Erasing History

The last article presented why corruption has grown in our society as we’ve fallen away from God. Today we’ll take a brief look at how erasing our history contributes to this change.

Our War for Independence began after Britain’s king failed to restore the colonist’s rights as Englishmen. Rights acknowledged as coming from God. They tried for over ten years to peacefully resolve the situation, but those efforts failed and led to America’s Declaration of Independence in July, 1776.

Why the Declaration Matters

The Declaration has a medieval document’s structure and content. It is not a product of the Renaissance or Enlightenment, but its opposite. Other significant medieval documents include; the Capitulary of Charlemagne (802), Constitutions of Clarendon (1164), Magna Charta (1215), and Act of Abjuration (1581). There are many many more.

These documents share some common traits. First, they acknowledge God and His authority. Second, they limit government’s scope and power. The state stands below God’s natural law and above human positive law. Third, a ruler lies below the people he leads. Fourth, man’s God gifted natural rights are confirmed. The church limited the state’s power by challenging its transgressions when it violated biblical principles. Fifth, not only were rights laid out, but each party’s duties were also listed. All natural rights come with moral duties. Nothing is ever free, but may be freely given.

We see these same governance limits in the early church fathers writings. From Ambrose, “For the Emperor is within the Church, not above it. … Some threaten us with fire, sword, exile; we have learnt as servants of Christ not to fear. To those who have no fear, nothing is ever a serious cause of dread.”[1] And from Augustine, “The man, however, who has learned what ought to be done, but does it not, has not as yet been “taught of God” according to grace, but only according to the law,—not according to the spirit, but only according to the letter.”[2] Augustine’s quote has its basis in James 4:11.

When Biblical Principles Are Put Aside

Medieval documents also detail government’s exceeding its limits and society’s responsibility when this occurs.  The following ideas come from two such documents; the Netherland’s Act of Abjuration[3] and Huguenot’s A Defense of Liberty Against Tyrants.[4] Both address instances when government no longer served its people. Some biblical principles mentioned include:

  • God institutes rules to lead a people as its shepherd, even to death, to defend and preserve them.
  • God’s authority is absolute. He is creator and good. Man’s authority is limited as he is God’s creation. God is sovereign; man receives laws and conditions from his sovereign.
  • God commands rulers obey His laws. When rulers choose to disobey, they lose the benefit of their rights and privilege to lead.
  • Magistrates opposing an unjust ruler should be obeyed. But if they approve an irreligious ruler’s actions, the people are to listen to Christ’s counsel instead.
  • Leaders make two covenants. One with God and a second with the people. With the first they incur a duty to piety, and the second to justice.
  • No leader can rule without a people, but a people can exist without a ruler. Rulers must therefore have first been created by the people.
  • We are bound to serve God for His own sake only, but we honor our ruler, and love our neighbor, because of and for the love of God.

Locke agrees. When a state’s legislative or executive functions act contrary to the trust placed in them by the people, its government is dissolved.[5]

How America’s Declaration Fits the Medieval Pattern

America’s Declaration follows the same medieval document structure, principles, and content. Consider it;

  • Recognizes God, His authority and morality. We are to do what is right using virtues such as prudence—the ability to discern good from evil.
  • Man’s nature, created by his Creator and all man sharing an equal nature.
  • God’s natural rights including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
  • People consenting to create a government whose purpose is to secure our God gifted natural rights.
  • When government abuses its authority and becomes destructive of its just ends, the people have a duty to change it.
  • Reliance is placed on God and His Providence—requiring
  • The delegate’s actions served those sending them; they were not taken for the delegate’s own benefit.

As mentioned elsewhere, natural rights are God’s gifts, almost exclusively negative, and come with corresponding moral duties when accepted. There is no doubt that life, the freedom to make our own decisions, and fulfilling our purpose are essential gifts. While the pursuit of happiness is sometimes identified as property, such as in Locke’s work, this restricts us to only the material. Our Founders are clearly including the spiritual in their opening references to God, man, and their relationship. To say otherwise is simply settling for the city of man—as Locke did.

Erasing History

So what does all this have to do with erasing our history? Plenty. The Black Lives Matters, Antifa, and liberal fools all say America is bad. I agree because the America they seek to create has no God. America without God is no different from any other country. It is only our recognition of God, His natural rights, and our Biblical governing principles that make the difference.

But you can’t choose something you don’t know about. We must each learn the things of God through our family, education, and society. Some argue today’s events are only about statues, monuments, school names, and other such material things created by man—so who cares? They couldn’t be more wrong. They’ve already forgotten the connection those things had with God through our founding principles. The people, events, and actions they draw attention to, both the good and the bad. They’ve already forgotten history and are lost without even knowing it.

What Course Do We Have?

Consider, we have a morally unjust leader in our governor. He supports immoral policies such as abortion, same sex marriage, and gender neutralization. His pandemic related actions needlessly impacted many employers and employees, putting them either out of work or underemployed. His pandemic health related requirements such as wearing masks do little, if anything, to stop a virus spread—and may harm people in the long run. This is not serving those you are supposed to lead. He is at best morally immature and unfit to lead.

Eight states rejected following the federal coronavirus guidelines. The most recent figures still indicate these states are all doing much better than average, as shown below.

Our governor continues to misuse the people’s trust. At best he reaches the bottom rung of the states more closely following our founding principles, but he is far from alone.

The state legislators have the means to constitutionally address the situation, but they’ve not even acted. They too have misused the trust placed in them by the people. That leaves today’s magistrates to fulfill the obligations placed upon our government by our state constitution. These are the county supervisors, administrators, city mayors, school board members, etc. If the power comes from us, and government can no longer faithfully execute its responsibilities, we have a moral duty to follow God instead and change it.

Footnotes:

[1] Schaff, Philip, p. 928, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Series II, Volume 10, Ambrose: Selected Works and Letters, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, www.ccel.org.

[2] Schaff, Philip, p. 652, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Series I, Volume 5, St. Augustine: Anti-Pelagian Letters, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, www.ccel.org.

[3] Thatcher, Oliver J., ed., pp. 189-97, The Library of Original Sources, Vol. V: 9th to 16th Centuries, University Research Extension Co., 1907.

[4] Brutus, Junius, Vindiciae contra Tyrannos, York University, http://www.yorku.ca/comninel/courses/3020pdf/vindiciae.pdf, accessed July, 2020.

[5] Locke, John, Two Treatises of Government¸ p. 412, Cambridge University Press, Student Edition, 1988.

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About the Author

Dan Wolf
Dan Wolf is a researcher and analyst; examining complex, abstract topics. His writing’s premise is based on one simple idea. We do not receive the benefits of God’s gifts unless we are turned toward Him. Each generation needs to learn this lesson to pass on what’s important. What are those gifts? Freedom, faith, and grace among others. Our Founders considered education, religion, morality, and virtue to be the cornerstones for any successful society. Success requires an education in both the languages of reason and faith, reason alone is not enough. Unfortunately, our education system today no longer teaches what we need to be successful, so we risk losing our way. But it is not too late. In the end we each have the freedom to choose, and the ability to learn. There are many who have already blazed a trail for us; we only need the will to embrace the challenge and make the effort. Together we will restore the societal foundation that our Founder’s, and many after them, fought and died for. The choice is ours. My goal is to assist you on your way. His site is at:  http://www.livingrightly.net/