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Old 12-21-2011, 04:43 AM
Conrad
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Default Christian founders in the US?

Hi guys (and gals, DonnaMarie!, TexRN, etc )

I got tired of the debate over the idea that the founders of the USA were perfectly christian, through and through, each and every one. I saw this as a sideshow issue, distracting us from immediate issues. For example, it might take people away from talking about Jesus and evangelism, moving them to arguing with non-believers over "this is a Christian country." The Puritans weren't the only people who sailed here from Europe.

David Barton gives presentations and arguments that the Founders were all Christians in the sense of Reformed Chrstianity (not Joel Osteen/Rick Joyner, but more like John MacArthur, Mark Driscoll, and John Piper). He presents out-of-context, misleading "evidence."

If this topic has ever been of interest to you, or if you have been annoyed by someone at church pushing us into an Americanism cult, then check this out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xU24fJ4NQxo

The film is 3 hours. So, either make poppedcorn and plan a potty break, or break it into sections. I recommend taking a break after about 45 minutes or your brain will overfill and it'll become a senseless drone.

The presentation is put together by Chris Pinto. Pinto's early work has some difficulties in it, but he's improved his research into different topics since his first two films. This is his 6th or 7th. He states his main point right after the opening title. The best parts are where he shows how people get mislead (about 1/2way through) and then shows the rest of the letters that Barton is _effectively_ misquoting. To understand what he's saying in the second half, it's good to make sure you understand his explanation of Jefferson's version of nominal Christianity.

This youtube posting may be illegal. After seeing the film, if you found it useful, consider buying it. Do a search. It's available on several sites. I'm planning on buying in a few paychecks.

I hope this is useful to helping understand our world (wise as serpents). Thanks for reading.

Last edited by Conrad; 12-21-2011 at 04:45 AM. Reason: hacked sentence
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Old 12-21-2011, 12:55 PM
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Reformed Chrstianity (not Joel Osteen/Rick Joyner, but more like John MacArthur, Mark Driscoll, and John Piper).
Not sure what you are trying to say about John MacArthur, Mark Driscoll and John Piper. Are you saying that these men are NOT true Christian teachers? I don't know much about John Piper, but I would have to strongly disagree with you about MacArthur and Driscoll, especially MacArthur.
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Old 12-21-2011, 01:17 PM
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Not sure what you are trying to say about John MacArthur, Mark Driscoll and John Piper. Are you saying that these men are NOT true Christian teachers? I don't know much about John Piper, but I would have to strongly disagree with you about MacArthur and Driscoll, especially MacArthur.
I took it to mean that he was supporting them. Reformed in the sense of Martin Luther & the Reformation away from Catholocism & back to biblical Christianity.
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Old 12-21-2011, 01:41 PM
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I took it to mean that he was supporting them. Reformed in the sense of Martin Luther & the Reformation away from Catholocism & back to biblical Christianity.
I have heard John MacArthur described as a "Reformed Baptist" before and I've always understood that to be a good thing. I listen to his sermons a lot and I think he is very Biblically sound in his doctrine.

Anyways, I'm about half an hour into this video and I'm currently putting as much stock in it as the average History Channel documentary. In other words, I'm not taking anything at face value; but I'm not going to totally write it off either.

I for one do not believe that every single Founding Father was a perfect Christian. In fact, I don't believe any of them were perfect Christians. Like anything else, I'm sure that many of them were just using Christianity to advance their own political agendas.
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Old 12-21-2011, 02:19 PM
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I have heard John MacArthur described as a "Reformed Baptist" before and I've always understood that to be a good thing. I listen to his sermons a lot and I think he is very Biblically sound in his doctrine.
Yes, I agree. I haven't heard of the other two, but I have heard/read Piper's stuff & he's solid. IMO, to be termed a "Reformed _____" typically means one who wants to hold to the five solas Luther & Calvin & the rest put forth (sola scriptura, sola fide, sola gratia, solus Christus & soli Deo gloria).

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Anyways, I'm about half an hour into this video and I'm currently putting as much stock in it as the average History Channel documentary. In other words, I'm not taking anything at face value; but I'm not going to totally write it off either.

I for one do not believe that every single Founding Father was a perfect Christian. In fact, I don't believe any of them were perfect Christians. Like anything else, I'm sure that many of them were just using Christianity to advance their own political agendas.
Yeah, I haven't really devled deeply into this topic, but that sounds probable. It'd be wonderful to believe that some were pure, but history has long taught us that is rarely the case when it comes to politics.
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Old 12-21-2011, 05:03 PM
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I did a lot of work on this subject while get my MA. I have seen this movie before and I have heard Barton before. The truth is actually in the middle. Many founders were followers. In fact in most states following the birth of the nation one had to be involved in church in order to get elected. In fact more than half the states had state ran churches. The founders were primarily of the reformed theology (Presybeterian and such) There were some who were deist and some who were agnostic. Of the original signers of the DOI all but 2 were active in their church. However as we all know being active in church makes you a followers about as much as working in a garage makes you a car.

So take the video and anything you hear from Barton with a grain of salt and realize they have a personal agenda and a per-disposed hypothesis. When doing historiography it is very easy to read the sources that fit your views and ignore the one that do not. Both of them did that. I got to read the works of just about every player in the founding of America and I learned a lot of what I thought was true was not so much.
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Old 12-21-2011, 06:51 PM
Conrad
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Not sure what you are trying to say about John MacArthur, Mark Driscoll and John Piper. Are you saying that these men are NOT true Christian teachers? I don't know much about John Piper, but I would have to strongly disagree with you about MacArthur and Driscoll, especially MacArthur.
Hi Nate,

No, you got me wrong about MacArthur and Driscoll (& Piper). Sorry I was unclear. I was saying that they are true Chrstian teachers.

MCURamFan got what I meant. Thanks.

Last edited by Conrad; 12-21-2011 at 07:47 PM. Reason: clarity, brevity
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Old 12-21-2011, 07:17 PM
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Thanks Chris!

YEah, I could give better warning. Pinto very plainly says that he's not referring to all founders and that some are straightforward, biblical Christian. It's the "All Were Christian" stance that Pinto is correcting. The reason for sharing this is because there are people infiltrating churches and twisting patriotism into a cult, an idolatry, such as David Barton. When you say that the "truth is in the middle," you are talking about head-counts and actually agree with Pinto in the film.

Paying attention while listening, one can see that Pinto has started doing research in a more formal fashion (e.g. using the letters of contemporaries, etc). The real meat starts when he gives examples of looking at one quote from a person and assuming too much about that person. It's good for helping the viewer with clear thinking. Pinto is actually correcting the "all-or-none" type thinking, such as how we've fallen into a fascism toward people groups, and said so plainly regarding the Signers (DoI). Your comment made it look like Pinto was on the "none" end, but he's more careful and didactic than that. I didn't get so detailed before about the video's contents because I expect people to be able to listen and pick up on what's plainly stated. (Hrm. I'm often told that people can't do that.)

For better warning, here: The first 1/3rd of the film is a little fluffy. The middle 1/3rd is where the meat is, but it's better not to skip ahead because Pinto is constructing a case. The last 1/3rd is less so, but not so fluffy. It's been a couple months since I've seen it. In the last half, you have to trowel through Washington's "closet" catholicism, but it's more like the producer is merely making his way around all the more famous guys as we'd expect from his opening thesis statement. Most of his focus in the middle is on the misinterpretation of Jefferson and Adams. Jefferson is popular to "Christianize" and Adams is a specific example that Barton twists. Pinto does plainly, here and elsewhere, state that there were biblical Christians, but that they weren't alone--it was a mix. The local populations were more Puritan/Presbyterian, etc than the guys who became more famous. The whole purpose in sharing this is that Barton et al.'s lies are becoming popular and leading people into a weird Americanist cult, devotion to nationalism above God. What's interesting is that once you know how these guys believed/thought, then "Creator" and "self-evident truths" take on a whole different meaning, even though our application is the same.

If you really want some fun stuff, start checking out Mike Heiser.

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Originally Posted by Chris F View Post
I did a lot of work on this subject while get my MA. I have seen this movie before and I have heard Barton before. The truth is actually in the middle. Many founders were followers. In fact in most states following the birth of the nation one had to be involved in church in order to get elected. In fact more than half the states had state ran churches. The founders were primarily of the reformed theology (Presybeterian and such) There were some who were deist and some who were agnostic. Of the original signers of the DOI all but 2 were active in their church. However as we all know being active in church makes you a followers about as much as working in a garage makes you a car.

So take the video and anything you hear from Barton with a grain of salt and realize they have a personal agenda and a per-disposed hypothesis. When doing historiography it is very easy to read the sources that fit your views and ignore the one that do not. Both of them did that. I got to read the works of just about every player in the founding of America and I learned a lot of what I thought was true was not so much.

Last edited by Conrad; 12-21-2011 at 07:34 PM. Reason: It's long enough, had to cut something out!
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Old 12-21-2011, 07:30 PM
Conrad
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...
When doing historiography it is very easy to read the sources that fit your views and ignore the one that do not. Both of them did that. I got to read the works of just about every player in the founding of America and I learned a lot of what I thought was true was not so much.
I'm often skeptical of things I hear from Pinto when I first hear them from him. When he exposes Barton's deceptions, it's hard to see where he'd be doing the same on those specific examples. See the part about Adams & the holy spirit. Reading the rest of Adam's letter, it's hard to see where Pinto would be doing the same, in THIS case. He has sketchy stuff elsewhere (earlier work) but is getting better at his work. I've seen other Pinto work where he misses things for missing a source, but not for cutting a source in half. That's the only reason I gave him a second chance. He has an agenda in this film; it's stated after the opening title.

On your reading: Dude, that's awesome. Anymore, I'm more interested in the less-often-discussed guys. I'm kinda tired of hearing about Jefferson's faith(s). It's almost like the non-Christians got all the notoriety. You gotta think that might just fit with humility. haha.

Ok, break time is almost over. I hopped on here for the training threads. :P
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Old 12-21-2011, 10:02 PM
Chris F
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I'm often skeptical of things I hear from Pinto when I first hear them from him. When he exposes Barton's deceptions, it's hard to see where he'd be doing the same on those specific examples. See the part about Adams & the holy spirit. Reading the rest of Adam's letter, it's hard to see where Pinto would be doing the same, in THIS case. He has sketchy stuff elsewhere (earlier work) but is getting better at his work. I've seen other Pinto work where he misses things for missing a source, but not for cutting a source in half. That's the only reason I gave him a second chance. He has an agenda in this film; it's stated after the opening title.

On your reading: Dude, that's awesome. Anymore, I'm more interested in the less-often-discussed guys. I'm kinda tired of hearing about Jefferson's faith(s). It's almost like the non-Christians got all the notoriety. You gotta think that might just fit with humility. haha.

Ok, break time is almost over. I hopped on here for the training threads. :P
The best founder to read from who is not well known is Fisher Ammes. He actually penned the 1st amendment and when they were debating it on the floor he was the most vocal and sadly people have no clue who he is and even worse they have no idea the true meaning behind the 1st amendment.
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