The Freedom of the Framers
Hello, this is Pastor Don Willeman of Christ Redeemer Church. Welcome to The Kingdom Perspective.
The Framers of our constitution knew that they were proposing something quite unique in the history of the world. They were proposing a free Republic, where people would not be ruled by the whims of a king or the dictates of a pope, but by the will of the people. It was to be as Abraham Lincoln would later say a “government of the people, by the people, and for the people”. Today, we take such notions for granted and are quite intoxicated with our “right to freedom”. We pride ourselves at being able to sniff out threats to that freedom from ten miles away.
However, the Framers were not so giddy about how easy or stable such a government ruled by the people would be. They were just as suspicious of the tyranny of the people, as they were about the tyranny of any prince.1 Because they knew history and their Bibles, they were quite aware that a system of self-government required the people to be able to govern themselves. This meant that the people must willingly restrain their baser instincts by voluntarily submitting themselves to the rule of a moral law outside themselves. Though many of them were not personally Christian, they largely saw this voluntary restraining instinct to be the function of voluntary religious practice, particularly Christian practice.
Listen to John Adams:
“We have no Government armed with Power capable of contending with human Passions unbridled from…morality and Religion. Avarice, Ambition…Revenge or Gallantry, would break the strongest Cords of our Constitution as a Whale goes through a Net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
~John Adams to the Massachusetts Militia on October 11, 1798 (sic)
Something to think about from The Kingdom Perspective”.
“My son, if you receive my words
and treasure up my commandments with you,
making your ear attentive to wisdom
and inclining your heart to understanding;
yes, if you call out for insight
and raise your voice for understanding,
if you seek it like silver
and search for it as for hidden treasures,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
he stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
he is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
guarding the paths of justice
and watching over the way of his saints.
Then you will understand righteousness and justice
and equity, every good path;
for wisdom will come into your heart,
and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;
discretion will watch over you,
understanding will guard you,
delivering you from the way of evil,
from men of perverted speech,
who forsake the paths of uprightness
to walk in the ways of darkness,
who rejoice in doing evil
and delight in the perverseness of evil,
men whose paths are crooked,
and who are devious in their ways.
So you will be delivered from the forbidden woman,
from the adulteress with her smooth words,
who forsakes the companion of her youth
and forgets the covenant of her God;
for her house sinks down to death,
and her paths to the departed;
none who go to her come back,
nor do they regain the paths of life.
So you will walk in the way of the good
and keep to the paths of the righteous.
For the upright will inhabit the land,
and those with integrity will remain in it,
but the wicked will be cut off from the land,
and the treacherous will be rooted out of it.”
~ Proverbs 2:1-22 (ESV)
1. See Federalist Papers No. 51, paragraph 6 (https://billofrightsinstitute.org/primary-sources/federalist-no-51).