Shape Of America -- The Declaration
by Oliver Woods
As long as the apostles’ of America’s civil religion repeat their erroneous doctrines – consent of the governed, self-evident truth, etc. – we will continue to repeat our refutations. As noted elsewhere on this site, concepts like government deriving its authority from the consent of the governed do not stand the test of Biblical scrutiny.
The latest in the long line of recycled Christian America propaganda comes from an article by Jeff Senters on Friday, August 7, 2009. The article may be read in its entirety at Examiner
The article cites the Declaration of Independence, When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands...the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God...requires that they should declare the causes....
Natural Law Theory
An Ancient Heresy
The “laws of nature” or Natural Law theory has plagued Christianity for centuries. It may be true that 27 of the 56 “founding fathers” were trained as clergymen, as the article points out. However, they were no less immune to the natural law heresy than humanists like Jefferson.
In fact, natural law theory has always been a tempting substitute for Bible law. On the surface it seems to offer a common ground legal theory for Christians and non-Christians alike. In the final analysis it is an attempt to use the Bible itself to formulate a theory that contradicts and replaces the law of the Bible.
Natural law may have been born in ancient Greece and Rome, but it was nurtured and came to maturity in the bosom of the church. Embarrassed by the civil law code laid down by Moses, natural law has been the habitual substitute set forth by the church.
The Christian Emperor Justinian codified it for all of Europe in what is known as the Justinian Code. The Justinian Code gave lip service to the Bible, but relied instead on a variety of manmade sources, including the pagan Romulus and “natural law.” The Justinian Code was revived and disseminated from the law school in Bologna, Italy during the middle ages.
In England, natural law morphed into the “common law” of Henry II after the Norman Conquest of 1066 and bore only accidental resemblance to Biblical law. Henry II was no exemplar of Biblical law. His motivation was to create a law code common to the entire realm based on amalgamation of local custom. This he enforced in person as he or his judicial representatives traveled on horseback to outlying courts. Henry II laid a foundation for the jury system, which is problematic from the standpoint of Biblical law.
From that starting point common law became judge-made law based on precedent, not the Bible. Henry sought to impose his own common or customary law over that of the church, which culminated in the bloody conflict with Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Beckett.
A False Standard
The article continues, quoting the Declaration, We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
The Bible doesn’t speak of unalienable rights that are bestowed upon man at birth. On the contrary the Bible says that all men are born “dead in trespasses and sins” and that “the wrath of God abideth on them.”
The author comments, “When you understand the heritage of the founding fathers it is clear evidence that they were referring to Almighty God, of the Holy Bible.” On the contrary, when you examine the “heritage” of the three authors of the Declaration of Independence, you discover that all three were unitarians. That means that they denied the Divinity of Christ and His authority over the Civil realm. Thus they denied the veracity of the Holy Bible.
Moreover, the words “self-evident” speak for themselves. Taken at face-value the passage says that the authors of the Declaration were relying on truths judged to be reliable by the unaided reason of the mind of man. It says absolutely nothing about the “Holy Bible.” If Jefferson, Adams, and Franklin were relying on the Bible, they should have, and would have said so.
Consent Of The Governed
An Idol For Destruction
The article moves on to the next paragraph of the Declaration, That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted...deriving their just powers from the consent of the government. That whenever any government becomes destructive..., it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,...organizing its powers in such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.
According to the Bible, the just power of government comes from God alone, not the consent of the governed (Rom. 13:1-4). God grants the people the privilege of nominating their rulers (Dt. 1:13), but to posit the authority of government in the consent of the governed rather than God is to set up an idol.
Here again a humanistic standard for human government is set forth. An obedient people that is interested in securing the blessing of God will seek to institute the laws of Moses encoded in Exodus 20-24. They understand that relying on what “to them seems most likely to affect their safety....” is the certain path to ruin. One humanistic system replaces another humanistic system. It is like the dog that returns to its vomit.
How To Recognize The False
Prophets Of America’s Civil Religion
The prophets of America’s Civil Religion are like the Pied Piper of old who led the children of the city to destruction with his seductive music. Like Hananiah, who prophesied falsely in the days of Jeremiah (Jer. 28) they are leading the American church and nation down a path of destruction.
Often they mix significant doses of truth with their doctrinal poison so they are not easy to recognize. What are their distinguishing characteristics? There are many, but chief among them are these:
1) They speak of government of, by and for the people, rather than government of, by and for God.
2) They speak of government authority arising from the “consent of the governed” rather than from God (Rom. 13:1-4)
3) They invoke the Bible and even Bible law as the basis for civil government, but then subtly replace it with the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.
4) Specifically, they speak of the authority of the “Holy Bible,” but then replace it with “self-evident” truth as determined by the fallen mind of man.