Did America’s Founding Fathers actually set up a government wary of mankind’s fallen nature?
In a Christ in Prophecy series titled “America’s Christian Heritage,” Dr. David Reagan interviews a historian who has some startling insights into why the United States’ government has so many checks and balances.
For over forty years the Rev. Peter Marshall has gained national recognition as a teacher and writer on America’s Christian heritage. Because he believes that our nation is in moral and spiritual crisis and that the only hope for restoration is revival, his increasingly prophetic ministry focuses on two major themes — recovering the original American vision with the truth about our Christian heritage, and putting 2 Chronicles 7:14 on national repentance into practice.
Son of the famous Senate chaplain Dr. Peter Marshall and author Catherine Marshall, Rev. Marshall has devoted himself to a continent-wide ministry of preaching, teaching and writing. He has co-authored three best-selling books about God’s call on America and His hand on our history — The Light and The Glory, From Sea to Shining Sea, and Sounding Forth the Trumpet. His ministry is called Peter Marshall Ministries.
The Orthodox Christian Founding Fathers
Dr. Reagan: How many of the Founding Fathers were true Orthodox Christians? Do you want to mention some other names?
Rev. Marshall: Well, Patrick Henry, I mean good heavens, Patrick Henry was a strong Evangelical Christian. These guys, many of them were not just Christian believers, but they were Evangelicals in modern terminology.
Dr. Reagan: So, they were interested in bringing people to Christ?
Rev. Marshall: Oh, yes, heavens yes! Roger Sherman of Connecticut wrote the Creed for his local church in New Haven. He was a Calvinist Theologian who loved to write theology tracks. In the new edition of The Light and the Glory, I have an appendix in the back where I talk about the Christian faith of other Founding Fathers. I just randomly picked 15 or 16 of these guys. One of them was a hymn composer.
These guys preached. There are many, many, many sermons from Founding Fathers. They were busy preaching on Sunday mornings.
Dr. Reagan: So, the argument that the Founding Fathers were not Orthodox Christians is simply a lie?
Rev. Marshall: It is ridiculous. It is simply, flatly untrue.
Belief in the Innate Evil of Man
Dr. Reagan: I have always believed that one of the fundamental differences between a Liberal and a Conservative is their view of the nature of man. The Liberal believes man is basically good and capable of perfection, and the Conservative says, “No, he is innately evil and fallen and we must face that reality.” Our Founding Fathers faced that reality, didn’t they?
Rev. Marshall: Because they were believers in the Word of God, they knew their Bibles. The Bible is clear about the fact that the nature of man is sinful and fallen, that is why we need a Savior. That is why Jesus had to come and die on Calvary’s cross. To that point they set up a government with checks and balances to create a balance of power.
Dr. Reagan: They didn’t even trust themselves.
Rev. Marshall: Right! No single human being can be entrusted with absolute authority because of that person’s sinfulness. They would use it wrongly sooner or later. That is why the Founding Fathers rejected monarchy and that is why America does not have kings and queens or oligarchy. We have a system of checks and balances.
Montesquieu of France, whom they relied on a great deal, was a Christian philosopher of civil government. He was well aware of the sinfulness of man, which is why he wrote about the balance of powers, which is what they put into practice.