America’s Founders understood something that most modern politicians do not understand. Liberty fourishes best where there is boundless faith and limited government. Liberty and governmental power do not mix. As power is centralized in Washington D.C., there occurs a corresponding loss of liberty throughout the heartland.
Socialism, on the other hand, requires a strong, centralized government to implement its policies Socialism and political power, therefore, go hand in hand. Wherever socialism is implemented, there is a corresponding loss of individual and religious liberties.
The Founders, Faith, and Freedom
America's Founders, their parents, and their grandparents had fled oppressive governments that sought to control their lives with tyrannical laws and regulations. They came to America with visions of individual and religious liberty. They were not looking for help from any government.
They were people of faith. Government for them was a nuisance and a pain. They agreed with Thomas Paine, who in his book, Common Sense, wrote, “Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.”
They issued the Declaration of Independence, not from a quest for political power, but from a deep desire to protect the liberties they had experienced in the New World. This would require a government with limited power for they knew from their study of both the Bible and human history that human nature cannot be trusted with power.
Their distrust of power is why they divided the powers of government into two legislative branches, an executive branch, and a judicial branch. It is why they implemented checks and balances to keep absolute power out of the hands of any person or group.
It is also why they instituted the 2nd Amendment--to give the citizens the right to defend themselves against a tyrannical, over-reaching government that might arise in the future. The Founders would agree with the adage of Sir John Dalberg-Acton, “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Socialism Loves and Needs Power
Socialism, on the other hand, requires a powerful, centralized government for its implementation. This in turn requires a ruling elite, like the old Soviet politburo, that controls every facet of society, spreads the wealth around, and enriches itself.
In socialism, which is rooted in Marxism, the God of the Bible is replaced by the god of the state. People no longer need God to help them deal with life; they now can look to the government to solve every problem and meet every need. Faith in God, therefore, is viewed as an enemy of the state.
This is why, during the 20th century, millions of Christians were imprisoned and put to death in socialist/communist regimes such as China, Cambodia, Cuba and the Soviet Union. This is why, alongside the rise of socialism/Marxism in modern America, there is a corresponding rise of hostility toward people of faith.
Have you noticed that the Democrat party seems to be moving further and further from any open identification with God and Christianity? This always happens as a people move from individual liberty to socialism. The god of socialism is a jealous god and will tolerate no rivals.
If you want to understand the passion of the new progressive wing of the Democrat party, this is it. They have visions of power. They have exchanged the God of the Bible for the god of power, which they envision being expressed through themselves in a powerful, centralized government.
A Revitalized Christianity is the Answer
The ultimate answer to the challenge of atheistic socialism in American today is not a political one, but a spiritual one. America must return to the vision of the Founders who saw liberty and faith as being joined together in an indissoluble bond. They did not believe one could flourish without the other.
That is why the First Continental Congress opened with an extended time of Bible reading and prayer. It is why George Washington insisted on taking the oath of office with his hand on a Bible. It is why he said, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible” (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 137).
For this same reason John Adams wrote to his cousin, Zabdiel, a minister of the gospel, two weeks before the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, and said,
Statesmen, my dear sir, may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles, upon which Freedom can securely stand" (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 173.)
The Bible-believing Christian who takes his faith seriously is socialism’s worse nightmare. This is why we must pray for another Great Awakening across the land. This is why we must challenge the contemporary church to move beyond an entertainment culture and begin training people the to be salt and light and live out their faith in this culture.
Dr. Eddie Hyatt is the author of numerous books, including Pilgrims and Patriots, which documents America's birth out of a great, spiritual awakening. His books are available from and Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com.



In a meeting with Delaware Indian chiefs in 1779, George Washington shared with them the importance of the Christian faith. After commending them for their request that their youth be trained in American schools, he said,
You do well to wish to learn our arts and our ways of life and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are. Congress will do everything they can to assist you in this wise intention.
Washington’s freedom in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with this Indian tribe was normal for the founding generation for such freedom was rooted in the original American vision, which was to be a land of religious liberty from which the gospel would spread to the ends of the earth.
The Missionary Vision of America’s First Immigrants
When the Jamestown settlers disembarked at Cape Henry, VA on April 29, 1607, their first act was to erect a 7-foot oak cross they had brought from England. They then gathered around the cross for a prayer service in which they dedicated the land of their new home to God.
The desire to reach those who did not know Christ was expressed by their chaplain, Rev. Robert Hunt. In his dedicatory prayer, he declared, “From these very shores the gospel will go forth to not only this New World, but the entire world.”
Thirteen years later, off the coast of New England, the Pilgrims drew up the Mayflower Compact in which they declared their 2-fold purpose in coming to the New World: (1) for the glory of God and (2) the advancement of the Christian faith.
In 1643 the United Colonies of New England was formed to arbitrate land disputes and to facilitate cooperation in matters of economy and security. That the many thousands now living in New England shared a common vision to spread the Christian faith is indicated by the opening statement of the constitution, which reads,
Whereas we all came into these parts of America with one and the same end and aim, namely to advance the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ and to enjoy the Liberties of the Gospel in purity with peace (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 52-53).
It is no accident that the first Bible printed in America was printed for missionary purposes. It was produced by John Eliot (1604-1690) in the Massachusetts language. Eliot was also instrumental in the founding of America’s first missionary society in 1649. It was called “The Company for the Propagation of the Gospel in New England and Parts Adjacent in North America.”
This missionary vision of America’s earliest immigrant had a far-reaching impact, even influencing America’s Founding Fathers.
America’s Founders Had the Vision
Benjamin Franklin
For example, in a 1756 letter to George Whitefield, the most famous preacher of the Great Awakening, Benjamin Franklin proposed that they partner together in founding a new Christian colony on the Ohio frontier. He wanted to populate it with a religious [Christian] and industrious people. He also presented a missionary motive for the new colony, saying,
Might it not greatly facilitate the introduction of pure religion among the heathen, if we could, by such a colony, show them a better sample of Christians than they commonly see (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 105).
Franklin had met Whitefield 18 year prior to this, and they had become close friends and business partners. Since Franklin is writing this proposal to the fiery revivalist of the Great Awakening, there can be little doubt that the “pure religion” he wants to introduce to the native tribes in that region is the evangelical revivalism preached by Whitefield.
Thomas Jefferson
As president, Thomas Jefferson negotiated a federal treaty with the Kaskaskia Indians, a treaty that, among other things, stipulated that federal funds be made available to pay for a Christian missionary to work with the Indians and for the building of a Christian church in which the Indians could worship (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 150). Jefferson also said,
I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus . . . The philosophy of Jesus is the most sublime and benevolent code of morals ever offered man. A more beautiful or precious morsel of ethics I have never seen (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 149-50).
Samuel Adams
Samuel Adams has been called “The Father of the American Revolution.” He was a member of the Continental Congress and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. While serving as governor of Massachusetts, he proclaimed a Day of Prayer in which he exhorted the citizens of that state,
Pray that the peaceful and glorious reign of our Divine Redeemer may be known throughout the whole family of mankind.
John Hancock
John Hancock served as president of the Continental Congress and signed the Declaration of Independence. His signature is the largest and most obvious on that document. While serving as governor of Massachusetts, he also proclaimed a Day Prayer in which he exhorted the people,
Pray that all nations may bow to the scepter of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and that the whole earth may be filled with his glory.
James Madison
James Madison, chief architect of the Constitution and America’s fourth president, voiced his opposition in 1785 to a bill that he perceived would have the unintended consequence of hindering the spread of the gospel. He said,
The policy of the bill is adverse to the diffusion of the light of Christianity. The first wish of those who enjoy this precious gift ought to be that it may be imparted to the whole race of mankind (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots,
George Washington
George Washington, America’s first president, not only shared the gospel with American Indians, he once publicly prayed,
Bless, O Lord, the whole race of mankind, and let the world be filled with the knowledge of Thee and Thy Son, Jesus Christ (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 138).
No Real Liberty Without the Gospel
America’s Founders believed so strongly in the gospel as the basis of human freedom that they unashamedly prayed and publicly expressed their desire to see it spread throughout the earth.
Recent presidents have sought to export American style democracy to other nations apart from the gospel of Christ. Indeed, the entire Western world is seeking to secularize liberty and remove it from any association with faith.
America’s Founders would say that such efforts are futile since true liberty cannot be had apart from the gospel of Christ. Washington made this plain in his Farewell Address where he warned the fledgling nation that two things must be guarded if they were to be a happy people--“Christianity and morality,” which he called “indispensable supports” for political prosperity (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 169).
What About “Separation of Church and State”
The oft-quoted phrase, “separation of church and state,” is nowhere to be found in America’s founding documents. It is a reference to the First Amendment that reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or hindering the free exercise thereof.” The day after ratifying the First Amendment, those same Founding Fathers issued a proclamation for a National Day of Prayer.
The First Amendment was merely their way of saying that America would never have an official, national church like the nations of Europe at the time. By instituting the First Amendment, the Founders rejected the model begun by Constantine in which civil government establishes and upholds by force an official, state church, and persecutes all others.
Instead of banning faith from the public square, as many moderns suppose, the Founders, by this act, created a free and open marketplace for religious ideas. They were not concerned about false religion getting the upper hand for they believed in the inherent power of the Christian message.
They were convinced that on an open and even playing field, truth would always prevail. They agreed with the Puritan, John Milton, who wrote,
Let Truth and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew truth put to the worse in free and open encounter? She needs no policies, nor strategems, nor licensings to make her victorious . . . Give her but room.
Yes, the Founders believed in the inherent power of Christianity, which is why Jefferson wrote,
Truth can stand by itself … If there be but one right religion and Christianity that one, we should wish to see the nine hundred and ninety-nine wandering sects gathered into the fold of truth. But against such a majority we cannot effect this by force. Reason and persuasion are the only practicable instruments. To make way for these, free inquiry must be indulged; and how can we wish others to indulge it while we refuse it ourselves.
It is Time to Recover the Vision
Yes, the original American vision was for a land of religious liberty from which the gospel would spread to the ends of the earth. Modern secularists have robbed the American populace of this vision by rewriting America’s history and turning the First Amendment on its head.
The truth, however, will make us free as Jesus declared in John 8:32-33. As we recover the truth about America’s overt Christian founding and ask God to visit this land with another Great Awakening, the original American vision could well be revived once again.
This article is derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt’s book, Pilgrims and Patriots, available from Amazon and his website, www.eddiehyatt.com. He is also the creator of "America's Reawakening," a PowerPoint presentation that documents America's birth out of prayer and the First Great Awakening. He can be contacted at dreddiehyatt@gmail.com.



The earliest immigrants to this land believed that they, as a people, had entered into a sacred covenant with God. This was clearly expressed by John Winthrop who, in 1630, led a flotilla of eleven ships with 700 passengers to New England and founded the city of Boston and the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
During their journey across the Atlantic, Winthrop formulated a sermon entitled “A Model of Christian Charity.” In it he exhorted his fellow pilgrims that “the eyes of the world are upon us” and that God would have them, in their new home, to be that “city on a hill” of which Jesus spoke, a shining light exhibiting a model of Christian living for the rest of mankind to see.
He also spoke of the seriousness of the covenant with God into which they had entered. He exhorted,
We have entered into an explicit Covenant with God. We have drawn up indentures with the Almighty, wherefore if we succeed and do not let ourselves be diverted into making money, He will reward us. Whereas if we fail, if we fall to embrace this present world and prosecute our carnal intentions, the Lord will surely break out in wrath and make us know the price of the breach of such a Covenant.
The Mayflower Compact Was a Covenant
Ten years before Winthrop and his company arrived, the Pilgrims had landed at Cape Cod. Before disembarking, they drew up a written document patterned after the church covenants that were common among Separatist churches in England. Being part of a Separatist congregation, they were very aware of such documents, which knit the signees together in a solemn, contractual agreement with God and one another.
Each signee promised “solemnly and mutually in the presence of God” to “covenant together” for the better ordering and preservation of their community. This covenant also stated that their purpose in coming to the New World was to glorify God and advance the Christian faith. The late Harvard professor, Perry Miller, said, “The Separatists aboard the Mayflower found a covenant the obvious answer to the first problem of political organization.”
Some have called the Mayflower Compact America’s founding document. That is going too far, but there is no question that it set the stage for succeeding communities and colonies that would base their existence on written documents—covenants--that gave recognition to God and prioritized the Gospel of Jesus Christ as their reason for being.
New England Covenants with God
This idea of a social compact (covenant) with God was expressed, not only in the founding of Plymouth, Boston, and Massachusetts, but also in the 1639 founding document of Connecticut entitled “The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut.” This document states,
We, the inhabitants and residents of Windsor, Hartford, and Wethersfield, knowing where a people are gathered together the word of God requires that to maintain the peace and union of such a people there ought to be an orderly and decent government established according to God . . . we do for ourselves and our successors enter into combination and confederation together, to maintain and preserve the liberty and purity of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, which we now profess. (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 48-49).
With thousands of new immigrants arriving in New England and new towns springing up, there arose a felt need for some sort of centralized government to facilitate mutual defense and to arbitrate land disputes. To meet this need, the United Colonies of New England was formed and a constitution was formulated, patterned on the idea of covenant. Dated May 19, 1643, the opening statement of the constitution expressly states why they had all come to the New World. It reads,
Whereas we all came into these parts of America with one and the same end and aim, namely to advance the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ and enjoy the Liberties of the Gospel in purity and peace (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 52-53).
The constitution provided that each colony would choose two representatives who would form a council of eight. This council of eight was invested with power to arbitrate boundary disputes, coordinate mutual defense, and facilitate mutual advice and support. It was clearly stated that this council was also brought into existence for “preserving and propagating the truth and liberties of the Gospel (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 53).
There is no question that this constitutional system wherein each individual colony retained its autonomy, and the powers of government were limited by the constitution, was a forerunner of the federalist system that would be created at Philadelphia in 1776 and 1787. The United Colonies of New England clearly foreshadowed the United States of America in both its form of government and in its Christian character.
The Puritans clearly saw these written statements as covenants, not only between themselves, but also between their society and God. They believed that God dealt, not only with individuals, but also with social units, including families, churches and nations. According to Perry Miller, “The central conception in their thought is the elaborated doctrine of covenant.”
The Blessing & Responsibility of Covenant
These early immigrants saw Israel in the OT as a pattern for their social covenant with God. Like Israel, they believed that if they, as a people, kept their part of the covenant, which was to walk uprightly and make His name known, they would be blessed. If, on the other hand, they lost their sense of purpose and began to live selfish and sinful lives, they would suffer God’s wrath because of their rejection of the covenant. During the voyage to New England, Winthrop warned,
Now if the Lord shall please to bear us, and bring us in peace to the place we desire, then hath He verified this Covenant and sealed our commission . . . but if we fail to perform the terms of the Covenant, we shall perish out the land we are crossing the sea to possess.
This social responsibility to God is the reason the Puritans tended to hold one another accountable. They pointed out that since communities and nations cannot be rewarded in the next world, they must necessarily be rewarded in this one, according to their deeds. The sin of one or a few could, therefore, bring down God’s judgment on the entire community. This is also the reason that laws were passed outlawing adultery, fornication, profanity, drunkenness and Sabbath breaking.
Virginia Too
Although New England was where the writing of constitutions was profoundly developed, all the colonies were founded on similar social compacts with God. When the Jamestown settlers disembarked at Cape Henry, VA, their first act was to erect a seven-foot cross they had brought from England. They then gathered around the cross for a prayer service in which they dedicated the land of their new home to God. In his dedicatory prayer, their chaplain, Rev. Robert Hunt, declared, “From these very shores the Gospel shall go forth to not only this New World but to the entire world.”
This act was in line with the official Virginia Charter, which recognized “the Providence of Almighty God” and expressed the desire that the establishment of the colony would “tend to the glory of His Divine Majesty.” This document also expressly stated that the purpose of the colony was to propagate the “Christian religion to such people as yet live in darkness and miserable ignorance of the true knowledge and worship of God.”
There are amazing similarities between the Virginia Charter, the Mayflower Compact and other founding documents of New England. This led Perry Miller to suggest that Virginia and New England were not that different. He pointed out that both communities were children of the Reformation, “and what we consider distinctively Puritan was really the spirit of the times.”
There is thus no question that these early social compacts, or covenants, were precursors to the founding documents of the United States of America. Gary Amos and Richard Gardiner are correct to say, “The early New England constitutions were covenants. These covenants clearly foreshadowed the United States Constitution” (Hyatt. Pilgrims and Patriots, 49).
God and America’s Founding Documents
The Declaration of Independence begins with an acknowledgement that human rights come from God. It ends with the signees expressing a reliance on Divine Providence, a common expression of that era for the God of the Bible and was commonly used by revivalist ministers, such as George Whitefield, in their sermons and writings.
It is obvious that the Founders saw the Constitution as a sacred document, and they treated it as a covenant. That is why George Washington took the oath of office with his hand on a Bible, and with his hand on the Bible, solemnly swore to uphold and defend the Constitution, “so help me God.”
Indeed, many of those who were part of the Constitutional Convention, saw the hand of God in the formulation of the Constitution. James Madison, the Constitution’s chief architect, declared,
It is impossible for the man of pious reflection not to perceive in it a finger of that Almighty hand which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in critical stages of the Revolution (Hyatt, 5 Pillars of the American Republic, 10).
Benjamin Rush, a signer of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, was even more blunt, declaring that the Constitution was a work from heaven. A physician from Philadelphia, he asserted that he,
As much believed the hand of God was employed in this work as that God had divided the Red Sea to give a passage to the children of Israel, or had fulminated the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai” (Hyatt, 5 Pillarsof the American Republic, 11).
This sacred view of the Constitution was obviously inherited from those earliest immigrants who considered their covenants to be sacred oaths between their communities and God. This covenantal attitude became a part of the psyche of colonial America and was clearly present in the attitude of the Founders toward America’s founding documents. Historian, Benjamin Hart, says,
The U.S. Constitution has worked because there has been a sacred aura surrounding the document; it has been something more than a legal contract; it was a covenant, an oath before God, very much related to the covenant the Pilgrims signed. Indeed, when the President takes his oath of office he places his hand on a Bible and swears before Almighty God to uphold the Constitution of the United States. He makes a sacred promise; and the same holds true for Supreme Court justices who take an oath to follow the letter of the written Constitution. The moment America’s leaders begin treating the Constitution as though it were a mere sheet of paper is the moment the American Republic—or American Covenant—ends (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 50).
Abraham Lincoln Understood America’s Covenant with God
Abraham Lincoln understood that America had a covenant with God. That is why, in the midst of the devastation of the Civil War, he proclaimed a national, day of prayer and repentance for April 30, 1863. In this proclamation, he acknowledged God’s blessing on the nation and explained the present calamity, saying,
But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious Hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us (Hyatt, The Great Prayer Awakening of 1857-58, 37).
The populace, especially in the North, responded en masse to Lincoln’s call to prayer. On the appointed day, businesses and schools closed and people gathered in churches and homes throughout land to pray and repent for personal and national sins.
And whereas the South had been winning battle after battle and it looked as though the American union could well be dissolved, there was an almost immediate turn of the war in favor of the North after this day of prayer. God intervened and America was sustained after she renewed her covenant with God.
Where Are We Today?
America is at a critical juncture in her history. Powerful forces reject the notion of God having any role in the nation’s founding and they consider the Constitution to be a useless, outdated document—a mere sheet of paper, as Hart warned.
Taking the oath of office is now seen as a meaningless formality that may be carried out with the Koran as well as the Bible or any religious book, or with none at all. America’s future has not been this uncertain since the Civil War.
The election of Donald Trump was an act of Divine Providence that opened a narrow window of opportunity for the church in America. Despite his faults, he defends religious liberty and is a friend to Bible-believing Christians. Will we make the most of this opportunity and maximize the moment?
The decision is ours. The future is in our hands. What will we do? Will we renew the American covenant? It begins with God’s people taking seriously their role in the health of a nation as expressed in II Chronicles 7:14.
If My people who are called by My Name
Will humble themselves and pray, and seek My face,
And turn from their wicked ways,
Then I will hear from heaven,
And will forgive their sin and heal their land.

This article is derived from books by Dr. Eddie Hyatt, including Pilgrims and Patriots and 5 Pillars of the American Republic, available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com. Dr. Hyatt has a passion to see America reconnect with her Christian roots and experience another great, national spiritual awakening. He can be contacted at dreddiehyatt@gmail.com.



Faith and freedom were married in the thinking of America’s founding generation. They were convinced that there could be no real freedom apart from faith in the God of the Bible. This is why George Washington insisted on placing his hand on a Bible to take the presidential oath of office. It is why he said, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”
The marriage of faith and freedom in the founding generation is why the Liberty Bell is inscribed with the jubilee passage from Leviticus 25:10, Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all inhabitants thereof. It is why John Adams wrote to his cousin, Zabdiel, a minister of the gospel, two weeks before the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, and said,
Statesmen, my dear sir, may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles, upon which Freedom can securely stand" (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 173.)
Faith and Citizenship Were Linked in Early America
This marriage of faith and freedom was expressed by James Madison, the chief architect of the Constitution, when he wrote, "Before any man can be considered as a member of civil society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe." Madison also wrote,
The belief in a God All Powerful wise and good, is so essential to the moral order of the world and to the happiness of man, that arguments which enforce it cannot be drawn from too many sources nor adapted with too much solicitude to the different characters and capacities impressed with it" (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 131).
The Founders functioned on the assumption of a divine Creator to whom all creatures owe their love, honor and respect, and this is made clear by the many proclamations for days of prayer, repentance and thanksgiving issued by the Continental Congress and by founding presidents.
That the First Amendment had nothing to do with secularizing the American government is made clear by the fact that the day after ratifying the First Amendment, those same Founders issued a proclamation for a Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving. The First Amendment was the Founders rejection of an official state church like the nations of Europe.
They rejected the idea of a state church, but they all agreed that only Christianity provided the moral fabric for a stable society. Thomas Jefferson was referring to this when he said, “Of all the systems of morality that have come under my observations, none appear to me so pure as that of Jesus.” This why the well-known Catholic scholar, William Novak, wrote:
Far from having a hostility toward religion, the founders counted on religion [Christianity] for the underlying philosophy of the republic, its supporting ethic, and its reliable source of rejuvenation" (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 174).
America's Founders Believed Faith to Be Essential for Freedom
America’s Founders were unanimous in their belief that only Christianity provided the moral and intellectual underpinnings for a stable and prosperous nation. This was made clear by George Washington in his Farewell Address after serving two terms as America’s first president. He said, "Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports."
When the founders use the word "religion," they are referring to Christianity, and Washington here warned of the inherent dangers in the neglect of religion and morality. And notice that he did not call religion [Christianity] optional. He referred to Christianity and morality as indispensable for political prosperity. In his thinking, faith and freedom were married and could only be divorced to the hurt of the nation.
Thomas Jefferson was in complete agreement with Washington, and he made Washington's Farewell Address required reading at the University of Virginia, which he had founded. He also invited churches of all sects and denominations to establish schools of instruction adjacent to or within the precincts of the university. He wrote,
The students of the University will be free and expected to attend religious worship at the establishment of their respective sects, in the morning, and in time to meet their school at the University at its stated hour (Hyatt, Pilgrims andPatriots, 151).
As President, Jefferson sat on the front row of church services that were held each Sunday in one of the chambers of the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C.
At one point, displeased with the music, he ordered the Marine Band to be present in the service on Sundays and to provide music for the singing of psalms and hymns. The Band was paid out of the federal treasury. No one protested because faith and freedom were married in the thinking of America’s founding generation.
Jefferson and all the founders knew that the success of the free Republic they had formed hinged on the moral character of its citizens and their ability to govern themselves according to Christian values. This is clearly borne out in a 1798 address by John Adams to the officers of the Massachusetts Militia. He declared,
We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion . . . Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious [Christian] people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other" (Hyatt, Pilgrims andPatriots, 173).
Missionaries Sent Out to Establish Faith and Freedom
When the young French sociologist, Alexis de Tocqueville, visited America in 1831 to study her institutions, he found a Christian people who saw their citizenship linked with their faith. He discovered that missionaries were being sent to the western frontier out of concern that if the new settlements did not have the gospel, they would not be able to enjoy the freedoms guaranteed by the American Constitution. He then said, "Thus, religious zeal is warmed in the United States by the fires of patriotism" (Hyatt, 5 Pillars of the American Republic, 31).
Tocqueville also told how a judge at the court in Chester County, New York threw out the testimony of a witness when he learned that the witness did not believe in the existence of God. The judge said that by denying the existence of God, the witness had, "Destroyed all the confidence of the court in what he was about to say."
There were no complaints because faith and freedom were still married in America. The judge said it was the first time he had met someone who did not acknowledge the existence of God. He also said that he knew of no case in a Christian country where a witness had been permitted to testify without such belief in God.
Tocqueville concluded that in America, "From the beginning, politics and religion contracted an alliance that which has never been dissolved" (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 168).
The U.S. Supreme Court Affirms the Marriage of Faith and Freedom
John Marshall (1755-1835) served as the second Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court for thirty-four years (1801-1835). Many consider him the greatest Chief Justice the court has known. During his tenure, he heard many cases and offered groundbreaking opinions that continue to guide the Supreme Court and the United States Government today.
In one of his writings, Marshall clearly states what every Founder assumed--that the founding documents and institutions on which the nation was formed presuppose a commitment to Christian principles and values. He wrote,
No person, I believe, questions the importance of religion in the happiness of man, even during his existence in this world. The American population is entirely Christian, and with us Christianity and religion are identified. It would be strange, indeed, if with such a people, our institutions did not presuppose Christianity, and did not refer to it, and exhibit relations with it (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 166).
While Chief Justice, Marshall made the Supreme Court facilities available to a local congregation for their Sunday gatherings. So, each Sunday, the singing of Christian hymns and the preaching of God’s Word could be heard ringing through the chambers of both the House of Representatives and the Supreme Court. This was neither surprising nor offensive to anyone, for it fit perfectly within the mindset of the founding generation.
The marriage of faith and freedom was still a part of the American mindset as recent as 1892, when in the ruling of Church of the Holy Trinity vs The United States, the United States Supreme Court declared,
Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of The Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise; and in this sense and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian . . . From the discovery of this continent to the present hour, there is a single voice making this affirmation . . . we find everywhere a clear recognition of the same truth that this is a Christian nation (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 167).
Modern Secularists Have Departed from the Vision of America’s Founders
The modern divorce of faith from freedom is a sharp departure from the founding generation where religious liberty was considered a God-given right. The modern removal of crosses, nativity scenes, Bible reading, and prayer from public schools and other public venues would horrify the nation’s Founders who considered Christianity the moral fiber that would hold the nation together.
This is illustrated by the fact that Benjamin Franklin refused to print a manuscript by the Deist, Thomas Paine, in which Paine railed against orthodox Christianity. Franklin suggested to Paine that he burn the manuscript and then said, "If men are this wicked with Christianity, what would they be if without it" (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 142).
Faith and Freedom Must Be Married Once Again
Faith was not something optional for America’s Founders, as Washington made clear in his Farewell Address. They considered faith to be “indispensable” for the life of the nation. After a meticulous study of the Founders, Novak wrote, "The founders did not believe the constitutional government they were erecting could survive without Hebrew-Christian faith" (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 174).
Yes, the modern liberal, progressive is the one that has departed from the vision and values of America's Founders. We must, therefore, not be intimidated by their misguided attempt to remake America in their own image.
We must stand for truth and be salt and light in this generation. We must also pray that God will visit us once again with a heaven-sent revival that will awaken His church and alter the course of this nation—a revival in which faith and freedom will be married once again.
This article was derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt's books, Pilgrims and Patriots and 5 Pillars of the American Republic, available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com. Eddie is a Bible teacher, historian, and ordained minister with a passion to see America return to its Christian roots as a nation born out of prayer and spiritual awakening. He can be reached at dreddiehyatt@gmail.com.



In I Kings 18 we have the story of Elijah challenging the prophets of Baal to a duel on Mt. Carmel. They would each offer a sacrifice to their god and the god that answered by fire would be the God that Israel would serve.
The prophets of Baal went first, but despite an entire day of fervent prayers, shouts, dancing and prophesying, no fire fell on their sacrifice. Outward religious hype is a poor substitute for the real presence and power of God.
When Elijah’s time came to pray, there was no such hype. His first act was, he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down (I Kings 18:30). It was broken down because the Israelites had compromised their faith. They had mixed the worship of Yahweh with the worship of Baal. They had become religious pluralists—multiculturalists.
An altar is a place of consecration—a place of sacrifice where one is given completely over to God. Consecration was absent in Israel. They had broken the First Commandment wherein God had said, You shall have no other gods before me . . . you shall not bow down before them or serve them (Exodus 20:2-5).
In a similar way, the American altar is broken down and in desperate need of repair. Like ancient Israel, Christians in America have compromised their faith. They may not have bowed down before a pagan shrine, but they have bowed to the gods and goddesses of cultural approval, social acceptance and personal popularity.
In Elijah’s situation, the fire did not fall until after the altar of the LORD was repaired. The fire of God is not going to fall on America until we repair the altar of the LORD that is broken down. The Awakening we speak of is not going to occur until we renew our absolute consecration to Him.
The first generation of immigrants to America were totally consecrated to God. Moved by their absolute commitment to Jesus, they left homes, family and friends to begin a new life in the New World. The Great Awakening, that gave birth to this nation, was led by people totally committed to God and His word.
When, for example, George Whitefield, preached in Philadelphia he purposely attacked Deism knowing that Benjamin Franklin and many others in that city had been influenced by that teaching. He was not there looking for acceptance. He was there to share the Divine truths of God’s word.
Interestingly, he and Franklin became life-long friends and the fire of God fell on Philadelphia and Colonial America. Years later, Franklin wrote in his Autobiography,
The multitudes of all sects and denominations that attended his sermons were enormous, and it was a matter of speculation to me, who was one of the number, to observe the extraordinary influence of his oratory on his hearers. It was wonderful to see the change soon made in the manners of our inhabitants. From being thoughtless or indifferent about religion, it seemed as if all the world were growing religious so that one could not walk through the town in an evening without hearing psalms sung in different families of every street (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 102).
“Repairing the altar of the Lord” must begin with the church—with God’s people. We do this by allowing the Holy Spirit to search our hearts and show us where we have compromised His truth because we were afraid of offending some person or some group. Or, it may be that we have compromised by putting our own personal success and desires ahead of His will and way.
As we repent of our compromise with the world, we position ourselves to see the fire of God fall on America. When the fire of God fell on Mt. Carmel, the entire nation was turned back to God. It can happen again.
If My people who are called by My Name,
Will humble themselves and pray,
And seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways,
Then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin
And heal their land (II Chronicles 7:14).

As part of our July 4th celebrations, let's repair the altar of the Lord that is broken down in this nation.

Dr. Eddie Hyatt is the author of numerous books on the spiritual awakenings and their impact on America. These include Pilgrims and Patriots and The Great Prayer Awakening of 1857-58. His books are available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehhyatt.com. He is also the creator of "America's Reawakening," a PowerPoint presentation documenting America's birth out of spiritual awakening. To schedule a presentation in your church or group, contact him at dreddiehyatt@gmail.com.