Today in History
The Four R’s
Biblical Principles To Civil Government
Principle Approach is America's historic Christian method of
reasoning which makes the Truths of God's Word the basis of every
subject....(Miss Rosalie Slater)
As we consider how principles can be used to found a satisfactory kind of
civil government and how our Founding Fathers did that it is necessary to
know what a principle is. Dr. Archie Jones stated, "The
word "principle" signifies "a general truth; a law
comprehending many subordinate truths."
He further states that,
To speak of Christian
principles is to speak of principles in, or easily (logically) derived
from, Christian doctrine-that is, from the teachings of the
Bible.... It is to affirm that such truths or laws are Biblical and
have been acknowledged through the centuries by orthodox Christianity to
be fundamental to the ethical outworking of the Christian faith.
Similarly, to speak of Christian political and legal principles is to
discuss political and legal principles which are clearly derived from the
Bible-the fully, infallibly inspired Word of God. (Italics mine)
The Pilgrims' pastor, Rev. John Robinson, in a letter as
they were departing for America, told them:
you are become a body politik, using amongst your selves civill
governmente, and are not furnished with any persons of spetiall
eminencie above ye rest, to be chosen by you into office of government, let your wisdome & godlines appeare, not only in
chusing shuch as doe entirely love and will promote ye comone good but
also in yeelding unto them all due honour & obedience in their
lawfull administrations; not behoulding in them ye ordinarinesse of
their persons, but Gods ordinance for your good, not being like ye foolish
multitud who more honour ye gay coate, then either ye vertuous minde of ye
man, or glorious ordinance of ye Lord. But you know better things,
& that ye image of ye Lords power & authoritie which ye
magistrate beareth, is honourable, in how meane persons soever. And
this dutie you both may ye more willingly and ought ye more conscionably
to performe, because you are at least for ye present to have only them for
your ordinarie governours, which your selves shall make choyse of
for that worke.
Note that I have italicized several phrases.
Robinson correctly identifies what we often simply refer to as
"government" as "civil government" as distinct
from self, family or church government.
Following the Scriptural example in Deuteronomy and other
places, he notes that they are to choose from among themselves men
to represent them, men who would have the kind of character that would
truly protect their property: shuch as doe entirely love and will
promote ye comone good.
Here is how Moses expressed these same thoughts in
(choose) wise men, and understanding, and known among your tribes,
and I will make them rulers over you.... And I charged your
judges... judge righteously between every man and his brother, and
the stranger that is with him. Ye shall not respect persons
in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great;. for
the judgment is God's....
These same principles: people’s choice, representation,
Christian character, and the protection of property (the reason for
judges) are all principles woven into our history and constitutions from
the Mayflower right up to the Constitution which was ratified by the
delegates September 17, 1787 and then taken to the several states so that
the people could decide whether to ratify it or not.
Miss Rosalie Slater states: "The Pilgrims (having)
learned Biblical reasoning from Pastor Robinson.... were prepared to
extend Christian principles into civil government and to deal with the
problems that confronted them in the New World. Challenged on the
Mayflower by rebellious ‘strangers,’ they wrote the Mayflower Compact,
so that every man might voluntarily share in making and keeping the
laws.... The ability to reason from the Word of God and to relate
its principles to every area of life was characteristic of the American
clergy prior to the American Revolution. The ministers of the Gospel
understood civil government because they knew church government.
Their... sermons identified "the principles of civil government with
the principles of Christianity."
Rosalie, Teaching & Learning America’s Christian History-the
Principle Approach, 1976, pp. 88-89 )
All Christians ought to want to incorporate Christian
political and legal principles into the political orders or systems of law
and civil government under which they live. This is an important way
of glorifying God, of obeying His laws and precepts. The civil
magistrate, the ruler in authority in civil government, ... (occupies that
office because) ordained by God. (Jones,
Archie P., America's First Covenant Christian Principles in the
Articles of Confederation, Plymouth Rock Foundation, Marlborough, New
Hampshire, 1991, p. 1 )
Who said: "The only Way
whereby any one devests himself of his natural Liberty, and puts on the
Bonds of civil Society is by agreeing with other Men to joyn and unite
into a Community...."?
John Locke is the author of the above statement. The full quote is:
"MEN being,..by Nature, all free, equal, and independent no one can
be put out of this Estate, and subjected to the political Power of
another, without his own Consent. The only Way whereby any one devests
himself of (gives up) his natural Liberty, and puts on the Bonds of civil
Society is by agreeing with other Men to joyn and unite into a Community,
for their comfortable, safe, and peaceable Living one amongst another, in
a secure Enjoyment of their Properties, and a greater Security against
any, that are not of It."
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You, Your Child and the
Siege of Shah Island
The Pilgrims Came
Guide to Teaching Grammar using the Principle Approach
Liberty and Justice for All
Writing and the Essay