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The Forerunner

Who was Thomas Jefferson?

By Editorial Staff
Published February 1, 1993

Thomas Jefferson has been a character of interest lately, with President Bill Clinton often alluding to the third president of the United States as his role model. In October, The Forerunner, ran Cleon Skousen’s article which documented some of the biblical principles which influenced young Thomas Jefferson’s philosophy.

As I peruse the pages of this paper each month and am led through the history of this illustrious nation, I find myself asking the same question each time: “Where is the mention of slaves and the intensities of slavery brought upon the minds of our country’s founders?” My silence is broken today, in similarity to the voice of that fiery abolitionist, William Lloyd Garrison.

When the October issue of The Forerunner mentioned Thomas Jefferson in only flattering terms, I quickly took objection.

It has been documented numerous times that great American leaders, such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, gained their beautifully architected plantations as well as regional prominence in society at the hands and backs of the slaves they repressed on their many properties. In fact, Thomas Jefferson is presently pointed in today’s history classes as a model of contradiction – on the one hand demanding the rights of man, on the other enslaving innocent humans in his obvious white supremacy. Even in letters to his intellectual associates in Europe, Jefferson reveals his sentiments by referring to blacks as lazy, slow, unable to reason, lacking in imagination and even spoke against their “unsightly appearance.”

Owning over 200 slaves, Thomas Jefferson never freed one of them – even upon his death – sighting legal reasons.

Furthermore, let us never so adore the constitution of the United States as to believe that “the language in the Constitution and the framers’ concept of natural law could be construed as condemning it (slavery),” as Ron Auvil states in his article “The elections of 1856 and 1992.” This is simply not true. This very document impugns itself by regarding slaves as three-fifths of one person for the purpose of apportioning taxes and representatives. The constitution also forbids congress to prohibit importation “of such persons as the several states shall think proper to admit.”

The constitution serves as a written testament to the pro-slavery sentiment the conventioneers were willing to adopt for a nation’s founding, albeit a faulted founding.

Let not this paper serve the opponents of orthodox Christianity as testament against us by ignoring the racism their forefathers placed upon our shoulders, thus encouraging us to ignore our own sins.

Jerry D. Jones
Cleveland, Ohio


Response from The Forerunner:

So be it. Racism is a problem that has perplexed the human race since it began. The only answer to this problem is found in Christianity. This fact is attested to by the Christian faith of abolitionists such as William Wilberforce, William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, Lyman Beecher and many other brave men and women who voiced their discontent rather than be silenced by the prevailing views of their peers.

Thomas Jefferson is to be included in this group. While it is true that Jefferson is portrayed in modern history classes as a white supremacist, a deist and a racist, this is, in fact, historical revisionism at its worst. Modern students of history ought to ignore their secular education and go straight to the facts. Students of a historical figure ought to research the character by reading the words of that man or woman themselves, not of secondary sources, as these often reflect the researcher’s bias on a particular issue.

Whenever The Forerunner highlights the character of a man or woman who has contributed to our nation’s Christian heritage, we are never implying that the person was without fault. We are neither attempting to prove that America is the best nation on earth; nor that our founding fathers were better than those of other nations. We are merely trying to unearth America’s Christian heritage which has been obscured by modern history textbooks.

What do modern educators have to gain by distorting the true character of Thomas Jefferson? If we read the words of Jefferson himself, we find that he was silenced even in his own day. At the time of the drafting of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson revealed his frustration with the other American delegates for ratifying a document that, in his mind, should have been passed without debate. He also records that his clause condemning slavery was censured by the committee:

“The clause too, reprobating the enslaving the inhabitants of Africa, was struck out in complaisance to South Carolina and Georgia, who had never attempted to restrain the importation of slaves, and who, on the contrary, still wished to continue it. Our northern brethren also, I believe, felt a little tender under those censures; for though their people had very few slaves themselves, yet they had been pretty considerable carriers of them to others.“1

Jefferson’s anti-slavery clause originally appeared under the list of grievances to the king of Great Britain:

“He has waged cruel wars against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the CHRISTIAN king of Great Britain. Determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or restrain this execrable commerce.”

In further research, we were unable to find Jefferson’s negative references to blacks. We found instead numerous quotes that tend to support the opposite view: “That all men are created equal.” To Jefferson, inferiority was something imposed on a people; it is only tyranny or the enslaving of a race or gender that brings repression.

For instance, on the subject of the treatment of Native American women by their men, Jefferson wrote:

“The women are submitted to unjust drudgery. This is the case with every barbarous people. With such, force is law. The stronger sex therefore imposes on the weaker. It is civilization alone which places women in the enjoyment of their natural equality.“2

Jefferson believed that if civilization were allowed to run its natural course, all races would achieve equality:

“Before we condemn the Indians of this continent as wanting genius, we must consider that letters have not yet been introduced among them. Were we to compare them in their present state with the Europeans North of the Alps, when the Roman arms and arts first crossed those mountains, the comparison would be unequal … How many good poets, how many able mathematicians, how many great inventors in arts or sciences had Europe North of the Alps then produced? And it was sixteen centuries after this before a Newton could be formed.“3

It is true that Jefferson remained an agrarian aristocrat all his life and that his estate owned slaves, but he was a man ahead of his time. He always believed that if the citizens of our country were enlightened, that people of all races, male and female, would be entrusted with the blessings of liberty without hindrance by the federal government.

1 The Autobiography of Thomas Jefferson. The text used here is from The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, ed. A.A. Lipscomb and A.E. Bergh (1903).
2 Notes on the State of Virginia. Norton edition, edited by William Peden (1954).
3 Ibid.


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Your comments are welcome!

Did Thomas Jefferson ever predict that our democracy would last only 200 years?

Posted by Bob Przytulski on 03/03/2009 07:07 AM #

From Notes On the State of Virginia
“Deep rooted prejudices entertained by whites; ten thousand recollections, by the blacks, of the injuries they have sustained; new provocations, the real distinctions which nature has made; and many other circumstances, will divide us into parties, and produce convulsions which will probably never end but in the extermination of the one race or the other race… the difference is fixed in nature, and is as real as if its seat and cause were better known to us.” P186-7. “comparing them by their faculties of memory, reason, and imagination, it appears to me, that in memory they are equal to the whites; in reason much inferior…. and that in imagination they are dull, tasteless, and anomalous.” 188 “The improvements of the blacks in body and mind, in the first instance of their mixture with the whites, has been observed by everyone, and proves that their inferiority is not the effect merely of their condition of life.” 190. “When freed, he is to be removed beyond the reach of mixture.” P193

Posted by tyler hammond on 05/03/2010 05:22 PM #

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Freedom: The Model of Christian Liberty (DVD)

“Give me liberty or give me death!”

Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.

The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

This presentation is a similar call, not to one but many. By reintroducing the principles of freedom that gave birth to America, it is our prayer that Jesus, the true and only ruler over the nations, will once again be our acknowledged Sovereign, that we may again know and exult in the great truth that “where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).

Welcome to the Second American Revolution!

This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.

$14.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

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The Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of ChristThe Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of Christ (DVD)

Who is the Real Jesus?

Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.

Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.

The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.

Speakers include: George Grant, Ted Baehr, Stephen Mansfield, Raymond Ortlund, Phil Kayser, David Lutzweiler, Jay Grimstead, J.P. Holding, and Eric Holmberg.

Ten parts, over two hours of instruction!

Running Time: 130 minutes

$19.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

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The Four Keys to the Millennium (Book)

Foundations in Biblical Eschatology

By Jay Rogers, Larry Waugh, Rodney Stortz, Joseph Meiring. High quality paperback, 167 pages.

All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?

These and many more questions are dealt with by four authors as they present the four views on the millennium. Each view is then critiqued by the other three authors.

$12.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

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The Silent Scream (DVD) Eight Languages

“When the lives of the unborn are snuffed out, they often feel pain, pain that is long and agonizing.” – President Ronald Reagan to National Religious Broadcasters Convention, January 1981

Ronald Reagan became convinced of this as a result of watching The Silent Scream – a movie he considered so powerful and convicting that he screened it at the White House. More recently, it was by catching just a glimpse of what this film reveals that Planned Parenthood director and abortion advocate Abby Johnson turned and became a strong advocate for the pre-born.

The modern technology of real-time ultrasound now reveals the actual responses of a 12-week old fetus to being aborted. As the unborn child attempts to escape the abortionist’s suction curette, her motions can be seen to become desperately agitated and her heart rate doubles. Her mouth opens – as if to scream – but no sound can come out. Her scream doesn’t have to remain silent, however … not if you will become her voice. This newly re-mastered version features eight language tracks and two bonus videos.

“…a high technology “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” arousing public opinion just as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 antislavery novel ignited the abolitionist movement.” – Sen. Gordon Humphrey, Time Magazine

Languages: English, Spanish, French, South Korean, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese

Running Time: 28 minutes

$17.95 — ORDER NOW!

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The Abortion Matrix: Defeating Child Sacrifice and the Culture of Death (DVD)

Download the free Study Guide!

Is there a connection between pagan religion and the abortion industry?

This powerful presentation traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God and crime against humanity has produced in our beleaguered society.

Conceived as a sequel and update to the 1988 classic, The Massacre of Innocence, the new title, The Abortion Matrix, is entirely fitting. It not only references abortion’s specific target – the sacred matrix where human beings are formed in the womb in the very image of God, but it also implies the existence of a conspiracy, a matrix of seemingly disparate forces that are driving this holocaust.

The occult activity surrounding the abortion industry is exposed with numerous examples. But are these just aberrations, bizarre yet anomalous examples of abortionists who just happen to have ties to modern day witchcraft? Or is this representative of something deeper, more sinister and even endemic to the entire abortion movement?

As the allusion to the film of over a decade ago suggests, the viewer may learn that things are not always as they appear to be. The Abortion Matrix reveals the reality of child-killing and strikes the proper moral chord to move hearts to fulfill the biblical responsibility to rescue those unjustly sentenced to death and to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 24:11,12; 31:8,9).

Speakers include: George Grant, Peter Hammond, RC Sproul Jr., Paul Jehle, Lou Engle, Rusty Thomas, Flip Benham, Janet Porter and many more.

Ten parts, over three hours of instruction!

Running Time: 195 minutes

$19.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

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The Abortion Matrix:
Defeating Child Sacrifice and the Culture of Death

is a 195-minute presentation that traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God has produced. You can order this series on DVD, read the complete script and view clips on-line...
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