Laying Our Foundation: Declaring Our Independence – July 4, 1776

July 4, 2024

Host: Hon. Sam Rohrer

Guest: David New

Note: This transcript is taken from a Stand in the Gap Today program originally aired on 7/04/24. To listen to the podcast, click HERE.

Disclaimer:         While reasonable efforts have been made to provide an accurate transcription, the following is a representation of a mechanical transcription and as such, may not be a word for word transcript. Please listen to the audio version for any questions concerning the following dialogue.

Sam Rohrer:       When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bans which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the law of nature and of nature’s God entitle them. A decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation and then the even more familiar words, we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights. That among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And with those famous words of introduction to what outside the Bible itself is viewed by many people To be the most recognizable and beloved of all human documents is America’s Declaration of Independence. And with that, welcome to the Special Stand in the gap today, July 4th, independence Day program that we’ve entitled Laying Our Foundation, declaring Our Independence.

Sam Rohrer:       July 4th, 1776 composed primarily by one man, Thomas Jefferson and then 56 signers then upon completion officially signed their names in support. By so doing, they not only pledged their very lives but committed their total earthly wealth and risk, their very sacred honor. By so doing, they also committed treason, making not only themselves guilty of death but potentially sacrificing the lives of their wives and children, of which some did. These were men of means educated deeply religious most with vibrant testimonies of faith in Christ. Some were pastors, many Bible educated, some were farmers, some were merchants, but all together agreed and they committed. They crystallized an idea, an experiment. William Penn referred to nearly a hundred years earlier as a holy experiment in freedom. These 56 built on the biblical frame of civil government articulated by William Penn of Pennsylvania, referred to as the father of the founders by Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, both of whom were signatories to this true work of genius.

Sam Rohrer:       But this foundational document was propelled in its final days by the spirit of God himself as he burned truth and courage into the consciences of the early settlers and these 56 signers in the 1730s and forties through the fiery preaching of Jonathan Edwards in the divinely ordered first great awakening and it’s on this incredible foundation and divine sequence of events spanning over 150 years that brought in being this fledgling nation once a mere hope of a new land by a small group of people, the pilgrims inspired by God with faith in God who are raised up by the spirit of God to birth a new nation under God and to which by the grace of God, we stand today now just 250 years later with over 300 millions of Americans that remain, but a handful I’m going to say of Americans who now by their own lives and actions would demonstrate that they truly know this God as creator and bestower of all unalienable rights and even remember the uniqueness of this declaration we support today. So please stay with us today, constitutional attorney, David New and me on this bi-monthly focus of the Constitution in American history as we look back and forward at the Declaration of Independence, our theme again for today, laying our foundation, declaring our independence July 4th, 1776. And with that I welcome David to the program. David, thanks for being here and what an important day and an important thing to talk about.

David New:         Well, it’s so wonderful to be with you and everyone listening today, blessings to all of us and God bless America.

Sam Rohrer:       Amen. I tell you, and David, let’s get right into this. We have a lot to go over and you’ve prepared some interesting information, but let me ask you this, share the historical fact. There wasn’t Justice a 1776 Declaration of Independence, but there was actually one that preceded it.

David New:         Absolutely. The 1776 Declaration of Independence by Jefferson was our second declaration of Independence. Our first one was written in 1620 called the Mayflower Compact. That is our first declaration of Independence and in that document you have all the seeds necessary for a future revolution to bring independence to America. Everything you need and both documents have quite a few things in common. One, both documents are extra legal documents. That means they’re not authorized by law. Neither document was authorized by the king. Both documents honor the sovereignty of God. Both documents believe government is under God. Both claim the authority to establish government comes from God. Now here’s the key. The reason why the Mayflower Compact is our first declaration of independence is that under the Mayflower Compact, this is when Americans learned they do not need the King of England for government. They learned they need no king but king Jesus. They don’t need the British Parliament, they don’t need anything. Americans can govern themselves. That’s the message of the Mayflower compact of 1620. Any fact, the 1776 Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson fulfills the Mayflower compact of 1620.

Sam Rohrer:       And David, that is a great way to lay down that foundation. We’re not much time left in this segment, but lemme go back and just ask you this. You said this document, and I agree with you, Mayflower Compact Declaration of Independence was not authorized by the king to the contrary, I refer to it as an organic document of law, but it was the basis and it is the true foundation of this new nation called America, wasn’t

David New:         It? Yes, the Mayflower Compact and the Declaration of Independence of 1776. You’ve often heard it said that you cannot and you should not mix religion and politics together. In fact, Thomas Jefferson did not believe that in the 1776 Declaration of Independence, Jefferson did what I call in my book political Theology. He combined earthly human rights with heaven itself and he was not the only one to engage in and teach political theology. All the state preambles, every one of them that mentioned God, 30 of them mentioned Almighty God. They all are politically political theology. They are a mix of religion and politics

Sam Rohrer:       Together. And there we are, ladies and gentlemen, our theme today on this special July 4th day, laying our foundation, declaring our independence Well on this wonderful Independence day July 4th. We’re glad that you are with us ladies and gentlemen, and hopefully that no matter what you’re doing today, whether you’re perhaps depending upon where you are in the country, perhaps you’ve already spent time with family and friends. Perhaps you’re doing it right now if you’re listening live perhaps. But in any regard, I hope that it’s more than just a good and a nice day, but there’s thinking about the real underpinnings of what makes our freedom possible. And so David, you and I are talking today about laying our foundation, declaring our independence, the Declaration of Independence, the history of the Declaration of Independence and the recognition of God as creator and God as the giver of rights as it states later in the document, the great judge of the universe.

Sam Rohrer:       All of that’s within the declaration. It did not start, it didn’t just come out of nowhere in 1776. It didn’t even start in 17. 176 years before its formal start actually occurred in 1620 when a small group of pilgrims came to America, this new land, the new world, and they came for two distinct purposes. First, they were driven by evangelism. They came here, yeah, they really did to evangelize the Native Americans to carry the gospel here. And second, they came to this new land in the hope of developing a new land, a new way of living where they could in their lives as parents dedicated to God could raise up their children in the fear of God, not fearing the negative impact of a government hostile to them, which is exactly what had happened in England when these pilgrims were banished to Holland and according to history, we understand that they were living there in Holland.

Sam Rohrer:       Now imagine this, they were cast out of England for their separatist biblical beliefs, but they came here because they thought of the decadent culture in Holland. They were losing their children to the world. Imagine if they were to step into this time and unlike the commercially minded Jamestown, Virginia experiment years earlier of which ended in abject failure, this mission of the pilgrims 10 years later then followed by the Puritans, laid down both the God centered and biblically based moral and civil foundation for this new land. And as David cited in the last segment, they wrote the Mayflower Compact, really our first America’s first organic document of law, really our first declaration of Independence, and this is how it began in the name of God, amen. Then it goes on and says, having undertaken for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith and the honor of our king and country, and then it goes on further, but it’s this foundation that was laid and inculcated for 156 years into the lives and the minds of our earthly American settlers, which prepared the way then for 1776 and the formal writing and the signing and the declaring of the Declaration of Independence.

Sam Rohrer:       David, you’re in the story and you’ve written the book, you’ve done a lot of things, but there are many people who have made commentary about the declaration, but you believe, and you’ve shared with me that there is one speech about the Declaration of Independence that in your opinion is vastly superior to all that came before it or even afterwards. It’s a big claim. Can you discuss when and where that speech was given and who gave it?

David New:         Yes. This speech was given by President Calvin Coolidge on July 5th, 1926. Ladies and gentlemen, you can download the entire speech for yourself on the internet. Just put July 5th, 1926, president Calvin Coolidge and it’ll most likely take you right to the document. This speech has never has anything been said better about the Declaration of Independence before it, and I don’t see how it can ever be topped because what the President does in this speech which he gave in Philadelphia on the hundred and 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, he spoke in front of about 25 to 30,000 people in Philadelphia. They came to hear the president talk about the Declaration of Independence. What he did in this speech better than anyone, as he captured the spiritual essence of the Declaration of Independence, the Declaration of Independence was produced by a Christian culture. It could not have existed anywhere else.

David New:         Let me read one of the key paragraphs in its main features. The Declaration of Independence is a great spiritual document. It is a declaration not of material but of spiritual conceptions, equality, liberty, popular sovereignty, the rights of man. These are not elements which we can see and touch. They are ideals. They have their source and their roots and their religious convictions. They belong to the unseen world. Unless the faith of the American people and these religious convictions is to endure, the principles of our declaration will perish. We cannot continue to enjoy the result if we neglect and abandon the cause. Now this is just overwhelming. This is overwhelming how well he does and you never hear the sea, you never hear The Declaration of Independence talked about that religious and that strong of a religious term. Later in his speech he talks about an individual named John Wise and John Wise was a very popular person about a hundred years before Thomas Jefferson and he talked about democracy and he talked about Christ government.

David New:         This is one of the quotes President Coolidge said in his speech, democracy is Christ government. Another quote, democracy is Christ government and church and state. Here was the doctrine of equality, popular sovereignty and the substance of the theory of inalienable rights clearly asserted. So here we’ve got a basic statement, and when they use democracy, they don’t mean it in a Greek form, they mean it in a Christianized form because the Greek form can lead to mob. This kind of democracy is grounded in the word of God. So what he does in this speech is overwhelming. And then he ends. He says something that’s never been said before or since. Listen to this ladies and gentlemen, the Declar Declaration of Independence is the end of the road for political freedom anywhere in the world. Listen to this quote. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inal rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the government that is final, no advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to not to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the papal. That is overwhelming to me

Sam Rohrer:       And David, I’m looking at that as well and it is incredible you emphasized and I’m looking at it here as he said in Alan Will rights that is final. Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed that is final. David, when we believe in absolute truth and that which it finds its way, it is the word of God, absolute truth. When we believe that it is final, it makes the establishing of a government and law and the purpose of government and all of that possible if we believe that God’s word and truth is final. That’s exactly what he’s saying here, isn’t it?

David New:         And I’ll tell you ladies and gentlemen, if you homeschool your children, God bless you, those who do that may I recommend that the centerpiece of your lesson for the Declaration of Independence is this speech on July 5th, 1926 by President Calvin Coolidge. If you’re a public school teacher and you want to show the link between politics and religion without getting in trouble, you can use this speech by President Calvin Coolidge

Sam Rohrer:       And ladies and gentlemen we’re about at the break here. I’m hoping already that how you approach and when we think of the Declaration of Independence that we understand better, it just didn’t come out of thin air, but they were ideals established. Where and from what absolute truth, all of the principles ingrained and expressed within the Declaration of Independence signed by the 56 signers came from God’s word, the truth, written truth, and as God Himself says it’s final, that is it makes all the difference in how we view where we are in the role that God has played and truth has played in our nation. Now when we come back, we’re going to move to the impact of the Declaration of Independence on culture. Stay with us. You’ll really appreciate it. The beautiful wording of the Declaration of Independence is nearly unmatched. It’s so wonderfully assembled and put together, but as we talked about in the last segment, the power of the ideals, the principles of truth, those transcendent concepts, the concept and the idea about the principles of God and man and rights as coming from God, not man or government and the right of man to live free not in bondage under the hand of some despot king.

Sam Rohrer:       That’s all what the desperation is all about. It’s unmatched really, except I’m going to say by scripture alone of course. So in the declaration of which nearly two thirds of it lists the reasons why the king had become a tyrant, why he had become oppressive of all of God’s bestowed rights of life and liberty and private property expressed in the declaration as the pursuit of happiness. The declaration lays out the case. It makes the case for why the declaring of independence from Great Britain and the King was the only choice that was left, why it was necessary and that all that was done under the understanding of biblically defined liberty in Christ under God and it is why they were able. Those 56 signers were able to say at the end of the document, these words appealing to the supreme judge of the world for the rectitude, the rightness of our intentions due in the name and by authority of the good people of these colonies solemnly publish and declare that these united colonies are and of right ought to be free and independent states.

Sam Rohrer:       And then they conclude in that document with these words we know so well and for the support of this declaration with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor. Powerful. Well, David, from the reference to God in this document as creator of mankind, the giver of all true human rights, the underlying foundation of true Bible believing Christianity in the declaration is without dispute. You’ve already referred to some things and I’ll share some more in the next segment, but the powerful impact of Christianity, Judeo Christianity, biblical truth and the Declaration together literally has changed not just this country but the world in many ways. Can you name one? I’m going to say one worldwide and culturally it was an embedded view of way things were at that point that changed as a result of this Declaration of Independence

David New:         In the United States. The issue would be slavery. When the colonies were established in America, one of the major products in America was tobacco. And tobacco is a very labor intensive cro. You’ve got to have lots of people. And so the King of England, the monarchy established a company to bring slaves from Africa to the American colonies and the king was the largest shareholder in this company. The name was the Royal African Company, the Royal African Company. Now roll forward to 1776. Jefferson is writing the Declaration of Independence and he wants to put in the Declaration of Independence, the king’s role in slavery and this Royal African company, he was denied because of the slave states or the slave colonies in the South. Nevertheless, without the Declaration of Independence, the 13th amendment to the Constitution, the one that ended slavery in the United States would not have been possible without the Declaration of Independence.

David New:         No way. Look at the vote. On April 6th or rather April 8th, 1864, the US Senate voted on whether to send the 13th amendment to the states. The vote was 38 to six or 86%. Beautiful. You got to have 66% to get it out of Congress and to the States. Then comes the house vote. That was on June 15th, 1864. The vote was 93 to 65 with 23 people and Congress not voting, and that comes to 58%. That’s not enough, darling. You’ve got to have 66%. Then comes the November, 1864 election where Abraham runs for reelection to be president. The big issue, the 13th Amendment should slavery end in the United States once and for all and be done with it. America’s original sin at has frequently been called the vote. A motion for reconsideration was filed and another vote was taken on the exact same 13th amendment. It occurred on January 31st, 1865.

David New:         This is now a Elaine Duck Congress. The vote was 119 to 56 with eight people not voting the percentage, 68% there was a 2% margin. That’s how difficult it was to get rid of slavery even in a civil war. And then the States finally ratified the 13th Amendment on December 6th, 1865. All right, what is the key document that doesn’t what puts it over the top? Barely, but it doesn’t. It’s the Declaration of Independence. Senator Charles Sumner, 1864, April 8th said, we need to bring the Constitution. This is his exact words, quote, bring the Constitution into avowed harmony with the Declaration of Independence.

David New:         Here he is saying that the Constitution is out of line with the Declaration of Independence because of slavery. We need to bring the Constitution in line with the Declaration of Independence. When have you ever heard a secular say something like that? Then he goes on and he talks about, look, here’s another quote. Happily in our case, the way is easy for it is only necessary to carry the republic back to its baptismal vowels and the declared sentiments of its origin. There is the Declaration of Independence, let its solemn promises be redeemed. There is the Constitution. Let it speak according to the promises of the declaration. That’s how important the Declaration of Independence is. You look at the Muslim world, you look at the Muslim world, they did not end slavery until much later. Why? Because they don’t have a declaration of independence. For example, Iran did not end slavery until 1929. Qatar did not end slavery until 1952. Saudi Arabia and Yemen did not end slavery in their countries until 1962. Oman did not end slavery in their country until 1970. What was the reason? What is the difference? It’s the Declaration of Independence.

Sam Rohrer:       And David, that is a very clear thing and it goes to the heart though also in that Muslim world of their belief, their religious belief, their tenets of Islam. Now let’s go here. There is a tenet of Christianity that actually a doctrine more or less, that helped to pave the way for the understanding that slavery was a violation of God’s design. You referred to it a little bit, but tell us just a bit more about that. What doctrine was that and why?

David New:         From day one, from day one, Christianity was the most serious threat to slavery worldwide. And the key event in Christianity that was a deadly threat to slavery was water baptism. That was true in England. It was true in France, and it was true even in colonial America, the widespread belief that existed for thousands of years. When a slave becomes baptized, he no longer is a slave. And let me tell you how serious that teaching of water baptism was to slavery. The colonial governments of New York, Virginia, South Carolina, and several of the colonial governments had to pass a law in this country. They had to pass a law and they said in this law that if a slave gets baptized, don’t plan on getting free. It does not free you. That’s how big water baptism was as a threat to slavery. And so what you have is you have some slave holders in the new world going back to England where they never had slavery like we did. They never have had it. And when they brought their slave with them, what did the ministers in England do? They tried to get that slave

Sam Rohrer:       Baptized. Alright, ladies and gentlemen, understand truly we say oftentimes, until you are free in Christ, you really don’t know what freedom, civil freedom is. And that’s what we’re talking about, salvation. Alright, right there. We’ll be back in just a second. Well, David, on this very special Independence day and this emphasis that we’re together, we’re spending and looking at our Declaration of Independence, we’ve done a couple of things. One, the uniqueness of this document. One, we’ve talked a little bit about the 56 signers and how it came about. You talked about actually that there was a prior Declaration of Independence, which we’ve talked about as the Mayflower Compact 1620. The pilgrims actually framed that and put that together and how the power of this word based on God’s word Christianity clearly changed. Literally, not just this country, but changed the world. Now we’re way down the road, here it is now we’re a long way off from 1776 and regardless of how much information is available today, I’m going to suggest that there are probably more people today or whatever.

Sam Rohrer:       An awful lot of people who have never read the Declaration of Independence, they don’t know what it says and therefore they can’t act upon it. And so hopefully today, ladies and gentlemen, some of what we’ve shared inspires you to go back and read it for yourself. And I ask you to read it, sit down and read. It’s not long. It’s brilliant. And consider how God has used it. It brings us to this question. David, I want to ask you before I share something from one of the signers of the Declaration and that is this. Do you believe that the 1776 Declaration of Independence can serve America today just as effectively as it did in 1776 and effective as it was an ending slavery in America?

David New:         There is no question. What you have said is absolutely true. The Declaration of Independence has never been more relevant and more important to America. I call it the roadmap for America to lead us back to God, the roadmap for America to lead us back to God. By the way, I know that a lot of you have never heard about water baptism and how it was a threat to slavery, how it helped end slavery and how it brought freedom to a lot of people. And you don’t have books, my future book that’ll be coming out this year. I go into all about it and you’ll just love what it has to say about water baptism and how Christianity was a threat to slavery from day one. Now, the Declaration of Independence of 1776, I would recommend for those of you who are public school teachers to ask your students in middle school or whatever grade appropriate, you think that that paragraph, we hold these truths ending with the pursuit of happiness, those 35 words, I would recommend that your students, that you ask them to commit that to memory and put it on a test, put it on a test and give them the points if they come up with it correctly, the Declaration of Independence as a means to bring this back to God.

David New:         This is why secularists do not like this document. People don’t know that secularists divorce the Declaration of Independence from the Constitution because they know that God is honored very explicitly in the Declaration of Independence. And that’s why they don’t read them together. Even though Article seven says we should read them together in the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, those 35 words are America. That is America. If somebody says, tell me what America is, you start, we hold with these truths and you end with pursuit of happiness. And you said the truth outside of the Bible, there are no words and any human language more important than those 35 words. That is America. And it doesn’t belong just to America. It belongs everywhere for everybody, for all peoples and all nations who yeard to be free. So I believe that the Declaration of Independence can be used in the public schools and you can use it to show that America’s destiny and life is linked to the creator of the universe. And this could provide us a road back to God

Sam Rohrer:       And David well said, and that brings me ladies and John, I said, I’m going to go back. I want to read to you just a statement from one of the founders. Now, David said what he said, the truth, the application, the potential for impact, let’s put it that way, of the Declaration of Independence, not limited to this nation, it’s to any nation in the world who would believe it, embrace it, execute it, carry it out. But here is the question, if we do it, and one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, actually, well, he envisioned perhaps this day in America, and there were times in our past where this was applicable. Abraham Lincoln in his day actually talked to American people and said, as a nation, we’ve walked away from God. Remember that? I can’t get into that, but let me read it.

Sam Rohrer:       Here it is. John Adams a president. He was a signer of the declaration. This is what he said. Listen to this. He said, while our country remains untainted with the principles and the manners which are now producing desolation in so many parts of the world while she America continues sincere and incapable of insidious and imp pious policy, we shall have the strongest reason to rejoice in the local destination assigned to us by providence. In other words, God’s going to bless us if we stay on the same track, he said, but should the people of America once become incapable of that deep simulation towards one another and towards foreign nations, which assumes the language of justice and moderation that is practicing, but it practices iniquity and extravagance and displays in the most captivating manner, the charming pictures of candor and frankness and sincerity, while it is rioting and rapine in insense, say one thing and do something else.

Sam Rohrer:       That’s what he’s saying. He said, this country will be the most miserable habitation in the world because we have no government armed with power, capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and religion. The Christian religion, avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry, would break the strongest chords of our constitution as a whale goes through a net. He said, our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. And John Adams wrote that to the officers of the first brigade of the third division of the militia of Massachusetts, October 11th, 1798. You’ve heard portions of that before, but what’s he saying? Hope you got it. They wrote in magnificent language back then. It’s sometimes hard to understand, but he basically says, as long as we do what basically the declaration says in God’s word, Christian religion says, and we actually say it and live it.

Sam Rohrer:       We will escape what’s happening in the rest of the world, which was collapse and falling apart. But he says, at which point we push this off and human passioned, unbridled by the 10 Commandments, morality, that’s what Penn said, and others Christian religion, then avarice and ambition and revenge will take over. And at that point, our Constitution will be totally unable to function. Our constitution was made for a moral and religious people. So ladies and gentlemen, as we part together here on July 4th, ask you to look in the mirror. Are you saying and living according to God’s word, the word of God, scripture can when you read the Declaration of Independence, see the Bible written all over it. This is the answer. May we revisit these principles today on this July 4th.