The Roots of American Idealism: Part 3
Jan 19, 2007
The rise of the Roman Church after the fourth century did not bring in the Kingdom of God. It merely established a new beast empire with Christian religion leading it. A change of leadership did not solve the problem of oppression in the world, nor did it establish the Kingdom of God, because the Christian leadership did not understand how to rule the earth. They ruled as "the Gentiles" had ruled before them--as lords and kings, rather than as servants.
After the Scriptures were opened to the people (with the development of the Printing Press in the 1400's), men began to study Scripture for themselves and to develop a more proper theory of Christian government. In 1765 John Adams, one of the founding fathers of the American Republic, wrote A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law, printed in the Boston Gazette.
It was then reprinted in London and later published as The True Sentiment of America. Tuveson comments in his book, Redeemer Nation, page 21,
"A common principle in human nature--'that aspiring, noble principle founded in benevolence, and cherished by knowledge; I mean the love of power, which has been so often the cause of slavery'--has been responsible both for the soaring ambitions of princes and for the efforts of 'the common people to aspire at independency, and to endeavor at confirming the power of the great within the limits of equity and reason.' For, he says in phrases anticipating the language of the Declaration of Independence, all human beings have 'Rights, that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws--Rights, derived from the great Legislator of the universe'."
In other words, eleven years before the Declaration of Independence was drafted, Adams set forth the concept that all rights come from God alone. Human governments become oppressive when those natural, inherent, God-given rights are curtailed by man's legislation or decree. Tuveson goes on to say on the same page,
"For we find that the source of the usurpation of human rights is the perversion of true religion."
This is precisely what I have shown to be inherent in the term antichrist. It is a usurping of God's power, as we see with King Saul and Absalom. And so the "little horn" of Daniel 7 is really not only applicable to the Roman Church, but also to other governments, including the Church of England that usurped the right of the Puritans and Pilgrims to worship God in a direct relationship with Him.
On page 25 Tuveson again references Adams' Dissertation, saying,
"But the original draft, as recorded in his diary for February, 1765, contains one sentence of very different import: 'I always consider the settlement of America with reverence and wonder, as the opening of a grand scene and design in Providence for the illumination of the ignorant, and the emancipation of the slavish part of mankind all over the earth.' Here is a very early suggestion that the American settlements may be destined to be the nucleus not only of a holy but of a millennial people."
In the late 1700's, America believed it had a destiny to set mankind free of oppressive governments all over the world. It was to accomplish this through the basic idea that human rights originated with God, rather than through human governments or powerful men, and that these rights were "unalienable."
The two foundation stones of the American Experiment came together at this point. From the Plymouth foundation came the concept of religious freedom that was extended to political liberty, with each man enjoying God-given rights. From the Jamestown foundation came the idea that "prosperity is the outward sign of an inward grace, for it demonstrates that the covenant is being fulfilled" (Tuveson, p. 31).
They believed that a nation would prosper only if its people were free. That is certainly true, as long as we do not define "freedom" in a non-biblical manner. For instance, sexual freedom may look good to many, and many believe today that they have a right to violate biblical laws of morality. They think of Biblical laws as oppressive to their "rights," not realizing that sexual immorality has destroyed whole nations in the past.
Also keep in mind that even from the beginning, this freedom was not extended to black slaves. As I showed in my web logs about "Leviathan" last January, anti-slavery statements had to be expunged from the Declaration and the Constitution in order to gain the signatures of the southern states. And so, the idealistic idea that America would export its new concept of freedom to the rest of the world was compromised from the beginning.
This compromise also then adversely affected the native Indian nations to whom the ideas of Christian government did not apply unless convenient or advantageous. They were only too happy to think of the Indians as biblical Canaanites, and Timothy Dwight's 1785 book, The Conquest of Canaan, certainly reflected that idea. But they did not seem to realize that God judged even Israel for violating its treaty with the Gibeonites (2 Samuel 21). In fact, because of Saul's violation of this treaty, God sent a three-year famine to Israel, which David then had to rectify. The Sauls in America did likewise and produced a famine of hearing the Word (Amos 8:11).
As the years passed, both of the American foundations were undermined and distorted. Americans began to seek prosperity as a goal in itself and forgot God. The love of money led to the Federal Reserve System and the secularization of America. In more recent years it degenerated in religious circles as the Prosperity Message, where a man's spirituality is often measured by his money.
Likewise, the Plymouth foundation was undermined, because when government no longer recognized the God set forth in the Declaration of Independence, then only government remained to grant men human rights. In this way, the legal system has largely lost the distinction between rights and privileges. Government now grants all sorts of "rights" that were never set forth in Scripture, and in the process it has also removed from us many authentic rights that God has truly granted all mankind.
But in the 1790's, America was fresh and optimistic about their destiny and divine calling. David Austin, a graduate of Yale, was a Bible scholar and preacher who wrote The Downfall of Mystery Babylon. Austin wrote of the recent French Revolution (1789-1793) and how the Jacobin revolutionaries had largely destroyed the Roman Church in France. Tuveson quotes Austin on page 117,
"There must soon come a 'regnum montis,' which will fill the whole earth (Dan. 2). The stone not cut by human hands we can now see 'was begun on the Fourth of July, 1776, when the birth of the Manchild--the hero of civil and religious liberty--took place in these United States."
Like many in those days, Austin believed that the United States was the fifth kingdom of Daniel, the "Stone Kingdom," the "Fifth Monarchy" (with Christ as King). Thus, its destiny was to overthrow the Babylonians who ruled the Old World in Europe.
Yet today we find ourselves in the tight economic and political grip of Mystery Babylon. Instead of overthrowing Babylon, we have become the unknowing slaves of a SECRET Babylon, a "Mystery," that which is hidden from general knowledge. Why? How?
The simple fact of history is that America was compromised from the beginning. Like all the beast-empires before us, we declared God to be our sovereign, but then usurped His power by granting rights He never contemplated and by removing God-given rights from those who did not suit our purposes. So there must be an overcomer Stone Kingdom still to come.
This is the final part of a series titled "The Roots of American Idealism." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones