Jefferson Had Unorthodox Views—But He Was Not As Anti-Christian As Today’s Critics Say

Jefferson was more pro-Christianity than we realize. In a recent blog, I listed many examples. Let’s hear some more:

∙It should be noted that Jefferson spent so much time in earnest study of the teachings of Jesus than he excels the diligence of the average professing Christian today when it comes to studying God’s Word. Jefferson strove to live his life in accordance with these teachings. He also had the notion—as biblical Christians, we would say mistaken notion—that one is saved through works, not faith. (We would say one is saved through faith in Christ, which if it is true faith will result in good works.)

∙Jefferson declared for the whole world that our rights are God-given. As the chief author of the Declaration of Independence, he essentially became the leading pen of the Revolution. God-given rights are not up to man to tinker with. This is the essence of Americanism. It is the heart of what has made us great. Remove the foundation of God, and you remove the basis of those rights. Our liberties are secure because of God. Remove God and our liberties become insecure. Isn’t that exactly what is happening today? This is what makes today’s militant atheism so dangerous for America and the world. The secularists are like the proverbial man, sitting on a firm tree limb, while ever diligently sawing away at the wood. Eventually, when the branch is broken, he will fall. So will the nation. This is part of the reason for our book, Doubting Thomas—to return to the vision of Jefferson and the founding fathers, even the non-Christians amongst them, that our rights come from the Creator. Therefore, they are not up to human debate.

∙Jefferson (and Madison) helped give the world religious freedom, based on the premise that Almighty God has created the min(and Madison) gave the world religious freedom, based on the premise that Almighty God has created the min(and Madison) gave the world religious freedom, based on the premise that Almighty God has created the min(and Madison) gave the world religious freedom, based on the premise that Almighty God has created the mind free and to restrict freedom is a departure from true Christianity. Jesus gave us free will. Who is the state (any state—no matter how “Christian” it may itself to be) to interfere with the consciences of their citizens? God is the Judge, and He will judge—and Jefferson trembles when he remembers that. (Perhaps because he was a slave-owner, which he knew was wrong.) To God we shall give an account for our religion and not to the state. Christianity flourishes best when it not allied with the state. When it is allied with the state, it becomes corrupted (and often ends up propagating unjust conditions). Remove the Judeo-Christian foundation of these religious liberty rights, and we have a proverbial house built on the sand. Freedom will go. Today much religious freedom is at risk, in a nation that was founded for religious freedom. Jefferson believed in a level playing field when it comes to religion. So do we. But today’s secularists are trying (and often succeeding) in imposing state-sanctioned atheism. Jefferson would not approve of that—at all. Ironically, much of that is done in his name.

∙Jefferson was a firm believer in the rights of conscience. This would include the rights of dissenters. The 17th century Westminster Confession of Faith says, “God alone is Lord of the conscience.” While Jefferson would likely disagree with many particulars of that lengthy creed, he certainly would agree with that statement. Jefferson consistently sought to protect the rights of conscience, even if he happened to personally disagree with the views of those whose consciences he sought to protect.

∙Jefferson consistently condemns any sort of religious tribunal or inquisition when it is a part of the government. Yet today, secular humanism (a religion of sorts, recognized as such by the Supreme Court) is the prevailing religion of the schools. The officials decide what is proper and what is improper and they ban all Christian forms. Just recently in a public school, a teacher was fired when a student asked him a question about the Bible and he offered (and gave) his Bible to the student who wanted it. .

-He was a champion among the evangelicals of his day

-He was hated by ministers up north (some of whom were Unitarians)—virtually all of whom were Federalists. That is not because he was anti-church, but because he was anti-state-church. New England and other states had state-churches.

-He did not favor “the naked public square” but saw that religion was an important ingredient to a coherent society.

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