The United States Presidents in God’s Providence
By Dr. Tyler Hendricks, April 17, 2019
The Puritans brought God’s providence to the continent of America. They had what historians call a dilemma, basically the inability to overcome sin. God gifted them with the understanding of the family-centered nation. Their ethos was of sexual abstinence before marriage and absolute fidelity in marriage. To accomplish this, they knew, required filial piety, all persons living in three-generation households, including apprentices and servants, until marriage, and the family being the true church and true center of government.
Because they did not know the original sin and principle of restoration centered on the change of blood lineage, they could not achieve this ideal. Because of their strong families and church life, their second generation were successful and relatively moral, but did not share the religious passion of the first generation. (I’m not speaking here of literal generations, but of the trend through the colonial period.) Also the second generation was imbibing the emerging Enlightenment worldview based on science and humanism. Fortunately, it was mainly the Abel-side Enlightenment, which emerged from the Protestant world and was generally positive about Christianity, not the Cain-side Enlightenment, which emerged from the Catholic world and was generally critical of Christianity.
The option of forcing people to be moral was considered but dropped for spiritual as well as practical reasons. The best answer they could find was to lower the standards for being a “Christian” (i.e. not require a tearful convincing testimony of one’s life-changing conversion), set conditions of repentance and prayer, and improve the methods of evangelism. This led to the first Great Awakening.
Exodus and Wilderness Course. Departure from Europe, crossing the Atlantic, pioneering civilization in the wilderness. 1620s - 1640s
The Dilemma: Should a Parent Use Force to Solve Moral Issues? 1640s - 1720s
The First Great Awakening: No; convert by persuasion. 1720s - 1740s
The Dilemma: If Christianity is a dead-end in terms of solving sin ultimately, where do we look for hope? Aha: the Enlightenment! The flowering of Protestant as well as Catholic Christianity through the Awakenings and free atmosphere, plus the Abel-type Enlightenment, led to the Awakening - Enlightenment Marriage that provided the ideology of the United States. 1750s - 1770s
The Dilemma: Loyalty to the King (Parents) or to Democracy (Siblings): Should the children use force to separate from oppressive parents?
The Revolution. Yes. 1770s - 1780s. The marriage of the Left and Right: The United States managed to harmonize the Reformation and Renaissance -- Abel and Cain, by the help of God and an ever-present frontier (Frederick Jackson Turner’s “Frontier Thesis” has great merit.)