• Motivation of America’s Founders What’s Needed to Turn Around Nation Today

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    Surge Summary: Those who first settled America and went on to establish the nation’s government were significantly motivated by a desire to glorify God. That passion and priority is the solution to America’s problems today. 

    by David Lane

    What level of pain would be required to make husbands, wives, and their children to launch out into the ocean not knowing their destination?

    What were to become the American founders found themselves in late 16th and early 17th century England in a dangerous predicament. During the reign of Elizabeth I [1558-1603] religious and political arrangements had been made with laws being passed that required anyone appointed to a public or church office to swear allegiance to the monarch as head of the Church and State.

    England’s strict uniformity to religious worship was established by the State as a political priority. Those who did not acquiesce were seen by the royalty as a direct threat to the state and an unwelcome disturbance to social order. ‘Non-conformist’ groups, i.e., Independents [Congregationalists], Baptists, Presbyterians [including Scots Congregations], Methodists, Roman Catholics, Society of Friends [Quakers], Brethren Church, Jews, and French Huguenots [Walloons] were tyrannized and many non-conformist leaders were burned alive at the stake.

    This was the spiritual stock that arrived on America’s eastern shores in 1620. Before debarking the Mayflower, they explained their mission in writing as “for the glory of God and advancement of the Christian faith.” America’s founders-to-be were “cut from a different cloth.”

    Landing near Cape Cod, Massachusetts, they soon started by establishing the first 106 of the 108 colleges in the nation as distinctly Christian. From 1638 to 1819, only 49 institutions of higher education [40 of them private ones] were established in the United States. After that the pace increased significantly, with 240 more institutions [225 private] being established in the period of 1820 to 1859.1

    The central precept of public education during this period of American history was derived from Proverbs 1:7: “Fear of the Lord is the beginning [Heb. principal part] of knowledge.” Marked by firm determination and judgment, Fisher Ames, the co-author of the First Amendment, held the Bible to be “the principal text in our schools.”

    Although by no means without their faults, the American founders understood perfectly that virtue and righteousness of character are indispensable prerequisites for sustainable freedom.

    Historian Benjamin F. Morris wrote: “The persecutions of the Puritans in England for non-conformity, and the religious agitations and conflicts in Germany by Luther, in Geneva by Calvin, and in Scotland by Knox, were the preparatory ordeals for qualifying Christian men for the work of establishing the civil institutions on the American continent. ‘God sifted’ in these conflicts a whole nation that He might send choice grain over into the wilderness, and the blood and persecution of martyrs became the seed of both the church and the state.”2

    Ministers in early America could and did serve in public office. The Reverend Roger Williams [1603-1683], who founded the colony of Rhode Island, served as its first president and held public office until his death.

    Add in the signers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States and we get a cogent snapshot of the spiritual legacy of America:

    † John Witherspoon [1723-1794] – Scottish-American Presbyterian pastor and educator.

    † Hugh Williamson [1735-1819] – American Founding Father, physician, politician, and pastor early in his career.

    † Robert Treat Paine [1731-1814] – American Founding Father, lawyer, politician, signer of Declaration of Independence and military chaplain.

    † Lyman Hall [1724-1790] – American Founding Father, physician, clergyman, minister, and statesman, signer of the Declaration of Independence. One of four physicians to sign the Declaration, along with Benjamin Rush, Josiah Bartlett, and Matthew Thornton.

    † Francis Hopkinson [1737-1791] – American Founding Father, lawyer, jurist, author, composer, and church music director.

    † Roger Sherman [1721-1793] – American Founding Father, statesman, lawyer, and only person to sign all four great state papers of the United States: the Continental Association, the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution. He wrote the doctrinal creed for his denomination in Connecticut.

    † Benjamin Rush [1746-1813] – American Founding Father, revolutionary, physician, and signatory to the Declaration of Independence. Pennsylvania delegate to the Continental Congress and surgeon general of the Continental Army. Dr. Rush founded the nation’s first Bible Society and pioneered the Sunday School system of early America.

    † James Wilson [1742-1798] – American Founding Father and Scottish-born legal scholar, jurist, and statesman who served as an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court from 1789 to 1798. Elected twice to the Continental Congress, he was a signatory of the Declaration of Independence, and major participant in drafting the U.S. Constitution. Trained as a clergyman in Scotland, he taught students the Biblical basis of civil law.

    The Muhlenbergs of Pennsylvania:

    † Frederick Muhlenberg [1750-1801] – American Lutheran pastor, politician, and first Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. The first signer of the Bill of Rights.

    † John Peter Muhlenberg [1746–1807] – Frederick’s older brother, also a Lutheran pastor and Major General of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. He served in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate from Pennsylvania.

    Having abandoned the public square for a long time now, American Christendom must return to Christ’s ekklesia Kingdom assignment from Matthew 16:18, that is, if our kids and grandkids are to make it through. We will not be alone in this since “He who has helped us in six troubles will [not] leave us in the seventh. God does nothing by halves, and He will never cease to help us until we cease to need. The manna shall fall every morning until we cross the Jordan.”3

    The Right Reverend Nicholas Ridley [1500-1555], English Bishop of London, was burned at the stake on October 16, 1555. Ridley’s brother offered to remain with him during the night preceding his martyrdom, but the bishop declined, saying that “he meant to go to bed, and sleep as quietly as ever he did in his life.”4

    Thomas Watson [1620-1686], the prominent English Puritan preacher and author ejected from his London parish, maintained that “a good conscience can sleep in the mouth of a cannon.”

    What is happening in America’s public square is nothing new. The battle for ideological control and overthrow of Heaven is as old as Lucifer. But we can sleep peacefully at night, because Gideons and Rahabs are entering the public square. God is sending His choice grain into the wilderness. The movement is beginning to take shape, or as it says in 1 Kings 18:44-46: “Behold, a little cloud like a man’s hand is rising from the sea.”

    David Lane

    American Renewal Project


    1. The Christian Life and Character of The Civil Institutions of The United States, 1864.
    2. Charles H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of David.
    3. Philip Bennett Power [1822-1899] The ‘I Wills’ of the Psalms.

    The views here are those of the author and not necessarily Daily Surge.

    Image: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/; Pilgrim Monument, Provincetown, MA; https://www.worldhistory.org/image/13055/pilgrims-signing-the-mayflower-compact/

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