It has been a long time now since I posted, asking the question about Adams’ alleged quoted saying that the Revolutionary War combined the principles of government and the principles of Christianity. Denise, by way of leaving a comment, answered very well. Now how can we apply the relation of religion and government to what we do every day?

The key to understanding government is remembering that authority must be given from above, from God. No one can exercises authority without God originally intending it; He is sovereign; He superintends, as Franklin said, in the affairs of men. He works through kings, presidents, fathers, business leaders, military leaders and church leaders.

Washington returned to serve his country when he well might have retired to Mount Vernon.

What so deserves our attention about early American Government is that those at it’s forefront, after leading the farmer-tradesman army to victory and independence, went on in less than four years (from the Treaty of Paris in the fall of 1783 to the Constitutional Convention in the spring of 1787) to outline a just balance of powers between the government and the governed. What could you further ask for among the virtues of wise leadership than men of principle who of their own accord bestow the powers of freedom on the citizenry? Setting aside self-ambition they ensured a means of government that would last through their children’s time and their grandchildren’s time—indeed an indefinite time, equal only to the length of time which that people could prove to exercise, their own government. Their own government?! Yes, their own government: a very special, personal, day-by-day kind of government: self-government.

In America it is not until self-government falls asleep that the sleeping giant of tyranny may wake up. If we as citizens, in our personal lives, let up on our own self-government, those privileges will end up naturally in the hands of those who first bestowed them.

Here are three quotes that might be worth memorizing for you:

1. “Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled either by a power within them, or by a power without them; either by the Word of God, or by the strong arm of man; either by the Bible or by the bayonet.”

Robert C. Winthrop
Harvard graduate, US Senator from Massachusetts

2. Freedom is not an alternative to obedience: freedom comes by obedience, obedience to God. The alternative to obedience is tyranny.

-Derived from The Power for True Success

3. “How will you find good? It is not a thing of choice; it is a river that flows from the foot of the Invisible Throne and flows by the path of obedience.”

-George Eliot

Self-government appears in many ways: responsibility, self-control, patience, thriftiness, kindness. Learn to demonstrate these and you will learn to see it and praise it in others.

Now we come to the conclusion. No, it is most likely that Adams didn’t actually say that the War for Independence had “connected in one … the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity”—that was John Wingate Thornton–but , by the faith of our forefathers, what that miraculous war did certainly do was set the stage for nations to see what would happen with a people entrusted authoritatively with their own self-government.


  1. Matthew August 28, 2010 at 4:08 pm #

    Excellent conclusion to a wonderful subject! Self government is so necessary! We can’t survive as a free nation and we definitely won’t be that light on the hill without it’s influence on our daily lives.

  2. Donald August 30, 2010 at 5:29 am #

    The Lord continue to make you a “light on the hill” where you are Matthew! Learning for ourselves and praising in others the qualities of self-government is the best way to rebuild our great country. Let’s make George Washington proud of us.

  3. Matthew H August 30, 2010 at 7:21 am #

    Good article, those ARE some great quotes. Self-government starts with self! We must first start with ourselves, then move to the bigger things God has for us!

  4. Michael August 30, 2010 at 10:40 am #

    Nicely clear and concise. Thanks for taking the time to write down your ideas Donald!

  5. Nathan Burkhalter September 30, 2010 at 6:22 pm #

    Men will have good government if they govern according to the biblical standard but if they move away from it they will bring judgment upon themselves I just got done taking the American Government Clep thank you for praying for me! But the resources are so biased toward liberalism.

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