May 29, 2009
The Publisher Parries
Patriot's Bible editor Richard Lee responds to Greg Boyd
Editor's Note: When we received Greg Boyd's review of The American Patriot's Bible, we sent it to the folks at Thomas Nelson Publishers and asked them if they wanted to respond. The Bible's editor, Richard G. Lee sent us this reply.
Over the past several years it has been my privilege to work together with a wonderful group of scholars and editors developing The American Patriot's Bible. As the general editor of this title, I felt it was important to present a clear and accurate understanding of why The American Patriot's Bible came together as it did, and how it is to be used to enlighten the readers of the undeniable role that the Word of God has played in the formation and continuation of our great nation.
The American Patriot's Bible's clear purpose is to present the "strong cord" of the Bible's influence that runs through the fabric of our nation's past and present. Our great nation has not used the Bible to form some system of "nationalism" and "superior isolationism," but rather our founding fathers learned from its teachings the principles, values, and ethics of law, government and proper social order.
Does this mean that America has any more right to the Bible and its promises than any other nation? Not at all. When the Scripture teaches us, "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord," (Psalm 33:12) that means any nation of people who will follow after Him would be blessed by Him. That truth is the reasoning behind sending American Christian missionaries around the world with the Gospel, so that other nations may know the God who has so richly blessed us.
Every nation has some form of religion as a basis for its system of government and social order. The examples are many. China has the religion of Atheism, India has the religion of Hinduism, and many of the Arab nations have Islam. The religion that permeates America is Christianity given to us in the Holy Bible. Are there other religions in America? Should persons of other religious faiths enjoy the same rights of worship and assembly? Certainly they should, and they do, but from our nation's beginnings Christianity has been the one prevailing religious faith. Evidence of this fact abounds.
It is evidenced by countless references from the Bible in our state charters, our founding documents, and state and federal laws. Even the numerous federal buildings and monuments throughout our nation's capital city, Washington, D.C. carry images and quotations from both the Old and the New Testaments of the Bible.
Christianity was overwhelmingly the religion of our founding fathers. So frequent were their references to the Bible and the Christian faith in their speeches, letters and other writings, that during the compiling of The American Patriot's Bible it was a challenge to determine which of the great volume of references to their personal faith to include.
Most of our nation's oldest universities and centers of higher education were started by Christian pastors and churches. Yale is a university of great renown and reputation, but it may surprise many to know that it was established with the stated goal that "every student shall consider the main end of his study to wit to know God in Jesus Christ and answerably to lead a godly and sober life." Harvard University's original "Rules and Precepts" read: "Let every student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal lifeâ€¦" In fact, Harvard's original seal contains these words, "Truth for Christ and the Church."
When American citizens go into a court of Law to give testimony they place their left hand on the Holy Bible and swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth "so help me God." The God that they speak of is the Judeo-Christian God of the Bible.
Each of the 44 U.S. Presidents have placed one hand upon the Bible and raised their other hand toward God while making their oath of office. The God that they raise their hand before is again the God of the Judeo-Christian faith. If this were not true, placing their hand upon the Bible would be a foolish act.
President Franklin Roosevelt said, "We cannot read the history of our rise and development as a nation without reckoning with the place the Bible has occupied in shaping the advances of the Republic."
President Woodrow Wilson delivered his famous address "The Bible and Progress" in Denver, Colorado telling his listeners, "America was born a Christian nation. America was born to exemplify that devotion to the elements of righteousness which are derived from the revelations of the Holy Scripture."
Go to any city, any town, or any rural community in America and you will find Christian churches, some old and some new, with their steeples towering over the landscape as a visible sign that Christianity is now, and was in the past, America's foremost religion.
Throughout The American Patriot's Bible such historic documents, statements, photos, biographies, and stories from America's wonderful heritage are presented. Every effort was made to place these historical references in the Bible text where they could reflect real-life examples of the general values and themes being presented in the Scripture. They are not there to fulfill someone's political cause or theological ideology - far from it. They're there to remind us of the rightful place of Judeo-Christian values and the Bible in America's past and present.
The American Patriot's Bible is meant to promote efforts to take seriously the responsibility to put God first, not only in our homes but also in our national affairs. It is a tool with which to learn from the past and be Christian influences in the present and future national life, as well as the world.
America still stands as a beacon of hope and freedom in a hurting world. People, who yearn to be free, regardless of their religion, their differing views, or even their anti-God philosophies can still find the light of freedom and the open door of liberty in our great Land. This is the heart and theme of The American Patriot's Bible from beginning to end.
Let us be reminded that as a people, Americans have sought to follow the God of the Bible and what He has taught us through His Word. And the results are the obvious blessings He has provided, not only for us, but for all who seek "â€¦life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."