Tag Archives: History of the First Amendment

1. Introduction to History of the First Amendment


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Jerald Finney
Copyright © February 22, 2018


Christians, except for a small minority who have ferreted out the truth, and secularists have accepted the brand of historical revisionism presented them by those they trust.[1] Revisionists revise in spite of the fact that he truth is available. This study presents accurate historical facts which are readily available through honest research. See [2] for link to some resources which verify this.   Both Christian revisionists (such as David Barton and Roger Federer) and secular revisionists (such as Leo Pfeffer,[3]) have distorted the true history of the First Amendment; “Christian” revisionism through manipulation of selected facts taken out of context and other dishonest devices and secular revisionism, although much more honest and accurate in reporting historical fact, through their inability to properly analyze because they leave God and the spiritual out of the equation.[4]

Revisionists, both “Christian” and secular, work on the lowest level, at the public level. They disseminate books, articles, videos, and public media interviews. They select facts out of context which support their agenda. Their adherents trust and believe them. Few followers have time to check out what they are being told. Even though legal and historical scholars have published the truth, their works remain obscure; the general public has neither the time nor inclination to examine the truth of what they are being fed. This study is based upon undeniable historic fact. Anyone can discover and verify these facts, if they have the time.

Secular revisionists such as Leo Pferrer have been very instrumental in the development of First Amendment law at the highest level—in the courts. Although Pfeffer’s work, unlike that of Christian revisionists, was for the most part factually accurate, he simply did not get it even though he did mention God. On the other hand, Christian revisionists, usually knowingly, present a factually false view of history. See [5] for link to a book which explains “Christian” revisionism. They have disseminated their history to the general public so successfully that the general Christian population who is interested in history as well as many politicians all the way up to Presidents of the United States have accepted and continued to disseminate the accepted “Christian” view of history. “Christian” revisionism has been published in briefs, memorandums of law, etc. in court cases all the way up to the Supreme Court. To present lies to such studied authorities is discrediting to Christianity in general. Although some “Christian” revisionists have now been exposed before the public in general, blind Christians continue to follow their teachings.[6] After all, most Christians believe that other “Christians” would not lie to them.

Religious freedom without persecution or “heretics” was historically rare, almost non-existent before the founding of the colony or Rhode Island. God’s people have always, regardless of persecution, come together as local churches, preached the Gospel, and helped their fellow man. Paul wrote in the midst of persecution:

  • “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;”[7]
  • “We, having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak.”[8]

In the preceding verse, Paul quoted a portion of Psalm 116.10 which says in its entirety, “”I believed, therefore have I spoken: I was greatly afflicted:” Tied up in the liberty given believers by Christ is speaking (“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”[9]), and associating or meeting together (“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is;”[10]). Furthermore, God gave mankind the Bible, which in certain times past, was banned and burned. The First Amendment was written and ratified with the intent of protecting God’s churches, the exercise of religion by the dissenters in the colonies, the preaching of the Gospel, the coming together to worship God, the dissemination of literature, mainly the dissemination of God’s Word, and the right to petition the civil government for a redress of grievances.

The First Amendment was the culmination of a long spiritual warfare between established churches and dissenters, mainly the Baptists. God’s power moved mightily during that period of conflict. Many believers suffered persecution. The roots of the struggle in America were embedded in New England, spread to the south, to Virginia, and then to the new nation.

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

True historical facts prove that the religion clause of the First Amendment is a legal statement of the principle of religious freedom, or soul liberty, or separation of church and state which conforms to biblical principles. Bible-believing Christians, based upon their spiritual beliefs, fought the fight which resulted in the First Amendment. They made the spiritual Bible-based arguments and practiced their faith despite persecution. Their efforts and arguments gradually convinced others.

Many of the early colonists were Protestants who thought Luther and/or Calvin were correct in their belief that church and state should be united. Others, the Anglicans, brought the state-church concepts of union of church and state of England to the colonies. Dissenters believed in and fought for separation of church and state. The First Amendment was primarily the result of a spiritual warfare between those holding opposing Scriptural interpretations, the established churches versus the dissenters, primarily the Baptists.

  • “Of the Baptists, at least, it may be truly said that they entered the conflict in the New World with a clear and consistent record on the subject of soul liberty. ‘Freedom of conscience’ had ever been one of their fundamental tenets. John Locke, in his ‘essay on Toleration,’ says: ‘The Baptists were the first and only propounders of absolute liberty, just and true liberty, equal and impartial liberty.’ And the great American historian, Bancroft, says: ‘Freedom of Conscience, unlimited freedom of mind, was from the first a trophy of the Baptists.’ Vol. II., pages 66, 67.
  • “The history of the other denominations shows that, in the Old World, at least, they were not in sympathy with the Baptist doctrine of soul liberty, but in favor of the union of Church and State, and using the civil power to compel conformity to the established church….
  • “The Reformation which began with Martin Luther corrected many errors of faith and practice among those who came out of the corrupt and apostate church, but not all. It was left to the sect once ‘everywhere spoken against’ to teach their Protestant brethren the lesson of soul liberty, and this they did in the school of adversity in the New World.”[11]

At times, persecuting established churches became persecuted churches when they moved to other colonies controlled by another church/state establishment. When that happened, the persecutors generally became dissenters seeking religious tolerance or religious freedom.

Beating of Obadiah Holmes for “heresy” by the Puritans in Massachusetts.

The First Amendment to the Constitution resulted from “a factual relationship that was rapidly solidifying when the Constitution was amended by the Bill of Rights.” The First Amendment was the final product of a long struggle by men who believed strongly in the God of the Bible and who were willing to die rather than bow down to false religion. Their spirit was fused into the ordering of the affairs of the United States. “A wall of separation which would bar that spirit from making itself felt in secular concerns can never be built, because it would have to bisect the human heart.”[12] William H. Marnell correctly observed that:

  • “[t]he First Amendment was not the product of indifference toward religion. It was not the product of the deism which prevailed in the Enlightenment, however much the spirit of deism may have been present in certain of the Founding Fathers. Above, all, it was not the product of secularism, and to translate the spirit of twentieth-century secularism back to eighteenth-century America is an outrage to history. The First Amendment was rather a logical outcome of the Reformation and its ensuing developments. It was so far removed from secularism as to be the product of its exact opposite, the deep-seated concern of a people whose religious faith had taken many forms, all of them active, all of them sincerely held. It was so far removed from indifference toward religion [specifically Christianity] as to be the result of its antithesis, the American determination that the diversity of churches might survive the fact of political action.”[13]
Puritans hung 4 Quakers for returning to Massachusetts after being banished for their religious beliefs.

The dissidents in the colonies, chiefly the Baptists, were able to gain a foothold, and they played it for all it was worth. The Baptist theology of the founding era, initially under the leadership of Roger Williams and John Clarke, successfully challenged the doctrines of the established churches concerning the relationship of church and state. Among the results were the establishment of the first civil government in history of any lasting significance with religious liberty, the government of the colony of Rhode Island, and later the First Amendment to the United States Constitution which required religious freedom for churches and freedom of conscience for individuals. The First Amendment allowed churches to operate under God without persecution. The First Amendment did not apply to the states.

Primarily due to the efforts of our Baptist forefathers, a time came, as Baptist pastor and historian John Callender said in 1838, when

  • “[e]xperience has dearly convinced the world, that unanimity in judgment and affection cannot be secured by penal laws….
  • “Indulgence to tender consciences, might be a reproach to the Colony [of Rhode Island], an hundred years ago, [that is in 1738, one hundred years before Callender wrote this], but a better way of thinking prevails in the Protestant part of the Christian church at present. It is now a glory to the Colony, to have avowed such sentiments so long ago, while blindness in this article happened in other places, and to have led the way as an example to others, and to have first put the theory into practice.
  • “Liberty of conscience is more fully established and enjoyed now, in the other New-English Colonies; and our mother Kingdom grants a legal toleration to all peaceable and conscientious dissenters from the parliamentary establishment. Greater light breaking into the world and the church, and especially all parties by turns experiencing and complaining aloud of the hardships of constraint, they are come to allow as reasonable to all others, what they want and challenge for themselves. And there is no other bottom but this to rest upon, to leave others the liberty we should desire ourselves, the liberty wherewith Christ hath made them free. This is doing as we would be done by, the grand rule of justice and equity; this is leaving the government of the church to Jesus Christ, the King and head over all things, and suffering his subjects to obey and serve him.”[14]

By the time the First Amendment was added to the United States Constitution, only New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut had established churches. In 1833 Massachusetts became the last state to disestablish.

Baptists wanted religious freedom. Some probably could foresee the ideal of a church under God, a civil government under God, with neither church nor state over the other. But few knew how to have a civil government under God without establishing a church. Why? Fifteen hundred years of history had witnessed “Christian” establishments made up of church-state or state-church unions. Therefore, one should not be too hard on those early Protestants in America who continued those unions, since, according to Isaac Backus:

  • “[many things] prove that those fathers [the leaders of the Puritans in Massachusetts] were earnestly concerned to frame their constitution both in church and state by divine rule; and as all allow that nothing teaches like experience, surely they who are enabled well to improve the experience of past ages, must find it easier now to discover the mistakes of that day, than it was for them to do it then. Even in 1637, when a number of puritan ministers in England, and the famous Mr. Dod among them, wrote to the ministers here, that it was reported that they had embraced certain new opinions, such as ‘that a stinted form of prayer and set liturgy is unlawful; that the children of godly and approved Christians are not to be baptized, until their parents be set members of some particular congregation; that the parents themselves, though of approved piety, are not to be received to the Lord’s Supper until they be admitted set members,’ &c., Mr. Hooker expressed his fears of troublesome work about answering of them, though they may appear easy to the present generation.”[15]

This chapter will succinctly summarize the true history of religious liberty in America, initially pointing out some of the misleading teachings of secular and Christian revisionists. Ultimately, Christians can accomplish nothing with lies.[16]


Endnotes

[1] Influential Christian revisionists include non-scholars such as David Barton and Roger Federer. Secular revisionsts include scholars such as Leo Pfeffer. Pfeffer’s book Church, State and Freedom, was called a “masterpiece” and the ultimate sourcebook for the history of the evolution of the all-American principle of  separation of church and state. Pfeffer was an American Jewish lawyer, constitutional scholar, and humanist who was active in movement for religious freedom in the United States, and was one of leading legal proponents of the separation of church and state.

[2] List of Scholarly Resources which Explain and Comprehensively Document the True Histor of Religious Freedom in America.

[3] Leo Pfeffer, Church, State, and Freedom (Boston: The Beacon Press, 1953), pp. 81-93.

[4] Influential constitutional “scholars” such as Leo Pfeffer, since they have no concept of God or His sovereignty, have removed the most important aspect of debate from the equation—the spiritual aspect. Pfeffer, misrepresents spiritual matters because he does not understand them. He relegates the spiritual to the merely “ideological.” He attributes Madison’s positions on the issue of separation of church and state to his reliance on John Locke, and quotes Locke; then, even though Locke, in the quotes cited by Pfeffer, talks of government interference with the care and salvation of souls which belongs to God, Pfeffer never mentions God in his discussion but rather emphasizes Locke’s “social contract theory.” He overemphasizes the influence of rationalism and deism in gaining the First Amendment. He falsely proclaims that the “first four presidents of the United States were either Deists or Unitarians.” He asserts that the Great Awakening “emphasized an emotional, personal religion” which appealed directly to the individual, stressing the rights and duties of the individual conscience and its answerability exclusively to God.[4] He, like all secular scholars, simply did not get it even though he did mention God. He had no choice but to mention God, since a controversy over what God taught in the Bible was at the center of the controversy. He simply did not and could not examine that controversy. Lost men and saved men who were spiritually ignorant have led the way in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

[5] The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus/Christian Revisionists on Trial….

[6] See Exposing Catholic/Calvinist/Reformed Historic Revisionism.

[7] 2 Co. 4.8-9.

[8] 2 Co. 4.13.

[9] Mk. 16.15.

[10] He. 10.25a.

[11] Charles F. James, Documentary History of the Struggle for Religious Liberty in Virginia (Harrisonburg, VA.: Sprinkle Publications, 2007; First Published Lynchburg, VA.: J. P. Bell Company, 1900), pp. 14-15.

[12] William H. Marnell, The First Amendment: Religious Freedom in America from Colonial Days to the School Prayer Controversy (Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1964), pp.  xii-xiii.

[13] Ibid.

[14] John Callender, The Civil and Religious Affairs of the Colony of Rhode-Island (Providence: Knowles, Vose & Company, 1838), pp. 108-109.

[15] Isaac Backus, A History of New England With Particular Reference to the Denomination of Christians called Baptists, Volume 1 (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock Publishers, Previously published by Backus Historical Society, 1871), pp. 37-38.

[16] Read James R. Beller, The Coming Destruction of the Baptist People: The Baptist History of America (St. Louis, Missouri: Prairie Fire Press, 2005) and James R. Beller, America in Crimson Red: The Baptist History of America (Arnold, Missouri: Prairie Fire Press, 2004) for a thorough discussion of the theology behind the lies of the Christian nationalists, whom Beller calls catholic Reformed, and a discussion of Christian nationalists other than Peter Marshall and David Manuel.

Overview of Basic Course


A course of instruction offered by Separation of Churches Under Christ Ministry.


If you miss one part of the puzzle that is being put together in these studies, you will never see and understand the whole picture.


Click here to go to the written lessons.
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Pr.23.12This study is designed for the born again believer who wishes to learn what the Bible teaches about government, church, separation of church and state, and how those principles have been and are applied in America. The topics covered are extremely important to our Lord Jesus Christ, to individuals, to families, to churches, and to the nation. The guiding light is the Bible.

Let me emphasize that a lost person cannot understand the subject matter since it requires spiritual discernment. To learn how to be saved, go to God’s Plan of Salvation Page on this website. Salvation through faith in Jesus Christ is preeminent. It is a choice every person should make, but God leaves the choice up to the individual.

1Co.2.14-16This course is presented at the spiritual grade school level. Each lesson  will be only about five to eight minutes in length. The course presents basic knowledge. At first, only an elementary analysis and understanding is taught and required by the student. For those who are already more advanced, they can listen to the study and go to the resources cited in the accompanying written (and probably more thorough, but still grade school level) study for more in depth and detailed studies which will connect to further studies. One can progress as far as he wants, even to the graduate level, if he continues to follow the links to the top studies such as God Betrayed. At that level, meditation, analysis, and study become very important.

In grade school, one accepts what he is told. He begins to think on a basic level, of course, but his instructors can either guide him to truth, to lies, or to a way of thinking that says there is no truth. The underlying basis of this course is truth based on Bible principle, Bible fact, historical fact, and man’s law as tested against the higher law, God’s law. The Bible emphasizes the importance of truth, so truth is the goal of this course.

The only way to arrive at truth in the Bible is to believe what it says. Those religions who have improperly spiritualized and allegorized portions of the Bible have brought havoc to the world, as will be seen in these studies.

Pr.2.6A child of God should never just accept what he is told. He should make sure what he is told is in line with the Word of God. Even on the grade school level, some verses will be cited as the basis for a teaching. The more mature student will want to make sure those verses are not taken out of their immediate context and the overall context of Scripture.

As to facts outside the Bible, a mature believer will want to make sure those facts are reliable. At the highest level of these studies, which one can check out by going up the chain of links provided with the teachings, the student will find complete citations and analysis.

Once one has a working knowledge of these studies all the way to the top, he will have achieved the equivalent of four years of college studies, to put it in secular terms. Then, he will be prepared to do his own studies, analysis, etc. at the Masters and Doctoral level. You see, one will understand as he arrives at the graduate level that  many of the matters studied in this course have room for further important development.

This initial study is for the believer who has not studied these matters at least to any extent, or who has depended upon

  1. as to spiritual matters: pastors or teachers who never delve into the deeper things of God
  2. as to factual matters, revisionists such as David Barton or Roger Federer, et al.

Again, this study is for born again believers who want to honestly seek truth. God highly esteems truth, along with knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

The following is an outline of things to come:

  1. First, Foundational Bible Principles. The Bible Doctrines of Church, State, and Separation of Church and State.
  2. Second, the American Application of Those Principles. (1) The History of the First Amendment. (2) Then, a study of Union of Church and State in America.
  3. Finally, how a church can organize according to the principles of organization in the New Testament.

Pr.4.7One should not attempt to start with the final phase of the course without understanding the foundational principles and the application of those principles.

For a more thorough outline, go to Short Study Course.

The material that you will study in this course fits together like a puzzle. The completed puzzle will present a picture that everyone, and especially the children of God in America should have hidden in their hearts.

God bless you as we grow together in the knowledge, understanding, and wisdom concerning the institution God loved and gave Himself for, the church.

The History and Meaning of “Establishment of Religion” in America

A Publication of Churches Under Christ Ministry


Click here to go to All Written Course Segments
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Jerald Finney
December 18, 2017


This article will succinctly answer several questions:

  1. What did “establishment or religion” mean in the colonies?
  2. What did “establishment or religion” mean at the time of the adoption of the First Amendment?[i]
  3. What happened with the remaining forced religious establishments after the adoption of the First Amendment?
  4. What does “establishment or religion” mean today?

Contents

I. Introduction: Meaning of “Establishment of Religion”
II. The Path to Multiple Establishments in the American Colonies
III. State Establishments
IV. Conclusion


I. Introduction: Meaning of “Establishment of Religion”


First Amendment Religion Clause

To understand these issues, one must first define “establishment of religion” and understand the meaning of “law ‘respecting’ an ‘establishment of religion.” At the adoption of the First Amendment, “No law respecting” meant “no law concerning or touching the subject of.” That still leaves unresolved the meaning of “establishment of religion.” Prior to colonization and for some time thereafter, “establishment of religion” meant one officially recognized church which worked with, over, or under the state, the civil government. The original meaning of “establishment of religion” which existed prior to and at the founding of America, was replaced by a “multiple establishment” understanding long before the adoption of the First Amendment. “The evidence demonstrates that by an establishment of religion the framers meant any government policy that aided religion and its agencies, the religious establishments.”[ii]

“After the American Revolution, seven of the fourteen states that comprised the Union in 1791 required establishments of religion by law. The other states which originally had established churches, had already done away with forced establishment in favor of chosen establishment and they all provided for multiple establishment. No state maintained a single or preferential establishment of religion. An establishment of religion meant to those who framed and ratified the First Amendment what it meant to the states: support of religion on a nonpreferential basis. It was specifically this support on a nonpreferential basis that the establishment clause of the First Amendment sought to forbid.”[iii]

In 1833, Massachusetts became the last state to replace forced establishment of religion with establishment of religion by choice. The First Amendment forbade establishment of religion in federal jurisdiction.


II. The Path to Multiple Establishments in the American Colonies


Establishment by choice and the free exercise of religion (soul liberty) took different paths in America. Almost all the colonies started out with single establishments of religion. Due to a variety of factors, by the time of the adoption of the First Amendment, all state establishments, whether by force or choice, were general or multiple establishments.

In the conventional sense, before the colonization of America as well as in most of the original colonies when founded, an establishment of religion meant the legal union of government and a single church or denomination such as Catholicism (numerous European countries), Calvinism (Geneva), Presbyterianism (Scotland), Lutheranism (Germany), or the Church of England.

With the founding of the colonies, conventional establishments existed in the southern colonies of Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. In 1778, South Carolina created an establishment or religion endorsed by William Tennent. “He called it a ‘general establishment’ because it recognized and nurtured the legal equality of all Protestants without preferring one denomination over others.” These general establishments were replaced by multiple establishment.

New England, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Connecticut at first had single establishments, Congregationalism. Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire were founded and ruled by the Puritans, who came to American for freedom of religion “for themselves only.” The Puritans felt that they were the right people, at the right place, at the right time to establish a “city on a hill” to light the world, to show the world the rightness and resulting blessings of doing things God’s way (according to their Calvinist theology). Their experiment was well on its way to self-destruction by 1660. Gradually, the exclusive establishments in these New England colonies were replaced by multiple establishments.

Persecutions of “heretics,” those whose conscience prohibited them from bowing down to the colonial establishments were well documented. Those who supported establishment of their church were persecuted when in a colony with another established church. For example, Anglicans in New England were persecuted when they went to Massachusetts, and Presbyterians and others were persecuted to one extent or another in Virginia and other southern colonies. However, in opposing the persecuting establishment, they never favored complete separation of church and state and combined church and state when in the majority or in control.

A minority remnant of the Baptists were the only ones who consistently stood against union of church and state. That most Baptists by that time did not oppose total separation of church and state became clear when most of them sought certificates and compromised on the issue when the move toward multiple establishments had taken force.

Among those who stood their ground and led the fight against any establishment were Roger Williams, Dr. John Clarke, Isaac Backus, and John Leland. In New England, Roger Williams, Dr. John Clarke, and later, Isaac Backus wrote extensively against establishment and chronicled the persecutions which continued until the eve of the American Revolution and after, to a lesser extent.[iv] On the eve of the American Revolution, in 1774, eighteen Baptists were jailed in Warwick, Massachusetts for refusing to pay taxes in support of the town’s Congregational minister. To be exempted from paying the ministerial tax, a Baptist had to obtain a certificate that he regularly attended a church of his own denomination. For a copy of the certificate, he had to pay a tax of four pence. Isaac Backus, and some of his followers opposed the tax and the certificate and maintained that they were persecuted by the Congregational majority. John Adams, a Congregationalist (Puritan) leader stated that the establishment was “but a slender one” that did not infringe religious liberty.

In 1774, Baptists still paid ministerial taxes in Virginia and other colonies for building churches and were imprisoned for preaching in unlicensed Houses, preaching without Anglican ordination, and for other infractions.  Virginia Baptists were beaten by mobs, fined, and imprisoned for their religious beliefs which prevented them from obeying the laws of the established Anglican Church, preaching. The Virginia establishment originated with the colonies first charter in 1606.

Rhode Island not only never had an establishment of any kind, but also commanded complete religious freedom of soul liberty for all. Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey had no establishment of religion, but did not allow completed religious freedom for all. For example, Pennsylvania did not grant freedom of religion to Catholics.

In New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire, the pattern of establishment was diversified and unique. New York was the first example of an establishment very different from the European type, a general establishment without preference to one church over others.


III. State Establishments


The First Amendment, which until 1947 applied only to the federal government, forbade establishment of religion and guaranteed soul liberty at the national level only. After the First Amendment was adopted, states which still had laws requiring establishment gradually amended their constitutions to do away with the requirement that churches be “established.” All state constitutions allow churches to became established, but also provide that a church can make the choice not to become established. State constitutional provisions regarding church and state do not require establishment and also mandate soul liberty or the free exercise of religion.

A remnant of the Baptists continued to stand against any kind of establishment, including establishment by incorporation until all states had done away with forced establishment. John Leland was notable Baptist preacher, writer, and activist against union of church and state during a period starting in the 1780’s in Virginia and later in Massachusetts and Connecticut. The efforts and writings of earlier Baptist leaders, especially those of Isaac Backus, continued their influenced during this period. Most Baptists had already been severed from their roots and betrayed God and their historic Baptist forefathers who had stood against the establishment to the death.[v]

New Jersey (1776), Pennsylvania (1776), New York (1777), and Delaware (1776 and 1792) made clear in their Constitutions that there would be no coerced establishment of religion.

North Carolina, by its constitution of 1776, became the first southern state to enact preferential establishment. “In Maryland, Georgia, and South Carolina, ‘an establishment of religion’ meant very much what it did in the three New England states that maintained multiple establishments. However, those three southern states merely permitted but did not create establishment.”[vi]

In six other states, pro-establisment parties were forced to make concessions to the growing sentiment against any forced establishments. Four other states replaced single establishments by authorizing multiple establishments, and two substituted multiple establishments for dual ones. “The evidence relating to each of these six proves that an …an establishment of religion was not restricted in meaning to a state church or to a system of public support of one sect alone; instead, and establishment of religion meant public support of several or all churches, with preference to none.”[vii]

Three of these states—Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Connecticut—were in New England. The 1780 Massachusetts Constitution allowed for the possibility that a Baptist or some other minority minister might be elected by a town and receive the taxes of his congregation. This happened in several towns where the Baptists became the majority. In those towns, the Baptist ministers, by law, were supposed to receive their salaries from the town treasuries. As the Reverend John Leland pointed out, in towns where Baptists formed a majority, they might “tax all in the town or precincts to part with their money for religious uses,” thereby violating Baptist principles.[viii] A minority of Baptists stood on Bible principles and followed Isaac Backus in refusing to compromise their beliefs; but a majority followed men such as Hezekiah Smith and compromised on the important doctrine of separation of church and state. The conflicts continued until 1833, when Massachusetts became to last state to do away with required establishments.

New Hampshire’s establishment of religion after the Revolution did not significantly differ from that of Massachusetts. Article VI of its 1784 Declaration of Rights created a multiple establishment. The majority of New Hampshire’s Baptists, sometimes sought the incorporation of their churches, as in Massachusetts, to insure tax exemption of their congregants from a local Congregational church. But, says William G. McLoughlin, most of the petitions to incorporate “seemed to originate from the Baptists’ desire to enable their congregations to levy religious taxes on their own members which could be binding in law,” the Baptists as well as Congregationalists also accepted from the state ministerial lands regardless of the demands of some of them for a separation of church and state.[ix] The establishment of religion in New Hampshire fell victim to state politics, not to the drive to separate church and state because of the principle of voluntarism. “Voters, increasingly non-Congregationalist, rallied around the Democrats’ condemnation of the tax system as having promoted an establishment of religion that supposedly favored the prevailing denomination at the expense of the religious liberty of others.” The Democrats passed a Toleration Act in 1919 that ended the system of tax support for religion.[x]

In 1784, Connecticut passed its Toleration Act which allowed certain Protestant denominations to publicly worship “in a way agreeable to their consciences” and be exempted from taxes if they produced certificates. Due to continuing protests and changes in the law which did not satisfy many dissenters who continued to protest, a law was passed that allowed nonconformists to write their own certificates attesting membership in a different religious society which they supported, thus exempting them for the support of the town church. John Leland, in a tract describing the evils of an establishment of religion, did not doubt that Connecticut had one, even though one’s contribution to religion went to the church whose worship one attended.[xi] The battle in Connecticut continued. In 1802 the Baptists in petitioned the legislature to repeal the system of compulsory religious taxes; held a statewide convention remonstrating against Connecticut’s establishment because it favored the Congregationalists and because religion should be left to voluntary support, petitioned the government in 1804 because the required certificates did not apply to the Congregationalists as well as others. The consistent argument of the Baptists, except for a minority led by Isaac Backus, was that the existing church-state relationship preferred Congregationalism and that private donations should be the only source of support to religion, despite Baptist participation in the establishment’s largess. In 1816, Connecticut received a windfall repayment from the United States for its costs incurred in the War of 1812 and divided 6/7 of it among the denominations and the Baptists accepted their share. The Baptists, except for a remnant who stood for complete separation of church and state, compromised when it became “practical.” In 1818, Connecticut provided that no one could be compelled to support any religious society, yet allowed any religious society to tax itself and privately collect the assessment from each member. As with every state, Connecticut provided for voluntary incorporation by churches.

“Maryland’s constitution of 1776 ended the former supremacy of the Episcopalian church, which had an exclusive establishment during the colonial period; but allowed the legislature to legislate multiple or nonpreferential establishment of “Christian,” to include Roman Catholic churches. In 1810, Maryland amended its constitution to remove any taxation for support of any religion. Churches could still incorporate under state law, but no religious taxes were to be collected from anyone.

When the First Amendment was adopted, South Carolina’s constitution permitted multiple establishment and collection of taxes for religious support of the established churches. Under the constitution of 1778, all Protestant denominations were treated equally. “Any religious society of a Protestant denomination might therefore be incorporated and become ‘a church of the established religion of this State’ on condition of subscribing to articles of faith: a belief in God, a promise to worship him publicly, profession of Christianity as ‘the true religion’ and reliance on the Scriptures as divinely inspired.” No one was required to pay toward any church that he did not “freely join.” This was the first religious establishment ever that “did not exact religious assessments.” [xii] The 1790 South Carolina constitution did away with religious taxes altogether, but still allowed incorporation of churches.

The Baptists led the fight for religious liberty in Virginia. Many were abused and jailed for their refusal to bow down to the established church/state in Virginia. They influenced statesmen like Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and James Madison to fight for religious liberty in Virginia. The result was the 1776 Virginia Bill for Religious Liberty.

Although Virginia still had single establishment before 1776, no state or colony had a statute that included every religion. Three of the states with multiple establishments authorized by law established Protestantism and three established Christianity. The establishments of all six included all denominations and sects with a sufficient number of members to form a church. Protestantism was synonymous with religion because Jews and Roman Catholics were nonexistent or too few to make a difference; “and where Christianity was established, as in Maryland which had many Catholics, Jews were scarcely known.” “Clearly the provisions of these six states show that to understand the American meaning of “an establishment of religion” one cannot adopt a definition based on European experience.”[xiii]

Georgia’s constitution of 1777 permitted multiple establishment without exception, thereby replacing the exclusive establishment of the Anglican church. The establishment of religion meant government tax support of all churches, with preference for none. The 1789 constitution permitted multiple establishments. In 1798, Georgia finally guaranteed nonpreferential establishment of religion and that no person should be “obliged to pay tithes, taxes, or any other rate, for  … any place of worship, or for maintenance of any minister or ministry, contrary to what he believes to be right, or hath voluntarily engaged.”

Vermont became the fourteenth state in 1791 and had a multiple establishment. Due largely to the stand of Baptists in Vermont, that state repealed all laws concerning taxation for religion, thus doing away with forced union of church and state.


IV. Conclusion


Every church has a choice – either under God only or under man (civil government).

As establishment became available to all churches,  many or the majority of churches incorporated. Today the overwhelming majority of churches, to include Baptist churches, incorporate in order to obtain perceived temporal earthly benefits for the state governments After the addition of 26 United States Code §§ 501(c)(3) and 508, churches sought benefits from the federal government as well by obtaining “tax exempt” status.

All church state establishments which have ever existed came about as a result of a civil government law which combined church and state. In all cases, a church or churches combined with the state under man’s law for perceived benefits from the state. That is the case in America. Even today, one of the reasons for choosing such arrangements is financial. All reasons given by churches for joining with the state are based upon man’s temporal, fleshly, earthly and legal reasoning. All such reasons, by their very nature, circumvent God’s eternal, spiritual, heavenly, and Biblical principles for His churches. [xiv]


Endnotes

[i] See, for list of source authorities, List of Scholarly Resources Which Explain and Comprehensively Document the True History of Religious Freedom in America.

[ii] Leonard W. Levy, The Establishment Clause/Religion and the First Amendment (London: MacMillan Publishing Co., 1986), p. xiv.

[iii] Id., p. xvi.

[iv] See, e.g., Isaac Backus. A History of New England With Particular Reference to the Denomination of Christians Called Baptists, Volumes 1 and 2 (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock, Previously Published by Backus Historical Society, 1871)(originally published in the late 1700’s); Williams, Roger and Underhill, Edward Bean. The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution for Cause of Conscience Discussed and Mr. Cotton’s Letter Examined and Answered. London: Printed for the Society, by J. Haddon, Castle Street, Finsbury, 1848 (Reprint)(originally published in 1644); Clarke, John. Ill News from New-England or A Narative of New-Englands Persecution. Paris, Ark.: The Baptist Standard Bearer, Inc., Reprint: 1stprinted in 1652; List of Scholarly Resources Which Explain and Comprehensively Document the True History of Religious Freedom in America.

[v] See, for more information, A Brief History of the First Amendment. That brief article gives links to more resources for the interested student.

[vi] Levy, The Establishment Clause/Religion and the First Amendment, p. 47.

[vii] Levy, p. 26.

[viii] “The Yankee Spy” (1794), in L.F. Greene, ed., The Writings of John Leland (New York, reprint 1969), pp. 225, 227, cited in id., p. 40. John Leland (May 14, 1754 – January 14, 1841) was an American Baptist minister who preached in Virginia,, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, as well an outspoken abolitionist. He was an important figure in the struggle for religious liberty in the United States.

[ix] William G. McLoughlin, New England Dissent 1630-1833: The Baptists and the Sepration of Church and State (Cambridge, Mass., 1971, 2 vols.), II, pp. 874, 886, cited in Levy, The Establishment Clause/Religion and the First Amendment, p. 40.

[x] Levy, p. 40.

[xi] John Leland, “The Rights of Conscience Inalienable,” in Writings of John Leland, p. 186.

[xii] Levy, p. 50-51.

[xiii] Levy, p. 60-61.

[xiv] See, for a complete understanding of church incorporation and church 26 United States Code §§ 501(c)(3) and 508 status, Separation of Church and State: God’s Churches – Spiritual or Legal Entities?


 

What is a First Amendment Church?


A Publication of Churches Under Christ Ministry


Click here to go to All Written Course Segments
Click here to go to General Questions Answered
Click here To Go to Links to All 5 Minute Youtube Course Segments


Jerald Finney
Copyright © December 1, 2017


The First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Since the First Amendment is a law which recognizes and applies the Bible principle of separation of church and state, a church who remains under the First Amendment only also complies with Bible principles concerning the relationship of church and state. See Is Separation of Church and State Found in the Constitution? A church who remains under the First Amendment only is not a legal entity. That is, she remains under God only and has no ties to the legal system. She is a spiritual entity only. See Is a church a spiritual or a legal entity? 

Click the above to go to the article, “Is Separation of Church and State Found in the Constitution?

Knowing the true history of the First Amendment helps one to understand this. See What is the history of the First Amendment? for a brief outline of that history. See Endnote for links to resources for more thorough studies.

Catholic/Calvinist/Reformed theology, which persecuted heretics, still has not changed. The thing that has changed is that those who adhere to those theologies no longer have an establishment over which they have control. Thus, they no longer have the power to kill those who do not bow down to the church/state union. They are working tirelessly to regain their power. Like all satanic efforts, they use deceit, lies, craft, and so forth, to work toward their goal of union of church and state. History proves that all church/state unions have always resulted in corruption of the church, the state, and the people, except for a remnant. They work from the highest academic levels down to the political level, the church level, and finally to the lowest level – the level of the individual (saved and lost religious person).

Since they follow Catholic/Calvinist/Reformed lies, most “Christians” believe that there never was any persecution in America. They are also led to believe, against solid facts which honest research readily discovers. Secular scholars and some Christian scholars know the true history (See, List of Scholarly Resources Which Explain and Comprehensively Document the True History of Religious Freedom in America). The “Christian” landscape is dominated by revisionist history. I explain this in The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus/A Case of Premeditated Murder/Christian Revisionists on Trial/The History of the First Amendment.

In the Old World, “establishment” meant union of one church with state. The fight against establishment tyranny in the American colonies and early Republic resulted in another type of establishment – multiple establishments. That continues to this day, but it is now a choice whether to be established or not. Establishment is still possible, if one looks at the meaning of establishment to include any union of church and state made possible by the law of man, the law of a civil government.

Most churches in America choose to incorporate under state law to get “perceived benefits.” Most choose 501c3 or 508(c)(1)(A) federal tax exempt status. They decide to unite with the state and federal governments under laws made by man. Those man-made laws control many aspects of the existence and operation of a church. Modern American establishment does not give a church or churches power over the state.

Why do churches unite with the state and become legal entities (established churches)? For the love of money and earthly power. They think that more people will join their churches when civil government organizes them like a business. They also want to be able to hold property, insurance, and bank accounts in the name of the church. They want to be able to contract with pastors and pay them a salary instead of taking care of the pastor’s financial needs in a Bible way. They have been scared by “Christian” lawyers who make various false legal reasons. For more understandings on this, see False Reasons of “Christian” Lawyers and Pastors for Combining Church and State, Online version of Separation of Church and State: God’s Churches – Spiritual or Legal Entities? Chapters 9-13 or PDF of 2nd Edition of Separation of Church and State: God’s Churches – Spiritual or Legal Entities? Chapters 6-10.

Most so-called-Christians cannot think spiritually or Biblically. They think according to the principles of the god of this world. They think that they need the tax-exemption so they will bring in more money to the corporation for man-made buildings and business programs (day-care centers, schools, Bible Colleges, and so forth). They try to serve God and mammon. They do not know or apply Bible principles for churches which clearly teach, among other things, separation of church and state, that God desires His churches to be spiritual entitles only. They surely do not understand that “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Lk. 16.13). They give lip service to God, but dishonor and grieve Him by serving another master.

In conclusion, churches have a choice. Most choose mammon. For those churches who choose God, the First Amendment as well as corresponding state constitutional provisions guarantee that a church can choose to remain under God only, completely separate from state and federal civil government. When a church does so, she is a First Amendment church.


 

Endnote

Click the above to go to the article, “Is Separation of Church and State Found in the Constitution?

Honest research verify these teachings. See the resources which accompany this posting to verify this:

List of Scholarly Resources Which Explain and Comprehensively Document the True History of Religious Freedom in America

Is a church a spiritual or a legal entity?

Is Separation of Church and State Found in the Constitution?

The History of the First Amendment

An Abridged History of the First Amendment

The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus/A Case of Premeditated Murder/Christian Revisionists on Trial/The History of the First Amendment
This book examines not only the history of the First Amendment but also the Catholic/Calvinist/Reformed tactics and motives for killing “heretics” and lying about history and other matters as they attempt to reestablish their establishment theology.

God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application
This book examines all aspects of the issue of separation of church and state

Questions Which Reveal Whether One Is A Covenant Theologian

Jerald Finney
Copyright © November 22, 2015

Note. See Dispensational Theology versus Covenant Theology as well as the first four sections of God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application for an accurate explanation (not the perversions of the doctrine which many follow) of the origin, definition, etc. of the term “Dispensational Theology.”

3This short article gives questions to help the knowledgeable believer and the believer who wishes to become knowledgeable determine what he believes and why; specifically whether he is a Covenant Theologian, a Dispensational Theologian (both as defined in the article above) or some variation thereof.

Many more questions could be added, but these few will help one determine whether he believes Covenant Theology or some aspects of that theology. One who answers all the questions “yes” is a Covenant Theologian. Should you answer some questions yes and some questions no, you have inconsistent and mutually exclusive beliefs. Some of these questions are rather difficult and you may not be able to answer them with your present knowledge and understanding of the Bible and theology. If so, just skip those questions and answer the ones you do understand.

  1. Do you believe that the rules for church and state and for the Jewish religion-state are the same?
  2. Do you make important dispensational distinctions even though you view them as related to the unifying and underlying Covenant of Grace?
  3. Do you see the present struggle between good and evil terminated by the beginning of eternity at which point there will come catastrophe and divine judgment?
  4. Do you believe that the unifying principle for the philosophy of history is the Covenant of Grace?
  5. Do you believe that the redemption of the elect plus many other programs are all parts of God’s purpose for history?
  6. Are you convinced that Israel and the church are essentially the same?
  7. Do you believe in a nonliteral interpretation of Scripture, especially when interpreting prophecy?
  8. Are you amillennial?
  9. Do you believe that the church/state union (a one world church/state) will be achieved and will succeed in bringing peace to the earth before the return of Christ?
  10. Do you believe that the ultimate purpose of history is the glory of God through the redemption of the elect?
  11. Do you develop the Bible’s philosophy of history on the basis of two or three covenants: the Covenant of Redemption (some covenant theologians do not include this covenant), the Covenant of Works, and the Covenant of Grace? [Note. One definition of “philosophy of history” is “a systematic interpretation of universal history in accordance with a principle by which historical events and successions are unified and directed toward ultimate meaning.” Of course, that definition requires some thinking to understand. If you wish to know whether you are or are not a Covenant Theologian, you should be able to understand it.]
  12. Do you believe that person who is a child of the regenerate is a member of the Covenant of Grace even if he does not enter into the communion of life aspect through a confession of faith?
  13. Have you divided postfall history into two dispensations, the Mosaic dispensation sometimes called the “Old Covenant,” and the Christian dispensation, usually called the “New Covenant”?
  14. Do you believe that the Covenant of Grace, although administration of that covenant differed between the dispensations, exists throughout these dispensations?
  15. Do you believe that each of the biblical covenants is a continuation and newer phase of the Covenant of Grace?
  16. Do you believe in dual covenants? (I.e., that the Covenant of Works required obedience for salvation. According to the Covenant of Grace one could only be saved by faith in Christ.)
  17. If your answer to 16 was “yes” then is the Covenant of Works still in effect?
  18. Do you believe that God’s commands are “too severe even for Adam in innocency, and that grace[, through the covenant of circumcision and its successor, baptism,] gives an exemption from that severity,” under the Covenant of Grace?
  19. Do you believe that the local church should be made up of both those who are under the Covenant of Works as well as those who are under the Covenant of Grace?
  20. Do you believe that all in society should be forced to be members of a church which is united with and supported by the state?
  21. Do you believe in infant baptism?
  22. Do you believe in union of church and state?
  23. Do you believe in enforcing all the Ten Commandments?
  24. Do you believe in executing those who do not agree with your theology, at least outwardly?
  25. Do you believe in forcing all to attend the established church?

These matters are most important because the road to religious freedom without persecution in America was a story of the conflict between opposing Bible beliefs and practices – between the persecutors (Covenant Theologians such as the Anglicans and the Puritans or Congregationalists) and the persecuted. Because the same theologies are at war today, a believer actively engaged in spiritual warfare should make sure he is fighting according to knowledge, understanding, and wisdom on all fronts and especially on the front of accurate Bible teaching.

Knowing the answer to this question is vital to spiritual warfare.
Knowing the answer to this question is vital to spiritual warfare.

The history without the theologies involved is incomplete and inadequate. The battle between false theology and truth is still raging. To side with the false in even some areas dishonors our Lord and leads to bad consequences. It is better to fight for right no matter what, but so doing without knowing and teaching the reasons for the fight and the Bible precepts behind the war, and exposing lies and false theologies does not fully glorify God. Failure of God’s soldiers to proclaim all truth contributes to the cause of those who are pushing spiritual lies. All believers should seek to be in God’s perfect will even though one knows that he will never perfectly achieve such a thing.

As is obvious from a reading of Dispensational Theology versus Covenant Theology as well as God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application, those Baptists who led the charge for religious freedom were well studied in their beliefs, exposed the doctrines and practices of their Covenant Theology adversaries, and very articulately published their positions. Let us look to our examples, those historic Baptists who stood for truth and followed the teachings of the Bible no matter the cost.

Introduction to “The History of Religious Freedom In America”


Jerald Finney
Copyright © December 31, 2012


Click here to go to the entire history of religious liberty in America.


Note. This is a modified version of Section IV, Chapter 1 of God Betrayed: Separation of Church and State/The Biblical Principles and the American Application. Audio Teachings on the History of the First Amendment has links to the audio teaching of Jerald Finney on the history of the First Amendment..


“[B]y the dawn of the American Revolution all the colonies were approaching or had reached a readiness to separate Church and State. Only Rhode Island had traveled no road and followed no route to reach that destination; Rhode Island had been there from the start. For Pennsylvania the route was short and direct; full civil rights had to be granted to Catholics and to disbelievers in the Trinity for full civil liberty to be achieved. In the other colonies … far reaching and profound changes in attitude were necessary before the … concept could become a possibility” (William H. Marnell, The First Amendment: Religious Freedom in America from Colonial Days to the School Prayer Controversy (Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1964), p. 93).


Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceable to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances” (U.S. CONST. amend. I).


Introduction to “The History of Religious Freedom In America”

Until the colony of Rhode Island was founded, it was unusual for a civil government to provide for freedom of conscience even though God desires nations to provide for religious liberty under Him. Nonetheless, God’s people have always, regardless of the persecution of those who refuse to march lockstep with union of religion and state, come together as local churches, preached the Gospel, and helped their fellow man. Paul wrote in the midst of persecution:

  • “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed” (2 Co. 4.8-9).
  • “We, having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak” (2 Co. 4.13).

In the preceding verse, Paul quoted a portion of Psalm 116.10 which says in its entirety, “”I believed, therefore have I spoken: I was greatly afflicted:” Tied up in the liberty given believers by Christ is speaking (“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mk. 16.15)), and associating or meeting together (“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is” (He. 10.25a)). Furthermore, God gave mankind the Bible, which in certain times past, was banned and burned. The First Amendment was written and ratified with the intent of protecting God’s churches, the exercise of religion or Christianity (freedom of religion or freedom of conscience), the preaching of the Gospel (freedom of speech), the coming together to worship God (freedom to assemble), the dissemination of literature, mainly the dissemination of God’s Word (freedom of press), and the right to petition the civil government for a redress of grievances.

The First Amendment was the culmination of a long spiritual warfare between established churches and dissenters, mainly the Baptists. God’s power moved mightily during that period of conflict. Many believers suffered persecution. The roots of the struggle in America were embedded in New England, spread to the south, to Virginia, and then to the new nation.

Revisionists have obscured the true history of the First Amendment. Revisionism is not new. Of course secularists, and especially atheists, must revise in order to support their outlandish positions. Catholics and Protestants, including the Puritans, consistent with their biases have long revised in order to further their agendas. Good examples are the claims made by the Presbyterians and the Honorable William Wirt Henry near the close of the nineteenth century. Mr. Henry “told of Virginia’s leadership in bringing in religious liberty but made no allusion to the Baptists, and said it was ‘under the leadership of Patrick Henry that religious liberty has been established as a fundamental part of the fundamental law of our land’” (Charles F. James, Documentary History of the Struggle for Religious Liberty in Virginia (Harrisonburg, VA.: Sprinkle Publications, 2007; First Published Lynchburg, VA.: J. P. Bell Company, 1900), p. f.). As a result of Mr. Henry’s assertions, Charles F. James—a Baptist, who had preached that “at the date of the [American] Revolution the Baptists were the only denomination of Christians which, as such, held to the idea of religious liberty, and that, of the political leaders of that day, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson were chiefly instrumental in establishing that principle in the laws of our land” (Ibid., p. e.)—set out to do a thorough historical study of the Baptists in Virginia. His studies and written work which followed set the record straight, a record which can be verified by honest historical study.

Secular revisionism has influenced the development of the modern concepts of the First Amendment. Influential constitutional “scholars” such as Leo Pfeffer, since they have no concept of God or His sovereignty, have removed the most important aspect of debate from the equation—the spiritual aspect. Pfeffer misrepresents spiritual matters because he does not understand them. He relegates the spiritual to the merely “ideological.” He attributes Madison’s positions on the issue of separation of church and state to his reliance on John Locke, and quotes Locke; then, even though Locke, in the quotes cited by Pfeffer, talks of government interference with the care and salvation of souls which belongs to God, Pfeffer never mentions God in his discussion but rather emphasizes Locke’s “social contract theory.” He overemphasizes the influence of rationalism and deism in gaining the First Amendment. He falsely proclaims that the “first four presidents of the United States were either Deists or Unitarians.” He asserts that the Great Awakening “emphasized an emotional, personal religion” which appealed directly to the individual, stressing the rights and duties of the individual conscience and its answerability exclusively to God (Leo Pfeffer, Church, State, and Freedom (Boston: The Beacon Press, 1953), pp. 81-93). He, like all secular scholars, simply did not get it even though he did mention God. He had no choice but to mention God, since a controversy over what God taught in the Bible was at the center of the issues. He simply did not and could not examine that true history of what went on to bring about the First Amendment. Lost men and saved men who were spiritually ignorant have led the way in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

The First Amendment, in what is called the establishment clause, forbids Congress to establish a church and reinforces the establishment clause in the free exercise clause by forbidding Congress to prevent the free exercise of religion. Thus, the religion clause of the First Amendment which consists of the establishment and free exercise clauses, especially when read in the context of the entire Amendment, is a legal statement of the principle of religious freedom, or soul liberty, or separation of church and state which conforms to biblical principles. Bible-believing Christians, based upon their spiritual beliefs, fought the fight which resulted in the First Amendment. They made the spiritual Bible-based arguments which gradually convinced others to accept separation of church and state. By practicing their faith despite persecution, they paid the price. They suffered persecution; they did not deny Christ and their faith in order to avoid persecution. “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Ti. 3:12).

Many of the early colonists were Protestants who thought Luther and/or Calvin were correct in their beliefs concerning church and state. Others, the Anglicans, brought the state-church concepts of England to the colonies. Dissenters believed in and fought for separation of church and state. The First Amendment was primarily the result of a spiritual warfare between those holding opposing Scriptural interpretations, the established churches versus the dissenters, primarily the Baptists.

  • “Of the Baptists, at least, it may be truly said that they entered the conflict in the New World with a clear and consistent record on the subject of soul liberty. ‘Freedom of conscience’ had ever been one of their fundamental tenets.  John Locke, in his ‘essay on Toleration,’ says: ‘The Baptists were the first and only propounders of absolute liberty, just and true liberty, equal and impartial liberty.’ And the great American historian, Bancroft, says: ‘Freedom of Conscience, unlimited freedom of mind, was from the first a trophy of the Baptists.’ Bancroft’s History of the United States, Vol. II., pages 66, 67.
  • “The history of the other denominations shows that, in the Old World, at least, they were not in sympathy with the Baptist doctrine of soul liberty, but in favor of the union of Church and State, and using the civil power to compel conformity to the established church….
  • “The Reformation which began with Martin Luther corrected many errors of faith and practice among those who came out of the corrupt and apostate church, but not all. It was left to the sect once ‘everywhere spoken against’ to teach their Protestant brethren the lesson of soul liberty, and this they did in the school of adversity in the New World” (James, pp. 14-15).

At times, persecuting established churches in the colonies became persecuted churches. When that happened, the persecutors generally became dissenters seeking religious tolerance or religious freedom.

The First Amendment to the Constitution resulted from “a factual relationship that was rapidly solidifying when the Constitution was amended by the Bill of Rights.” The First Amendment was the final product of a long struggle by men who believed strongly in the God of the Bible and who were willing to die rather than bow down to false religion. Their spirit was fused into the ordering of the affairs of the United States. “A wall of separation which would bar that spirit from making itself felt in secular concerns can never be built, because it would have to bisect the human heart” (Marnell, pp. xii-xiii). William H. Marnell correctly observed that:

“[t]he First Amendment was not the product of indifference toward religion. It was not the product of the deism which prevailed in the Enlightenment, however much the spirit of deism may have been present in certain of the Founding Fathers. Above, all, it was not the product of secularism, and to translate the spirit of twentieth-century secularism back to eighteenth-century America is an outrage to history. The First Amendment was rather a logical outcome of the Reformation and its ensuing developments. It was so far removed from secularism as to be the product of its exact opposite, the deep-seated concern of a people whose religious faith had taken many forms, all of them active, all of them sincerely held. It was so far removed from indifference toward religion [specifically Christianity] as to be the result of its antithesis, the American determination that the diversity of churches might survive the fact of political action” (Ibid.).

The dissidents in the colonies, chiefly the Baptists, were able to gain a foothold, and they played it for all it was worth. The theology of the founding era, initially under the leadership of Roger Williams (who was not a Baptist and who turned from his Baptist affiliations soon after founding a church in Rhode Island. See Book Review: Did Roger Williams Start The First Baptist Church In America? Is the “Baptist Church the Bride of Christ? What About Landmarkism or the Baptist Church Succession Theory By Jim Fellure and Baptist History IN AMERICA Vindicated: The First Baptist Church in America/A Resurfaced Issue of Controversy/The Facts and Importance By Pastor Joshua S. Davenport.) and John Clarke, successfully challenged the doctrines of the established churches concerning the relationship of church and state. Among the results were the establishment of the first civil government in history with religious liberty, the government of the colony of Rhode Island, and later the First Amendment to the United States Constitution which required religious freedom for churches and freedom of conscience for individuals. The First Amendment allowed churches to operate under God without persecution. The First Amendment did not apply to the states.

Primarily due to the efforts of our Baptist forefathers, a time came, as Baptist pastor and historian John Callender said in 1838, when:

  • “[e]xperience has dearly convinced the world, that unanimity in judgment and affection cannot be secured by penal laws….
  • “Indulgence to tender consciences, might be a reproach to the Colony [of Rhode Island], an hundred years ago, [that is in 1738, one hundred years before Callender wrote this], but a better way of thinking prevails in the Protestant part of the Christian church at present. It is now a glory to the Colony, to have avowed such sentiments so long ago, while blindness in this article happened in other places, and to have led the way as an example to others, and to have first put the theory into practice.
  • “Liberty of conscience is more fully established and enjoyed now, in the other New-English Colonies; and our mother Kingdom grants a legal toleration to all peaceable and conscientious dissenters from the parliamentary establishment. Greater light breaking into the world and the church, and especially all parties by turns experiencing and complaining aloud of the hardships of constraint, they are come to allow as reasonable to all others, what they want and challenge for themselves. And there is no other bottom but this to rest upon, to leave others the liberty we should desire ourselves, the liberty wherewith Christ hath made them free. This is doing as we would be done by, the grand rule of justice and equity; this is leaving the government of the church to Jesus Christ, the King and head over all things, and suffering his subjects to obey and serve him” (John Callender, The Civil and Religious Affairs of the Colony of Rhode-Island (Providence: Knowles, Vose & Company, 1838), pp. 108-109).

By the time the First Amendment was added to the United States Constitution, only New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut had established churches. In 1833 Massachusetts became the last state to disestablish.

Baptists wanted religious freedom. Some probably could foresee the ideal of a church under God, a civil government under God, with neither church nor state over the other. But few knew how to have a civil government under God without establishing a church. Why? Fifteen hundred years of history had witnessed “Christian” establishments made up of church-state or state-church unions. Therefore, one should not be too hard on those early Protestants in America who continued those unions, since, according to Isaac Backus:

“[many things] prove that those fathers [the leaders of the Puritans in Massachusetts] were earnestly concerned to frame their constitution both in church and state by divine rule; and as all allow that nothing teaches like experience, surely they who are enabled well to improve the experience of past ages, must find it easier now to discover the mistakes of that day, than it was for them to do it then. Even in 1637, when a number of puritan ministers in England, and the famous Mr. Dod among them, wrote to the ministers here, that it was reported that they had embraced certain new opinions, such as ‘that a stinted form of prayer and set liturgy is unlawful; that the children of godly and approved Christians are not to be baptized, until their parents be set members of some particular congregation; that the parents themselves, though of approved piety, are not to be received to the Lord’s Supper until they be admitted set members,’ &c., Mr. Hooker expressed his fears of troublesome work about answering of them, though they may appear easy to the present generation” (Isaac Backus, A History of New England With Particular Reference to the Denomination of Christians called Baptists, Volume 1 (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock Publishers, Previously published by Backus Historical Society, 1871), pp. 37-38).

Nor should one be too critical of those leaders of the founding era who struggled with the question of how to construct this nation. They produced the best governing document of any nation in history, but that document had some serious flaws which would play out to the detriment of the nation and individuals, families, and churches within the nation. Nonetheless, because of great revivals which began shortly after ratification of the Constitution, huge numbers of people were saved and those regenerated individuals were responsible for at least postponing the spiritual and moral decline of America.

How can a civil government be under God without entanglement with the church? A civil government can choose to be under God. Since God was directly over only one nation, the nation Israel, the only way God chooses to speak to a Gentile government prior to His second return is through His Word, the Bible. Therefore, for a nation to be under God, the leader(s) of that nation must understand and apply biblical principles including those principles concerning church, state, and separation of church and state. As has been shown, only born-again believers have the power, through the Holy Spirit, to understand the Word of God. Only regenerate leader(s) of a civil government can operate the government according to those principles laid down for Gentile nations in the Bible. In America, the people choose the leaders. Therefore, America will have a regenerate leadership only if America should have a population made up of a majority of knowledgeable active Christians who choose Christian leaders.

The Constitution provided for separation of church and state, but the Constitution and the amendments thereto, even when the Declaration of Independence is considered, failed to proclaim that this nation is to be under God and that the purpose of this nation is to glorify God. The primary declaration that a nation can make in its constitution to place itself under God is that its purpose is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ through laws, prayers, and proclamations consistent with biblical principles. That nation can model its laws, including its constitution, after biblical principles and seek God’s direction in all things, including lawmaking, enforcement, and judging. In such a nation, prayers should be made at all civil governmental functions in Jesus’ name. One of the principles a nation under God must proclaim, as does the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, is that every man has free will, as ordained by God, and that, since God wants every man’s love, men are free to choose to worship the one true God, any false god or gods, or no god at all. A civil government under God must also legislate criminal law making certain acts concerning man’s relationship with man—but not acts dealing with man’s relationship with God—criminal, according to God’s Word, and provide for judging and enforcing those acts by the civil government.

The chances of a civil government being under or remaining under God’s principles before the return of Christ are non-existent as shown by the Bible and by all history. No civil government will have (a) leader(s) who believe(s) and implement(s) principles in the Word of God except in the unlikely situation where the leader(s) is (are) saved, and no civil government so structured will long remain under God. Godly leaders are inevitably replaced with carnal Christians and/or the unregenerate who cannot and will not lead according to God’s Word.

This Section succinctly summarizes the true history of religious liberty in America, initially pointing out some of the misleading teachings of secular and Christian revisionists. Ultimately, Christians can accomplish nothing with lies (Read James R. Beller, America in Crimson Red: The Baptist History of America (Arnold, Missouri: Prairie Fire Press, 2004) and James R. Beller, The Coming Destruction of the Baptist People: The Baptist History of America (St. Louis, Missouri: Prairie Fire Press, 2005) for a thorough discussion of the theology behind the lies of the Christian nationalists, whom Beller calls catholic Reformed, and a discussion of Christian nationalists other than Peter Marshall and David Manuel.).

Book Review: The Writings of John Leland

Book Review
The Writings of John Leland
Edited by L.F. Greene, ARNO PRESS & THE NEW YOUR TIMES, New  York, 1969,
Reprinted 2010 by Local Church Bible Publishers, http://www.LocalChurchBiblePublishers.com

Jerald Finney
Copyright © December 2, 2011

Recommended reading: Outcome Based Religion (Click to see review)

TheWritingsOfJohnLeland

Preface

Truth is as essential to history as the soul is to the body.—Frederick.
Quoted on 92 of The Writings of John Leland
“Truth needs no apology, and error deserves none. Prefatory lies have often atoned for ignorance and ill-will in the Eastern and European worlds; but let the sons of America be free. It is more essential to learn how to believe, than to learn what to believe” (92)

Note. Unless otherwise indicated, all quotes are from the book The Writings of John Leland, and only the page numbers are noted. Several years ago, I tried to find a copy of the writings of John Leland. I discovered a two volume set of the writings of John Leland online, but the price was $200.00. Two days later, I decided to “bite the bullet” and pay the $200.00. It was too late. The books were no longer available, and I could not find any other sources. Recently, Pastor Jason Cooley informed me that John Leland’s writings are now available for $20.00 from Local Church Bible Publishers, www.LocalChurchBiblePublishers.com. I bought the book from that source.

Book Review: The Writings of John Leland

John Leland was both a Baptist hero and an American hero. His contributions to religious liberty in America should be known by every American, and especially to every American Baptist. He was a constant and effective promoter the Baptist distinctive of separation of church and state, soul liberty, or religious liberty both before and after the ratification of the United States Constitution. His exploits and thoughts on liberty should stand next to those of George Washington, James Madison, and Thomas Jefferson.

Before the adoption of the Constitution, he was a leader for religious liberty in Virginia: “The Baptists fought to have the act incorporating the Episcopal church repealed. Reuben Ford and John Leland attended the first 1787 assembly meeting as agents in behalf of the Baptist General Committee (Charles F. James, Documentary History of the Struggle for Religious Liberty in Virginia (Harrisonburg, Virginia: Sprinkle Publications, 2007; first published in Lynchburg, Virginia: J. P. Bell Company, 1900), pp. 142-146). On August 10, 1787, the act incorporating the Episcopal church was repealed, and until 2001—when Jerry Falwell and trustees of the Thomas Road Baptist Church, who were joined by the American Civil Liberties Union, challenged the Virginia Constitutional provision forbidding the incorporation of churches in federal district court—no church in Virginia could be incorporated (See Falwell v. Miller, 203 F. Supp. 2d 624 (W.D. Va. 2002).”  God Betrayed, p. 282.

“It is sad that Christian revisionists, in their successful effort to deceive the entire Christian community and advance their agenda by combining church and state, so that the resulting union of church and state can bring in the kingdom of heaven, have belittled, misrepresented, and/or totally ignored great men such as Roger Williams, Dr. John Clarke, Isaac Backus, Shubal Stearns, John Leland and others. Their efforts have done great and irreparable damage to the cause of Christ.” God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application (Austin, Texas: Kerygma Publishing Company, 2008), p. 208; See EN for more information on books by Jerald Finney; God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application (Link to preview of God Betrayed). Tragically, even most Baptists have been deceived by the revisionists, and believe and teach the revisionist lies.

“John Leland, the most popular preacher in Virginia, was chosen by the Baptists as candidate of Orange County to the state ratification convention opposed to ratification of the United States Constitution, and his opponent was to be James Madison. Mr. Leland likely would have been elected had he not later withdrawn. Mr. Madison, when he returned from Philadelphia, stopped by Mr. Leland’s house and spent half a day communicating to him about ‘the great matters which were then agitating the people of the state and the Confederacy’ and relieving Baptist apprehensions as to the question of religious liberty. As a result of this meeting, Mr. Leland withdrew in favor of Mr. Madison and the Baptists of Orange County were won over to the side of Madison” (Charles F. James, Documentary History of the Struggle for Religious Liberty in Virginia (Harrisonburg, Virginia: Sprinkle Publications, 2007; first published in Lynchburg, Virginia: J. P. Bell Company, 1900), pp. 150-158; William P. Grady, What Hath God Wrought: A Biblical Interpretation of American History. (Knoxville, Tennessee: Grady Publications, Inc., 1999) pp. 166-167.” God Betrayed, p. 285.

In compiling The Writings of John Leland, “Great care has been taken to ascertain truth, and few assertions have been made that are not sustained by documentary evidence of undoubted authenticity.” The book combines what the Elder Leland believed, preached and lived with evidences of a pious character, preaching style, life history and accomplishments, personal demeanor, and his effect on those whom he converted and those to whom he preached” (65).

Reading John Leland’s writings reveals the mind of a brilliant believer. His political insights were, for like of a better word, awesome. His historical and biblical knowledge were of the highest order, but, more importantly, his analyses were brilliant, reflecting the mind of God. Through a short biography, compilation of letters, speeches to political bodies, essays, sermons, etc., The Writings of John Leland reveals, of special interest to this author, the political and spiritual life and beliefs of John Leland. Mr. Leland’s spiritual activities resulted in the salvation of many souls; and, as already noted, he was very instrumental in the adoption of the First Amendment the United States Constitution. He remained active until  his death. He wrote, “I [John Leland] close, by observing that here is an arm seventy years old, which, as long as it can rise to heaven in prayer, or wield a pen on earth, shall never be inactive, when the religious rights of men are in jeopardy. Was there a vital fibre in my heart, that did not plead for rational religious liberty, I would chase the felon from his den, and roast him in the flames” (507).

The remainder of this review will consist of two parts: (1) A summary of Events in the Life of John Leland,” and (2) “A sampling of quotes and matters which Leland addresses in the essays, sermons, addresses, poems, etc. which are included in the book”.

Events in the Life of John Leland (9-40)

Born in Grafton, Massachusetts on May 14, 1754. As a boy, he lost all desire for youthful diversions and, due to conviction in his mind, and would talk on no subject but religion. “Reading the Bible and meditating on the shortness of time, and the importance of being prepared for death and judgment, occupied the chiefest of [his] time.” He began to earnestly seek the Lord (11), and reached conclusions about salvation. While less than twenty years old, he, although naturally bashful publically disputed on the matter of salvation freely by grace with a very respectable preacher (13), then prayed and gave the people present a word of exhortation. The next day, reproaching himself for his forwardness and presumption, he told some that they need not mind anything that he had said, since he was a poor unconverted sinner. He and another young man about his age began to set up evening meetings, to sing, pray, and speak according to their proportion of faith as the Spirit gave them utterance (15). He struggled with his moral evil in himself and “want of will,” and worried about preaching. He was baptized in June, 1774 (16).  He preaches from Malachi 9: “If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name saith the Lord of Hosts, I will even send a curse upon you ——.” He continued to preach and doors opened. He finally surrendered to the ministry, without any condition, evasion, or mental reservation (18). [Lady blamed him for being a closed communicant; he asked why he should be blamed for not communing with those who have no fellowship with him (18-19). Joined Bellingham church which gave him a license to do that which he had been doing for a year (19). Oct. 1775 went to Virginia for 8 mo. Married Sally Devine on 9/30/1776. Moved to Culpepper, Virginia. Ordained by the choice of the church, travelled and preached.  Moved to Orange county. Travailed in the desire for salvation of sinners, prays much, baptizes (130), preaches from Orange to York. (20-21). This continues through p. 40.

Pp 41- “Further sketches of the Life of John Leland.” Additional incidents from the editor which continue the history to the time of Leland’s death (1835 to the death of John Leland), including more on the life and character of Mrs. Leland (liberality, courage (e.g., saved her husband from a murderer’s sword (42), life of unceasing toil, always busy, always quiet (43), more on her life history on (43), , her faith firm in Christ, etc. Sketch of John Leland’s last sermon preached 1/8/1841 (46-47). “Thus died John Leland—a man eminent above many for piety and usefulness, whose name is connected with all that is pure in patriotism, lovely in the social and domestic virtues, philanthropic in feeling and action, arduous, disinterested, and self-denying in the labors of the ministerial calling; one whose place in society, in the church, and in the ranks of the ministry, will not soon be filled—in the hearts of those who knew him, never (49).

He died as a witness for the truth, testifying, with his last breath, the value of religion, and that only, which has its seat in the heart. His life had been unostentatious; his aspirations after worldly honors, ever low and feeble; his humility and sense of dependence on God, deep-felt and abiding—and thus he died….” His tombstone read: “Here lies the body of the Rev. John Leland, who labored 67 years to promote piety and vindicate the civil and religious rights of all  men. He died January, 14, 1841, aged 86 years and 8 months (50).” His religious creed (50-1).

“Through a long life, Elder Leland sustained, with uniform consistency, the two-fold character of the Patriot and the Christian. For His religious creed he acknowledged no director but the Bible. He loved the pure, unadulterated word of truth and as a minister of that word, zealous and faithful, he preached it, as far as he was able, unmixed with the doctrines and commandments of men, ‘not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind.’ He was clear in exposition, happy in illustration, often powerful and eloquent in appeals to the conscience and heart. He insisted, in absolute and unqualified terms, on the great fundamental truths of the gospel, the necessity of regeneration, faith and repentance; but, on points not essential to salvation, though his opinions were no less firmly established, and he never shrunk from advocating them on proper occasions, yet he did not censure or denounce those who differed from him, nor  exclude from fellowship, ass Christians, any who gave evidence of a gracious change, whatever might be their peculiar doctrinal views. He never engaged in controversy; and when any of his published opinions were disputed, or commented upon, as was sometimes the case, with severity, he preferred to  ‘let the matter rest a little, and then give another thrust,’ as he expressed it, to the wwast of time, repetitions, and tediousness of reviews and replies.” (51-52).

His political creed was based upon those ‘sufficient truths’ of equality, and of inherent and inalienable rights recognized by the master spirits of the revolution as the principles for the support of which they pledged ‘their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.’ As a politician, he was above the influence of any but sincere and patriotic motives. He was a statesman, rather than a politician. He studied the fundamental principles of government, and drew his conclusions directly from them, without any intervening medium of self or party interest…. His sentiments, on particular measures, it is unnecessary to comment upon, as they are clearly expressed in his writings. His feelings on the subject of slavery may be gathered from the fact that, during his fourteen years’ residence in Virginia he never owned a slave, as well as from his remarks in the Virginia Chronicle, and from the resolution offered by him, when a member of the Baptist General Committee, and passed by them, in 1789, in the following words: …” (51-52).

 “The great object, (next in importance to his mission as a preacher of Christ,) for which he seems to have been raised up by a special Providence, was to promote the establishment of religious liberty in the United States. His efforts, perhaps, contributed as much  as those of any other man, to the overthrow of ecclesiastical tyranny in Virginia, the state of his adoption, and exerted a beneficial influence, though less successful, towards the promotion of the same end in that of his nativity. In the former, in the years 1786-7-8, we find his name in the doings of the Baptist General Committee, with which he stood connected, as messenger to the General Assembly, appointed to draft and present memorials respecting the Incorporating  act, the application of the glebe lands to public use, etc. Though the cause of religious freedom was the common cause of all dissenters, yet the Baptists, as a sect, took the lead in those active, energetic, and persevering measures, which at length prevailed in its establishment. Many individuals of other denominations took an active part, and aided materially in bringing about the glorious result; nay, that even many of the more conscientious and patriotic among the members of the established church, made praiseworthy exertions in its favor, is a fact too honorable to themselves, and to the state that produced them, to be passed unnoticed. Enrolled among the ardent champions of religious liberty, are the names of Virginia’s most illustrious sons—of Washington, Henry, Jefferson, Madison. To particularize, in regard to the efforts made, and the good accomplished by each, is unnecessary in this place; the following Address an Reply, which are inserted entire, will serve to exhibit the enlarged views and the unselfish spirit of the patriots of that day, as well as the harmony, one might almost say identity, of sentiment that prevailed among them.” … (Address to President Washington: see pp. 52-54.). George Washington’s reply on pp. 54-55, says, in part: “If I could have entertained the slightest apprehension that the Constitution framed by the Convention where I  had the honor to preside, might possibly endanger the  religious  rights of any ecclesiastical society, certainly I would never have placed my signature to it; and if I could now conceive that the  general government might even be so administered, as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one would be more zealous than myself, to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution. For you, doubtless, remember, I have often expressed my sentiments, that any man, conducting himself as a good citizen, and being accountable to God alone for his religious opinions, ought to be protected  in worshiping the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience… (52).”

Leland moved to New England in 1791. Immediately “commenced anew the warfare against religious  intolerance, and the defence of the cause that had so signally triumphed in Virginia. During his stay in New London, he published his ‘Rights of Conscience Inalienable,’ and afterwards, from time to time, other works of the same character; some of which will be found in [this volume], and others it has been impossible to obtain. “Our limits do not allow us to enter upon the history and progress of religious liberty in Massachusetts. This may be found elsewhere…. At length, in the beginning of 1811, a decision by Judge Parsons, that no society, not incorporated by law, could claim even the pitiful privilege of drawing back money, awakened the fears of the dissenters, and a circular Address, accompanied by a petition to the legislature, praying for a revision of the laws respecting public worship, was circulated through the state. At the solicitation of the people of Cheshire, Mr. Leland accepted a seat in the legislature, for the special purpose of aiding the measures petitioned for. His speech, delivered during the debate on the subject, may be found in another part of the work (55).”

“A law was finally passed that gave some relief, but not complete satisfaction. The ‘stump’ of the tree of ecclesiastical oppression, so carefully preserved ‘with a band of iron and brass,’ continued, therefore to furnish a subject for his animadversion, in various essays, addresses, etc.  and he improved such opportunities as were offered him, as a matter of duty, and in fulfillment of the public pledge he had  given, that ‘as long as he could speak with his tongue, wield a pen, or heave a cry to heaven, whenever the rights of men, the liberty of conscience, or the good of his country were invaded by fraud or force, his feeble efforts should not lie dormant.’”

A sampling of quotes and matters which Leland addresses in the book

59- His views on church discipline, communion, etc.
65 – Excerpt from Semple’s Virginia Baptists on John Leland.
68- 69 Leland on God’s Sovereignty vs. free will.
69 – 70 Criticisms of John Leland.

 70 “There is evidently a wide difference between searching the Scriptures to find a system of truth, and searching them for evidence to support one already adopted….”

78 (In Preface to “The Bible Baptist): “Truth needs no apology, and error deserves none. Prefatory lies have often atoned for ignorance and ill-will in the Eastern and European worlds; but let the sons of America be free. It is more essential to learn how to believe, than to learn what to believe.
“The doctrine and spirit of the following remarks, are left for the reader to judge of for himself. Truth is in the least danger of being lost, when free examination is allowed.”

78 “Christian writers generally agree to reproach the Jews, for treating the Rabbies with as much respect as they did the prophets; giving as great credit to their traditions as they did to the sacred volume. But many Christian writers are guilty of the same absurdity. It is no more significant for Jews to quote the Talmud or the Targum, to prove a Mosaic rite, than it is for Christians to depend on Tertullian, Cyprian, Origen, and the other fathers of the church, for a gospel ordinance.”

73-77 “The History of Jack Nips”: (The boy Leland examiners the teaching of the church; also state constitutions) This examines doctrines of the Presbyterian church: preaching in tones, their orthography, infant baptism of non-believers (who gave their child to God) 73-, baptism of infants who are out of the church and of infants of those who are enemies of the church (75). He does his Bible study of baptism 76. His dad intended him for a minister. His question: “But does God. Those who are sent by men to preach, must look to men for their pay; but those that are sent by God, must depend on him.” He studies all the state constitutions at age 22. He found that “there were not two of them that agreed. What said I, do great men differ? Boys, women, and little souls do; but can learned wise patriots disagree so much in judgment? If so, they cannot all be right, but they may all be wrong, and therefore, Jack Nipps for himself. What encouraged me to search and judge for myself, was this: when I was a small boy, I fancied that I stood in the middle of the world, and that the earth extended no further than my eye-sight explored: but people told me that I was wrong in my judgment; but after a few years study, I found I was half right. That the earth exceeded my eye-sight, I soon found by experience; herein I was wrong. But that I am always on the centre spot of the surface of the globe, is an undeniable truth. And as mature experience convinced me that my boyish thoughts were some of them right, I concluded it might be so with my study in politics” 77.

78- Excellent examination of “baptism” including infant baptism. John the Baptist 79. Inconsistencies of those who promote infant baptism 81. On “Mk. 16.15-16 “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not, shall be damned” 81-2. On Peter’s teaching on baptism 82-3. On Philip 83-4. The next baptizer, Ananias 84. Then Paul 84-6. Baptism of the Holy Ghost 87. The argument that many great reformers and preachers, in past ages, believed and practiced infant sprinkling; if error, would not God have convinced them of it, when he was with them, in so great a degree 89?

91- :The Virginia Chronicle.” Account of the different religious sects in Virginia. Settlement, population 94-95.  The Quakers (persecuted by not put to death) 94. Of the slaves 94-8. Wishes its dissolution, but points out the great problems in so doing. Briefly on their religious worship etc. “THE UNIFORMITY OF RELIGION FOR ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY YEARS 98-99. OF THE PRESBYTERIANS 99-100. OF THE METHODISTS (Armenian) (Tremendous footnote on 101 about baptism) 100-1. OF THE TUNKERS 102-3. OF THE MENNONISTS 103-4 (Excellent comments on civil government). OF THE BAPTISTS 104-5. THE PERSECUTION OF BAPTISTS (Excellent reasons why no religious test should be required for office) 105-7. THE REASONS FOR THEIR DISSENT (107-109). THREE GREAT PRINCIPLES (The 3 great principles which divide the Christian world) 109-11. OF MARRIAGE 111-2. THE DECLENSION AMONG THE BAPTISTS (“But as they gained this piece of freedom, so the cares of war, the spirit of trade, and moving to the western waters, seemed to bring on a general declension. The ways of Zion mourned. They obtained their hearts’ desire, (freedom,) but had leanness in their souls. Some of the old watchmen stumbled and fell, iniquity did abound, and the love of many waxed cold…. FN 9N 114 WHY A CONFESSION OF FAITH?) 112-4. THE GREAT WORK (The declension ended in 1785 with revival) 114-6. THE NUMBER OF BAPTISTS 116-7. ON DRESS 117. THE EXCESS OF CIVIL POWER ESPLODED (Tremendous insights on freedom of conscience, chaplains paid by govt. (in army or legislature or elsewhere, the extent of power of civil govt. (can’t use Israel as example), govt. maintenance of religion) 117-9. WASHING OF FEET AND DRY CHRISTENING 120. THE VIRGINIA BAPTISTS COMPARED WITH THE GERMAN 120-1. SOME REMARKS 121-2. THE RIGHTS AND BONDS OF CONSCIENCE 122-3. THOUGHTS ON SYSTEMS 123-4.

125-171 “The First Rise of Sin.” “If the decalogue (the Ten Commandments) is all of a moral nature, the injunction is binding on all nations; and if all nations were under the bond of regarding the seventh day in a holy manner, it is strange that St. Paul never had occasion to reprove the Gentiles, for the breach of it, fas the Jewish prophet had to reprove their own nation; and, besides … If, in the New Testament, Christians are commanded to keep the first day, by Christ or his apostles, that divine appointment is sufficient; human legislatures have nothing to do in ordaining fixed holy days, establishing creeds of faith, requiring religious tests, certificates, or anything of the kind. 146.” [God could not have prevented sin. God decreed that angels and men should not sin. No law was given men or angels to sin. If it was the design, decree, or secret will of God, that creatures should sin, how can it be sin? for sin is the transgression of his will…. If sin is the cause of general good, all creatures should love it; and if creatures should love it, why are they called upon to repent of, and hate it? … And as it was not possible for God to sin, or make creatures sin, so, likewise, (considering him in the character of a moral governor, it was not possible for him to prevent it. Should a legislature do more than make laws, forbidding crimes; … the only means he could make use of to prevent it, would make them entirely miserable…. So it was with God; he loved his creatures, and sought to make them happy; and, as rational creatures cannot be happy without the freedom of their will, this freedom was established in them by God; and, in this point of view, it was not possible for God to have prevented their sin; as the only means that would have secured them from sin, would have made them completely miserable. 141-2.]

171-75: “Letter of Valediction on Leaving Virginia, in 1791.” To slave owners and slaves 173-4.

177-192 “The Rights of Conscience Inalienable, and therefore, Religious Opinions not Cognizable by Law. 1791.” “Did not the Christian religion prevail during the first three centuries, in a more glorious manner than ever it has since, not only without the aid of law, but in opposition to all the laws of haughty monarchs? And did not religion receive a deadly wound by being fostered in the arms of civil power and regulated by law? These things are so 181.” … “To say that ‘religion cannot stand without a state establishment,’ is not only contrary to fact, (as has been already proved), but is a contradiction in phrase. Religion must have stood a time before any law could have been made about it; and if it did stand almost three hundred years without law, it can still stand without it (182).” “… The evils of establishment are many. First, second, third (Uniformity. “Millions of men, women, and children, have been tortured to death, to produce uniformity, and tet the world has not advanced one inch towards it…. The duty of the magistrates is, not to judge of the divinity or tendency of doctrines; but when those principles break out into overt acts of violence, then to use the civil sword and punish the vagrant for what he has done, and not for the religious phrenzy that he acted from. 184), fourth (Leland completely obliterates the objection “that the ignorant part of the community are not capacitated to judge for themselves” which “supports the Popish hierarchy, and all Protestant, as well as Turkish and Pagan establishments in idea.”), fifth(182-6). He shows the biblical problems with the establishment of religion in Conn. (186-90).

193-95. The Modern Priest.

Circular Letter of the Stratsbury Association, 1794. 196-99. The deists and infidels are] “equally-assiduous in declaring what is not true, and never tell us what truth is. With all their boasted illumination in the ground and laws of nature, they never tell us what natural religion is, nor how the God of nature is to be worshiped (197). Tremendous!

213- .The Yankee Spy …, 1794. By Jack Nips. Answers questions about civil govt. including pre-flood, post flood (Nimrod, Gentile nations, the nation of Israel. Sample question with part answer: “Q. Has the ecclesiastical part of the Mosaic constitution ever been abused as well as the political part? A. Yes, and that to a degree. The church of Israel took in the whole nation, and none of that nation: Whereas, Christi’s church takes no whole nation, but those who fear God and work righteousness in every nation….” Circumcision and baptism 217-18. About English govt. 218-19. About the U.S. Const. 219-20. Const. of Mass. 220. A Bill of Rights with that of Mass. examined 22029. “If a  man worships one God, three Gods, twenty Gods, or not God—if he pays adoration one day in a week seven days, or no day—wherein does he injure the life, liberty or property of another? Let any or all these actions be supposed to be religious evils of an enormous size, yet they are not crimes to be punished by the laws of state, which extend no further, in justice, that to punish the man who works ill to his neighbor. (221).”

233-55. A Blow at the Root: Being a Fashionable Fast-Day Sermon Delivered 0409 1801. On liberty of conscience 239-. On persecution and murder of heretics by Papists, by Protestants, in Eng., in Mass. (Roger Williams banned, persecution, art. 3 of Mass. Const.), the  reasons given for establishment (to prevent error, to effect and preserve uniformity of sentiment, to support the gospel) examined.

273-81. The Government of Christ a Christocracy, 1804. [On Mass. 279-81].
283-300.An Elective Judiciary, with other things recommended in a speech…, 1805. Addresses the two arguments against electing judges: (1) the people have not wisdom and sedateness enough to select from among themselves , those who are best qualified to be judges and (2) if judges hold their office by t tenure of periodical elections, they will have such strong temptations to please  the strongest party, in order to secure their next election, that they will not judge uprightly.
301-314. Ordination Sermon. Isaiah/s seraphims, Ezekiel’s cherubims, John’s four beasts are the same. What do they represent?
322-29. Various poems.
330-. Essays, 1810. [Why Christ was God 331-2].

[353-358. SPEECH: DELIVERED I THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF MASSACHUSETTS, ON THE SUBJECT OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM, 1811. “Let Christianity stand upon its on basis, it is the greatest blessing that ever was among men; but incorporate it into the civil code and it becomes the mother of cruelties” 356.

356. “If, to escape this-dilemma, we adopt Papal maxim, that government is founded in grace, and, therefore, none but gracious men have a right to rule; and that these gracious rulers have both right and knowledge to legislate about religion, we shall find, what other nations have found, that these divine rulers, will be the most cruel tyrants: under this notion, Mr. Chairman, the crusades were formed in the eleventh century, which lasted about two hundred years, and destroyed nearly two millions of lives. In view of all this, and ten thousand times as much, is it to be wondered at, that the present petitioners, should be fearful of attaching corporate power to religious societies…. The interference of legislatures and magistrates, in the faith, worship, or support of religious worship, is the first step in the case, which leads in regular progression to inquisition; the principle I the same, the only difference is  in the degree of usurpation…” 357.the Gospel, was now the point at issue. On which I reasoned thus: the New Testament I in existence: it as written either by bad men or by good men: to believe that bad men wrote it, requires a a faith more marvelous that it does to believe the truth of any article contained in it. Or bad men to form a book that condemns every species of sin—that lays the honors, pleasures, and wealth of the world in t dust—that enjoins patience under injury, and goof for evil—in short, to sacrifice everything that is pleasing to bad men: who can believe it? … The belief of the gospel never makes good men worse, but often makes bad men better…. 363. Proof of the resurrection 366. What the Bible teaches about disembodied spirits 369-70.

373-5: ADDRESS TO THE ASSOCIATIO OF THE SONS OF LIBERTY, CHESHIRE, MARCH 4, 1813.
381-405. THE JARRING INTERESTS OF HEAVEN RECONCILED BY THE BLOOD OF THE CROSS, 1814. [396-405. The works which were necessary for Christ to accomplish.]
406-39. MISCELLANEOUS ESSAYS, IN PROSE AND VERSE. [419-20. Age and Egotism. “We come into the world ignorant. To aa child, every thing is new and impressive, and more so to a young man, that one of a greater age. The young man of genius, is charmed with the logic of his author, and feels impressed with his own arguments. He lays down his thesis, supports it with metaphysical [metaphysics means “a study of what is outside objective experience”] arguments, forms his syllogism, and draws his conclusion, with little or no doubt of the reality of the whole….” If I use this, continue with the rest on p420.][423 “So it is with metaphysical reasoning: the smallest error, in the outset, though undiscovered by the writer or reader, if pursued, under the pretext of consistency, will lead to an amazing distance from the truth.”][426-28: !!!!!!!! NIMROD, MOSES, CHRIST, AND THE UNITED STATES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!][440-46. ON SABBATICAL LAWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!][450-53: CATECHISM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!][496-7. EXTRACT OF AA LETTER FROM J. L. TO HIS INQUISITIVE FRIEND][497-9. SHORT REFLECTIONS.][499-500. THE THIRD EPISTLE OF JOHN][501-7. ADDRESS DELIVERED AT THE REQUEST OF THE REPUBLICAN COMMITTEE OF ARRANGEMENTS, AT PITTSSFIELD, ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF AMERICAN  INDEPENDENCE, JULY 4, 1824][508-16.FORM OF A CHARGE TO A CNADIDATE AT HIS ORDINATION]

 [572-82. SHORT SAYINGS ON TIMES, MEN, MEASURES AND RELIGION, EXHIBITED IN AN ADDRESS, DELIVERED AT CHESHIRE, JULY 5, 1830. On the national debt, the population, the office of Pope created in 606, (religious freedom, marriage of church and state 579-80), ][583-96. THE RESULT OF OBSERVATION, 1830. “In some governments, universal toleration is granted to all kinds of religious opinions. This sounds humane and benevolent, but has a deadly root. If government has power to grant it as a favor, it has equal power to withhold it. In such cases, the citizens enjoy their liberty by a tenure no better than the good will of those in power. But the freedom of religious opinions, not only with societies, but with individuals, is a right inalienable, that cannot be surrendered. Of course, no government can tolerate or prohibit it but by tyrannical usurpation. If men commit overt acts under a pretence of religious impression, let the magistrate punish them for the overt acts, and pity them for their delusion” 594. On the kingdom and also on Daniel Marshall 594.]

[597-9. OATHS, 1830.]

Etc.

Endnote

God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application (Link to preview of God Betrayed): may be ordered from Amazon by clicking the following link: God Betrayed on Amazon.com or from Barnes and Nobel by clicking the following link: God Betrayed on Barnes and Noble. All books by Jerald Finney as well as many of the books he has referenced and read may also be ordered by left clicking “Books” (on the “Church and State Law” website) or directly from amazon.com at the following links: (1) Render Unto God the Things that Are His: A Systematic Study of Romans 13 and Related Verses (Kindle only); (2) The Most Important Thing: Loving God and/or Winning Souls (Kindle only); (3) Separation of Church and State/God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities? (Link to preview of Separation of Church and State/God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities?) which can also be ordered by clicking the following Barnes and Noble link: Separation of Church and State on Barnes and Noble.