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By now you have probably heard how Diane Feinstein, the ranking senator from California, and several of her colleagues, took Note Dame professor, Amy Barrett, to task for her Christian values and beliefs. This occurred during the confirmation hearing for Barrett, a federal court nominee.
Feinstein expressed dismay over the fact that when she reads Barrett’s speeches, “The conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly in you.” The implication of Feinstein and her Democrat colleagues was that Barrett's strong faith disqualified her from serving as a federal judge. That is outrageous!
The statement of Feinstein reveals how clueless much of Washington D.C. is about American history. The truth is that the “dogma” [Christian beliefs] "lived loudly" in virtually all of America’s founders.
The following are five brief examples from America’s founders, and they show that Feinstein and her colleagues would have rejected all of them from public service based on the fact that the “dogma” lived loudly in them.
Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin (1706-90) is the only founding father to have signed all four documents leading to the founding of the United States of America. These documents are the Declaration of Independence (1776), the Treaty of Alliance with France (1778), the Treaty of Paris (1782) and the Constitution (1787).
Although he embraced Deism as a teenager, I have conclusively shown in my book, The Faith & Vision of Benjamin Franklin, that Franklin returned to his Puritan roots as a result of his close friendship with George Whitefield and as a result of the impact of the Great Awakening on his life.
Franklin’s Christian "dogma" was living loudly in him when he called the 1787 Constitutional Convention to prayer. He began by reminding the delegates how they had had daily prayer in that very room during the War for Independence. Addressing the convention president, he said, “Our prayers, sir, were heard and they were graciously answered.”
Then quoting from both the Psalms and the words of Jesus about a sparrow not falling without the heavenly Father taking notice, Franklin said, “And if a sparrow cannot fall without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?”
Yes, Senator Feinstein and her colleagues would reject Benjamin Franklin from serving on the federal judiciary or any public office. The dogma lived too loudly in him to suit their secularist tastes.
George Washington
George Washington (1732-99) was America’s first president and a devout Christian whose “dogma” [Christian beliefs] would have greatly troubled Senator Feinstein and her secularist colleagues.
It was Washington who began the tradition of the president taking the oath of office with his hand placed on a Bible. This was no mere formality for Washington, who once said, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”
After resigning as commander-in-chief at the end of the war, Washington wrote a letter to governors of the various states in which his “dogma” was obvious. The letter included his “earnest prayer” that God would keep each state in His “holy protection.”
In the letter, Washington also expressed his desire that the citizens of the new nation would model their lives after Jesus Christ. He mentioned in particular the characteristics of charity and humility, and then said, “Which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without a humble imitation of His example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy nation.”
Yes, it is obvious that Senator Feinstein and her colleagues could not bear with George Washington. His “dogma” lived too loudly for their secularist vision for America.
John Witherspoon
John Witherspoon (1723-94) was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and one of the prominent members of the Continental Congress, serving on over one-hundred committees. He was also the president of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) and there trained many of America’s first-generation leaders, including James Madison.
Witherspoon was not only an academic, he was also a preacher and a reformer within the Church of Scotland before immigrating to America. From his students at the College of New Jersey came thirty-seven judges, three of whom served on the Supreme Court, twenty-eight senators and forty-nine congressmen. His most famous student was Madison.
Expressing his Christ-centered approach to education, Witherspoon declared, “Cursed is all education that is contrary to Christ.” In regards to his profound influence on the founding generation, the Catholic scholar, William Novak, calls Witherspoon, “The most influential academic in American history.”
Yes, Witherspoon was a passionate follower of Christ and it was he who composed the calls to prayer issued by the Continental Congress. He also provided theological justification for the War for Independence, especially in his sermon entitled “The Dominion of Providence Over the Passions of Men.”
It is obvious that Senator Feinstein and many of her colleagues could not stomach John Witherspoon, for his “dogma” live loudly in him.
Samuel Adams
Samuel Adams (1722-1803) is sometimes called “The Father of the American Revolution” for his tireless work in organizing colonial resistance to the tyranny of King George. He was a member of the Continental Congress and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He also served as governor of Massachusetts.
While serving as governor of Massachusetts, Adams issued a call to prayer in 1795 and as part of the proclamation he asked the citizens of that state to pray a specific prayer. He said, “Pray that the peaceful and glorious reign of our Divine Redeemer may be known throughout the whole family of mankind.”
It is obvious that the “dogma” of Samuel Adams lived loudly in him and he would not be welcome in the snooty circles of Senator Diane Feinstein and her “esteemed” colleagues.
John Hancock
John Hancock (1737-93) was a founding father who served as president of the Continental Congress. He was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and his large signature in the center of the page has produced the adage, “Give me your John Hancock.”
Signing the document in that manner was an expression of defiance on his part, for they all knew that their act would be seen as rebellion and sedition by King George who would target them for arrest.
Hancock also served as governor of Massachusetts and it was while governor that issued a call for prayer that expressed his Christian missionary vision for the whole world. He asked the citizens of Massachusetts to 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.”
John Hancock was another American founder whose “dogma” lived largely in him. His example is an indication of how far Senator Feinstein and her colleagues are removed from America’s founding generation.
Where We Go from Here
These examples demonstrate how far Senator Feinstein and her colleagues are removed from America’s founding generation. Her attack on Professor Barrett should serve as a wake-up call to this generation that we must recover the truth of America’s founding that lies buried beneath the rubble of revisionist histories by historians who are troubled by the overt Christian faith of America's founders. 

This article is derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt’s book, Pilgrims and Patriots, available from Amazon and his website at Dr. Hyatt is also the founder of “Revive America” and conducts Revive America events across American in which he shows how America was birthed out of a great, spiritual awakening. He uses the event to call the American church to repentance and to prayer for another Great Spiritual Awakening. His email is



As evidence of how far we have been removed from our national roots, consider this. In 1831 a witness who was called to testify before the court in session at Chester County in the state of New York, declared that he did not believe in God or the immortality of the soul. The judge then refused to admit the evidence of the testimony on the ground that the witness had destroyed beforehand all the confidence of the court in what he was about to say (Found in Tocqueville, "Democracy in America," 1:317).
The judge later commented that it is a person's belief in God that sanctions all testimony in a court of justice. In other words, unless people are restrained by religious convictions, there is no solid basis for believing their testimony.
To read more about America's radical Christian origins, check out my book, Pilgrims and Patriots, available from Amazon and my website at
Pat Robertson calls it "a must read!"



President Donald Trump’s Proclamation of Sunday as a Day of Prayer for the victims of Hurricane Harvey was the “American” thing to do. From its inception, America has turned to God in times of crises. Prayer has been the very lifeblood of this nation.
For example, at the opening of the First Continental Congress on September 5, 1774, the delegates began with Bible reading and prayer. Rev Jacob Dusche of Philadelphia read the entire 35th chapter of Psalms and it had a powerful impact on everyone present.
The Psalm is a prayer of David for deliverance and begins with the words, Plead my cause O LORD with those who strive against me; fight against those who fight against me. The Psalm ends with praise for God’s deliverance.
With British troops on American soil and occupying the city of Boston, the Psalm resonated deeply with everyone present. At the end of the reading Rev. Dusche began to pray and everyone present lifted their hearts to heaven in sincere prayer to God for his assistance in their struggle for liberty.
John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail, of the impact of the Bible reading and prayer on the delegates. He wrote,
Who can realize the emotions with which they turned imploringly to heaven for divine interposition and aid. It was enough to melt a heart of stone. I never saw a greater effect upon an audience. It seems as if heaven had ordained that Psalm to be read that day. I saw tears gush into the eyes of the old, grave pacific Quakers of Philadelphia. I must beg you to read that Psalm (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 122).
The Congress and the Nation Prayed
Prayer continued to be a daily and vital part of the proceedings of the Continental Congress. Years later, when Benjamin Franklin called the delegates of the Constitutional Convention to prayer, he reminded them, “In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible to danger, we had daily prayers in this room for Divine protection.”
Indeed, the Catholic scholar, Michael Novak, is correct when he says, “In all moments of imminent danger, as in the first Act of the First Continental Congress, the founding generation turned to prayer” (Hyatt, Pilgrimsand Patriots, 124).
During the Revolutionary War, the Congresses issued no less than fifteen separate calls for special days of prayer and fasting. For example, during the fall of 1776, when the morale of the army and populace had sunk to an all-time low because of a poor harvest and hardship on the battlefield, Congress proclaimed December 11, 1776, as a Day of Fasting and Repentance.
After this day of prayer, there was an amazing change of circumstances, with successes on the battlefield and the reaping of abundant harvests. There was, in fact, such a turnaround after this that in 1779 Congress issued a proclamation setting aside a day of thanksgiving, because “it hath pleased Almighty God, the father of mercies, remarkably to assist and support the United States of America in their important struggle for liberty” (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 124).
The Congress then listed seven different accomplishments of God on the behalf of the nation, including “many instances of prowess and success in our armies” and “so great abundance of the fruits of the earth of every kind, as not only to enable us to easily to supply the wants of the army, but gives comfort and happiness to the whole people” (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 124).
Washington Transforms the Colonial Army into a Praying Army
The Second Continental Congress, which convened on May 10, 1775, asked George Washington to become commander-in-chief of the ragtag colonial militias and transform them into an army that could face the might of the British military.
Washington accepted the call and began immediately to instill in the colonial troops a very real faith in God, for he knew that without heaven’s assistance they had no hope against the mighty British war machine.
Washington, therefore, issued an order that each day was to begin with prayer led by the officers of each unit. He also ordered that, unless their duties required them to be elsewhere, every soldier was to observe, “a punctual attendance of Divine services, to implore the blessing of heaven upon the means used for our safety and public defense” (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 128).
He also forbade all profanity and drunkenness and promised swift punishment for any who uttered oaths that would offend God or man.
Washington continually sought to instill in his troops faith and reverence toward God. While the colonial army was quartering at Valley Forge, during a particularly difficult part of the war, Rev. Henry Muhlenberg was able to observe Washington’s conduct from his nearby Lutheran Church. He wrote, “Washington rode around among his army yesterday and admonished each one to fear God” (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 129).
Washington’s "Earnest Prayer" for America
The many prayers of colonial America were heard and the Revolutionary War came to an amazing end. It officially ended on October 19, 1781, when General Cornwallis surrendered his entire force to Washington. In customary fashion, Cornwallis turned his sword over to Washington, and the weaponry of his troops was stacked in neat piles.
As this occurred the British band played, “The World Turned Upside Down.” For freedom-loving people everywhere, however, the world had been turned right side up.
Showing the influence of Christianity on the American populace and their leaders, there was none of the revenge and butchery that are so common in Marxist and Islamic revolutions. There were no tribunals to exact revenge, no reign of terror, and no bloodthirsty proclamations by the Continental Congress. The war ended and the patriots picked up their lives and moved on.
Having completed his call, Washington issued a letter of resignation as Commander-in-Chief to the Continental Congress. Then, he wrote what could be described as a pastoral letter, dated June 14, 1783, to the governors of the various states. This letter included his “earnest prayer” that is here quoted in part. He wrote,
I now make it my earnest prayer that God would have you, and the State over which you preside, in his holy protection; that he would incline the hearts of the citizens . . . to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another . . . and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind, which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without a humble imitation of His example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy nation (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 134).
The Real Meaning of the First Amendment

It is worth noting that the day after approving the First Amendment, which states that “Congress shall make no law concerning the establishment of religion or hindering the free exercise thereof,” those same Founders issued another proclamation for a day of prayer and thanksgiving.
This shows that the First Amendment had nothing to do with banning expressions of faith from the public square, but was merely saying that America would never have an official, government-run church as was the case with the nations of Europe at that time. The First Amendment guarantees "freedom of religion" not "freedom from religion."
Our Response
Every true American should applaud Donald Trump for his Day of Prayer proclamation. It was the American thing to do at this time of crisis.
And seeing the vital role of prayer in the founding of this nation, let us not be intimidated by the modern assertion that prayer is somehow inappropriate for public or political venues. Let us be bold in our faith. Let us be salt and light in this generation. Let us pray. It is the godly thing to do! It is the American thing to do!
This article is derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt's book, Pilgrims and Patriots, available from Amazon and his website at Dr. Hyatt believes that another Great Awakening is coming to America. You can read about his vision by visiting his website at



In 2010 God dramatically restored my hope that America could see another great, national Spiritual awakening that would alter the course of the nation. This was significant, for I had lost all hope for such a revival. My hope had been robbed after seeing so many superficial revivals and celebrity revivalists who seemed to be more concerned for their name than God’s name.
Revival was in my blood. I had been called into the ministry during a powerful NE Texas revival in the 1970s. As God led me into higher education, I directed my studies toward outpourings of the Holy Spirit in church history. Out of a seven-year research and writing project came the book 2000 Years of Charismatic Christianity, first published in 1996, but still used in Bible colleges and seminaries around the world.
My wife, Dr. Susan Hyatt, and I experienced some powerful moves of the Holy Spirit in the 1970s-80s, which encouraged us to continue. We lived through the revivals out of Toronto and Pensacola in the 1990s but were disappointed in the lack of cultural transformation and the direction that revival in general seemed to take at the time.
Revival, it seemed, degenerated into a hyped, man-made, religious event rather than a Divine visitation from heaven. I could identify with the words of R. A. Torrey who, almost a century ago, had said:
The most fundamental trouble with most of our present-day, so-called revivals is that they are man-made and not God sent. They are worked up (I almost said faked up) by man’s cunningly devised machinery—not prayed down.
God Restores My Hope
By 2010 I had given up hope of America ever experiencing another Great Awakening that would renew the nation’s churches, impact the culture and stem the tide of secularism, immorality and false religion that is flooding our land.
But one hot summer day as I began a leisure drive to speak the following day at a church in another city, I was unexpectedly apprehended by the Holy Spirit, and everything changed.
I had barely pulled onto the highway when, without any thought or expectation of such a thing, I felt I was suddenly enveloped in God’s presence. For the next two hours, I was hardly aware of my surroundings as my mind was continually flooded with thoughts of hope and faith that America “could” see another Great Awakening.
By the time I reached my hotel I was so excited I could hardly wait to get settled in with my notebook and begin writing and articulating the new hope for America I had just received. That experience continued far into the night as I sat on the hotel bed and wrote from an overflowing heart. Out of that experience came my book, Pilgrims and Patriots.
Three Things that Lingered from that Experience
There were three things that left an indelible impression on my mind and heart. First of all, as already mentioned, my hope was restored for another great, national Spiritual awakening.
Secondly, for the first time I saw that there was a direct bearing of the First Great Awakening on the founding of America. I had studied the Great Awakening and written about it, but now I saw that it played a primary role in the birthing of this nation. Spiritual awakening, we might say, is in our national DNA.
Thirdly, it was clear that the Lord was saying that America “could” (not “would”) see another Great Awakening. It was a reminder that many of God’s promises are conditional. The great promise of a national healing in II Chronicles 7:14 begins with the phrase, If My people . . ..
There are things in life that will happen because of God’s sovereign will. There are other things, however, that He has placed in our hands and how things turn out depends on us.
Necessary Keys for Revival
As you can see, I am not a fatalist, determinist, or hyper-Calvinist. It is not set in stone whether or not America will have another Great Awakening. It depends on us. Here are three things I want to suggest are necessary for the American church if we are to see another Great Awakening across our land.
1.       Stop seeking revival and seek God.
Revival is too often pursued for all the wrong reasons. The revivalist may be looking for personal success and importance, or a pastor may want to see numbers added to his congregation or larger offerings with which to build a more impressive church building.
Charles Finney told of receiving a “multitude” of letters and requests form pastors and church leaders asking him to come and promote a revival in their city. He then said, “But when I came to weigh their reasons, I have sometimes found every one of them to be selfish. And God would look upon every one with abhorrence.”
In 2006, I was commissioned by Charisma House to produce an edit of the old Azusa Street papers, which were then published under the title, Fire on the Earth. As I read and reread the Apostolic Faith publications, as they were called, it dawned on me that they did not seek revival. They wanted God. They wanted to live as New Testament believers, in love, humility and the power of the Holy Spirit.
True revivals in history have been birthed out of a jealousy for God’s honor and a distress at the spiritual apathy and disregard for His truth. Jonathan Edwards, for example, was distressed for New England. Before reading his sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" to the congregation in Enloe, CN, Edwards had spent eighteen hours pouring out his soul to God and his prayer was, “O God, visit New England or let me die.”
Edwards was not a great preacher (he read his sermons) and there is no record of any great singing. There was, however, great praying. The windows of heaven were opened and entire towns began to repent and turn to God.
2.       Repent of a Spirit of Pride and an Elitist Attitude
I was standing on the front row of a “revival” church waiting to be introduced to speak that morning. The worship was very festive with people jumping, shouting running and waving swords and banners. I was not into their style of worship, but as I stood and communed with the Lord I heard the Holy Spirit say, “The stronghold of deception is pride.” I knew immediately that that was to be the theme of my message.
When the service was turned to me I announced my theme and then proceeded to show how so many revivals and revivalists have been destroyed because of pride. I gave examples of how during times of revival the participants often get proud of “their” revival and take on an inflated idea of their importance because of God’s blessing. The pride then becomes an opening for demonic deception.
At the end of my message the festive atmosphere had changed to one of somberness and quietness. Even after the benediction it seemed that people were almost afraid to speak as they moved quietly from the pews and filed out the door of the church. When I later expressed concern about squelching their enthusiasm, the pastor assured me that I had “nailed it” and given them exactly what they had needed to hear.
The middle letter of pride is “I,” which in Greek is ego. The “self” or ego must be dealt with if there is to be a pure flow of genuine revival. Martin Luther said, “I am more afraid of my own heart than of the pope and all his cardinals. I have within me the great pope, ‘Self.’”
3. Pray the Promises
There have been great revivals without great preaching. There have been great revivals without great singing. But there has never been a great revival without great praying. And to be effective our prayers must be based on God’s word for as Romans 10:17 says, Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
There is a wealth of Biblical promises one can pray concerning revival. In the Old Testament, there is II Chronicles 7:14. If someone objects that this promise was given to Israel, I will point them to II Corinthians 1:20. Referring to the Old Testament promises, Paul said, For all the promises in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.
There are New Testament promises such Mark 11:22-24 and Acts 2:17. The great Hebrides revival of the 1950s was birthed out of the desperate prayers of two elderly women who took Isaiah 44:3-4 and prayed that promise for their village. The promise reads, For I will pour water on him who is thirsty and floods on the dry ground; I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, and My blessing on your offspring.
Great revivalists such as Wesley, Whitfield, Finney and Moody based their prayers on the promises of God’s word. R.A. Torrey, associate of D.L. Moody and a successful revivalist in his own right, wrote,
That is the kind of revival I am longing to see here in our city; yes, throughout the whole land; yes, throughout the whole world. Not a revival where there is great preaching and marvelous singing and all kinds of bewildering antics by preachers or singers, or skillful managers or manipulators; but a revival where there is mighty praying and wonderful displays of the convicting and converting and regenerating power of the Holy Spirit in answer to prayer.
I say “Amen.” Do it Lord! Come Holy Spirit!

To read how America was birthed out of a great, Spiritual awakening, check out Dr. Eddie Hyatt's book, Pilgrims and Patriots, available from Amazon and his website at Do invite Dr. Hyatt to speak on this topic at your church, fellowship or conference, send an email to



In a meeting with Delaware Indian chiefs in 1779, George Washington commended them for their request that their youth be trained in American schools. He assured the chiefs that America would look upon them “as their own children” and then 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. This original vision was brought here by the Jamestown settlers of Virginia, the Pilgrims and Puritans of New England, the Baptists of Rhode Island, the Quakers of Pennsylvania and other Christian reform groups who were drawn to this land with a proactive vision burning in their hearts.
The Original American Vision
Indeed, the original American vision was for a land of individual liberty and a place from which the Gospel would be spread to the ends of the earth. America’s Founders were not shy in expressing this vision for they believed, that in this world, real freedom could only be realized in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
This link between freedom and the Gospel was expressed by America’s second president, John Adams, just two weeks before the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. In a letter to his cousin, Zabdiel, a minister of the Gospel, Adams wrote, “Statesmen, my dear sir, may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion [Christianity] and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles, upon which Freedom can securely stand” (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 174).
Adams was not expressing anything new or novel for the idea of freedom rooted in the Gospel of Christ was a common American belief brought here by the very first European immigrants to this land. Consider the following quotes.
“From these very shores the Gospel shall go forth, not only to this New World, but to all the world.”
Rev. Robert Hunt, April 29, 1607, as he and the Jamestown settlers, who had just landed at Cape Henry, gathered in prayer around a large oak cross they had brought from England.
“Having undertaken for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith . . . a voyage to plant the first colony in northern Virginia.”
From the Mayflower Compact, the governing document of the Pilgrims who formulated it upon their arrival in the New World in November of 1620.
“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.”
Opening statement of the Articles of Confederation for ‘The United Colonies of New England,” dated May 29, 1643. This confederation of New England towns and colonies was formed for mutual security and to arbitrate land disputes among the growing population.
“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.”
Benjamin Franklin in a 1756 letter to George Whitefield, the most famous preacher of the Great Awakening, in which Franklin proposed that they partner together in founding a Christian colony on the Ohio frontier.
“Pray that the peaceful and glorious reign of our Divine Redeemer may be known throughout the whole family of mankind.”
Samuel Adams, Founding Father and Governor of Massachusetts. This call to prayer was part of a proclamation for a Day of Prayer that he issued as Governor of MA in 1795.
“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.”
John Hancock, Founding Father, President of the Continental Congress and Governor of Massachusetts. This statement was part of a call for prayer he issued while Governor.
“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.”
James Madison, chief architect of the Constitution and America’s fourth president, voicing his opposition in 1785 to a bill that he perceived would have the unintended consequence of hindering the spread of the Gospel.
“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.”
Thomas Jefferson, Author of the Declaration of Independence and America’s third president, who took money from the federal treasury to send missionaries to an American Indian tribe and to build them a chapel in which to worship.
 “Bless, O Lord, the whole race of mankind, and let the world be filled with the knowledge of Thee and Thy Son, Jesus Christ.”
From a public prayer prayed by George Washington, America first president.
No Real Liberty Without the Gospel
It is obvious from the above quotes that America’s Founders believed freedom and Christianity to be inextricably linked. They 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).
Recovering the Truth About the First Amendment
The day after approving the First Amendment, which states, “Congress shall make no law concerning the establishment of religion or hindering the free exercise thereof,” 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 that time. Instead of banning faith from the public square, as many moderns suppose, they created a free and open marketplace for religious ideas.
They were not concerned about false religion getting the upper hand in such an open setting for they believed in the power of the Gospel and 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.
By instituting the First Amendment, the Founders were rejecting the model begun by Constantine in which civil government sets forth and defends a certain church, religious expression or point of view. In their thinking, only those who do not have confidence in the message they proclaim would insist on such an alignment with the civil government.
The Founders believed in the inherent power of Christian truth, 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
It is time for this generation to rise up and reject the Lie of the Left that the First Amendment bans expressions of faith in the marketplace. It is time to realize with the Founders that true freedom and happiness can only be found in Jesus Christ. It is time to learn from the Founders that faith and freedom go together like hand and glove, and the loss of one inevitably leads to the loss of the other. It is time for this generation to recover the original American vision.

This article is derived from Eddie Hyatt’s book, Pilgrims and Patriots, available from Amazon and his website, At his website, you can also check out his vision for America and another Great Awakening.



The word “liberty” burned in the hearts of those who were part of America's founding generation. More than any other word it defined their hopes and aspirations. That is why we have the “Liberty Bell” and the “Statue of Liberty.” That is why Patrick Henry cried out, “Give me liberty or give me death.” It is why Abraham Lincoln, in his famous Gettysburg Address, described America as having been “conceived in liberty.”
This promise of American liberty has attracted to these shores masses of people from all over the world, and continues to do so. But why did it happen here? Why did it not happen in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan or China? Was it a mere happenstance of fate that this liberty came forth in America at the time it did?
The truth is that American liberty was the purposeful outcome of America’s Founders. American liberty was created from a definitive worldview that provided the moral and intellectual underpinnings for such liberty. Without that moral and philosophical foundation, American liberty cannot long survive.
Psalms 11:3 asks, When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do? The answer is that the righteous in American must rediscover the foundation of our liberty and restore that righteous foundation to our culture. Otherwise, we are in grave danger of losing the very liberty for which so many have sacrificed, fought and died.
Searching for the Source
The intellectual and moral underpinnings for American liberty did not come from the Enlightenment, as is commonly taught. Enlightenment ideology produced the bloody and chaotic French Revolution with over twenty thousand being executed because they were considered enemies of the new regime. Historian, Benjamin Hart, says, “The French Revolution is a grim example of how people behave when they are unchecked by a sense of religious obligation. (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 169).
Neither could Roman Catholicism, Lutheranism or Anglicanism provide the necessary ideology for such liberty. They were all caught in the Constantinian trap wherein church had been merged with the state and the church used the power of the state to enforce its doctrines and practices.
This use of force in matters of faith began with Constantine and one hundred years later was given theological justification by the great church father from North Africa, Augustine. The use of the sword in matters of faith thus became an accepted modus operandi for the church during the medieval period. And with the masses cut off from the Scriptures, there were only limited protests that were quickly crushed.
Martin Luther struck a blow for freedom of conscience and religious liberty when at his trial for heresy he boldly resisted demands that he retract his teachings, declaring that “it is unsafe and dangerous to do anything against the conscience.” He went on to say, “My conscience is bound in the word of God, and I cannot and will not recant anything” (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 16).
Luther, however, after being condemned as a heretic, needed the protection of the powerful German Prince Frederick to keep from being arrested and executed for heresy. This dependence on the civil authority then led to Lutheranism becoming the official church of Germany. This meant that in Germany Lutheranism was upheld and imposed on the populace by the German princes.
In England, Anglicanism was upheld and imposed by the British monarchs. Even in John Calvin’s city-state of Geneva there was an unhealthy intertwining of the church and civil authority. Those who dissented from the “official” form of worship and doctrine in these countries, just like in Catholic countries, were harassed, persecuted and even put to death.
Identifying the Source
The intellectual and moral force for American liberty was provided by the most radical elements of the Protestant Reformation—the Anabaptists, Separatist Puritans, Quakers, and English Baptists. Hart says,
It was Protestants of the most radical stripe, most zealous in their religious convictions (those whom the America Civil Liberties Union would like to see outlawed from the public discourse) who were in fact the greatest proponents of religious liberty as codified in America’s governing charter 200 years later (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 66-67).
These groups were most passionate in their desire to recover and live out the Christianity of Jesus and the New Testament. With the invention of the printing press and the Bible now more accessible, they  discovered that no basis for the use of force was to be found in the teachings of Jesus and the New Testament. They, therefore, vehemently opposed the use of civil power to impose doctrine and modes of worship on the people.
These “Radical Reformers,” as George Williams, late Professor of Church History at Yale, called them, insisted that the state should have no role in matters of faith and individual conscience. No one, they insisted, should be forced to act against their sincerely held religious convictions.
They pointed out that this unbiblical use of force in matters of faith had begun with Constantine and his marriage of the church with the state. They insisted that this ungodly marriage had created a corrupt and false church that relied on the power of the state rather than the power of the gospel message for its existence and expansion.
This Radical Reformation began in Switzerland but soon spread throughout continental Europe where its proponents became known as "Anabaptists," a derogatory term used by their opponents, meaning “those who rebaptize.” These Anabaptists then influenced other groups such as the Separatist Puritans, Quakers and Baptists.
The Remarkable Influence
In his writings on the Radical Reformation, Williams emphasizes the influence these groups had on the thinking of Western civilization, particularly in the areas of individual freedom and religious liberty. He wrote,
The whole Western world, not only the direct descendants of the Continental Anabaptists, not alone even the larger Protestant community, but all who cherish Western institutions and freedoms, must acknowledge their indebtedness to the valor and the vision of the Anabaptists who glimpsed afresh the disparities between the church and the world, even when the latter construed itself as Christian (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 58-59).
America’s Founders, to one degree or another, were all impacted by the ideals of the Radical Reformers. It is clear from Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography that both his parents and grandparents, whom he calls “dissenting Protestants,” were part of this Radical Reformation. His father, who was  a devout Christian, fled to America to escape persecution from the national, state church in England.
Separatist Puritans settled New England, Baptists settled Rhode Island and Quakers settled Pennsylvania. All shared the radical ideas of individual liberty, especially in matters of faith, and that the role of the civil government was to protect everyone’s freedom without any show of favoritism.
Virginia was initially settled by Anglicans and Anglicanism was made the official church of Virginia. However, the radical ideas of liberty made great inroads into Virginia so that Thomas Jefferson would say that by the time of the American Revolution three-quarters of Virginia’s population were “dissenting Protestants" (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 56).
The Influence of John Locke
The Founders were also helped in this regard by the well-known Enlightenment philosopher, John Locke, whom they often quote. What many do not realize, or choose to ignore, is that Locke was born of Puritan stock and was profoundly influenced by Separatist Puritan ideals of individual liberty.
Locke, who was a devout Christian, argued for a government that allows a free and open marketplace of religious ideas. Christianity, being true, would always prevail in such a free and open marketplace, he insisted. He agreed with 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.
Locke insisted that if Christians forced their faith on others, they committed a great offense against Almighty God. Only an un-coerced religious commitment could be genuine and authentic. Religious toleration was, therefore, the best way for non-Christians to be won to Christ.
This radical sort of thinking about liberty, tolerance and the power of Christian truth was predominant in the thinking of the Founders. Jefferson’s statement on this matter shows the influence of both Locke and the Radical Reformers. He 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.
Seeing the First Amendment in Context
When, therefore, the Founders wrote the First Amendment they did so in light of the ideals of individual liberty that had their source in the “dissenting Protestants,” or "Radical Reformers," as they are also called. They were not banning Christain influence from government; they merely did not want Congress to ever establish a national, state-supported church like the nations of Europe. 

This ideal of religius liberty, as expressed in the First Amendment, instead of choking religious expression, removed all such hindrances. That the First Amendment has nothing to do with banning religious expression was demonstrated by the fact that the day after instituting the First Amendment those same Founders issued a proclamation for a national day of prayer. 
Yes, the First Amendment that declares, "Congress shall make not law concerning the establishment of religion nor hindering the free exercise thereof," comes directly from the "dissenting Protestants." This is why John Adams, America’s Second President, would declare, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other” (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 172-73).
George Washington’s Warning
In his Farewell Address after serving two terms as America’s first President, George Washington warned the young nation to guard the foundations of liberty that had been laid by the Founders. Interestingly, these “indispensable supports,” as he called them, are under attack on multiple fronts in our nation today.
When Washington and all the Founders use the word “religion” they are using it in a positive way to refer to Christianity. Notice that there is no hesitance on Washington’s part in laying out the vital role of Christian faith for America’s happiness and success. He said,
Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion [Christianity] and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 169-70).
Washington says that religion [i.e., Christianity] and morality are indispensable supports for political prosperity, and he warns against the supposition that morality could be sustained without Christianity. In other words, he warns against any attempt to separate God from the state; that is, against trying to secularize the American political system.
Washington did not want a civil government dictating in matters of faith, but neither did he want a secularized government devoid of the positive and healing influences of the Christian faith. He knew the Christianity of the New Testament to be the source for the moral and intellectual underpinnings of American liberty.
Stand Fast in the Source of Our Liberty
The ideals of the Radical Reformers won the day. Today all Christian groups, Catholic and Protestant, have embraced the idea of individual freedom of conscience in matters of faith and worship. Both Catholic and Protestant now reject the use of force in matters of faith and believe the church should be completely free from the state.
This, however, is the area where Islam is incompatible with the American system for Islam is not just a religion, but also a political system with its own laws (Sharia), judiciary and system of enforcement. State and religion are merged in Islam, which is why individual and religious liberty are curtailed or nonexistent in Islamic nations.
In Galatians 5:1, Paul issued a warning to his converts in Galatia who were being seduced away from the liberty they had found in Christ. He exhorted, Stand fast in the liberty wherein Christ has made you free and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
Paul’s warning is very appropriate for contemporary America, for American liberty has its ultimate source in the teachings of Jesus and the New Testament. John Adams, America’s second president, understood this. In a letter to his cousin, composed two weeks before the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, he wrote,
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).
What Can We Do?
The secularization of America and the ongoing attacks on everything Christian, if left unchecked, will lead to a complete loss of the liberty known by our parents and grandparents. The Founders understood this and left ample warnings.
What can we do? We, as followers of Christ, must be politely uncompromising in our faith. We must be salt and light to this generation. And we must pray for God to send another Great Awakening across this great land. 

This article is derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt's book, Pilgrims and Patriots, available from Amazon and his website at To contact him about a speaking engagement, send an email to