A Remembrance

Mary-Elaine Swanson (1927-2011)

Black Mountain, North Carolina—Mary-Elaine Swanson, 84, Nordskog Publishing author, editor and dearest friend passed away Thursday, May 19, 2011 at the Memorial Campus of Mission Hospital. She was born May 21, 1927 to the late Charles Augustus Lowden and Myrtle Ann Jersey Adams in Orlando Florida, and was the wife of the late Nils R. Swanson.

Mary-Elaine is survived by her step sons James Robert Swanson and wife Andi of Concord, CA, and Richard Mark Swanson and wife Kaelene of Tehachapi, CA, 8 grandchildren and 24 great grandchildren. She was a noted historian and author of numerous articles on the American Christian heritage and of the following books: The American Covenant, the Untold Story; The Education of James Madison, A Model For Today; and soon to be published: John Locke, Philosopher of The American Revolution.

As part of our regular meeting, Trinity Church of Ventura County will hold a special West Coast memorial service for Mrs. Swanson, Sunday, June 12 at the home of Ronald and Christina Kirk. Friends are invited. Please RSVP to Ron at [email protected].

From a foreword from Mrs. Swanson’s soon to be published book John Locke: Philosopher of the American Revolution:

Mary-Elaine Swanson is a great lady. She aptly and well represents America’s Christian history to the present age. Associated with the Christian history movement spearheaded by Verna Hall and Rosalie Slater of the Foundation for American Christian Education, Mrs. Swanson conducted research and wrote for Marshall Foster’s Mayflower Institute. There she co-authored the American Covenant: The Untold Story. Since then, she wrote The Education of James Madison: A Model for Today. Mrs. Swanson has now for many years written innumerable articles and often spoken on America’s distinctly Christian history. Nordskog Publishing now has the privilege of offering to the public her opus John Locke: Philosopher of the American Revolution.

I thank our publisher Gerald Christian Nordskog for the privilege of writing a foreword of my own to John Locke. Mary-Elaine Swanson has had tremendous personal influence on me and on my family. When I first read the American Covenant, my life was changed forever. In 1982, I attended James B. Rose’s Leadership Conference at Arrowhead Springs, California, home of Campus Crusade for Christ. In two, separate nine-day, intensive, day and night sessions some of the most accomplished Christian historians and governmental philosophers spoke. Some of these included Mr. Rose himself, Marshall Foster, Charles Hull Wolfe, Paul Jehle, Katherine Dang, Beth Ballenger, Ruth Smith, Ruth’s daughter Jeanette, and, of course, Mary-Elaine Swanson. Already having committed my own life to the cause of Christ and His kingdom upon two years of study, I had come to recognize the Christian responsibility for stewardship of culture and relational government. Here, sitting at the feet of these leaders, my elementary education in the principles of Biblical liberty began to coalesce. Some of the most fundamental and structural elements of applied Biblical Christian faith formed in me there.

From Mrs. Swanson, I learned of the Biblical roots of American federalism, a corrected form of covenantal civil government first known in Europe during Middle Ages. I learned the American Founders defined the term we understand today. I learned of the contrasting paternal view of government common to Europe, as exemplified by Rousseau and Voltaire. I learned of systematic Christian liberty with union, largely upon the philosophical writings of John Locke. Mrs. Swanson spoke upon the topic The Law of Nature—Divine or Human?

Then there is the personal. In 1984, we sought a new home in Camarillo, California, for our growing family, Providentially, we moved to a house just four doors from the Swansons. We met Nils Swanson, Mrs. Swanson’s endearing, personable and witty husband. The Swansons invited my wife Christina, our three daughters, and I to tea. Mrs. Swanson regaled us with a classical harpsichord concert. How many people do you know who are accomplished on the harpsichord! I even assembled Christmas bicycles in the Swanson’s garage.

In a word, Mary-Elaine Swanson became the dearest of friends as well as mentor. I cannot overstate my gratitude for her contribution to my life, and subsequent forming of my family—for the same principles of godly relational government apply—with great success when diligently practiced by faith—from the most intimate spheres of personal relationship to the greatest international ones.

–Ronald W. Kirk, Theology Editor, Nordskog Publishing—July 15, 2010

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