But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.
2 Peter 3:18
THE INFLUENCE OF GEORGE GILLESPIE ON AMERICA'S FOUNDING FATHERS
When John Witherspoon came to colonial America from Scotland, he brought some very important books with him, that would help shape the thinking of America's founding fathers. One of those books was Aaron's Rod Blossoming by George Gillespie.
In the Bible, Aaron's Rod was a symbol of authority, and of the blessing of God on the authority figure. George Gillespie wrote his book, Aaron's Rod Blossoming, to combat the error of Erastianism.
Erastianism placed the supremacy of the State over the Church. Since the reign of Henry VIII of England, the kings of England had held themselves out to be the head of the church as well as the head of the civil government.
VIOLATION OF SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE
This was a clear violation of the Biblical separation of church and state. Later, the same union of church and state was established in colonies like Virginia. Churches in Virginia were required to ask the civil government for permission to exist.
As a general rule, Virginia granted this permission only to the established Anglican Church. This led to a struggle for religious liberty by Presbyterians and Baptists.
One student of John Witherspoon at New Jersey College (later Princeton University) was a young Virginian named James Madison. He learned the Biblical doctrine of separation of church and state from Witherspoon.
FATHER OF THE U.S. CONSTITUTION
Madison, no doubt was also influenced by the book, Aaron's Rod Blossoming, by George Gillespie—which Witherspoon had brought to America from Scotland. Madison later went on to become the Father of the U.S. Constitution.
Madison helped frame the First Amendment which states, in part, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . . ." Later in 1811, as President of the USA, he vetoed an act to incorporate an Anglican Church in the District of Columbia.
His reason for vetoing the bill, "was that incorporation was a form of licensing by which government gave churches permission to operate. Therefore, incorporation was superfluous; government has no jurisdictional authority to tell churches they can or cannot operate."
INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE (IRS)
Yet, in recent decades the IRS ruled that an unincorporated church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin was not a tax-exempt entity. The IRS therefore required the church to give the federal government a list of all donors in order to require back taxes on their tithes and offerings.
Similar violations can be cited of Indianapolis Baptist Temple (2001) and Creation Science Evangelism (2007). In both cases, the IRS revoked their tax-exempt status because the religious entities refused to withhold taxes from their employees and pay them to the IRS.
Another common violation of the Biblical principle of separation of church and state is seen in judges legislating from the bench against the First Amendment's "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . ."
On November 13, 2003, the Alabama Court of the Judiciary removed Roy Moore from his position as Chief Justice of the Alabama State Supreme Court. Why? Roy refused to obey a federal judge's order to remove a monument to the Ten Commandments from the Alabama Judicial Building.
Other federal judges have ruled that public prayer in the name of Jesus is illegal at high school graduation, in the military, and in Congress. All of these rulings are contrary to both our First Amendment and to the Biblical principle of separation of church and state.
George Theiss is a combat veteran of Vietnam who now follows the Lamb of God. He and his wife, Christy, have been married 42 years (in 2019). They have 8 grown children. You can contact George at email@example.com
Copyright © 2002 through 2019 by George Theiss