified by now.
First let's be clear that the Founders whose faith is in question are mainly the Big Five: Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Franklin and Thomas Paine. Although I was vaguely aware of problems with their beliefs for some time, over the last few months I've been convinced in stark and startling ways, mostly through Chris Pinto's film Hidden Faith of the Founding Fathers, that they were far from Christian, and in fact were clear rejectors of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is what needs to be discussed here.
Other men involved in that era were brought up on the program but they only tend to confuse the issues further. Patrick Henry for instance was clearly a Christian, he referred to Christ and to the gospel of salvation on many occasions. Many preachers of the gospel were also discussed who were certainly Christians. John Jay was mentioned, who was definitely a Christian. There were many true Christians in various roles in government during the founding era, and in the Revolutionary War. Much time was spent on the subject of the "Black Robed Regiment"* made up of Christian pastors who preached for Revolution and willingly fought and died for it. And certainly the Christian foundations of America go back to the earliest settlers who were also true Christians, the Puritans and Pilgrims, and the nation can look back to them for strong Christian inspiration.
But there is nevertheless a controversy about the true beliefs of the five founders I list above, the shapers of the new union through the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and other documents.
It is quite true, as the participants on the program all agreed, that these Founders were not Deists in the sense that we understand that term to mean belief in a God who is not involved in human affairs. Certainly Washington, Adams, Jefferson and Franklin believed in Providence and in prayer, and the protection of God over a country that adhered to His moral laws. And a great deal of what they say along those lines can sound awfully Christian to Christian ears, much of which was quoted on the program. Franklin, for instance, who was considered the least religious, nevertheless is the one who called for prayer by the Constitutional Congress.
The confusing thing is that they can sound so Christian and yet in fact reject the essentials of the Christian faith. ALL of them deny the Deity of Christ, even in the case of Adams and Jefferson ridiculing it. Adams was a Unitarian, so he officially denied the Trinity, he also ridiculed it in his letters as did his wife Abigail, and ridiculed such basic Christian doctrine as that Christ was God incarnate born of a virgin. Jefferson denied ALL the supernatural elements of the Bible. Franklin said he doubted the deity of Christ. Washington refused to take communion at his Anglican church while he was President in Philadelphia. His pastor called him a "Deist" in so many words, though there is reason now to regard that designation as not quite on the mark as I go on to discuss below.
Yet they all approved of the MORALITY of Jesus Christ, or at least some of the morality taught in His name. That's really ALL they approved of. They thought it would be fine if the nation were founded on that MORALITY, but certainly not on the gospel of salvation by Christ, which they considered to be a primitive myth not worthy of belief by intelligent people They were men of the Age of Reason, as Paine titled his book that made it once and for all evident that he was no Christian however much he might have supported Christian principles in a general sort of way through the Revolutionary era. These were Enlightenment men, who believed that human reason was the arbiter of all truth, so they rejected all claims to supernatural occurrences such as a virgin birth or resurrection from the dead as contrary to Reason, and believed humanity was growing up and would soon do away with such foolishness. Sound familiar? Lot of that we hear today as well.
The God they believed in was the God of Masonry and Unitarianism or even the God of Reason if that makes any sense, but NOT the God of the Bible.
Gregg Frazer is a scholar who is affiliated with John MacArthur's Masters College who did a thorough study of the beliefs of the Founding generation and published his findings in a book, The Religious Beliefs of America's Founders: Reason, Revelation, Revolution in which he argues that they were neither Deists nor Christians. He came up with a new term, "theistic rationalism" to describe their beliefs.
They did believe in a God who intervened in human affairs, they did believe in prayer, they did believe the nation needed to submit to God's moral law if it was to prosper, but they also adamantly and pointedly rejected the fundamental tenets of the Christian faith.
Surely it doesn't serve our cause to go on being deceived by this. America has plenty of true Christian history to lean on that we can invoke, including true Christian leaders who went on affirming the Christian nature of the nation even after the Founders had done their dirty work of treachery against the majority Christian population.
And that is how I've come to think of it. They were traitors. Chris Pinto's film Hidden Faith of the Founding Fathers, makes this clear.
The Understanding the Times broadcast starts out quoting the famous line from the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights...And we as Christians have pointed to that reference to the Creator to prove the Christian underpinnings of the Declaration. But this turns out to be a deception. Chris Pinto in his film about the founders points out that the concept of "self-evident" truths is an Enlightenment idea, that in fact it was specifically put in the Declaration as a CONTRADICTION to the Biblical claim that it is GOD who determines our equality, NOT REASON. Reason declares some philosophical positions to be self-evident according to human judgment but to a Christian it is the Biblical revelation that establishes humanity as equal because of our descent from Adam and Eve. The "Creator" referred to in the Declaration is not the God of the Bible, but "the God of Nature" who is more compatible with the antiChristian beliefs of the Founders.
In his film Pinto also interviews ex-Mormon and expert on Mormonism and Masonry, Ed Decker, who states that the Declaration of Independence was written on a MASONIC LAMBSKIN. THAT was supposed to be such a great boon to the nation, but to a Christian it ought to be recognized as blasphemy and a denial of the God of the Bible.
A pastor who researched the beliefs of the founding fathers is also quoted in the film as having discovered that they were all "infidels," and also that it had been debated whether or not to refer to God in the Constitution and it was decided NOT to.
Now, that ought to be enough to show that the founders that are so often misreprsented as Christians were actually antichrists (those who deny that Jesus is God come in the flesh) and traitors to the Christian population of America.
But Pinto also delves deeper and finds some very interesting historical background on the concept of "religious liberty" as written into our Constitution. This concept goes back to the Catholic monarch James II of England who introduced something called The Declaration of Indulgence which would have rescinded strict limitations on the role allowed to Catholics and others in political positions. Here's what I found Douglas Wilson saying about that, which is what Pinto's film also affirms:
Why Anglicans Matter to the Rest of Us by Douglas Wilson.How NICE the idea of Religious Liberty sounds. And haven't we all affirmed this idea with pride in our tolerant nation? We've even thought it is in keeping with Christian principles. How hard it is then to begin to consider that it could be a huge deception that is only turning the nation over to internal enemies. What Muslim nation allows nonMuslims to hold office? NO nation that has an established religion allows members of another religion that kind of power. But America stupidly does.
In the brief and troubled reign of James II, an event took place that illustrates how connected Anglicans and non-Anglicans can sometimes be. James the Second was a fervent supporter of the interests of Rome, and during his reign—in the memorable phrase of J.C. Ryle—“traitors were hatched in the sunshine of corruption.”
James had begun his reign by persecuting the Nonconformists—jailing the great Richard Baxter after a farce of a trial, for example, and being responsible for the death by drowning of the young Scottish martyr Margaret Wilson. Because of this kind of thing, the pitch was set for the song he intended to sing, and the Nonconformists were reinforced in their intention not even to get their Psalters out.But in April of 1688, James issued a “Declaration of Indulgence” along with a requirement that the declaration be read in all the chapels and churches of the kingdom by their officiating ministers. Seven bishops refused to have anything to do with it, and their subsequent trial was the cause celebre that brought James down in the Glorious Revolution.But there was a striking element in this Declaration of Indulgence. James was trying to make room for the Church of Rome, and yet the declaration allowed both Roman Catholics and Protestant Dissenters the freedom to perform worship publicly. Before the bishops had made their decision to refuse to obey the king, the Nonconformists stepped forward, in the words of Ryle, “to their eternal honour,” and offered their support to the bishops in their defiance of the king, even though it meant their continued exclusion and exile. “They refused to be bribed just as they had formally refused to be intimidated.”“They would have none of the Royal indulgence, if it could only be purchased at the expense of the nation’s Protestantism. Baxter, and Bates, and Howe, and the great bulk of the London Nonconformists, entreated the clergy to stand firm, and not to yield one inch to the King.” (J.C. Ryle,Light from Old Times (London: Thynne & Jarvis, 1924, p.438)
James was looking for a way to give Rome a foothold in England again after they had so wisely limited her influence, and the nation wisely rejected his plot.
But guess what. What England so intelligentlhy rejected got enshrined in our American Constitution. Plots within plots that nobody ever suspected.
Things are NOT what they seem. We Christians need to wake up and start to realize that we're threatened in ways we had no idea. May God give us wisdom even at this late hour.
* The stories of the Black Robed Regiment which were told by Pastor Dan Fisher on the radio show, are very inspiring and something we should know more about. But I have to wonder why nothing was made of the fact that Mormon Glenn Beck has been invoking the Black Robed Regiment in a way that confuses the "Christian" basis of American history even further. Understanding the Times is a DISCERNMENT ministry. Let's have a little more DISCERNMENT there folks.