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AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM – NATIONALISTIC ARROGANCE OR HISTORICAL FACT?

Posted By Max Lyons, Tuesday, December 9, 2014

AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM –

NATIONALISTIC ARROGANCE OR HISTORICAL FACT?

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT

By Ricki Pepin© - December 2014

 

American Exceptionalism.  The very term evokes highly charged emotions backed by two very distinct schools of thought diametrically opposed to one another:

 

Traditionalists declare that America marches to a different drummer, its uniqueness seen through its history, size, geography, political institutions and culture.  Progressives and many college professors reject this view, vigorously decrying America as an imperialist, bully nation with class-based and race-based inequalities.  Which one is true? 

 

Rather than adding yet another opinion to the mix, let’s search for principles in our founding documents, ask some questions and define a couple of terms.  Learning from history, so as to repeat the good and not the evil, involves more than memorizing dates and dead people.  Some key questions need to be honestly answered, such as –

·       Who were the people involved?

·       What motivated them to do what they did?

·       What methods did they use to achieve their objectives?

·       Did it work?

·       Was it ethical?

·       Should it be repeated?

·       Should it be avoided?

 

In 1620, the Pilgrims landed in America and penned the Mayflower Compact, stating their unique purpose for this new nation – “Having undertaken [this voyage to America] for the glory of God and advancement of the Christian faith…”   Please note, they did not establish America as a Muslim, Buddhist, or pluralistic nation.  They founded it under God, for His glory, to advance the Christian faith.  This was an exceptional objective.

 

In 1776, Thomas Jefferson, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, agreed with the Pilgrims’ objective when he used the phrase “the laws of Nature and Nature’s God” as the foundation for American law and government.

 

The first part of this phrase – the laws of Nature – is also known as Natural Law.  Other civilizations (such as the Romans) used Natural Law as the basis of their legal system, so this was not an exceptional idea.  Cicero, a prominent Roman statesman and political philosopher (106 BC), declared, “Natural Law is so understandable, so common-sense, so reasonable that you need no one to interpret it for you.”   In other words, man was the final arbiter of Natural Law.

 

What does make America exceptional is the second part of that phrase in the Declaration of Independence – The laws of Nature’s God.  The short definition of this term is – “the moral law…contained in the 10 Commandments written by the finger of God.” (Webster’s 1828 Dictionary). 

 

Sir William Blackstone, whose Commentaries on the Laws of England were widely read and studied by the founders, said it best – “Man, considered as a creature, must necessarily be subject to the laws of his Creator…it is necessary that he should in all points  conform to…[the] law of his Maker… These laws… are the eternal immutable laws of good and evil…[and are] superior in obligation to any other… no human laws are of any validity if contrary to this…”

 

Simply summarized - American exceptionalism is two-fold: 

·       Its purpose – established for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith.

·       Its legal foundation – the laws of Nature AND Nature’s God - relying on God as the ultimate authority, not man’s reason alone.

 

Believing in American exceptionalism is not arrogance, but upholding it is an ongoing battle.  Who is winning in the conflict of ideas and ideals – man’s “reason” or God’s law?  In the natural world, no animal aborts their young before they’re born.  Only humans do.  Abortion violates both Natural Law and the Laws of Nature’s God (Exodus 20:13).  In the animal kingdom, no creature naturally mates with one of the same sex.  Only humans claim this un-natural act to be natural.  Homosexuality violates both Natural Law and the Laws of Nature’s God (Romans 1:26-27).  Wake up, America!  What have we allowed in this exceptional nation under the re-definition of “choice” and “tolerance”?

 

Push back!  What would adherence to this exceptional standard – the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God  – look like in our families, in our communities?  Would obeying God’s laws, rather than man’s (unreasonable) “reason”, bring life rather than death, healthy families rather than broken ones?  Would teaching this standard to our children and grandchildren bring them a clearer sense of right and wrong?  Could it create a hunger to discover the purpose for their own lives as Americans, as Christians? 

 

American exceptionalism…arrogance or a tradition worthy of pursuit?

 

Something to think about.

 

 

 

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CHURCH AND STATE – COHORTS OR COMBATANTS?

Posted By Max Lyons, Thursday, November 6, 2014

CHURCH AND STATE – COHORTS OR COMBATANTS?

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT

By Ricki Pepin© - November 2014

 

We’ve all heard the protests: “Separation of church and State! You can’t post the 10 Commandments in a courthouse!  You can’t have Jesus in a Christmas play in a public school!  That would violate the First Amendment!”  Really?  Have any of the people making such proclamations read the First Amendment, or what any of the founders said in regard to the relationship between the church and the state?  Time for a dose of truth by way of a brief history lesson.

 

Wake-up call:  The words “separation of church and State” appear nowhere in any founding document.  The First Amendment says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

 

Let’s think this through.  Allow me to ask (and answer) a few questions:

·       To whom is this amendment addressed?  (Answer – Congress)

·       Can a child violate this amendment by writing a paper about Jesus?  (Answer – no.  Why?  Because they aren’t Congress.)

·       Can a teacher violate this amendment by reading or teaching from the Bible?  (Answer – no.  Why?  Because they aren’t Congress.)

·       Can a school violate this amendment by putting on a Christmas play or Easter pageant?  (Answer – no.  Why?  Because they aren’t Congress…are you beginning to see a trend here?)

·       Can local government officials violate this amendment by displaying the 10 Commandments, a cross, or a nativity scene at a courthouse or anywhere on government property?  (Answer – no.  Why?  Because they aren’t Congress.)

·       Who is the only one who can violate the First Amendment? (Answer – Congress.  Individuals cannot.  Schools cannot.  Local governments cannot.)

·       Lastly, what is the only way Congress can violate it? (Answer – By making a law to establish a particular denomination, or to make a law abridging any individual’s free exercise of their religious beliefs.)

 

John Adams said, “…it is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand.” Does this sound like John Adams thought religion and government (which protects our freedom) would be at odds with each other?   Hardly.  Rather, his words re-state what the founders put in the Declaration of Independence about the relationship between church and state - that America’s government system would be based upon the laws of Nature and Nature’s God.  This was a clear collaboration of religion and government as the founders understood these terms – the laws of Nature and Nature’s God - to be the 10 commandments and your God-given conscience.  In other words, religion lays the foundation for government and law.

 

However, both John Adams’ statement and the brief exposition of the clear, simple meaning of the First Amendment, still brings up an often asked question – Whose religion?  Should you teach exclusively Biblical tenets in school?  Should all American law be based only on the Christian religion, or should we be more inclusive and also use the tenets of Buddhists, Muslims, Satanists, Humanists, et al?

 

The answer may astound many, but Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story clarified what religion was protected under the First Amendment in A Familiar Exposition of the Constitution of the United States, 1840.  He wrote:  "The real object of the First Amendment was not to countenance, much less to advance Mohammedanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity, but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects and to prevent…the exclusive patronage of the national government [to any particular Christian denomination]."

 

What a revelation! Time to push back and remove the muzzle from Christian expression in public.  Time to educate and stand up for what our founders and founding documents really say about church and state.  America is a Christian nation because it was founded under Christian principles such as kindness, loyalty, integrity, honesty.  Other religious beliefs are tolerated in America, but only if their practices conform to the laws of Nature and Nature’s God.

 

Christian citizens in every arena - public school students, teachers, government workers, pastors, etc. - do NOT relinquish their First Amendment rights to free exercise of their religion in any public setting.  Let’s bring God back front and center to every area of our lives, including school and government!  What would America look like if Church and State began to act more like cohorts, not combatants?

 

Something to think about.

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How to Choose a Constitutional President

Posted By Max Lyons, Tuesday, October 21, 2014

With a Presidential election around the corner, you may want to check out an essay by Dr. David Corbin, Professor of Politics at The King’s College. His latest essay, How We Can Choose A Constitutional President In A Celebrity Age, is the second in a series examining the prospects of a republican presidency. In this essay he discusses what we should and shouldn't look for in a president if we wish to have a more modest government.

Go here to access the essay: http://thefederalist.com/2014/10/20/how-we-can-choose-a-constitutional-president-in-a-celebrity-age/.

 

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John Eidsmoe speaking in Grand Rapids, October 22nd

Posted By Max Lyons, Tuesday, October 21, 2014

If you live in the Grand Rapids area, this event will be well worth your time. I know John and have heard his outstanding teaching. He is one of the top constitutional attorneys in America!

 Order tickets via Eventbrite:

http://aneveningwithjohneidsmoe.eventbrite.com/?aff=efbevent

More than a blank slate! The roots of the US Constitution and of Common Law run much deeper than most Americans realize today. To understand the extent of the roots of the American republic we must take a look further back than 1787, when the Constitution was drafted in Philadelphia in Independence Hall, and back still further than 1776, when a group of fifty-five men dared to declare independence for a new nation. Going back to America’s first settlement in Jamestown, where Common Law was first established by the Anglicans in 1620, still does not bring us back to the roots of the republic. Join John as he takes his listeners back not just hundreds of years, but thousands of years, back to the Biblical roots of this nation’s government for an understanding and appreciation of the origins and the true meaning of “Thy Liberty in Law”. 

Join us for an engaging evening and book signing with author John Eidsmoe!

John Eidsmoe is a retired Air Force Lt. Colonel and Alabama State Defense Force Colonel, and a graduate of the Air Command & Staff College and the Air War College. He is Professor of Law at the Oak Brook College of Law and Government Policy and in his various teaching assignments his students have given him the Outstanding Professor Award or Prof of the Year Award five times. He has served as Senior Staff Attorney with the Alabama Supreme Court and is currently Legal Counsel for the Foundation for Moral Law. He is an ordained pastor with the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations and serves on the Board of Lutherans for Life, on the Board of the Plymouth Rock Foundation, and on the Board of the Gospel Martial Arts Union, and is a constitutional attorney who has defended home schools, Christian schools, the right of students to study the Bible in public schools, and the right to display the Ten Commandments in the public arena. He has authored 14 books, including Historical & Theological Foundations of Law, Christianity & the Constitution, God & Caesar, and Columbus & Cortez, and has produced numerous audio and video lecture albums including The Institute on the Constitution and Here I Stand: A Biblical Worldview for a New Millennium. He holds seven academic degrees in law, theology, history, and political science. A lifelong student of the Crusades, he is a Knight Commander and Chaplain for the Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem (smotj.org). He is a Third Degree Black Belt with the American Taekwondo Foundation, a Fifth Degree Black Belt with the Gospel Martial Arts Union, and a Fifth Degree Black Belt with Black Belts of the Faith International. Colonel Eidsmoe is an avid horseman and skier, and tries to get 8 hours of sleep every week. He and his wife Marlene have been married since 1970, have three children (David, Kirsten, and Justin), and live in rural Pike Road, Alabama.

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The Great Commission: The Principle Approach in Uganda

Posted By Max Lyons, Thursday, October 16, 2014

Update on the Principle Approach® in Uganda

“For such a time as this” God has raised up Godfrey Kyazze to bring the hope of Biblically Principled education to Uganda. Godfrey’s first exposure to the Principle Approach was through an American missionary in his country who handed him a copy of James B. Rose’s book, A Guide to American Christian Education for the Home and School. After reading the book, Godfrey felt that it was an answer to many questions he had in his heart regarding authentic Biblical education for his country and the African continent. 

He started on the journey of 4R-ing (Research, Reason, Relate, Record) different subjects in a simple way, to the best of what he had learned from Mr. Rose’s explanation of the Principle Approach. At the same time he was looking for more information on websites, such as FACE and others. It was not long thereafter, that the American missionaries who gave him “A Guide” connected him to Ronald Kirk (of Nordskog Publishing) in California, with whom Godfrey started corresponding on a regular basis. Godfrey and Ron connected on a heart-to-heart level and from that moment on Ron became his mentor in the Principle Approach.

Godfrey visited StoneBridge School and FACE this summer and we were able to hear first-hand his amazing story and vision for bringing Bi-PriCE (Biblical Principles to Christian Education) to the children, parents, and teachers of Uganda. For the past four and a half years, God has called him to work with an organization called New Hope Uganda, “bringing the father heart of God to the fatherless.”

 Currently Godfrey serves as the Head of Curriculum Development and Teacher Training with Master’s Institute for Education (MIE), which is a project New Hope Uganda is pioneering in the country to spearhead a movement which will coordinate and promote an authentically Bible based education in Uganda and beyond.  The immediate goal of MIE is to raise up Principle Approach trained teachers through a Teacher Training College. To find out more, please read his latest newsletter by clicking here. 

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Voter Guide for 2014 Elections

Posted By Max Lyons, Wednesday, October 15, 2014

http://www.afaaction.net/img/afa_action_email/voterguide_medium.jpgWhere are the Voter Guides?

I have heard that question a lot for the past several weeks. I am not aware that anyone is printing them (for Virginia) for distribution this year. However you can get one online from the American Family Association (AFA). These Voter Guides are for all 50 states!

Hopefully you have already marked your calendar on Tuesday, Nov. 4 as Election Day. With a number of important races on the ballot, it is crucial that you get out and vote your Biblical values.

AFA has produced a Free Voter Guide, an unbiased evaluation of candidates and a detailed summary of important information that will help inform you on where the candidates stand on important issues like religious liberty, marriage, and life. iVoterGuide does not support or oppose candidates.

Here is how to get your Free Voter Guide:

1. Go to www.ivoterguide.com
2. Follow the directions
3. Enter your home address, city, state, and email address

When you get to your Voter Guide, make sure and click on “Show Details” and read what the candidates believe on various important issues.

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ipledge Sunday 2014

Posted By Max Lyons, Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Dear fellow Christian patriots,

iPledge Sunday 2014 is an opportunity to gather with fellow believers in all 50 states to pray for the November 4th elections and find out how we can rise up and take action to rebuild the Biblical foundations of America. Join a live webcast this Sunday, October 12th at 7 PM (Eastern Standard Time) to hear David Barton, Lila Rose, Tony Perkins, Sandy Rios, Jim Garlow and Rick Scarborough inform  and inspire us to action! iPledge Sunday is co-sponsored by 24 conservative and Christian organizations who are mobilizing and educating voters for these mid-term elections.

There are two ways to participate: join others in a local church (see listing by state at ipledgesunday2014.com, or watch with family and/or friends at home via internet webcast (go to www.ipledgesunday2014.com to register).

In Chesapeake, Virginia you can view the webcast this Sunday from 7-9 pm at Great Bridge Freewill Baptist Church, 700 Mount Pleasant Road. Childcare (under 12) is provided.

When the righteous are in authority the people rejoice, but when the wicked bear rule, the people mourn (Proverbs 29:2). Please join me in praying and working so that on November 5th, believers will be rejoicing.

Go to www.ipledgesunday2014.com for more information. 

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Thank you E. Ray Moore!

Posted By Max Lyons, Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Congratulations to E. Ray Moore on the 20 year anniversary of Frontline Ministries and Exodus Mandate Project. For over 20 years, Frontline Ministries, Inc. has been defending traditional Christian principles in American culture, especially in the arena of childrens’ education through its project, Exodus Mandate. Their 20th Anniversary Banquet, scheduled for November 14, 2014 in Columbia SC, is in honor of the Lord’s work through the ministry.

 

 Professor Jeffrey C. Tuomala is their Keynote Speaker. He will speak on the topic of Christian Education and Cultural Renewel. Jeffrey is a Professor of Law at Liberty University’s School of Law and also served as the school’s inaugural Associate Dean for Academic Affairs (2003-2011). He has played a key role in establishing the law school and steering it to full accreditation with the American Bar Association. He retired as a Colonel from the Marine Corps Reserve.

 

Find out more at exodusmandate.org.

Thank you Ray Moore for your tireless work on behalf of Christian education!

Tags:  Christian Education 

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Four new teachings announced!

Posted By Max Lyons, Thursday, September 25, 2014

Dear friends of liberty

 

In our Lessons in Liberty series FACE is offering one course and three free lectures this fall/winter (click here for details Lessons_in_Liberty_Flyer.pdf):

 

·       A five-week course entitled Free Men and Free Markets will impart knowledge of economics as understood through the lens of Scripture.

·       Dr. Mark Beliles, Founder of the Providence Foundation, will present his extensive research on The Religious Life and Legacy of Thomas Jefferson. I guarantee that much of what you learn, you have never heard before!

·       How are the Scriptures the founding document of our founding fathers? Dr. Jerry Newcombe author/co-author of 25 books and co-host and spokesperson for Truth in Action ministries will share some of his research from The Book That Made America.

·       We Want a King, Our Fatal Choice is the provocative title of Jim Wallis’ upcoming book making the case for a Biblically based government and economic system. Jim has been involved in a five-year intensive research and writing project that promises to not only bless you with Biblical knowledge and application but also give you hope for revival and reformation.

 

We now live stream all our teaching events! If you live in Tidewater, you can attend in person in our Western Branch classroom, otherwise if you have an internet connection, you can join us live online in a dynamic, interactive session where you can comment and ask questions.

 

Please forward this communication to any Christians, educators, or home-schooled high school students who you feel could benefit from furthering their understanding of the Biblical worldview.

 

For Christ and His truth,

 

Max Lyons

 

Tags:  Lessons in Liberty 

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New FACE Catalogue Published

Posted By Max Lyons, Thursday, September 18, 2014

Just published- the new 2014-15 FACE Resource Catalogue! It is available in hard copy, upon request, or on our website at www.face.net. Click on “Bookstore,” and “Request a Catalogue” and then you can view the catalogue or request to have one mailed to you. 

Tags:  catalogue 

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