Declaration of Independence – Intro

It is the mission of FHGH Ministries to facilitate the intersection of faith, church, and culture by helping to steward a movement for people across the nation to be encouraged and empowered to be involved and live their purpose in Faith, Honor, Glory and Hope. In support of that mission, we are kicking off a new series on the topic of the Declaration of Independence. It will likely take a few months to get through it. 

Introduction

How does the Declaration of Independence fit a topic for ministry? Why is this a subject worth covering?

 

As a Christian, the bible is our foundation, we live it, we live by it, and we swear by it. It tells us how to guarantee a position as a citizen of heaven, it sets our belief systems – it tells us why we exist. The bible also tells us what our responsibilities are, it serves as our guide as stewards, and helps to define our relationships with both people and the earth.

1 Peter 4:10. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.

Genesis 1:28. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

The fundamental principle of biblical stewardship is that God owns everything, we are simply managers or administrators acting on His behalf. Biblical stewardship expresses our obedience regarding the administration of everything God has placed under our control, which is all encompassing. Included in this is our responsibility to be good stewards of the nation in which we currently “dwell”. We are citizens of heaven serving as ambassadors while living [dwelling] in the nation – our residence on earth.

Psalm 24:1  The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, The world, and those who “dwell” in it.

Many of us are familiar with the admonition in 2 Corinthians 5:20 to be “ambassadors for Christ.” This does not mean that we are to become distracted from what the Bible has to say about our nation and what our attitude towards our national heritage should be.  The Scriptures also encourage us to study the past: “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning” (Romans 15:4). When Paul wrote this, he was encouraging the reader to continue to study the Old Testament for instruction. While not necessarily applicable to new covenant discipleship, everything in the Old Testament does point to Jesus.  But, what about the nation or country that we occupy on earth? I believe that, as Christians, we must study and be aware of our national past so that we understand what makes it worth protecting, saving, and sharing.

Bill Peel from The Theology of Work Project said it best when he wrote, “Although God gives us “all things richly to enjoy,” nothing is ours. Nothing really belongs to us. God owns everything; we’re responsible for how we treat it and what we do with it. While we complain about our rights here on earth, the Bible constantly asks, What about your responsibilities? Owners have rights; stewards have responsibilities.” In combination with biblical principals as well as the written works of theological thought leaders, we, as Christians, are responsible to be good stewards of our country. The United States is unique, never has a nation like ours existed in recorded history – and this is good news. The United States was founded almost 250 years ago with the premise of our nation outlined and discussed across four separate documents: 1) the Declaration of Independence, 2) The US Constitution, 3) the Bill of Rights, and 4) the Federalist/Anti-Federalist papers.

At the forefront is the Declaration of Independence. While most attention is typically given to the US Constitution, we would not have a Constitution if not for the Declaration. The Declaration of Independence is the foundational document for our US Constitution, it is our true Birth Certificate. If we as Christians are to be biblically minded and stewards of the land in which we “dwell”, it might be a good idea to understand the document that serves as the foundation for our earthly nation – just as we do with the bible which is the cornerstone and foundational document for our faith and belief system.

Many people will read the Declaration of Independence as a general interest item, but how many have actually taken time to actually understand it? How did it come about? What does it mean?  Why? The Declaration of Independence is so imbued with a biblical worldview that it would be controversial to read it aloud in many public schools, as well as other venues, because of the current secular movement toward removing Christianity from the public square – there are strong efforts ongoing to remove anything that relates to Christian/Judeo values from our American heritage. The fingerprint of God was firmly placed on our nation during its founding. As Christians, and as stewards of our nation, we should do our part to preserve what I believe the Lord ordained.

FHGH Ministries is committed to not only discussing and sharing items of cultural relevance for Christians, but also sharing the truth of our American history, our heritage, with other Christians. Therefore, we will be kicking off a new series on the Declaration of Independence.  We will discuss and share some interesting items of trivia about the document, how the document came about (background), the biblical roots of the Declaration, how to read the document, the 27 grievances outlined in the document, and a bio of each person who signed the Declaration.

We pray that, as each iteration of the series is shared with you, that you find it not only interesting, but also enlightening. We were not experts about the Declaration of Independence before we took on this project nor will we claim to be experts about it once the project is completed. However, the research completed thus far was eye opening. This is our prayer for you. Perhaps, maybe, hopefully, you will come to a new understanding of how our nation was founded and why it is paramount that we do our part to protect it.

 

References:

Allen Jayne, (2015). Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence: Origins, Philosophy, and Theology. University Press of Kentucky. pp. 48

Benson J. Lossing, (1870). Lives of the signers of the Declaration of American independence. Evans, Stoddart & Co. p. 292.

Benson J. Lossing, (1888). Our Country: A Household History for All Readers, from the Discovery of America to the Present Time, Volume 3. Appendix: Amies Publishing Company. p. 1-10.

Bernard Bailyn, (2017). The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution: Fiftieth Anniversary Edition, Belknap Press: An Imprint of Harvard University Press; Anniversary edition, P.162

Bernard Bailyn, (2017). The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution: Fiftieth Anniversary Edition, Belknap Press: An Imprint of Harvard University Press; Anniversary edition, Pg. 180-182

Bernard Bailyn, (2017). The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution: Fiftieth Anniversary Edition, Belknap Press: An Imprint of Harvard University Press; Anniversary edition, Pg. 200-202

Bernard Bailyn, (2017). The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution: Fiftieth Anniversary Edition, Belknap Press: An Imprint of Harvard University Press; Anniversary edition, Pg. 224–225.

The Declaration of Independence: A History, The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.

Dumas Malone, (1948). Jefferson the Virginian (Jefferson and His Time, Vol. 1 , Little, Brown and Company; 17th ptg. Edition, p. 221

Federalist No. 39, paragraph 2

Ian Christie and Benjamin Labaree, (1976). Empire or independence, 1760-1776: A British-American dialogue on the coming of the American Revolution, Phaidon Press; 1st Edition edition, p. 31

John Adams, (1776). “Letters of Delegates to Congress: Volume: 3 January 1, 1776 – May 15, 1776”. Letter to James Warren

John M. Murrin, Paul E. Johnson, James M. McPherson, Alice Fahs, Gary Gerstle, (2013). Liberty, Equality, Power: A History of the American People, Volume I: To 1877, Concise Edition. Cengage Learning. p. 121

Joseph Ellis, (2007). American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies in the Founding of the Republic, Knopf Publishing, pg. 55–56

Pauline Maier, (1998). American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence, Vintage; 1st Vintage Books Ed edition, pg. 53-57

Pauline Maier, (1998). American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence, Vintage; 1st Vintage Books Ed edition, pg. 125-128

Richard Kollen, (2004). Lexington: From Liberty’s Birthplace to Progressive Suburb. Arcadia Publishing. p. 27

Robert Middlekauff, (2007). The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763-1789,  Oxford University Press; Revised, Expanded edition, pg. 241–242

Stephen E. Lucas, (1989). Justifying America: The Declaration of Independence as a Rhetorical Document, Southern Illinois University Press, p. 85
 
Stephen E. Lucas, (2012). The Stylistic Artistry of the Declaration of Independence
 

Thomas Jefferson, (1825). TO HENRY LEE – Thomas Jefferson The Works, vol. 12 (Correspondence and Papers 1816–1826

https://www.charismanews.com/us/40100-the-christian-influence-behind-the-declaration-of-independence, accessed 9 Sep 2019

https://nccs.net/blogs/articles/biblical-roots-of-the-declaration-of-independence, accessed 9 Sep 2019

https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/declaration/bioa.htm, accessed 9 Sep 2019

http://www.ushistory.org/DECLARATION/, accessed 9 Sep 2019

http://colonialhall.com/biodoi.php, accessed 9 Sep 2019

https://www.americanheritage.com/abraham-lincoln-and-second-american-revolution, accessed 9 Sep 2019

http://www.thefreedomtrail.org/educational-resources/article-rise-and-fall-of-slave-trade-part2.shtml, accessed 9 Sep 2019

http://www.dsdi1776.com/signers-by-state/charles-carroll-of-carrollton/, accessed 9 Sep 2019

http://dansamericanrevolutionblog.blogspot.com/2012/02/biographical-sketches-of-signers-of.html, accessed 10 Sep 2019

http://www.cotknorwalk.org/blog/FoundingFathers/2005/09/george-clymer-signer-of-declaration.html, accessed 10 Sep 2019

http://www.slideshare.net/tanyaahogan/Tanya-Hogan-FFFINAL, accessed 10 Sep 2019

http://constitution.laws.com/elbridge-gerry, accessed 10 Sep 2019

http://www.revolutionary-war.net/john-hancock.html, accessed 10 Sep 2019

http://virtualology.com/StephenHopkins.com/, accessed 10 Sep 2019

http://articles.mcall.com/1984-07-15/news/2436116_1_george-taylor-iron-furnace/3, accessed 10 Sep 2019

http://www.fjc.gov/history/home.nsf/page/tu_amistad_bio_baldwin.html, accessed 10 Sep 2019

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part3/3p458.html , accessed 10 Sep 2019

http://www.constitution.org/tp/afri.htm, accessed 10 Sep 2019

http://www.oldsaltblog.com/2011/07/joseph-hewes-first-secretary-of-the-navy-and-signer-of-the-declaration-of-independence/, accessed 10 Sep 2019

http://education-portal.com/academy/lesson/john-hancock-facts-biography-history.html#lesson, accessed 10 Sep 2019

http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/, accessed 10 Sep 2019

https://tifwe.org/four-principles-of-biblical-stewardship/, accessed 10 Sep 2019

https://www.theologyofwork.org, accessed 10 Sep 2019