"We have staked the whole future of American civilization not on the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves according to the ten commandments of God." -- James Madison
"The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: that it tied together in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity." -- John Quincy Adams
"God has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation, to select and prefer Christians for their rulers." -- John Jay, first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
As with the Puritans of old, the most basic constituent necessary to the establishment of a free haven in the "Americas" was a godly people who were committed to the Word of God and bound all areas of life by the holy Bible. To use an overused phrase, "We need a few good men."
The good news is that this venture can most likely be done without great danger, severe hardship, and the loss of lives. During the first eight years of colonizing Virginia, thousands lost their lives by disease and tragedy at sea or on land. We may make the transition this time fairly comfortably. In fact, a jaunt across the ocean can take hours today instead of months.
Although there were many things that motivated our forefathers to take the supreme risks of their lives and property, there was a chief motivating factor that tipped the balances in their minds. Edmund S. Morgan in his excellent biography of John Winthrop The Puritan Dilemma, writes about the Puritan vision: "The advantages of such a move [to the New World] to the Puritans who composed the majority of the membership were obvious. If the company moved to New England, it could become in effect a self-governing commonwealth, with the charter a blank check justifying everything it did. It would thus be able to enforce the laws of God and win divine favor. It could create in New England the kind of society that God demanded of all His servants but that none had yet given Him. The colony would not be a mere commercial enterprise, nor would it be simply a hiding place from the wrath of God. It would be instead the citadel of God's chosen people, a spearhead of world Protestantism."
Strategically, the following details are of vital importance to establishing a free country in this particular time of world history.
1. We must take technology with us. This will include capital equipment for mining, injection molding, metal processing, lumber processing, farming, printing, broadcasting, photo-lithography, plating, heavy and light construction, automation, and transportation. As the initial state may not have a large population base, in order to maintain a strong competitive economy, automation will supplant manual labor in manufacturing (even more than it has in the United States and Japan during the 1970's and 1980's). If used properly, automation can increase the capacities and quality of any product line although, initially, the capital investments and engineering expenses are high. Hence, the need for well-trained and disciplined engineers will be a necessity in any developing free state.
2. Christian freemen must own media and information services. Those who run the microphones and cameras are usually the ones who control the voting populace. The socialists learned this early and have controlled the media for some time now.
3. We must privatize education. The Bible has commissioned only the family (Deut 6:1-10, Eph. 6:4) and the church with the ministry of teaching. This is because all teaching at its root is based on religious presuppositions. The government has no business in teaching ministries. Besides, public education is irreparably socialist and government education can only promote government and government programs. By definition it must be self-promoting. As Howard Phillips puts it, "All ideas are inherently religious. Ideology reflects at root our basic understanding of the laws of God and the nature of man. Neutrality is a myth. Just as government ought not require any of us to submit to another man's faith, neither can it rightly insist that we pay for its propagation." Therefore, all members of Mayflower II must be committed to private or home schooling of their children. The parents will be empowered with this crucial responsibility.
4. We must faithfully teach our children all the principles of Holy Scripture. Here only is the fount of peace, freedom, and blessings for individuals and communities.
5. We must strive for doctrinal purity in our churches and in our family education. Like the noble Bereans, every Christian should be well-studied in the Bible (Acts 17:11). Our perspective on the nature of God, the nature of man, and God's plan of redemption will determine the course of our lives. What we do in life depends a great deal on what we believe. Men who cannot believe that God is sovereign will tend to fear others, the world, the devil, and the government; they will be hesitant to do anything much to oppose evil. Strong, well-defined Biblical doctrine will restore relevancy to Christianity in the Western World. Doug Kelly makes this point in his important book The Emergence of Liberty in the Western World. As has been mentioned previously, the Puritans strove diligently after doctrinal purity. Their writings are replete with Biblical references, and this author has found them to be extremely helpful in developing a Biblical perspective.
6. We must covenant together as did our early forefathers in the foundation of this nation of the United States.
Nehemiah 9:38 - 10:29 "And because of all this we make a sure covenant, and write it; and our princes, Levites, and priests, seal unto it...They clave to their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse, and into an oath, to walk in God's law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the LORD our Lord, and his judgments and his statutes."
Our compact must be based on the Bible, wholeheartedly seeking to obey God in our lives and our community. We must engage our great endeavor as a community of believers, faithful to God who is faithful to preserve and bless the righteous. Freedom cannot exist without morality -- a covenant of obedience to God. In our compact we must promise to apply the law of God to the law of the land. Arbitrary law to govern our community is unacceptable. We cannot be autonomous sheep wandering about in a wilderness of arbitrary law or we will be subject to the worst of man's tyrannies.
We must write our compact, solidly based in the Bible. The faith of our forefathers was best seen in their bringing the Word of God to bear on their culture and especially their government. Read below the preamble of the "Fundamental Orders of Connecticut", adopted on January 14, 1638:
"Forasmuch as it pleased the almighty God by the wise disposition of his divine providence so to Order and dispose of things that we the Inhabitants and Residents of Windsor, Harteford and Wethersfield are now cohabiting and dwelling in and upon the River of Conecticotte and the Lands thereunto adjoining; And well knowing where a people gathered together the word of God requires that to maintain the peace and union of such a people there should be an orderly and decent Government according to God, to order and dispose of the affayres of the people at all seasons as occasion shall require; do therefore associate and conjoin our selves to be as one Public State or Commonwealth; and do, for our selves and our Successors and such as shall be adjoined to use at any time hereafter, enter into Combination and Confederation together, to maintain and preserve the liberty and purity of the gospel according to the truth of the said gospel is now practised amongst us; As also in our Civil Affairs to be guided and governed according to such Laws, Rules, Orders and decrees as shall be made, ordered & decreed, as followeth;" (Documents of American History, Henry S. Commager ed. pp 22,23).
The state constitution of Deleware had this oath of office for the House of Burgess State Assembly: "I, A.B., do profess Faith in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ his own Son, and in the Holy Ghost, one God blessed for evermore; and I do acknowledge the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by divine Inspiration." This constitution was written by George Read, known as "the Father of Deleware."
The importance of government based on the Christian Bible was evident in the Rhode Island charter of 1683: "We submit our persons, lives, and estates unto our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords and to all those perfect and most absolute laws of His given us in His Holy Word."
Here is the very essence of what made America the recipient of the blessings of God that would extend into many centuries of our history. These public covenants were critical to the strength of the community, to the perpetuity of the blessings, and to the success of their ventures. We must start with these examples, for this was how freedom was founded first in America!
7. We must be committed to a bottom-up government system. States and small communities must hold powers that are held only by federal governments today. The purpose of the new federal government must be limited to protect those states which have covenanted together for mutual protection from invading forces. Most of the judicial and legislative powers of government must be held by the small communities. As in the founding of Connecticut, "the most noteworthy features of the Connecticut republic was that it was a federation of independent towns and that all attributes of sovereignty not expressly granted to the General Court remained, as of original right, in the towns" (Christian History of the Constitution of the United States of America, Verna Hall, p.252).
Christian people must attend to all areas of government:
a. Self-government. Self-government promotes community. A man who is gentle, generous, considerate of others, and righteous is a man who builds community and gives a strong-arm government no reason for being. Communist and socialist governments predominate when there are no neighbors helping neighbors, no families taking care of their own, and undisciplined, rude, and careless relations among the citizenry. Excessive petty laws that tyrannize all areas of our lives are usually generated when people are too eager to take their selfish irritations to court instead of seeking resolution of the problems on an individual basis.
b. Family government. The prerogatives of the family spelled out in the Bible belong to the family. The state should never steal these rights. Conversely, fathers and mothers should embrace the responsibilities that are theirs. These prerogatives include the discipline of children, the diet and health care provisions for the family, occupations of children, and the education of the family.
c. Church government. Churches must be diligent in practicing church discipline. In addition to parents, churches are responsible for the education of the community. Church courts are also quite Biblical for deciding disagreements between members.
d. Civil government. Paul exercised his rights as a Roman citizen in order to protect his life. We ought to daily exercise our rights as citizens of our countries in order to protect our lives and promote other laws of God. Like it or not, we do contribute to the civil structure in which we live. If we do not make our contribution in accordance with the laws of God, we are disobedient, ineffective, and will invite upon ourselves the judgement of God.
No area of government must be neglected. However, as Christians are less successful and less attentive to self-government and family-government, they will be useless in the church and civil spheres. The Christian life is an all-or-nothing proposition. Our good family government will complement our participation and effect in civil government.
8. We must be committed to supporting with our money and time principled leaders at all levels of government. If at all possible, we should cultivate maturity in ourselves and our sons with the intent that we all be better fit for leadership in our families, our churches, and our communities. "He that seeks the office of an elder seeketh a good thing."
9. We must all be committed to certain basic principles concerning civil government (though we may disagree in certain practical details):
- Government's purpose is to defend the citizens from invaders and judge those who commit crimes; it is not to redistribute wealth and steal property.
- Government should never control, mandate, or fund the education of our children.
- Government should never absorb more than 10% of the nation's Gross National Income.
- Government should never control, regulate, operate, subsidize, license, tax, or in anyway interfere with the operation of a church.
- All men and all governments are subject to the unchangeable laws of God written on their hearts and in the Bible. Governments are responsible for legislating and enforcing God's laws, not man's laws.
- Government must not tolerate or contribute to the wanton, selfish, or hateful murder of any of its citizens, born or unborn.
- Government must never condone or reward disobedience of any of the ten commandments.
- Salvation from sin or sin's effects cannot be provided by the government, excessive taxation, oppressive laws or bloody purges. Salvation is only by God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:8,9).
10. We must have strong, godly leaders, who are well-trained in the Bible.
Exodus 18:21 "Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers..."
These leaders may be our children or our children's children, but they must have strong family training provided by their parents' examples and constant teaching from the Bible. So little progress is made in our short lives here on earth that whatever self-discipline, courage, and principles we can build into our children's lives early will provide a wonderful head start for them and give rise to leaders who are strong and principled for the new free communities.
11. Balance of powers is a key principle to any governmental system because man's heart is corrupt and bent to selfishness and consolidation of power. This principle did much to preserve the integrity of our government for many years.
Isaiah 60:1-11 "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side. Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee. The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall show forth the praises of the LORD...Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the LORD thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee. Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought. For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted."