Review of Brooks Braswell’s Sermon, “Suiting Up for Battle”: Strong Offense

Review of Brooks Braswell’s Sermon, “Suiting Up for Battle”: Strong Offense

Review of Brooks Braswell’s Sermon, “Suiting Up for Battle”: Strong Offense

Strong Offense

This is a review (one of three) of a sermon based on Ephesians 6:10-18 called Suiting Up for Battle by Brooks Braswell, Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Umatilla (FBCU).

Braswell says three components of a healthy church, a healthy Christian life, and a healthy family are:
  1. A Strong Offense
  2. A Determined Defense
  3. Passionate Special Teams
Strong Offense

According to Braswell, the church has focused too much on defense and not enough on offense, and in order to go on the offense, the believers need to be strong.

While it is true that our spiritual strength comes from God, the part believers sometimes forget is that His strength is best demonstrated through our weakness. What might seem like defeat is, in the scope of human history, victory. For more information about how this works, read Being the Ministerial Exception and Persecution, Tribulation, and Overcoming.

Finding hope in the idea that the strength comes from God, Braswell explains that having a strong offense is all about being prepared. Prepared for what? Satan.

That Sneaky Little Snake

Braswell says that everyone at FBCU needs to carry a shovel so that when “that sneaky little snake tries to slide into the church, every one of us have the authority by God through Jesus Christ to chop off his head.”

Some believers see Satan as a personal being, while others define “Satan” as the adversary — an allegorical personification of evil influences and intentions. (That’s definitely another blog for another day.) Regardless of differing views, one idea remains — that is, it’s good to “chop off his head” or to eliminate evil influences and intentions. Every believer is authorized and equipped to efficiently and effectively deal with Satan/the adversary, but in doing so, we need to remember we are not fighting against flesh and blood. We are not fighting against PEOPLE.

At this point, it would be beneficial to introduce an account of Jesus doing some head-chopping:

Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan [Σατανᾶ]! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” (Matthew 16:21-25)

I’ll refer to this account again throughout this series, but for now, just note that Jesus addresses Peter as Σατανᾶ. What are we to make of this? There are a few possible ways of interpreting Jesus’ choice of words:

  1. Simon Peter is actually Satan.
  2. Jesus was actually addressing Satan, who had somehow used Peter as his mouthpiece.
  3. Jesus was addressing Peter’s conduct, which was based on evil influences and intentions, like that of an adversary.

Of these possibilities, the first is just silly. But the other two bring new meaning to what chopping off the head of Σατανᾶ looks like.

If Jesus were addressing Satan, as many believers claim, it’s reasonable to interpret the situation like this:

Christ looked for the moment through Peter, and saw behind him His old enemy, cunningly making use of the prejudices and impulsive honesty of the undeveloped apostle. It was the old temptation back again, that was now presented through Peter — the temptation to avoid suffering, persecution, bitter hate, scorn and murder; and instead, to erect a secular throne that would in pomp surmount all other thrones upon the earth. (J. Morison)

If Jesus were addressing Peter’s conduct, it’s reasonable to interpret the situation like this:

Simon was not innocent of selfishness in his concern for the life of his Lord, for he shrewdly concluded that the servants might suffer with the Master. Jesus strongly resented this evil spirit of the world, and urged the absolute necessity of self-denial. (J.A. Macdonald)

Either way, a strong offense — chopping off the head of Σατανᾶ — for all intents and purposes, requires an inner strength that has the appearance of weakness to anyone who doesn’t comprehend how the Reign of God is accomplished. A strong offense has everything to do with being willing to lose worldly power through self-denial. Keep this in mind as we continue to examine Braswell’s sermon.

How do believers get strength from God?

According to Braswell, here’s how believers get strength from God: They should attend church on Wednesday night and get plugged into a small group in order to bring God’s word into their lives. Braswell compares this routine to a body builder working out, drinking a protein shake, and pumping spiritual iron. Braswell is very animated, adding sound effects, and flexing his 140 pound body as he describes weight lifting, spotters, and the like. The comical and entertaining discourse takes a sudden dark turn when he says of the church, “We’ve thrown in the towel.”

There’s nothing wrong with attending church or getting plugged into a small group to study the Bible. But there’s a huge difference between studying the Bible and bringing “God’s word” into our lives. Because Braswell does not define the term “God’s word,” I can only assume he is talking about the Bible. Perhaps this is not an accurate assumption. Nevertheless, the subject demands attention.

What is the Bible? What is God’s word? Are they the same thing?

Take a look at this:

And the Father Who sent me has Himself testified concerning me. You have never heard His voice nor seen His form, nor does His [lógos] dwell in you, for you do not believe the One He sent. You study the [graphḗ] diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very [graphḗ] that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. (John 5:37-40 NIV)

Notice the words lógos and graphḗ. The graphḗ testifies about Jesus, Who is called the Lógos with God and the Lógos-God. Lógos ≠ graphḗ. To illustrate this point, consider the study of DNA.

The DNA molecule is literally encoding information into alphabetic or digital form. And that’s a hugely significant discovery, because what we know from experience is that information always comes from an intelligence, whether we’re talking about hieroglyphic inscription or a paragraph in a book or a headline in a newspaper. If we trace information back to its source, we always come to a mind, not a material process. So the discovery that DNA codes information in a digital form points decisively back to a prior intelligence. (Stephen C. Meyer)

Just as studying DNA may not result in recognizing an intelligent Creator, studying the Bible (graphḗ) may not result in knowing the Lógos-God or His message (lógos). God’s word in our lives is the lógos in our lives, not the graphḗ in our lives. The graphḗ conveys the lógos about the Lógos, Who enters into our lives and gives us strength. It is very important to understand that we do not get strength from God by bringing “God’s word into our lives” (if God’s word = Bible).

Understanding and Recognizing the Source of Strength

After doing a two-hour word-study on strength, I could not find anything in scripture to indicate that bringing the Bible (graphḗ) into our lives is how God gives spiritual strength. Feel free to leave a comment if you find something. I did, however, repeatedly and consistently find the idea that God is our strength and believers already have an unlimited reservoir of strength in Him — with no mention of being involved in a small group or doing some heavy Bible-lifting in order to access that strength. Perhaps the reason Braswell says of the church, “We’ve thrown in the towel,” is that believers don’t recognize or understand the strength of God within. Paul explains this concept:

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. (Ephesians 1:18-21)

The Full Armor of God

Braswell say believers need to put on the full armor, and he illustrates the point by telling a story about wearing special clothing to protect against mosquitos. If a spot remains open, the mosquitos find their way in. The church is so busy trying to put on the armor, Braswell says. In the next breath he asks: When does the church go on the offense?

When are we ever going to do anything to go against them? When are we ever going to say, “Hey, you’re not welcome in my life?” (Braswell)

I begin to wonder whether Braswell is talking about the “Devil” or real flesh and blood people.

Internal Battleground

The armor of God consists of defensive parts: salvation, faith, truth, peace, and righteousness, and one offensive part: Spirit. Given the fact that each metaphorical part deals with one’s state of being, state of mind, beliefs, or intentions, it is safe to assume that the battle takes place is in the hearts and minds of believers, not in any geographical location, the political arena, a business or organization, etc.

The battle is internal.

The purpose for the armor of God, according to Paul:

Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:11-12)

Let’s look at the words devil, schemes, rulers, authorities, powers, dark, spiritual, forcesevil, heavenly, and places in the Greek:

  • Devil — diábolos comes from the word diabállō, which means “to slander, accuse, defame.” Diábolos is a slanderer; a false accuser; unjustly criticizing to hurtmalign, and condemn in order to sever a relationship. (Strong’s 1228)
  • Schemes — methodeía is the root of the English term, “method,” and it means a predictable or pre-set method used in organized evil-doing. (Strong’s 3180)
  • Rulers — arxḗ has a temporal meaning: from the beginning or the initial starting point. It has a figurative meaning: what comes first and therefore is chief or foremost, or what has the priority because ahead of the rest. (Strong’s 746)
  • Authorities — eksousía comes from the words ek, meaning “out from,” and eimí, meaning “to bebeing as a right or privilege” and has the meaning: authority, conferred power; delegated empowerment or authorization, operating in a designated jurisdiction. (Strong’s 1849)
  • Powers — kosmokrátōr comes from kósmos, meaning “world” and kratéō, meaning “to rule”) and has the meaning: world-ruler. (Strongs 2888)
  • Dark — skótos – has the literal meaning: darkness or obscurity and the figurative meaning: the principle of sin with its certain results. (Strong’s 4655)
  • Spiritual — pneumatikós comes from the word pneúma, meaning “spirit” and has the meaning: spiritual, relating to the realm of spirit, i.e. the invisible sphere in which the Holy Spirit imparts faith, reveals Christ, etc. (Strong’s 4152)
  • Forces — Not found in the Greek
  • Evil — ponēría comes from the word pónos, meaning “pain, laborious trouble”) and has the meaning: pain-ridden evil. (Strong’s 4189)
  • Heavenly — epouránios comes from the words epí, meaning “on, fitting,” and ouranós, meaning “heaven” and has the meaning: heavenly, referring to the impact of heaven’s influence. (Strong’s 2032)
  • Places — Not found in the Greek, but assumed by most translators because of the epí part of epouránios.
It seems to be about people, but it isn’t.

Perhaps you have been slandered, unjustly criticized, condemned, or otherwise hurt by someone. We do not fight against flesh and blood.

We’ve all seen the news reports about the organized evil-doing of the Islamic State, chopping off people’s heads and bringing oppression and tyranny to others. We do not fight against flesh and blood.

Political leaders gain positions of power through empty promises, and once they have secured their positions, they make decisions that are in the best interest of greedy and corrupt people or organizations. We do not fight against flesh and blood.

The popular Christian worldview draws attention outward instead of inward, directing the attention of believers to a battleground out there instead of the battleground within. The popular Christian worldview puts a bullseye on flesh and blood people (“When are we ever going to do anything to go against them? When are we ever going to say, ‘Hey, you’re not welcome in my life?'”) instead of putting the bullseye on activity in the invisible sphere, the heavenly battleground, the internal struggle.

Braswell does this in his sermon.

Recently, Braswell was invited to pray at an event at the Lake County Fair. After the event, he decided to write a letter to those who invited him to pray, so that they could “see a compliment before they see a complaint.” Braswell explains,

So, before some crazy from the freedom-from-religion says, “We don’t believe you should be praying at the Lake County Fair,” there will be 1500 people in FBCU ready to charge hell with a water pistol, because we believe that you should be able to pray.

Later, the Lake County Fair officials called Braswell, saying they want him to be the official Lake County Fair Chaplain. After an enthusiastic response from the audience, Braswell asks, “Why don’t we come together as a group, and do what God wants us to do?”

What Jesus Said About Public Prayer

When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing …on the street corners to be seen by others… But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.

Look at the purpose Braswell proposes: “…we believe that you should be able to pray.” I agree with this, in a sense. Yes, believers should be able to pray. But how can anyone prevent a believer from praying?

The believers at FBCU can pray any time and in any place. They can even pray in the epicenter of the Islamic State. The only thing that can stop the prayer of a believer is loss of consciousness or cognitive ability. So until someone screams Jihad and cuts off your head, then pray as much as you want! And if someone cuts off your head, you can express your prayers to God, face to face.

The problem, then, is not that believers who subscribe to Braswell’s view can’t pray, it is that they want to broadcast their prayers without anyone giving them a hard time about it. They want to do battle with “some crazy from the freedom-from-religion,” and abandon the battle that really matters. In Braswell’s example, the heavenly battle is ignored.

What is the heavenly battle? It’s not us versus them, it’s who we are in Christ versus who we were in Adam. I’ll borrow from Ephesians and the Strong’s definitions to describe it:

Take a stand against any organized actions (“1500 people in FBCU ready to charge hell with a water pistol”) with end results that are meant to sever relationships (with the “freedom-from-religion” people) with those who are not part of your “tribe.” For your struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the desire to be the first and therefore chief or foremost religious representatives at the Lake County Fair.

Your fight is against asserting your rights and privileges through delegated empowerment or authorization, operating in a designated jurisdiction. So, wrestle against this idea that the world should be ruled by people who believe exactly what you believe.

This battle might not seem specific enough for you, because you can’t point to it and say “there it is,” (that is, unless you point in the mirror).  Your enemy hides in obscurity, buried deep beneath layer upon layer of religious tradition that says it is not hypocrisy or sin to pray so that your prayers will be seen and heard by others.

Look at the history of the institutional church. How much pain-ridden evil is a direct result of imposing religious beliefs by force? Does the glorious ministry of reconciliation to which you have been called involve fighting for your right to do something Jesus expressly instructed believers NOT to do?

Comments
  • Mary Vanderplas September 15, 2014 at 5:14 am

    While I agree that the word of God shouldn’t be equated with the Bible (and that Bible study doesn’t automatically lead to knowledge of Christ and the gospel) and that receiving spiritual strength from God doesn’t depend on joining a small group Bible study, I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with saying that believers should spend time studying the Bible with others, with the goal of growing spiritually, of being fortified in their faith to fight the forces of evil both within and without. That the early Christians recognized the value of coming together to learn the gospel truth and be equipped for their mission in the world seems hard to deny (Acts 2:42ff.). But I don’t disagree that the source of spiritual strength is God, that it is not a product of human exertion, but a gift of God’s Spirit at work within us.

    While I don’t disagree that the battle against the forces arrayed against God and his purposes takes place also within us, I don’t think it is only internal. The powers of darkness are present in the world, in the church, and in our individual lives (including both believers and unbelievers). Indeed, it seems hard to deny the pervasive presence of the powers of fallen creation. That the pieces of armor referred to in Ephesians 6 are individual in nature doesn’t necessitate the battle being confined to the hearts and minds of believers. What is being referred to here is how believers are to resist the evil that is everywhere present – i.e., how we are to join the fight against evil that was decisively fought and won in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

    I agree that believers need to be vigilant about the powers of evil within, and not focused only (my addition) on the evil that exists “out there.” And I agree that the battle is against transcendent forces and not against human beings.

    I agree with what you say about fighting for the right to pray publicly in the public square not being a legitimate expression of warfare against the powers. However, I wouldn’t argue that Jesus is against public prayer – only that he’s against prayer that is done for show. I would argue that imposing one’s beliefs on others, thereby violating their freedom to choose in the area of religion, is wrong. Living in a pluralistic society, in a country that was founded on the value of religious freedom, Christians in America ought always to respect religious diversity – thereby showing love as Jesus would do.

    • Lanny A. Eichert September 15, 2014 at 1:42 pm

      Mary, the respect of religious diversity is a function of Americanism, but not Christianity. Your statement, “the word of God shouldn’t be equated with the Bible” is antichristian heresy and you cannot be respected in the fundamental Christian community. Alice likewise. Both of you are playing with words to your own destruction as you think more of yourselves than you do the Holy Bible. The case in point has been everlasting torment, especially your denial of Matthew 7: 13 & 14 which you even deny are actually the very words Jesus Christ spoke from His own mouth. You reduce the Bible to your own interpretation, which is an intentional glorification of yourselves. Your self pride is an abomination to God and He will rid Himself of you by throwing you as hated trash into the everlasting Lake of Fire to be everlastingly tormented day and night. You will have earned that right, both of you. That’s Biblical and you are deniers of it.

    • Alice Spicer September 15, 2014 at 4:40 pm

      I agree with what you wrote, “While I don’t disagree that the battle against the forces arrayed against God and his purposes takes place also within us, I don’t think it is only internal. The powers of darkness are present in the world, in the church, and in our individual lives (including both believers and unbelievers). Indeed, it seems hard to deny the pervasive presence of the powers of fallen creation.” But I still think the battle takes place in the spiritual realm of thoughts and intentions. It may be evidenced in words and actions, but these are just expressions of thoughts and intentions.

      This rings true to me, “I wouldn’t argue that Jesus is against public prayer – only that he’s against prayer that is done for show. I would argue that imposing one’s beliefs on others, thereby violating their freedom to choose in the area of religion, is wrong. Living in a pluralistic society, in a country that was founded on the value of religious freedom, Christians in America ought always to respect religious diversity – thereby showing love as Jesus would do.” I guess it really depends on the motivation for public prayer and the context of the situation. In situations where there is a consensus that corporate prayer is necessary and good, there is some purpose for it, and it is done with an attitude of humility (not pretense), it would be difficult to find fault in this. But if prayer is offered up as a demonstration of “it’s my right to pray publicly whether you like it or not,” the act does more harm than good. It solidifies the in-group/out-group mentality, polarizes, and diminishes the possibility of creating some common ground between people who disagree.

      • Mary Vanderplas September 16, 2014 at 5:15 am

        I agree totally that there needs to be a consensus, an attitude of humility, and a purpose in order for public prayer to be appropriate. In the case of a Christian minister praying at a public event such as a county fair, it’s hard to see how this can be justified, given the fact that at least some, if not many, of the people who attend do not share his beliefs. For prayer to be permissible in this context, it would need, at the very least, to be inclusive of other faiths – an “inter-faith prayer” or else a prayer involving representatives of different faith groups each praying in a way that is true to their faith. But the larger question here is what purpose public prayer in this context would serve – the answer to which, I would say, is that it doesn’t serve any good purpose and therefore shouldn’t be done at all. And I think you’re right about it being wrong and counter-productive to the mission of being agents of reconciled relationships for Christians to assert their right to pray publicly whether others of different faiths and those of no faith like it or not.

  • Nikki Ceglar September 15, 2014 at 8:48 am

    First off, Mom, I love you and am not trying to -battle you- but I feel I need to speak up in regard to this post you’ve made.

    “According to Braswell, here’s how believers get strength from God: They should attend church on Wednesday night and get plugged into a small group in order to bring God’s word into their lives.” << he is not saying this is the only way to achieve spiritual strength, but stating that this is "a way that we would like to invite you to do so, here at FBCU". It would be wrong for a Pastor to not make his church members aware of the power and strength that can be achieved as a believer through fellowship and study, and becoming locked into the church body.

    "When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing …on the street corners to be seen by others… But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen." << you alluded to this quote from the bible. God does not want for us to pray to "show off" for our own selfish reasons, or bring attention to ourselves, he wants it to be genuine and for him. – I get that. But, Brooks has brought up the point to our church many times, in many other sermons outside of this one, that prayer and Christianity are seriously being oppressed in our nation, more so than ever, and that there may come a day where we will not even have access to copies of our precious bibles. This is what is happening – slowly, like a trickling leak, the values and morals of our country supporting Christianity, as it has from its foundation since the beginning of America are being washed away. eventually, they will be no more, unless we decide that it is time to "charge hell with a water pistol" in the name of God, to keep allowing us to pray in public. This nation was founded upon Christianity at its epicenter to begin with… "in God we trust", "one nation, UNDER GOD" but that will soon be no more at the rate that -God and prayer- is being pushed out. You allude to Christians having their heads chopped off for their beliefs. You're right to say that they can keep on praying until the moment that happens, and that no one can take away that right, but does that make everything ok?! No! Lol because in the end, those Christians are losing their lives for it! Christians and Churches do need to take stands in the world that we live in today because we live in a world that wants them gone, even if it means genocide, and America is the next big target coming from the outside, but it is also from inside its own walls that the persecution has begun to take place.

    One last point that I would like to make is that you can dissect Brook's sermons all you want, but many of the points that he makes and places where you feel he has "left something out" are covered from previous sermons that he has preached upon, that only a member of FBCU who attends regularly would understand. What he may have failed to cover or go into depth about in this sermon, he has touched upon in great detail through another previously, so I feel that it is unfair to judge his work under such scrutiny. It's kind-of like how teachers are evaluated based on their performance of one lesson by their administrators in the school system. It just doesn't cover all that is being said and done behind the scenes.

    • Alice Spicer September 15, 2014 at 3:40 pm

      Thanks for your comments, Nikki.

      For any readers who share Nikki’s concern: “One last point that I would like to make is that you can dissect Brook’s sermons all you want, but many of the points that he makes and places where you feel he has “left something out” are covered from previous sermons that he has preached upon, that only a member of FBCU who attends regularly would understand. What he may have failed to cover or go into depth about in this sermon, he has touched upon in great detail through another previously, so I feel that it is unfair to judge his work under such scrutiny.” Please visit http://www.fbcumatilla.org. Go to the “About Us” drop-down menu and select either audio or video.

    • Mary Vanderplas September 16, 2014 at 5:45 am

      Nikki, you say “This nation was founded upon Christianity…” No, that isn’t accurate. The Founders created the foundations of a society where religious diversity can thrive – where religious liberty is paramount. While it’s true that many of the Founders were Christians, it is also the case without a doubt that they did not seek to establish a “Christian nation.” On the contrary, they recognized that people need to be free from the threat of religious coercion and that religion needs to be able to exist on its own terms, free from the influences of the world. The Founders gave religion a role in the life of the nation, to be sure, but it wasn’t one in which Christianity is particularly sanctioned and supported by the government.

      • Lanny A. Eichert September 16, 2014 at 8:38 am

        Mary, WHAT OTHER religions other than the Christian religions?

      • Lanny A. Eichert September 16, 2014 at 3:18 pm

        Mary, atheism and agnosticism are reactions to Christian exclusivism, so they are not valid as other than Christian religions. Prove the Founding Fathers built the U. S. A. on other than Christian values. Let’s see some valid quotes to that effect. What specific pagan religious values were incorporated in our nation’s foundation? You claim to be a Christian and as such you know there is only ONE God. You are insisting the USA was founded on many other gods than the only One that actually exists. Prove it. The founders were European monotheists and experienced only forms of Christianity as truth by which to live, so it only makes sense they would establish a Christian nation tolerant of all Christian forms. The American Indians were considered savages in need of Christianizing and that they did to them. How is it, Mary, that you have a broad base for you definition of Christainity and you can’t recognize America as a Christian nation from its founding?

        • Mary Vanderplas September 17, 2014 at 5:06 am

          I didn’t say the nation was founded on many other gods. I said the nation was founded on the principle of religious freedom. For God’s sake, would you learn to read.

          Do your homework. Read the letter that George Washington wrote to Moses Seixas and the Jewish community at Newport, Rhode Island (1790). Read the Treaty of Tripoli (1797), Article 11 – which was signed by John Adams and ratified by the Senate. Read Thomas Jefferson’s comments about the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom – which he proposed: that it was “meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.” Clearly, religious freedom was of highest priority for the Founders – laying the foundations for a society that affirms and respects religious diversity.

          • Lanny A. Eichert September 17, 2014 at 1:31 pm

            Mary, you denied “This nation was founded upon Christianity…” and then go on to state Christianity is not particularly sanctioned and supported by the government. Finally you added the Founders gave religion a role in the life of the nation, but you did not acknowledge that religion was broadly based Christianity. That broad based Christianity has been the major religious bias of the population of the USA to date and characterizes the USA as a Christian nation. It has been and continues to be the perferred bias of the American people. It is the exercise of that religion in public that is being interpreted as harrassing those who would oppose it by saying it offends them because they don’t personally own it. That’s a false offense which is being legitimatized. The net result is the minimizing of the religious liberty of targeted Christians. Christianity is exclusive – denying unbelievers, while other religions treate each other as just add-ons.

            Since Jesus is the ONLY way, Mary, I am able to tell you and Alice that you have not properly embraced Him and will not see heaven because you will not accept His Bible as perfect and literal. That naturally is offensive and there are people who believe they have a constitutional right to be protected from such offense. If they get their way any speech that tells somebody they are wrong will be outlawed. That’s where uncontrolled pluralism eventually leads. With freedom comes responsibility to prevent that.

            • Mary Vanderplas September 18, 2014 at 5:25 am

              Having legal limits placed on a religion does not constitute a threat to religious freedom – no matter how loudly some who are part of the religious majority cry foul. Such limits are necessary in order to protect against religious coercion, against domination by a particular religion; they are in keeping with the separation of church and state that the Founders of this country believed in.

              No, this is not a Christian nation. It is a nation made up of people of diverse religions and of no religion, a nation in which the right to choose in the matter of religion is protected, a nation in which zealots who would impose their beliefs on everyone else are properly kept from doing so.

              • Alice Spicer September 18, 2014 at 12:24 pm

                Amen!!!

                • Stephen Helbig September 18, 2014 at 1:28 pm

                  Amen!!! & Amen!!! Again I say AMEN!!!!!

              • Alice Spicer September 20, 2014 at 7:38 pm

                This article is a perfect example of why the separation of church and state is valuable, even if it’s inconvenient or seems unfair in certain situations. http://www.addictinginfo.org/2014/09/15/florida-schools-have-to-welcome-satanic-temple-after-allowing-bible-thumpers-to-expose-kids-to-christian-materials/

                • Lanny A. Eichert September 20, 2014 at 8:30 pm

                  Alice, That article is just the reason years ago private schools and home schooling developed. When the public system looses its sense of moral responsibility, then parents will provide a moral alternative to protect their own children. Your mom and dad were participants in that solution, a church run private day school, before your family broke apart. Politicians and municipal judges will ruin the public system listening to minority groups under civil rights wrongly defined. You see, minority groups don’t morally have a civil right to corrupt our people and that’s what judges and politicians are failing to realize. Freedom is always LIMITED. There is no such thing as unlimited freedom. Your freedom ends where mine begins. That’s not a stalemate either when Biblical morality is applied. That’s the morality of Christain America which the new generation moderns refuse to recognize as American Heritage.

                • Mary Vanderplas September 21, 2014 at 6:43 am

                  Yes, I agree. Of course the conservative Christians who see themselves as having the right to dominate the culture won’t agree; they will be screaming that their liberty is imperiled (as they do whenever public policy that isn’t in line with their teachings is enacted), that somehow it’s okay for them to impose their religion on everyone but not okay for other religious groups to have a presence in the public square.

                  • Lanny A. Eichert September 21, 2014 at 4:21 pm

                    Mary, “a presence in the public square” is immoral and illegal for that which is hurtful to American society; don’t you realize that? Americans have the right in preserving their society to determine what is harmful to it and to outlaw it. Freedom has limits. What has happened is that harm is being ignored before the holy grail of freedom. That’s why gays have legal public rights instead of being jailed and executed as they should be. That started because for a long time adultery and fornication have not been prosecuted as the crimes against society as they are because so many were doing it. Acohol consumption likewise yet nobody seems to want to acknowledge its adiction is a national problem. And so on.

                    • Mary Vanderplas September 22, 2014 at 5:15 am

                      And who decides what is hurtful to American society and ought to be outlawed? Is it you? Is your belief system and code of ethics what determines who should be strung up? The reason gays have legal public rights is because most Americans don’t share your views of what is harmful to society. The reason people who commit adultery and fornication are not behind bars is because most Americans don’t agree with you that such acts are grounds for legal action. Most Americans don’t believe that the government has any business meddling in the personal lives of people when their actions don’t violate the basic human rights of the people around them. Even if morality could be legislated, it shouldn’t be. God is the Lord of the conscience, and people have freedom to choose how they live their lives. Only when their actions directly hurt others in ways that violate their human rights should those actions be outlawed.

                      As long as you divide the world into good guys and bad guys, the good guys being those who believe as you do and the bad guys being everyone else, you will see yourself as entitled to assume the role of moral policeman of society. Give it up. Face the fact that you’re no different from anyone else and that your judgments are inherently fallible and self-serving. So…..is adultery worse than addiction to pornography? Is being in a loving relationship with a person of the same sex worse than calling your neighbor “hated trash”? Accept the fact also that your rights are limited, that it isn’t okay for you to impose your views on others while insisting that they be shut out because they pose a danger to society. Ah yes, rights are always limited, you contend – unless we’re talking about your rights, in which case they’re as expansive as the universe…… No, you don’t get to be the one whose religion and moral code automatically decides public policy.

                    • Alice Spicer September 24, 2014 at 12:05 am

                      “Ah yes, rights are always limited, you contend – unless we’re talking about your rights, in which case they’re as expansive as the universe…” funny

                    • Lanny A. Eichert September 22, 2014 at 9:53 am

                      Mary, WHO determines: when their actions directly hurt others in ways that violate their human rights? WHAT STANDARD is used to make that judgment? From WHERE does that standard come? Our nation’s foundation is God, the One in the Holy Bible, the One Who established the Absolute Truth by which we are to live since He created us and knows of what human happiness consists. No man can mininize His Standard without bringing harm to himself and others. Sin does not happen in a vaccumn; it affect everybody around. you’re short-sighted if you think the gay life-style is contained the in privacy of the home. You see, only Fundamental Christians KNOW the truth that sets men free to pursue happiness because we have the perfect literal Hioly Bible, the Absolute Standard of holiness. You have lost your way when you denied the Bible is the Word of God. You way is as slippery as your emotions, and worse yet, they are the emotions of a WOMAN: unstable as water.

                    • Mary Vanderplas September 23, 2014 at 5:16 am

                      The nation was not founded on a particular religion or sacred text. It was founded on religious freedom. The founders absolutely did not want a state religion and likely would have died fighting for the right of people to choose in the area of religion and morality instead of being coerced to follow the mandates of a particular religion. That the human conscience has some awareness of what God requires in terms of how we treat our fellow human beings is irrelevant to a discussion of the separation of church and state that is part of the foundation of this nation, thanks to the genius of the Founders.

                      I should have added “or deny their civil rights” to “violate their human rights” in my earlier comment, so that it reads “Only when their actions directly hurt others in ways that violate their human rights or deny their civil rights should those actions be outlawed.”

                    • Lanny A. Eichert September 23, 2014 at 7:16 pm

                      Mary, what state religion they did not want was any PARTICULAR Christian Protestant denomination or Roman Catholicism, but that the colonists should have freedom to choose any of them, the so called Christian religions. Freedom of religion meant to them the free choice of the Christian religions. The religious language of the Founders was the language of Christianity in Biblical terminology, therefore the nation was establish on the sacred text of the literal perfect Holy Bible, because that’s how it was then perceived. The awareness of the human conscience of God-given right and wrong as well as awareness of God certainly is relevant to this discussion since that awareness comes from the God of the Holy Bible, the sacred Book of Christianity from which all references to God in founding documents are sourced. You did not document any founding document statements in any religion outside the Christian religions, therefore since all religious language in founding documents are Christian, this nation is founded on Christianity. It was and might still be a “Christian” nation inspite of people like you trying to deny it.

                      Mary, regarding human rights, adultery, fornication, and homosexuality violate the child’s right to be raised both by his father and his mother in heterosexual marriage. My human and civil rights to comfortably see children raised in such a proper environment are being violated every time I learn of a divorced home, a single parent home, a blended home, or an homosexual home. Every lesbian couple, or homosexual male couple I see showing their affections to one another are offensive to me: my rights are violated and they should be killed for offending me. They have violated my personal pursuit of happiness. What’s the pits is that harvesting them would not fill the organ donor bank because certain of THEIR body parts are not useable for health reasons related to homosexuality. That alone should prove they are harmful to our society and even any society.

                    • Mary Vanderplas September 24, 2014 at 5:10 am

                      That the founding documents don’t explicitly mention religions other than Christianity proves nothing. The Establishment Clause has no qualifications; any and all religions that people might choose to embrace are included. In commenting on the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom, Thomas Jefferson defined religious freedom, saying that it was “meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.” Despite your continuing efforts to make the Founders Christian evangelists, the fact is that they were nothing of the kind. Devout Christians, yes, many of them were – people who believed the Bible and lived by its teachings, but not people zealous for imposing their faith on others in violation of the rights of conscience of all human beings.

                      That the human conscience has some awareness of divine requirements likewise doesn’t prove that this nation was founded on the Christian religion. God is present and at work outside the realm of those who embrace the Christian faith; Christian believers aren’t the only ones who possess knowledge of truth, nor are they the only ones who demonstrate virtue.

                      Your screeching about your rights being violated by the actions of the big bad world out there is predictable, if thoroughly unconvincing. So, hole yourself up in your house, shut the blinds, disconnect yourself from society and the world. Then you won’t have to see and learn about the awful things that offend you; you’ll be protected (from all but the evil that lurks in your own heart). But don’t expect your religious convictions to decide public policy. The fact is that most Americans don’t agree with you. Indeed, it’s safe to say that most Americans would consider your expressed views the unenlightened spewing of a religious crackpot.

                    • Lanny A. Eichert September 24, 2014 at 9:47 am

                      Mary, you do error making this statement: “Christian believers aren’t the only ones who possess knowledge of truth.” There is only ONE truth and that is found nowhere other than in Christianity. Oh, you may say they have some small amouts of truth, but that’s Satan’s deception to keep you from the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Partial truth is not truth at all. It is deception and you are deceived by it.

                      And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. {1 John 5: 19} Christians are strangers and pilgrims on this earth seeking the place where no sin is, an holy city, so it is natural for you to think us nut cases, because you are of this world and its wickedness. Jesus has removed all my sins, given me His righteousness, so I am holiness unto my Lord God and long for His holy presence. You will burn, but I will be glorified with God’s glory.

                    • Lanny A. Eichert September 24, 2014 at 10:48 am

                      It is NOT funny that gays have rights: they are criminals {crimes against society} and few recognize it. So also adulterers and fornicators and rapists. They all should be killed by public hanging and left on display at the end of a rope for several days so that the public would get the message. They have no rights to life and the pursuit of “their happinesses” since they are crimes against society.

                      Your exaggeration has no merit.

                      Reference: Alice Spicer September 24, 2014 at 12:05 am “Ah yes, rights are always limited, you contend – unless we’re talking about your rights, in which case they’re as expansive as the universe…” funny

            • Mary Vanderplas September 18, 2014 at 6:12 am

              No, this is not a Christian nation, despite your best efforts to rewrite American history, casting the Founders in the role of Christian evangelists.

              • Lanny A. Eichert September 18, 2014 at 4:25 pm

                Mary, Alice, Stephen, >45% of the population of the USA claim to be Christians; that leaves 55% to be divided by no religion and the multitudes of other religions, none of which come any where near 45%. That means the USA is predominately a Christian nation. Just 65 years ago >55% claimed Christianity and it was alarming that that number was decreasing. That trend means that the further back in history you go the percentage was that much more convincing this nation was predominately a nation of Christians intent on being governed by Christian principles. That makes the USA rightly called a Christian nation from its roots. Proof is in our currency: In God We Trust. It never was “In The Gods We Trust. The USA has been a monotheistic country, the one God of Christianity, and no other. Broadly speaking the God of Christianity is the God of Judaism. The major religious divisions I grew up with was Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish. Everything else was very minor. You remember those days, Mary, and those days proved America was a Christian nation built on the Judeo-Christian ethic.

                Articles: The Judeo-Christian Values of America – American Thinker
                http://www.americanthinker.com/…/the_judeochristian_values_of_a.html

                Judeo-Christian Values have a foundational role in America, beginning with the Declaration of Independence:
                “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…”
                Since the pursuit of happiness, as Sigmund Freud surmised, is tied to human love and to creative work and play, the principles of American Judeo-Christian Values can rightly be summarized as the honoring of God-given Life, Liberty and Creativity. This seed of American Social Justice was then fleshed out in the U.S. Constitution through reason and common sense, unencumbered by the dysfunctional religious and secular traditions and laws of Old Europe.

                Our Founding Fathers separated church from state, but they wisely did not separate God from state; they acknowledged God as the source of our rights, and, in fact, they were careful to place Biblical morality directly into our founding documents and laws, and into our values and culture precisely to help prevent a future of totalitarian or tyrannical rule in America. The combination of keeping Judeo-Christian religious morality in the state, as opposed to the church it’s self; and, additionally, setting up our laws based on reason and common sense has contributed to the American Character, and to what is known as “American Exceptionalism.”

                • Lanny A. Eichert September 18, 2014 at 4:45 pm

                  More from the same Articles: The Judeo-Christian Values of America – American Thinker
                  http://www.americanthinker.com/…/the_judeochristian_values_of_a.html

                  Dennis Prager listed Judeo-Christian Values and elaborated on this subject:

                  1. Our sense of right and wrong and our sense of wisdom come from the use of reason and common sense, but also, and importantly, from the Bible which, by faith was considered by our Founding Fathers to be God’s inspired text; and not just from the mind or heart of man. This faith lead to the mottos: “In God We Trust” and “One Nation under God.” Our Founding Fathers were believers in the God of the Bible, even if some were not orthodox Christians, and they put that faith into the Declaration of Independence, into our laws, into our national monuments, and into our culture. Faith is a part of American Culture, something Atheists, Secularists, Humanists and those of other religions should acknowledge and accept as historically accurate truth. To remove the results of Biblical Faith from America is to undo what the Founding Fathers have wrought.

                  2. Truth is Sacred; there can be no liberty or justice, and little happiness without it. Jesus connected truth and liberty when he said “the truth shall make you free.” In the Book of Exodus of the Hebrew Bible God describes Himself: “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth…” In Deuteronomy God is described this way: “He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice.” Listen to King David in Psalm 25: “Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me your paths. Lead me in Your truth…”; and in Psalm 51: “Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.”

                  3. Human life is the first gift of God, and it is of infinite value since man is made in the image of God. Judeo-Christian Values have lead to a culture of life in America, not a culture of death. Americans with Judeo-Christian Values will defend innocent God-given life.

                  4. Our Liberty is a gift from God and stated so in the Declaration of Independence. It is also stated in the New Testament Christian Bible: “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty.” Americans with Judeo-Christian Values will defend their God-given Liberty from tyranny and terror.

                  5. Human creativity is also a gift from God and is not to be unjustly suppressed by totalitarian, tyrannical or excessively taxing government. The work ethic is an important part of Judeo-Christian Values since honorable work is a reflection of God-given human creativity. Human reason is also a part of God-given human creativity, and it has led to scientific knowledge and technological progress. Reason and science are important aspects of Judeo-Christian Values. Human creativity is central to the pursuit of happiness, but does not guarantee it; totalitarian systems such as Communism or Islamic Sharia Law guarantee utopian happiness, but don’t deliver it.

                  6. “Establish justice.” This is commanded repeatedly in the Hebrew Bible. This is how it has been done in America: Honor Life, Liberty and Creativity. Liberty in practical terms means: Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, no established or state-supported religion, right to bear arms and act in self-defense, uninterrupted elections and the division of powers into its three branches. Where our culture is now headed in the wrong direction, in my opinion, is to provide special rights for certain groups of people. Our Founding Fathers acknowledged these basic rights for all people, and our Civil War enforced it for the American slaves when they were denied their God-given Liberty.

                  7. “Hate Evil”. This is commanded three times in the Hebrew Bible; this is from the book of Proverbs: “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil.” Hear the Prophet Isaiah: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness….” Americans with Judeo-Christian Values, as opposed to Europeans, still believe in the death penalty for pre-meditated murder, and America is still the nemesis of terrorists and tyrants – see the seal of the state of Virginia.

                  8. “Love your neighbor” – commanded in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles. “Love your enemy” – commanded in the New Testament Christian Bible. Generations of Americans, starting with our Founding Fathers, have had to square the values of “Hate Evil” with “Love your enemy.” This has been done by hating the evil within the enemies of God-given Life and Liberty, but not hating the evil-doer him/herself.

                  9. In the Judeo-Christian Value System there is a natural and common-sense balance between compassion and courageous confrontation of evil. This can be seen metaphorically as a natural balance between femininity and masculinity; both good and necessary. The secular culture of Europe and of many in the United States today have unwisely suppressed the masculinity of Judeo-Christian American Culture, and this has put our society out of balance.

                  10. From Many, One: e pluribus unum. Ethnicity and race don’t matter, but values do matter. We Americans should consider ourselves blessed to live under God-given Liberty in the same melting pot; and we are privileged to pursue happiness through creative work and play, unencumbered by excessive government. Those things that divide us, such as race or ethnicity, can be viewed metaphorically as our various styles; and are not very important. Those things of lesser importance should melt into what is very important and which should unite us: our value of Life, Liberty and Creativity – those rights defined by the Declaration of Independence, and rightly identified as the gifts of God.

                  11. The natural resources of the Earth, including the animals, along with the rest of creation should be honored and well cared for, but also used and enjoyed; and never worshiped.

              • Lanny A. Eichert September 18, 2014 at 8:15 pm

                Jewish World Review March 30, 2004 / 8 Nissan, 5764

                What does ‘Judeo-Christian’ mean?

                By Dennis prager

                The uniqueness of America

                http://www.jewishworldreview.com | The United States of America is the only country in history to have defined itself as Judeo-Christian. While the Western world has consisted of many Christian countries and consists today of many secular countries, only America has called itself Judeo-Christian. America is also unique in that it has always combined secular government with a society based on religious values.

                But what does “Judeo-Christian” mean? We need to know. Along with the belief in liberty — as opposed to, for example, the European belief in equality, the Muslim belief in theocracy, and the Eastern belief in social conformity — Judeo-Christian values are what distinguish America from all other countries. That is why American coins feature these two messages: “In G-d we trust” and “Liberty.”

                Yet, for all its importance and its repeated mention, the term is not widely understood. It urgently needs to be because it is under ferocious assault, and if we do not understand it, we will be unable to defend it. And if we cannot defend it, America will become as amoral as France, Germany, Russia, et al.

                First, Judeo-Christian America has differed from Christian countries in Europe in at least two important ways. One is that the Christians who founded America saw themselves as heirs to the Hebrew Bible, as much as to theirs. And even more importantly, they strongly identified with the Jews.

                For example, Thomas Jefferson wanted the design of the seal of the United States to depict the Jews leaving Egypt. Just as the Hebrews left Egypt and its values, Americans left Europe and its values (if only those who admire Jefferson would continue to take his advice).

                Founders and other early Americans probably studied Hebrew, the language of the Jewish Bible at least as much as Greek, the language of the New. Yale, founded in 1701, adopted a Hebrew insignia, and Hebrew was compulsory at Harvard until 1787. The words on the Liberty Bell, “Proclaim Liberty throughout all the land . . . ,” are from the Torah. Vast numbers of Americans took Hebrew names — like Benjamin Franklin and Cotton Mather (kattan in Hebrew means “little one” or “younger”).

                The consequences included a strong Hebrew Bible view of the world — meaning, in part, a strong sense of fighting for earthly justice, an emphasis on laws, a belief in a judging, as well as a loving and forgiving, G-d, and a belief in the chosenness of the Jews which America identified with.

                The significance of this belief in American chosenness cannot be overstated. It accounts for the mission that Americans have uniquely felt called to — to spread liberty in the world.

                This sense of mission is why more Americans have died for the liberty of others than any other nation’s soldiers.

                It is why those who today most identify with the Judeo-Christian essence of America are more likely to believe in the moral worthiness of dying to liberate countries — not only Europe, but Korea, Vietnam and Iraq. That is why America stands alone in protecting two little countries threatened with extinction, Israel and Taiwan. That is why conservative Americans are more likely to believe in American exceptionalism — in not seeking, as President Bush put it, a “permission slip” from the United Nations, let alone from Europe.

                The second meaning of Judeo-Christian is a belief in the biblical G-d of Israel, in His Ten Commandments and His biblical moral laws. It is a belief in universal, not relative, morality. It is a belief that America must answer morally to this G-d, not to the mortal, usually venal, governments of the world.

                That is why those who most affirm Judeo-Christian values lead the fight against redefining marriage. We believe that a pillar of Judeo-Christian values is to encourage the man-woman sexual and marital ideal, and to provide children with the opportunity to benefit from the unique gifts that a man and a woman give a child, gifts that are never replicable by two men alone or two women.

                That is why those who most affirm Judeo-Christian values are unmoved by the idea that the war in Iraq is moral if Germany, France, China and Russia say so, but immoral if they oppose it. We ask first what G-d and the Bible would say about liberating Iraq, not what Syria and other members of the U.N. Security Council say.

                That is why those who most affirm Judeo-Christian values believe that war, while always tragic, is on more than a few occasions a moral duty. Nothing “Judeo” ever sanctioned pacifism. Of course, the Hebrew Prophet Isaiah yearned for the day that nations will beat their swords into plowshares. But another Hebrew Prophet, Joel, who is never cited by those who wish to read the secular value of pacifism into the Bible, said precisely the opposite: “Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears. Let the weakling say, ‘I am strong!'”

                And that is why those who want Judeo-Christian values to disappear from American public life affirm multiculturalism, seek to remove mention of G-d from all public life, and make Christmas a private, not a national, holiday.

                The battle over whether America remains Judeo-Christian or becomes secular like Europe is what this, the Second American Civil War, is about.

                Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes inspiring articles. Sign up for our daily update. It’s free. Just click here.

              • Lanny A. Eichert September 19, 2014 at 12:57 am

                From WikipediA (sorry, Alice, but Mary pushed my button intolerably)

                Judeo-Christian concept in American history[edit]

                Nineteenth century historians wrote extensively on the United States of America having a distinctively Protestant character in its outlook and founding political philosophy.

                The notion of a distinctive religious basis for American democracy and culture was first described and popularized by Alexis de Tocqueville in the 1840s, in his influential book, Democracy in America. In the second chapter, de Tocqueville describes America’s unique religious heritage from the Puritans. His analysis showed the Puritans as providing the foundational values of America, based on their strong Hebrew Bible view of the world, which included fighting for earthly political justice, an emphasis on laws and education, and the “chosenness” which the Puritans identified with, giving them a sense of moral mission in founding America. As de Tocqueville observed, the Puritan’s biblical outlook gave America a moral dimension which the Old World lacked. De Tocqueville believed these biblical values led to America’s unique institutions of religious tolerance, public education, egalitarianism, and democracy.

                The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other; and with them this conviction does not spring from that barren traditionary faith which seems to vegetate in the soul rather than to live…

                Upon my arrival in the United States, the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention; and the longer I stayed there, the more did I perceive the great political consequences resulting from this state of things, to which I was unaccustomed. In France I had almost always seen the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom pursuing courses diametrically opposed to each other; but in America I found that they were intimately united, and that they reigned in common over the same country.[44]

                The principles of New England…now extend their influence beyond its limits, over the whole American world. The civilization of New England has been like a beacon lit upon a hill. […] Puritanism was not merely a religious doctrine, but corresponded in many points with the most absolute democratic and republican theories. […] Nathaniel Morton, the historian of the first years of the settlement, thus opens his subject: “we may not hide from our children, showing to the generations to come the praises of the Lord; that especially the seed of Abraham his servant, and the children of Jacob his chosen (Psalm cv. 5, 6), may remember his marvellous works in the beginning…” […] The general principles which are the groundwork of modern constitutions, principles…were all recognized and established by the laws of New England: the intervention of the people in public affairs, the free voting of taxes, the responsibility of the agents of power, personal liberty, and trial by jury were all positively established without discussion. […] In the bosom of this obscure democracy…the following fine definition of liberty: “There is a twofold liberty, natural…and civil or federal. The first is common to man with beasts and other creatures. By this, man, as he stands in relation to man simply, hath liberty to do what he lists; it is a liberty to evil as well as to good. […] The exercise and maintaining of this liberty makes men grow more evil, and in time to be worse than brute beasts: […] The other kind of liberty I call civil or federal; it may also be termed moral, in reference to the covenant between God and man, in the moral law, and the politic covenants and constitutions, among men themselves. […] This liberty you are to stand for, with the hazard not only of your goods, but of your lives, if need be.” I have said enough to put the character of Anglo-American civilization in its true light. It is the result (and this should be constantly kept in mind) of two distinct elements, which in other places have been in frequent disagreement, but which the Americans have succeeded in incorporating to some extent one with the other and combining admirably. I allude to the spirit of religion and the spirit of liberty.[45]This concept of America’s unique Bible-driven historical and cultural identity was developed by historians as they studied the first centuries of America’s history, from the Pilgrims through Abraham Lincoln. The statements and institutions of the founding generation that have been preserved are numerous, and they explicitly describe many of their biblical motivations and goals, their interest in Hebrew[46] and the Hebrew Bible, their use of Jewish and Christian images and ideas.[47] In the words of patriot Benjamin Rush, one of the signatories of the Declaration of Independence, “The Old Testament is the best refutation that can be given to the divine right of kings, and the strongest argument that can be used in favor of the original and natural equality of all mankind.”[48] James Witherspoon, president of Princeton, teacher of James Madison and later a member of the Continental Congress, and one of the most influential thinkers in the Colonies, joined the cause of the Revolution with a widely publicized sermon based on Psalm 76, identifying the American colonists with the people of Israel.[49] Of fifty-five printed texts from the Revolutionary period, thirty-three took texts from the Hebrew Bible.[50] Thomas Jefferson, in the Declaration of Independence, referred to God twice in Hebrew terms, and Congress added two more: Lawgiver, Creator, Judge, and Providence.[50] These Judeo-Christian values were especially important at the key foundational moments of the settling of America, the War for Independence and the Civil War.[51]

                Professor Perry Miller of Harvard University wrote in 1956:

                Puritanism may be described empirically as that point of view, that code of values, carried to New England by the first settlers. […] The New Englanders established Puritanism—for better or worse—as one of the continuous factors in American life and thought. It has played so dominant a role…all across the continent…these qualities have persisted even though the original creed is lost. Without an understanding of Puritanism…there is no understanding of America.[52]
                This view about American history and culture has been questioned in recent decades by multiculturalists.[53] In Becoming America: The Revolution Before 1776, Jon Butler of Yale University argues against a Europeanized or predominantly British identity of colonial America, and underlines contributions by Igbo, Ashanti, Yoruba, Catawba, and Lenape.[54] Michael Novak, a specialist in the religious beliefs of the Founding Fathers, argues that the promotion of multiculturalism, moral relativism, and secularism among academics results in academic censorship that affects information and analysis supporting the Judeo-Christian heritage.[55]

                Mary, also in the section above this one (Judeo-Christian concept in interfaith relations) I quote: The Evangelicals have never wavered in their support for Israel. On the other hand Mainline Protestant denominations and the National Council of Churches by the late 1960s were showing more support for the Palestinians than for the Israelis.[33]
                That’s where you get your liberal bias that the USA is not a Christian nation: from the NCC ecumenical and liberal theology; and why you will not trust the Bible word for word as spelt. I know, because, in the late ’50’s through the early ’60’s, I was my liberal church’s Youth group’s representative to the National Youth Council in the NCC. My High School 1960 yearbook has comments by three of the girls in my graduating class about our Youth Council activities, but by reunion information emails I learned only one girl continued Christian church work and that within Evangelicalism. In a graduating class of 500 I know of only her and me as Christians now, the genuine kind, not just the broad-based kind like you claim to be. That’s less than half of one percent, so your save-all god, you think he is, hasn’t done much of a job saving my high school class who now are senior citizens and physically dying one by one and burning in hell. They made their decision in this life and they will pay for it forever with everlasting torment without friends.

            • Lanny A. Eichert September 18, 2014 at 4:55 pm

              Mary, the Founders definitely were in the role of Biblical evangelists fashioning a nation according to the ethics spelled out in God’s perfect literal Holy Bible. They knew how to broad-base Christianity.

              • Mary Vanderplas September 19, 2014 at 5:35 am

                One of your sources, Dennis Prager, says this: This country was founded overwhelmingly by men and women steeped in the Bible…. The evidence is overwhelming that the Founders were religious people who wanted a religious country that enshrined liberty for all its citizens, including those of different religions and those of no faith.” (“America Founded to Be Free, Not Secular”) Yes, the Founders were religious people who recognized that religion has an important place in the culture and country. And yes, they personally were shaped by the beliefs and values of their religion. But they understood well the tyranny of religious coercion, of a culture defined by the dominance of religion such that people are not free to choose the values and beliefs they live by. They upheld the value of religion, while at the same time creating the foundations of a society in which many different religions can flourish, in which religion can play a prominent, but not dominating, role, in which human freedom to choose in matters of faith and morality is respected and protected (and in which religion itself is protected from the corruptions of politics). “The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,” says the Treaty of Tripoli (1797) – which was signed by John Adams and ratified by the Senate. No, this is not a Christian nation. And no, the Founders were not Christian evangelists promoting their cause of belief in the God of the Bible and Jesus Christ. The “God” language that is found in various places in our nation’s heritage signifies only that a Supreme Being was assumed – not that the nation was founded on a particular religion.

                The God of Christian faith is no small and exclusive deity, no “American god” who grants this nation special status and defends her cause blindly. Your god on whom, allegedly, America is founded is way too small.

                • Lanny A. Eichert September 19, 2014 at 9:43 am

                  Mary, if you can’t acknowledge the USA is Bible based and the Bible is the Scriptures of Christians, then I pity your inability to face the reality of American Christianity as our national heritage and national foundation.. Your comments in the ’40’s would have brought you under suspicion and investigation as being a Communist and I doubt your fidelity to America.

                  • Lanny A. Eichert September 19, 2014 at 4:28 pm

                    During the late 1940s and early 1950s, the prospect of communist subversion at home and abroad seemed frighteningly real to many people in the United States. These fears came to define … the era’s political culture. For many Americans, the most enduring symbol of this “Red Scare” was Republican Senator Joseph P. McCarthy of Wisconsin. Senator McCarthy spent almost five years trying … to expose communists and other left-wing “loyalty risks” in the U.S. government. In the hyper-suspicious atmosphere of the Cold War, insinuations of disloyalty were enough to convince many Americans that their government was packed with traitors and spies. McCarthy’s accusations were so intimidating that few people dared to speak out against him.

                  • Mary Vanderplas September 20, 2014 at 4:52 am

                    A Communist, really?? Why? Because I know the difference between the Apostles’ Creed and the Pledge of Allegiance, between the triune God of Christian worship and the god of folk religion, between following Jesus and being a good American, between the politics of Jesus and the politics of Washington, D.C.? Uh, no, I don’t think so.

  • Nikki Ceglar September 15, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    Lanny, I disagree with some of the things that Mary and Alice have stated, but you are twisting Gods words yourself. How dare you refer to these women as “hated trash”. What kind of a psycho are you? You should be asking God for forgiveness of the trash that just came out of your mouth.

    • Lanny A. Eichert September 15, 2014 at 7:53 pm

      Nikki, the issue that has God fuming mad at Mary and Alice is their refusal to believe each and every word written in His perfect literal Holy Bible. They have done violence to His Book as I have quoted their sentiment above in these words from Mary’s post: “the word of God shouldn’t be equated with the Bible” as the antichristian heresy which it plainly is. Do you also hold their sentiment? The Bible claims for itself: All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: {2 Timothy 3: 16; 2 Peter 1: 19 – 21 & 3: 15 – 16} We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. Do you see how Peter groups Paul’s epistles with “the other scriptures” and Alice is using graphḗ for the Bible, the Scriptures. Both women are evil parrots of Satan’s lies and that’s why they are currently God’s hated trash to be disposed in the everlasting fire and torments of the Lake of Fire. Have you read Psalm 11: 5 & 6?

      The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup.

      God’s soul hates Mary and Alice in their present rebellion and He threatens them with fire and brimstone as a horrible tempest appointed by Him as their destiny. Yet they both make light of it as fear mongering inconsistent with a loving god they falsely imagine God to be since they refuse to accept His words for what they are. That’s not twisting God’s words, dear Nilli.

      • Lanny A. Eichert September 15, 2014 at 9:14 pm

        Nikki, the “inspiration” of 2 Timothy 3: 16 is literally “God-breathed” as a compound of two Greek words God and breath/breathe/spirit/air.
        Jesus said David wrote the Psalms by the Holy Spirit, see Mark 12: 36 {Psalm 110: 1}
        For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The LORD said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.

        he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. {John 3: 36b} God is fuming mad at Mary and Alice because they will not believe the Son of God’s words in Matthew 7: 13 & 14 that the majority go to everlasting torment and physical death is the cut-off for salvation. Wrath means fuming mad and that God will vigorously throw them as the trash they are into His “trash bin”, the Lake of Fire. So will God do to all who refuse to believe Him because of every word He has written down in His Bible. None will escape His wrath.

        I would like to see them debate explain how they believe the Son, but not His words that are written in the Holy Bible.

      • Alice Spicer September 15, 2014 at 9:20 pm

        Notice how translators conveniently insert the word “is” and arrange the word order like this:”every Writing [is] God-breathed” (http://biblehub.com/text/2_timothy/3-16.htm) instead of placing “is” like this: “every God-breathed Writing [is],” which changes the meaning of the text. “God-breathed” is an adjective modifying the noun “Writing.” The other two references have the same meaning. There are God-breathed (Spirit inspired) writings, from the prophets and the apostles.

        • Lanny A. Eichert September 15, 2014 at 11:34 pm

          Alice violates the exact word order. The exact word order makes God-breathed a predicate nominative and the “is” properly inserted. Alice is an example of handling the word of God deceitfully {2 Corinthians 4: 2}

          πᾶσα γραφὴ θεόπνευστος
          All Scripture God-breathed

          Verse 15 “from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures” includes the entire content of Scripture such that verse 16 means the entire content of Scripture is described as God-breathed. Poor Alice tries to invert Biblical meanings to further her heresy. That’ll get her hatefully trashed into the everlasting Lake of Fire in everlasting torments.

        • Lanny A. Eichert September 15, 2014 at 11:54 pm

          Alice, by your logic you must also give equal weight to ὠφέλιμος making your suggestion “every God-breathed and profitable Writing” which according to you would mean that not only is all Writing not God-breathed, but all Writing is also not profitable. Now it would look this way. Some Writing is God-breathed but not profitable and some Writing is profitable but not God-breathed and some Writing is neither God-breathed nor profuitable. Didn’t you notice ὠφέλιμος is also an adjective @ biblehub? You then have two adjectives connected with καὶ and and both are without direct articles to emphasize quality. See what a mess of the Scriptures you make. Look, you a novice and the translators knew a whole lot more about translation work than you do, so give them credit for a job well done, instead of accusing them of conspiracy as you do. I warn you that you are under the wrath of God right this minute and shall be until you reverence every word of God’s perfect literal Holy Bible.

          • Alice Spicer September 16, 2014 at 11:47 am

            I don’t think it’s necessarily a conspiracy (i.e. intentional deception), just their interpretation based on the traditional view of the infallibility of every canonized writing.

            • Lanny A. Eichert September 16, 2014 at 2:32 pm

              Alice, the infallibility of every canonized writing is the correct view you don’t want to admit so you spread your doubt of conspiracy. That’s satanic conduct of a novice, such as you are. And prideful enough to make yourself the judge of what is and what isn’t God-breathed and profitable. Don’t you see that? With the view of the perfect literal Holy Bible, there is no doubt about a sure foundation since every word is sacred and sure. I have no need for the scolarship of the scholar since I believe every word is spelled correctly. You on the other hand must choose which scholarship to believe, which means you are dependant upon men’s interpretations and your own ability to choose. I suppose you’d retort by claiming canonization is the work of men, but all they did was give an official “stamp of aproval” to that which is obvious to every true saint of God having God’s Holy Spirit , the Author of all Scripture that belongs to His saints. They were regenerated by that same Holy Spirit and Author, so they certainly would know His words when they see them. Jesus’ sheep hear His voice {John 10: 4 & 5}.

              But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. {John 10: 26} Alice, you are evidencing an inability to to hear Jesus’ words in Matthew 7: 13 & 14, so by John 10: 26 my conclusion could be that you are NOT one of Jesus’ sheep and you will NEVER be one of Jesus’ sheep and you will surely burn in hell forever. Jesus said to them, you ARE NOT without having said that they have opportunity to change. Jesus “ARE NOT” is fact without change, Alice. Now, I’m not Jesus and I hope for your change while there’s still breath in your physical body because physical death is the cut-off point for Gospel salvation. Stop fighting against God and submit to every word of His perfect literal Holy Bible. Get it right at your dad’s Fundamental Baptist church and get saved. Stop trying to prove it all wrong.

        • Lanny A. Eichert September 16, 2014 at 12:14 am

          Every Writing God-breathed and profitable describes all the individual written words of the Holy Bible as God-breathed and profitable.

          To deny that is to deny God Himself and prove yourself an unbeliever and prove yourself definitely not a Christian. That’s what Mary and Alice have done on this site, Nikki, and as such these women are “hated trash” to be brutally discarded into the Lake of Fire for everlasting torment unless they chage their minds and hearts before they physically die, because death is the cut-off for salvation declared in the Bible.

  • Lanny A. Eichert September 15, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    Alice, how are you ever going to know the lógos if you don’t read and study the graphḗ?
    A person is known by what he speaks in words. Is the Bible the recorded words that God spoke {inspired, God-breathed}?
    The graphḗ is God’s recorded lógos of the Lógos is the correction you need to make.
    Your refusal to make that correction will land you in the Lake of Fire in everlasting torment.

  • […] This is a review (two of three) of a sermon based on Ephesians 6:10-18 called Suiting Up for Battle by Brooks Braswell, Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Umatilla (FBCU). You can read part one here. […]

  • […] Braswell, Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Umatilla (FBCU). You can read part one here and part two […]

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