• Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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  • April 2010
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Prayer And Christianity In American History

Political scientists have documented that the most frequently-cited source in the political period known as The Founding Era was the Bible.

The first act of America’s first Congress in 1774 was to ask a minister to open with prayer and to lead Congress in the reading of 4 chapters of the Bible.

Throughout the American Founding, Congress frequently appropriated money for missionaries and for religious instruction, a practice that Congress repeated for decades after the passage of the Constitution and the First Amendment.

In 1776, Congress approved the Declaration of Independence with its 4 direct religious acknowledgments referring to God as the Creator (“All people are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”), the Lawgiver (“the laws of nature and nature’s God”), the Judge (“appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world”), and the Protector (“with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence”).

Upon approving the Declaration of Independence, John Adams declared that the Fourth of July “ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty”.

The Liberty Bell was named for the Biblical inscription from Leviticus 25:10 emblazoned around it: “Proclaim liberty throughout the land, to all the inhabitants thereof”.

In 1777, Congress, facing a National shortage of “Bibles for our schools, and families, and for the public worship of God in our churches,” announced that they “desired to have a Bible printed under their care & by their encouragement” and therefore ordered 20,000 copies of the Bible to be imported “into the different ports of the States of the Union”.

In 1782, Congress pursued a plan to print a Bible that would be “a neat edition of the Holy Scriptures for the use of schools” and therefore approved the production of the first English language Bible printed in America that contained the congressional endorsement that “the United States in Congress assembled … recommend this edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United States”. (Source: 110th CONGRESS, 1st Session, H. RES. 888)

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