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Sunday, July 8, 2007

Was James Madison a Christian or Theist?

By James J. Goswick July 8, 2007

The evidence surrounding the faith of James Madison
does not support the theistic claim of libertarian
Jon Rowe, or any liberal for that matter. The key to
refuting Rowe and other proponents of the theistic
rationalist label they put on James Madison is the
audience Madison addresses for his claim of
Christianity's truth. If the audience are deists,
unitarians, or theists, Rowe is correct, if they are
Christians, he is wrong. Madison in his Memorial
claims Christianity is the religion he believes is divine:

"Whilst we assert for ourselves a freedom to embrace,
to profess and to observe the Religion which we
believe to be of divine origin, we cannot deny an
equal freedom to those whose minds have not yet
yielded to the evidence which has convinced us."

Were the Baptists, Quakers, Menonists, and Anglicans
in the legislature Christians or Unitarians?
Madison is claiming the assembly is Christian, that
believe as he does. Rowe would need proof that the
assembly of Virginia in 1785 were theists, and notice how
Rowe believes there were "infidel principles" but only
mentions Thomas Jefferson and no one else, "Many of
those elite Virginia Anglican Whigs secretly held to
"infidel principles". Indeed, after graduation,
Madison's mentor was Jefferson, who may well have
brought Madison to unitarian infidelity." Who else led
Madison to "infidel principles"?

If Madison was a theist, where is the evidence that
the Virginia Assembly were not Christians? Where is
the evidence that the majority of the
Assembly(Baptists)were theists? Baptists and Anglicans
are Trinitarians. Rowe has presented no
evidence of theists in the Virginia Assembly,
on the contrary, the Memorial and Remonstrance shows
James Madison believed in orthodox Christian beliefs.
Rowe's use of historians or other second hand sources
doesn't support his claim either, Madison's own words
are superior to the words of an historian.

Madison's "best and purest religion" is just an
historians opinion that is true of Thomas Jefferson's
beliefs, the quote is harmonious with his Memorial claim
that all non Christian religions are false. Christianity
is the best religion and the others are false.
We have Jefferson's written words he believed the
bible was corrupted, not Madison's. The best
evidence that Madison is a theist is his "My Red
Children" letter to the Indians. Madison says, "The
Great Spirit, who is the father of us all."
Madison contradicts this statement in his Memorial by
calling the other religions false:

"Compare the number of those who have as yet
it with the number still remaining under
the dominion of false religions; and how small
is the former!"

If the Indians used this term for God, Rowe would have a
point, which he does:

"These lands are ours. No one has a right to
remove us because we were the first owners. The Great
Spirit above has appointed the place for us, on which
to light our fires, and here we will remain."
Tecumseh, Native American chief, in a message to Pres.
James Madison, 1810

From this passage it seems Madison is a theist. Did
Madison change his views? In the final analysis,
Jon Rowe believes Madison played
both sides to win their support, but this view doesn't
seem logical and destroys any of Madison's
credibility. How could the so called Father of the
Constitution call other religions false, simultaneously
not believing what he said, lieing about his faith,
and the faith of his parents just to defeat a bill?
What does that say about his character?

This is the worst kind of hypocrisy, and Rowe admits it:

"To the evangelical Christians, speaking as though
their religion was true, and to the Native Americans,
doing the same. This fits with theistic rationalism
which believes that all religions worship the same

Mr. Rowe forgot one important detail, Madison said he
believed Christianity was divine, not the Virginia Assemblies
religion was true. Rowe then believes Madison lied to the
Assembly in Virginia just to make a point. Don't buy
what he's selling folks, common sense knows better.

Another death blow to Rowe and his theist dogma for
Madison and the other framers is the rationalists denial
of miracles, which Madison rejected as his Memorial claims:

"To say that it is, is a contradiction to the
Christian Religion itself, for every page of it
disavows a dependence on the powers of this world: it
is a contradiction to fact; for it is known that this
Religion both existed and flourished, not only without
the support of human laws, but in spite of every
opposition from them, and not only during the period
of miraculous aid, but long after it had been left to
its own evidence and the ordinary care of Providence."

This miraculous aid is the aid God provided to the early
church, as recorded in the Book of Acts. Paul and Peter raising
people from the dead, Peter and John healing a lame man,
Peter striking dead Ananias and Sapphira with his words,
sudden earthquakes, and many other supernatural events like
prison locks automatically opening to free the Apostle Paul.

Is it likely that James Madison changed his views
from those of 1772-1785 to different views in 1812, back to
Christian beliefs in 1833's letter to a Christian Rev. Jasper
Adams? From his letter to the Indians, Madison
violated the first commandment of God, of which he knew
all about, having gone to seminary, then changed
his beliefs later in life. The first commandment of God is
in the bible countless times where the Prophets claim there is no
other God but Yahweh. What should be noted is James Madison believed the
Christian system divine while he helped formed the nation.
Madison's theist quote was in 1812, if it isn't a contradiction.

It is clear Madison changed his later beliefs from his
earlier actions, but labeling Madison a theist because
of his contradictions and use of philosophical terms
rather than biblical ones isn't sufficient justification.



Jonathan said...

Glad to see you have a blog which is where you SHOULD be making your arguments.

I wonder if you've read Dr. Gary North's meticulously researched Ebook like I suggested. Here is what he has to say on Madison:

"James Madison was a covenant-breaking genius, and the heart and soul of his genius was his commitment to religious neutralism. He devised a Constitution that for two centuries has fooled even the most perceptive Christian social philosophers of each generation into thinking that Madison was not what he was: a unitarian theocrat whose goal was to snuff out the civil influence of the trinitarian churches whenever they did not support his brainchild. For two centuries, his demonic plan has worked." pp. 374-75.

Our Founding Truth said...

That is a very interesting statement by Mr. North, and I tend to agree with most of what he says. I doubt it was Madison's Constitution, as well as he may not have been the happiest person knowing the final product wasn't what he envisioned.

It's safe to say Madison was pro, anti, and neutral on religion, so what do we say? Madison signs a bill to aid a bible society the same year he writes to his Red Children, then reverses his views in the "Detached Memoranda."

I think I would tell Mr. North the religious neutrality of the Constitution is due to religion must be left to the states. It seems pretty simple to me. I do agree with him that Madison was not very religious, and very secretive about his faith, but many Xtians, including George Mason supported Madison for his defeat of the Virginia assessment bill. Madison could be right on this, but he acted contrary to what he said. I disagree with Madison, agreeing with the framers, Justice Story, and Montesquieu that because man is a sinner, not supporting Xtianity will doom it, as it is currently. As long as a church isn't established, let the majority rule. General Xtianity makes good citizens and should be worthy of the governments support.

When Christians leave the culture forming industries, the churches civil influence goes with it.

Jon, are you having problems with the format of your blog?


Jonathan said...

No formatting problem. You just have to learn to feel blogger out. Because it's free, it doesn't do everything for you that Word does.

anoop said...

I go through Mr.Gary North and i think I would tell Mr. North the religious neutrality of the Constitution is due to religion must be left to the states.
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Bessie said...

Well said.

Anonymous said...

James Madison penned the words,(I hope that nationilizm overthrows christianity.) In the book first amendment notations to the constitution, by james madison and Thomas Jefferson.He also went on to explain what the state of nature was and who the God of the declerration independece is. The man hated the religous institutions of his time. And Christ is the king of the kingdom of GOD. A KINGDOM THAT WILL CRUSH ALL KINGDOMS. DANIEL 2.44 Satan controls the world. 1 john 5.19, why would anyone believe that this government has anything to do with being christian.

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