Sir William Blackstone is often praised for laying the groundwork for American jurisprudence with his Commentaries on the Laws of England. Blackstone's Commentaries were one of the most widely read books in the colonies, and his views of the laws of England were often incorporated into the laws of America. One portion of Blackstone's Commentaries that has largely been forgotten by modern legal scholars but which played a significant role in forming the thought of founding fathers like James Wilson was Blackstone's answer to the question of where laws come from. What follows is a condensed version of Blackstone's somewhat loquacious answer to that question.
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.
Modern accounts of the philosophical underpinnings of the American Revolution often attribute the concept of popular sovereignty to men such as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau with Locke being the one most often praised as the source of the American ideal of a government of the people, by the people and for the people. To make this attribution, however, modern scholarship has had to ignore or, perhaps, forget the previously held view that the notion of popular sovereignty can be traced to the government of ancient Israel as recorded in the pages of the Bible. This in-depth study is an attempt to correct that error.
The conclusion to my book Hidden Facts of the Founding Era contains a list of 49 correlations between the Bible and the Constitution, and I thought it would be good to share it again here. The book is a refutation of Chris Pinto's popular video The Hidden Faith of the Founding Fathers, and it is written for a homeschool audience. You can read the conclusion here, and of course, the book is available on Amazon.
I was recently challenged with a question about the Bible and immigration, and to answer the challenge, I looked up every occurrence of the words “stranger,” “foreigner,” and “alien” in the Bible. The resulting list was fascinating to read, and in doing so, I discovered the following seven principles about immigration that are taught in Scripture.
I have heard many people (both Christian and non-Christian alike) say that Jesus contradicted the Law of Moses when He instructed His followers not to seek an eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth. However, a comparison of Christ's instruction in Matthew with the teachings of the Old Testament will reveal that He was only correcting a misunderstanding about the Law and not contradicting the Law itself.
There are five verses in the Book of Proverbs that have traditionally been interpreted as instruction for parents to spank their children, but many modern Christians have accepted a different view of these verses.
One of the common arguments brought against the traditional understanding of Leviticus 18:22 is the claim that the Hebrew word “toebah” (abomination) only refers to pagan temple practices and not things that are revolting in and of themselves. I was recently presented with an opportunity to respond to this argument, and I took the time to look up every occurrence of the word “toebah” in the Bible. I found that the above claim cannot be supported by the facts and that the English term "abomination" is an accurate translation of the word "toebah."
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.
Contact Us if you would like to schedule Bill to speak to your church, group, or club.
"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)