Search This Blog

Monday, January 31, 2011

Founding Father John Quincy Adams

Much has been said about the faith of John Q. Adams, whom the Father of our Country called "our greatest diplomat." Adams' faith was much like mine, and most every other Orthodox Christian; even his view on the Trinity:
The last was from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, dated the 7th instant, and announced the very sudden decease there, on the evening of the 6th, of Mr. Robert Little, the minister of the Unitarian church at Washington. He died, after an illness of little more than twenty-four hours, of an inflammation of the brain, after having preached morning and evening at Harrisburg, on Sunday, the 5th, the day before his death. This is an event deeply to be lamented by his congregation, of whom I was one. I had constantly attended on his ministration for the last seven years, though I had never formally joined his society. I did not subscribe to many of his doctrines, particularly not to the fundamental one of his Unitarian creed. I believe in one God, but His nature is incomprehensible to me, and of the question between the Unitarians and Trinitarians I have no precise belief, because no definite understanding.
-John Q. Adams, 6th President of the United States, Secretary of State, U.S. Senator 1803-1808, Minister to Holland, Russia, Portugal, Prussia, and Minister to Great Britain where he was Chief Negotiator for the Treaty of Ghent to end the War of 1812. Wrote the Monroe Doctrine. Memoirs of John Quincy Adams, comprising portions of his diary ..., Volume 7. Aug. 13, 1827 [bold face mine]

His thoughts are not different from fundamentalist Christians today. Thinking about the Tri-unity of God can drive you nuts. It is no use to try and figure it out. This understanding is beyond our comprehension; as Adams fully attested. It is the rejection of that doctrine that is important. Much to my delight, Adams believed in Christ's Deity:
In the evening I attended again, at Mr. Little's, and heard him from Acts xvii. 11: "And searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so." He digressed from the historical narrative of the rise and progress of Christianity to discuss the question whether the doctrine of the Trinity had any warrant in Scripture. He chiefly considered Matthew xxviii. 19, and the first chapter of St. John's Gospel. But neither this, 1 See vol. iii. p. 370, note. nor any other argument that I ever heard, can satisfy my judgment that the doctrine of the Divinity of Christ is not countenanced by the New Testament. As little can I say that it is clearly revealed. It is often obscurely intimated; sometimes directly, and sometimes indirectly, asserted; but left, on the whole, in a debatable state, never to be either demonstrated or refuted till another revelation shall clear it up.
-Memoirs of John Quincy Adams, comprising portions of his diary ..., Volume 7. Feb. 18, 1827. P. 228-229. [bold face mine]

From these comments, Adams was an Orthodox Christian, not a Unitarian. If he had no trouble with Christ's Deity, neither should he have of the Atonement. Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin. The Last Supper is in three of the four Gospels, with the atonement doctrine started by Abraham then Moses, although only a "covering". Besides Jesus claiming Deity, can someone without sin not be God and thus pay the penalty for violating God's Laws? Only a sinless man could be a sin-bearer. If blood does not atone for sin, what does? Works? The Founding Fathers believed "Merits" of a mediator cleansed man from sin. Did Calvinist Samuel Adams refer to works that took away our sin?

Merits must then refer to the Crucifixion.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Founding Father George Read

George Read (1733-1798) is one of our greatest men. He was one of only six men to sign both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. He was elected a U.S. Senator from 1789-1793. Read was the President of the Delaware State Constitutional Convention, where he wrote the rough draft of the State Constitution in 1776. A High-Federalist, Read wanted a strong central government, with a Constitution that strictly protected States' Rights. Once the Constitution granted his requests, his state was the first to ratify. Read was an Orthodox Christian, who died three days after his 65th birthday, and was buried at Immanuel Episcopal Churchyard.
Among Mr. Read's papers I find a document in his handwriting, indorsed "Original Draft of the System of Government of the Delaware State, with Amendments," which makes it certain that he framed this first Constitution of Delaware. These amendments are four in number, one of them being the paragraph of Article 22, requiring all officers, before entering on the execution of their offices, to make and subscribe a declaration of their faith in the doctrines of the trinity in unity, and the divine inspiration of the Holy Scriptures.  
-Life and Correspondence of George Read : A Signer of the Declaration of Independence; with notices of some of his contemporaries / by his grandson, William Thompson Read. P. 186-187. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1870.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

65% of Doctors Surveyed Believe Healthcare Bill Bad

Would the Founding Fathers approve of mandating Americans to purchase health insurance? There is much pressure on changing the healthcare bill, however the Tea Party is determined to scrap it:

NEW YORK, NY and DARIEN, CT--(Marketwire - January 18, 2011) - The newly released 2011 Thomson Reuters - HCPlexus National Physicians Survey (NPS) links doctors' fears that their pay will go down under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), commonly called Healthcare Reform Act (HCRA), with their concerns that the quality of care will also deteriorate. The study includes responses from 2,958 doctors of varying specialties and practice types, from all 50 states plus the District of Columbia.

The NPS is the most comprehensive survey of physicians surrounding their thoughts on the future of healthcare, including ideas on the PPACA, Electronic Medical Records (EMR), and Accountable Care Organizations (ACO). Lower Pay Means Lower Quality Care. The NPS data show doctors' fear that the quality of care will deteriorate under PPACA and that their reimbursements (pay) will go down as well. When asked about the quality of healthcare in the U.S. over the next five years, 65 percent of the doctors believed it would deteriorate with only 18 percent predicting it would improve. Interestingly, consumer perception is far more optimistic, with close to 30 percent of consumers believing care will improve under PPACA.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Was Baron Von Steuben a Christian?

I read a history about Von Steuben, then stumbled across a quote I have never seen before concerning Timothy Pickering. Pickering was a unitarian, and Von Steuben is falsely linked to him. The author of this post did not invent this quote, but it is making the rounds.
Timothy Pickering, began to doubt his Puritan theology when he heard General von Steuben say that he would sooner believe in an absurdity than in the Trinity.
This quote is from:

It doesn't give any source, but I found the real quote from the Works of Pickering, Vol I. Here, is the actual quote absolving Von Steuben:
At that time the Trinitarian controversy had npt engaged the attention of Mr. Pickering. He had been brought up in the belief of the doctrine of the Trinity, and never heard the truth of it called in question until after he had joined the army in 1777; when one day he was startled by the remark of the late Peter S. Du Ponceau, on some questionable statement, that " he would as soon believe the doctrine of the Trinity." This induced Mr. Pickering to read on the subject and he thereupon became, and continued through life, a Unitarian. Without bigotry, he was a reverent believer in Christianity, never trifling with things sacred.
Just what was the faith of the Baron?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Philip Livingston: Excellence In Dignity

The Elegant Livingston
Philip Livingston (15 Jan. 1716-12 June 1778), was born into wealth and privilege by Calvinist parents, "the son of Philip Livingston, a merchant and proprietor of "Livingston Manor," and Catrina Van Brugh." Like his brothers, Livingston was a conservative whig, who feared chaos as a result from rebelling against Great Britain. He was:
An elder and a deacon of the Dutch Reformed church, Livingston was also a benefactor of New York's Anglican King's College and of the city's Presbyterian and Methodist congregations.
-Cynthia A. Kierner, Traders and Gentlefolk: The Livingstons of New York, 1675-1790 (1992)

The Livingston's supported Calvinism:
Cadwalader Colden was not the only Tory politician to observe with some asperity that all the popular leaders of his day were both lawyers and Presbyterians. That supreme conception of law and justice which is inherent in the creed of Calvin was the mainspring of the whole popular party in New York, just as it was the mainspring of the whole polity in New England. Without this leaven, New York colonial politics would have lacked form and direction and would have been little more than a puerile scramble of petty oligarchies..In ecclesiastical matters, the Livingstons and their comrades were sturdy Calvinists.
-Levermore, Charles H. The Whigs of Colonial New York American Historical Review 1 (January 1896): 238-50

It makes perfect sense, as pre-eminent 19th Century secular historian, George Bancroft declared, "Calvin founded America." Government in New York or anywhere, without the ideals promoted by Puritan Republicanism, could have squelched the Revolution. Calvin brought about: written constitutions, separation of powers, regular elections, the secret ballot, the federalist principle, religious toleration and separation of church and state.

He signed the Declaration of Independence, yet, did not live to see a free United States.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The First Amendment: A Christian Document on American Creation

American Creation blog did a post, unlike the majority of their posts, that reject the Founding Fathers were Orthodox Christian fundamentalists for heterodox men of the Enlightenment. Below, are some remarks from the post.
In fact, John Locke and James Madison even say that an atheist has no right to religious freedom, because he doesn't believe in the God who granted that freedom in the first place.
This is not an exaggeration, since no other religion gives religious freedom. This is a very important point secularist's fail to recognize. For the first 150 years, State courts were the authority in cases regarding the Bill of Rights. This is because the Bill of Rights were never applied to the States except starting in the mid-twentieth century. It follows there are few Federal court cases regarding the Bill of Rights. And when the feds ruled on a case they were quick to cite State courts. For instance, Updegraph v The Commonwealth (1824) Supreme Court of Pennsylvania was the first case cited in Holy Trinity:
In this the Constitution of the United States has made no alteration nor in the great body of the laws which was an incorporation of the common-law doctrine of Christianity. No free government now exists in the world unless where Christianity is acknowledged and is the religion of the country...Its foundations are broad and strong and is the purest system of morality, the firmest auxiliary, and only stable support of all human laws.
The author of the post's interpretation is correct. Even the morality of the nation was strictly Christian, as the courts proclaimed.
If the First Amendment enshrines religious liberty (which is doubtful, as I show above, regarding states v. the federal government), then the First Amendment is itself a Christian document.
The Father of the Bill of Rights tells us the context of the First Amendment:
[A]ll men have an equal, natural and unalienable right to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that no particular sect or society of Christians ought to be favored or established by law in preference to others.
-Col. George Mason. Kate Mason Rowland, The Life of George Mason (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1892, Vol. I, p.28.

The States already have control of establishment, and Christianity was the established religion:
In the minds of many, therefore, the purpose of the First Amendment was not to protect Jews or Muslims, but rather, to protect Protestants, by allowing them to continue to retain the power they already had on the state level, and to prevent any Protestant sects from competing for control of the national government's power over religion, which is to say, to equalize them all on the national level, but not on the state level.
The context then for the First Amendment must be Christianity, as Joseph Story explained, because no religion other than Christianity could have gained establishment. Quoting the Romans, or Greeks, does not diminish the influence of Christianity, rather, the framers believed Cicero, Aristotle, et al. aligned with Christianity. The framers did not included Roman or Greek philosophy in any part of the founding:

Sparta, Rome, and Carthage...These examples, though as unfit for the imitation, as they are repugnant to the genius, of America, are, notwithstanding, when compared with the fugitive and turbulent existence of other ancient republics, very instructive proofs of the necessity of some institution that will blend stability with liberty. I am not unaware of the circumstances which distinguish the American from other popular governments, as well ancient as modern; and which render extreme circumspection necessary, in reasoning from the one case to the other.
-James Madison, Federalist #63

Below, the author cites is eliminating God from the equation:
The Protestants could not limit themselves purely to social contract, because they refused to totally distance themselves from a view that all laws and morality come from God. They did not want to be pure legal positivists, that whatever the state says, goes. Over time, they grew to accept people who were not of the covenant, but they could never hold a purely secular view of social contract, that entirely divorces God altogether. Even Madison cited Martin Luther.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Was Gouverneur Morris A Rationalist?

Much has been said about the debauchery of Founding Father Gouverneur Morris. Until, his retirement, he did not live like a Christian, yet he called himself one:
As a good Christian I pray not to be led into it...
-The diary and letters of Gouverneur Morris, Minister of the United States to France. Vol II.

Morris was not shy to give his true beliefs for the Enlightenment's exaltation of man's reason:
Those who slaughtered their prince and made havoc of each other; those who endeavored to dethrone the King of Heaven and establish the worship of human reason, who placed, as representative on the altar which piety had dedicated to the holy virgin, and fell down and paid to her their adoration, were, at length, compelled to see and to feel, and, in agony, to own that there is a God. I cannot proceed. My heart sickens at the recollection of those horrors which desolated France. [bold face mine]
-An oration, delivered on Wednesday, June 29, 1814, at the request of a number of citizens of New-York : in celebration of the recent deliverance of Europe from the yoke of military despotism.

Morris believed in the Virgin Birth, with Reason subservient to the King of Heaven.

Here, is another quote I found from Morris, that shows his religion is beyond the scope of reason:
 ..Mr. Henry is most warm and powerful in Declamation being perfectly master of action Utterance and the Power of Speech to stir Men's Blood yet the Weight of Argument is so strong on the Side of Truth as wholly to destroy even on weak Minds the effects of his Eloquence but there are as you well know certain dark Modes of operating on the Minds of Members which like contagious Diseases are only known by their Effects on the Frame and unfortunately our moral like our ph[y]sical Doctors are often mistaken in their Judgment from Diagnostics..My Religion steps in where my Understanding falters and I feel Faith as I lose confidence. [Italics Mine]
-To Hamilton, June 13, 1788.     

A more closer look at this quote reveals his understanding the mind is flawed, and his religion begins where his reason cannot attain. The Enlightenment proclaimed reason and understanding over faith. The Gospel is for men like Morris, where works cannot accomplish, God gave Grace, through faith.

I am not aware of any proclamation in his later years affirming Christ. He obviously believed in the supernatural aspects of Christianity. However, did his head knowledge lead to faith and a virtuous life? How does his Last Will and Testament read?