God & Country: Christian Self-Government with Union— The Birth of American Federalism

December 2018

President Ronald Reagan and both houses of Congress united in proclaiming 1983 as the Year of The Bible.[1] The president and a Joint Resolution of the Congress undertook the dynamic purpose of embracing the influence of the Bible in the founding of our nation. Biblical teachings inspired our Founders to establish Christian self-government with union, and a nation of American Federalism. Our very U.S. Constitution rests on the Bible.

The Foundation for American Christian Education published the best book of all on the Bible and the Constitution, called, aptly, The Bible and the Constitution of the United States of America.

Regarding America and the Bible, I quote from the book:

The history of the Bible and the history of American liberty are inseparable. The Bible is the source of individual liberty— salvation from sin through Jesus Christ. It is also the basis for external or civil government. As Noah Webster wrote: “It is extremely important to our nation, in a political as well as religious view, that all possible authority and influence should be given to the Scriptures; for these furnish the best principles of civil liberty, and the most effectual support of republican government.”[2]

American Federalism combines essential local self-government with union in greater governmental spheres for the sake of community, justice, and the mutual protection of justice internally and self-defense against external enemies. Federalism would not have been possible without the Bible. Its root lies in the perfect individuality and union of love in the Holy Trinity of God. It thus also lies in the two commandments of Christ—love God and love your neighbor (Matthew 22:37–39; Mark 12:30–31; Luke 10:27; Deuteronomy 6:5; Leviticus 19:18). The two commandments indicate the horizontal peer relationship, and the vertical authority relationship. God’s love and grace binds us to our neighbors. The Pilgrims, the Puritans, and all of our early settlers lived out Christian self-government and organized their homes, villages, and larger communities upon a Biblical order. Their character virtue of generous faith inspired volunteerism. Having taught history for nearly a half century, I can assure the reader that American Federalism is unique in the history of world governments. It is unique in the sense that local self-government is primary but combined and balanced with union. The presence and the power of the states and the nation must keep in balance.

So, how do we make sure that this constitutional form of government will work? It is in grave danger today, as we know. When we are fully Biblically educated into and practicing the two great commandments—to love God and love our fellow man, and so fulfill God’s law—then our founding form of government will work. Solomon told us to get wisdom! We need time to relearn the ropes of Christian self-government. But if we commit to it, no doubt, our gracious God will give us the time we need to reverse the unholy trends we see today.

It is so interesting to read about John Wycliffe (1320–84) and his translation of the Bible into English. He was a leading theologian with the highest scholarly degree in England and an influential member of Parliament. Wycliffe saw the need for an English Bible translation in the spiritual decay around him. His translation began a long-lasting movement toward individual liberty—both civil and religious—culminating in the expansive and growth-oriented Elizabethan era. It is an encouraging example of individual contribution to history. One man or woman in the hand of God can change the world!

Thus, the American home must be the center for building Christian character in our nation, as an example to others. Today, the majority of American families have relinquished that responsibility to government schools. These schools have not embraced our heritage of American Federalism, the Bible, and the Constitution, but rather, in many if not most cases, they have worked self-consciously against them.

The failure to embrace, and instead reject, our civil and spiritual heritage became evident throughout the mid and later 1900s and has grown since. J. Edgar Hoover spoke frequently to national conventions about America’s challenge. A longtime director of the FBI, Hoover said, with great passion:

What has happened to the time-honored precepts of hard work and fair play which influenced the American scene during the all-important formative years of this great Republic? Where is the faith in God which fortified us through our past trials? Have our national pride, our moral conscience, our sensitivity to filth and degradation, grown so weak that they no longer react to assaults upon our proud heritage of freedom?[3]

In speaking of the communist influence in America, Hoover stated, “Foremost among their targets have been America’s young people, for the aim of communism is world youth and the capture and corruption of that youth.” These quotes are from a 1962 speech Hoover gave in Las Vegas to The American Legion. At the end of the passionate speech, he concluded, “We are a God-loving people. This is our greatest strength. Let our national motto always be, ‘In God we trust.’”[4]

Today in our beloved nation, we experience continual attack that we can name as postmodernism.[5] We can identify at the heart of this attack a hatred of Biblical Christianity typical of inherently sinful man unwilling to accept God’s grace. The colleges, universities, politics, and media widely accept postmodernism. Postmodern culture aims at rebellious immorality, particularly among the young. We must prepare our young people to face it in the schools of learning and the open marketplaces. Better, we must prepare our children to resist immorality—as it is integral to postmodernism—in the home, church, and in rigorous Biblical educational training in the knowledge, wisdom, faith, character, and skills necessary to restore God’s Christian republic.

As Christians, we know that the absolute truths of the Bible cannot change. The God of the Bible does not change. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Postmodern (PM) followers believe that every person constructs his own story or narrative. The PM term appeared in the 1970s. Right and wrong is a matter of personal opinion in their eyes. Many see the results of PM in the breakup of families, divorce rates, and overcrowded prisons. Some have identified these aspects:

  1. Deconstruction: a tearing down of our past heritage, spiritual and religious.
  2. Moral Relativism: the destruction of all moral absolutes.
  3. Pluralism: diversity of morals and tolerance prevails toward all except those with Biblical morality.
  4. Existentialism: in which feelings rule. “It is what I feel is right for me.”

Dear Reader, let us stand against the attacks by affirming and reasserting our Christian faith, and living out our fellowship with the God of the Bible. Let us stand against the attacks on our Christian constitutional republic with Biblically informed action in the public square. Let us be passionate in our prayer life, loving our family and friends, and reaching out to our neighbors.

The decline of the family life in America is a national crisis. Let us pray that strong Christian women and men, with dedicated family life, will put us on course again.

The United States, in Congress assembled … think it their indispensable duty to call upon the several states, to set apart the last Thursday in April next, as a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer, that our joint supplications may then ascend to the Throne of the Ruler of the Universe,… that the religion of our Divine Redeemer, with all its benign influences, may cover the earth as the waters cover the seas. (Continental Congress, March 19, 1782)[6]


  1. See “Public Law 97-280,” Prove the Bible, provethebible.net/T2-Hist/H-0901.htm.
  2. Verna M. Hall and Rosalie J. Slater, The Bible and the Constitution of the United States of America (San Francisco: Foundation for American Christian Education, 1983), 4.
  3. J. Edgar Hoover, “An American’s Challenge,” FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, October 9, 1962, Vol. 31, No. 11 (November 1962): 10.
  4. Hoover, “An American’s Challenge,” 12–13.
  5. Upon increasing disappointment with hopeful modern humanist notions, postmodernism arose in its place. Postmodernists distrust historic unifying themes of larger meaning and purpose. Associated with the term deconstruction—a concept that declares that real communication is ultimately impossible—postmodernism is essentially nihilism—ultimate meaninglessness. Nihilism, of course, opposes the faith of Christ at every level. —Ed.
  6. “Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789,” Library of Congress: American Memory, Tuesday, March 19, 1782, memory.loc.gov/ammem/amlaw/lwjc.html.

This article, first appearing in the Alabama Gazette, Montgomery, Alabama, is now available as a chapter in the Nordskog Publishing book by Bobbie Ames—Land that I Love: Restoring Our Christian Heritage

© 2021 

Nordskog Publishing (NPI) provides articles and essays by select guest authors which we believe have much to offer the Christian community—to motivate Biblical thinking and action. We believe in the market place of ideas within the context of God’s Word. However, we may disagree at points.  Publishing an article does not mean absolute agreement. Therefore, please understand that opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of NPI, nor of its editorial staff.

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