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The following is a response to an editorial in Christianity Today.
“The not-so-subtle equation of America's founding with biblical Christianity has been shown time and again to be historically inaccurate. The founding was a unique combination of biblical teaching and Enlightenment rationalism, and most of the founding fathers, as historian Edwin Gaustad, among many others, has noted, were not orthodox Christians, but instead were primarily products of the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment, we should recall, has never been much of a friend of biblical Christianity.”
From a Christianity Today editorial, July, 2005
This statement is irresponsible and not worthy of Christianity Today’s standard of scholarship.
To claim that the Founding Fathers were a product of the Enlightment is like claiming Jerry Falwell was a product of the Sexual Revolution of the 1960’s. It is only true in the sense that any movement of thought might incite a reaction from Christians at any time in history.
And that is what the uprising of Christians in American politics is, a reaction to the moral drift that has taken place in America since WWII. For that matter, the only reason why Christians have flooded the Republican Party is because of the Democratic Party’s hostility to anything Christian. Only now that they have lost a national election due largely to Christian voter turnout (this according to exit polling), has the Democratic Party made attempts at sounding conciliatory toward Christians. This attempt to placate Christians has no effect, however, on their policy positions. Christians have been burned often enough by candidates of both parties. Actions speak louder than words. The Democrats, knowing this, now seek to redefine Christianity (like that’s never been tried before).
CT’s editorial is a new presentation of the tired revisionist line that the Founding Fathers were deists, a claim that has no foundation. Many of the Founding Fathers would have been puzzled at CT's conclusion about them. But most of them were too busy praying and distributing Bibles to worry about the conclusions of would-be historians
While the previously quoted paragraph is irresponsible, the opening paragraph is worse:
“George W. Bush is not Lord. The Declaration of Independence is not an infallible guide to Christian faith and practice. Nor is the U.S. Constitution, nor the U.N. Universal Declaration on Human Rights. "Original intent" of America's founders is not the hermeneutical key that will guarantee national righteousness. The American flag is not the Cross. The Pledge of Allegiance is not the Creed. "God Bless America" is not the Doxology.”
Sometimes one needs to state the obvious—especially at times when it's less and less obvious.”
No Christian leader and no political leader has said those things and to imply that we have is practically libelous. We will not trade God’s Word for anything. We will also not stand idly by while the influence of God in the lives of the Founding Fathers is minimized. At stake is much more than simple accuracy. To redefine the past is to change its impact on the future. Those who seek to minimize the impact of God on the Founding Fathers are really seeking to minimize the impact of God on all of our lives today.
CT, once again, shows signs of drifting toward the Sojourners politics of envy-based economics and works-based salvation.
Would there be such an outcry from Liberals if Christians were in favor of funding abortions in third-world countries? Of course not. The debates about the Christianity of the Founding Fathers and the whining over the current involvement of outspoken Christians in American politics is, at its base, politically motivated, the product of the alarm felt by Liberals when they lose.
I, for one, will continue to be involved in the political process. I will ask God to lead me in this pursuit just as I ask him to take control of every other aspect of my life. To do otherwise would be to deny Christ.
A sinner saved by grace.
Chair-Caswell County, NC GOP
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