Tag Archives: Ten Commandments

In Their Own Words… The Founding Fathers and Our Christian Heritage

Every year around this time the godless, anti-Christian, anti-religious, “spaghetti monster” fans wear out the keyboards of their iMacs as they hammer any and every posted news article having anything to do with the Christian stones in our nation’s foundation.

Just this week a story about another school taking down a student-donated 92-year-0ld plaque hit the news. The comment sections of various sources that published the story were overflowing with arrogant atheists preaching the virtues of “separation of church and state.” Obviously, their hatred of Christianity (not so much the desire for pluralism) was fueling their snarky vitriol.

As if the trolls got together beforehand and decided what would be the most effective “shut up the enemy” type of argument, one of the most common mic-drop-type attempts to end any defense of the Ten Commandment plaque went like this:

“If you are OK with posting the Ten Commandments, then would you be OK with posting the 5 pillars of Islam or the 7 points of Satanism? If one religion is honored, then all should be!”

Ummm…. no.

You see, the whole reason for posting the Ten Commandments is not to “promote” a particular faith (btw, it’s not just Christianity that claims the TC’s; they came to the Jews, first!), but to recognize the foundational source from which our nation derived its inspiration. Fact is, Islam had NOTHING to do with the founding of our country, especially not Satanism; therefore there is no historical context to warrant the erecting of plaques them or any other religion or religious texts – the Bible and Christianity alone were supremely instrumental to the Founders and the documents they created to form this country.

At the VERY LEAST, the majority of  our founding fathers, even though they did not want to establish a national church or officially promote one religious sect over another, were very religious, and they admitted the country they envisioned would fail if the people inhabiting it were not.

How can I make such a bold statement? Where’s my proof?

I’m glad you asked.

The rest of this article will consist of quotes from our Founding Fathers. Their words should speak for themselves.

In Their Own Words

John Adams (Signer of the Declaration of Independence and 2nd President of the United States)

“It is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue.” – to Zabdiel Adams on June 21, 1776

[W]e have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion . . . Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” – 1798

Charles Carroll of Carrollton (Signer of the Declaration of Independence)

“Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime & pure, [and] which denounces against the wicked eternal misery, and [which] insured to the good eternal happiness, are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments.” – from a letter to James McHenry, November 4, 1800)

Benjamin Rush (Signer of the Declaration of Independence)

“The only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments.” – 1806

“We profess to be republicans, and yest we neglect the only means of establishing and perpetuation our republican forms of government, that is, the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by the means of the Bible. For this Divine Book, above all others, favors that equality among mankind, that respect for just laws, and those sober and frugal virtues, which constitute the soul of republicanism.” – 1806

Benjamin Franklin

(When the Constitutional Convention was deadlocked) “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 that an empire can rise with His aid?” – June 28, 1787

George Washington (First President)

The hand of Providence has been so conspicuous in all this time that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more wicked that has not gratitude to acknowledge his obligations…” – from a letter to Brigadier General Thomas Nelson, August 20, 1778

“And now, Almighty Father, if it is Thy holy will that we shall obtain a place and name among the nations of the Earth, grant that we may be enabled to show our gratitude for Thy goodness by our endeavors to fear and obey Thee.” – private prayer, 1779

Samuel Adams (“Father of the American Revolution”)

“The rights of the colonists as Christians…may be best understood by reading and carefully studying the institution of The Great Law Giver and Head of the Christian Church, which are to be found clearly written and promulgated in the New Testament.” – from Rights of the Colonists, 1772)

John Hancock (first to sign the Declaration of Independence)

“In circumstances dark as these, it becomes us, as men and Christians, to reflect that, whilst every prudent measure should be taken to ward off the impending judgments . . . all confidence must be withheld from the means we use; and reposed only on that God who rules in the Armies of Heaven, and without whose blessing the best human counsels are but foolishness – and all created power vanity,” – April 15, 1775, as Hancock signed a proclamation for a day of fasting and prayer

John Quincy Adams (6th President)

“The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government and principles of Christianity.” – attributed to Adams; cited from Pamphlet on American Revolution, 1860, John Wingate Thorton

Roger Sherman (Signer of all four of the major founding documents)

(In a speech to Congress) “Admiring and thankfully acknowledging the riches of redeeming love, and earnestly imploring that divine assistance which may enable us to live no more to ourselves, but to him who loves us and gave himself to die for us.”

Literally, I could go on and on and on… but I have 4th of July (Independence Day) celebrations to attend – and even a couple of weddings to perform! Tonight, I’m going with my family to a baseball game, after which will be fireworks! How American is that?!!

God bless America! And, may we be bold enough and informed enough to fight for the right to publicly acknowledge His blessings, despite what the Freedom from Religion Foundation and all the religion-hating trolls want to accomplish.

Oh, but wait… There’s just one more quote from John Adams that I need to squeeze in… because it has a direct bearing on the historical context of posting the Ten Commandments…

“The moment the idea is admitted into society, that property is not sacred as the laws of God, and there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If ‘Thou shalt not covet,’ and ‘Thou shalt not steal,’ were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society, before it can be civilized or made free.” – Source: The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, 1851, Vol. VI, p. 9

Now THAT’S a “mic drop” quote if I ever heard one!

Happy Independence Day!

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The Magnificent Fifty: Foundation of Faith (Texas)

Austin, Texas (Artist: Susan Cassidy Wilhoit)

Granite Monument (1961): A 6-foot-high monolith inscribed with the Ten Commandments is located on Texas Capitol grounds. The Supreme Court on June 27, 2005, ruled in favor of the display handing down a 5-4 decision that reversed the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ decision that would have had the monument removed.

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Shortage of Common Sense

proverbial thought pictureThe following (edited) devotional was originally written in 2013 and re-released just yesterday on ProverbialThought.com. Amazing how little things have changed.

Common Sense

Some things make perfect sense. Some things are so sensible that everyone agrees, hence the term “common sense.” However, there are some things that people find hard to understand, even though anyone with common sense would think it makes perfect sense.

The following proverb should be a no-brainer.

“When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” – Proverbs 16:7

Pleasing Ways

Are you familiar with the Ten Commandments? Not the movie with Charleton Heston; I’m talking about the actual Ten Commandments found in the Bible.

If you haven’t read them in a while, why don’t we refresh ourselves with a few of them?

  • Don’t steal
  • Don’t murder
  • Don’t commit adultery
  • Don’t lie about your neighbor
  • Honor your father and mother
  • Don’t sit around desiring what’s not yours

If you want to live in such a way (ethically speaking) that will please the Lord, the above list is a good place to start, wouldn’t you think? What is more pleasing than not stealing, not murdering, not lying, not envying, etc.?

Peaceful Enemies

Believe it or not, doing what pleases the Lord (like not committing murder, not stealing from your employer, or not sleeping with your boss’s wife) is actually a good way to get ahead in the world. Common sense, wouldn’t you think?

I have worked with many atheists and agnostics, some of which hated what I believed, but none of them ever fired me for being a bad employee. Most gave high recommendations to my next employer. In one sense they were my “enemies,” but all in all they were peaceful. Why? Because my ways pleased the Lord.

Nonsense

What I found totally nonsensical, however, was a story relating to the Ten Commandments being posted in a public school. I can’t remember where this took place, exactly, but I do remember the reason the lawyers gave for removing the list from view…

“If the Ten Commandments are allowed to remain, then children will be tempted to do what they say.”

So, what were they saying, that if the Ten Commandments were left up someone might actually be tempted not to steal, not to lie, etc.?

Here’s a question… Which is more pleasing, a) NOT committing murder, or b) gunning down students and teachers?

I guess there’s a shortage of common sense these days.

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American-Made Idol

Ten Commandments

When I first came to pastor Riverside, one of the first series of sermons I preached was on the ten commandments. Believe it or not, I had a really cool pair of fake stone tablets, and each week I would bring them in with a new commandment “engraved” upon them.

I took great care to make those “stone” tablets look as realistic as possible. That makes me think: how heavy were the real ones?  I mean, they must have weighed at least fifty pounds each! And can you imagine carrying those things down a mountain? I guess that’s what tending sheep for forty years in the wilderness can do for ya’.

No Idols

God told Moses, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). He went on to say that he should not make any images to worship or bow down to (20:4). Yet, what did Moses find when he came down and saw the children of Israel partying (Exodus 32)? A golden calf. A graven image. An idol.

So, in order to have a visual for the sermon, I made an idol. No, it wasn’t made of gold, but it’s amazing what a little tin foil, coat hangers, spray paint, and insulation foam can do. I made my own golden calf (except it looked more like a chihuahua).

When I uncovered the “golden calf” that Sunday morning, one could sense a feeling of uneasiness. “It’s fake,” I told the congregation, “so don’t feel too nervous.” In a few moments everything was fine, and the message went well.

But later that night…

The Golden “Chihuahua”

Sunday evening after church we were at home getting ready for bed, when my wife asked a question. “What are you going to do with that idol?” she said with a serious voice. “I don’t know, probably put it on a shelf in the garage.”

“Oh, no you won’t!” she replied. “You are NOT keeping that thing in the house. You either take it back to the church, or destroy it…I don’t care…just get it out of the house.”

What? Didn’t she realize how long I worked on that silly thing? Didn’t she appreciate my artistic ability, my ingenuity, my imagination? What was wrong with keeping my idol? I made it.

Conviction

Isn’t it amazing how at the turn of a moment God can get our attention? We make idols every day out of the cheapest of material. Forget the gold, we worship stuff of even less value. Our idols are nothing like the ones in the Bible, not made of solid gold, but we put them before God, nevertheless.

I was convicted. God used my wife to make a point. If I couldn’t destroy a fake idol, cheap as it was, what made me think I could do away with other idols? Real idols? The gods (little “g”) that demand my time, my attention, my worship?

Only a picture remains.

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