By Jay Rogers
Published May 1, 2008
A few years ago, I was asked by representatives of the Alliance for Revival and Reformation to draft a “Declaration of Dependence.” This document is an outline of the strategy to clearly define and reclaim America as a Christian nation. This is a restatement of the Declaration of Independence, and it follows a Puritan covenantal outline.
As a Christian publisher and a multimedia missionary, my vision has always been to bring revival and reformation to America. The revival I speak of includes a spiritual awakening of all of society. I am convinced such an all-encompassing spiritual awakening and reformation of society must necessarily divide America into two camps: Neo-Puritans and Neo-Pagans. Proposing that America was founded as, and should be again, a Christian nation will bring us into conflict with liberal humanists and even those in the church who are committed to a pietistic ideology of neutrality.
In rewriting the Declaration of Independence, I’ve tried to hold to a covenantal model. Therefore, I’ve inserted some of the language of the preamble of the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut because it establishes our national republic as pre-existent in covenantally founded commonwealths. The Orders and other colonial charters and compacts are still binding on the individual states today. Usurpation of the Orders by the king of England was one reason for the War for Independence.
What follows is the draft of the Declaration, but we are asking for critiques, questions, and suggestions for changes in the text. Those interested in promoting the plan to circulate a Declaration of Dependence among America’s Christian leaders, should contact me at the address given at the end of this article.
The circulation of this Declaration of Dependence should be in the context of an ongoing discussion among those who hold to some bare minimum standards for orthodoxy, a covenantal worldview, and Knoxian and Cromwellian models for resistance. This discussion is leading us somewhere. We are definitely headed in a clear direction. Many Christians are new to covenantal theology. We are still hashing it out in our minds. However, we have a destination—the City of God on earth as it is in heaven.
God has a covenantal strategy for His people to reclaim America. In any war, first you need a worthy cause. Then you need to find worthy allies who will be loyal in the fight for the long term. Then you need a workable strategy which will result in success.
The battle for America is a covenantal battle. It is a battle between two allegiances: those who would restore America to a Christian republic under the lordship of Jesus Christ and the liberal humanists who believe man is sovereign. It’s a battle between those who stand for the law of God and those who do not. It’s a battle between Neo-Puritans and Neo-Pagans.
The battle in the church is also a covenantal battle. It’s a battle between orthodox covenantal theology and heterodox dispensational theology. It is a battle between those who hold to a victorious ecclesiology, the lordship of Jesus Christ over the totality of human life—and those who believe we are predestined for defeat, that the earth belongs to the devil and the antichrist. It’s a battle between the “Confessing Church,” those who believe Jesus is Lord over all the earth in time and history—and dispensationalists and liberals, those who will not confess that Jesus is now Lord over all.
There are many fronts in each battle. The enemies of Christ will fight us. Others in the church will try to remain “neutral.” But we must realize from the outset that there is no neutrality. The strategy we must begin to outline is a Knoxian method of resistance. John Knox and the Scottish covenanters used a definite strategy to depose Mary, Queen of Scots and the Roman Catholic Church from their unlawful oppression of Scotland in the 1500s. One hundred years later, Oliver Cromwell destroyed once and for all the idea of “the divine right of kings” in Western Christian civilization.
In the 1700s, America was founded on Knoxian-Cromwellian social theory. We can restore America to greatness in the 21st century by adapting some of their methods.
We can be successful with even a few thousand churches and ministries in strategic regional zones of influence committed to long term battle to restore the Christian republic. It will happen sooner once the lines of battle are drawn.
Defining the Battle Lines
This is a proposal to draft and redact a series of documents or “prayer proclamations” that prominent Christian leaders in America would be asked to sign. The idea is to divide the church in America into two camps:
1. Those who are committed to the battle for the Christian republic, and
2. Those who are committed to “the myth of neutrality” or who are openly opposed to rebuilding a Christian nation.
We would discern the two camps by drafting a series of documents or “prayer proclamations” following the covenantal structure of Deuteronomy 28 and 29. Pastors and elders of churches would be asked to pray along these lines. They would pray God’s blessings and curses upon specific individuals and institutions in America. They would be given a study program to use in teaching their churches. And then they would be called upon to act when the opportunity arises.
Each of these prayer proclamations would be submitted to a list of well-known Christian leaders. We would publish two lists: the first list would be the Christian leaders who signed; the second list would be those who refused to sign. So as to negate the possibility of oversight and second thoughts, leaders may sign on and sign off on each list at any time. The current lists would be available on request by mail, as press releases, and posted on the Internet. We will publish two lists because we want it to be known who are the allies in the battle for the Christian republic and who are not. We would ask people to contact the Christian leaders who are not allies with us and ask them, “Why not?” Yet this is a deadly serious strategy. We are calling people to martyrdom if the need arises. So the call to action is not a light game or a gimmick.
We would then invite pastors and elders of churches and leaders of Christian ministries to sign. These men first declare that they hold to a bare minimum standard of orthodoxy. For our purposes, we would use the Coalition On Revival’s foundational document for the church: The 42 Articles of the Essentials of a Christian Worldview (42 general statements of the Christian faith which all denominations may agree upon).
They will also be asked to read, understand, and educate their flock using the following documents: The 25 Articles on the Kingdom of God — A Manifesto for the Christian Church (a statement on where the Church should stand on important issues and a rationale for activism), and The 17 Worldview Documents (statements on how to apply the Bible to every field of life).
The goal is to convene a National Synod of the Confessing Church in America in the years 2003, 2005, 2007 to further strategize for total victory. This synod would be open to church leaders who are signers of the 42 Articles. These would be leaders who want to go to the next step —the Confessing Church’s “marching orders” for the next successive two years after each national synod.
Between now and 2003, we want to establish our “New Model Army” from those churches and ministries who have agreed to fight using Knoxian and Cromwellian models for resistance. A spiritual army will be organized to rebuild America upon the principles of the Bible. Our vision is to see Christians everywhere doing all they can to take every sphere of society captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5).
A Declaration of Dependence
The following is a restatement of the Declaration of Independence, which follows a roughly Puritan covenantal outline. The Declaration of Dependence is more explicitly Christian. The plan is to ask Christian leaders all over America to sign this Declaration. We would begin with local presbyteries in regional zones. We would work at the local and state level for six months to a year promoting the plan and collecting signatures for the document. We would then ask state political leaders to sign.
After critical mass is gained at the local level we would call the most prominent nationally known church leaders from all over the nation to sign. We would then call our national civil leaders to confirm the covenant that binds all men to the lordship of Jesus Christ. All national leaders at the federal level, the Supreme Court, Congress and President would also be called upon to sign the Declaration of Dependence Upon God. We will keep two lists: those who sign and those who refuse.
A DECLARATION OF DEPENDENCE UPON GOD
When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for a people to declare their dependence upon God, and to reaffirm their national Christian covenant to which the laws of God bind them, an appropriate response to God requires that they should declare before mankind the causes which bind them to this covenant.
We hold these biblical truths, that all men are created equal, in that they are endowed by their Creator, with certain rights not to be violated by any power foreign or domestic. Among these rights are life, liberty, and property. The possibility of human rights is found only under God, who through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ, has set before us either life or death, blessing or cursing, corresponding to our faith and subsequent obedience to His commandments.
For as much as it pleased Almighty God by His wise Providence to institute governments among men, God requires that to maintain peace and union of a people there should be an orderly and appropriate Government established according to God’s Law. That to secure these rights, to maintain and preserve the liberty and purity of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus which we now profess, this government derives its representation from the people and their representatives have the power to administer justice according to the Word of God.
That whenever any form of government becomes disobedient and destructive of these ends, it is the responsibility of the people to resist it according to the Word of God, to pray for God’s mercy, to affirm their national covenant with God, restoring the nation’s foundation according to God’s Law. The Word of God, indeed, will dictate, that governments long established, should not be changed for light and transient causes nor violently cast off in lawless revolutions. Accordingly, the Bible has shown that God’s people are enjoined to bear patiently under His hand of discipline, while evils are sufferable, rather than avenge themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to separate them from their national covenant with God and reduce them under absolute despotism, it is the right — nay, it is the duty —of duly ordained Christian leaders in church and state to reprove such government and to restore those biblical forms that will ensure their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these United States, and such is now the necessity that constrains them to reform their present system of government. The history of the present civil rulers in this country is, for the most part, a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the casting away of the Law of God and establishment of an absolute tyranny of religious humanism over these States. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world….
1. Where God’s Law states that we shall not murder, and our national covenant guarantees the right to life, through the tyrannical imposition of abortion on demand they have slain in excess of 35 million unborn infants.
2. They have refused their assent to laws most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
3. They have obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing to limit their judicial decrees to the stated intent of either the Constitution or the Bible.
4. They have erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers, to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
5. They have combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving their assent to acts of pretended legislation.
6. For exporting child murder to foreign nations through American citizens’ tax monies.
7. For promoting sexual immorality among government officials by appointing men and women of low moral character, even sodomites, to position of high ruling power.
8. For establishing laws which interfere with the free practice of religion and worship in public life.
9. For promoting works of blasphemy against our Lord Jesus Christ through federal subsidies.
10. For regulating the American citizen’s free right to bear arms.
11. For involving us in entangling alliances with foreign nations.
12. For using United Nations organizations to promote tyranny abroad and rule over American citizens without our consent.
13. For imposing taxes on us through deceit and trickery and without our consent.
14. For introducing fiat currency, a fractional reserve banking system, a federal income tax, property taxes and deficit spending.
15. For more than doubling the divinely condemned tax of 20 percent that the tyrant Pharaoh imposed on the children of God.
16. For depriving us, in many cases, (especially those related to taxation) of the benefits of trial by jury.
17. For weakening our own legislatures, and declaring their own bureaucracies invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
18. For creating a welfare state that does not require the poor to work in order to eat.
19. For monopolizing numerous systems of public commerce by supporting them through taxation while excessively regulating and taxing private business enterprises under the guise of lawful government.
20. For promoting the myths of pluralism, religious neutrality, and primary reliance upon man-made laws over biblical law, which has steadily eroded, as it inevitably will, into rank humanism and lawlessness.
21. They are at this time advancing a comprehensive program—legislative, economic, and cultural—to complete the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy, scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy of a civilized nation.
22. In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms. Our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A government whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant—which rules apart from Divine authority—is unfit to govern the affairs of a Christian people.
Nor have we been wanting in appeals to our representatives. We have warned them from time to time, of their attempts to extend an unbiblical jurisdiction over us and have participated in the election of leaders professing to restrain this abuse, to no avail. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our ancestors’ emigration, settlement, and foundation here as a biblical commonwealth governed according to the Word of God. We have appealed to their sense of justice and goodness, and we have pleaded with them as our representatives to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably bring our nation under God’s judgment. They too, have been deaf to the voice of justice and peace. We must, therefore, declare our full obedience and dependence on God and His unchanging eternal Law, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, in rebellion as adversaries, in submission as God friends.
We, the Christian citizens of the United States of America, thankfully acknowledge God’s faithfulness towards us and the permission to choose our civil rulers, which God entrusts and grants as a privilege. Therefore, we repent of having allowed ungodliness and conceit to rule over our nation rather than having chosen wise and godly rulers. We pray that God Almighty would dash the conceits of all those who shall oppose His eternal moral laws. We are persuaded, as God has given us the liberty, to now faithfully maintain it. As God has spared our lives, and has given us life and liberty, we pledge to seek the guidance of God, and to choose civil authorities that will rule under God.
We, therefore, the ambassadors of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Christian citizens of the United States of America, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the Holy Scriptures, solemnly publish and declare, that these United States are, and of right ought to be one nation under God, and that our representatives must swear allegiance to govern according to His Word, and that, as a nation covenanted to God, they will have full power to perform those duties which covenanted nations must of biblical warrant do.
And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the favor and protection of the Lord of Hosts, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.
In Defense of the Declaration of Independence
On close examination of the text of the Declaration of Independence, it may seem to a covenantally-minded Christian, that some of the wording is humanistic. But because the language of the Declaration of Independence is archaic in some places, the words themselves have changed meaning. We might assume that the language is humanistic, when it is not really so.
I will briefly examine three such examples of archaic wordings that are often misinterpreted as the result of Enlightenment humanism: “inalienable rights”—“self-evident truths”—“decent respect to the opinions of mankind.”
Inalienable Rights. What is an “inalienable” right? We assume that it is a right that is not to be alienated, but “to alienate” in this sense means surrendered to a foreign or alien power. We have come to think that inalienable means “innate” or “immutable” or “not to be taken away”—but what this phrase really means is that life, liberty, and property is protected under a commonwealth or a national government. It does not necessarily mean that every person is born with these rights. That is the idea in the “right to property” which was changed to “the pursuit of happiness” by slave owners. Any person has a God given right to secure property unless he is guilty of a crime that requires restitution. However, “the pursuit of happiness” is an innocuous meaningless term of compromise. I disagree with the choice of the delegates who changed the meaning of the Declaration here. However, the main intent of the phrase, “inalienable rights…life liberty and property,” is to ensure that rights will be protected by a local or national civil government and not subject to a foreign power. This is one more evidence that the colonists saw themselves to be self-governing even before the time of the signing of the Declaration. Therefore the conflict of 1775 was not a revolution, but a war for independence.
Self-Evident Truths. Contrary to the criticism of some detractors of the Declaration, there is no “self-evident truth” in the phrase, “We hold these truths to be self-evident.” “Self” here refers to the subject “we” and not “the truths” in and of themselves. Truth can be evident only to a person. Truth embodied by a person, Jesus Christ, is the only “self-evident” truth. Even the meaning of the word “evident” is archaic here too. We think of “evident” as meaning “revealed to be true” or as “evidence.” The root meaning of evident is “to see.” Self-evident means simply clear to the vision. So we could say in our modern usage, “We hold these truths to be clear to the understanding.”
Decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind. Also archaic is the word “decent.” The Founders did not intend to say that they were under some humanistic “requirement” to respect the opinions of man and not God. Decent does not mean “fair” or “moral,” but “appropriate” or “fitting.” They wanted to give “decent” respect to the opinions of mankind, or in other words, they were declaring their “appropriate response to questions that might arise to this Declaration of Independence.” Further, the Founders wanted to preserve a government that would be “decent” or fitting to the governed, that is, a representational government.
Since these meanings are obscure, I’ve tried to make them more clear in the text of the Declaration of Dependence rather than reversing their humanistic interpretations.
Jay Rogers is the director of The Forerunner International, and the editor of The Forerunner. He can be reached at The Forerunner, P.O. Box 138030, Clermont, FL 34713, or at email@example.com.
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Speakers include: R.J. Rushdoony, George Grant, Howard Phillips, R.C. Sproul Jr., Ken Gentry, Gary DeMar, Jay Grimstead, Steven Schlissel, Andrew Sandlin, Eric Holmberg, and more!
Sixteen Christian leaders and scholars answer some of the most common questions and misconceptions related to this volatile issue:
1. Are we under Law or under Grace?
2. Does the Old Testament Law apply today?
3. Can we legislate morality?
4. What are the biblical foundations of government?
5. Was America founded as a Christian nation?
6. What about the separation of Church and State?
7. Is neutrality a myth?
8. What about non-Christians and the Law of God?
9. Would there be “freedom” in a Christian republic?
10. What would a “Christian America” look like?
Perfect for group instruction as well as personal Bible study.
Ten parts, over four hours of instruction!
Running Time: 240 minutes
Watch over 60 on-line video interviews from God’s Law and Society.
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