Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Squanto and The Providential Hand of God

The Man Named Squanto



A fascinating thing that we see from the historical account provided by William Bradford, about the people we refer to today as the "Pilgrims", is God's hand of provision for their dwindling numbers in the early part of year following their arrival at what they called "New Plymouth".  Their first encounters with native American Indians are interesting and nothing short of miraculous. Keep in mind that the "frontier" of North America would have been literally at the beach line on the east coast. This group of Pilgrims was desperately in need of help in how to survive this new land with its unknown wildlife and other unforeseen dangers and hardships. With that in mind, let’s look at this account from Bradford's journal in the first months after landing at the northern tip of Cape Cod in November of 1620:

"All this while the Indians carne skulking [sneaking] about them, and would sometimes show themselves aloof [remote, unapproachable] off, but when any approached near them, they would run away. And once they stole away their [the Pilgrims’] tools where they had been at work, and were gone to dinner. But about the sixteenth of March a certain Indian came boldly amongst them, and spoke to them in broken English, which they could well understand, but marveled at it. At length they understood by discourse with him, that he was not of these parts, but belonged to the eastern parts, where some English-ships came to fish, with whom he was acquainted, and could name sundry of them by their names, amongst whom he had got his language. He became profitable to them in acquainting them with many things concerning the state of the country in the east-parts where he lived, which was afterwards profitable unto them; as also of the people here, of their names, number, and strength; of their situation and distance from this place, and who was chief amongst them."

"His name was Samoset; he told them also of another Indian whose name was Squanto, a native of this place, who had been in England and could speak better English than himself. Being, after some time of entertainment and gifts, dismissed, a while after he carne again, and five more with him, and they brought again all the tools that were stolen away before, and made way for the coming of their great Sachem [chief, tribal leader], called Massasoit; who, about four or five days after, carne with the chief of his friends and other attendance, with the aforesaid Squanto."

Interestingly enough, what followed is not talked about much today, the next part of Bradford's journal records an agreement that was reached between these two groups. The journal records that "they made a peace with him [Massasoit]" (which continued for 24 years). This is important to note due to revisionist historians today that try to paint a distorted picture of the relationship between these early settlers and Native American Indians.  Just like depravity resides in all men today, it resided in all men at that time too. Just like there are "peaceful" people today, there were "peaceful" Indians back then.  Just as there are "wicked" people today, there were "wicked" people back then (both European and Native American Indian).  One cannot lump all of history into one sock so to speak. When we look at history from a Biblical Worldview, we ought to look at all of it; the good, the bad, and the ugly!  However, what we see in Bradford's account is God's hand at work bringing a group [tribe] of peaceful native Indians to the rescue of this group of English Separatists looking for the early vestiges of religious freedom in a new land. Take note of the items agreed to in Bradford's journal:

"1. That neither he nor any of his, should injure or do hurt to any of their people.

2. That if any of his did any hurt to any of theirs, he should send the offender, that they might punish him.

3. That if anything were taken away from any of theirs [the Pilgrims’], he [Massasoit] should cause it to be restored; and they should do the like to his.

4. If any did unjustly war against him [Massasoit], they [the Pilgrims] would aide him; if any did war against them, he [Massasoit] should aid them [the Pilgrims].

5. He should send to his neighbor’s confederates, to certify them of this, that they might not wrong them, but might be likewise comprised in the conditions of peace. [That is, different tribes should share members to prevent warfare or serve as hostages in case of war.]

6. That when their [the Indians’] men came to them [the Pilgrims], they [the Indians] should leave their bows and arrows behind them."

"After these things he [Massasoit] returned to his place called Sowams, some 40 miles from this place, but Squanto continued with them, and was their interpreter, and was a special instrument sent of God for their good beyond their expectation. He directed them how to set their corn, where to take fish, and to procure other commodities, and was also their pilot to bring them to unknown places for their profit, and never left them till he died. He was a native of this place, and scarce any left alive beside himself."



Don't miss the significance of this, nothing short of miraculous is the fact that this group of English Separatists were originally bound and chartered for a settlement in Virginia but were blown off course and landed in a desolate location unknown to them.  A harsh winter is awaiting them, and they desperately need help from someone knowledgeable of the local area. Into this God sends an Indian that speaks broken English [Samoset], but who knows another Indian that speaks fluent English [Squanto].  Ask yourself what the chances are that this group of Pilgrims accidentally landing in a location with one of the few if not only friendly English speaking Indians in North America? Coincidence or the providential hand of God?  Today we have all kinds of revisionists historians that have tried to rewrite our nation’s history and rewrite the hand of God out of it...look closely at this and decide for yourself.  Recall Bradford's words that I quoted above, Bradford referred to Squanto as "a special instrument sent of God for their good beyond their expectation".Bradford records that in late September of 1621, a group from New Plymouth set out to help another group that had settled in a nearby area, that in Bradford's terms had "made havoc of their provisions" and realized that "want [or need] would press them" in the coming winter months. In other word's this group had made unwise choices for their provisions and needed help. So they set out with this group to help them. Bradford records the following:
 
"All things being provided, Captain Standish was appointed to go with them, and Squanto for a guide and interpreter, about the latter end of September; but the winds put them in again, and putting out the second time, he [Captain Standish] fell sick of a fever, so the Governor went himself. But they could not get about the shoals of Cape Cod for flats and breakers, neither could Squanto direct them better, nor the master durst venture any further, so they put into Manamoyick Bay and got what they could there. In this place Squanto fell sick of an Indian fever, bleeding much at the nose (which the Indians take for a symptom of death), and within a few days died there; desiring the Governor to pray for him, that he might go to the Englishmen’s God in heaven, and bequeathed sundry of his things to sundry of his English friends, as remembrances of his love; of whom they had a great loss."
 
God had used this incredible man, Squanto. God through His marvelous works had ordained for Squanto to be taken to England years before by an earlier north Atlantic fishing expedition. This Indian had learned fluent English, and miraculously had been returned to his native land a few years later. Think about that...think about the time we are talking about...do you realize how utterly incredible those events are?  Then this group of Separatists from the Church of England set out to cross the Atlantic bound for a colony in Virginia...the end up in a place far from their intended destination.  They end up in a place where maybe the only fluent English speaking Native American Indian resides! God uses this man to train and help these early settlers and seekers of religious liberty.

The words of the Mayflower Compact tell us why these Pilgrims crossed the foreboding and dangerous north Atlantic ocean: "Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith".  These words tell us that they came to engage God's creation in a new world, they came to take God principles to the rest of His creation.  Let me be sure about one thing as I bring this to a close; these men were not perfect men, they were flawed men. But God was using them to take baby steps towards the liberty that we see written into the Bible. Lastly, don't miss what happened to Squanto! By all indications God used these Pilgrims to draw Squanto unto Himself, Bradford tells us that Squanto's last dying wish was to know this great God of these Englishmen and I am sure they were more than happy to share the good news of salvation with their Indian friend!


My hope is that you will read this story to your families as you observe our great national tradition and gather for a Thanksgiving meal. Pass on these great historical events that point to the great guiding hand of Almighty God. Give thanks for all our Great God has done for us in this incredible nation, founded for HIS PURPOSES and for HIS GLORY!

Monday, November 24, 2014

America's DNA

The following is a guest article written by my good friend Det Bowers.

Since history is linear rather than cyclical, one of the responsibilities of every era is to embrace the wisdom of previous generations (Job 8:8). Ignoring the wisdom of the ages assures meaningless lives. When a society is only interested in the present, it refuses to appreciate the advantages of recognizing that the one hundred and two Mayflower passengers of 1620 birthed the founding fathers of 1776 and the virtuous patriots of 2014.

Writ large upon the birthright, heritage, legacy and future of America is the DNA of a small courageous folk whose handprints are our own. How did they come to plant such a vibrant spirit in a godless land? The briefest of answers is that they were persecuted for their pursuit of the biblical Christ.

In 1608, a gathering of about one hundred and twenty-five people left the small English village of Scrooby in Nottinghamshire for Holland. Why did they leave? They recognized that the difference between their government’s view of religious freedom and their own perspective could not be reconciled. They were called Puritans by their detractors because they so wanted purity in their worship of God that they willingly sacrificed living with their families in their homeland.

These plain country folk set ashore in Amsterdam but soon moved to Leiden where they stayed for eleven years and became about five hundred in number. The problem they encountered was though they had freedom of worship, they could not maintain their English culture – their children were becoming like the Dutch in their language, customs and worldview. Their options were few, so they returned to England where they regrouped and set sail for the Land of Liberty.

These English Puritans, who would become known as Pilgrims, “thought of liberty as the freedom to do what is right, not to decide what is right.”[i] The diminutive Mayflower vessel anchored near Cape Cod with forty-one adult males who signed the 153-word Mayflower Compact intended this Constitution to serve future generations as one of the people’s founding documents.
 
 
Provincetown, Cape Cod, MA today looking seaward to where the Mayflower would have been anchored on November 11, 1620.
 
 
Plaque marking first landing of the "Pilgrim" Puritans from the Mayflower. Modern day Provincetown, Cape Cod, MA.
 
The Mayflower families were overall a knowledgeable and Christian people – they were separated from the Laodicean religion of England. On November 11th, A. D. 1620, America’s first Constitution was written beginning with the words: “In the name of God, Amen.” That inaugural Constitutional Convention went on to state the purpose of their coming to this continent: “Having undertaken for the glory of God and advancement of the Christian faith, and honor of our king and country, a voyage to plant the first colony…” These early Puritan pilgrimaging Christians did not come to this land for mere economic opportunity, but to settle and build a new nation in accordance with God’s law in Christ.

They Mayflower congregation perceived themselves as pilgrims in the sense that this world was not their home. William Bradford, Governor of Plymouth Colony settlement, left his three-year-old son in England because he was going to secure a better country for his heirs. As our national ancestors, these English Puritan-Leiden Pilgrims established a standard for all future generations inhabiting this sacred soil – and they paid dearly!

The first recorded thanksgiving celebration of 1623 was enjoyed by fifty of those still living who survived the maiden voyage and the first year (in addition to a child who was born aboard the Mayflower after they reached Cape Cod). Only three of the fifty-one were older than forty and there were only four married couples who remained due to the harshness of the winter.

Nonetheless, nature was not their adversary (Eph. 1:11). God was working His purpose in all the matters surrounding His brave pilgrim band.  Though it is difficult for us westerners, we rarely know life’s “whys.” What we do know is that God moves heaven and earth to accomplish His will in the lives of individuals and nations. The sweep of history beggars our vision, imagination and minds (Ps. 73:3; Isa. 55:8; Mt. 5:45; Ro. 11:33).

Because they knew that their God was not a God far from them, they were patient and thankful in difficulty, judicious and thankful in prosperity (Jer. 23:23). Though we never comprehensively know God’s perfect will or the implications of His divine providence, we are reminded of Governor William Bradford’s insight that though he did not know whether God’s will was for the Leiden congregation to settle in America, he did know it was “lawful” and “honourable.”[ii]

America’s foundational history battles today’s individualistic narcissism, egotism and self-centeredness. Our storied past reveals where God was when the Mayflower set sail – He was right where He is today. America’s former days allow devoted Americans to place our lives in the grander story of statecraft and nationhood. The Puritan-Pilgrims were chosen by God “to become His temple in America,” His “citadel of light,” and were “being led in a path that had been walked by another Chosen People.”[iii]

We name the same Name they named and we do so in the very same part of God’s world. We are part of them because they were a congregation of God’s saints. They were committed to something so much larger than themselves. They were in covenant with God and with one another – and with the generations preceding as well as following them. They faced much difficulty, but their difficulties proved the value of a national character birthed by their Bibles.

Just as your theology will determine your address to vexatious developments, your forefathers were looking for the HEBREWS 11:16 country and city. Though they were dogged by unruly elements and hardships of every sort, they did not love the world as much as they loved God’s character and glory (I Jn. 2:15ff.).

The Pilgrims were not grander, larger or more gifted than you. Nevertheless, they may have been more trusting of the God of Scripture. Affix your mind upon the looking glass of Thanksgiving and describe the face you see. From where you stand, how are you treating your ancestors and heirs? Has your affluence and pursuit of life enriched or damaged the covenant God has for you with those around you, with those who have gone before, and with those following you?

Just outside Plymouth there is a cemetery known as Burial Hill. It overlooks the harbor where the Pilgrims built their first church and fort. At the foot of Burial Hill stands First Parish Church. The present congregation of First Parish Church directly denies much of your Bible including the Trinity. They have chosen to sever their covenantal bond with the Pilgrim saints and the godly ones throughout the ages. Why? How has this happened so quickly?

By 1644, Governor William Bradford reported that he no longer saw many of the original colonists because they pursued larger farms. He said of the Plymouth church that she was “an ancient mother grown old and forsaken of her children.”[iv] 

Modern Americans must become a people who will not allow their focus diverted from the Celestial City, the Heaven of God. C. S. Lewis wrote, “Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in.’ Aim at earth and you will get neither.”[v] The Pilgrims were a people who had no home in this world because “this world is passing away” (I Cor. 7:31).

Alexis de Tocqueville pronounced the proven truth that “a false but clear and precise idea always has more power in the world than one which is true but complex.”[vi] Scores of historical revisionists attempt to re-write and falsify America’s history – they shall not succeed. There is nothing historically confusing or complex about where we came from and who we should be.

Christian Americans follow in the path of their forefathers by being willing to risk all as they challenge the fallen gods of this world. They (you!) refuse the approach of those claiming so many rights yet share so little responsibility for preserving America’s foundational historical rights. A twisted governmental culture and foolish society is fostering a fabricated past that allows a people to escape the humble history of their grand nation.

On this Thanksgiving, we are thankful for God’s America. We are not apologetic for how greatly our majestic God has blessed His America. Our covenant commitment must be to turn our families to Christ and return God’s America to God. May it be so in our day!




[i] Robert Tracy McKenzie, The First Thanksgiving (Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP, 2013), p. 108.
[ii] William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647, intro. Francis Murphy (NY: Modern Library, 1981), pp. 364.
[iii] Peter Marshall and David Manuel, The Light and the Glory (Old Tappan, NJ: Revell, 1977), pp. 110, 111, 359.
[iv] Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation, p. 370.
[v] C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (NY: Macmillan, 1943), p. 118.
[vi] Alexis de Tocqueville, On Democracy in America, ed. J. P. Mayer (1834; repr., NY: Harper-Collins, 1969), p. 164.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The 2014 Elections. Now What?

I was going to wait until after today’s vote to say this but I’m going to get it off my chest right now. First let me say that no one holds the process and importance of exercising our blood bought right to vote with any higher regard than I do. However, I have to be honest. I want the Republicans to take the Senate and hold or increase their hold in the House if only to thwart the far left aspirations for what Mark Levin calls the coming Benito Mussolini (the President) in his last two years in office.

But all the hype of our elections even with a Republican takeover of the Senate will in the end not do what painfully needs to be done; namely the tough hard work of rolling back the unconstitutional size and jurisdiction of the leviathan federal government. Certainly we have some very good United States Senators and members of the United States House of Representatives, a handful if you will. But even if we had more, the cold hard truth is that the Federal Government is systemically broken. The United States Supreme Court is operating today from what amounts to a 2nd United States Constitution. The one that has been stretched, pulled, twisted, contorted, and perverted for about one hundred years. Because of the perversion of our document from decades of court precedent upon court precedent, the SCOTUS enables the Article I and Article II branches of our government to exercise authority that it does not have and was never intended to have.

The very nature of the original text on the Constitutional parchment was designed to create a limited federal government, a child of the states. Today, that relationship has been reversed and most people see the federal government as the parent in the relationship rather than the child it was mean to be, with very limited powers.

The cold hard facts of the matter are that all three branches of government today are in collusion with one another. Mark Levin posits that there is a fourth branch of government today. The federal bureaucracy that consists in the behemoth executive branch agencies that churn out regulations (laws) in direct violation of Article I, Section 1 of the Constitution. These agencies torment businesses and individuals alike and have no real oversight. Indeed Congress holds “oversight” hearings on some of the more egregious actions of these agencies. But tell me, when was the last time you saw anyone at the IRS or the State Department actually punished for their actions? Congress holds hearings, and we feel really good when they rant on You Tube about the lawlessness….but nothing happens. No one pays a price….and the beat goes on. But the worse thing about the fourth branch of government is they are for the most part unelected and un-appointed individuals, so no matter which party is in power in congress or holding the Presidency, they never leave! So whether we have Democrats in control of congress or Republicans in control, we do see some difference….but the tough hard work of rolling back the federal leviathan is virtually impossible.

So, although I too have poured my time and resources into working to elect Constitutional conservatives to federal office, and taught and encouraged people to get out and vote, I have turned my energies in another direction all the while keeping an eye in the direction of this election. Now that the election of 2014 is over, my focus will be fully on the Convention of States (COS) Project. I am pouring my life (time), fortune (money), and my sacred honor (my reputation) into this effort because it is truly the only real way left to deal with what Washington simply cannot deal with.

The founders specifically predicted a time like this might come…when the federal government would grow so large due to the insatiable appetite for power in "fallen" men and the neglect of the citizenry, and they inserted the most powerful “check” or pushback into the hands of the states in Article V of the United States Constitution. The States have a power under the federal constitution to call for a Convention of States, an amending convention to propose amendments to reign in an “abusive and oppressive”, runaway federal government. “Abusive and oppressive” were the words of George Mason when he stood up on Sept 15th of 1787 and insisted the states be given a final recourse when the congress would not take action to correct the abuses.

The Article V Convention of States is the lawful and orderly process that is left to the states to “check” a rogue, runaway federal government. The legislatures of the states must take this on in order to save the Republic. The good news is that many of them are doing this. There is a move afoot outside and inside the state General Assemblies to call for a Convention of States. Those of us that are working in the national grassroots effort known as the Convention of States Project realize this really is our last shot to correct course. The COS Project has a stated purpose and subject matter call for a Convention of States for the purpose of “proposing amendments to the United States Constitution that will impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and impose term limits on its officials and members of congress.”

So although I’m very thankful for the great privilege of voting and the ability to exercise my vote today, I am not holding my breath for much to change in our congress. Even the “good ones” cannot bring themselves to do the tough things that are required of them which in some cases would be tantamount to cutting their own throat.

I am however extremely optimistic at the exponential explosion of support that is building in South Carolina and nationwide to convene a Convention of States for a limited purpose of resetting language in the Constitution and forcing all three branches back inside the chains of the Constitutions original intent. In South Carolina alone, our facebook page has grown from just over 300 “Likes” to over 5000 in just two short months! People are coming to understand everything that I wrote above…and they are ready to take their place in history as the states literally do an end run of the Washington D.C. machine and reign in the federal leviathan.

Friday, October 31, 2014

A Reformation Day Look at Revival

The following is a guest article written by my good friend Det Bowers.

“O LORD, revive Your work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy” (HABAKKUK 3:2).

Christians pray for revival – times of refreshing when the Holy Spirit takes large matters upon Himself and awakens the rebellious to their rebellion, to God’s wrath and to Christ’s sacrifice.  Revival is social.  It is an event of restoration between a holy God and a sinful people. 

Revival occurs when God visits His people by pouring out His Spirit upon them so that their consciences are quickened to the eternal cause of Christ (Jer. 29:10-14; Zech. 2:10f.; Acts 2:17ff.).  Seasons of revival are marked by an awareness of being always in God’s sight and spiritual matters take on a reality as never before.  Converts are identified; Christians become fearless and tireless; a community experiences overflowing joy; loving generosity abounds (Acts 4:32). 

In 1858-9 revivals occurred in the United States and Great Britain.  The Spirit of God moved upon the face of the darkened waters and there was a new light in the life of men.  The multitudes sensed the reality of Christianity and began to drink of holy streams that make glad the city of God.  The heavenly dew of the Holy Spirit fell in fullness and people were awakened out of their self-centered stupor (Rev. 3:2f.).  They began to desire eternal garments of loveliness rather than the distracting comforts distancing them from their God.

Many churchmen have been very long in the service of sin because though they have light in their heads, God has not graced their hearts.  They have been withholding themselves from the Lord and His eternal cause.  They have been in the church but lacked seriousness about eternal matters, they lacked sobriety about their position with God and solemnity regarding the wellbeing of their society.

But how is man’s cloud of confusion removed so that he might experience the great rain of holiness falling upon him and be baptized by the Spirit of revival?  God says, “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul” (Ps. 19:7).  Man will not experience the year of jubilee, the acceptable year of the Lord, until the doctrines of grace are brought to bear upon his heart. You should not expect to encounter revival as long as preachers smooth the cutting edge of the sword of God’s word.  Revivals come at the invitation/expense of unashamedly preaching rightly divided scriptural truth.

Rev. Charles Haddon Spurgeon said, “We want again Luthers, Calvins, Bunyans, Whitefields, men fit to mark eras, whose names breathe terror in our foemen’s ears.  We have dire need of such.  Whence will they come to us?  They are the gifts of Jesus Christ to the Church, and will come in due time.  He has power to give us back again a golden age of preachers, a time as fertile of great divines and mighty ministers as was the Puritan age, and when the good old truth is once more preached by men whose lips are touched as with a live coal from off the altar, this shall be the instrument in the hand of the Spirit for bringing about a great and thorough revival of religion in the land.”

The gentle zephyr filling the Church and the hearts of churchmen shall not be experienced until sermons pour forth from the sacred desks arousing churchmen to purity in their Christianity.  The Church of Christ cannot expect revival when they preach and teach for the purpose of entertaining or amusing.  The Lord’s work must be prosecuted with fresh energy.  The awakened consecrated Church is God’s principal earthly instrument in issuing the invitation to the Holy Spirit to capture a people for Himself.  The Bible must be preached, taught and lived with a pulsating earnestness that is enthusiastically uncompromising. 

Revival occurs when the word of God cuts to the marrow of men’s souls.  You can identify revival by the prayers accompanying conversions.  The people begin to pray as though live coals have been placed upon the altar of their consciences.  They pray as a people looking through new eyes to a new world.  They pray with an earnest urgency for the outpourings of the Holy Spirit to rend the heavens and come down Himself so that every valley would be lifted up and every mountain brought low (Isa. 40:4).  They crave the great Sovereign of the Church who alone can give the increase. 

You yearn for your generation to pine for the glory of the Lord so that they might be placed in the cleft of the rock as He passes by (Ex. 33:22).  Your heart is for the melting power of His gracious influence upon your city.  You want to be among the brethren as the heavenly fire descends with the influence of the Divine Spirit.

Pray for the Lord’s Spirit to starve all the gods of the earth and to ride upon His chariots of salvation so that the bones of man might tremble at the preaching of His word (Zeph. 2:11).  Your desire is to see the daughter of Jairus, the son of the widow of Nain and Lazarus resurrected from their graves.  You crave to arrive at the vestibule of heaven where you can fully experience divine gales at your face, the fire of revival in your eyes and the irresistible influence of the Holy Spirit in your heart. 

Could your adulterous and sinful generation become tokens of God’s favor so that they might be plucked as brands from the burning as by Divine mercy?  Could the Almighty God pour out streams of blessings upon such an undeserving crooked and perverted people?  When a people enter into an absolute surrender of themselves to the shower of Divine influences they will discover they have been arrested by the power of the word, drawn to the teaching of the word and committed to applying the holy word to their unholy lives.  Then and only then shall gracious visitations and great awakenings stem the tide of evil in its insidious advance. 

You will know that a revival has occurred in your church when a hush captures the assembled congregation, when people speak via tears, when a strengthening current of inward emotions are expressed in sober terms, when hearts long for fresh visitations, when every day is lived as the Sabbath, when there is a living for the next Lord’s Day, when infamous sinners flock to the church, when the homes of the members of your church become mini-seminaries wherein every father is the high priest of the Lord. 

You will know that the celestial awakening is upon you when community conversations center upon the Jesus of the Bible, when there is a movement afoot to take of the water of eternal life freely and without cost (Rev. 22:17), when men of renown are overpowered by the influence of the Spirit and become childlike in their petitions, when ladies of eminence lose their powers of resistance, your sons and daughters prophesy, your old men dream dreams, your young men see visions (Joel. 2:28), when legions of the beloved come with weeping asking the way to holy Zion, when men are no longer content with mere outward professions of Christianity, when lives take on an everlasting gravitas and when the Church of Christ becomes transparent in its stewardship.

You will know that you have entered the regenerating matrix of the Holy Spirit when young people who have been reared in the church begin to behave themselves even as the Christ conducted Himself at the age of twelve (Lk. 2:42ff.), when the children of believers recognize themselves as the prodigals they indeed are, when God’s elect cease supporting public houses that finance drunkenness, licentiousness, bawdiness and disrespect of self and others, when the electronic and print media begin gasping for breath because the Christians are no longer funding their society’s hatred of unvarnished biblical truth.

Societal revivals have occurred when awakened consciences no longer protect facets of their lives from the influence of God’s Scripture.  The revived ones love Christ more than any one or any thing and they hate their sin more than they hate the consequences of their sin.  Those awakened to the cause of Christ know their guilt, perceive the dangers of hell, recognize their inadequacies, lament their lack of self control and pray for the salvation of their loved ones.

A culture in the midst of revival bears witness to laborers serving their employers as never before and employers honoring laborers even as Boaz graced his servants (Ru. 2:4).  Revival connotes a coming to spiritual life so that the revived seek life in the death, resurrection, ascension and intercession of Christ.  Their days on earth increase in their resemblance to the days of heaven.  A missionary spirit overtakes the Church with lives so solemnized that they are committed to taking the gospel to all the nations regardless of the cost.

Awakened Christians walk in the likeness of Simeon and Anna “looking for the consolation of Israel… for the redemption of Jerusalem” (Lk. 2:25, 38, respectively).  They expect a day of divine visitation whereby the in name only Christians will be removed from the rolls of the Church and the true believers shall be brought to the fore.  They know that the effusion of the Holy Spirit upon their land will bring consistency in their courage, godliness, orthodoxy, patience and wisdom.  Revived Christians know that revival assures them a season of supernatural fertility whereby God’s Church so proclaims His word that what has previously affected but a few shall now become authoritative to thousands and thousands. 

You have the very same Spirit today who brought the First Great Awakening to America in the 1740s, the Second Great Awakening from 1800-25, as well as the Third Great Awakening in 1857.  He brought the 1807 revival to Mowcop, England, and the 1904-5 revival to Wales.  He is the same God, the same Jesus and the same Holy Spirit. 

Today’s times and people are no more difficult than earlier times.  You flatter yourself to think otherwise.  The Church of Christ needs to awake and garment herself with the only effective means of salvation – Christ and Him crucified as set forth in the inspired, inerrant and infallible word of God.

Your heart yearns for a time when the gospel is in the ascendancy throughout your land.  You want a shocking and awesome communication of God’s Spirit.  You are eager to live in the days when people so ravenously await to hear the word of life that the biblical churches cannot contain them. The passing matters of this life no longer consume Christians when they live as though the King is coming (II Cor. 4:16-18).  Evangelical deserts become holy oases – their religion becomes biblical rather than formal. 

You need to hear anointed voices thunder so that those slumbering into Gomorrah will become awakened.  You covet another Pentecost.  You anticipate Nineveh’s experience during the season of Jonah’s preaching (Jonah 3).  Your longing is for the Church to emerge from its present state of biblical ignorance and capture the dews and damps of God’s generous righteousness.

An awakened Church discovers its members athirst for God’s glory.  The people become as the burning bush – constantly burning yet never consumed.  In their fiery revival they rid their nations of harlotous idolatry and disinterest in eternal matters.  They bring a taste of the New Jerusalem to the shores of the perishing so that those in agony over their sins shall be alerted to the wounds of the Kinsman. 

Do you want revival?  Revival comes at immense cost because diverting comforts must be addressed and purged.  You cease grasping for this world in the hopes of mingling worldliness with the Holy Spirit.  You pursue the dawning of true Christianity with the burning of the Seraphim by petitioning your God to cease hiding His face and to effectuate the outpouring of His Spirit (Eze. 39:29). 

Effusions of the Holy Spirit most often accompany contrite prayers for God to bring forth His spiritual children.  Pray the Psalms: “It is time for the Lord to act, for they have broken Your law.  Therefore I love Your commandments above gold, yes, above fine gold” (Ps. 119:126f.).  Let God know of your seraphic desire to see Him glorified.  Leave no question in anyone’s mind that you intend for your life to become the theater for His glory. 

Your preacher will alert you to the commitment your church has in the matters of revival.  He cannot be slothful in his studies or in his duties.  His hobbies cannot capture his days and he redeems his time for eternal engagements.  His speech cannot be careless and he guards against pleasing men.  Therefore, your preacher has three stirring responsibilities.  He is to persuade those under the dominion of sin that they are indeed under the dominion of sin.  He is to persuade those who are not under the dominion of sin that they are not under the dominion of sin.  He is to live as a man who counts “all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:8).

You cannot expect revival unless the whole counsel of God is preached and lived.  You hold fast to the doctrines of grace embodied in the rich and deep theology of your Bible.  You worship with a people who believe in the truth of God’s word, the necessity of the new birth, the reality of the miracles reported in the Scriptures, the existence and activity of Satan, the significance of the bodily resurrection and the implication of Jesus coming again in judgment. 

Self-conversions and man-manipulated emotions may bring an immediate happiness, but they assure long-term spiritual barrenness.  When theology and evangelism are separated the best revival will be but short-lived and evidence few truly saved.  The cause of revival is not found in men or in humanly orchestrated favorable conditions, but in the lavish influences of the Holy Sprit who alone makes the Church the Church. 

The revival you seek is not a single event but a relationship marked by a continuum of events.  Though it may be inaugurated in a worship service, revival is witnessed when the sacred fire of the word is taken into the bosoms of the hearers and then into their homes.  They leave worship centers with holy impulses.  Revived people are anxious inquirers for the way to holy Zion.

Are you not thirsty for an era of mercy?  Do you want to witness those you love subdued by sovereign grace?  Would you be delighted to know that your child had been smitten with an arrow from the quiver of the Almighty?  How pleased would you be to have your ship of state afloat in streams of everlasting salvation?

In January of 1859, Rev. Charles Haddon Spurgeon said, “We must confess that, just now, we have not the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that we could wish….  Oh, if the Spirit of God should come upon those assembled tonight, and upon all the assemblies of the saints, what an effect would be produced.  We seek not for extraordinary excitements, those spurious attendants of genuine revivals, but we do seek for the pouring out of the Spirit of God….  The Spirit is blowing upon our churches now with his genial breath, but it is as soft as an evening gale.  Oh, that there would come a rushing mighty wind that should carry everything before it.  This is the lack of the times, the great want of our country.  May this come as a blessing from the Most High.” 

What is your responsibility? God’s people must pray to become drenched in the bath of divine influences.  They yearn for their lips to be touched with a live coal from the altar of God.  Awakened people know the richness of an innumerable ingathering, a sweeping of the harvest into eternity.  They understand that in the time of revival the Lord Christ does walk again among the living in all His holy glory and power; blessing and refreshing His beloved.

Perhaps the time has come for you to call a counsel of war and deliberate upon your faithfulness.  Read Zechariah 4:6 to become familiar with the hindrances to revival and the means to revival.  The spiritual drought in your nation must come to an end.  Your God ushers in revival not by an increase in activity, but by turning the hearts of the fathers to the word and then to the application of that word to their children (Mal. 4:6).

Beloved, the almighty and imperceptible wind of the Holy Spirit can do more in one evening of true worship than legions of preachers can accomplish in countless thousands of millennia.  He can bring to the fore pillars of cloud by day and of fire by night to guide the unregenerate to Him.  No one but the Spirit can flood your congregation with His mercy – drops of mercy falling upon the hearts of His children even as their eyes bedew their Bibles afresh.

SOLI  DEO  GLORIA!

Other titles accessed in this document and that may assist in your study of revival include:

Iain H. Murray, The Old Evangelicalism (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2005).

Iain H. Murray, Revival and Revivalism, The Making and Marring of American Evangelicalism (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2002).

Iain H. Murray, The Puritan Hope, Revival and the Interpretation of Prophecy (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1971).

Ebenezer Porter, Letters on Revival (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1858).

Samuel I. Prime, The Power of Prayer, The New York Revival of 1858 (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1859).
 

"Play the Man Master Ridley"


 
The Martyrs' Memorial stands partway down St. Giles street in the city of Oxford, England. It was built in the mid-19th century to commemorate the lives of Oxford Bishops Thomas Cranmer, Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley. I walked right past this memorial one Saturday morning while exploring this historic and incredible city about 10 years ago with my good friend Jim Dewitt.

I have to admit, I had not heard of these three men prior to that morning. These three men, sometimes referred to as “Prelates of the Church” were bishops in the Anglican Church of England. All three men were involved in the Protestant Reformation. Latimer began to preach publicly on the need for the translation of the Bible into English. This was a dangerous move because the first translation of the New Testament by William Tyndale, had recently been banned. When the Church of England moved from Anglicanism back toward the Roman Catholic Church under Queen Mary in 1553, these three men came under intense persecution.

Eventually these three men were burned at the stake right near the spot of this memorial. Ridley and Latimer first in October of 1555 and then Cranmer in March of 1556. It is interesting to note that Cranmer was executed a little over five months later because the Queen ordered these men to “recant” or take back their statements and renounce their beliefs. Ridley and Latimer refused…Cranmer on the other hand, recanted, but could not live with himself afterwards…and then recanted his recant. While preparations were being made to burn Cranmer at the stake, he asked if his right hand could be untied so that he could put that hand first into the fire. That was the hand that he had used to sign his original recant that spared him the fate of his friends five months earlier at the very same spot in Oxford.


Ok, so why the church history lesson Bob? Well, it occurs to me that we take an awful lot for granted today in the times in which we live. How many of us believers have multiple copies of the Bible around our homes? How many of you now have the Bible on an App, either for your Iphone, your Ipad, or your laptop? We have incredible access to the Word of God that these men and many others like them gave their lives for us to have. They gave their very lives for us to be able have the Bible in our own language. These men believed that God’s word was meant for you and I to have in order that we might come directly to God. They believed that, because they understood that the Bible contained the powerful, living, Word of God! Do we really understand what we have on those pages? If we do, we will make it part of our everyday lives, both in the practice of reading and in the practice of telling others what it says.

I think about the mindset of men like this…and I ask myself if I can measure up to them. We are called to take Christ to a world around us that is entirely hostile to the Christ of the Bible…I say the “Christ of the Bible” because many today are offering a “christ” that is foreign to the Christ of the Bible. But make no mistake about it; the world around us is hostile towards Him. Even so, we are reminded that in this world, God is always at work…He is about the work of drawing His people to Himself all the time. Our job is to be faithful to point others to Him, not knowing upon who’s hearts He is working. In a time of increasing hostility towards Christ, we must not shrink back from proclaiming the truth.

Hugh Latimer is quoted as having said to Nicholas Ridley as the fires were being lit: “Play the man, Master Ridley; we shall this day light a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.” Take the time to read about men like this…let God use these fallen but great men from history to put “steel” in our spine to engage the world around us with the truths of the scriptures.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Politicians, Statesman, and Controversial Matters

The following is a guest article written by my good friend Det Bowers.

“The LORD your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior…” (Zeph. 3:17).

War is not always optional. Oftentimes, one war births another. The difficulty can be determining what war to enter and how to engage in that war (II Sam. 10:12). It is also essential to enter only those engagements wherein the mission is clearly defined and articulated, the time is ripe, the undertaking is achievable, and the exit provisions are agreed upon by those with the purest motives as well as the best knowledge and experience (I Chron. 14:15).

Americans seem to have continuing problems understanding that all societal values are not equal and all nations do not have the same values: Hitler’s Germany, 1941 Japan, Stalin and Putin’s Russia, the Islamic State, et cetera. Think through the nations that do not value life as we do in the western world or who disparage republican democracy, human rights and particularly the position of their own wives, sisters and daughters.

In our 21st Century A.D., the international community is experiencing civil wars, ethnic wars, sectarian wars, regional wars, religious wars, cultural wars, ideological wars, territorial wars, et cetera. Some nations are positioned to address these wars and others are not (I Chron. 13:14). The problem is that a war in one country can have a significant affect upon other countries outside that region.

Your United States of America has matchless military might because we have developed the abilities gifted to us by “nature and nature’s God.” We have anticipated conflicts and cultivated the armaments vital to securing our own ordered peace (II Chron. 16:9). Other nations have not made the sacrifices necessary to order their own peace. 

There are many reasons why some are powerless to maintain peace and orderliness or address the wars going on within their borders. One of the primary reasons is their failure to apply themselves to the task of statecraft – crafting a nation-state requires all-encompassing sacrifice by her leadership. Therefore, when the sacrifice has not been made and is not being made, when there is a status of dependency, difficulties arise. A struggle associated with assisting less-powerful nations when the war is on their territory is the tendency to give the weak nation a central voice in how the powerful nation will engage on behalf of the unskilled nation.

Powerful nations establish world order and peace – weak nations do not. The weak nations do not have peace because they have been unwise and not made the very best of their human and natural resources (II Sam. 5:24). Sloth as well as the refusal to work early, hard and long must not be coddled by the more vigorous nations that expend scores of resources to make the world a better place for all peoples everywhere. The quandary is that if the strong nation continues to assist the weak nation without requiring it to discipline itself and expend its own resources to secure order within its own region, the strong nation shall strain its resources and can become as ineffective as the nation it is assisting (II Sam. 1:19).

At the close of World War II, Prime Minister Winston Churchill said it could have all been prevented if the western powers would have opposed Adolph Hitler earlier. Politicians rarely move early in controversial matters – statesmen consistently do. Moving early requires the resolve, vision and sacrifice so few will make (I Sam. 2:9). Not only should a wise nation move early, she should be committed to completing the task (II Chron. 26:5).

One of the difficulties of war is that it is not concluded until all agree it is over – including the losing party (I Sam. 15:32f.). Elections do not end wars – decisive victories do. When a nation, state or society is defeated, unless the victor addresses the conquered territory and people, there is a significant likelihood that other vexations worse than the first will assume positions of power in the land (Mt. 12:45).

“In those times there was no peace to him who went out or to him who came in, for many disturbances afflicted all the inhabitants of the lands. Nation was crushed by nation, and city by city, for God troubled them with every kind of distress. But you, be strong and do not lose courage, for there is reward for your work (II Chron. 15:5-7).


de Treville F. Bowers, Jr. is the former pastor of Christ Church of The Carolina's in Columbia, SC and most recently was a candidate for the United States Senate from South Carolina.


 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Impeachment, Separation of Power, Oath, and Duty

I find it very interesting, sad, and pathetic all at the same time how the National Republican Congressional Committee can acknowledge that the President of the United States has committed dozens of impeachable offenses....but yet not advocate for at least one single Article of Impeachment. They advocate for court proceedings that are certainly lawful, but not specified as the correct check for lawlessness in the Constitution.

Ladies and gentlemen please permit me to share with you a little about the Constitution and the framers intent on this beautiful Saturday morning from the Great State of South Carolina. If the President has committed this many impeachable offenses....and as one with some level of Constitutional expertise...I believe it is abundantly clear that he has....if the President of the United States has committed lawless acts in violation of his Constitutional oath, our elected members of the United States House of Representatives are DUTY bound to bring about at least ONE Article of Impeachment.

An Article of Impeachment is synonymous with an "indictment". The U.S. House of Representatives is made up of 435 members. 7 of those members represent South Carolina. Each state has a different allocation depending on population. The tool (known as a "check") in the founders system of Checks and Balances is written into our Constitution in Article I, Section 2, the last sentence....it reads: "The House of Representatives ....shall have the sole power of Impeachment".
It doesn't say that the House and "the Senate" have this power....it says that THE HOUSE has this power. Alone. We don't teach our Constitution anymore in our schools....yea, if you're really lucky today....a school might hand out pocket Constitutions on September 17th, but even the basics are not taught anymore. I submit that this is intentional...but I digress.

You see, too many people today completely misunderstand the process of "checking" lawlessness in a branch of the federal government. Sadly even the congressmen that I have spoken to have no in depth understanding of this either. Some of their staffers are even worse....but I digress. I don't mean that to be ugly or disparaging...it is just a fact of life today that since we don't teach this anymore...we have a very large portion of our congress that simply do not understand constitutional principles....and their staff sometimes (not always) reflects the same.

When it comes to the ultimate "check" on an elected or appointed official that violates the United States Constitution, or for that matter...even commits a misdemeanor (since the threshold for impeachment is actually very low)....when it comes to that "check", the framers designed a two step process for removal of that individual from office. There is "Impeachment"....which is not removal...it simply is the process that the framers gave to the U.S. House of Representatives to bring about charges...it does not mean or determine removal. Impeachment is given to the House as I mentioned above in Article I, Section 2. Removal from office can only come from a trial conducted in the U.S. Senate and is outlined for the Senate in Article I, Section 3: "The Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments".

Each House under our Constitution, has completely separate and defined powers, the framers intended for one House to act independently of the other. This does not mean that they cannot and should not coordinate....but at the end of the day....each House in our bicameral congress has "swim lanes" of power. In other words, they are to have tunnel vision when it comes to exercising their defined powers. We know this because of the historical record in the debates at the Philadelphia Convention that produced our Constitution. The great "Connecticut Compromise" was part of this...the idea to split our congress into two co equal "Houses"....had to do with representation and also had to do with separating powers to try to prevent collusion on issues of national importance. The House was designed to be closest to the people hence the nickname the "Peoples House". Members of the House would be put on a very short leash (2 year terms) specifically for this purpose. This very same separated function is designed for spending also....but that is another topic for another day...but suffice it to say that spending is supposed to work the very say way...with complete separation of power. The founders wanted to make it VERY difficult to spend the peoples hard earned money. We give them a pass on this too...but alas I must return to my main point here.

Unfortunately, most people today do not know this....because they simply are not taught this (you might begin to see why I believe that it is by design that we don't teach this today). Since we are not taught this....we are quick to swallow hook line and sinker the garbage given to us by our Congressmen that they cannot draw up an Article of Impeachment because they don't have the numbers in the Senate. This answer and line of reasoning has absolutely no constitutional basis whatsoever. In fact, not only does it not have any constitutional basis, it is an affront to the design or our Constitution and the doctrine of Separation of Powers that was so wisely inserted into our very unique Constitutional Republic.

So the President today can pretty much do anything he wants...and our United States House of Representatives will do absolutely nothing of substance. I can list the excuses for you..."we will lose our committee assignments", "we don't have the numbers", "the Dems and media will beat us up and call us bad names".....and on and on....sickening. Yet we continue to cheer for them. Until we are willing to band together...and pressure even our "good" guys....they will do nothing. They have no fear of us because we clap for them doing the minimum for us.

Please consider joining the effort to stop giving your congressman, whoever he is a pass on this. In South Carolina, 6 out of our 7 congressmen claim Constitutional Conservatism as their political philosophy. None of them....not one of them will lift a finger to draw up a simple bill to submit on the House floor as an Article of Impeachment. We applaud them for their good conservative votes...and rightfully so. I think it is time that we raise the bar on these folks that we have elected and are paying 174K per year. I think it is time that we quit clapping like seals when they do the very minimum that a Constitutional Conservative should be doing....voting right.

If you do not believe that our President has violated the United States Constitution. Then you are free to disagree with me....honest people can disagree.

HOWEVER....IF you believe that the President has violated the Constitution, the framers gave only one clear way to deal with that kind of lawlessness....the gave the House the Constitutional "check", indeed, they gave them the SOLE responsibility to bring about an indictment....irrespective of whether the OTHER House will convict the defendant. Indictments do not always bring about convictions. But the process designed by the founders simply CANNOT work as designed if the 435 member House of Representatives refuses to do its constitutional duty regardless of their reasoning.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Madison's Final Resort For The States

The Convention of States (COS) Project is a nationwide effort to bring about an amending convention under Article V of the United States Constitution. The historically accurate term for such a convention is a “Convention of States”. In late 2013, I took on the leadership role for the Convention of States Project in South Carolina. After over 15 years of teaching, speaking, and training people on the United States Constitution, the Rule of Law, and Original Intent, I had come to the conclusion in early 2013 (as did many, many others around our nation) that our federal government is so systemically broken that those that hold federal office either cannot or simply will not take the steps necessary to return our government back inside the fence of limited government under the enumerated powers of the federal Constitution.

Because the framers of our great Constitution understood the nature of mankind, they knew there was a strong possibility that a day like this would come when the system that they entrusted to us would grow out of control. Because human nature has a tendency to stretch outside its boundaries, the framers put together a system using biblical principles of government designed to constrain the power hungry tendencies of mankind. The framers also had a keen understanding that the system they designed was not perfect and therefore it would need a process to make necessary changes as they arose. To this end they inserted a rigorous change process that included two methods to amend the Constitution. It is abundantly clear from their own words that they foresaw the need for changes to the document in the future.

Some today tell us that we need to “defend the Constitution as it is” rather than amend it, altogether ignoring the fact that our Constitution has been changed by amendment 27 times. With the exception of two amendments (16 & 17 in my opinion), all of these amendments made necessary changes. The Bill of Rights codified specific individual rights, human slavery was eradicated, women were given the vote, Presidents were limited to two terms in office, etc… So this idea that we never amend the Constitution has no historical or logical basis. An honest look at the historical record and the words of the framers paints a much different picture than the idea that we are somehow disrespecting the Constitution if we propose to amend it. It was precisely because the framers understood the tendency among men to want to stretch, pull, and twist on the limits of their powers; they specifically gave the states a process whereby the people under the principles of self government, and through their state legislatures could bypass Washington D.C. The states would be able to call a convention for the express purpose of proposing amendments to “reset” the text of the Constitution in response to the federal government (all three branches) perverting the original intent of the Constitution. I have spent many, many years teaching the brilliance of this document, indeed the God ordained blessing that we have the longest lasting nation under a single governing document in the history of the world. I have given my adult life to teaching respect for this document. That said, it is prudent for us to understand that the document is not perfect, it was drafted by human beings….and left in the hands of imperfect men, could be and would be twisted and perverted.

Thomas Jefferson made this point very straightforward in his letter to Samuel Kercheval dated June 12, 1816:
 
“Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence, and deem them like the arc of the covenant, too sacred to be touched. They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human, and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment. I knew that age well; I belonged to it, and labored with it. It deserved well of its country. It was very like the present, but without the experience of the present; and forty years of experience in government is worth a century of book-reading; and this they would say themselves, were they to rise from the dead.”

So in reality, the correct and Constitutional way to “defend” the Constitution when it is being abused is to amend it.

But let’s dig deeper for a moment. A sober look back at recent history reveals that the twisting, pulling, and stretching of the text of the Constitution, away from its originally intended limited government, has been going on for well over a century. According to the founders/framers, what should have happened is that the very first time the Supreme Court twisted the original meaning of the Constitution in order to expand federal powers…the states should have responded with a call for an amending convention. For instance, it is a well established fact among Constitutionalists that the General Welfare clause and the Commerce clause in Article I, Section 8, are two of the most abused portions of text in the United States Constitution. It is very important to understand that this abuse did not happen all at one time. I often hear people saying that we just need to “enforce the Constitution as written” or “make our elected officials obey the Constitution”. No one has made that argument more strenuously than I have over the last 15 years that I have been passionately teaching and speaking on our great governing document.
If you were to ask any of the 535 members of the United States Congress and/or the President today why it is that they are not obeying their oaths, or why they are violating the Constitution, most of them would point across the street (from the capital) to the United States Supreme Court and tell you that the Supreme Court of The United States (SCOTUS) has told them that what they are doing is Constitutional. To understand how big the problem is we need to understand that this didn’t start last night, it started with a little stretching of Constitutional meaning here, a little twisting of its meaning there…and today has totally become perverted from what we can clearly understand from the founding documents as its original purpose, scope, and intent. To go even further and give a concrete example of this…we can look at the 1942 United States Supreme Court ruling in the case of Wickard v. Filburn. This case was one of the very first times that the SCOTUS perverted the meaning of the Commerce Clause in order to uphold a federal law that grossly expanded the legislative powers of the United States Congress. It is imperative at this point that we be reminded that anytime the legislative powers of the United States Congress are expanded, the powers relegated to the states under the 10th Amendment will indeed contract. Ronald Reagan told us that “every time government expands, liberty contracts”.

In effect…today, my friend Michael Farris makes the case that we have two Constitutions. We have the Constitution that was ratified in June of 1788 and its 27 amendments. This is the Constitution that I teach under the interpretive philosophy of “Original Intent”, the one that the founders drafted to create a federal government of limited and enumerated powers. The fact that our Constitution was designed to be interpreted according to Original Intent is indisputable when one honestly looks at the debates from the Philadelphia convention and the ratifying conventions. There was great tension and debate about vesting too much power in a central government.
The second Constitution in effect today is the Constitution that the Supreme Court uses….the one that has been twisted, contorted, abused, and perverted for over a century. I might add that all of that abuse in these past decades was met with little to no response by the states.

James Madison emphasized this point in his letter to Edward Everett dated August 28th, 1830. Madison by that time was 81 years old and had lived to see his incredible work to draft our governing document begin to bear the brunt of time. He had this to say when queried by Mr. Everett about the proper response by the states to a government that might grow abusive:



“Should the provisions of the Constitution as here reviewed be found not to secure the Government and rights of the States against usurpations and abuses on the part of the United States the final resort within the purview of the Constitution lies in an amendment of the Constitution according to a process applicable by the States.”

So, according to Madison, the right response immediately following the Wickard v. Filburn decision that grossly expanded the meaning of the Commerce Clause…indeed the Constitutional response envisioned by the framers at Philadelphia in 1787 when they inserted the state initiated amendment power into the Constitution, should have been a call from the states for an amending convention (Convention of States) under the provision outlined in Article V.
So to those that say all we need to do is to “enforce” our Constitution, or “hold our elected officials feet to the fire” (which we surely need to do), I submit that it betrays a deep misunderstanding of where we are today and how we got here. Those simplistic responses sound good, indeed I must admit I use to use them myself…but they simply will not suffice for the HUGE problem that we face. Today, we have an enormous problem with a federal government that is completely and utterly out of control. Mark Levin rightly refers to our federal government today as the “federal leviathan”.

It is also noteworthy to step back and realize that the United States Congress, according to the first section in Article V can propose amendments anytime they desire. In other words, for those that fear a congressional takeover of such a convention, the United States Congress for all practical purposes, is really in a perpetual "convention". They don't need anyone's permission to propose any amendments. The reason that they do not propose "rogue" amendments is because they know they could never get them through the 38 state gauntlet required by the Constitution. Those that fear a "runaway" convention from an Article V Convention of States seem to fail to realize that the "runaway convention" is happening every single day right in front of our eyes by fiat. In other words, they don't need a convention, they have become accustomed to perverted interpretations of the General Welfare and Commerce clauses. They are literally changing the Constitution by dictate (fiat)...at will through rogue interpretations that are devoid of historical original intent. The President is using "rogue" interpretations by the Supreme Court to direct unlawful actions via Executive Order. The Congress is using "rogue" interpretations of the Constitution by decades of twisted and perverted rulings by the SCOTUS. Indeed, the real "runaway" convention is happening right before our eyes if we are sober and honest with ourselves.

Some argue that since they are not following the Constitution today, why would they follow any new amendments. This too, like I described above in the section about understanding how they violate the Constitution betrays a lack of understanding of why they can simply "not follow" it now. It sounds like a good question, but it doesn't hold up under scrutiny of the "modern" amendments to the Constitution (women's suffrage, presidential term limits, etc...). The fact is that the modern amendments with clear language today are followed to the letter. Amendments clarifying the General Welfare and Commerce clauses, congressional and SCOTUS term limits, a balanced budget coupled with clear spending restraints, would go a very long way to helping steer us back inside what Jefferson called the "chains of the Constitution". To get a better understanding of other amendments that would be monumental in that regard I encourage you to read Mark Levin's work "The Liberty Amendments".

Anyone that is awake and honest today….and understands any of what I have written above….understands that we are figuratively staring down the gun barrel of a rogue, out of control federal government that is staggering drunk on the intoxicating effects of years of bloated growth in federal power. We have an ENOURMOUS problem. Fears of what "might happen", PALE in comparison to what IS happening right now. Indeed it is such an enormous problem that many have become so discouraged that they have entirely given up. Many citizens today that would normally be engaged in the process have given up because they also believe that the federal government is so out of control that there is nothing they can do about it.

Herein lies the good news (from an earthly perspective), we do have a recourse written right into our Constitution in Article V. This recourse has never been used. It will not be easy. I have heard some say that we are doing this because we think it is an “easy fix”. To the contrary, I believe that most of us understand that quite the opposite is true. We have such an enormous problem that we need an enormous solution. The founders gave us one, but it will not be easy. Amending the Constitution via the United States congress or via a Convention of States is extremely difficult. The threshold is very high. With the COS process, it takes 34 states to pass a resolution applying under the same subject matter in order for the United States Congress to call an amending convention for the states. Then any proposed amendments that come out of such a COS must be sent back to all of the states for ratification. The threshold required under our Constitution for ratification is even higher; it takes 38 states to ratify any proposed amendment coming out of a convention for that amendment to become part of the Constitution.
It is time to get past all of the misunderstandings about the Article V Convention of states. The framers gave us this provision. Madison himself referred to it as the “final resort within the purview of the Constitution”. Finally, we must face the sobering thought that our federal government is so out of control, that Washington D.C. cannot fix itself. On June 11th, 1787, Anti Federalist George Mason while making the case to add the state convention provision to Article V made the following sobering statement:


“Amendments therefore will be necessary, and it will be better to provide for them, in an easy, regular and Constitutional way than to trust to chance and violence.  It would be improper to require the consent of the Natl. Legislature, because they may abuse their power, and refuse their consent on that very account.”

Carefully consider what Mason was telling us....his words are sobering. He is telling us that if we wait too long, we might risk violence in our nation. He went on to say that it would be wrong to leave all amending of the Constitution up to Washington D.C. [Natl. Legislature] because once they start abusing their powers they will refuse to do what needs to be done to put the beast of tyranny back inside the cage (emphasis mine). Think Congressional and Supreme Court term limits, think balanced budget amendment, think curtailing executive order power, think regulatory agency sunset provisions, think spending limitations, etc…
Right now we have Convention of States Project grassroots organizations active in over 40 states. Last night I had the privilege of participating in a nationwide conference call with all my other State Director colleagues…it was an incredible experience to hear the roll call with state after state reporting down the line. I realized at that moment that we have an incredible opportunity to save our nation right at our fingertips. A real opportunity to actually turn the tide back toward what the founders gave us. Hundreds of citizen patriots are answering the call by the national Convention of States Project to come to the front lines and take up their positions in all manner of form. Some have answered the call to take the leadership role in their state to get their state to pass the Article V Application/Resolution, some have answered the call to take up a position and man the ramparts in their individual legislative districts, others are joining as foot soldiers to help make calls and send messages to their state representatives. If we are successful, this effort will go down in history as the greatest historical event since the founding era.

The time for the states to act to defend themselves from the tyranny of the federal government is now. The Article V Convention of States is the lawful and orderly process by which we begin to turn this ship around.

An Article V Convention of States is not a silver bullet, but according to James Madison, it is the last bullet we have.

You can join this historic effort by visiting the Convention of States Project website.

Bob Menges now works full time as a Regional Legislative Director on the staff of the national Convention of States Project and still serves as the State Director for the effort in South Carolina. He can be reached at rmenges@cosaction.com