March 31, 2019
Statesmanship and Statecraft
Review of the history of the Western world
The Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution were written after three hundred years of reformed thinking. In 1075, Pope Gregory released the Church from the monarchy’s secular sword. In 1517, Luther’s protestant reformation brought the church and state back to its Biblical foundations. The Magna Carta of 1215, the English Petition of Rights in 1628 and the English Bill of Rights in 1689, helped establish these principles in the minds of Englishmen along with the legal framework of Locke and Blackstone’s writings.
As Englishmen came to the New World, they built on these ideas as they felt the need for self-government. The documents they crafted are the First Charter of Virginia in 1605, the 1620 Mayflower Compact, and 1636 Plymouth Code of Law, in which obedience to Biblical principles and the Gospel are clearly stated. After appealing to the King and being turned down, these truths enabled them to shake off the tyranny of British rule in the 1689 Declaration and Resolves of the First Constitutional Congress, and the 1776 Declaration of Independence of Virginia(Presentation, PPOG 504, 2019).
The Basic belief and the compromise
America’s founding fathers labored to follow the Biblical pattern of statesmanlike leadership in the formation of the principles of government. Protection of life, liberty and property, which are inalienable rights of human beings, written in our constitution is the great example (US Constitution).
No human government has been or ever will be perfect. In 1787, the need to expand on the articles to decentralize as well as strengthen certain areas caused a compromise to be made between the Virginia plan and the New Jersey plan. The document written in 1787 was ratified by the States and entered into effect in 1789 as the Constitution of the United States of America (Barker, 2012). Further, William Douglass helped point out the need to include the enslaved Black people, who won the freedom guaranteed by the Constitution a hundred years later, after the bitter Civil War. A similar struggle goes on today to ensure the right of unborn babies to life.
Application of Biblical statesmanship principles in founding the nation and the constitution
Leadership is reckoned by the position one occupies in an organization, or a church or in a community. Leadership is a God given trait(James 1:17 NIV). All leaders should acknowledge this gift and bring glory to God through good moral character and integrity (1 Timothy 3:1-16 NIV). Leaders have a big picture about the world and its future.Biblical leadership is covenantal. God Himself is the Example. He keeps His promises. In covenantal relationship, there is mutual accountability both for leaders and followers (Fischer K, 2012). These founding fathers lead well, thought holistically, and contributed for eternityand the country under a sovereign God.
Christianity and Rationalism
The biblical world view is that God is ultimate, the center of all things (Col 1:16, NIV). Rationalism claims that man is at the center and is capable of achieving all knowledge and perfectibility to create a utopia with logic and reason. The American colonists, having a Biblical world view, fought to secure the inalienable rights granted to them by God. Rationalists held on to Darwin’s evolutionary theory. Unfortunately, American rationalists joinedwith these suppositions bringing in a dualistic approach to life. Locke’s writings were borrowed to articulate on England’s material breach. But where he disagreed, with Biblical statements, the founders parted ways with him. Leaders like Francis Schaeffer rejected this false dichotomy between reason and faith, the sacred and the secular (Presentation, PPOG 504, 2019).
Application to Political Leaders
Everyone-dollar bill carries the image of George Washington, the first President of the US, honored for his statesmanship and leadership. Having struggled for freedom, when called to serve, he humbly accepted. His patriotism was seen when he became the voice of America within the country and internationally, and in his willingness to lay down his life. His covenantal life was not just in theory but in practice. As a true statesman, he prepared successors and in due time resigned. He held up the morale of his men even in defeat. Emerging as a leader among those who contributed to the writing of the declaration of independence and constitution, portrayed his ability to emphasize unity for all. He listened to both mind and the heart and excelled in making moral decisions.His farewell address, full of truths, and his trust and belief in the Bible and Providence are an ever living and great testimony to all (Newell, 2013, pp 1- 26).
The symbolic roles of Washington as the nation’s Founder, and Lincoln who followed as its Savior are appropriate insofar as they stress continuity between the two leaders, as key representatives of the American order. (Fornieri, 2005).
Of the early events that went into his making are his devout parents and the sermons of the Rev. Samuel Davies. A small battle against social injustice in the “Parson’s cause” equipped him to succeed in overthrowing the “Stamp Act,” in which he demanded that “there should be no taxation without representation.” Henry, Jefferson and others of the Virginia assembly gathered for a day of prayer and fasting as Britain attempted to tighten her control over the colonies inMay 1774. Again, they knelt for prayer at the First Continental Congress, when news of the British ships bombarding Boston reached them in Sep. 1774. His philosophy inspired the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and, most significantly, the Bill of Rights. Famous for the line “Give me liberty or give me death!”, Patrick Henry was a man who stirred souls and whose dedication to individual liberty became the voice for thousands (Straub, 2013).
Henry had a major hand in drafting the seminal work in America’s political and religious history, the Virginia Bill of rights. He denied many high government posts including Secretary of State and chief justice of the Supreme Court in all humility but, continued his legal practice till 1795. In 1799, his prophetic gift was evident when he warned of Civil War. Henry helped to secure for all Americans those invaluable liberties enshrined in the United States Bill of Rights. The patriots acknowledged their ‘firm reliance on the protection of the divine Providence’. As a man of action, Henry practiced what he preached. It was Henry’s call to action that rescued America from inertia and ultimate tyranny. During war, Henry practiced humane treatment for British prisoners. As a patriot, Henry did not just exalt his country over other’s, but stood on God’s word in the face of unjust human authority, appealing to the God of Heaven for justice on earth to live out our lives, with primary allegiance to God (Vaughan, 1997, pp 113 – 261). There are many other virtues like courage, humility, duty to family, and practicing hospitality, found in his life, which made him a truestatesman.
Trump’s statesmanship and leadership
The shifting of the US Embassy to Jerusalem took place recently under the Trump Administration. On December 6, 2017, President Trump kept his promise, announcing that the United States would begin recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and officially open the US Embassy there. Congress urged the President to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel with the bipartisan 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act – a call unanimously reaffirmed by the Senate in 2017.On May 14, 2018, the United States officially opened its Embassy in Jerusalem, Israel, 70 years to the day that President Truman recognized Israel as an independent country, making the United States the first nation to do so. President Trump has recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and advanced peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Israel is a sovereign nation and, like every other sovereign nation, has the right to choose its own capital.
President Trump’s election campaignslogan ‘making America great again’ is being fulfilled in reducing unemployment, oil price and economic growth (Trump Administration accomplishments). Unrecognized by the world at present, President Trump like King Cyrus in the past, is helping to re-establish Jerusalem as the seat of the Greater Son of King David’s rule (CBNnews.com) (Luke 1:32. NIV). Recent recognition of Golan heights for Israel is another fulfillment.
The founding document of independent USA, thought to be the product of Christian rationalism by some, has biblical foundations. This had reference to Blackstone’s statement that all human legislation must conform to God’s supreme law as revealed in Scripture, which he unbiblically called laws of nature and nature’s god. Justice was totally dependent on the reality that the Creator had created all humans to be of equal worth (Presentation, PPOG 504, 2019).
A nation like Americacould not have reached a place like this today, had theywithout compromise accepted the Statesmanship and leadership, of the early settlers, who stood on the unchanging Word of God alone as their standard. Israel in the past lost the Glory of God, when theyforgot Him who gave them their promised land. We cannot continue to rest on the glory of our past founding fathers, when we need to courageously bring back the nation to the Biblical plan of God in the world of today.
Barker, R. S. (2012, September). Natural law and the United States Consitution.
Philosophy Education Society :The Philosophy of Metaphysics, 66(1), 105-130. Retrieved March 31, 2019, from https://www.jstor.org/stable/41635554
CBNnews.com: Why Israel’s Netanyahu Likened Trump to King Cyrus (n.d.).
In CBNnews.com. Retrieved March 31, 2019, from http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/politics/2018/march/why-israels-netanyahu-likened-trump-to-king-cyrus
Fischer, K. J. (2012). Leadership and Statesmanship. Lynchburg, VA: Liberty University.
Fornieri, J. R. (2005). Washington’s farewell address and Lincoln’s Lyceum address.
In Whitehouse studies. Retrieved March 31, 2019, from http://go.galegroup.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu/ps/i.do?p=AONE&u=vic_liberty&id=GALE%7CA149023271&v=2.1&it=r&sid=summo
Newell, T. (2013). Statesmanship, Character, and Leadership in America.
New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
NIV, New International Version, Holy Bible
Presentation, PPOG 504,
Straub, S. (2013, April 3). Patrick Henry – American Statesman.
In The Federalist papers. Retrieved March 31, 2019, from https://thefederalistpapers.org/ebooks/patrick-henry-american-statesman
Trump Administration Accomplishments. Whitehouse. Retrieved March 31, 2019,
Vaughan, D. J. (1997). Give me Liberty: The uncompromising statesmanship of Patrick
Henry. Nashville, TN: Cumberland House Publishing.