Modern secularists have problems understanding the American relationship between religion and government because they do not understand that the Founders believed that all governments were accountable to God. This concept of Godly Government was grounded on the Apostle Paul's letter to the Romans. Revolution against unGodly government also appealed to this passage of Scripture. The Revolutionary Birth of America was based on the Bible.
The ironic thing about the use of Romans 13 in Western political science is that the passage, though clearly intended to inculcate non-resistance to the magistrates, has been most frequently cited in treatises which advocate violent revolution. Richard Gardiner, in his impressive collection of "Primary Source Documents Pertaining to Early American History, lists many sources which introduce the average Secular Humanist to the now-unknown religious foundations of American Revolution and Government.
A Short Treatise on Political Power, John Ponet, D.D. (1556) President John Adams credited this Calvinist document as being at the root of the theory of government adopted by the the Americans. According to Adams, Ponet's work contained "all the essential principles of liberty, which were afterward dilated on by Sidney and Locke" including the idea of a three-branched government. (Adams, Works, vol. 6, pg. 4). Published in Strassbourg in 1556, it is one of the first works out of the Reformation to advocate active resistance to tyrannical magistrates, with the exception of the Magdeburg Bekkentis (the Magdeburg Confession).
How Superior Powers Ought to Be Obeyed by Their Subjects, Christopher Goodman (1558). Justifying a Christian's right to resist a tyrannical ruler. Goodman indicated that he had presented the thesis of this book to John Calvin, and Calvin endorsed it.
The Right of Magistrates Over Their Subjects, Theodore Beza (1574). Expanding upon Calvin's political resistance theory set forth in the final chapters of his Institutes, this work by Calvin's successor in Geneva, Theodore Beza, was published in response to the growing tensions between Protestant and Catholic in France, which culminated in the St. Bartholomew Day Massacre in 1572. This text suggests that it is the right of a Christian to revolt against a tyrannical King: a principle central to the American colonists' cause.
Vindiciae Contra Tyrannos, or, A Vindication Against Tyrants (1579). This Calvinist document is one of the first to set forth the theory of "social contract" upon which the United States was founded. The idea was disseminated through the English Calvinists to the pen of John Locke, and eventually into the Declaration of Independence. John Adams reported the relevance of this document to the American struggle.
The Dutch Declaration of Independence (1581); This Calvinistic document served as a model for the U.S. Declaration of Independence. In his Autobiography, Jefferson indicated that the "Dutch Revolution" gave evidence and confidence to the Second Continental Congress that the American Revolution could likewise commence and succeed. Recent scholarship has has suggested that Jefferson may have consciously drawn on this document. John Adams said that the Dutch charters had "been particularly studied, admired, and imitated in every State" in America, and he stated that "the analogy between the means by which the two republics [Holland and U.S.A.] arrived at independency... will infallibly draw them together."
Lex Rex, Samuel Rutherford (1644). This treatise systematized the Calvinistic political theories which had developed over the previous century. Rutherford was a colleague of John Locke's parents. Most of John Locke's Second Treatise on Government is reflective of Lex Rex. From Rutherford and other Commonwealthmen such as George Lawson, through Locke, these theorists provided the roots of the Declaration of Independence. This page provides the list of questions Lex Rex addresses.
Lex, Rex, Samuel Rutherford (1644). This excerpt shows Rutherford's social contract theory and includes the Puritan theory of resistance to a tyrant.
Yale Historian Harry Stout has shown the centrality of the sermon in the formation of the American Revolution and Government. Richard Gardiner's invaluable archive of links contains the following:
A Discourse Concerning Unlimited Submission and Non-Resistance to the Higher Powers, Jonathan Mayhew (1750) About this document, John Adams wrote, "It was read by everybody; celebrated by friends, and abused by enemies... It spread an universal alarm against the authority of Parliament. It excited a general and just apprehension, that bishops, and dioceses, and churches, and priests, and tithes, were to be imposed on us by Parliament." This sermon has been called the spark which ignited the American Revolution. This illustrates that the Revolution was not only about stamps and taxes but also about religious liberty. [Anarcho-Calvinist rebuttal]
Religion and Patriotism the Constituents of a Good Soldier, Samuel Davies (1755). Davies, a Presbyterian preacher and president of the College at Princeton, here interprets the French and Indian war as a religious war. In this excerpt from a sermon preached in Virginia, Davies rouses the anti-Catholic sentiment of his hearers to rally them to arms against the French in the Ohio country.
An Election Sermon, Daniel Shute; Delivered in Boston, Massachusetts-Bay, 26 May 1768.
An Oration on the Beauties of Liberty, Reverend John Allen (1772)
Oration Delivered at Boston, Joseph Warren (1772)
Second Oration Delivered at Boston, Joseph Warren (1772)
An Election Sermon, Simeon Howard (1773) Demonstrating that an armed war against a tyrant was a Christian's duty.
Early Virginia Religious Petitions (1774-1802)
Boston Massacre Oration, John Hancock (1774)
A Plea Before the Massachusetts Legislature, Isaac Backus (1774)
First Prayer Given in the Continental Congress, Rev. Jacob Duche (1774)
Sermon on Civil Liberty, Nathaniel Niles (1774) An example of how clergymen stoked the revolutionary spirit
Defensive War in a Just Cause Sinless, David Jones (1775). Sermon justifying the revolution.
Government Corrupted by Vice, and Recovered by Righteousness, Samuel Langdon, May 31, 1775; This sermon preached a year before Jefferson wrote his declaration, included this phrase: "By the law of nature, any body of people, destitute of order and government, may form themselves into a civil society, according to their best prudence, and so provide for their common safety and advantage."
On Civil Liberty, Passive Obedience, and Nonresistance, Jonathan Boucher (1775)
A Calm Address To Our American Colonies, John Wesley (1775)
The American Vine, Jacob Duche (1775)
The Church's Flight into the Wilderness, Samuel Sherwood, January 17, 1776; A sermon which labels British tyranny Satanic.
The Dominion of Providence Over the Passions of Men, John Witherspoon, May 1776. This sermon was preached by a member of the Second Continental Congress during the period in which the members were deciding upon American Independence.
On the Right to Rebel against Governors, Samuel West (1776)
Divine Judgements Upon Tyrants, Jacob Cushing, April 20, 1778; a sermon on the three year anniversary of the war.
Election Sermon, Phillips Payson (1778)
Defensive Arms Vindicated (1779) A sermon vindicating the activity of General George Washington.
A Sermon on the Day of the Commencement of the Constitution, Samuel Cooper (1780)
These sermons were often preached in the state capitols before governors and legislators at the request of the governments. These legislators would then carry their obligation to be a "minister of God" into their public office. See an example in the Proclamation of March 6, 1799, by President John Adams.
Common Sense (1776) Thomas Paine agitated for revolution against Britain by appealing to the chronicle of history in Scripture. Paine on 1 Samuel 8.
The E Pluribus Unum Project
Nothing in American history suggests that the Framers of the Constitution intended the Constitution to overthrow or repudiate the idea that Government was ordained by God, or that unGodly governments should be resisted. The final nail in the coffin of the myth of "separation of church and state" can be found here.
Anti-Pluralism Home Page
The pages below are designed to expose the myth of pluralism and to show that pluralism was universally denied by the Founding Fathers. The truths found in the links below stem from the belief of our Founding Fathers that the institution of civil government is ordained by God. The "separation of church and state," as understood today (the separation of religion and civil government) is a myth.
& Fig Tree's Romans 13 Home Page
The most disastrously misunderstood Biblical text in history!
|| Romans 13 and Parallel Texts || Romans 13 in American History || Romans 13 in Western Political Thought || Romans 13 and the American Revolution || Romans 13 and the "Separation of Church and State" ||
Christian "Anarchism" is Our Goal | | All Evil is Predestined by God | | Pray for a Servant's Understanding | | Angels and God's Throne of Government | | Stars and Idolatry | | Why the State Always Encourages Immorality | | Unlucky 13 -- Romans 13, Revelation 13 and Isaiah 13 | | A Roman's-Eye View of Romans 13 | | "Principalities and Powers" | | Lakes of Fire in "Smoke-Filled Rooms" | | Romans 13: The Burden is on the Archists | | Taxation, Representation, and the Myth of the State | | Why the State is not a "Divine Institution" | | Angels and Autarchy | | 95 Theses Against the State | | Here is what a Christian Anarchist looks like after he has joined The Christmas Conspiracy.
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