Updated: Oct 11
On July 4, 2023 our nation will celebrate 247 years of independence. This independence was from the rule of England and British monarchy formally declared on July 4, 1776. Though declaring sovereignty from Great Britain, the influence greatly affected the development of the American system. Our founders took a number of things from the moorings of British law. This could and should be expanded to Anglo-Saxon common law and European fundamentals. The common law appealed to fundamental rights of mankind. These rights were recognized as the very essence of civilization and never considered for animals, plants or other living things. Why? Because it is self evident that humans are the crown of creation, so common law was directed at those who can plan, think, and reason for themselves. At the very foundation of this is the Creator or “Nature’s God.”
While not every founder was a Christian, and some were agnostic and atheistic, it is fair to say most believed in a Designer and Creator who can be known by that which He has made (Rom. 1:20). It took our founders, primarily European men, 180 years (1607-1787) to put together a system of laws and government structured to strike a balance between tyranny and anarchy. They knew something about heavy-handed government and societies of privilege, thus trying to appeal to the basic freedoms of man was their interest in creating a country of “liberty and justice for all.” The concept of individual “unalienable” rights implies a unique creation, a Creator and liberty for a responsible creation. Involved in this was change from “ruler’s law” to “people’s law,” giving people the right to govern themselves which was revolutionary indeed. For this to work it would be dependent upon the integrity of the citizens who make up the society. It’s here that they turned to a system of laws which had been given in the long ago appealing to the highest morality. It had been revealed with judgments supplied which was the Law of Moses (Exodus 20-32). Even those founders unwilling to believe in God recognized the value of such a system, and so they structured a nation based on moral law given by God to Moses thousands of years before.
Naturally such a system would recognize God and it did. It would allow freedom of expression in worship to Him and it did as well as a civic appeal to live up to the higher standards rather than sloughing to the lowest, baser nature of man. Were there flaws, yes, because it was the work of men’s hands and a work in progress. It was left to imperfect men for implementation. Slavery was allowed not because of God, but because of a manmade system long accepted in England, Europe, and the world. It was moral law that ultimately lead this country to abolish the practice—one of very few in history to do so with a very high price of lives lost in the war between the states. It was the leadership of this nation in abolishing slavery which influenced others to eventually do so.
Most important in this independence was the freedom to have, hold, own, preach and teach the gospel of Christ. There has been no more benevolent country than the United States of America—that’s the Gospel. What country has surpassed this country in evangelizing the world? As we have sung together many times, God has truly “shed His grace” on these United States of America. While many assume freedoms are now under attack, we still have our individual liberty. In a culture that is appealing to the basest of men, we still have the Bible as Thomas Jefferson said, the highest and most noble teachings ever given to man. For this and many blessings, we of all people have reason to celebrate.
Northeast Church of Christ bulletin July 4, 2023