In the Year of Our Lord Images.001


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In the Year of Our Lord 

Did America’s Founding Fathers take their religious seriously?

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • June 25, In the year of our Lord, 2017

Song Leader and Song Suggestions: Phil Joseph – Songs on the word of God


  1. I turned a sermon into an article for The Bible Meditator (May 2008), and 
    1. later I posted it on TheBibleMeditator . com (June 2012)
    2. I receive more hits and comments on that post
      1. than anything else I have posted to TheBibleMeditator web site.
      2. It has received three times more than the second most viewed article.
        1. As of last Monday, June 19, 2017, it was viewed 19,045 times, but
        2. the next article was viewed 6,375 times.
  2. The article is, “How Many Times Does the Constitution Mention Religion?” 
    1. Most of the comments are critical of what I wrote, including these,

      “You appear to be unfamiliar with Thomas Jefferson’s direct writings on the subject of Christianity.”

      “How dare you twist the words of our founding fathers. How dare you manipulate scripture into your article to better further your agenda. I suggest you take a few history courses concerning the USA and the founders.”

      “What a blatant misrepresentation of Thomas Jefferson.”

      “Wow what racist and ignorant views you exhibit.”

      “From my reading of this site, you seem like a well-spoken person. From this I infer that you must be intelligent as well. Because of this, it’s hard for me to avoid the conclusion that you are willfully misconstruing key facts, thus the less than friendly tone of my previous post.”

      “The reason I am hounding you on this matter, Mr. Ruhl, is that you are reading the Constitution ideologically, through the filters of your own belief commitments, rather than as a document that is situated in a historical context and then following inferences to the soundest interpretations. Your reply to me evinces my claim.”

      “The article and most of the posts [comments, DR] here are delusional.”

    2. The most recent comment was this:

      “‘Year of our lord’ was a common phrasing at the time. As in, all official documents were signed that way. It was not in any way a tribute to god or recognition of god being real and true. It was just a statement of date.

      Either your historical research is lacking, or you’re ignoring facts for the sake of your own argument. Either way your argument holds little weight.”

    3. I then responded to her:


      Is there any other part of the United States Constitution that you think our Founding Fathers did not take seriously?”

      1. She never replied.
      2. I will put some of this sermon into a reply to her.
    4. Truly, if she had done her research,
      1. she would have discovered that she ignored the facts.
      2. Just reading The Constitution alone
        1. would have shown her that they took religion seriously.
        2. They did not want the free exercise of it disrupted.


  1. The United States Constitution and Religion 
    1. The Constitution references religion more times than most people realize, and
      1. the Constitution does not have a contentious, but
      2. a cooperative attitude, toward religion.
    2. Look at the Constitution’s references to religion:
      1. The First Amendment:

        “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble…”

        1. We typically say that the part before the semi-colon is about religion.
        2. However, all that I have quoted can refer to religion.
      2. The religious test:

        Article. VI.
        “…The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”
      3. The Sunday exception:

        Article I, Section 7
        “If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.”

        1. Why did they make that exception for Sundays?
        2. Did they watch football? Go golfing? Sleep all day?
          1. You know what they were doing, and I do not even to say.
          2. I was on the Site Council on Klamath Union High School.
            1. A proposal was made for an activity on Wednesday nights.
            2. The principal, Carol Castle, advised against it, because
              1. she said many of the kids go to Bible classes on Wednesday.
              2. One teacher spoke and protested, “I thought it was separation of church and state.”
                1. Mrs. Castle did not propose forcing kids to go to Bible classes, but
                2. just said that the proposed event might have low attendance.
        3. This illustrates a new attitude among the liberal secular left
          1. that they believe the government should intentionally do things against religion.
          2. The Sunday exception shows an attitude of cooperation.
      4. The signing:

        “…done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth In witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names, G°. Washington…”

        1. That is an implicit reference to Jesus of Nazareth.
        2. Although the secular liberal left seeks to downplay it.
  2. Why I Know the Founding Fathers Took the Date Seriously 
    1. Consideration of what they said about religion in The Constitution itself.
    2. Consider what they said in The Declaration,

      “The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws 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.

      “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…

      “We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions…

      “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.”

    3. Consider the calls for prayer that they put out during the Revolutionary War.
      1. I went to the Library of Congress web site for the Prayer Proclamations
      2. that Congress issued during the War.
        1. I came across this page, “Religion and the Founding of the American Republic.
        2. You will notice on the slide that the government wrote something about religion and America’s founding, and
          1. I could not have found a greater commentary than this one,
          2. which to this day still appears on their web site,

            “The Continental-Confederation Congress, a legislative body that governed the United States from 1774 to 1789, contained an extraordinary number of deeply religious men. The amount of energy that Congress invested in encouraging the practice of religion in the new nation exceeded that expended by any subsequent American national government. Although the Articles of Confederation did not officially authorize Congress to concern itself with religion, the citizenry did not object to such activities. This lack of objection suggests that both the legislators and the public considered it appropriate for the national government to promote a nondenominational, nonpolemical Christianity.

            “Congress appointed chaplains for itself and the armed forces, sponsored the publication of a Bible, imposed Christian morality on the armed forces, and granted public lands to promote Christianity among the Indians. National days of thanksgiving and of ‘humiliation, fasting, and prayer’ were proclaimed by Congress at least twice a year throughout the war. Congress was guided by ‘covenant theology,’ a Reformation doctrine especially dear to New England Puritans, which held that God bound himself in an agreement with a nation and its people. This agreement stipulated that they ‘should be prosperous or afflicted, according as their general Obedience or Disobedience thereto appears.’ Wars and revolutions were, accordingly, considered afflictions, as divine punishments for sin, from which a nation could rescue itself by repentance and reformation.

            “The first national government of the United States, was convinced that the ‘public prosperity’ of a society depended on the vitality of its religion. Nothing less than a ‘spirit of universal reformation among all ranks and degrees of our citizens,’ Congress declared to the American people, would ‘make us a holy, that so we may be a happy people.’”

    4. Consider Benjamin Franklin’s suggestion.
      1. During the Constitutional Convention he suggested
      2. that since they implored God to help them during the Revolution,
        1. they should ask Him for help again in putting together the Constitution.
        2. They battled furiously over it.
          1. Speaking to George Washington, Franklin said,

            “…how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings?”
          2. He reminded all present that God heard their prayers during the Revolution.
            1. He also said,

              “And have we now forgotten that powerful friend?…I have lived, Sir, a long time and the longer I live, the more convincing proof I see of his truth—that God governs in the affairs of men.”
            2. He proposed,

              “I therefore beg leave to move that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of heaven and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service.”


  1. Therefore, when the delegates signed the Constitution 
    1. “in the year of our Lord,” they knew what that meant and
    2. they meant what it said.
  2. What this means for you as a Christian. 
    1. These matters affect what we do and do not do.
    2. God gave us government (Rom 13; 1Pe 2).
      1. Therefore, we should use His tools to our maximum benefit,
      2. even as we do other things He has given us.
  3. Ezra and his generation used a non-Israelite government to their advantage. 
    1. The Book of Ezra begins with the revelation
      1. that the Persian government supported the Jews and
      2. their return to Jerusalem,
        1. as well as their restoration of the temple.
        2. Watch what the Jews did,

          1 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying, 2 Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the LORD God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. 3 Who is among you of all His people? May his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel (He is God), which is in Jerusalem. 4 And whoever is left in any place where he dwells, let the men of his place help him with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, besides the freewill offerings for the house of God which is in Jerusalem (Ezra 1.1–4).
    2. Chapter four shows opposition from their enemies, making the Jews stop.

      24 Thus the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem ceased, and it was discontinued until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia (Ezra 4.24).

      1. However, the prophets of God stirred up the people to rebuild the temple (Ezra 5.1).
      2. And the Jews began again to work on the temple.
    3. Without surprise their enemies opposed their work.
      1. The enemies appealed to the king to search the law
      2. to discover whether the Jews had authority to rebuild their temple,

        17 “Now therefore, if it seems good to the king, let a search be made in the king’s treasure house, which is there in Babylon, whether it is so that a decree was issued by King Cyrus to build this house of God at Jerusalem, and let the king send us his pleasure concerning this matter” (Ezra 5.17).

        1. The king did as requested,

          1 Then King Darius issued a decree, and a search was made in the archives, where the treasures were stored in Babylon. 2 And at Achmetha, in the palace that is in the province of Media, a scroll was found, and in it a record was written thus: 3 In the first year of King Cyrus, King Cyrus issued a decree concerning the house of God at Jerusalem: “Let the house be rebuilt, the place where they offered sacrifices…” (Ezra 6.1–3a).
        2. The Jews did not just assume that the law was against them, but
          1. they proceeded as the Lord told them to do and
          2. He backed them with the law.
  4. In Acts 22, the Romans prepared to scourge Paul, but he stopped it,

    25 And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said to the centurion who stood by, “Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman, and uncondemned?” 26 When the centurion heard that, he went and told the commander, saying, “Take care what you do, for this man is a Roman.” 27 Then the commander came and said to him, “Tell me, are you a Roman?” He said, “Yes.” 28 The commander answered, “With a large sum I obtained this citizenship.” And Paul said, “But I was born a citizen.” 29 Then immediately those who were about to examine him withdrew from him; and the commander was also afraid after he found out that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him (Act 22.25–29).

    1. Later, recorded in Acts 25, Paul knew how to use Roman law to save his life,

      9 But Festus, wanting to do the Jews a favor, answered Paul and said, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and there be judged before me concerning these things?” 10 So Paul said, “I stand at Caesar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be judged. To the Jews I have done no wrong, as you very well know. 11 For if I am an offender, or have committed anything deserving of death, I do not object to dying; but if there is nothing in these things of which these men accuse me, no one can deliver me to them. I appeal to Caesar” (Act 25.9–11).
  5. We could look to other examples, such as with Daniel, Esther, Joseph, and others, but 
    1. these are sufficient to make the point
    2. that we do well to know the laws of the land, including Oregon’s Constitution,
      1. pertaining to the operation of the church, and
      2. the religious activities of individuals.
        1. Simply because our enemies say we cannot do things,
        2. does not mean it is so.
          1. If you read the law,
          2. you might be surprised by what you find,
          3. even as you discover things by reading God’s Law.
  6. Being a citizen of the United States of America 
    1. brings blessings to us more than any past nation could have imagined.
    2. However, you can be a citizen of America, but
      1. still be lost.
      2. Many people are not citizens of our wonderful nation, but
        1. some of them are saved.
  7. VII.Nothing surpasses, nothing even comes close 
    1. to citizenship in the Kingdom of God.