Even in my lay-level reading of the document it seems that a general survey of the Declaration of Independence will provide us with at least two things to consider during this time of year - and especially during this time of our own nation's history.
These two things will provide (what I believe to be) some thoughtful considerations of which to be mindful.
So it's the 4th of July - Independence Day! What really was it from which we were declaring our independence? And by what authority were we doing so?
To [Israel] also, as a body politic, he gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the state of that people; not obliging any other now, further than the general equity thereof may require.
What "the general equity thereof may require," of course, is something that needs to be understood in light of the historical, grammatical context in which the statement was written.
If the authors of the Westminster Standards truly believed that the penal sanctions of the civil aspect of the Mosaic Law had no abiding validity, then understood in today's English it would seem this statement invariably settles the matter.
But did they actually believe that?
And if not, what is meant by that statement?
In the introduction the book posits the problem:
We live in an age in which only one prejudice is tolerated -- anti-Christian bigotry. … Today, the only group you can hold up to public mockery is Christians. … But the truth is: Had Jesus never been born, this world would be far more miserable than it is.
Gary DeMar does a wonderful job of showing the true historical Christian roots of our nation without unduly sanitizing the founding fathers. This book does a number of things in the way of being a great primer to American history:
(1) Analyzes the role of government censorship, shows how it worked (in a bad way) throughout statist nations in history, and demonstrates the way it has happened and is continuing to happen in America today.
(2) Demonstrates from primary sources the original intent of the colonizing of America, the first charters, and the Christian great commission assumption of the early settlers up through the forming of the new nation.
(3) Handles the founding documents in their historical context, showing the true Christian nature of them - that is, even when the founding fathers were not all-together orthodox Christian, they still affirmed the necessity of the general principles of the Christian faith in order for the country to succeed.
(4) Addresses several misconceptions of what the founding fathers, founding documents, and other items do and do not say - in their historical context - over against what is taught in government-run public schools today in America.
It's a great read and a great reference.
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