What Made America Great And Is It Still Great Today: What made America great in the first place? What gave us our freedom? How did we get our independence? And how do we preserve that freedom for future generations? Tune in to hear the answers to all these questions and more!
Air Date: 07/08/2019
Guest: Jerry Newcombe
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Faith And The Culture
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. This is WallBuilders Live! Where we’re talking about today’s hottest topics on policy, faith, and the culture, always doing that from a Biblical, historical, and Constitutional perspective.
Last weekend, we celebrated July 4 Independence Day. We’re remembering what it takes to be free. We’re remembering how we became free as a nation, and then what you need to do, what I need to do to keep this nation free.
We had all kinds of programming about the independence day time period. Learning about what was happening back then in the founding era, what was happening with the founding fathers and what they based the nation upon.
Today’s Guest – Jerry Newcombe
We want to hear that over a little bit because we have a lot to talk about on this. In fact, we’ll probably talk about it all year long, but specifically today we’re gonna have Jerry Newcombe with us on the program here in a few minutes.
Go to Jerry Newcombe.com to find out more about him. He’s written a ton of books on the subject of freedom, America’s history, and how we apply the biblical, constitutional, and historical perspective that made our nation free in the first place.Â
So we’re just going to continue our conversation from last week, about what made America great in the first place. What gave us our freedom? How did we get our independence? Lastly, how do we preserve that freedom for future generations?Â
Stay with us. Jerry Newcomb our special guest when we come back from the break. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
This Precarious Moment Book
This is David Barton. I want to let about a brand new book we have called This Precarious Moment: Six Urgent Steps That Will Save You, Your family, and Our Country. Jim Garlow and I have co-authored this book, and we take six issues that are hot in the culture right now.Â
Issues that we’re dealing with, issues such as immigration, race relations, our relationship with Israel, the rising generation Millennials, and the absence of the church in the culture wars, and where American heritage is our godly heritage.
We look at all six of those issues right now that are under attack, and we give you both Biblical and historical perspective on those issues that provide solutions on what each of us can do right now to make a difference.Â
These are all problems that are solvable if we’ll get involved. So, you can grab the book. This Precarious Moment and find out what you can do to make a difference. This Precarious Moment is available at WallBuilders.com.
What If Jesus Had Never Been Born
Welcome back to WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us today. A good friend Dr. Jerry Newcombe is back with us. It’s been way too long, Jerry, good to have you, brother.
Yes great to be with you again. Thank you.
Before we dive in on this very special occasion of celebrating our independence as a nation on July 4. Real quick: you had written so many books what are you up to now? You’ve written a couple of dozen, right? Maybe 30?
Yes, 31. By the grace of God.
Thirty-one books! How do you find time to be radio host, do television shows, assistant pastor? Jerry:Â
I don’t sleep.Â
No kidding. Oh man.Â
I’m kidding, I’m kidding. And so many great topics
Through the years, It goes in spurts. But I’m very excited and very happy, and very thankful and I realize the first one of them all was 25 years ago from this year. That was a book I co-wrote with D. James Kennedy, which by the grace of God became a bestseller.
What If Jesus Had Never Been Born
Yeah, that’s twenty-five years ago. I was saying to my wife just today, you know I think that if What If Jesus Had Never Been Born or if the first book I wrote or co-wrote had bombed I probably wouldn’t have been able to do all these other books.
So, there’ve been other books that have certainly bombed as far as just readership or whatever. I think every one of them is important. They’re almost like you’re little babies or something. I mean obviously, babies are more important. But still there is a sense in which when you get involved in a book, there’s a lot of work.
Yeah, no doubt.Â
I read an anecdote one time where Richard Nixon said, the former president when he was in between politics, and at one point he had written a book called Six Crises. He said if I had known how difficult it was to write a book especially a nonfiction book with documentation, the footnotes, the index, and all that stuff, he said man I would have called it seven crises.
New Birth Of Freedom
Actually, I want to mention your latest book. Last year you did American amnesia.Â
Is New birth of freedom out yet? Or did it just come out?
No. New birth of freedom came out earlier in the year. That was primarily a publication from D. James Kennedy Ministries which is my bread and butter.Â
God bless the memory of Dr. Kennedy, who really got it.Â
Pastors Need To Speak Out In The Culture
You know when it comes to understanding that pastors need to speak out in the culture.Â
Here we are with another Fourth of July. Part of this really unknown story and I know David Barton has directly addressed this even in a video and so forth, is the role of the pastors to be salt and light to speak out.Â
There was a man that I first learned about through one of David Barton’s books, and the man is Dr. Donald S Lutz. He’s from the University of Houston retired now. He once told me in an interview he said you know there was no mass media in the same way in the time of America’s founding he said.Â
But one of the things the mass media basically consisted of were sermons. Printed sermons. A lot of the sermons were published in Boston or in New England. They would be circulated around, up and down the Atlantic coast.Â
The Bible Was The Most Important Source
In fact, Dr. Hindman and Lutz. Lutz was one of the two who did this major study on what were the sources important to the founding fathers or were important during the founding era. And the answer, of course, was the Bible was number one, four times and any author.
The Bible was quoted by writers during the founding era of America. The human authors were Montesquieu Blackstone, and John Locke in that order. All three of whom profess Christianity, and not only professed it but their worldview was a biblical worldview –
Even as they explained how a Government should work. They would quote the Bible.Â
Lutz points out: how did these founding fathers and how did people in the founding era know about John Locke and Blackstone? Partly through the pastors.Â
The pastors made this huge difference.Â
Now, we have a situation where pastors are often under the mistaken notion that the pulpit really has nothing to do with politics.Â
We certainly shouldn’t be endorsing candidate A versus candidate B from the pulpit, although some would argue yeah we should be. I can understand those that would chase at that idea.
But you can understand drawing the line there but not running from any issue that impacts society.
The Bible Has Implications For Everything Including Politics
Absolutely. The Bible has implications for everything, including politics.Â
To use an example from Dr. D James Kennedy, my longtime pastor, and again, I work his TV ministry, which is still going strong from D James Kennedy. In fact, we’ve changed the name since he’s been gone to D. James Kennedy Ministries, so everybody knows what we’re talking about.
Still impacting the world.
And I remember interviewing you, Rick for some of our programs, like One nation under God and so forth. David Barton as well.Â
Abortion Has Become A Political Issue
Anyway, here’s one thing he said. He said, let’s take an example of abortion.Â
He said the church, from the very beginning of the Church of Jesus Christ, going back to the first century, has always been opposed to abortion. It has always provided loving alternatives to abortion. In the last generation or so, abortion has become in America a political topic.
Â A political issue.Â
Therefore, some pastors will stay away from it because we don’t do politics. But wait a minute, The left is the force that has made abortion a political issue. It’s really a matter of life and death.
Does the Bible have things to say about it? Absolutely.
Does the Bible have things to say about life in the womb? Absolutely.Â
Psalm 139, Jeremiah, chapter one.Â
Luke, chapter one. The baby inside of Elizabeth, which is John the Baptist, leaped for joy at about six months pregnant, while Mary was about you know was recently pregnant through the Holy Spirit. That was Jesus Christ inside of her. And the baby leaped for joy.Â
The word they’re used in the Greek is brephof, B R E P H O F, which means baby.Â
So, in other words, the Greek in Luke Chapter 1 is using the word baby for what today we would say oh that’s a fetus.Â
That’s tissue. The Bible is telling us it is a baby already.Â
Right. And the word fetus, by the way, is derived from Latin. Fetus means unborn child.Â
Life And Marriage
Exactly. But the point of all this is: when people say that politics has no place in the pulpit, and they would include things like the issue of life or the issue of marriage. I would disagree with them.Â
The Bible has many important things to say about those things. We’ve in some ways have forfeited some of these subjects to the world. That’s part of the reason the world is in, and America is in so much trouble. The church has truncated its own message.
And that’s the opposite of what the founding era was because the pastors were being salt and light.Â
Exactly. There would be no July 4 if it weren’t for the Christian church. I’m sorry, but that’s just a fact.
No, it’s true.
The Muhlenberg Brothers
You and David have told so well the story of those two ministers. The Lutheran brothersÂ
Oh, John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg and Frederick Augustus MuhlenbergÂ
The one which was kind of patterned after Mel Gibson’s movie, The Patriot.Â
The minister who says, there’s a time for peace, and there’s a time for war. Now is a time for war, he takes off his minister’s cloak, and he’s dressed like a colonial soldier. He recruits men for the Army for their own self-protectionÂ
He played such a pivotal role. Pastors have an impact on the culture.Â
You walk through the capital right now, and you’ll see Muhlenberg in a painting there in the Rotunda. You’ll see a statue there, you’ll see his brother Frederick Augustus as Speaker of the House behind his painting hanging behind the House chamber.Â
I mean, these were pastors. That’s just two of many. They were all over impacting things.Â
Before we leave that issue of Muhlenberg, why don’t you tell the part about the other brother?
Well, he was like a lot of our friends that you and I both hear from that say, hey you’re supposed to be preaching the gospel, and they think the gospel is just the salvation message, and nothing to do with making disciples and obeying his commands as he said in the Great Commission.
They get upset with us and say stop being involved in politics; just spread the gospel, just preach the gospel message.Â
That’s kind of what Frederick August had said to John Peter when he marched off to war.Â
He said you shouldn’t be involved in this and John Peter said, I’m a citizen of heaven and a citizen of Earth.Â
My freedom is important to me is as it is to any man. I’m not going to sit by, I’m going to get involved, and so he did.Â
Frederick kept arguing with him until the British came into Frederick’s hometown, desecrating his church, kicked him out of his church –
Which was in New York
The First Congress Congregational Prayer in 1774
And then he got involved and became Speaker of the House under the Constitution. His signature is on the bill of rights. He and his brother helped to give us the First Amendment that we’re exercising right now. Isn’t that amazing?
This is such a beautiful story because Frederick had that ‘aha’ moment when the British turned his own church into a stable for their horses or whatever.Â
You know, in some cases they just destroyed the churches. They sometimes targeted the churches because it’s like get these pesky ministers away.Â
I remember in New England one of the local royalist governors, in the 1770s when things were really starting to get bad, the people and the legislature of Boston. The town hall people, Sam Adams that type thing, wanted to call for a day of prayer for the colonies and specifically for this ongoing conflict with Mother England. The royalist pastor said no because what’s going to happen on that day of prayer is sedition will be preached from the pulpit.Â
And so he turned them down. Yet we’ve got to realize that during that time when the Founding Fathers were first meeting, in the first time they ever had Congress, it’s like how do we deal with this conflict here are in our country.Â
We are these colonies, 3000 miles away from England, but we’re all English citizens, and we are being trampled on our rights and so forth. They open up, and how do they open up? They decide to open up in prayer and this lengthy prayer you know from Jacob DuchÃ© in September of 1774.Â
Look At History
The first thing that Congress ever did. The Congress of the United States. Today, you have a situation where we still have chaplains. We have a chaplain in the House, a chaplain in the Senate, and yet the ACLU and the Freedom From Religion Organisation, and the American Humanist Association. All those types, they sued to remove this, to remove that and the courts have often agreed with our side because they said look at the history. Look at history.
If you don’t have amnesia, and you pull out the documents and look at the history — actually do let me ask you about that.Â
When we celebrate July 4, our Independence Day isn’t that a great time for us to get rid of some of that amnesia, and remind our fellow Americans what makes this thing free.Â
It’s not just so we can cook hot dogs and have a party and do fireworks. This is supposed to be a reminder of what makes the whole system free. If we don’t do our part, if we don’t have pastors involved, if we as citizens don’t stay involved; we lose that freedom.
July 4 – A Reminder Of How We Got Freedom
That’s exactly right.Â
And we see the loss of freedom over and over and over.Â
Just a real quick point:
Fifty-six men on July 4, 1776, through a voice vote, accepted the final wording and final adoption of the Declaration of Independence.Â
The chief author was Thomas Jefferson, and they modified some of his words and some of the things he wanted to say.Â
He even tried to abolish the end of slavery then and there with the Declaration of Independence, and that was disallowed only because they wanted to get the whole country unified first, and then deal with that later.Â
And so anyway these 56 men agreed with this, and they said at the end of it we are trusting in God, and we lay on the line our lives our fortunes and our sacred honor on behalf of this Declaration of Independence.Â
So here they were, laying it all down later when they were signing it in the next month or two, and then they didn’t finish signing it until early 1777, half a year later.
The Story Of Eldridge, Jerry
There’s this famous story, Eldridge Jerry. His name is in the news lately because of the gerrymandering decision. His name comes from that.Â
That shows you by the way the practice of gerrymandering goes back to the original founding of the country. It’s Is really old but Eldridge Jerry from Massachusetts, a delegate at the Constitutional Convention, the content of the Congress that gave us the Declaration of Independence. He was apparently a very small and thin man.
Yeah, I can relate to Eldridge Jerry. No the thin part but the small part for sure.
I read the whole thing about him being the little guy at the convention. Benjamin Harrison interrupted him as he’s about to sign the declaration, and say you know when we were hung for this, Harrison was huge, I’m going to be dead in a minute or two, but you’re gonna dance in the air for an hour or more before you’re dead. You’re so little.
So yeah, they knew. They joked about it.Â
In fact, Benjamin Rush wrote about that and in his letter to Franklin after the fact and said, do you remember when that happened? Remember how everybody laughed, and then they got silent because it dawned on them what Harrison was saying: we’re going to die for what we’re doing. They knew how serious this was.
Yeah, On the 4th of July. They were basically agreed to the Declaration of Independence. They were effectively signing their death warrant, especially when they actually signed the document.Â
The John Hancock Signature
Later, one of them, of course, John Hancock, the president of the Continental Congress that gave us the Declaration of Independence. He signed his name so large he said, well George III could be able to read my signature without having spectacles on. And John Hancock put his John Hancock on the Declaration of Independence and we’ve been using the John Hancock phrase as signature ever since.Â
It’s a fascinating story and a very important one, but they trusted in the Lord. They said our rights come from the Creator and God-given rights are not to be taken away.
The Great Instruction Manual
The fact that they not only stood up and signed that document, put their lives on the line then followed through on it.Â
And as you mentioned earlier, I just have to emphasize that the pastors that were involved in: then executing that document, and bringing it to life and actually getting us to the point that we were a free nation by not just preaching from the pulpit, but also engaging in the culture.Â
In their case, having to take the musket off the mantle and go marching off to war.Â
Today, it’s more of take the Bible out, and apply it to the culture and preach on those issues that you were talking about earlier that have been labeled political.Â
I mean even marriage itself and all of these things; hey how’s the instruction manual telling us to live?Â
God gave us the great instruction manual. How does it tell us to live? That’s what we used to always learn from the pulpit.Â
How do you apply this to work, home, society, government, and all those things instead of ignoring the instruction manual that the Creator gave us? We need to bring it back.Â
That’s what the founders did. You mentioned the sign of the Declaration and Rush.Â
Of course, Benjamin Rush is David’s favorite guy out of there Rush has this great quote about the Bible being the map of the human heart. That’s why we have to teach it in schools from the pulpit, inculcated throughout the culture because it just tells you how to live best.
So, if we want to be free, then we’ve got to do what those guys were doing back on July 4 in the beginning and give back to the Bible as the basis of our lives.
That’s exactly right.Â
God Is Mentioned In The Declaration Of Independence And The Constitution
One quick comment about the Declaration of Independence, which mentions God four times. One of those four times refers to Jesus as the Founding Fathers would have understood it because it says we appeal our case for the rectitude of our intentions to the Supreme Judge of the world or of the universe.Â
The bottom line is: all those founding fathers growing up in church, and many of them were active in Christian, Trinitarian churches.Â
Anyway, Jesus is the judge, and they know that. And so, Jesus is at least indirectly referred to in the Declaration of Independence.Â
Some people say, well the Constitution doesn’t mention God. It deliberately left him out.Â
Well, actually it does mention God. It mentions God, it mentions Jesus as God because it says, we sign this in the year of our Lord, 1787, which is you know.
Then somebody says well that’s just ridiculous, it’s just an old tradition. It doesn’t mean anything.Â
Well, within a year or two of doing that when the French had their revolution in 1789, how after a couple of years, they were so anti-Christian in their revolution, they adopted year one of the Republic, the new Republic in the year 1791. They did that for about 12 years until Napoleon changed it back.Â
But the reason I mentioned that is that for the founding fathers to mention in the year of our Lord, that meant something.Â
The Attestation Clause
John Eidsmoe, the great constitutional attorney, author of Christianity in the Constitution. He said when you’re signing a will or something like that, and you say in the year of our Lord, the attestation clause it’s called if you say that’s not important you know that’s ridiculous.Â
The attestation clause is extremely important and legal documents such as a last will and testament. The Constitution was extremely important as a document.Â
I mean that’s theoretically that’s what all the politicians swear to uphold right.Â
That’s right. That’s what we need to be restoring and getting back to for sure.Â
Every once in a while you will hear somebody point out that the Constitution doesn’t mention God and that’s by design. That’s incorrect for the reason I just said.Â
But it’s also incorrect in the sense that the Declaration of Independence is mentioned indirectly in the Constitution. The Constitution is predicated on the Declaration of Independence.Â
In other words, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are the co-founding documents of America. One explains why we exist – the Declaration of Independence because we have God-given rights. England has violated those;, therefore, we are declaring independence. So we can restore our God-given rights.Â
The other, the Constitution explains how the new government is supposed to work. There’ll be checks and balances. It doesn’t say this directly but because man is sinful. We’ve got to make sure that no one individual or one small group of people, gets too much power unto themselves.
And while it may not say in the document, they said that about those parts of the Constitution. It’s why they gave those separations of powers.Â
The Federalist Papers
They explain all that in the Federalist Paper. Where you know brilliant writings by three of the Founding Fathers: Alexander Hamilton wrote the most as. James Madison wrote the second most. John Jay wrote the third most. They basically explained the Constitution and why it should be adopted.Â
These were basically sales type jobs if you will to the state of New York; please adopt this Constitution, and here’s why you should do that.Â
But the brilliant writings, it’s kind of like American political science at it’s best.
Yeah, it’s like an instruction manual to the Constitution. It lays it out.
Colonial Pastor Reverend Dr. John Witherspoon
Yeah. And we were talking earlier about these colonial pastors. Well, probably the best known of the colonial pastors for independence is the Reverend Dr. John Witherspoon, who was the president of Princeton.Â
Which you know like all those early colleges, they were thoroughly Christian like Harvard and Yale and Princeton. Princeton founded by Presbyterian elders.Â
Witherspoon trained a lot of the founding fathers and gave them a biblical world and life view. He was also one of those who was there signing the Declaration of Independence. There was even a statement made in Parliament around this time saying, cousin America has run off with a Presbyterian parson. That Presbyterian Parson was John Witherspoon.Â
The president of Princeton who trained James Madison.
Man, there were pastors all over. They were involved in every part of it.
Jerry Newcombe’s WebsiteÂ
Yeah, Jerry, I want to give out your website Jerry to encourage people to go get some of those 31 books.
I don’t know that they could read all of them but definitely dig into some of those most recent ones, especially American Amnesia. This is a great time to resolve that amnesia.Â
Let’s celebrate our independence by understanding how we got our independence. And how we keep our freedom going forward.
Jerry, always a blessing. Jerrynewcombe.com and don’t forget the ‘e’ on the end of Newcomb folks.
Jerrynewcombe.com is the website. Also, it’s easy to sign up for Jerry’s email blast.Â
You’re constantly putting out great information to help us be educated as citizens. That’s a good place for them to get it.
We sure appreciate you coming on today and being a part of this.
- Well, thank you.
Happy birthday, America. That was Jerry Newcombe. Jerry Newcombe.com. We’ll have a link today at WallBuilders Live to make it easy.Â
We realized the fourth was last weekend and this is the Monday after.Â
However, we’re sort of in this long celebration of I guess what John Adams said would take place. That there would be extended celebrations of independence.Â
He actually thought it would start on July 2, but it ended up being on July 4.
But our point is it’s July 8, so we’re still holding over a little bit of celebration of our independence and our freedom.
Frankly, our program year-round is celebrating our freedom and making sure that we’re learning from the past. We’re learning that historical, biblical, and constitutional perspective of how to preserve that freedom for future generations. Thank you so much for listening today. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.