It has become rather common in our day to hear descriptions of our founding fathers as bold rebels daring to defy the authority of the British government, but is that really what happened? Was the American Revolution an act of rebellion against England? That has certainly become a popular theme in modern, American education, but the records of the founding era tell a different story.
In 1774, James Wilson who was to become one of only six men to sign both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and who would sit as one of the justices of America’s first Supreme Court, wrote a pamphlet entitled “Considerations on the Nature and Extent of the Legislative Authority of the British Parliament.” This pamphlet should be required reading in every high school, for in it, Wilson presented a brief overview of the legal case justifying the American Revolution. In particular, he referenced three very famous cases in British history which proved that the American colonies were not subject to the laws of Parliament.
The first case was one from 1485 in which the British court ruled that the people of Ireland were not subject to the laws of the British legislature “because they do not send knights to parliament.” The second case was a dispute heard in 1694 regarding the question of whether the people of Jamaica were bound by the laws of Parliament, and once again, the British court ruled “That the acts of parliament or statutes of England were not in force in Jamaica.” Wilson then made reference to a third case in which the court held “that the laws of England did not extend to Virginia.” It was on these three cases that Wilson rested his claim that the American colonies were not bound by the dictates of Parliament.
Wilson freely admitted, however, that the colonies were still subject to the king of England even though they were not subject to the British Parliament. This brings us to the fourth case mentioned by Wilson – the famous Calvin’s Case of 1608. In that case, the British court ruled that:
“As the subject oweth to the King his true and faithful ligeance and obedience, so the Sovereign is to govern and protect his Subjects, to rule and protect the subjects: so as between the Sovereign and subject there is a dual and reciprocal tie, because just as the subject is bound in obedience to the king, so the king is bound to the protection of the subject.”
It was the decision of the court in Calvin’s Case that inspired Sir William Blackstone to write in his Commentaries on the Laws of England that it is:
“a maxim in the law, that protection and subjection are reciprocal.”
In other words, if the king removes his protection from his subjects, then they cease to be his subjects and no longer owe him any allegiance. This principle was well known and understood in the American colonies, and when King George gave his consent to the American Prohibitory Act of December 22, 1775, the colonists recognized that this removal of the king’s protection was a legal declaration of America’s independence from Great Britain. When John Adams heard of this Act, he wrote that:
“It throws thirteen colonies out of the royal protection, levels all distinctions, and makes us independent in spite of our supplications and entreaties. It may be fortunate that the act of independency should come from the British parliament, rather than the American congress.”
The Prohibitory Act completely destroyed the colonists’ hopes for reconciliation, for in it, the king had declared the Colonies to be free from his protection and thus, according to the law, they were made free from all allegiance to him.
What this means for us today is that the American Revolution was not an act of rebellion at all. Rather, it consisted of a fully legal refusal to comply with laws passed by a parliament that had no authority over the colonies. This was followed by the king’s decision to remove his protection from the colonies and declare war against them. The Americans correctly concluded that, under British law, the actions of King George constituted a de facto declaration of American independence. Consequently, the ensuing Revolutionary War was not a war of rebellion but rather a war of defense. The fledgling country of America, “appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions,” called upon the aid of Almighty God and valiantly defended herself against foreign invaders.
A friend of mine told me that she was doing a show on her podcast discussing what Christians can learn about God from divorce. That’s certainly a great topic for Christians to think about, and there is a TON of information in the Bible about divorce. There's even an entire book of the Bible devoted to that topic. But I think that the most important thing any Christian can learn about divorce is how to avoid it, and that is found in I Cor 7.
Nearly 3,500 years ago, the nation of Israel faced a pandemic so deadly that it killed 23,000 men in a single day. That was 4% of the total population of Israel. All of those who contracted this disease did so by committing a capital crime, and the initial defeat of the disease was accomplished by sentencing all of the survivors to death. But that's not the end of the story.
One of the most fascinating things about the Old Testament is the fact that God established a republican government in ancient Israel. Most people today think that Israel had a standard monarchical form of government, but that was not the case. Israel (and Judah) never had a true monarchy. Throughout their history, they were always a republican nation characterized by popular elections of their rulers. (For more on this topic see my free eBook The Bible and the Constitution.)
When God established Israel’s government, He also taught the Jews how to choose the right kind of leaders. Those instructions can be found in Exodus 18:21, Deuteronomy 1:13, and Deuteronomy 17:15-20. The qualifications listed in these and other passages are not difficult. There were thousands of men in Israel who met them. God intentionally set the standard low so that the various offices could be filled. He gave the Jews a list of the barest minimum standards that would allow their government to function with good men in positions of leadership.
I did not watch this year's State of the Union address. In fact, I have never watched a State of the Union address. I always wait to read the transcript afterwards instead. I have found that reading a transcript of a speech allows me to focus on the actual content of the speech without the distraction of the speaker's theatrics. And when I read this year's State of the Union address from Donald Trump, I found that this practice of separating content from theatrics gave me a fairly unique perspective of a speech that many of my friends were describing as the greatest State of the Union address they've ever heard.
I am glad that Trump attended the March for Life instead of the Planned Parenthood gala like Obama did, and I'm glad that he gave a speech proclaiming that "Every child is a precious and sacred gift from God." I just have one small question:
I wasn't planning to write this. When I heard about Trump's brave new guidance for prayer in schools, I tried to just ignore it and get on with my life. I figured that I had gotten enough of my friends mad at me for the time being and that I should just let this particular opportunity slide on by. However, I saw so many of my friends posting about how wonderful Trump was for issuing these new guidelines that I finally decided to actually read the guidelines for myself and see what all the fuss was about.
Dear Bro. Charles,
By now, you have almost certainly heard about the contention between Pastor Dan and the deacons of First Baptist Church. In fact, it would be nigh impossible for you to have missed it. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation being spread by both sides of the conflict, and I wanted to write you to ensure that you received an accurate account of the proceedings up to this time. Of course, I won’t be able to go into a lot of detail, but I hope that this overview will help you to sort out truth from fiction among all the conflicting reports that you have read.
My most memorable game as a coach did not come from a win but rather from a loss. I had been hired earlier that year to coach the JV Basketball team for a small Christian school in North Carolina. The school’s varsity team had repeatedly finished first or second for several years in a row thanks in large part to a varsity coach who had been hired soon after his conversion because of his record for winning. In fact, the varsity team’s record was one of the major recruitment tools that the school used to grow their high school program. Their JV team, however, was not doing as well, and they hired me to teach their young players the fundamentals of the game and prepare them to compete on the varsity level.
I recently had the opportunity to listen to a debate between Mark Hall and Steven Green on the topic of the Christian foundation of America. Hall has written a book defending the idea that America had a Christian foundation, and Green has written a book in defense of the opposite view. I obviously agree with Hall, but I thought that he could have done a better job of refuting some of Green’s claims (and he probably does so in his book). Since I was taking notes anyway, I thought that I would share a few of my objections to Green’s claims.
Bill Fortenberry is a Christian philosopher and historian in Birmingham, AL. Bill's work has been cited in several legal journals, and he has appeared as a guest on shows including The Dr. Gina Show, The Michael Hart Show, and Real Science Radio.
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"Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning." (Proverbs 9:9)