I am reading the FOUNDERS’ BIBLE. I read many of the articles and received fresh motivation to read the Bible because of the articles about the founding of the United States. David Barton- who has an organization called WallBuilders– is a unique historian who collected articles for the Founders’ Bible putting the focus on the unique way in which the Founders of our nation linked Scriptural truth to the roots of our American order. Barton believes that history should be told through the lives of great individuals and that men and women catch truth by relating to great historical figures.
The Founders of our nation demonstrate some of the same courage and integrity that we see in Biblical leaders like Samuel and King David. The United States Constitution was inspired by the covenants made with Abraham and Abraham’s descendants; i.e., the Constitution is a covenant between the people of the several states and the federal government. From the time of the earliest colonies in the New World, believers entered into such covenants in order to govern themselves. They took their inspiration from the numerous examples of written covenants in the Old and New Testaments.
In fact the concept of a “testament” itself, as understood by the established usage in the early colonies, was synonymous with the term “Covenant”. Thus, the Calvinistic believers came to the New World in order to establish what they called a New Jerusalem modeled after the Old Covenant Commonwealth of Israel and the early Christian Church in the New Covenant Book of Acts!
The Armed Defense Training Association gave me the beautifully bound and illustrated Founders’ Bible as a gift. Along with the articles from David Barton, the personal messages conveyed with the gift have motivated me to dig deeper into our heritage as a nation based on morality, law and reverence for Scripture.
ADTA President Chad Hiatt’s message in particular was as beautiful as the leather bound gift itself:
“The concept of a “SHOOTING ARTS CENTER” in our home town was outrageous, and it was perfect. You took what you saw as the staus quo and insisted on looking at it from a new angle. That shift, that shared opportunity, formed the core of what we all together built into the Armed Defense Training Association, an organization to which we are now all contributing, and from which we will find creative and community fulfillment.”
I could not be more pleased if the ADTA had given me a 1911 pistol with pearl handles and eagles engraved in gold!
But I want to be careful not to attribute positions to the ADTA that are not consistent with its mission. The ADTA does not have a religious purpose, nor are we political. Nevertheless, neighbors encouraging each other to develop confidence in the use of arms is a tradition of volunteerism reinforcing traditions that go back to Israel. The historical trail leads through the history of England and other European nations, including Rome and Greece.
Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England, Montesquieu and other noteworthy philosophers have all written on the subject of arms and self-defense. Montesquieu in THE SPIRIT OF THE LAWS (1748) asks, “Who does not see that self-defense is a duty superior to every precept (of personal freedom).” He severely criticized Venice because the Venetian rulers deemed bearing arms a capital offense; such restrictions on self-defense were, in Montesquieu’s opinion, against the nature of things. Incidentally, Montesquieu was one of the thinkers that articulated the concept of keeping the government out of matters that concern religion.
David Barton is a historian that has been reminding folks of the link between the founding of our nation and the heritage of Scripture, ancient Israel and Christian teaching. Barton is very pro-Second Amendment and it comes across in the Founders’ Bible in articles like the one entitled “HE TRAINS MY HANDS FOR WAR”. I heard him talking once on television about how anti-slavery folks were brutally attacked by pro-slavery people in the South and sometimes had to defend themselves with firearms. And his writings and teachings contain many such examples in U.S. history of armed force deployed by volunteers to defend righteousness and suppress evildoers. The Old Testament is also full of such examples and the New Testament authors held such warriors in high regard. See Hebrews 11.
The articles cover subjects like what the Bible says about church-state relations, slavery, the First Great Awakening and quotes from various public leaders, including many presidents up through recent times that have endorsed the Bible.
After the Revolution, one of the first things the new Congress did was to endorse publication of an English language Bible in America. The Founders agreed that democracy can only work in a nation guided by Judeo-Christian precepts of morality, justice and commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord.
Barton’s critics, which are legion, complain that he has misstated the facts concerning the publication of the Aitken translation of the Bible but the WallBuilders website provides a quantity of detail concerning what Congress did and did not do related to the publication of the Bible which was done at Aitken’s expense. See also To Your Tents, O Israel.
David Kopel, a law professor at the University of Colorado, is a well known Second Amendment advocate who has also written some good articles on the subject of how our American forefathers looked to the ancient Commonwealth of Israel for Biblical inspiration before, during and after the Revolutionary War.
Stephen P. Halbrook, also a firearms lawyer, has similarly documented the history of the Second Amendment and how intricately the basic human right of self-defense is bound to the roots of our American order. One of his books entitled The Founders’ Second Amendment (may, 2008) deals with the origins of the Second Amendment.
The U.S. Supreme Court quoted Dr. Halbrook’s work on the legislative history of the Fourteenth Amendment in regards to Black Freedmen’s civil rights and the Second Amendment after the Civil War in the DC V Heller majority opinion. See District of Columbia v. Heller, 128 S. Ct. 2783, 2809–10 (2008) (citing generally STEPHEN P. HALBROOK, FREEDMEN, THE FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT, & THE RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS, 1866–1876 (Greenwood Publishing Group 1998); reprinted as STEPHEN P. HALBROOK, SECURING CIVIL RIGHTS: FREEDMEN, THE FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT, AND THE RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS (Independent Institute 2010).
I was particularly moved by David Barton’s article entitled Where the Journey Began. Barton’s account of how he became the signature historian of the Founders’ Bible relates the story of young King Josiah and how he responded when the workmen discovered the Books of the Law while remodeling the Temple. At that time, most of the priests and teachers had fallen away from Scriptural truth and the Commonwealth of Israel was given over to the worship of idols. The amazing things was that Josiah read the Scriptures on his own and immediately repented and started leading the nation of Israel back to truth.
Many of us are troubled by what we see happening in the land today. The Bible does not just speak to issues about God but to every kind of relationship, personal and economic. Most Bible teachers avoid the subject of what the Scripture says about government, warfare and economics because folks are worn out by cultural warfare. Preachers and Bible teachers don’t want to tear down false idols because that gets into political issues! Nevertheless, ubiquitous mass-shootings, especially in our public schools, are evidence that the Progressive cultural crusade is winning the war.
One of the first things King Josiah did was tear down the altars of the false gods. I am convinced that we will see a bold new generation of Americans when young Americans experience what King Josiah experienced. Young people long for an adventure that calls for real challenges, sacrifice and courage. The Bible is a call to perform bold exploits.
David Barton, Shiloh Road Publishers and the other historians that contributed to the Founders’ Bible have declared God’s mighty works for generations to come and have made the call relevant to modern Americans.