2 Of 5 / The Bible’s Influence In America / American Heritage Series / David Barton
Evangelical leader Ken Ham rightly has noted, “Most of the founding fathers of this nation … built the worldview of this nation on the authority of the Word of God.” I strongly agree with this statement by Ham.
Dr. Michael Davis of California has asserted that he has no doubts that our President is a professing Christian, but his policies are those of a secular humanist. I share these same views. However, our founding fathers were anything but secular humanists in their views. John Adams actually wrote in a letter, “There is no authority, civil or religious – there can be no legitimate government – but that which is administered by this Holy Ghost.”
In June of 2011 David Barton of Wallbuilders wrote the article, ”John Adams: Was He Really an Enemy of Christians?Addressing Modern Academic Shallowness,” and I wanted to share portions of that article with you.
At WallBuilders, we are truly blessed by God, owning tens of thousands of original documents from the American Founding – documents clearly demonstrating the Christian and Biblical foundations both of America and of so many of her Founding Fathers and early statesmen. We frequently postoriginal documents on our website so that others may enjoy them and learn more about many important aspects of America’s rich moral, religious, and constitutional heritage that are widely unknown or misportrayed today.
Adams letter to Rush merely reinforces the contempt that he and most Americans had for the autocratic Divine Right of Kings doctrine – a doctrine still believed by many at that time to have been delivered directly from Heaven by the Holy Spirit Himself. Adams saw this as a complete perversion of true Bible teachings regarding the role of the Holy Spirit. He therefore queried of Rush:
Do you wonder that Voltaire and Paine have made proselytes [converts]? Yet there [is] near as much subtlety, craft, and hypocrisy in Voltaire and Paine, and more, too, than in Ignatious Loyola [a Spanish knight who was a founder of the Jesuits]. 32
That is, given the bad “Christian” teachings that caused so much misery and suffering across Europe, it was not surprising that atheists and anti-religionists such as Voltaire and Paine had such a strong following. It remains an unfortunate fact to this day that non-Biblical Christianity and non-Biblical Christians still drive people away from the Christian faith rather than to it. As affirmed by the Apostle Paul in Romans 2:24, “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you” – that is, it is God’s people who often give God a bad name among non-believers. (The prophet Nathan stated the same message in 2 Samuel 12:24 when he said to David, “By this deed, you have given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme.”)
The final evidence that Adams was not being disrespectful to the Holy Ghost or Christians in his letter is seen in his closing statement to Rush that:
Your prophecy, my dear friend, has not become history as yet. 33
This is a very respectful reference to the dream Rush believed that God had given him. There is nothing derogatory or scornful in Adams’ reference to “prophecy” – a direct and positive product of the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21).
The Bible contains the most profound philosophy, the most perfect morality, and the most refined policy that ever was conceived upon earth. . . .The curses against fornication and adultery, and the prohibition of every wanton glance or libidinous ogle at a woman, I believe to be the only system that ever did or ever will preserve a republic in the world. . . . I say then that national morality never was and never can be preserved without the utmost purity and chastity in women; and without national morality a republican government cannot be maintained. 44 1807
I think there is nothing upon this earth more sublime and affecting than the idea of a great nation all on their knees at once before their God, acknowledging their faults and imploring His blessing and protection. 45 1809
[I]t is notorious enough that I have been a church-going animal for seventy-six years from the cradle. 46 1811
The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were . . . . the general principles of Christianity. . . . I will avow that I then believed (and now believe) that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God. 47 1813
I have examined all [religions], . . . and the result is that the Bible is the best book in the world. 48 1813
Without religion, this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in polite company: I mean hell. 49 1817
There are numerous similar quotes by Adams. This certainly is not the profile of an individual who would blaspheme the Holy Spirit, Christianity, or religion.
32. John Adams letter to Dr. Benjamin Rush on December 21, 1809, from an original in our possession (see original at:http://www.wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?id=59755). (Return)
33. John Adams letter to Dr. Benjamin Rush on December 21, 1809, from an original in our possession (see original at:http://www.wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?id=59755). (Return)
44. John Adams, Old Family Letters, Alexander Biddle, editor (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1892), pp. 127-128, to Benjamin Rush on February 2, 1807. (Return)
45. John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Boston: Little, Brown & Company, 1854), Vol. IX, p. 291, correspondence originally published in the Boston Patriot, 1809, Letter XIII. (Return)
46. John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1854), Vol. IX, p. 637, to Benjamin Rush on August 28, 1811.(Return)
47. Thomas Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Andrew A. Lipscomb, editor (Washington, D. C.: The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1904), Vol. XIII, p. 293, from John Adams on June 28, 1813.(Return)
48. John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1856), Vol. X, p. 85, to Thomas Jefferson on December 25, 1813.(Return)
49. John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1856), Vol. X, p. 254, to Thomas Jefferson on April 19, 1817.(Return)