The Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Second Continental Congress 241 years ago. The Constitution was ratified 228 years ago.
A lot has changed in 200 years.
Do you think the Founding Fathers would be pleased with the progress of freedom in this country?
Would they think we were faithful to their vision?
I doubt it.
The Federal government is a monster. It controls virtually every aspect of our lives. For example, did you know there are Federal regulations about how much water your toilet can flush? The Energy Policy Act of 1992, which became law in 1994, made it illegal for toilets to flush more than 1.6 gallons. What kind of “limited government” is that? Remember the good old days when you were free to have a toilet that flushed however much you wanted? I don’t remember regulating toilet flushes being one of the enumerated powers of the Federal government (see here), do you?
Do you think the Founding Fathers would be pleased?
Personally, I think there is very little relationship between the current size and powers of the government, as compared to what the Founders intended. Most of the laws and regulations that currently exist in this country are not Constitutional. Not by a long shot.
200 years is a long time.
I was thinking of this when I read that Hank Hanegraaff, the Bible Answer Man, converted to Eastern Orthodoxy (see here). I’ve known several former Protestants or Evangelicals who’ve gone the same way.
One of the attractions of Orthodoxy is how old it is. They have a history of worship that can be traced back to the 4th century. The Orthodox can truthfully claim that their liturgy, and many of their practices, go back over a thousand years. That consistency is very different from the panorama of worship experiences you find in Evangelical churches today.
But so what?
Although Orthodox find comfort in the fact that much of their worship can be traced back to the 4th century, that’s 300 years after the time of Jesus and the Apostles!
A lot can happen in 300 years!
In Paul’s day, the churches in the provinces of Galatia and Asia were apostatizing from the gospel (Galatians 1:6; 2 Timothy 1:15). Revelation 1–3 emphasizes how their neighbors had become loveless, compromising, corrupt, and dead.
It didn’t take long, did it, for the churches to become corrupt?
What happened to them, by the way? Did the Galatian and Asian churches get back on track?
Is it an accident those same provinces became the heart of Eastern Orthodoxy?
I believe that, as a matter of historical record, those churches rejected the faith alone message, and passed on their false traditions and teachings to the next generation, and the next, and the next, continuing through the centuries, until they became a hybrid state church under Constantine. (For a great introduction to how church practices became corrupt over time, see Frank Viola and George Barna’s book, Pagan Christianity?)
A lot can happen in 300 years!
So I fully admit that Orthodox traditions are old. Yes, they can be traced back to the 4th century. But that doesn’t make them Biblical. You can’t avoid the hard work of being a Berean, going back to the text, and evaluating everything in light of it.
Three hundred years from now, I suppose people will be able to say, “How can you deny these Federal toilet flushing regulations are Constitutional? We can trace them all the way back to the 20th century!” But that’s not the issue, is it? The real issue is, can you trace them back to the original intent of the Founders, and to the original meaning of the Constitution?
Old traditions should never replace inspired Biblical teaching. Otherwise, you risk flushing the Gospel down the toilet.