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.
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.
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)