The WallBuilders Show

Faith and Freedom: The Spiritual Foundations of American Independence

July 02, 2024 Tim Barton, David Barton & Rick Green
Faith and Freedom: The Spiritual Foundations of American Independence
The WallBuilders Show
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The WallBuilders Show
Faith and Freedom: The Spiritual Foundations of American Independence
Jul 02, 2024
Tim Barton, David Barton & Rick Green

What if the principles that founded America were deeply rooted in faith and divine intervention? Join us as we uncover the spiritual and historical foundations of American Independence. Prepare to be amazed as we recount the profound moments of the first Continental Congress in 1774, starting their monumental session with a remarkable two-hour prayer and Bible study. Through the intimate letters of John Adams to his wife Abigail, discover how spiritual experiences shaped early American governance and contributed to the nation's unique stability and endurance.

In our journey through American history, witness the miraculous feats that propelled the Continental Army and Navy to victory, from Colonel Smith's daring exploits to the British surrender in 1781. Feel the palpable sense of divine intervention documented by John Adams and George Washington. We also highlight the historic printing of the first English Bibles in America. We further delve into the biblical influences on America’s founding fathers, stressing the sacred duty of voting and sharing fascinating stories of lesser-known figures like John Witherspoon and Benjamin Rush. This episode is a compelling reflection on the spiritual heritage and principles that continue to define America's essence.

Support the Show.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

What if the principles that founded America were deeply rooted in faith and divine intervention? Join us as we uncover the spiritual and historical foundations of American Independence. Prepare to be amazed as we recount the profound moments of the first Continental Congress in 1774, starting their monumental session with a remarkable two-hour prayer and Bible study. Through the intimate letters of John Adams to his wife Abigail, discover how spiritual experiences shaped early American governance and contributed to the nation's unique stability and endurance.

In our journey through American history, witness the miraculous feats that propelled the Continental Army and Navy to victory, from Colonel Smith's daring exploits to the British surrender in 1781. Feel the palpable sense of divine intervention documented by John Adams and George Washington. We also highlight the historic printing of the first English Bibles in America. We further delve into the biblical influences on America’s founding fathers, stressing the sacred duty of voting and sharing fascinating stories of lesser-known figures like John Witherspoon and Benjamin Rush. This episode is a compelling reflection on the spiritual heritage and principles that continue to define America's essence.

Support the Show.

Rick Green

Welcome to the Intersection of Faith and Culture. It's the Wall Builder Show, where we're taking on the hot topics of the day from a biblical, historical and constitutional perspective, and it is Independence Day week. Is there a day week? Yeah, independence Week, we should say. Anyway, Independence Day.

Just a few days from now, we're going to be celebrating the birthday of our nation as we should. I think we should spend a whole month doing that and we kind of just celebrated year-round here at WallBuilders. That's okay, because we love our country and we want to restore it, and so we need to know what made it great in the first place. So we're going to be sharing with you this week, over the next four days, we're going to share with you two presentations about Independence Day and about what made America great in the first place, and the first one is going to be David Barton.

He just spoke I guess just a couple of days ago on this very subject, and he's going to be sharing really the secret sauce of what makes America special. So let's jump right in. I'm Rick Green, America's Constitution Coach. I'm not going to be talking for the rest of these two days. It's going to be David for the next two days, and then Tim on Thursday and Friday with his presentation on Independence Day. Let's learn a little bit about what made America so great when we come back from the break.

 

Break

Rick Green

Welcome back. Thanks for staying with us. We're going to jump right in with David Barton on independence in America.

David Barton

Obviously, this is Fourth of July week, and so on Thursday we celebrate the Fourth of July. So happy birthday, America. We'll be 248 years old now. To put that in perspective, we have 1,800 years of recorded history. We have thousands of nations. The average length that a nation endures is 17 years, so we're 248. We are so old, so stable. We just take for granted that we are who we are. We don't even think about how special we are anymore. Every single year, we set a world's record for all of history. No nation has lasted as long as we've anymore. Every single year, we set a world's record for all of history no nation has lasted as long as we've lasted.

So when you look at the scriptures, you have verses like Psalms 11.3 that said the foundation has been destroyed. What do the righteous do? You got to know what the foundations are, to protect them, to ensure that longevity. You can't switch the foundation in the midstream and expect it to survive. You will lose the structure if you switch the foundation. So what are the foundations? And literally, what do we go back to? What do we look at at the beginning? What's made us special? What are our beginnings Now? I want to take you back to the beginning that led to the 4th of July. Tell you some of that history that's there, going back to the very beginning, what you have.

The first time our founding fathers got together was in 1774, at the first Continental Congress, or actually the first Provincial Congress, as it's sometimes called. But these guys had been 13 separate nations, they had not been one nation. There were 13 nations and they got together and so the guys from Massachusetts did not know the guys from Georgia, the guys from South Carolina did not know the guys from New York. These are all new, especially with communication, travel, what it was back then. They didn't know each other. So when they get together it's interesting to see what they did. It's recorded in the records of Congress. The first thing that they did was they opened with prayer, but it was not a dinky little prayer like we might pray today. It was a two-hour prayer session they opened with. So they began the first Congress with two hours of prayer.

There are many people who wrote about that. I'm going to show you a little later. We have two world-class museums in Dallas Fort Worth area. We own tens of thousands of original documents. I brought some with me this morning. We're going to sit down here later and you guys can see things that America was built on, literally things that are in a lot of the paintings you'll see we actually have. And so when these guys got together, a lot of them wrote about it.

But John Adams is one that's a lot of fun. John has a lot of letters, he and his wife Abigail. They switched letters back and forth 1,100 times over their lifetime, so it's 1,100 letters back and forth between the two and he writes Abigail after that first morning. He said Abigail, he said you're not going to believe what happened this morning. We opened prayer, we opened two hours of prayer and God spoke to us in that period of time and he goes through what God shared. And he said not only did we pray, but we also studied four chapters of the bible this morning in congress and he talked particularly about how that god spoke to them out of psalm 35. And so when he got to psalm 35 and saying man, god spoke to us this morning, he changed our life because of psalm 35, he told her. He said very simply so I must beg you to read that psalm, read the 35th psalm, your friends read it to your father. You got to see what God showed us in Psalm 35. And then, when you do, show it to your friends and then show it to your dad, her dad was the pastor of their church, William Smith was their pastor, and so you got to let them see what happened this morning in Psalm 35.

Now, Psalm 35 is very significant and if you read it in the context of you got a bunch of guys here. They have no military, they have no army, they have no navy, they have no. They've been British all their life and now the British military is coming against them and they don't have any defense for it. And it talks about how that God defends the defenseless people. And it's just that they said this. God knew exactly what was going to be happening the day he ordained the Psalm for us. And then he continues and tells Abigail some more. He says Abigail, he says we've appointed a continental fast. He said millions of people on their knees at once before their great creator, employing his forgiveness and blessings, his smiles on American council arms. Abigail, we've called the nation to a day of fasting. Can you imagine the impact? And he said we have three millions of people. Can you imagine the impact of having three million people pray and fast.

Now, significantly, they did pray and fast and that was one of the first times out of 15 that Congress called the people to prayer in the American War for Independence. So 15 times Congress said, guys, we need to pray. And this was for prayer and fasting. But there's 15 times it goes back and forth between prayer and fasting and Thanksgiving. And they're fun to read the proclamations because they're very specific, they're not short, they're not dinky, they are very scripture oriented and you'll find out that, man, we got a lot of stuff going on. Let's pray and fast. And they'll come back a few minutes later and say, remember the day of prayer and fasting? We had God answered the prayers. Let's have a day of prayer and thanks and prayer and Thanksgiving.

And if you look at the official prayer proclamations, by 1815, the government had issued 1,400 prayer proclamations. So 1,400 by 1815, that's a lot of praying. And this is coming from our leaders, our state leaders and our national leaders. This is very different from where we are in America. We have established by law since 1952 that we will have the National Day of Prayer and so every president since 1952 has been obliged to call a National Day of Prayer. We had a National Day of Prayer this year and the presidential prayer proclamation did not even mention the word God in it. How do you have a prayer proclamation and not even talk about God? We've managed to arrive at that point in America where that God's really not that important. We're such a great nation, we do such good stuff. That's not what they believed back then. And so these proclamations right here I have a bunch of these that you see up there down here, and I want to show you just John Hancock for a minute.

Let me take you to John Hancock. John Hancock, founding father. We know his big signature on the Declaration. He's the president of Congress, but he was also a governor of Massachusetts and both as the president of Congress and as the governor of Massachusetts he called people to prayer. Now this prayer proclamation that you see right there, this is the original prayer proclamation from John Hancock and again, I'll put it down where you guys can see it later.

But that prayer proclamation, you can see that's not a short little prayer proclamation. There's a lot of language there and he's got a lot of specific prayer requests that he is asking the people to pray for and if you notice, it is a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer. This is one of 22 times that he called the people to prayer. So 22 times the leader says guys, we got to pray and you say it's serious prayer. It's not a day of Thanksgiving we had those but this is day of fasting, humiliation and prayer.

And so what in the world does John Hancock have the people fasting and praying for? Let me show you. He says we need to fast and pray that the kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, may be established in peace and righteousness among all nations of the earth. That's one. He's got another prayer proclamation we need to pray and fast that all nations may bow to the scepter of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and the whole earth may be filled with His glory. He's got another one that we need to pray and fast that we confess our sins before God and implore His forgiveness through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. He's got another one we need to pray and fast that the spiritual kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, may be continually increasing until the whole earth should be filled with it.

This is not squishy stuff, but see, this is not what we get in schools today either we don't go back to seeing what the original was. We had really devout people of strong faith and they're calling on God in a way that would be beneficial for all of us to recall and actually emulate. So when you look back at these proclamations and there are so many of these guys I mean all of these are signers of the Declaration and they've all got prayer proclamations and I've got those prayer proclamations up here and you're able to see all of them if you want to. But see, we don't even know who most of these guys are today. Sam Adams, john Adams okay, we know those guys, we know John Hancock, but who in the world is Rodney or John Langdon or Josiah Bartlett? We don't know these guys anymore. And we used to. We have textbooks that we've actually reprinted. Even in the 1800s we used to study every one of the 56 signers of the Declaration because they really were the fathers of the country in many ways.

And so when you go back and look at what happened with this day of prayer and fasting and you see again John and Abigail writing letters back and forth, he wrote Abigail a letter about six weeks after that day of prayer and fasting. He said, abigail, remember that day of prayer and fasting. You're not going to believe what has happened. And so he went through and started telling our stuff. He said, for example he said, colonel smith, I agree. He said now, remember, we didn't have a military yet. He said we have just captured a 20 gun british man of war and a 64 gun british man of war, the British. So we captured two British warships and we don't have a Navy or anything else, we just got citizens. At this point, All right folks.

Rick Green

Can I interrupt David for just a moment. We're going to take another quick break. Stay with us. You're listening to the Wall Builder Show.

Break

Rick Green

Welcome back to the WallBuilder Show. Thanks for staying with us Jumping right back in with David Barton talking about Independence Day this week.

David Barton

Colonel Smith and a group of his men. They just captured a British fort. And you say, well, that's what you're supposed to capture. Well, let me explain both of those. So, not having a Navy, let me go to Colonel Smith first. So Colonel Smith and a group of his men captured a British fort. And that British fort, you say, well, you're supposed to capture British forts, that's what you do in war. You capture the enemy's stuff. Yeah, but let's back up to Colonel Smith and remember we don't have an army. Do you know what the recruiting practice was at that point in time? At that point in time it says if you can get 20 of your neighbors to enlist in the new Continental Army with you, you get to be their colonel. No disrespect to military officers, but that's what we did to build military back then. So what it means Colonel Smith and a group of his men just means Farmer Smith and a bunch of his neighbors just captured British Fort, which is fairly impressive stuff. And since we don't have a Navy, well, we did kind of have a Navy. If you ever go to Washington DC, it's the Smithsonian Museum. If you go up on the third floor you'll see the American Navy in the early revolution. It is the gunboat Philadelphia. It is essentially a rowboat with a cannon in each end. It's not much at all, and yet we're capturing British warships.

So what did John Adams conclude out of this? This is what he told Abigail. Said Abigail? He says it appears to me that the eternal Son of God is operating powerfully against the British nation. Yeah, I guess so. He said this is inexplicable. He said what we're doing, what we're seeing God do, and they go through and talk about miracles on a regular basis and it's a lot of fun to read their writings because we don't get that in school today. It's a lot of fun to read their writings because we don't get that in school today. It's a very secular approach. So anything that's religious we're going to cut it out. We're not about to say that because we're a secular nation. That's what made us great. That's the way we present it. So back to John Adams. John Adams repeated what George Washington repeated a number of times.

George Washington, in the revolution he saw so many miracles. And we just finished. We do summer trainings. We just finished training groups of teachers from all across the nation At the museum area in the summertime. We get teachers in that from university professors, college presidents all the way down to kindergarten teachers, and we teach them about history. But we let them see all the actual original documents.

And so George Washington, on a number of occasions the the Battle of Long Island, the Battle of Trenton, battle of York and he talks about the miracles that God performed. As a matter of fact, he saw so many miracles in the war miracles, literally, where God directly intervened in the war that he told Thomas Nelson Thomas Nelson's, another signer of the declaration, but Thomas Nelson's also military general in the war. It was over the Calvary. And so George Washington writes Thomas. He says, thomas, you and I have seen God intervene so many times. And this is what he told Thomas. He said the hand of providence has been so conspicuous in all this that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith and more than wicked that hath not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligations. He said, Thomas, if people have seen what you and I have seen in battle and they don't feel an obligation to hit their knees, and thank God, they're just flat wicked. See, that's how much intervention we saw. And guess what? George Washington has more than 250 letters where he talks about God's intervention in battle 250 times. You know most of us today couldn't come up with 250 instances where we've seen God intervene in our life. But they were looking for it and they saw it and they had it regularly and they prayed for it.

And so by the time you get to 1781, that's when the war for independence is over the British have laid down their arms. And as a result of the British laying down their arms, for the first time in a century and a half it doesn't matter what the king says, because he doesn't run us anymore Now. This is significant for several reasons, because under the British law it was illegal to print a Bible in English in America. You would only use the Bible the king gave you, which was going to be the state-established church, the Anglican Church.

We printed Bibles in America, started back in 1661. We printed John Eliot printed the first Bible in America, but it was in the Massachusetts or Ojibwe Indian language. We're not allowed to print Bibles in English. A state-established church will tell us what that's going to be. So we can print Bibles in Cherokee or Ojibwe or Shawnee or any other language, but we could not print them in English until after we won the American War for Independence. So once we win that, once the British laid on their arms, we can now print bibles in English. And, starting within one month, we started printing the first bible in English.

This is the first bible in English. It's one of the rarest books in the world. This is they printed 10 000 copies of these. There's only about 30 copies left in the world today. Most of them are Smithsonian and national archives. There's only about eight left in private hands and we have three of the eight. So this Bible, this is called the Bible of the American Revolution 1782.

And the reason it's significant it's printed by the official printer of Congress, Robert Aiken. He does all the work for Congress. And when you look in the front of the Bible, it has a congressional endorsement front. It has the congressional committee that oversaw the printing of this Bible endorsement front. It has the congressional committee that oversaw the printing of this Bible and it talks about that, this resolve, that this Bible. The United States and Congress assembled recommend this edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United States Congress. We got an endorsement from Congress in the front of a Bible that everybody needs to be reading this. And on top of that it goes even further, because when you look at the again Robert Akin, he's the official printer of Congress. He prints everything for Congress. When you look at the again Robert Akin, he's the official printer of Congress. He prints everything for Congress.

When you look at the records that went to the US Congress, it says that this Bible is, quote it's a neat addition to the Holy Scriptures for the use of our schools. We're told all the time today. Founding fathers didn't want the Bible in schools. They wanted separation of churches to stay. Wait a minute, what do you do with it? And, by the way, here's the actual handwritten document. You can read it A neat addition of the Holy Scriptures for the use of our schools. This is the printing of the first Bible in America, to make sure that we can have a Bible in schools. Yeah, that was what we did in America. And so this Bible, the Bible of the Revolution, again, we'll have it down here. And, by the way, sarah, please don't touch anything. You can look at it, just don't touch it. But if you want to see a whole lot more, we got those two museums over in Dallas, Fort Worth area. So what happens? That's 1782, the Bible comes out.

1783, the British finally say okay, you guys won, let's sign the peace treaty. So we signed the peace treaty. And if you see the peace treaty over here on the right, the four wax seals, the first one is David Hartley. He's the British ambassador who signed it. And then you have John Adams, ben Franklin and John Jay, the three Americans that signed it. That's the treaty. You see Article 10.

There's 10 articles in the treaty that made us an independent nation. May I show you the starting part of that article. You see up here at the top. Can you read what it says on the top left right there In the name of the most holy and undivided trinity that kind of sounds Christian In the name of the father, son and the holy spirit. And it's a bunch of protestants saying that. What about the secular nation stuff we keep? Look at the documents, look at what they said and what they. This is what we celebrate on the fourth of july. This is not a secular holiday, not by any way. Shape, shape, fashion or form.

So, going back to John Adams, john Adams said the general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. We didn't have secular and spiritual. We incorporated God into everything that we did. And the principles under the military, the principles under Congress, the principles under education. We did it on the general principles of Christianity. The principles under Congress, the principles under education. We did it on the general principles of Christianity.

Now, when you go past John, what do we hear today? What we hear today and I've just taken some headlines out of newspaper articles this is one LA Times. America's unchristian beginnings, the founding fathers were deists who rejected the divinity of Jesus. And then you've got this one. You've got to let the academics, the professors, have to have their say. The founding fathers were not Christians. There is no way. They're a bunch of atheists, agnostics, theists, and we've got the same thing. This is from the LA. This, excuse me, this is the East Coast. There was a whole chain of East Coast newspapers that ran this one. The authors of the Declaration were enemies of Christ. This is our portrayal today.

So let's go back to this for just a minute. Let's take these guys right here. I do this all the time we speak at universities and I'll put that picture up of the founders. The signers of declarations say how many of them can you name? Actually, my son, tim, speaks at a lot of universities. He carries a gift card with him. If you can name five signers of declaration, you get this gift card. All these universities he's been to eight years now he's got the same gift card. Nobody can name five.

 

Rick Green

One more break, folks. We'll be right back. You're listening to The WallBuilders Show.

Break

 

Rick Green

Here's David Barton on Independence Day 

 

David Barton

what happens is, nearly everybody can find Thomas Jefferson, nearly everybody can find Ben Franklin, and that's where it stops. Now there's 56. You just found the two least religious. And, by the way, I would put the two least religious up against most Christians. Least does not mean they're anti-religious or not religious, they're just the least religious of that group. And so I can show you what they did policy-wise so far ahead of what most Christians today do.

Nonetheless, who are the other guys? Well, I mean, who in the world today would recognize Richard Henry Lear? Would recognize Sam Adams, or George Clinton, or the guy looking backwards, Charles Carroll? This guy, Robert Morris, this guy, Benjamin Rush, and Elbridge Erie. I just go through the rest of the list and people never heard most of those names today. So let me introduce you to some of them. I can go through all all these guys when I'm not going to, so let's start with the fact that 29 of these guys held seminary degrees. That's fairly impressive for a bunch of atheists to have seminary degrees. 29 of these guys held what we would call seminary degrees. Then, in addition, if you take John Withers he's the guy right there John Witherspoon is the president of Christian University, which is leading seminary of the day.

One third of the founding fathers were trained by John Witherspoon. He is the man most responsible for the economic clauses in the Constitution. But significantly, in 1791, he did this book right here. See that Bible. This is the 1791 Bible he did. He did this. It's a big Bible. It's a lot bigger than Bible. See the Bible I just showed you, Bible done by Congress. This is the big Bible because he thinks families should have Bible studies together. He made one big enough so the families can all get together around the Bible and read the Bible together as a family. So this is America's first family Bible done by Sider of the Declaration of Independence. He's also part of the New Jersey Bible Society and he wants to make sure every single person in New Jersey has a Bible and reads that Bible, because that's what makes America special.

And when you look at his statements and we have so many of his letters, this is typical. He says I entreat you in the most earnest manner to believe in Jesus Christ, for there is no salvation in any other. That's quoting Acts 4.12. He says if you're not reconciled to God through Jesus Christ, if you're not clothed with the spotless robe of his righteousness, you must forever perish. This is not what we hear about most of our signers of the declaration when it comes to 4th of July, but this is what was important to them. And then if you take people like Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Rush is very significant. Benjamin Rush a Rush is very significant. Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration. We'll talk more about it in a minute.

Benjamin Rush is the guy who started the Sunday school movement in America. So churches have Sunday school we have for a long time. He's the guy who started Sunday schools in America. He's also the guy who started the very first Bible Society in America. This is the Philadelphia Bible Society. He started that before any other Bible Society and he started that because he said you know, we've got people here in Philadelphia who don't have a Bible and don't know God's Word, and so everybody needs to know God's Word.

He's also the guy who did the very first mass-produced Bible in America. This is the Bible done by Benjamin Rush and he found a way. It's a technological advance. He found a way that you didn't have to typeset with individual letters. He was able to do entire pages at a time. So this is the first mass-produced Bible, which means it was a lot cheaper. So this is the Bible that you buy and give to your friends. You got people around you that don't know the Bible. This is the one you buy. So he wanted to make the Bible really easy to distribute for everyone. And Benjamin Rush? This is what he said. He says my only hope of salvation is that the infinite, transcendent love of God, manifested the world by the death of his son upon the cross. Nothing but his blood will wash away my sins. I rely exclusively upon it. Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly. Again, that sounds fairly evangelical.

Rick Green

Alright folks out of time for today, be sure and join tomorrow and we'll get the conclusion of David Barton speaking about Independence Day. You've been listening to the WallBuilders Show.

 

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