Guest Post by Pastor Tim Grant
The Fathers House International Ministries, Inc.
Integrity Leadership Group LLC
It is now well past May 21st and we are still here! Yet another “declaration of the end” has come and gone. Regardless of doctrine, denomination or affiliation, the church has become increasingly focused on “the end.” When will it all come to an end? Are you sure it will end? How will it end? These are but a few of the questions that have been asked and answered again and again over time. My question is, “How many of us are ready to declare a ‘beginning?’”
Nearly 235 years ago, on July 4th, 1776 our forefathers ended something; then declared a new beginning! This declaration was made on behalf of themselves, their families, their countrymen and the many generations that would follow in their footsteps. Today many celebrate the memory of this day as “Independence Day.” Yet I wonder how many of the 310 million people in our country actually understand the real significance of our Day of Independence?
I was discussing our country and its spiritual condition one day with a mentor and he spoke these words to me: “There has to be a revelation (a revealing of something) that will cause a revolution (a revolving or a turning FROM something TO something) that brings a reformation (a re-formation, a reforming of something). This thought also makes me think of the word “renovation.” I am no contractor or builder, but I do understand that part of the process of renovating a structure is the “tearing out” of all that is “bad” and replacing it with that which is “good.”
As my mentor said these words, I could not help but think about our “declarers of independence!” In order to better understand the true significance of July 4th, 1776 and all it really means to us, I decided to read, again, our “Unanimous Declaration of Independence.” I was determined to put myself back into their day and that time and read it through the eyes and hearts of those who crafted and signed this divinely inspired document. As I read, I was captured by some of the phrases such as: “We hold these truths to be self-evident…” “… endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” and “…whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers…to effect their Safety and Happiness.” This time, as I read, I became tearfully passionate for our country, our future and our own generation.
My angst is more with myself as a pastor and with other shepherds of His flock. We must be more aggressive in informing and educating the people within our sphere of influence. Someone once said, “Ignorance is no excuse.” We need to admit our ignorance. After all, true ignorance, by definition, is the reason revelation even exists! The battle over ill-conceived perceptions, apathy, ignorance, perversion and hatred of the truth is being fought in our homes and in our republic on a daily basis. Only after admittance and true repentance can we begin to turn from our present state towards a place where we, as ONE people, can be re-formed!
I encourage all who read this to go and read or re-read the Declaration of Independence. Read it slowly. Read it purposefully. And read it with the understanding that how we define words will make all the difference in how we perceive their true meaning. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart and reveal to you the truths that have always been the foundation of your existence as a Citizen of the United States of America. The foundation upon which this nation was built is what is being destroyed; piece by piece.
If you are a church leader, don’t just encourage God’s people to get involved, inspire them! If you are part of a church body, decide this day that you will be the inspiration that is needed in your church! Pray for revelation, then turn.
2 Chron. 7:14 – If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land (KJV). Our re-formation depends on it!
“American Judicial Alliance’s presentation should be required for all Supreme Court nominees and sitting Federal Judges.”
— Congressman Ted Poe
“I am so impressed with the great work you are doing! You have a powerful team working with you. America needs you more than ever. You give me hope!”
– William J. Federer, Jr.
Speaker and best-selling Author
“More than anything, thank you for the Harlan Bible. Our nine judges all thank you for your kindness and your effort!”
– Judge Harmon Drew, Jr.
Louisiana 2nd Circuit Court of Appeal
“I appreciate your efforts to restore some morality in our courts.”
– Retired Judge William N. Knight
31st Judicial District Court of Louisiana
“The judges are already tracking down their predecessors to have each one sign the Bible you presented in the tradition of the Supreme Court. Thanks again!”
–Retired Judge Tim Taft
Texas First Court of Appeals
What Supreme Court Justices are saying about the Harlan Bible:
“It was a thrilling moment when I signed my name in the Bible which…contains the signatures of all the Justices for the past 100 years. Thank you for sending your article…. I found it inspiring.
–Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr.
“I read with special interest your account of the first Justice Harlan and his Bible.… Thank you for an engaging pause in the day’s occupations.”
—Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Via American Minute:
The first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court was the president
of the American Bible Society. Who was he?
John Jay, who died MAY 17, 1829.
A member of the Continental Congress, even serving as its president, John Jay signed the Treaty of Paris with Franklin and Adams, ending the Revolutionary War.
Jay helped ratify the Constitution by writing the Federalist Papers with Madison and Hamilton.
In 1777, John Jay told an Ulster County Grand Jury:
“The Americans are the first people whom Heaven has favoured with an opportunity of…choosing the forms of government under which they should live.”
To the New York Convention, December 23, 1776, John Jay said:
“When you have done all things, then rely upon the good Providence of Almighty God for success, in full confidence that without his blessings, all our efforts will inevitably fail.”
“The Holy Gospels are yet to be preached to these western regions, and we have the highest reason to believe that the Almighty will not suffer slavery and the gospel to go hand in hand. It cannot, it will not be.”
On May 17, 1829, as he was dying, John Jay was asked if he had any last words for his children.
He replied: “They have the Book.”
The Houston Chapter of Concerned Women for America invited American Judicial Alliance to speak to their gathering on Saturday, May 1st, so the team traveled overnight Friday to make the 9 am meeting.
Retired Judge Darrell White shared the vision and dedicated seven Court Bibles. Two previous recipients of Houston-area Court Bibles also joined us to support the event!
Incidentally, May 1st is the inscription on all Bibles dedicated by this organization. May 1st is celebrated as “Law Day,” and creates a perfect reminder of why we remember the source of Law.
A good time was had by all. Thank you CWFA for the wonderful meeting!
Choudrant, La. – On Friday, March 12, 2010, American Judicial Alliance, a national organization based in Louisiana, dedicated twenty-eight bibles to north Louisiana courts at Squire Creek Country Club in Choudrant, Louisiana.
The Bibles are dedicated in replication of a tradition held by the United States Supreme Court for over one hundred years. One of America’s most interesting justices, John Marshall Harlan (I) began the tradition by donating his personal Bible to the court. Since that time, every Supreme Court Justice has signed the “Harlan” Bible.
Friday night’s dinner featured a keynote by nationally-known historian and author, William J. Federer, whose books include “America’s God and Country,” “What Every American Needs to Know about the Qur’an” and “The Original 13: a Documentary History of Religion in America’s first Thirteen States.”
American Judicial Alliance (AJA) and its associated organization, Retired Judges of America (RJA) are led by Retired Judge Darrell White and Jason Stern. Both men share a vision for “awakening the conscience of One Nation Under God” and for restoring the importance of both the Bible and the Constitution to American jurisprudence.
Judge John Slattery of Springhill City Court said, “We are so grateful to receive this Bible into our court. The Framers knew what they were doing when they established this nation. It’s our duty to continue that vision.”
“American Judicial Alliance intends to place a Bible in every courtroom in America and to ask active and retired judges all across America to join the “Harlan tradition” of signing the Bible and utilizing them in their courts,” said Retired Judge Darrell White.
American Judicial Alliance is based in Baton Rouge, La. and has so far dedicated approximately 100 Bibles to courts across the South including the Supreme Courts of Louisiana and Texas.
Retired Judge Darrell White has received several acknowledgment letters from active United States Supreme Court Justices complimentary of his analysis of the history associated with the venerable tradition of the Harlan Bible.
You can read the full article, “Historical Significance of a Kentucky Colonel Named Harlan,” as published in the Baton Rouge Bar Journal by clicking here.
Here are a few of these interesting letters:
American Judicial Alliance welcomes longtime partner Jason Stern as our new vice president!
Now working fulltime at AJA, Jason is developing new approaches to our communications presence and helping to develop donor relations. His wise leadership and increased involvement will multiply our effectiveness as an organization as we engage courts throughout the nation. In addition, new interns, including a few young attorneys, are joining us as our team continues to expand.
It is thrilling to watch God equipping American Judicial Alliance for an active year!
Russell Shorto writes a balanced piece on the place of faith in the Founders’ plans for America and how the fight over whether that is true is being fought in Texas today. Here’s an excerpt:
If the fight between the “Christian nation” advocates and mainstream thinkers could be focused onto a single element, it would be the “wall of separation” phrase. Christian thinkers like to point out that it does not appear in the Constitution, nor in any other legal document — letters that presidents write to their supporters are not legal decrees. Besides which, after the phrase left Jefferson’s pen it more or less disappeared for a century and a half — until Justice Hugo Black of the Supreme Court dug it out of history’s dustbin in 1947. It then slowly worked its way into the American lexicon and American life, helping to subtly mold the way we think about religion in society. To conservative Christians, there is no separation of church and state, and there never was. The concept, they say, is a modern secular fiction. There is no legal justification, therefore, for disallowing crucifixes in government buildings or school prayer.
Read the full article: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/14/magazine/14texbooks-t.html?pagewanted=all
“If [a law] is wrong, the ultimate precedent is the Constitution. It’s not what we say it is, it’s what it actually says. And I think we have to be humble enough to say ‘we were wrong.'”
— Justice Clarence Thomas, February 2009
Thomas was responding to a question about the Court’s review of the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Law. His quote echoes former Justice Felix Frankfurter (who happened to have been the president of the ACLU before his court days). Here is Frankfurter’s quote:
“The ultimate touchstone of constitutionality is the Constitution, and not what we have said about it.” — Felix Frankfurter, Graves v. New York, 306 US 466 (1939)
Here is an audio clip of Justice Thomas’ remarks:
Here are a few more quotes to chew on:
“[I]n the lapse of [time], changes have taken place which in particular passages … obscure the sense of the original … [and] present wrong signification or false ideas. Whenever words are understood in a sense different from that which they had when introduced …. mistakes may be very injurious.” Noah Webster in Preface of the Webster Bible
“Though written constitutions may be violated in moments of passion or delusion, they furnish a text to which those who are watchful may again rally.” — Thomas Jefferson
“On every question of construction (of the Constitution) let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.” — Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Johnson, June 12, 1823, The Complete Jefferson, p322.
“The first and fundamental rule in the interpretation of all instruments is, to construe them according to the sense of the terms, and the intentions of the parties.” Justice Joseph Story, III Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States §400 (1883) at p383
Ever wonder what the phrase the “Pursuit of Happiness” meant in the U.S. Constitution? Well here’s a hint from the Massachusetts Constitution. Remember, John and Samual Adams were two of the three framers. Hence, what they did in Massachusetts in 1780 gives us real insight into what the framers meant in 1776:
“Art. III. As the happiness of a people and the good order and preservation of civil government essentially depend upon piety, religion, and morality, and as these cannot be generally diffused through a community but by the institution of the public worship of God and of the public instructions in piety, religion, and morality: Therefore, To … See Morepromote their happiness and to secure the good order and preservation of their government, the people of this commonwealth have a right to invest their legislature with power to authorize and require, and the legislature shall, from time to time, authorize and require, the several towns, parishes, precincts, and other bodies-politic or religious societies to make suitable provision, at their own expense, for the institution of the public worship of God and for the support and maintenance of public Protestant teachers of piety, religion, and morality in all cases where such provision shall not be made voluntarily.”