1. A belief in God and his providence, by which he guides and controls the universe and the affairs of mankind.
  2. A belief in and respect for revealed religion—that is, a recognition that God has revealed this truth through the Holy Scriptures.
  3. A belief in the God-given power of human reason to apprehend truth. While reason does not supersede revelation, it serves as an aide in the search for truth, where the Scriptures are silent.
  4. A belief that man is not a perfect or perfectible being, and that governmental theories must take that face into account.
  5. A belief that God has ordained human government to restrain the sinful nature of man.
  6. A belief that God has established certain physical laws for the operation of the universe, as well as certain moral laws or the governance of mankind.
  7. A belief that God has revealed his moral laws to man through the Scriptures (revealed or divine law) and through the law of nature, which is discoverable through human reason and the human conscience.
  8. A belief that human law must correspond to the divine law and the law of nature. Human laws which contradict the higher law are invalid, nonbinding, and are to be resisted.
  9. A belief that the revealed law and the law of nature form the basis for the law of nations (international law) and that this law of nations includes the right of a nation to defend itself against aggressors (just warfare).
  10. A belief that the revelated law and the law of nature include natural, God-given, unalienable human rights which include life, liberty, and property.
  11. A belief that governments are formed by covenant or compact of the people in order to safeguard human rights.
  12. A belief that governments have only such powers as are delegated o them by the people in the said covenants or compacts, an that when governments attempt to usurp powers not so delegated, the become illegitimate and are to be resisted.
  13. A belief that, human nature being what it is, rulers tend to usurp more and more power if given the opportunity.
  14. A belief that the best way to prevent governments from usurping power is to separate their powers and functions into legislative, executive and judicial branches.
  15. A belief that, human nature being what it is, a free enterprise economy is the best way to give people an incentive to produce and develop national prosperity.


SELTZ Comments

  1. TO THE NOTION OF AMERICAN GREATNESS and the uniqueness of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution is its foundational teaching about all humanity as “created of God with an inherent dignity” and its treaching of the pervasive sin and depravity of each person as well.
  2. TO THE NOTION OF AMERICAN GREATNESS and the uniqueness of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution is that, BECAUSE OF THAT UNDERLYING ANTHROPOLGOY, the individual citizen needs protection from the abuses of government tyranny on the one hand, and the tyranny of amoral/immoral democracy on the other in order to live freely, virtuously, for others without fear.
  3. Since the Bible itself differentiates the work of the government from the work of the church, (as distinctly as God’s Law speaks/functions radically different in the Bible itself from His good news of the Gospel), it is understandable why there are no references to “Christianity” per se polity documents focused on the government oversight and its limitation of power.
  4. Since the constitution is about the necessary, but restrained use of power to curb humanity’s outward moral abuses, it stands to reason why its only intersection with Christianity should be through the Law and the decalogue (which are not in any way the MAIN message of the Bible).
  5. Since the Constitution is about proper, though limited power to restrain evil, it is fully understandable that the first amendment would completely restrain the government’s coercive power with respect to the Church, which is God’s “wholly other public institution” to restrain evil through repentance, forgiveness, and a Gospel-motivated moral/virtuous life for others.
  6. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are not “overtly” Christian because the Law of God, revealed in the Bible, in nature, and in the consciences of every human being, can be found in various ways in every culture. But, these documents were overtly and unashamedly “Judeo-Christian” in their acknowledgment of the clarity of the Divine Law in the Bible and its normative power over all human laws. (And, they were protective of the proclamation of the Good News of the Bible as something that was not for the “government” to do, but to undergird.)

FINAL THOUGHT - Fighting for the Liberty to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus presupposes contending for the moral truths of the Bible in society as a whole. Law and Gospel are the two themes of the Bible. One word (the Law) preserves and rightly accuses, but can only kill and destroy in the end. The other, the Gospel, is the only word that can enliven what was destined for destruction. Why? It promises and delivers a Savior who fulfills the Law, overcomes the righteous, damning accusations of the Law, and forgives sinners like us for a life of grace in its stead.


[1] John Eidsmoe, Christianity and the Constitution: The Faith of our Founding Fathers, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1987), 72-3.