God Governs In The Affairs of Men, America’s Providential History and Our Educational System on Foundations of Freedom Thursday! It’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday, a special day of the week where we get to answer questions from you, the listeners! Always answering your questions from constitutional principles! Tune in today as we answer your questions such as: Can we return our school systems to a K- 8th standard?  Did they expect too much of their kids in the Founding Era? What does it mean, “God governs in the affairs of men,”?  And so much more, right here on WallBuilders Live!  

Air Date: 10/19/2017

Guests: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton


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Transcription note:  As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast.  However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.


Abraham Lincoln said, “€œWe the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”€


Welcome to WallBuilders Live.  It”€™s Foundations of Freedom Thursday today, so we’re diving directly into some of those principles and we’re letting you ask the questions to drive the conversations.

So here at WallBuilders Live, we’re always talking about today’s hottest topics on policy, and faith, and the culture, but we’re always doing that from a Biblical, historical, and Constitutional perspective. In other words, that’s our three resources as we analyze these questions and different issues of the day.

We’re here with David Barton. He’s America’s premier historian and our founder here at WallBuilders. Tim Barton is a national speaker and pastor and the president at WallBuilders. And my name is Rick Green. I’m a former Texas state legislator.

Ask Your Questions

You can find out more at our websites: WallBuilders.com and also WallBuildersLive.com. At the live site, you can get the archives of the last few weeks and you can also send in your questions.  By the way, if you would like us to cover some topics that you’re interested in, you can e-mail [email protected] – that’s [email protected].

David, Tim we got a ton of questions. We’ll see how many we can get to today.  Y”€™all ready?


You bet. Fire away.

America”€™s Providential History


Alright, well, first question comes from Joe, he says, “€œI’ve been listening to the show for a couple of weeks now and I’m very interested in hearing more about providential history and how “€œGod governs in the affairs of men.”€


Hang on. That’s a quote that Joe just gave us. What’s the origin of that quote?  Where does it come from?


“€œGod governs in the affairs of men.”€  So that’s the Franklin speech, right, that he gave at the Constitutional Convention. Actually, a pretty long speech where he quoted a ton of Bible verses. I remember you analyzing that speech and pointing out. I can’t remember what it was, about a dozen different Bible verses.


Yeah, Franklin alludes to the Bible – references the Bible – nearly, I think, about 14 times in that speech that he goes through.  And he’s the one who said, “€œGod governs in the affairs of men.” He said he firmly believed that.

Now that’s providential history in the sense that God gets involved in history. If you’re a secular historian, you look at history and you just see cause and effect – and sometimes not even that. You just see a litany of events that occurred and a lot of times you don’t even see cause and effect.

But Franklin says, “€œI believe that God is a cause of a lot of what happens in history and that a lot of the effect is ordained and orchestrated by Him. “€œ

So go back to Joe’s quote, but that’s where that quote comes from. That’s actually a reference to Ben Franklin talking about how that God gets involved in the affairs of men and directs history.


Alright, I got “€œGod covers in the affairs of men.”€  He goes on to ask, “€œI remember listening to the show the other day when David Barton vaguely explained how Lincoln humbled himself in prayer and fasting after this set a part-time, the Union Army finally received the strength to turn the war in their favor. I was just wondering if there are any more stories in history where God intervened and changed everything. How much of our country’s heritage has God been in the middle of it, shaping it to what we see today?”€

Man, that’s a great question.  Joe, we only need about 100 hours for today’s program. No, I mean, seriously, he’s asking a great question.

We cover these sometimes.  But David, Tim, where would you guys point people to be able to learn more of those providential stories?


Well let me take the last part of what Joe asked —



How Much of our Country’s Heritage Has God in the Middle of it All?


“€œHow much of our country’s heritage has God in the middle of it all?”€

I”€™m going to say 100 percent.


Yeah, yeah.


Now that doesn’t mean we recognize all of it.  That doesn’t mean that it’s been dramatic all along the way. Part of it is going to be, for example, what did not happen.

I remember Dr. Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration of Independence when he was thanking God for all the blessings he had.  He said, “€œI thank God for all the times I have not fallen down stairs.”€

You go, “€œWhat?”€

But see, what God prevents from happening can be just as big a blessing as what does happen. So if you look at American history, it’s not just what occurred but maybe what didn’t occur.

A decision that somebody didn’t make that would have resulted in an accidental nuclear explosion.  So, who knows what it would have been – we just don’t know. God”€™s the only entity the—– I”€™d say “€œperson”€ but He”€™s much bigger than a person.  God is God and He’s the only one who knows start from finish.

So I think He’s involved in all aspects.  It’s just that we don’t always recognize that. Now, what we do recognize, we get to talk about and that’s what we see in the Bible. God directs Israel and you get to see a lot of the results of that in the Bible. You get to see victories and you get the miraculous interventions, etc.

Abraham Lincoln Calls For Day Of Prayer And Fasting

And that was one of the things we pointed out with Abraham Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln, early in his presidency, may or may not have been a Christian, but by the end of his presidency, he sure appears to be pretty devout.

But in the middle of his presidency, he calls for a serious day of prayer and fasting.  It”€™s one of the best-worded prayer and fasting proclamations in American history – talks about how we become arrogant, we’ve forgotten God, we think we do all this stuff of our own accord, our own strength, he said, “€œBut we don’t, it”€™s God.”

And what you find is when he called the nation to a serious time of getting off your high horse, quit thinking you did it.  Get ahold of God, and do it now. And they shut down businesses for that time of fasting. They had the time of fasting in the military as well.  I mean, it was a serious time of fasting.

Change Of Course In The Civil War

You’ll find that in all the major battles of the Civil War up to that point in time, the Union had won only two major battles. You find that in all the rest of the major battles of the Civil War after that time, the Union lost only two major battles. Now maybe that’s coincidence.  Maybe something happened.  And it’s not that they got a different general because we still had the same military general going through –  so it wasn’t a general.

Who knows what could have happened. Maybe the sun came up in the west on that day and went down in the east – who knows what happened. But it’s suspiciously indicative that following that day of humbling and seeking God the whole course of the war seemed to change and that’s what Joe’s alluding to.

Stonewall Jackson


Well, and maybe that situation where Stonewall Jackson got shot in the arm by his own men.  And then, when they try to do his surgery and amputate the arm, he dies. He’s the one that was having all these incredible victories in the south and now he’s dead by his own men and by a doctor.  I mean, you start looking at all these things that you could say were coincidence, but at some point, there are so many coincidences it doesn’t make sense unless there’s an outside force who’s involved.

Battle of the Monongahela – George Washington Survives Bullets Passing Through His Jacket

And Rick, as you mentioned, I mean we could talk for hours about these kinds of stories where you look and go, this doesn’t make sense. You look at George Washington all the way back to the French and Indian War when — the Battle of the Monongahela – when he comes out and he’s got these bullet holes in his jacket.

He”€™s had these horses shot out from under him, he’s got bullet fragments in his hair, and yet there’s not a mark on his body. He’s the only officer not shot off horseback. Now, maybe it was just a coincidence that bullets are passing through his jacket and none of them touched his body, but at some point, in the midst of all of these sayings, you have to look and go, “€œYou know, that’s not normal – that’s unusual. Maybe there is an outside force influencing what’s happening.”

And that’s where, as a Christian, it”€™s so easy to look and go, “€œI think God was doing something right here.” There are so many moments in history we can point to.  There are several great books you can look at.  Barry Loudermilk has one called, And Then They Prayed and he identifies so many situations where it seemed as if there was an impossible task and then someone leads in a prayer — prayer is involved in the situation.  And God shows up and then what should not have happened, happened. And then there’s more books we could point to, I think —


America’s Providential History.


Yeah, Steve McDowell”€™s got America’s Providential History. Bill Fedor’s got one. Glenn Beck did Miracles and Massacres .  He talks about some of these miracles that happen. There’s a lot of people that have outlined some of these really unique situations and it’s impossible to read history and not see these incredibly unusual moments happen.




And you would be very hard pressed to explain them away if you did not believe in what the Founders refer to as “€œdivine providence.”


And let me just kind of drive this home.  I want to read some quotes from some major American historians and this is the way every historian used to view history. We recorded what happened, but we also looked at what God was up to.

So you take George Bancroft.  Bancroft is actually called the “€œFather of American History.” He was the secretary of the Navy, he —  Bancroft Hall at the Naval Academy is named after him.  He actually gave the official eulogy when Andrew Jackson died.  And he gave the official congressional eulogy when Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. So here’s a historian that gave two major eulogies and here’s what he says, he said,

“€œThat God rules in the affairs of man is as certain as any truth of physical science. Nothing is by chance, though men and their ignorance of causes may think so.”€ He says, “€œThe fortunes of a nation are not under the control of blind destiny, but follow the steps by which a favoring Providence, calling our institutions into being, has conducted the country to its present happiness and glory.”€

So he makes it real clear, “€œGuys it didn’t just happen, there’s a God who directs this stuff.”€

Teacher”€™s Instructions

A great public school textbook writer, Charles Kaufen, back in the day when you didn’t have teachers colleges you actually wrote the instructions for the teachers in front of the book. This is what he told the teachers about history books he said,

“€œNotice that while oppressors have carried out their plans in history, there were other forces silently at work which in time undermine their plans as if a divine hand was directing the counterplan.”€ He said, “€œWhoever peruses a story of liberty without recognizing this feature, will fail of fully comprehending the meaning of history.”€ He said, “€œThere must be a meaning to history or else existence is an incomprehensible enigma.”€

If you try to study history and don’t look for what God”€™s up to in it, you will never understand what history is about and you won”€™t understand why you were put here on Earth. Now that’s the attitude that we used to have with all history and that’s why reading old history books, which is what we have thousands of in our collection here at WallBuilders, is so much fun because there’s purpose.  

And there”€™s cause and there is effect, and you see character, and you see what happens from a lack of character. We don’t get that today in history – it’s a bunch of dates and names and places – it’s dry, dull, boring, stuff. Providential history is a lot of fun and what Joe asked, man, and Tim answered.  There are so many good books out there.

But basically, if you start reading any biography published before 1900 you’re going to get a handful of providential history and so you can even go to Google Books and look for biographies of John Quincy Adams or John Andrew .  Look for biographies published before the Civil War and you will get a God-view of nearly everybody you read about.

Indians Said The “€œGreat Spirit”€ Protected Washington


And Tim you mentioned it’s hard to not see this as a Christian and of course, as we know, you take that story you were talking about Washington in the jackets, man.  It was the Indians saw it, the French saw it, everybody that was there recognized that some — the Indians called it  “€œgreat spirit”€ — was protecting him.  Something was happening there. So even those that weren’t Christians recognized it. I mean, God’s providential involvement in our history is just so obvious.  You have to really work hard to deny it and ignore it.


That story is worth everybody knowing. Getting the George Washington BulletProof story will build your faith.  It will build your understanding of what God was up to in America. And we actually had the pleasure of getting famous Hollywood actor and Disney legend Dean Jones to do an audiobook of The Bulletproof George Washington. So if you like listening to books or audiobooks, man, Dean Jones – such a distinctive voice.  But he tells the story the bulletproof George Washington and you get that on the website, but that’s one of the best providential stories in American history is the bulletproof George Washington.

The Bulletproof George Washington


Check it out there at WallBuilders.com and stay with us – we’ll be right back on WallBuilders



Thomas Jefferson said, “€œThe Constitution of most of our states, and of the United States, assert that all power is inherent in the people that they may exercise it by themselves. That it is their right and duty to be at all times armed, that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of press.”€

DVD On Common Core


Hi, friends! This is David Barton of WallBuilders. The current condition of education in America is abysmal. Not only is educational achievement plummeting, but every year, some 19 percent of high school seniors who graduate is completely illiterate. They can”€™t read at all but it was not always this way.

For generations, we taught students how to think. But after the progressives took over education in the early 20th century, things began to radically change. Education shifted from thinking to learning, which made the emphasis on the teachers rather than the students. And that elevated indoctrination above knowledge.

At that time, progressives also made massive changes in the way we tested students. They extended school from 8 to 12 years. They introduced graded education and they added compulsory education. Statistics prove that these changes have harmed education rather than helped it. And now the progressives are pushing common core.

In our new DVD On Common Core, we give you eight reasons why this current approach is so dangerous to our kids and our culture. We also show you an amazing history of education. So get this new DVD at WallBuilders.com.


President Calvin Coolidge said, “€œThe more I study the Constitution, the more I realize that no other document devised by the hand of man has brought so much progress and happiness to humanity. To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.”€

Send In Your Questions


Thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live – it’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday today, diving into your questions and if you have some, you can send them in: [email protected] that”€™s [email protected].

Next question for David and Tim comes from Sebastian.  Sebastian asked, “€œHow can we return our public schools back to the original K through 8 standard and remove the K through 12 standard put in place by Progressive’s in the early 20th century that makes it lengthier for a child to become eligible to start college.”€

Now I know every high schooler in the country that’s listening just perked up and said, “€œWow, wait.  You could get rid of high school and go K through 8?! I like this idea. It wasn’t always K through 12? Tell me more.”€

Oh —

So David, Tim, what?  So our education system didn’t always go K through 12 and then off to college, right?

K Through 8 Schools


No, there were five major changes the progressives made in the whole educational paradigm of America and one is that we only used to go to school a few months a year and for only eight years. Now here’s the deal —


Actually, I’m gonna back up, so even saying 8 years, it was actually 8 levels.


That”€™s true.

8 Levels, Not Years


And I know you guys know that, but just for clarification for the audience. So you didn’t go to school for 8 years.  You went to school to complete 8 levels, but you might could complete 8 levels in three years, or four years, or five years. It was just you had to master the content for that level.  And as soon as you mastered the content you could go on to the next level.


So wait, Tim, are you saying we actually paid attention to what you had actually learned rather than just how old you were?


That is actually correct, Rick.


What a novel idea.


And, Rick, the way we know that is that you had an eighth level exit test and you could not finish school until you could pass that eighth exit test. Now, for just for reference today so that people kinda understand, let’s call it an eighth-grade exit test.

It’s not –  as Tim said, it”€™s levels.  But for grins, we’re going to call it an eighth-grade exit test. So how can we get back to that?

Can You Pass Eighth Level Exit Exam?

Well, as soon as we can get teachers to pass one of those old eighth-grade exit exams, that would be a good starting place.

So let’s see if we can get teachers to know as much as what an eighth level student used to know, or an eighth-grade student used to know, back in the 1920s, 1930s.  Let’s start there. And by the way, let’s have parents take that eighth test, too.  See what parents can do with it.

I mean, come on, we got all the technology.  This is back in the 1920s.  They were so dumb.  Back then, they were still riding horses. Where — this is gonna be a piece of cake. So just take that little that eighth-grade exit exam back in the 1920s and —


I”€™m going to take a long, a wild guess here.  David, and you know, I know we’ve sat on TV sets before where you sandbagged me and put a third-grade test on the table and had me take it and I failed miserably.  So I’m guessing this eighth grade one is even worse.


Well, come on, it can’t be that bad because this is what all the farm boys knew.


Right, right.


I mean, these are the guys who spend their days hunting, and fishing, and chasing mountain lions, and riding horses, and breaking horses, and building fence, and plowing.  And when they get a chance they come to school every once in a while.  So we’re just talking about what a bunch of country bumpkins know here.

So it’s not going to be a big deal.  Just take the simple 8th-grade test and let’s see how teachers do at that and parents. And then once we do that, we’ll give it to our kids to make sure that they know it as well.  So, you know, it’s not going to be a big deal.

Oh, yeah.

Progressive Education Has Dumbed Down Education

That’s what Progressive Education has done.  It has dumbed everybody down to such a level that it would be embarrassing for us to go back. But the answer to Sebastian’s question is, how do we get that. Number one, we’re going to have to start going for content again, looking at content and how much you know. Number two, we’re going to have to get rid of age distinctions because it”€™s not what age you are, it’s how much you know. It’s as Tim said, it’s levels.

Number three we’re going to have to get rid of the nonsense of teaching students to learn rather than to think.  Which means you get rid of true/false tests.  You get rid of multiple choice.  You get rid of fill in the blank, and you go back to essay and to thinking and reasoning test. Number four, we”€™re going to have to start teaching forensics again.  Forensics and catechisms which really train you to think rather than learn.

So we’re talking a complete educational paradigm shift. That’s how bad the progressives have goofed it up in the last century is for us to go back and do what farm boys did a hundred years ago.  It makes them all look like a bunch of Einsteins compared to where we are.


But it also means we have to change our cultural expectations for young people.


That’s true.

At 12 Years Old, You Were An Adult


Because so often what we do now is we don’t have the same standard of expectation where if you look at early America, if you’re 11, 12, 13, you’re expected to be a full grown man doing a man’s work on the farm. Now, obviously, you don’t have the physical body and maybe to do all of the same amount of physical labor that the grown men were doing.  But you had that level of expectation put on you that, hey, you’re a man, you’re grown up.  

Even in Jewish culture to this day, they have their bar mitzvah at 13 and then that’s kind of your — you’re becoming a man thought.  Well, this is all the way back to Biblical thought. This was the idea is that you’re not supposed to be a kid your whole life and the Bible doesn’t even distinguish these teenage years.

If you remember from Paul in 1 Corinthians he said, “€œWhen I was a child, I acted, and spoke, and reasoned, like a child, but then I became a man and I put away childish things.”€

The significant jump in the Bible goes from child to man, so from child to adulthood is what we’re looking at. And in so much the way we view young people today, we give them this huge adolescent years for them to go and be crazy and wild and be immature and do all these fun, good things instead of going, “€œHey, you know what, God’s got an incredible plan and purpose for life.  And let’s get you started on that. Let’s get you stepping into what God has for you and what God wants you to do.”

And so part of what we’d have to do is even change our expectations of what young people could do.  As you mentioned, if we go back and look at these early tests you would certainly think differently seeing some of what these young kids could do and go, “€œYou know what, if they could do that back then, I would challenge my kids to do that today.”

And if we would change our expectation, that would go a long way in helping us get back to that place.


And I”€™ll add in here too, the philosophy becomes significant because our philosophy of education back then by law – by federal law and by state constitutions – schools are supposed to be teaching religion, morality, and knowledge, in that order. Now that’s significant because if there is a God, and if you believe He gets involved in the affairs of man, and if you believe that things run according to His standards and words, He’s the one who says, “€œThe fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”€ In other words, you’re not going to be real smart if you don’t have a fear of God.

Great Scientists Were Theologically Based

And so you’ll find that across history the greatest scientists in history largely are those who were also theologians or at least theologically based. You know whether it be Lord Bacon who’s the father of modern science — the inductive reasoning.  He wrote more on theology than he did on science. Or take Newton who did the laws of motion and the laws of gravity and so many other things that are core to what we do today – physics, optics.  He wrote 1.3 million words on theology. So we believe that the fear of the Lord is where knowledge started.  What made you smart?  And therefore, that’s why in schools, we taught religion, morality, and knowledge.

Now today we don’t teach religion.  We don’t teach morality, and we don’t teach knowledge, we teach indoctrination.  We”€™ll get you believing the right things on whatever it is.


And if you doubt that, look at the annual resolutions passed by the National Education Association. All the teachers get together — and these are, of course, the teachers and the NEA Union.  They get together and their resolutions are on getting kids to support single-payer health systems, or getting kids to understand how important global warming is, and climate change. How about we get them to understand what multiplication tables are, or how about we help them know what the parts of speech — no, no, no, that’s not where we”€™re at.

So to get this thing done, I mean, we’ve got to change the way we teach.  We’ve got to get rid of the progressive thinking, but we’re also going to have to change the philosophy and understand that, you know what, you’re just not going to be real smart on stuff if you don’t begin with the fear of the Lord. And that’s why we taught religion first, morality second, and knowledge third.

And as Benjamin Rush pointed out, signer of the Declaration, we call him the father of public schools under the Constitution because of his influence on education. He said, “€œIf you don’t do the religion side, then you don’t get morals, and without morals,”€ he says, “€œlearning does real mischief to the morals and principles of mankind.”€

In other words, what you’re doing is you”€™re just teaching a bunch of educated criminals.  They don’t have any rights and wrongs. And so you teach them all this knowledge and they will take it and turn it to selfish purposes that the end justifies the means. So that’s another thing that’s going to have to be done if we’re going to get back to turning this around is we’ve got to get back on a foundation that makes sense where that you have some idea of the fear of God.

Fear Of God

And by the way, if you don’t have a fear of God, then you really don’t understand causes and effects and consequences. A fear of the Lord means, you know, I understand I’m going to stand before Him someday and answer for what I do which makes me conscious of causes and effects.  If I lie, I’ve got to explain that to Him.  That’s not going to be good. If I steal, if I kill, I”€™ve got explain it to Him.

So there are restraints on behavior and that consequential thinking of causes/effects is really key for kids as they”€™re growing up.  And they need to understand that there are causes and effects so all of that goes into turn this around.

Cause And Effects


So it starts with us. We’ve got to do that with our own kids. Why would we have to follow the public school model?  If we’re the parents, we make the final decision, right? So if we want to speed up that education and, Tim, you mentioned raising expectations, we start doing that even when they’re little and don’t just go with that basic model of only learning the minimum, but let’s start giving them that additional information and raising that standard.


Hey Rick, let me also point out that this is how Ben Carson became who Ben Carson was because he grew up in a really broken home, broken school system, and his mom said, “€œHey, every week we’re going to the library.  You’re going to get a book.  We’re going to do a book report.

He did above and beyond. When she changed her expectations, when she changed her behavior, it literally changed the course of his life.  And he went from being the dumbest kid in high school to the brightest kid in his school.  The first doctor to ever successfully separate Siamese twins. His younger brother is a rocket scientist, I think works for NASA. And just phenomenal, but they didn’t stick with a broken system that the public school was.  She said, “€œLet’s do something different”€ and it totally changed their lives.

Ben Carson and Chaplain Barry Black


And Rick, in addition to Ben Carson, you also have Chaplain Barry Black who is the first black chaplain in the U.S. Senate. He was an admiral. He was the chief of chaplains, two star, great, great, great, guy —


And the best voice to hear —


Oh, man.


Booming in a cab. Oh man, I love listening to him.


He is so cool, but, you know, he has such a huge influence.  He’s a brilliant guy, seems to know everything about every topic.  And his whole deal was, in Baltimore, in the inner city running with gang kind of stuff, his mama got him out of there by saying, “€œI’ll give you a nickel for every Bible verse you memorize.”

And the guy has probably memorized the whole Bible now.  One of the smartest guys I know. Unbelievable guy, but it started with the fear of the Lord His mama got him.

And by the way, he memorized so many Bible verses she put him on a quota system and said, “€œAlright, you get a quarter a week no matter how many you memorize.” But he kept memorizing scriptures and that’s that thing of change in the educational philosophy.

When you get God back in the center of it, and you know, as Tim said with Ben Carson, the kind of stuff he did on the outside on his own.  Man, what a difference that makes.  And that’s part of the answer for how we get this thing turned around away from what the progressives have done.

Learn More About America’s Providential History


Folks,  you”€™ve probably got some questions you’d like to have answered on WallBuilders Live.  Send them into [email protected].  We’ll cover them on our Foundations of Freedom Thursday programs. Thanks for listening to this Foundations of Freedom program.  You can get more like that on our website at wallbuilderslive.com click on that archive section. Thanks so much for listening to WallBuilders Live.


Thomas Jefferson said, “€œIn questions of power then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”€