Citizen rebellions against the tyranny of big governments have been common throughout history. For instance, historians interested in momentous events that reversed government tyranny turn to the Magna Carta, 1215. The Magna Carta was a contract for constitutional law imposed by the people’s representatives and signed by England’s King John. The American Constitution was likewise a written contract for limited government agreed upon by the people. Citizen rebellions against oppressive governments also include the Great Reformation that began in 1517, the English Bill of Rights, 1689, and the American Declaration of Independence from the King of England on July 4, 1776.
American historian Sydney E. Ahlstrom credits ministers from various evangelical denominations for supporting the Great Awakening that began in the 1730s. Bible Churches were voicing the principles of the Declaration of Independence hundreds of years before the Declaration was written. Although openly denied by educators and the media on the left, political freedom for churches is American. There is even what was called the “black robed regiment,” an appellation for ministers who valiantly led their local congregations in the American War for Independence. If Christian ministers had not preached and prayed, there might have been no revolution as yet—or had it broken out, it might have been crushed ( Bibliotheca Sacra [BRITISH PERIODICAL], 1856).
Most American leaders were not committed to Christian ministries; but because of their knowledge of the Bible and reliable renditions of history, their judgment (as laymen) was exceptional. As true statesmen, they filtered the shifting principles of worldly philosophy through the grid of Scripture. The signers of the Declaration of Independence pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. Of the 56 signers, five were captured by the British as traitors and tortured; twelve had their homes ransacked and burned; two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; and another had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships in the Revolutionary War. In spite of the suffering, not one of the Founding Fathers ever reneged on his commitment to independence.
Upon the recommendation of John Adams, George Washington served as Commanding General of the Continental Army. From 1775 to 1783, the eight-year War for Independence from authoritarian rule was waged. The victory’s a monumental achievement that cannot easily be explained. George Washington offered his perspective with “I am sure there never was a people who had more reason to acknowledge a Divine interposition in their affairs than those of the United States; and I should be pained to believe that they have forgotten that Agency which was so often manifested during our revolution, or that they failed to consider the omnipotence of the God who is alone able to protect them.”
On this subject Abraham Lincoln said, “What constitutes the bulwark of our own liberty and independence? It is not our frowning battlements, our bristling seacoasts, the guns of our war steamers, or the strength of our gallant and disciplined army. These are not our reliance against a resumption of tyranny in our fair land. Our reliance is in the love of liberty which God has planted in our bosoms. Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit that prizes liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands, everywhere. Destroy this spirit, and you have planted the seeds of despotism around your own doors.” Keep the spirit alive, friends. Keep the spirit alive.
~ D. Norris