“Almighty God has created the mind free; and that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments…tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy….”
– Thomas Jefferson, Virginia Statute on Religious Liberties
Through a process of discovery, enlightenment, and application, Christianity created the concept of freedom that most American’s cherish; and for which much of the world longs.
Politically conservative American Christians face a historical irony–even a dilemma: The person who best crafted our understanding of religious liberty was not a Christian. Though he had great respect for the Bible, attended regular church services held in the House of Representatives, and used his presidency to advocate Bible reading in public schools, Thomas Jefferson also edited his own version of the Bible in keeping with his peculiar brand of faith. The principles of conscience crafted by Jefferson in defense of those who wanted to hold political office, but not subscribe to religious oaths for political service, have almost become religious principles for modern Americans–Christian and secularist alike. Why?
Because they are right.
It seems that both sides of the religion-in-politics debate want their cake (and the other guy’s cake), and to eat both of them. Ardent secularists hold Jefferson’s principles as a shield against the influence of Christianity in public affairs crying, “Separation of Church and State!” Meanwhile, conservative Christians hold up the same Jeffersonian principle as a shield against government encroachment on religion, crying, “Separation of Church and State!” What a wonderful irony; but not the only one.
Thomas Paine, known for his unkempt appearance and sharpness of quill and odor, was also a deist. Paine stirred the hearts and minds of Americans to political revolution with his book, Common Sense. What was the tool Paine used to demonstrate the rightness of Republican freedom? A Bible study!2
Even a cursory examination of history, from simple readings of the early state constitutions and the correspondence of the Founders leads to the inescapable conclusion that these were men who held religion “compatible with the freedom and safety of the State.”3 More so to the point, even for deists like Paine and Jefferson the religious notions of freedom found in the Bible, coupled with their understanding of freedom’s development over the centuries, germinated their ideas for American political freedom—but not just theirs.
During my research for a book on this topic, I interviewed former and current American missionaries, representing 24 countries. Some lived in countries either culturally opposed or politically hostile to the Gospel or missionary activity. Fifty-six percent agreed that their disciples were “receptive to ideas about political freedom or expressed an interest in such ideas.” Yet, with the exception of only four people, every one of them stated that their job was not to promote political ideas, but simply to introduce the person of Jesus Christ to the people they wanted to reach. As one missionary most appropriately put it, “Our job is to make disciples, not Americans.”4 Clearly, though politics is not a missionary’s “job,” their mere presence naturally generate interest among many nationals about American political concepts. Many times, in the course of normal conversation, nationals have asked me about America’s policies in the world, and our philosophy of freedom.
The Three Greats and Their Great Effect
Contrary to those who think religion and politics must somehow always be separate, the reality is that Christian history is inexorably linked to the history of America and Europe. It is a history chronicling both freedom and oppression. For the Christian who thinks politics is dirty, or that identification of political ideas with Christianity is somehow a form of syncretism, one only has to look to the Bible and history to learn the truth. The most important turning points in Israel’s biblical history were political turning points: The birth of a nation under slavery, the giving of a law that created a political and cultural identity, the establishment of the people in the Promised Land, the Jewish monarchy, dual exiles that spread Judaism to the known world and so on. The history of Christianity and early biblical Judaism is steeped in politics—though politics for its own sake was not the final aim of where that history was leading.
Clearly, the primary objectives of Evangelical Christianity as defined in the Bible are relational, not political, but there are undeniable political consequences. We will address some of those consequences. As we begin, it is critical that we understand the most important objectives of Christianity as a personal faith (not a political movement), and how the subsequent personal faith objectives relate to our political world.
Christianity has three great personal faith objectives:
- The Great Commission
- The Great Commandment
- The Great Conformation.
The Great Commission is Christ’s command in Matthew 28:19-20: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.”
I refer to this objective as The Missionary Principle. The Bible instructs Christians to tell others about Jesus Christ; to attempt to persuade others to believe in Him that they might be saved from their sin, grow to spiritual maturity and gain eternal life. This is not just evangelism; rather, it is evangelism and discipleship, and all Christians are instructed to be involved in this task at some level, whether at home or on the mission field.
Jesus’ command to “make disciples” does not mean, making converts, as some so simply put it. A disciple is a person who becomes like the one discipling, in this case, a person who wants to live as Jesus Christ taught and lived. Jesus’ teachings can be summed up in the next two relational objectives of the Great Commandment and the Great Conformation.
The Great Commandment is found in Deuteronomy 6:5 and repeated by Jesus in Matthew 22:37-38: “You shall love Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”
Another way of saying this is the person of God should be the primary focus of a person’s most supreme attention, affections, and loyalty. Although the Deuteronomy passage is recognized as a command, it is a command for a response to what God has already done. In Deuteronomy 5 God recounted to Israel how He brought them out of slavery from Egypt and gave them His Law. After declaring what He did for them, in Deuteronomy 6 He gave the Great Commandment. Because of the Great Commandment we are engaged in the Great Commission. Because we love Him, we tell others about Him. Taken together, the first two enable the third great objective of the faith.
The Great Conformation, as I call it, is the ultimate objective of the Christian faith. The Commission and the Commandment are wrapped up in the Conformation. It encompasses both of these concepts. The Great Conformation was expressed best by the Apostle Paul in Romans 8:29: “Those whom He foreknew, He predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son…” (emphasis mine).
In other words, the final objective of Christianity is to create a people whose character is just like Jesus’, whose supreme attention, affection and loyalty (Commandment) was to His Father. He wants the world to embrace the same (Commission). Jesus hinted at this when he said, “I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you” (John 13:15).
How are these three great objectives political? They’re not. By their design they are relational, but they have huge implications for the political realm. Consider that for most of history, with few exceptions until the advent of Judaism and Christianity, religion was not a matter of exclusivity. Tribes, city-states, and nations each had their own deities (usually a major deity, followed by lesser deities). The god of one nation was greater than others as long as the others remained in a vassal condition. Even then there was some notion of religious freedom. As late as the 6th century B.C. Cyrus allowed his Persian subjects to worship whomever they wanted. Some early empires, such as the Greeks empire, mixed the faiths of the conquered nations with their own (syncretism). Even the Caesars permitted other deities to be honored as long as Caesar came first (though this didn’t become the central thrust until well after the establishment of Christianity).
Now look at early Judaism, which said, “There are no other gods.” Then Christianity said, “With the exception of Jesus Christ, man is not God.” This was truly radical. Even the early Jews, though believing Yahweh was the only true God in the universe, still behaved as though He was exclusive to them. When the Jews conquered a nearby nation, the nation paid tribute, but usually kept its own deity. This was the normal practice of most nations in ancient times.
Christianity was different.
Jesus’ Great Commission to His followers was to make disciples of “all nations.”5 He gave His disciples no direct command about changing the political systems or seizing political power, but He did insist that He be personally acknowledged as supreme above all men. This is clearly seen in statements like, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth…”6 and, “…you have given Him [Jesus] authority over all flesh….”7 He did not demand this acknowledgement of governments, but of people–regardless of citizenship or societal status. This demand is what eventually led to His crucifixion. Jesus wasn’t killed primarily for religious reasons, but for political. He claimed to be the Messiah (which the Jews regarded primarily as a political claim), and He claimed to be the Son of God in human flesh (a religious claim). Those claims elevated Him to a position of authority above all men, and all power structures. This is especially true because the religious claim also was recognized as a political claim. That is, it was common practice for many ancient kings, including Pharaoh’s and Caesars, to deify themselves as gods on Earth. Jesus took things much further by claiming He was the only person in history who could lay such a claim legitimately, thus trumping Caesar, and every other authority.
Author Bruce Shelly notes of early Roman run-ins with Christians:
The one thing that no Christian would ever say was: “Caesar is Lord.” For the Christian, Jesus Christ and He alone was Lord. To the Roman the Christian seemed utterly intolerant and insanely stubborn; worse, he was a self-confessed disloyal citizen. Had the Christians been willing to burn that pinch of incense and to say formally, “Caesar is Lord,” they could have gone on worshiping Christ to their heart’s content; but the Christians would not compromise. That is why Rome regarded them as a band of potential revolutionaries threatening the very existence of the empire (emphasis mine).8
Even the early Christians could not avoid the political consequences of a relational faith.
Many people in today’s modern world have trouble understanding why early Christians chose death. Why not just give Caesar what he wanted if you didn’t mean it from the heart anyway? But the key to understanding the early Christian position is the relational nature of Christianity. To Christians, Jesus was, and is, God—known on a personal level. Jesus initiated this relationship through an act of sacrificial love, suffering and dying on the cross for our sins. For the early Christians, even a single moment’s worship of Caesar would be comparable to a man fondling another woman and then saying to his wife, “It didn’t mean anything.” Maybe so, but it certainly means something to his wife!
The point is that while Christians lived under Roman rule, the relational nature of their faith guided their political expression, just as the relational nature of Judaism guided the Jews to refuse to cooperate with Rome in idol worship. This is in part what we mean when we say we define our basic freedoms with religious ideas politically expressed. The Mosaic Law was paramount to the Jew because of the relationship it expressed between God and His people. For both Jews and Christians that relational faith represented something the political leaders of the day did not have under their control. The same is true today. Many current political leaders perceive Christianity as a threat, first because believers in Jesus Christ must honor Him above every other authority, and, second, because Christians believe their goal is to become like Jesus Christ. That’s radical! Other religions demanded adherents, servants, and worshippers. But Christianity, while it includes these concepts, is different. The Bible describes Christians’ relationship to God’s Son as that of “brothers.”9 The church is pictured as a bride.10 The Bible says believers will “inherit”11 the Earth, and that they will “judge the world.”12 The implications are more than clear; they are overwhelming! A faith that claims exclusivity and portrays its deity as greater than all human authority—and that calls people to become like its divine founder —cannot help but have an impact on the political world. Deny it, defy it, and demonize it if you can, it cannot be avoided. A missionary (or any other Christian) may try to avoid or withdraw from political action, agenda, or achievement, but what matters is how those in power perceive them. One of the reasons the Roman Empire persecuted early Christians was the perception that they defied the state’s authority by giving supreme allegiance to a man–Jesus Christ–over the established government. Roman authority could understand the Jewish penchant for rebellion based upon a system of religious laws, but Christianity went a giant step further: Christianity gave its allegiance to one man who was regarded as the embodiment of those same laws. Forget that that man’s teachings admonished obedience to the secular state–even an oppressive one like Rome. The fact was, the authorities could see only the side of the issue that mattered most to them: Christianity threatened supreme state authority. Christians obey the government because their religion tells them to; not because we tell them to.
Author John Barber provides a modern-day example:
It is not ‘private’ religion that scares autocrats; it’s the public face of Christianity that worries them. No one needs to tell Chinese dictator Jiang Zemin that Christianity has great implications for a broader public policy. He knows it in his heart. He knows it because worship of God includes the whole man, including the political man. God wants us heart, soul, mind, and strength. But so does Mr. Zemin. No greater threat exists to the political ideals of tyranny than to tell the people under that tyranny, “God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life.”13,14
If Mr. Barber’s summation is true, then the greatest opposition a political power can face on its home soil is not necessarily a hostile neighbor, or a contrary political philosophy. Rather, the greatest opposition is the unifying love of Jesus Christ expressed within its own borders. Is it then any wonder that so many Christians in places such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, Myanmar, and China are routinely beaten and jailed15 with churches in many countries spied upon, and even razed? As sociology lecturer Paul Freston has noted: “Historical churches cultivate the ideology of the autonomous citizen.”16
A Look Back
Post-apostolic Christianity has been no stranger to politics; from the Nicean Council called by Emperor Constantine in 325 C.E., to its rise to political legitimacy and power in Europe. Freedom of speech, press, and conscience were born out of the persecution experiences of Christians who did not want to embrace a state church, did not want their tax money used to propagate a state church, and wanted the same level of community access to freely propagate their faith ideas as given the state church. They wanted their faith to be a matter of personal and community expression, not political mandate. Simply put, they wanted to be free to say, without fear of reprisal, “My idea of God is greater than the State.”
As the Reformation bloomed, there was a need to publish and freely disseminate its ideas (exercising free speech and press). The reformed ideologies (religious freedom) spoke directly to Roman church influence over European thrones–but the royal relationships with the church weren’t the only thing at stake. If the common man was able to read and interpret the scriptures for himself—and see that concepts of penance, indulgences, and church authority were based more on the whimsical traditions of men than on the revealed word of God—then what reason would he have to hold allegiances to the Pope, or to European powers who prescribed any state theology? Were not many traditional church teachings primarily tools of political influence and control? By way of example, church edicts sometimes deposed kings, justified military aggression, and swayed the political allegiance of the masses. The root of political freedom, then, is the common man’s ability to formulate and openly express his opinions contrary to the State and/or legal religious authority, in whatever reasonable means available to him. In fact, men like Martin Luther and John Calvin were driven to their contrary political views because of their reformed interpretation of the Bible. That led them to speak, teach, and publish their contrary views. They were the counterculture of their day. When the authorities lowered the hammer, the reformers persisted further, asserting that their natural (and thus political) right to do so came directly from God and not from a temporal or papal authority. Even the early settlers of America used the press to explore the problems in contemporary society and publish their views. World Magazine editor Marvin Olasky notes that though many modern Americans have criticized the Puritans, they actually helped facilitate free press in the New World. “The Puritans set up a printing press and college in Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1636, just six years after their arrival in the wilderness where mere survival was not assured.”17
Yet, while we enjoy the right to free press that the Puritans helped create, their non-Puritan descendants of today don’t seem to regard freedom of the press as that important. This may be because so many Americans disagree with the ethics and practices of the liberal press, which is so different from the morality-centered press of previous centuries. According to an article in Editor and Publisher, a 2005 survey of Americans and media professionals revealed, “43% of the public say they believe the press has too much freedom…22% say the government should be allowed to censor the press.”18 An earlier survey mentioned in the same article may demonstrate the historic importance of a free press is not being passed down to the next generation. “Half of the young people said they thought newspapers should not be able to publish stories without government approval.”
Freedom, religion, speech, and press are, from a historical perspective, inseparable triplets joined at the heart and the head. Withdraw the right to free press and how will men widely disseminate their views? How will the free market of ideas flourish? Withdraw free speech and the press becomes nothing more than a mouthpiece of propaganda. Withdraw religious freedom, and society’s conscience, which helps to guard our speech and press, falls away. Then, only a single view of conviction remains, which becomes no conviction at all. How can men truly be free if they are not free to explore their faith options? How can they freely discuss and debate them in an open manner? Upon making their own decision, how can they freely tell others what they have discovered–even if their conclusions are contrary to the status quo in government, society, and religion? To remove one freedom is to degrade and possibly destroy them all. Centuries of repression prior to the Reformation provide this argument additional weight. The history of Islamic oppression during the same period asserts the same.19
The New Christian Society
After nearly 1,500 years of struggle Christianity began afresh with the application of a new type of faith-inspired politics when the Pilgrims launched their venture to the New World. In the previous 1,500 years Christianity grew from an obscure Jewish sect to an essential powerbase in the Roman Empire. From there the so-called “Chair of the Apostle Peter” (the papal throne) was corrupted by politics, power, and the purse. Eventually it became its own political power, controlling much of the Roman State (in its various forms), until the Reformation. The cycle showed every sign of starting over again with the Reformation. The reformers themselves were also entrenched in the “Christendom”20 mode of reform. Though the reformer’s messages focused on biblical grace, they still embroiled themselves a great deal in mixing the affairs of church and state.
Luther himself had yet to move beyond the old ‘Constantine model of church-state fusion. He merely proposed that instead of a Roman controlled church, there be national churches united in spirit…this kept the church in bed with the state with only a quick change of the sheets, and doomed Luther to further political entanglements whether he liked them or not.21
Even the earlier church fathers that we hold in such high regard, like Saint Augustine, were favorable to this course. Bruce Shelley writes, “What looks like harsh action, he said, may bring the offender to recognize its justice. Had not the Lord himself in the parable said, ‘Compel people to come in? Thus, Augustine’s prestige was made available for those in later ages who justified the ruthless acts of the Inquisition against Christian dissenters.”22
According to reformed theology professor Wayne Grudem, “The failure to respect the distinct roles of church and state is seen in many Roman Catholic countries today, where the church still has strong influence on the government, and in the compulsory membership in state-sponsored Protestant churches of Northern Europe after the Reformation, a situation that caused many emigrants to flee to American for religious freedom.23
In the reformer’s defense we should remember that this was the model they knew the best. Jumping from centralized control (like a Roman or national church), to individual church and personal freedom in the faith would take a few more steps of realization–and the political climate to facilitate it. The discovery of the New World did just that. Suddenly, rather than a Roman, Orthodox, or Reformed Christianity trying to gain footholds in already established nations and cultures, Christians could start from scratch to build a new “Christian society.” That’s where the Puritans came in.
[The] Puritans were English Protestants who wished to reform and purify the Church of England (Anglican Church) of what they considered to be unacceptable residues of Roman Catholicism. In the 1620s leaders of the English state and church grew increasingly unsympathetic to Puritan demands. They insisted that the Puritans conform to religious practices that they abhorred, removing their ministers from office and threatening them with ‘extirpation from the earth’ if they did not fall in line. Zealous Puritan laymen received savage punishments. For example, in 1630 a man was sentenced to life imprisonment, had his property confiscated his nose slit, an ear cut off, and his forehead branded ‘S.S.’ (sower of sedition).24
The Puritans looked to create a new Christian order, beginning with the signing of the Mayflower Compact.25 But there were more than just “puritan” motivations for settling the new world. There were political and economic realities to be considered (though clearly those first settlers and the growth of the colonies began and continued with Christian principles in mind). The colony’s governor, William Bradford, wrote,
Lastly, (and which was not the least), a great hope and inward zeal they had of laying some good foundation, or at least to make some way thereunto, for the propagating and advancing of the kingdom of Christ in those remote parts of the world; yea, though they should be but even as stepping-stones unto others for the performing of so great a work.26
Other records of those who first settled, along with contemporary histories, demonstrate Christianity’s influence in creating political, press, and religious freedom. There’s just one catch to this enshrinement of the Christian intention into early colonial government—I would not want to live under their idea of religious freedom; and chances are, neither would you.
The early colonists may not have been the Catholic rulers of European Christendom, but they still administered much of God’s grace with the long arm of the law. Sunday church attendance was required under civil penalty. Taxes were levied to construct churches and community worship events. Even fashion was a matter of civil law. Here are a few examples:
- A 1651 Massachusetts law forbade wearing silver, gold, or leather boots, among other items deemed too expensive for most colonists. Town magistrates were required to regularly assess the colonists clothing and levy appropriate fines.
- “If any interrupt or oppose a preacher in season of worship, they shall be reproved by the Magistrate, and on a repetition, shall pay £5 or stand two hours on a block four feet high, with this inscription in capitals, A WANTON GOSPELLER.”27
- In 1616 Virginia, failure to attend church services was punishable by death; blasphemy resulted in having your tongue bored with a hot poker.28
- A 1650 law in Plymouth Colony provided a whipping for working on the Sabbath. Traveling on Sunday was prohibited eight years later.29
- A 1671, Massachusetts law made it illegal to play sports on Sunday. If a person committed the crime in error, he was either fined, or publicly whipped. If he committed the crime intentionally, he was put to death.30
Even as late as 1780, Massachusetts’ constitution required public funds to be spent on church worship and teaching–but only for Protestants.31 Provisions favoring specific denominations were so onerous to men such as Thomas Jefferson (a deist) and James Madison (a Christian) that they engaged efforts to ensure that Massachusetts-like provisions did not remain the constitutional policy in Virginia. Such efforts resulted in the eventual removal of the Anglican Church as the official state church of Virginia in 1786.32
From Christendom to the Seeds of Evangelicalism
It would take some time for the Christendom model of church-state relations to die out. But the process, from the early 1600s to the mid-1800s and beyond, allowed faith, specifically Christianity, to enter a golden era where the Missionary Principle would see its greatest fruit worldwide into the modem age. Although the Christendom model is not the preferred model, we have ample evidence that God used it to bring us to where we are today. Just as the Bible was revealed through progressive revelation, so also incorporating Christian principles into politics has happened through a process of progressive application. One such recognition came through the pen of James Madison in an 1821 letter to Reverend F.L. Schaeffer:
The genius and courage of [Martin] Luther led the way, between what is due to Caesar and what is due God, best promotes the discharge of both obligations. The experience of the United States is a happy disproof of the error so long rooted in the unenlightened minds of well-meaning Christians, as well as in the corrupt hearts of persecuting usurpers, that without a legal incorporation of religious and civil polity, neither could be supported. A mutual independence is found most friendly to practical Religion, to social harmony, and to political prosperity.33
To be sure, Christian principles influenced the development of the colonies, and formation of the States and Union, but that does not mean the colonists all agreed on how those principles should be applied in the political arena. Though there were sharp disagreements, for the first time in history a nation started down a path where people could judge Christianity and either embrace or reject it on its own merits in an open environment. It simply took a while for that environment to form.
When America was being settled, its new population came from countries where Christendom, that is, political Christianity, ruled. State churches or sects had the blessings of the monarchies—blessings that usually included tax support of the church, and recruitment for military campaigns and legal inquisitions. Kings were crowned to protect the state and the faith. The official representatives of the state church occupied the halls of power. State authorities could arrest subjects for blasphemy and execute punishment–even death.
For example, even in America, Massachusetts Colony law stated, “If any man, after legal conviction, shall have or worship any other God but the Lord God, he shall be put to death.”34 Not all of the colonies were so severe. Pennsylvania, with its Quaker foundation was much more tolerant. William Penn himself encouraged people of non-Quaker origins to settle in the colony; the Quakers even distributed pamphlets to German Mennonites about opportunities in Pennsylvania. Contrast this with Sir Thomas Dale’s administration in early 17th-century Virginia: “During Dale’s tenure, religion was spread at the point of the sword. Everyone was required to attend church and be catechized by a minister. Those who refused could be executed or sent to the galleys.”35
It took time for more liberal approaches to religious freedom to take hold. Now that they have, much of America’s religious life takes place squarely in the free marketplace of ideas. This was a unique development in the world, and to date only a few countries follow this example. But it is the example that has permitted Christianity, and other faiths, to grow as never before.
- Letter to Editors: The Founding Fathers and Deism, David Barton, Copyright ©2003, Wallbuilders (www.wallbuilders.com/resources/search/detail.php?ResourceID=29).
- Common Sense, “On Monarchy and Heredity Succession,” Thomas Paine, 1776. A large section of Paine’s writing in devoted to an extensive look at the Old Testament book of I Samuel in order to refute the idea of the divine right of kings.
- The American’s Guide: American Constitutions, published by Hogan & Thompson, 1840. North Carolina Constitution, 1776. Article IV, Section 2: “The thirty-second of the Constitution shall be amended to read as follows: No person who shall deny the being of God, or the truth of the Christian religion, or the Divine authority of the Old or New Testaments, or who shall hold religious principles incompatible with the freedom and safety of the state, shall be capable of holding any office, or place of trust or profit, in the civil department within this state.”
- Email exchange with a Southern Baptist missionary in Germany, July 15th, 2003.
- There is a tendency by some to regard discipling “nations” as expressed in Matthew 28 to have direct political implications, rather than indirect. However, the Greek word used for “nations,” in this passage is “ethnos.” This is where we get our English word, “ethnic.” I believe the context of the passage refers to discipling ethic groups, not necessarily political or territorial blocks, which change over time.
- Matthew 28:18.
- In John 17:2, Jesus is praying, speaking in third person about Himself, to God.
- Church History in Plain Language (2nd edition), Chapter 4: “If the Tiber Floods,” Page 44. ©1994 Bruce L. Shelley, Word Publishing.
- Romans 8:15, “For you have not received a spirit of slavery unto fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba! Father!’” This, and several other New Testament passages provide a clear distinction between the concept of a God who only demands obedience, and the Christian concept of a God who longs for a relationship.
- II Corinthians 11:2, Ephesians 5:27.
- Matthew 5:5, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth.” The Apostle Paul also makes reference to Christians returning at the second coming of Christ to take up the management of the planet.
- I Corinthians 6:2, “Do you not know that the saints will judge the world?”
- Email interview with John Barber (author of Earth Restored), June 6, 2003.
- John Barber’s usage of the phrase, “God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life,” comes from the evangelism tract, Have You Heard of the Four Spiritual Laws, by Bill Bright, published by Campus Crusade for Christ (www.4laws.com).
- China’s Persecution of Protestants, by Human Rights in China, November 26, 1998, CNS Information Services.
- Evangelicals and Politics in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, Paul Freston, Page 30. ©2001, Cambridge University Press.
- Telling the Truth, Chapter 6: “The Streets Declare the Sinfulness of Man,” Page 102, ©1996 Marvin Olasky, Crossway Books.
- New Survey Finds Huge Gap Between Press and Public on Many Issues, Joe Strupp ©May 15, 2005, Editor and Publisher.
- See Ibn Warraq’s, Why I Am Not A Muslim (Prometheus Books).
- I define “Christendom” as something significantly different from biblically expressed “Christianity.” Where Christianity is the voluntary belief in the person of Jesus Christ as God’s only Son and Savior of all who voluntarily receive Him; “Christendom” is the political application where prescription of Christian beliefs, or biblical principles of government, and/or the authority of a State church or sect, is mandated or encouraged through agency of the law, and political authority. The concept of Christendom has created a great deal of misconception about Jesus Christ and Christianity over the centuries.
- One-Faith, Many Transitions, Chapter 14: “The Reformation Era: Part I,” Pages 214-215, ©2003 K.G. Powderly, Jr., Writers Club Press.
- Church History in Plain Language (2nd edition), Chapter 13: “The Sage of the Ages,” page 128, ©1994 Bruce L. Shelley, Word Publishing.
- Systematic Theology, Chapter 46: “The Power of the Church,” Page 893, ©1994 Wayne Grudem, Ph.D., Intervarsity Press.
- Religion and the Founding of the American Republic, “Part One: America as a Religion Refuge, The 17th Century;” an exhibition of the Library of Congress (lcweb.loc.gov/exhibits/religion/rel01html).
- “Having undertaken for the glory of God…covenant and combine ourselves into a civil body politic…” William Bradford, Mayflower Compact, November 2nd, 1620.
- Of Plymouth Plantation, William Bradford, Chapter 4: “Showing the Reasons and Causes of their Removal.” 1908 Davis edition.
- Curious Punishments of Bygone Days, “The Scarlet Letter,” Alice Morse Earle. 1896.
- Cited in a complaint before the United States Supreme Court, Gallagher vs. Crown Kosher Market, 366 U.S. 617 (1961), Section II, paragraph 2. (www.findlaw.com)
- The American’s Guide: American Constitutions, published by Hogan & Thompson, 1840. Massachusetts’s 1780 constitution. Part I, Article 3: “As the happiness of a people, and good order and preservation of civil government, essentially depend upon piety, religion, and morality; and as these cannot be generally diffused throughout the community, but they the institution of a public worship of God, and of public institutions in piety, religion, and morality; therefore, to promote their happiness, and to secure the good order and preservation of their government, the people of this commonwealth have a right to invest their legislature with power to authorize and require, and the legislature shall, from time to time, authorize and require, the several towns, parishes, precincts, and other bodies politic, or religious societies, to make suitable provision, at their own expense, for the institution of the public worship of God, and of the support and maintenance of public protestant teachers of piety, religion, and morality in all cases, where such provision shall not be made voluntarily.”
- Draft Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom, 1779, Thomas Jefferson. (www.churchstatelaw.com/historicalmaterials/8_1_3_2.asp)
- To F. L. Schaeffer from Madison, December 3, 1821. Letters and Other writings of James Madison, in Four Volumes, published by Order of Congress. VOL. III, J. B. Lippincott & Co. Philadelphia, (1865), pp 242-243).
- The General Laws and Liberties of the Massachusetts Colony, “Capital Laws,” Section 10, page 14. Published 1672. Criminal codes were usually followed by biblical citations to justify the law, usually from the Old Testament.
- Religion and the Founding of the American Republic, “Part 2, America as a Religious Refuge; The 17th Century,” an exhibition of the Library of Congress (lcweb.loc.gov/exhibits/religion/rel01-2.html).