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Five Pillars on which the American Republic was Founded

The Founders lived at a time when the European Enlightenment and its emphasis on reason was drawing many on the European continent away from the Bible. America’s Founders, however, saw no dichotomy between the Bible and reason. William Novak says,

Everywhere that reason led, Americans found the Bible. If they read Francis Bacon, they found the Bible. If they read Isaac Newton or John Milton, they found the Bible. In Shakespeare, they found the Bible. In the world of the founders, the Bible was an unavoidable and useful rod of measurement, a stimulus to intellectual innovation

This primary role of the Bible in America’s founding was acknowledged by Andrew Jackson, America’s 7th president, when he said, “That book, sir, is the rock on which our Republic rests.”

 

Pillar #3

The Human Condition Has Been Flawed by Sin And Cannot be Trusted with Unlimited Power.

Marxism and modern liberalism claim that human nature is essentially good, and that people only need a revolutionary change of circumstances and institutions to improve and perfect their behavior. The Founders held no such utopian view of the human condition.

They held the traditional Christian belief that humanity had been created a noble creature in the image and likeness of God, but that this image had become marred because of the fall and sin (Genesis 1-3). Because the image was not erased, humanity is capable of very noble deeds; but since the image is marred, he is also capable of very dastardly deeds.

Although modern society does not want to hear about sin, human history cannot be understood apart from it. Only the Biblical account of the entry of sin into the world provides the context for understanding the wars, genocides, inquisitions, holocausts, and cruelties that have been an ongoing part of human history down to the present time.

Yes, salvation through Jesus Christ restores the image of God in mankind, but this restoration is a process that is not completed in this world. Humanity—even Christian humanity—in this flawed condition cannot be trusted with unlimited power.

The historian, Benjamin Hart, wrote, “A central assumption of America’s founders was original sin, meaning the corruption of man’s character.” “Take mankind in general,” said Alexander Hamilton, “they are vicious.” James Madison added, “If men were angels no government would be necessary,”

Because of mankind’s corrupt nature, a government is necessary to protect the good and punish the evil. However, since corrupt human beings must administer such government they cannot be trusted with unlimited power.

It was this mistrust of human nature that influenced the Founders to divide the powers of government into three branches and to provide checks and balances to keep any individual or group from gaining unlimited power. The Founders would agree with Sir John Acton who said, “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

It is also why, in Section 9 of the Constitution, the Founders forbade the American government from granting honorific titles of nobility to anyone and forbade anyone holding a government office from accepting a title or office from a foreign king or state without the consent of Congress.

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Category: Living the Faith, Summer 2018

About the Author: Eddie L. Hyatt, D.Min. (Regent University), M.Div. and M.A. (Oral Roberts University), serves the body of Christ around the world by teaching with academic excellence and the anointing of the Holy Spirit. He has authored several books, including 2000 Years of Charismatic Christianity. His passion is to see authentic spiritual awakening transform the Church and impact the world in the Twenty-first century. www.eddiehyatt.com

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